One of life’s simple pleasures

photo 2

Several reasons I haven’t posted in a month…I was in a play, Kevin and I were knee deep in a 14 day detox diet, and I went to visit grandma in Oklahoma. The last of which brings me to this very special food moment. As some of you know, my precious Grandma Betty’s health has been declining for some time now. She was put on hospice care back in December and they didn’t think she’d make it another three months. Well it’s 7 months later and she’s still kickin’. It’s a wonderful thing to still have her here but sometimes she looks like she’s in so much pain and so tired of dealing with her illness. One of the things that breaks my heart the most is her reliance on a permanent feeding tube. Grandma was so prone to aspirating when she ate that it was immediately leading to pneumonia. Not good for a woman so frail with COPD. So the doctors decided on inserting a feeding tube. She’s had it for nearly a year now. When you’re immobile, can’t use your hands, can’t lead a normal life, the one thing you hope to keep is your ability to eat. It really is one of life’s simple pleasures. We always told grandma when she felt like she didn’t want to fight anymore we would let her eat whatever she wanted. In the past few weeks she’s been periodically asking for small bites of this and that. So I decided that when I went to visit her next I would cook for her her most favorite meal I used to make. She LOVES this dish and I was so excited to make it for her.

It’s a recipe for Sour Cream Chicken that she had in her Beta Sigma Phi Millennium Cookbook. It’s simple, naughty, and totally delicious. No wonder she loves it so much! The chicken is basically a vehicle for the sauce. You hardly even notice the meat. Haha. The sauce is rich, tangy, creamy, and the French fried onions provide a mouth-watering salty crunch. She also goes crazy for mashed potatoes. Not the rustic smashed potatoes with the skin and chunky bits of potato throughout. No, she craves the smooth, whipped kind laced with lots of butter and cream. The kind of mashed potatoes that grace every Thanksgiving and Christmas table. The kind of mashed potatoes that melt in your mouth, the kind that sets your healthy diet back two whole weeks. Delicious! The peas I made more for show. Grandma could have cared less about the peas. But I feel guilty if I don’t serve greens with a meal.

After I had plated the food, I wheeled her up to the kitchen table, set both of our meals before us, and said a special blessing for this wonderful moment. I think I was more excited to see her reaction to the food then she was to actually eat it. The moment I put the first fork full of chicken in her mouth she closed her eyes and slowly worked the much- desired meal before carefully swallowing it. She was so happy and my heart was so full. We continued to enjoy our meal together and she ate nearly the entire thing! I was floored at how much she ate after not having had a real home cooked meal in so long. This will definitely be a food moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. I don’t know if I’ll have the opportunity to ever cook for her again. You never know what life has in store. This was just a simple, no fuss meal that I made for my grandma. It sounds cheesy, but don’t take a single meal with family or friends for granted.

Sour Cream Chicken

4-6 thin boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 envelop ranch dressing mix
1 (10oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (3oz) can French-fried onions
Place the chicken breasts in a single layer in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with the dry ranch dressing mix. Combine the soup and sour cream in a bowl and mix well. Spread over the chicken. Layer the cheese and onions over the soup layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Recipe courtesy of Sharon C. Johnson of Grandbury, Texas