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Photo by Father Bill

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Father Bill is asking: (2 answers)
QUICKIE HELP! Any Creative Chicken Fanatics Out There?

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Last updated: Apr. 28, 2012 5:29 pm
Posted: Apr. 28, 2012 10:59 am
Answered by: Father Bill
Apr. 28, 2012 10:59 am
Greetings Friends! I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a pickle this evening – simply due to being a bit slow minded today and I could desperately use some advice please. I arrived back from Moldova last night and I typically need 24hours by myself to leave that world behind and return to ours. It’s not that I’m anti-social or anything like that; it’s just difficult to mentally and spiritually adjust and emotionally file away the horrors and traumas and return to a world that has so sadly lost track of the gifts we have. (apologies, not preaching, just explaining with a bit of a sigh). My children understand it well. The children came home from school for the weekend. My daughter just phoned from the cinema asking if she may bring two friends home for dinner. Of course she may. However, when I put the phone down it dawned on me that the dinner I had only just started is quite meagre on which to feed five of us. I have a chicken in the pot (literally) that I just browned and am allowing to come to the lightest simmer for a few minutes, complimented by an onion, a couple of carrots and a celery stalk, along with some fresh thyme and clippings of parsley from my window. It was my plan to make a farmhouse chicken soup (or in my case a Vicarage chicken soup). I typically, after the simmer, toss out the limp veggies I’ve used to make the stock, then turn to tearing the meat into small pieces. To that I add newly sliced carrots, a small sweet onion, and a single chopped celery stalk, and simmer that at the lowest possible temperature for about 25-30 minutes, and then add broad egg-noodles that I’ve pre-cooked in another pot and rinsed to remove the natural starch. VoilĂ ! Unfortunately, I simply don’t see what I’ve started as being sufficient to feed five of us, particularly my son who would do the death scene from Camille if he couldn’t have a large second helping. (They like my soups!) What should I do? My thoughts were to simply quickly make some pastry, add double cream to my stock, along with some corn flour, and turn it into a chicken pot pie in tray form. Or should I, forgive me for even mentioning such a thing among such luminaries as yourselves, add a few Knorr Swiss chicken stock cubes and water, and expand my beloved stock into something that resembles a trip to the deli counter at the supermarket? I’m really torn. My daughter, especially, enjoys bringing friends home for meals and I actually enjoy it as well. They’ll hang around most of the night playing Monopoly, Boggle, or other such games. So I thought perhaps I’d simply use small breakfast bowls instead of our large low and broad dinner bowls and serve a much smaller amount of the soup and make sandwiches as an alternate. I have a fresh baguette that came over from France this morning which I planned to serve with Danish butter. But as I browse through the fridge I’m afraid the best I can do in the sandwich department is egg and watercress sandwiches and perhaps tuna salad, which my palate can’t readily envisage. I suppose I could make BLT’s as well, but I don’t particularly relish starting a tray of English bacon in the oven as I’ll have to deal with Mrs Higgins on Monday morning – she claims it splatters terribly and accuses me of doing it simply because I want her to stick her head in the oven. (She may be half-right, I’m not sure!) I have about a ten-minute window in which to decide the best path, so you’d be richly rewarded in Heaven for your kind advice – just probably not by anyone at AR! I’m SO glad to be home! SO glad! Home is where you can say anything you please, because nobody pays any attention to you anyway! Fr Bill+
Shanon K ♥
Apr. 28, 2012 11:08 am
Have you thought about adding dumplings to the soup?
Father Bill
Apr. 28, 2012 11:11 am
Hey Shanon! No, that's not something I considered. I'm not sure how much that would help broaden the overall bulk, however. And as I think of it, I don't have any suet in the house. I'd have to pop out to the supermarket and it's quite a drive...good idea though! Thank you! I'll add that to my memory box!! :-) Fr B+
gammaray (=
Apr. 28, 2012 11:14 am
No grilled cheese? Always a natural with soup? Do you have extra veggies to add to the soup to help it grow? Along with extra noodles? [I am queen of the growing soup - and not on purpose, not because I have extra mouths to feed! I just don't know how to make a small soup (=]
gammaray (=
Apr. 28, 2012 11:15 am
Do you have fruit on hand for a dessert? Or some such thing, so they don't miss extra dinner?
Father Bill
Apr. 28, 2012 11:25 am
Hey Barb! Thank you for that!!! Well, my endless pit of a stomach son asked me to make grilled ham & Cheese sandwiches, which I joyfully shared with him thinking 'add cheese to the list for next week.' I have a scintilla of Red Leicester, a small block of parmesan, but not much of anything else. I made this morning a large trifle - experience always says make twice as much trifle as my son can hoover the lot down! Yes, I'm like you about's just that my batteries are SO low I'm not on form this weekend. I do have a lovely large leek, about two more carrots, and two ears of sweet corn. There's a fresh head of butter lettuce and three beefsteak tomatoes in the pantry as well -hence the BLT idea...but having not done a proper shop since returning it's all a bit bare. I went to the butcher this morning, just a few steps down the high street from the church and to our greengrocers ...The rest of the bits have to come from the supermarket which is no where near the village... So...are you suggesting I fell prey to the Knorr Swiss? I have a full unopened box of the little critters that I bought to use on the train in the winter as a meal in a cup...but couldn't reduce myself to such a fiasco! shame on me! Thank you for the ideas!!! Sounds like expanding soup it is tonight...the milkman left 18 eggs this morning so we have an abundance for sandwiches... Fr B+
Apr. 28, 2012 11:32 am
Possibly you could increase the stock, thicken it like gravy, and ladle it over some hot biscuits. Just toss a few vegetables on the side.
Apr. 28, 2012 11:35 am
My suggestion would have been noodles. Which is interesting because they're called dumplings in the south (same thing, just formed different) or some sort of dried pasta, even. . .AND sandwiches, LOL!! Enjoy!
Johanna WISHES she were a
Apr. 28, 2012 11:39 am
Hey, sounds like you've got a loaf and two fishes (with the tuna), so start praying to feed 5,000! (please forgive me for seeing the humor in the situation...) Hopefully the girls will have noshed on popcorn and not be too hungry; maybe your son can help provide, and he can make himself some scrambled eggs, or shop FOR you? Just explain to the girls your situation, and it's okay to send them home a little hungry. Let us know how it turns out!
gammaray (=
Apr. 28, 2012 11:48 am
lol, Johanna (=
gammaray (=
Apr. 28, 2012 11:49 am
What about saving the soup for tomorrow and using the loaf and eggs to make breakfast for dinner?
gammaray (=
Apr. 28, 2012 11:49 am
[If it were me, I'd be ordering pizza (=]
Father Bill
Apr. 28, 2012 12:24 pm
Hey Randy! That was close to my first thought but I imagined making a pie crust topping would look better. And I thought about the bread I already had and didn't want to waste it. It's so nice to have different perspectives. Thank you so much for helping!! [] Hey Johanna! I saw the humour in it as well! I think it's just that my mind is not in full swing right now. I normally stop over somehwere in Europe when I leave MOldova to spend the night. I do virtually nothing but sit in my room staring blankly at the telly and eating a club sandwich. I never know where I'll end up - most of the time it has been Budapest. But I've just added a new feature to my long list of crises when it comes to my mission. Malev Airlines, the airline who has helped me immeasuribly over the years, not only with free travel passes, but especially free cargo for carrying children's coffins, has collapsed after 65 years of business. It's tragic for so many people, particularly the lovely staff who worked so hard to survive. It just wasn't to be. But it's added many new challenges for me. I came back through Istanbul this time and was able to connect by the skin of my teeth. This is the first time in 5 years that I've made that connection. When it's not Budapest I go through Vienne where I can get a free bed in one of the old cells beneath St Marks'. (they're not real cells, but that's what the nuns used to call them...just a bed, chair, and a crucifix - all I need and it's free...even better!) My son, bless his socks is unable to do such activities. A few years ago Willem was the victim of an horiffic assault by some newcomers to our country. He suffered permanent brain damage and unfortunately is no longer able to go out on his own as he can become confused or occasionally lost. We pray that in time it will repair itself. Thank you for sharing your's a jolly good one! [] [] Hey again've just proved once again I'm REALLY moving at a snail's pace! Jolly good idea! Too late, I followed the Knorr path - expanding the stock...and to be fair to them everyone, it actually tastes much better than I thought. Mary just texted me and they're almost home. They should be here in about ten minutes...Thank you again!! [] Oh Barb...the great american solution!! :-) We live in a village! One of those quaint little places that you see when you watch the Vicar of Dibley, or Father Ted, or A country Parish...Both the vicarage and the church, along with Clip Clop Clock (our four legged alarm clocks), and the venerable Mr. Piddles would all have to move and I'm not certain I'd be happy leaving this lovely community where we don't lock doors, know every neighbour by their Christian name, and begin to fret by 0745 if our neighbour's curtains aren't open...(some would call that being nosey, but it isn't, I promise.) Thank you each and every one of you...we're muddling by with our flexi-soup, egg and cress - a standing British tradition since the war, fresh breads and Danish butter, and a lovely (if I say so myself) trifle...a la the one on my profile...yes, I know it could be decorated nicer, but I'm a guy and don't possess those talents! [] Thank you everyone for being there for me tonight! Ohhh...I hear voices in the vestibule! Have a wonderful evening! Fr Bill+
Father Bill
Apr. 28, 2012 12:27 pm
oops...apologies..Lady...indeed, 'noodles' are a pasta here. I prefer the egg based pasta over the durum wheat pasta as it's not as pasty...but I always cook it first, then rinse it with cold water and set it aside until ready, otherwise it makes my soups rather sticky...unless, of course, I want a thick soup...but tonight's intent was for clear soup as that's my daughter's fav! You say tomato we say ...well we say tomato too...but with an 'ah' in it! :-) Fr Bill+
Answered by: Semigourmet
Apr. 28, 2012 12:58 pm
Father Bill, sorry I think I am a bit late. but will throw my 2 cents in for next time maybe. I would go a head and make your soup, keep the already cooked veggies and chop and add back in at the last minute. you could make it a creamy chicken Soup: like such:
Apr. 28, 2012 1:00 pm
and for the sandwiches, make pannini's they are just toasted bread that has a little (skid grease as mom called it) mayo mustard of any sort, maybe some tomato, onion, cheese and a meat, then it's sandwiched between a hot pan and a heavy skillet or bacon press to help smash and cook the sandwich to a nice crispy golden, then flip and do the same to the other side. Great for dipping and very filling. along with the creamy very filling soup. Good luck! hope your dinner went well for you tonight also!
Father Bill
Apr. 28, 2012 3:22 pm
Good evening Semi! Thank you for this. I've actually never made panninis before. It looks interesting. Yes, by the time I saw your contribution we had already finished desert. I think I'm too harsh on myself. My children and their friends said the soup was lovely...but I kept thinking about all the options all of you shared. I don't know about the states but here in the UK the Knorr cubes don't have any msg in them. That was one thing I checked for as I couldn't fathom subjecting my children, nor their guests to the stuff. That was one of the concerns I had because I simply assumed that the cubes would be loaded with msg and sodium. I was rather pleased to see that it wasn't... In the first instance I would have liked to expand the soup with cream, but I used an extensive amount for the cream atop my trifle...the milkman only left our normal weekend order so any dreams I had of doing something creative beyond our average weekend was a washout. Nevertheless all was good. My son is watching telly and my daughter and her friends are playing boggle so I think it's time for the Venerable Mr Piddles and I to hit the sack..back to 'work' early. Everyone, thank you again for all your help and support! Have a great Sunday! Fr. Bill+
Apr. 28, 2012 5:29 pm
wow, Bill that would be nice to have the cubes that were Not loaded with sodium and msg here. most of our cubed stuff is so sodium laden I can't use them. Glad your dinner turned out well. Have a great day tomorrow!
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