Tuesday, September 17, 2013

if your mass is huddled.

Give me your tired, fussy preschoolers,
hungry husbands yearning for the weekend,
the restless moms combing a disorganized refrigerator,
send these, the busy Southern families, to me.
I'll have them to dinner and bed by 7:15.

I feel oppressed by recipes. And confused (not by directions, but by my ability to follow it flawlessly and still, catastrophe at my hands). Basically, recipes stir up teenager emotions I shouldn't have to deal with just one month shy of turning 30. And yet. . .

This is one y'all need in your arsenal for sick kids, sad friends, unexpected guests and to combat the general malaise that blankets the South when temperatures dip lower than 50 degrees for more than thirty consecutive days.

Chicken and Pastry

Some do dumplings - Bisquick and milk. that's all - but today? Frozen Pastry. I promised 7:15, remember?  A true Southern woman would call this a bastardization of such a hallowed dish, but.. 7:15.


Two boxes of prepared chicken stock.

One box of water, maybe two (as in, fill the empty box with water and pour it in)

5, 6, or 7 chicken bouillon cubes, depending on your blood pressure.

meat (white or white and dark) from one pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 white onion chopped finely.. undetectable-to-kids-finely.

1 or 2 chopped carrots

1 or 2 chopped stalks of celery

1/2 package of Annie's frozen pastry. (all Southern grocery stores carry this, or some brand of frozen pastry. Not puff pastry, for the love of Paula Deen. Plain pastry. Ask someone who works there and tell them why you need it. McLib's dehydrated pastry also works well. I can't even believe I'm saying this, but for those reading this above the Mason-Dixon Line, you can use egg noodles. But then it's chicken noodle soup. Still good, but not what we're doing here.

2 bay leaves (fairly unnecessary and not worth dragging toddlers to the grocery store if you don't have it)

1 big squeeze of honey, or two tablespoons if you don't buy that cute little bear. It adds depth. Who doesn't buy the bear?! A fancy adult who buys raw, local honey I am not.

Pepper to taste.. more salt if your blood pressure is medically controlled and/or don't care if your wedding rings fit the next day.


1. Put on an apron and a serious face, like you're doing something difficult.

2. Pour stock and water in large pot you use for soup. Add water or more stock until you get the amount you want. You'll want leftovers, because like most soupy foods, it's better the next day.

3. Get it hot and start adding bouillon cubes. Taste it. Add more.

4. Add chicken, cream of chicken soup, bay leaves, honey and veggies. **Before you put the water in the pot, you can cook the veggies in the bottom of the pot with a scant bit of olive oil until translucent if you're in a bonafide jerk to get it on the table in 20 minutes.

5. After the veggies are fairly well-done and everything has been at a rolling boil long enough that they look more the sum than their individual parts, start adding the frozen pastry. Slide it in piece by piece. Slowly. So they won't stick together. Patience, grasshopper.

6. Depending on the kind you use, cook according to the package. Frozen, dehydrated or, sigh.., egg noodles will be different.

7. When the pastry is cooked and all slippery-like, taste everything again. Add more bouillon, or salt, or honey.

Serve with crusty bread and sweet tea. The huddled masses will love you..or at least be quiet for 5 minutes while they eat.


  1. I'm totally taking this recipe because my 1st attempt at chicken & pastry was definitely a bomb :)