Happiness is a big bowl of bright yellow, citrusy lemons......I love the smell of fresh lemon juice, and love the recipes that include fresh lemon juice in them! So, I chose my Chicken Divan recipe for this blog post.
Most retirement information workshops provided by our employers cover preparatory classes for retirement including classes starting with financial planning, to workshops with the on-staff psychologist covering transitioning smoothly with your spouse into retirement [which is code for brace yourself for possible changes in personalities] and can include a class or two on cooking for two, to hopefully take your mind off what you may have just heard from the on-staff psychologist on possible personality changes of the one you have spent 30+ years with. Food is a lovely distraction from all things a certified psychologist took 4-6 years to learn about, and chooses to share with us in a 45 minute learning session.
Perhaps the most vital, as I have heard from other couples already in retirement, that our employers do not provide a workshop on is the sharing of the kitchen. I have heard of the challenges retirement brings to learning to share a kitchen where a bride may have had primary care of with a groom who has new found time on his hands and is feeling the need to reorganize the utensils and dishes. After he has accomplished this feat he moves onto the meal planning portion of the kitchen experience. Each couple makes the necessary adjustments, short of divorce, hopefully, to accommodate each other in the shared kitchen.
My husband's culinary technique for cooking a meal, I have affectionately and humorously dubbed: en Foil. My husband cooks once a week, and when he does cook the meal it is in foil, always. He cooks Roast Beef en Foil, Fish en Foil, and Cheese-Bacon Hot Dogs en foil. I believe my husband's culinary technique is reminiscent of scouting camp cook-outs, and his stint in bachelorhood. My research has shown me that there are some French dishes cooked en Foil. Color me surprised!
It makes him happy and hence it makes me happy. It is how we choose to share the kitchen in our retirement phase of life. One meal a week he cooks en Foil, and I enjoy a lovely meal with my husband. It is always delicious. Our Doberwoman Rooney appears to find it fascinating when Dad is in the kitchen alone. Rooney moves in and out of the kitchen in 5 minute intervals I believe to check that Dad is okay, and then out to make sure I am relaxed with the idea of Dad being in the kitchen alone. Rooney is remarkably astute and intuitive. I think our retirement is completely secure in her capable paws. What we would do without her is something I choose not to think about, nor do I need to. Rooney is young and healthy and most hopefully will be an overseer of our retirement for a dozen years. We can be so lucky and blessed with a good amount of time with her. After all, we have much to be taught by Rooney.
Here is a delightful hand-me-around recipe from a friend and has been in my recipe box for 30+ years. It is also now a hand-me-down recipe, as my children love this dish and are now preparing it for their families. The original dish came from a 1930s NYC restaurant called Divan Parisien.
I have made some adjustments!
1 whole rotisserie chicken
1 10 oz. bag of frozen broccoli florets
2 10.5 oz. cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
3/4 c. Mayonnaise
juice of half a lemon
1/2 c. of white wine
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 c. soft bread crumbs
I divide the recipe into thirds for my husband and I. I freeze two portions and heat up one portion for our dinner for the evening.
1. Heat broccoli florets in microwave until the florets are warm. First layer is the broccoli florets in the pan which has been sprayed with non-stick spray or have softened butter applied to the bottom and sides.
2. Second layer is shredded chicken that we have removed bones and skin from.
3. Whisk cream of chicken soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, pepper, & white wine until smooth. Pour over broccoli and chicken layer evenly.
4. Sprinkle grated sharp cheddar cheese on creamy layer.
5. Sprinkle soft bread crumbs on cheese layer.
6. Add a few pads of butter on top of bread crumbs. Place a foil cap on and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes.
7. I serve the Divan with long-grain white rice. Delicious!
Rooney proofreading this blog before I click publish. What a helpful Dobie she is!
Enjoy Chicken Divan with a rotisserie chicken! And cook something this week en Foil!