Chicken and noodles: a big pot of love

Sometimes there are certain foods that just make you feel all cozy and warm like you are snuggled up on a couch with a good book or a lap dog. In my case, a 90 pound lap dog. Chicken and noodles is just comforting. It reminds me of when I was a kid. My Great Aunt always made them for holidays. My mom made her version too, probably with homemade cream puffs for dessert. She always worked wonders in our little kitchen and my dad, my two brothers and I really had it made. Homemade Chocolate chip cookies after school, special desserts after supper, homemade goodies for our classrooms at school – we have an amazing mom! Now you know where my love of cooking came from and how making a good home cooked meal for my family or friends is my way of showing them I love them.  So this recipe is kinda like a big ole pot of love, in my book.

I’ve made homemade noodles many times and I do love them and there’s something about stringing homemade pasta all over your kitchen that makes you feel like you’ve really jumped a level in the kitchen. My husband’s grandma always made the best homemade noodles. She gave me her recipe and I followed to a T, but I still think hers are better. Grandma’s just have a secret touch sometimes. I love homemade noodles and will make them maybe once or twice a year, but hey, I’m a mom of three and I have endless laundry, toilets to clean, and dog nose prints to clean off my windows again so sorry folks, I usually just use store-bought noodles because they still taste great and saves tons of time and mess in the kitchen. I normally use the dry Amish thin style egg noodles but my friend recommended frozen noodles instead. She said they were more like homemade so I bought a couple of bags yesterday for the first time. I like the frozen, she was right, they are very close to homemade. They are definitely thicker and have a little bite to them as compared to the thin dry Amish style I usually get so I think it just depends on your preference. I like both so when I make this again, it will probably depend on my mood whether I go with the dry or frozen or be adventurous and bring out that old pasta crank.

In this recipe, I use a combination of homemade chicken stock and broth made out of Sodium free chicken soup base. You could use store-bought stock or broth for all of it, but homemade is simple if you are cooking chicken for any recipe and I think it gives better flavor to the dish than store-bought. And in this case, homemade stock saves you a lot of money since this dish takes a lot. I like chicken and noodles served over mashed potatoes. I love to get the best of both (love of mashed potatoes and chicken and noodles) into one dish, but if that’s not for you, just keep it simple and omit the mashed potatoes.

 

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And here’s the process

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Here’s the ingredients, well most of them. I didn’t include Salt, pepper, water, and I think I forgot to include the bay leaves.

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Chicken in water with salt, pepper and bay leaves on the left to make stock.

Chicken on the right drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and baked in oven.

I didn’t use all this chicken for this dish, some is for another meal later in the week.

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Finely choped/grated carrots thanks to my new immersion blender chopper.

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Sauteing onions and garlic in butter and olive oil. Nothing smells better!

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Chicken on left on cutting board is removed from the boiling water/stock

Chicken on right is removed from the oven

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The homemade stock after chicken was removed. I just poured it in here to get a measurement.

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removing chicken from bone, chopping it up

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Adding 2 heaping TSP of soup base to 4 C boiling water to make more stock. Add in Carrots

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Adding in 2 cubes of frozen heavy cream. Probably equal to 1/8 C. Then added in Thyme, sage, and parsley.

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Bring it to a boil and add in noodles. Continue to boil until noodles are cooked.

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Getting close to my preferred consistency.

 

Chicken and Noodles

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh chicken. I used 3 bone in thighs and 2 drumsticks

1-2 pounds of noodles, depending on how “noodle-y” you like it. Either dry or frozen. I used Reames frozen homestyle egg noodles.

4 C chicken stock ** See instructions below

2 teas chicken soup base or 2 chicken bullion cubes dissolved in 4 C boiling water. I used LB Jamison’s Sodium free chicken flavored soup base.

1 C finely grated carrots

1 small onion diced finely

2 cloves garlic minced

3 TBS olive oil

nonstick spray

4 TBS butter plus more for mashed potatoes if desired

2 bay leaves

1 teas dried parsley

1 teas ground sage

1 teas thyme

5 TBS flour

1/8 C Heavy Cream or 2 Frozen cubes of heavy cream

Kosher Salt

Pepper

Mashed potatoes if desired. I use Idahoan Buttery Homestyle Mashed potatoes. A big family size pouch plus a regular size pouch. I doctor them up with around 4 TBS butter, salt and pepper and prepare per package directions. I just microwave them.

 

Instructions:

Chicken and chicken stock:

First, let’s talk about the chicken and broth. I use about half of the chicken to make the broth so it’s cooked on the stove top. Basically I took around 5 C of water in a large pot, Added 1/2 of my chicken to the pot, added 1 TBS kosher salt, 1 TBS fresh ground black pepper, 2 bay leaves and boiled this for 35-40 minutes until the chicken was done. This is going to make your homemade chicken stock. After chicken is done, remove from stock and set aside to cool a bit. I do not strain the stock that was just made. Just set it aside.

The other half of the chicken, I placed on a low rimmed baking sheet that I sprayed with non stick spray. I drizzled the chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper and baked uncovered at 350 Degrees for 40 minutes.  Once done, remove from oven and set aside to cool a bit. I think the oven baked chicken adds a nice flavor to the meal that the stove top boiled chicken lacks. The combination of boiled and baked is good. Feel free to just boil all the chicken on the stove to make it easier. I would still use the same 5 C of water. If you notice, I say to start with 5 C, but my finished stock is around 4 C so you lose some water from evaporation. My pictures show more chicken because I cooked more than what I was going to use for this recipe so I could use the remaining chicken for another meal later this week. I do this to save time throughout the week.

Sauce and noodles:

When my chicken on the stove and in the oven have about 10 minutes left of cooking, I start my “sauce” for the dish.

Heat 2 TBS olive oil and 4 TBS butter on medium heat in a huge heavy pot. I use an 8 qt iron pot. It’s my favorite for most of my meals.

Add in diced onion and saute’ for a few minutes then add in minced garlic. Lower heat if needed so garlic does not burn.

Add in 5 TBS flour and stir to make your rue. Stir rue for a few minutes over medium heat until it starts to turn golden. Not dark. It should be nice and thick and pasty consistency.

Add in your 4-5 C of your homemade chicken stock. I just pour it all in, bay leaves, salt and pepper and all.

Mix 2 heaping TBS of chicken base or 2 chicken bullion cubes into 4 C boiling water. Whisk this so it is thoroughly combined. Add this into the pot.

Add in grated carrots. Mine were very finely grated with my chopper.

Add in Parsley, Thyme and Sage and heavy cream.

Remove cooked chicken from the bone and roughly chop and add this to the pot. With my 3 thighs and 2 drumsticks, it was around 2 C of cooked chicken.

Bring this to a boil and then add in noodles.

Boil over medium heat for 30 minutes if using frozen noodles. 10 minutes if using dry noodles. Stir every few minutes to prevent sticking.

Turn down to a simmer. As it simmers, it will thicken up a lot. I like a slightly thick soupy consistency with plenty of the liquid gravy part so I slowly stir in around 4 C more of water. Keep on low until serving.

Since the homemade stock already had enough salt and pepper, I didn’t need to add much more to the final pot. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Serving:

As I said before, I serve chicken and noodles over a side of mashed potatoes. I also heated up some sweet corn and served that in the same bowl as the chicken and noodles and potatoes. Most of the time, I do not want my food to touch, however this type of meal is an exception. The foods are best buddies and love to swirl and mix in the bowl and we all love the hearty combination together.

This makes around 7.5 QTS of chicken and noodles once all the extra water is added. Leftovers will thicken even more once refrigerated. The noodles tend to keep absorbing liquid so I add a few TBS of water to each serving of leftovers as well. I know it seems like a lot of water, but trust me, it does not take away from the flavor at all. If you don’t mind the really thick consistency then just cut back on the added water. If you aren’t feeding an army or don’t want to eat leftovers for a few days, just cut the recipe in half!

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Looks like a bowl of love to me!

Enjoy!!

 


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