Saturday, February 23, 2008
You've got a family dinner coming up and want to make something homemade and comforting, but don't have much time?
The Cheater's Guide to Homemade Chicken and Noodles is here to help you! Have you ever made chicken and noodles from scratch??? Its good, but it takes HOURS of time and effort!
This guide will yield a very yummy version that even the most picky, discerning Grandma won't be able to peg as not totally homemade!
~Head out to your favorite grocery store
~Buy one of their regular rotisserie chickens (not the BBQ one, pick out a nice big, juicy one!) - $4.99-5.99
This is MUCH cheaper than buying your own raw chicken only to have to take it home and roast it for 2 hours yourself...trust me.
~get one package (12 oz.) Amish Kitchens Extra Thick Kluski Egg Noodles (don't get the thin ones, they will mush up into well...mush!) DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT get regular egg noodles...they will not work, they will get mushy and icky, get the Amish noodles for authentic homemade taste. - under $2
~couple carrots, onion, garlic cloves and some celery - about $2.00 at the most.
~grab a Snickers bar in the check-out line, pay for stuff...go home. - $.50
~pull meat off the chicken into a container and place in frig for later.
~In large pot, put all bones and skin of carcass and about 3 1/2 -4 quarts of water, turn on med-high.
~chop onion, carrots, 3 lg. cloves of garlic, celery - add to pot.
~Add minimal salt and pepper to taste. (the chicken is salted, so I wait til the end of the cook to add to taste.)
~bring to boil, turn down heat to low heat, cover and simmer for one hour.
~eat Snickers while shopping on Etsy.
~once your rich stock has been made, with slotted spoon, remove skin and bones and throw them away.
~add your whole bag of noodles and let them cook in a slow rolling boil till tender. (about 10 minutes)
~add the chicken meat back in.
~The noodles will soak up most of the broth once they cook up, leaving you with a very thick chicken and noodle mixture.
its not really soup at this point, but thats how my family likes it.
I suppose you can thin it down a bit with some water, but its really up to you!
Taste and add salt and more pepper to your liking.
Serve with mashed taters and yeast rolls if you like....this tastes really close to homemade!
enjoy! For less than $10, you can feed a good 6-8 ppl...especially if you stretch it out with taters (also an inexpensive option)
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Chilly? Warm up to a bowl of Baked Potato Soup! Vegetarians beware...contains bacon.
You know that "holy trinity" of onions, celery and carrot? Well, my holy trinity is bacon, garlic and onion. Don't listen to those fancy schmancy chefs...their threesome is for wussies.
In a small soup pot combine:
~6 slices of meaty bacon, chopped
Fry up til almost crispy and add:
~1 sm. onion, chopped
~2 lg. garlic cloves, chopped
Cook and stir over medium heat till onions are soft and translucent. Watch them, they can burn easily!
While that's cooking, microwave 3 medium baking potatoes til mostly soft. Then chop into bite sized pieces. Leave the skins on, they're good for you! Set aside.
When the onions are translucent add 4 Tablespoons of flour to the pot and stir, cooking the flour with the mixture for about a minute.
~1 quart whole milk (yeah...you can use 2% if you must)
~3 cups water
~2 T. chicken bouillon powder
~1/4 c. sour cream
Mix in very well and let it warm up over medium heat, stirring often till it reaches a soft boil. Add in your chopped potatoes.
Also, some cracked black pepper and parsley. You most likely won't need any salt because of the bouillon.
Let this thicken up in that soft boil for a few minutes, while stirring, then turn it way, way down.
This serves about 4-5 people depending on how big of eaters you've got!
Great with Beer Bread! (hmm...I should blog that too.)
It's wonderful served in sourdough bread bowls, too...mmmm....
Top with cilantro and shredded cheese, if you'd like!
You all are thinking that all Im going to blog is sweet stuff....well, I won't I promise. We do eat more than just gelato and sticky buns lol
I make it my solemn promise to blog something serious next time...so, don't flog my blog!
Alright, if you have a bread machine, this will be a touch easier on you. If not, mix and knead in a kitchen aid or *gasp!* by hand.
Into the bread machine, Kitchen Aid or a largish bowl:
~1 c. warm half and half (or evaporated milk warmed in micro til nice and warm, but not hot)
~1/4 c. sugar
~1 pkg. rapid rise yeast (or 2 1/2 t. bulk dry yeast)
~1/4 c. Butter-flavored Crisco (stay with me here)
~1 t. salt
~3 1/2 c. bread flour (give or take a couple Tablespoons)
You can judge your dough as its being mixed, if its too sticky, add some flour, one Tablespoon at a time til it firms up in one mass.
At this point, walk away if you have a bread machine set on its "dough cycle" or kitchen aid to mix and knead.
Seriously, you can most times find a new-ish bread machine at your local Goodwill. Some bloke that didn't understand the wonderfulness of this contraption has discarded it as unnecessary...don't hate, just pity him, and buy the $100 machine for $7. Skipping and dancing all the way home. Every time I go by the Goodwill, I see at least 2 machines sitting there. Plug the nicest, newest looking one in to make sure it works first ;) I got my machine for $4 on a half-off day. When I looked it up online, it was originally a $300 maker. Color me giddy!
Ok...once your dough has kneaded and risen to double its size, its time to roll it out on some lightly floured wax paper. You'll want to aim for a rectangle-ish shape about 12" wide by 18" long. Once you've done that, smear over it the following mixture:
~1 stick butter, melted
~1/2 c. brown sugar
~1 T. cinnamon
Roll the retangle up from one side of the width to the other, ending up with a log about 18" in length. Now, to slice these up, I use a piece of embroidery floss which I loop under the bottom of the log and criss cross the ends, pulling the two ends away from each other which slices a roll off as it slides thru the dough. Did that make sense? lol
Cut each roll about an inch and a quarter in size.
Now, for the gooey part....YAY!
In the bottom of a 9x13 cake pan, pour a melted stick of butter.
Sprinkle evenly over that, 1 c. brown sugar, then 1 c. chopped pecans.
Now lay the rolls into the pan on top of that, making sure they have about an inch between each one for growing room.
Let your rolls rise for about 45 minutes in a warm place, covered.
When they have doubled, put in a 350* oven for about 30 minutes. If the rolls look like they are getting too brown on top, I like to lay a piece of foil over them during the last 10 minutes of baking.
When the rolls are finished baking, flip them out onto a big platter or a cookie sheet. They are scrumptuous and ooey, gooey good!
If you aren't a pecan, sticky type person...(I don't think I even know you anymore.)
You can leave out the pecan sticky topping part and just bake them in a greased cake pan. Once they are baked, may I suggest this wonderful icing?
~1 1/2 c. powder sugar
~4 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
~2 T. milk
~1 t. vanlla
pinch of salt
Mix all together and drizzle over rolls...I got this recipe from my buddy, Rose. And yeah, its THAT good.
Id show you what those would look like, but we eated awl teh rolz. =/
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
For those days when you want to eat healthy....
hahahahhahahhahaha...ok, that's my funny for the day. Don't kid yourself, these aren't any healthier than your standard chocolate chip, but at least you feel better serving them to the kids, because they have oats...and fruit. lol Chewy and satisfying, best served fresh with a tall glass of cold cow juice!
~3/4 c. margarine or butter, melted
~1 c. brown sugar
~3/4 c. white sugar
~1/2 tsp. salt
Cream well, then add:
~1 lg. egg
~1 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix again, then add:
~2 c. flour
~1 c. oatmeal
~2/3 c. raisins
Mix well and drop by large tablespoons (I like them about the size of an unshelled walnut) onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Plop in a 350* oven for 8-10 mins. Please don't overbake these. Take them out when the cookies are golden around the edges but not too brown.
Cool on a sheet of foil or silpat.
And get your slappin' hand all warmed up for when the grubby little kids want to grab them all away from their hard working mom ;)
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Oh no she didn't!!!!
Hey! I heard that! But, it's ok, I'm kind of perturbed with myself for adding something to the blog so sinful that an entire day of prayers won't suffice.
....ok, I'm over it.
In a small saucepan whisk together:
~1/2 c. sugar
~2 T. cornstarch
once whisked smooth with no lumps add:
~1/4 c. whole milk
whisk well to form a slurry and add:
~1 3/4 c. whole milk or half and half
Put over medium heat til mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for one minute more. Remove from heat and add:
~6 oz. fine quality dark chocolate, chopped (I used Dove's 63% Intense Dark Cacao)
Let chocolate stand in mixture about a minute to soften up, then whisk in well til smooth. Next, whisk in well:
~1/2 c. chilled whipping or heavy cream
Chill mixture in saucepan in a very cold water bath (I did mine in the sink)
Once chilled, pour into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's directions.
The mixture will take a good 30 minutes to freeze up. At this point, spoon the gelato into a container with a lid so that it can firm up in the freezer for a couple hours. (hint: if you use a container that is shallow enough to spread the gelato just a couple inches deep, it will freeze faster....and you can eat it quicker)
Pfft...who am I kidding, I was eating it right out of the ice cream maker lol.
But, it is better once its firmed up in the freezer.
As a gelato purist, I refrained from adding any goodies to my gelato. But, you can certainly toss in toffee bits, chopped, roasted nuts, chocolate shavings, etc. during the last minute or so of churning in the ice cream maker.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Comfort food at its best. Fluffy, soft pillows of yumminess wrapped around a chicken curry and jasmine rice. I forewarn you though, a carb overload is about to begin. You won't be able to eat just one, so if you have a crowd to feed, double this recipe at least.
~1 medium potato - wash and prick with a fork. Microwave til soft, peel and mash up. You will need 1/2 c. of the mash. (I'm sure you'll find something to do with the rest of the potato...I slathered mine with sour cream and butter.)
When the potato has cooled off a bit so that its just nice and warm add:
~1/4 c. warm water
~1/2 t. salt
~1 1/4 t. dry yeast
~1 t. sugar
Mix well to form a slurry of sorts then add:
~2 c. flour (I used King Arthur bread flour)
~3 T. plain yogurt
~3 T. milk
~1 T. melted butter or ghee
~1/4 t. baking powder
I let this mix in my Kitchen Aid til a pliable, smooth dough was formed and crawling the hook. If the dough seems too sticky, add flour a teaspoon at a time til it firms up. If its too dry, just add very little water while the hook mixes.
Once your dough is mixed smooth (about 5 mins or so), put it in an oiled bowl to double. This usually takes an hour and a half or put in the frig overnight.
I put mine in the frig. Then in the morning, I let it come to room temperature and set the bowl in a warm water bath in the sink to finish up the rise.
Once risen, punch down and cut into 6 pieces and one small piece to test the pan with.
Traditionally, these are cooked on the inside wall of a large clay jar thats been heated over an open fire...but since I'm one large clay jar and one open fire short, I'll use a cast iron skillet.
Heat your skillet on medium heat. Stretch out your pieces into flat rounds about 7-8 inches across...this is relative though, just evenly stretch the pieces out.
Using your little piece I told you to save...check the temperature of the skillet.
Your naan should develop nice golden brown spots in just a short time, we're talking 10-15 seconds.
If your pan is too cool, the naan won't be cooked in the middle...too hot and you'll burn your buns...err naan.
Toast your naan one at a time, flip after one side has its little brown yummy spots and brush with melted butter and sprinkle sesame seeds if you like.
I tell ya, there's nothin' better than hot, fluffy naan served with curry. But, really, these are so versatile they can be served with nearly anything. Get crazy and add herbs or garlic to your dough, not too much tho, garlic can retard yeast growth. I really hope you enjoy this recipe. Good naan recipes are hard to find, this is THE best one I have found.