I don’t cater to my kids. That sounds kind of mean, doesn’t it? Especially in today’s world where parents have a hard time saying no to their kids. The kid wants a new Barbie? Okay. Want some candy in the grocery store check out line? Well, just this once… A new iPhone? No brainer – of course! This is the current mentality of many parents and most kids. It’s a tough battle to fight. I’ve got five kids of my own (and my hubby has three), so we get it! Sure, we all want our kids to have all the advantages they can get. This will help them be successful in life, won’t it? Well, I’m no child psychologist, but my view has always been that if you give your kid everything they want (especially if they’ve done nothing to earn it), it can lead to a lifetime of expectations of entitlement. Not good.
Having said all that…. I also must admit that I am most definitely an old softy at times. Undoubtedly, there have been times when my kid has come home from school after having a really rough day (middle school can be tough!), and all she needed was a good cry, a warm hug, and a banana split! I also recall watching my kids go through the battlefield called divorce, thinking that what they really need is an escape from everything. So I loaded the kids up in the car, tossed a map into the back seat and told them to pick anywhere they wanted to go! You should have seen the smiles on their faces. And to this day, they all still talk about that trip, smiles and all! So, yes, indeed there are times it’s okay to cater to your kids. In fact, there are times it’s warranted and it’s healthy!
There’s another event that has consistently arisen throughout my kids’ childhood that has caused me to cater. Braces. Yep – good old metal mouth. Brace face. Zipper lip. You name it, my kids have been through it. It can be tough emotionally, but mostly it just plain hurts. Of all the times to be sympathetic to my kids, I’m not sure why this one strikes such a chord with me. Maybe it’s because I’ve been there done that. Maybe it’s because my dad is a dentist. Or maybe it’s because I just put my fifth kid in them (I’m pretty sure I’ve completely paid for my orthodontist’s kids to go to college!). But there’s something about that look on a kid’s face after they’ve been poked, prodded, tightened, and rubber banded. The look that says why are we doing this. The look that says I’m pretty sure I’ll never eat anything solid again. The look that melts a mother’s heart. It’s that look that gets me every time. And the only way I can bring a smile back to that kid’s face is make them something that lets them know it will all be okay.
Homemade creamy, gooey, thick and satisfying mac and cheese, loaded with juicy chicken, green chiles, and some tender green beans. It does the trick every time. And it’s so easy to make. Just make a quick roux, simmer some milk, add a bit of sour cream, throw in a couple cups of cheese, cooked diced chicken, green chiles, and some cut green beans. It’s a complete, comforting, and soft meal in a bowl.
So when my kid came home from the orthodontist the other day and asked what’s for dinner. She was thrilled with the answer – Okay sweetie. Just this once. It’s a no brainer. Chicken Chile Mac and Cheese. And I was thrilled to see the smile come back to her face.
- 1 Pound Chicken, Cooked and Diced (I used tenders that I poached in salted water)
- 1 Pound Macaroni Noodles, Cooked according to package directions in heavily salted water - al dente
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 4 Tablespoons flour
- 2 Cups Milk, Whole milk works best
- 1 Cup sour cream
- 2 Cups Shredded Cheese, Mexican Blend
- 2 Cans Diced Green Chiles
- 2 Cups Cut Green Beans, Fresh or frozen, thawed
- 1/2 Teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
- 2 Tablespoons Chives, Optional, for garnish
- Cook noodles in heavily salted water according to package directions for al dente.
- Dice up cooked chicken. I used breast tenders that I poached in salted water.
- In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for one minute to make a roux. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly until the roux is well incorporated. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low. Simmer three to four minutes until sauce thickens a bit. Add sour cream and heat through.
- Add cheese to milk mixture, whisking constantly. Add black pepper and nutmeg. Salt as needed.
- Add diced chiles, cooked chicken, and thawed (or fresh, cooked) cut green beans. Combine well and heat through. Serve warm Chicken Chile Mac and Cheese immediately. Garnish with chives if desired. Sink your teeth into this one!