Have you ever eaten a cloud?

Anitas Chicken and DumplingsAlmost everyone dreams of heaven and what it will be like. The old stereotype is that of an angel sitting on a cloud with his harp in hand and just singing to everyone’s heart’s content. Some think that it will be a taco bar with cigars and drinking or a glutton’s paradise. Others might think that it’s a hot night with supermodels, but makes you wonder if it would be heaven for “the supermodels.” In all reality though, heaven will be a wonderful place filled with joy and happiness, with no sickness, death, or trials and tribulations. To me it is a place that people will want to go because of the euphoria of just being there and being in the presence of a God and others who have gone before us.

So you might ask “Why all the talk of heaven?” Well I guess it comes back to the stereotype of the angel sitting on the clouds. I took some of Anita’s Chicken and Dumplings to work so that a coworker and friend of mine could try it and let me know what she thought about it. She said that it was like eating clouds. I thought that was a perfect analogy of what the dumplings were like. Done right, they have a perfect consistency for the soup. Clouds and heaven just seemed to fit with this recipe. There was a certain euphoria of a heavenly soup that tasted like you were eating clouds and at the same time was soothing to the soul.

It is easy to make. My sister-in-law helped prepare it. She has down-syndrome, and I enjoy getting the time to cook with her. She is so enthusiastic about the task at hand, and we had a wonderful time cooking together. Heaven will be like this, spending time with the ones that we love [maybe not cooking chicken or it might not be heaven for the chicken].
There will be peace and love.

My impression is that this is a great soup to make. A couple of things I might do different though would be to cut back the chicken and add some more of the spices.  There was too much chicken, and the soup could have used just a little more flavor. Over all it was a wonderful soup. Things like some extra poultry seasoning, rosemary, thyme or something to give it a little more of a kick in flavor would go a long way. Even trying to add some spinach for the last few seconds of it cooking might be interesting as well. Add some extra carrots and celery too, because it gives it a chunkier feel. Most of all, I would definitely say don’t stray from the instructions on the dumplings, because that was the part that truly made this recipe heavenly.

So remember, “Heaven is not a cloudy day, it is the euphoria of thyme well spent.”

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Fire and Ice Creole Chicken with Asparagus

Creole Chicken and AsparagusI remember when I was a child watching a guy by the name of Justin Wilson cooking the Cajun way. “I Garontee!” He was notorious for putting wine in whatever he cooked and then taking a good swig of it. He was probably plastered before he got done with the show, but I loved it. He was one of the first experiences I had of a famous male cook. He made me interested in Cajun Cooking. So, here is to you Justin; you have been an inspiration.

I called this Fire and Ice Creole Chicken with Asparagus because it has some bite to it, but you can cool it down with the cheese sauce on the Asparagus. It is not inherently too spicy, but I thought it was a cool name. After all they say if something is spicy when you eat it, do not reach for the glass of water. Water will just enhance the burning sensation. Milk is what they say will help ease the burn in your throat.

It is amazing what you can do with Velveeta if you try. Basically I just combined some Velveeta Cheese, sour cream, half and half, and dried dill to make a cheese spread over the steamed asparagus. Be careful not to over cook the Asparagus. It will continue to cook even after you take it off the burner. I have done that plenty of times over the years. Timing is everything when it comes to cooking this vegetable. I love Asparagus! Cooked through with just a little bit of hardness, you can have a wonderful side dish to go with this Creole Chicken. (Broccoli would be great as well.) 

Just because it has some spice to it, doesn’t necessarily make it creole. This was however a wonderful and extremely easy dish to make. Throw some spices in a Ziploc bag, mix it with the chicken, and then throw it into a skillet. Add some mango salsa and you have a wonderfully simple and luxurious dinner. MMM, MMM!

Just Remember, “A little inspiration can go a long way. I Garontee!

Recipe: Creole Chicken