Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chicken & noodles

Chicken & noodles is one of my all time favorites. My grandma used to make it for me all the time. I never learned how she actually made it, but I think my version is close. Her version was thicker and we would pour it over homemade mashed potatoes. Talk about carb overload, but it was so delicious. My grandma was also a great baker, she never bought baked goods and never ever ever made something from a box, that was forbidden. I spent many weekends baking things with my grandma. When I make this dish I think about her and what an amazing women she was.

1 whole chicken cut up
2 carrots diced
2 stalks celery diced
1 onion diced
2 turnips diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
1 carton chicken stock

noodles- you don't have to make your own, but they are so delicious and super easy!
4 eggs
2 cups flour

directions for the noodles follow the soup recipe

Place the chicken in a large pot and fill it with water until the chicken is covered.

Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes.

Take the chicken out and start to remove the meat from the bones and skin.

Shred the chicken as you take it apart. Then set the chicken aside. Discard the water from the pan that you cooked the chicken in (you could make this into your own stock - but I am lazy when it come to bones). Don't remove the brown bits from the pan.

Melt the butter in the pan.

Gather up your cut veggies and add them to the butter when it is melted.

add the salt, turmeric, pepper and thyme. Cook veggies until they are soft about 10 minutes.

add the stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes.

add the chicken.

Now it's time to add the most delicious part of this recipe...the noodles. yum yum yum. You can cheat and use frozen Reames Noodles, they are pretty close to home cooked. Let the noddles cook for 2-3 minutes and then you are ready to eat! This is seriously the best chicken & noodles I have ever made. I think part of the reason is the meat, we get our chicken from Cedar Valley Farm and it is so delicious!

Directions for the noodles

Put the flour in a bowl, create a small hole in the middle of the flour.

add the eggs- only 2 are shown here, but make sure to do 4. For this recipe, it is always 2 eggs per 1 cup of flour. Feel free to make a bigger batch - for the soup you will only need half of this recipe, but you can easily put the other half in the freezer and use it another time.

Get your hands in there and start working the flour and eggs into a ball.

Once it is in a ball, place it on a floured surface and knead, knead, knead it.

Eventually it will become smooth.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface. You'll want to roll it out pretty thin. Make sure to keep the surface floured, so you will be able to get the noodles up off the surface.

I used a pizza wheel to cut stripes in the dough. You can use any type of knife.

For this recipe you want the noodles shorter so cut them horizontal as well. At this point you can either cook them or wrap them in parchment paper and put in the freezer for another time. You will never want to buy egg noddles again!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Swiss Chard

Every time I go to the farmers market I look at the swiss chard and think, wow that is beautiful. I have never bought or cooked it until this past Sunday. I never knew what to do with it. I did a little research and found out that it is really good for you and very high in vitamin K...who knew?

3 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 pounds Swiss Chard
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves- minced
3 tablespoons sliced almonds.
salt & pepper

Wash the chard in many batches of water.

Cut the stems off and set to the side. Fill up a large bowl with cold water, set this aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the chard leaves for 1-2 minutes.

Put the chard into the bowl of cold water. Let it rest for a few minutes. Squeeze all the water out of the chard and then chop it coarsely. Heat oil in a pan and cook the chard stems for 1-2 minutes. Add in the sliced almonds and garlic. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Add the chopped greens and the cranberries. Make sure everything is coated in the oil and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper! Hope you enjoy this tasty dish- feel free to substitute the almonds and cranberries for any type of dried nuts and fruit.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pasta Bolognese

Growing up I thought pasta bolognese was ground beef with red sauce from a jar tossed onto spaghetti. Boy, was I wrong. Over the past years, I have always made my own red sauce for quick meals, it is so easy. But now I know about this amazing dish called bolognese. I am sure we have all had a meat sauce where the meat tasted tough or like rubber. Well in this recipe the meat is nice and soft because you cook the meat in milk! I know it sounds strange, but it is delicious.

adapted from Cooks Illustrated, Weeknight Pasta Bolognese
1 green pepper- diced into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion- diced
2 roma tomatoes- blanch tomatoes to remove skins and then dice.
1/2 box pomi chopped tomatoes- or a 1 can of chopped tomatoes.
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves- diced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pound pork sausage
1 1/2 cups milk- you can use skim or whole
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound pasta- you can use spaghetti, I used penne, that was all we had at the time.

Heat butter in 12 inch skillet over medium high heat.

Add pepper and onion. Cook until vegetables are soft. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant about 1 minute.

Add diced roma tomatoes (I was being lazy and didn't blanch the skin off my tomatoes, but next time I will), cook for another minute or so and then add in the meat. Break the meat up into small pieces as it cooks.

Now it is time to add in the milk, I know this sounds really strange and it even looks strange, but trust me it is the key to this recipe. Keep breaking up the meat into 1/2 inch pieces. Continue to simmer for about 12-15 minutes. Cook it long enough for all the liquid to evaporate. Stir in tomato paste and tomatoes, and pinch of salt & pepper.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 12-15 minutes.
*added note, at this point you can also skim off some of the fat that surfaces, or you can stir it back in!

In the meantime cook your pasta. I prefer mine al dente, just cook how you normally do. When pasta is ready, place some in a bowl and top it with the sauce, of course you can always add a little freshly grated Parmesan! This is a great meal for leftovers as well. I brought it for lunch the next day. It was so fab, everyone at work was drooling as I ate it over a lunch hour meeting.