Ok, well, I’ve started a new routine by adding a fun FUN fun activity to our regular schedule.
Ha, did you see that? I implied we operate on a schedule. Cute, huh?
Anyway, we have started having a twice monthly fellowship with one of our favorite families. One time at their house, the next time at ours. So we only host once a month. Awesome planning, right? Anyway, they live really far from us, about an hour each way. Because of the travel time involved and the fact that we really wanna spend most of the day together, these get togethers involve lunch. And because we both have a zillion kids (she actually has two zillion) and neither of us is actually MADE of money, we need to cook lunch for the teeming horde. And I found out yesterday (our turn to host) there needs to be a big after-swim snack. Next time I’ll bake brownies and buy the giant tub of ice cream. Yesterday the poor pitiful kids had to eat carrots and celery sticks with homemade ranch dip, bananas, raisins, and peanuts. Sad, right? But, today’s post is about cooking lunch.
The cooking of this lunch needs to be done before the company arrives so that we don’t impinge on the visiting (read: talking our faces off trying not to be so enthusiastic as to become rude) time. So, because of that the cooking should be done ahead of time, and really, all that visiting (if you’re a kid, read: swimming, jumping on the trampoline, riding the zip line, playing basketball, and talking your faces off with no regard for rudeness [in a fun way]) will tire us out so completely that lunch needs to be prepared in such volume as to be enough to feed the horde AND be supper for the host family, because NOBODY will have any energy left once company leaves. Isn’t my friend a genius, this part of the planning was her idea, I jumped right on board!
Last time, at her house, she prepared Stone Soup. See? She’s a genius. Not only was it a delicious lunch that fed the horde AND was enough for her family’s supper, it was a great reminder for her littles of the book they’d read and all the other fun they had doing their Five-in-a-Row-esque activities during the previous week(?) month(?) whenever.
Our turn was yesterday. And because I have canned-cream-of-whatever-soup issues, I have to make my own casserole recipes. Here’s what I made.
Macaroni and Chicken Casserole
- 2 lbs elbow macaroni
- 4 or 5 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed ( I had a bag of chicken that John had grilled on Saturday.)
- 4 cups frozen peas (Toss them in the pot with the pasta near the end of the boil time.)
- 4 oz. diced pimentos
- 1 batch white sauce with 1 lb grated cheddar cheese added (cheese optional)
You’ll need these amounts for each casserole pan.
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 1/2 cups topping (I used cornbread stuffing mix because that’s what I had. You could use cracker crumbs, corn flakes, bread crumbs or whatever. Or you could skip the butter and just top it with cheese.)
Make the white sauce and melt the cheese into it. You can season the sauce however you like. I used chicken bouillon, garlic, herbs de Provence, and parsley. Cook the macaroni, drain. Add everything else, up to the white sauce. Stir in the sauce, plop it into 2 – 9×13 pans and cover with foil. Refrigerate until an hour before lunch (or supper). Preheat the oven to 375. Bake, covered for 30 minutes. Take the foil off, melt the butter, stir the stuffing mix into the butter, and sprinkle it over the casserole . Pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes.
Simple, easy, delicious!