Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dinner for four

1:43 p.m. Today's project is to get the house ready because we are expecting company for dinner! I started dusting yesterday, and got the house vacuumed, but polishing the dining room table and its chandelier, mopping, shining up the counter and scouring the bathroom and kitchen porcelain areas had to wait until today. It's all done now, and I am sitting "for a piece" while Steve walks the dogs. Thank you, Lord!

If it weren't for the fact that I had foolishly frozen ten huge chicken leg-thigh pieces all in one package instead of in portions of two-or-three-to-a-gallon Ziploc bags, there wouldn't be an entire extra meal available. Monday, after my return from Fresno, I had to face the task of thawing the meat out and using all of it at once. Remember, we only have three people at most at the dinner table now, and Heidi eats out with friends or with Pavel most of the time!

I searched around kind of thoroughly Tuesday afternoon for my tried and true "No Peek Chicken" recipe, but could not find it, although I had enough ingredients on hand to make two 9x13" pans of it. What on earth? Neither the recipe card nor the church cookbooks it had been printed in materialized. Ugh--I did not feel like checking out another chicken & rice recipe, so I just rinsed off the meat, sprayed the crockpot and turned it on high, still having no idea what I meant to do! (This is so unlike me!) I browned the legs in oil, in shifts, because the pieces were huge and thick, making a "hot mess" on the stove, but not getting injured even once by splattering fat. It helped that I had on long sleeves, that's for sure.

Leaving the browned meat on platters, I stirred together melted butter, one can each Campbell's cheese and cream of mushroom soups, evaporated milk and diced celery, while I just kept praying for some kind of idea. One inspiration was to stir in some spinach & artichoke cream cheese spread for a speck of vegetable content! By the way, it was after 1:30, leaving me less than four hours to make the best use of the crockpot. So, into the crockpot went one layer of sauce, 5 chicken legs, then another layer of sauce, and 5 chicken legs, sauce, and prayer for a decent result. I had the crockpot on high so that I could add parboiled rice later.
Now, I just needed someone to eat this food!! If Thanksgiving weren't just around the corner, I would have served one and frozen one casserole and been done with it. But there won't be a bit of space in my fridge, freezer or outside chest freezer by next Tuesday night, once Heidi and I start our baking. I felt like the king of Jesus' parable in Matthew 22, who could not get anyone he'd invited to come to his dinner, so he had servants go out and ask anyone they found! Steve and I could neither consume or store the casseroles--someone would need to join us.
I thought about my friend Monica whose house I'd just left She is the creator of the lovely decorative packaging of the gifts I'm selling. She and Jeff could use a nice time out with friends at this time of great duress in their lives. Monica is a fantastic cook and hostess, but we all can appreciate a meal we don't have to cook! She'll be bringing a wheat-free dessert--may it be chocolate candy--so we will enjoy a fun evening.
Steve and I have known the Tomcheks for at least 27 years, and the Lord has undertaken in incredible ways for all of us. She was a regular at the home Bible study I taught back in the 80's. We'd kind of lost touch for a while until last spring, when I spotted her on Facebook, and we ended up attending their Friday night summer couples' Bible study. Jeff is a real wisecracker, totally hilarious, and will keep Steve well entertained, in case Monica wants to join Heidi, Heather and me for the "Project Runway" finale at 7 p.m. (It's tivo'ed, so I can watch it tomorrow if need be). But honestly, Christ-centered conversation after dinner is even better, with reminiscences being served up with dessert!
I'm still looking for a vegetable sidedish, since this is not a good time financially to go food shopping. I may settle for the mixed greens I have in the fridge. But, since the Lord has seen me through in so many ways this week, even this day, I have no doubt that we'll enjoy a veritable "feast," with fellowship as the main ingredient!

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