My climate clock is totally out of whack. Lately I’ve been craving cold-weather foods, but it has been unseasonably hot. However, with last week’s cold snap I finally got to drag out a couple of winter favorites.
By the time you read this, we may be in another heat wave, but I’ll take that chance. While I’ve learned not to mess with Mother Nature, I’ve discovered the weatherman is even more fickle.
While chicken and noodles were deemed to the numero siete on the forgotten-foods list, it’s numero uno on mine.
In fact, it rates high as my household’s comfort food, and over the years I think I’ve perfected the recipe.
I’m a big proponent of buying whole chickens and cutting them up myself, while somewhat time-consuming, it’s budget friendly and you can tailor parts to suit your family.
I also end up with a pile of miscellaneous bones, skin and fat, which I bag and freeze for — you guessed it — chicken and noodles. I also freeze a couple of breasts to make this a meaty dish.
Well, last week I mined the freezer and satisfied my craving for a tasty, hearty winter meal.
HOMEMADE CHICKEN AND NOODLES
2 pounds chicken pieces scraps including bones, skin and fat
1 pound chicken breasts
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
1 to 2 celery stalks, cut up
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
chicken bouillon, 2 teaspoons granulated or 2 cubes per cup of water
1 can condensed cream of celery or chicken soup
cornstarch, if needed
1 16 ounce package wide noodles
Place chicken in large stew pot, add garlic cloves and water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, turn to medium-low. Half cover pot and simmer until meat starts to get tender. Add chicken breasts and poach until tender. Remove from heat, strain broth and set aside. When chicken and vegetables are cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and discard veggies, bones and skins. When ready to finish dish, return broth to heat, bring to a boil and add noodles. Cook until al dente, add chicken to pot along with canned soup. Rinse cans with milk and add to pot. Simmer until chicken is heated through. If mixture seems thin, thicken with a little cornstarch mixed in milk, if too thick, add milk.
To round out your hearty meal, this is perfect.
1 package quick acting dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water, approximately
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 four cups sifted all-purpose flour
Dissolve yeast in one cup water. Measure and sift flour, with sugar and salt into a large bowl. Stir in softened yeast. Add just enough water to hold dough together. Mix to a soft, rather sticky dough. Cover with cloth and set bowl in a warm spot in kitchen but not near direct heat. Let rise until double in size, two to four hours depending upon room temperature. When high and spongy, punch down with greased hands and give it a good sound beating. Divide dough into two — for large loaves — or four small parts and place each in a well-greased baking dish/pan. Cover again with cloth and let rise until dough reaches top of baking dish. At this point. start oven at 400 degrees or moderately hot. Place bread in oven and when crust has started to firm up, spray or brush with olive oil or melted butter and bake until nicely browned. Remove from oven, let stand a few minutes to cool slightly before taking out of pans. For crusty bread, cool on a rack, for soft crust wrap warm loaves in a dishtowel until cool.