Wednesday, July 20, 2011

2 Chicken Breasts & The Magic of Thanksgiving in July

So, today is lean Wednesday... It's the last day of my two week grocery budget and I always have to get creative for dinner. It seems that no matter how much planning I put into it, the pantry gets low by the 14th day. I've got two lonely chicken breasts left in the freezer and I have 3 children and a husband to feed. Time for the magic noodles! I don't know if everyone does this, but in our family, at least since my great grandmother's day, at Thanksgiving and Christmas, we had turkey, mashed potatoes, and "the noodles." That's not all, of course, but those were the staples and base for the whole meal. It's been tradition to make these egg noodles and boil them in turkey broth, salt and pepper. The broth thickens up and you have a delicious and hearty starch-fest that is soul-warming and delicious! I've discovered, though, that if you throw in some chicken breast, it can be a meal unto itself. Now we are on our way to the grocery store for one dozen eggs, because that is all I lack to start this magic meal. And the best part is, I'm going to share this recipe with you. Its one of the cheapest meals you can make and its always a crowd pleaser at my house. For the less picky family, you can always throw in some peas, carrots, celery, etc. to make it a more rounded meal.
Here's what you'll need:
Home Made Chicken and Noodles
A large mixing bowl.
3 Egg Yolks
1 Whole Egg
1 Tsp Salt
3 Tbsp Cold Water(use more as needed)
2 C. Sifted All Purpose Flour

Whisk your egg yolk, egg, salt and water until light and well incorporated. Slowly add in flour and stir until too thick, then knead with your hands. It should be not too sticky, but smooth and well combined. Your should knead for about 5 to 10 minutes until your reach the right consistency. Then wrap in plastic for a few minutes and let it rest. It will be easier to work once it has rested. Flour a large surface and turn dough out. It is easier to work with in smaller batches so you can divide it in two and roll it out separately. Keeping it well floured, roll out the dough until its appx. 1/16 an inch thick. Sprinkle flour over it, then roll it up, like a jelly roll, as tightly as you can. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into equal(eyeball it, doesn't have to be perfect) slices, about 1/8 inch each. If you divided the dough, repeat the roll and slice steps until all the dough has been cut. Now unravel the noodles on well floured surface and allow to dry. If your aren't cooking the same day, then you should let them dry out all day and then freeze in a freezer bag until you plan to use them.
Today's batch laying out to dry.

Now if you are making chicken and noodles, here's the rest of the story:
In a dutch oven (or 5qt pot) coat the bottom of pan with veg. oil and heat over med-high. Salt and pepper both sides of 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breast. If bone-in is all you have, this of course works also, just an extra step of de-boning. Place the chicken breast in the pot and cook for a few minutes on each side, just enough to brown the outside of the breast. Once the chicken is browned, add enough water to cover the chicken. Throw in chopped onion or garlic to flavor the chicken. Bring to boil, then reduce to medium heat and simmer covered for appx. 30-45 minutes, or until the chicken is fork tender and easy to pull apart. Remove the chicken to a plate. You will need to add enough water to the pot to boil your noodles, so judge for your self. Bring to a boil and add the noodles. Because the noodles are thick, it may take about 20 minutes to cook. Just stir occasionally to make sure they don't stick to the bottom and burn. While noodles are cooking, shred the chicken into bite size pieces. Once the noodles are tender, cut one just to make sure they've cooked through. You are looking for any white in the middle of noodle. If no white, then you're good. The stock will thicken naturally during the cooking process because of all the flour and starch. Once thickened, throw the chicken back in, salt and pepper to taste.
I've replaced my finished picture with this far more appetizing one that my little sister took.
She went home after I showed her how I made it and did it herself!

I hope this was clear and easy to understand and that your family will enjoy it like mine does!

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