Saturday, November 13, 2010

(Mis)Adventures in Cooking

I don't know why I do this.  I always think that I'm a more competent cook than experience proves.  As a result I wind up trying to fix my mistakes with not-so-satisfying results.
Take this weekend for example.  Our church is having a potluck lunch tomorrow.  I signed up to bring a main dish.  I decided that I would make my Chicken and Wild Rice casserole.  Tonight is the night our dinner circle, also from church, is meeting.  I told the hostess that I would bring the same thing for dinner tonight, that way I would only have to worry about preparing one thing.

The Chicken and Wild Rice casserole is fairly simple, but it only serves 8, and I really needed it to serve double that.  Therefore, I decided that I would make 2 casseroles, each a double recipe.  No problem.  

The first thing I decided to do to simplify my life was to prepare the wild rice and bake the chicken ahead of time.  I did this on Thursday when I was off for Veteran's Day.  Everything ran smoothly.  The rice was done, and the chicken was ready to be diced for the casserole.

So, it's now Saturday morning.  After working out and finishing breakfast I got started. I cut up the chicken, which really worked well.  Usually when I make this I'm trying to cut the chicken while it's still hot, and it's more difficult that way.  The only problem was that the original recipe calls for 3 cups of chicken.  Since I was making 2 double batches, I really needed 12 cups of chicken, and I really only got about 11 cups.  But that was minor.

Then comes the sauce preparation. I decided to prepare the sauce for each casserole separately, rather than making a quadruple batch and dividing it up.  So,  I doubled the amounts of chicken broth and 1/2 and 1/2.  But when I add the sauce to the chicken and rice it was way too much.  I tried to ladle out some of the sauce, thinking I would add it to the 2nd casserole, but I couldn't get the sauce without taking out the rice. So, I just covered it with foil and put the whole mess in the fridge.

When I went to make the 2nd batch, I didn't double the sauce recipe.  So, while I have double the chicken and rice, it's not swimming in sauce.

I decided that I would try to repair the 1st casserole by adding chicken and rice.  So, I now have some chicken breasts baking in the oven, and wild rice cooking on the stove.

Now, here's my 2nd catastrophe (maybe).  I also signed up to bring deviled eggs to the potluck tomorrow.  I had found a recipe in a magazine and wanted to try it. What sold me was the addition of bacon. Is there nothing that bacon can't make better?
Everything went well - hardboiled eggs aren't that challenging, and they peeled and sliced perfectly.  I mashed the yolks, and added the bacon, mayo and lemon juice.  The recipe only called for 3 tablespoons mayo, but it was still really too dry, so I added more mayo.  Still no problem.  Then I added the chives and dried mustard, mixed it all together and filled the egg whites.  Everything went smoothly; the only problem is the taste - they're okay, but not great.  I'm not sure what is off, but I'm hoping that after mellowing in the fridge the flavors come together better.

So, what I thought would be a laid-back Saturday with minimum of muss and fuss didn't quite work out.  I'm hoping the casserole at least works out, but I'm definitely re-evaluating my culinary skills - and sticking with cookies.


Anonymous said...

Like I heard on the radio recently, the key to happiness is lowering your expectations :) I'm just impressed that you made all that stuff--and I know it's going to taste delicious.

Cindy Schilling said...

Thanks! Adding more chicken and rice certainly helped and I now have 3 casseroles instead of just 2!