Yesterday was my son's 8th birthday. Usually I hold off celebrating it until January when we can combine his party with his brother's and people are less busy. However, this year he decided he wanted to donate his gifts to Children's Hospital...for children who can't be home for the holidays. I loved the idea and the fact that he wanted to do it. But, like everyone else at this time of year, we are cash strapped. Something BIG goes wrong every week....alternator goes out in the car, tensioner pulley flies off of the truck, ignition switch breaks, fridge stops working...you get the idea. So we decided to do just food and games at our house.
If you've been to or seen our parties, you'd know how hard it is for me to NOT do anything. But I somehow managed. The only thing that I didn't look forward to: inviting people over to our house. Why? It's so stressful! First, I have to make sure that the house is clean enough for company. Not spotless but at least the basic rooms are clean enough to not feel weird about having people over. I have five kids, babysit additional kids, run a bakery out of my kitchen, homeschool our oldest, and attend college. Do you honestly think my house is ever satisfactorily cleaned? Usually not...there is always something that needs to be done and it usually isn't anything small. Mountains of laundry, piles of dishes (we live in a prehistoric house that does not have and is not set up for a dishwasher), toys randomly strewn about, etc.
Well, my wonderful hubby helped (like usual) get the house into satisfactory condition. So we sent out the invites. Of course we had to invite our families and all of his favorite people (which is everyone). And I let him invite his classmates (knowing that the party was on a Monday night and not many parents would want to go). And, of course, almost nobody RSVP'd until THE DAY OF! I'm a planner...I HAVE to know these things (preferably a month in advance but a week will do)! I went shopping Sunday morning to get the groceries to make dinner. Because it's Alex, I let him pick the dinner items and he picked: Potato Soup, Chicken Chili, and Chili. I planned on doubling each recipe and figured that would be enough for whoever decided to visit. In all, I ended up with 1 1/2 GALLONS of Chili, 1 1/2 GALLONS of Chicken Chili, and 1 1/2 GALLONS of soup. I know it probably doesn't sound like a lot but that's one full stockpot of each. My husband lectured me for making too much and told me we'd be eating soup and/or chili for the next month.
There wound up being a funeral Monday and several people that he invited that had RSVP'd wound up sick or unable to actually attend. In all, our guest list included: 3 classmates, my brother (and family), my husband's brother (and family), the youth pastor (and family), and another friend from church. Oh...and my youngest brother drove all the way to Missouri from Georgia to visit. Now that's love! (Or it could be that he came home for Christmas). Not a big list but the guest count....30ish and that was AFTER 5 families (totaling 24 people) canceled and suffice to say...our house is not set up for more than 10. The layout is weird, the rooms are small, it gets hot fast...you get the idea.
Want to guess how much food we had left? NO potato soup, NO chicken chili, and less than 1/2 of the chili.And I was really looking forward to having soup and/or chili for the next month. I've already shared my recipe for potato soup with you so I thought this would be a great opportunity to share my recipe for white chicken chili with you. And, just to you know, this recipe took first place in a chili cook-off last year!
*Warning, the recipe, as written, IS SPICY. If you haven't tried this recipe before, I suggest cutting back on the chiles and red pepper.
1/4 c. oil
1 small onion, diced
2 4oz cans mild green chiles
2 T cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 or 3 cans white bean, drained
2 cups shredded colby/jack cheese
3 cups chicken, cubed or pulled
Saute onion in oil until tender. Add green chiles, cumin, oregano, and red pepper. Cook 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and cream of chicken soup. Cook until mixed. Add beans, chicken, and cheese. Simmer until cheese is melted. Serve.