Take Them A Meal/Meal Train

It is customary in my church community to organize a calendar of meals for various occasions. Hospital stays, funerals, new babies… I always look to these moments as an opportunity to sow a seed for someone in need. AND to try new recipes! Recently, a good friend gave birth to her third baby and as per usual, meals were organized. (Programs like Take Them A Meal and Meal Train have revolutionized this system lately making it easier to organize and contribute in more unique ways than ever before!)

This time for a new family of five, I decided to try a couple easy things and one slightly more difficult. Casseroles are generally family-friendly and easy, so I landed on Chicken Tetrazzini. Saturday was National Peach Cobbler Day, so I made a new style of Peach Cobbler was in order. Lastly, I wanted something grab-and-go for her other two littles, so I whipped up a batch of Martha White Blueberry Cheesecake muffins with a frozen raspberry baked into the center of each muffin.

The Chicken Tetrazzini casserole from my Betty Crocker cookbook was easy enough. Since its inception in the early 1900s, Chicken Tet has been filling bellies and comforting souls across America’s collective dinner table. I loved how the sauce was built upon a roux base instead of a can of cream-of-something. Cream-of-something soups have their place in America’s pantry as a great standby, but I was excited to develop my own flavors this time. This roux-based sauce was rich and creamy without overpowering any of the other flavors imparted from the other ingredients. The recipe called for a jar of mushrooms, but I opted for fresh mushrooms since I like the texture and flavor better. Blanketing the whole dish with fresh, grated Parmesan prior to baking adds that extra layer of salinity needed to cut through the fat. Opting instead for shredded Gouda would also complement the dish well.

For the Peach Cobbler, I tried a new double-decker-style from my copy of Kentucky Bluegrass Winners cookbook gifted me from the Mr’s Nana at my bridal shower. It is issued by the Garden Club of Lexington. (I’ve linked my copy available on Amazon above, but if you’d prefer to obtain an updated copy directly from the source, you may find it here.) The process behind this version is unique, unexpected, and of course delicious. The filling is prepared, half is dispensed in the baking pan and a comforter of pie dough tucks it in. This layer is baked for ~10min and then the final half floods the crust and is sealed in by a lattice of more pie dough. This is baked for another ~10min. This is all well and good, but what completes the whole dish is that almond extract is used instead of vanilla which offers another unique touch that no one can quite put his/her finger on…

Ever time I cook a meal for a family/individual, I generally cook half a recipe of everything for dinner for us. Both the Chicken Tet and Cobbler were warm and inviting dishes. I even had enough cobbler left to share with my fellow nursery staff on Sunday.

I liked the cobbler, but blueberry will always be my favorite! What’s your favorite cobbler filling?

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