When I was in elementary school in the (very) late 80s and early 90s the food in the cafeteria was crap. For $.95 you’d get stamped out salisbury steak with powdered mashed potatoes and gravy, canned peas, and chilly willy. Incidentally, chilly willy is also the nickname for one of the THREE teachers that I had that were CONVICTED of sexual molestation. One town. Three convictions. THEY WERE ALL MY TEACHERS!! How in the crap?!?!?
Anyways, back to food. For an extra $.10 you could get a really crappy chocolate chip cookie. There was never the option to buy, you know, an apple or banana. The straight-up EVIL lunch lady always had a banana, though. She’d bring them in an eat them in front of us, in her white uniform and nurses shoes, smug in her power to bring us into a silence at any given moment. I think she was secretly picturing herself stuffing my adhd addled behind into one of the big, gray garbage cans, or at least giving me a swirly in the dishwasher. She REALLY hated me, and she totally seemed the type to end up on Dexter’s table. I love how you think I’m kidding.
There was ONE meal that I enjoyed. ONE. Turkey gravy over mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes were salty and lukewarm, and the turkey gravy had more slop than meat and vegetables, but for some reason, I liked it. In my 20s I have learned to recreate this, only tastier, and without the cardiac arrest. (By the way, I am fairly certain that all of the chemicals in my food made my adhd worse. I have no science, just memory, to back this up.)
Seeing as how I just made a fairly large roast chicken, and had a LOT of white meat that no one in my house will eat if it isn’t dressed up, this was the perfect occasion to make my chicken gravy over biscuits. (my family will brawl over some dark meat, and if you can’t tell by looking at my husband, I’m a dark meat sorta lady!)
This recipe is so delicious, light AND filling, that the white meat sings. The biscuits can be any sort, homemade, bisquick, frozen, whole wheat, sweet potato, or even just a chunk of crusty bread. (I was jonesing for Gina’s pumpkin garlic knots, they’d have been perfect together.)
- leftover turkey or chicken
- half of a box of chicken stock
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1 tsp Bell’s Seasoning
- 1/2 large onion
- 4 peeled and chopped carrots
- 4 stalks chopped celery
- 2T flour
- 2T earth balance buttery spread
- 1T evoo
- salt and pepper
- biscuits or crusty bread for serving.
In a large cast iron skillet sweat the vegetables in the oil and e.b. add in the flour and stir. add in chopped leftover turkey or chicken (no skin, no bones) stock, and milk. Stir and simmer. Add in Bell’s seasoning and cook until creamy and hot. Serve over biscuits.
Gild the lily-add a bag of frozen peas near the end of cooking
go crazy-use ALL butter and heavy cream, add chopped fresh sage, thyme, and marjoram instead of Bell’s.
What was your favorite school lunch meal?