Cooking for My Local Shelter

Once a month, my family volunteers to cook for the local church’s shelter. Usually, I help by cutting up a store-bought baguette or making a simple package of pre-made, pre-cut cookies. Because I was inspired by all the cooking I have been doing, I decided this time was definitely going to be different!

I thought about what I could make on a large scale that would be healthy. My mom and I looked through her many cookbooks, and we decided to make a home-made chicken pot pie. The recipe was very simple. It only required vegetables, including carrots, onion and celery. It also needed potatoes. The sauce consisted of butter, flour, chicken broth and a bit of white wine. Lastly, it needed a puff pastry.

Squaring chicken

Squaring chicken

I made this dish all on my own and I am very proud of the way it came out. I began by poaching the chicken in a broth. My mom taught me how to do this, because my other experiences with chicken have all been by grilling or in an oven. I was surprised how much moisture the chicken retained. This is definitely a way I will cook chicken in the future!

After cooking the chicken, I squared them into smaller cubes. This was a pretty easy and relaxing task.

After that, I cut up the many different kinds of vegetables needed for chicken pot pie. Like cutting up the chicken, I found this very relaxing as well.

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Cutting up veggies

Then I made the sauce by combining the buttery, flour, chicken broth and white wine. This is where I think the dish went a bit awry. The sauce needed more flavor, because the dish was ultimately a bit dry. After reading this article, I realized there were some really easy ways to make dishes more flavorful. If I were to make this dish again, I would maybe add just some leeks or chives.

While this chicken pot pie was a bit bland, I was happy with the way it came out. I made a smaller version for my mother and I and we both enjoyed it. We added some pepper to our portions and it helped flavor it a bit.

One of the biggest things I want to express is the cost. Cooking for 10 to 12 people is much more costly than cooking for a family of 4. Because of this, not all of my ingredients were local or organic. Still, the ingredients used were all pretty healthy and I think this is a great meal that can served to a large group of people.

photo (8)

Chicken Pot Pie

Grades:

Health: A-. Besides the butter, everything is healthy. Chicken is a great source of protein and vegetables are filling, but don’t have many calories.

Taste: B+. Good, but as noted in the full rundown, it was bland.

Price: B+. I used mostly conventionally grown ingredients, so the price was okay. If I were to use organic and/or local ingredients, I don’t think I would have been able to afford to cook this meal for 10-12 people, and the grade would probably be much lower.

Overall: B+. This was a good meal that I would definitely have again.

 

 

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