Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chicken Zucchini with Creamy Mushroom Sauce À La Kyle

In my family, everyone except my younger brother cooks. My mom is the one who prepares most of the family dinners while my dad is that creative kind of chef who makes lunch from anything and everything in the fridge. My older brother doesn’t “cook” per se, but he knows how to bake frozen pizzas, fry bacon and eggs, and barbeque. His favourite food is processed hot dog sausages. Me, I guess I’m a dabbler of cooking whose real passion lies in using the dry heat of the oven to make scrumptious sweet treats. I know how to make pasta and risotto and how to sear a steak, but that’s about it.

My younger brother Kyle is the one whose culinary knowledge consists of making instant ramen noodles and pouring milk over cereal. Over the years of living with me and my foodie-ness, he’s learned how to distinguish certain flavours like dill and garlic and different meats (“This is beef, right?” “No, it’s  pork...”) As the baby of the family, Kyle has had the privilege of rarely ever having to cook since there is almost always someone else who can feed him.

It’s finally happened; the cooking bug has bit him. A couple nights ago, while our parents were out at a wedding reception, Kyle cooked dinner. Granted, dinner comprised of a bed of leftover rice and a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, but hey, dinner is dinner, whether the sauce comes from a can or not.

I actually didn’t believe that Kyle had cooked dinner for us at first. I heard the usual cooking noises—pans clanging, the fridge door opening and slamming shut, the kitchen fan running—but I attributed them as phantom noises of what I usually heard at that hour. When Kyle called “Dinnertime!” I smirked, expecting a bowl of instant noodles. To my surprise, my brother had cooked Chicken Zucchini with Creamy Mushroom Sauce.

“Doesn’t it look like barf? It’s yellow and green and chunky all over.” Kyle said proudly. “Look I took a picture of it with my iTouch.” Kyle was right; the dish did resemble vomit under such low resolution. It's hard to get sauce-y dishes to look good.

I took a tentative bite and my taste buds were hit with one sensation: saltiness. Apparently, Kyle didn’t know that condensed soups contained more salt than usual so he had added extra salt. Besides the overly salty sauce, the dish tasted pretty good. The chicken was flavourful (because my mom marinated it in advance) and the vegetables were cooked through.

Cooking is a learning process, from day one to the very end. Kyle has a long way to go, but so do I.

**Any tips on how to style food that has sauce so that it doesn't look sloppy?** 

Chicken Zucchini with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

This is a rough guideline explaining how Kyle prepared the dish. You could really choose to use any kind of meat and any kind of vegetables.   

  • chicken thighs, deboned and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt
  • pepper
  • turmeric
  • sugar
  • paprika
  • zucchinis, cut into bite sized pieces
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • onion, diced
  • 1 can Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • cooked rice or pasta


In a bowl, marinate the chicken with salt, pepper, and spices for a couple hours in the fridge. Remove the chicken from the fridge about 20 minutes before cooking. Dice your vegetables.

On medium-high heat, cook the chicken until half-cooked, stirring occasionally. Add the vegetables and continue to cook on medium-high heat until tender. Add the condensed soup. There is no need to add salt; the condensed soup is already really salty.

If the sauce is too thin, add some cornstarch slurry to thicken it. (To make the cornstarch slurry, in a small bowl mix a couple teaspoons of cornstarch with a couple tablespoons of water. This helps prevent lumps.)

Serve over warm rice or pasta.


  1. This looks like something nice and fast, and pretty simple. Just found you via Strut Your Stuff Saturday, going to follow you. :)

  2. Looks great! Just curious, how old is Kyle? I have a 11-year old brother and I know he could never make something like this. His cooking abilities are limited to sandwiches and cereal. ;)

  3. Hehe, my brother is fifteen. Even though he's only 16 months younger (and about 2 inches taller), he always going to the baby of the family, the one who never has to cook.


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