Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chicken and Noodles

I haven't been cooking nice dinners as much as I used to. I've either gotten lazy or busy. Tonight I told Michael I'd make him a homemade dinner and out of the choices I gave him, he picked Chicken and Noodles. I adapted a recipe from my go-to cook book for savory foods - Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book.

I've made this before and I recall that it's turned out pretty bland, so this time I made a few substitutions to try to rectify this problem. Where the recipe calls for water I used chicken stock (much tastier than broth). I also added a cup more stock than the recipe calls for, and 1/2 cup more milk than it calls for. In addition, I didn't have any frozen peas on hand, so I used soybean succotash (a mixture of edamame, corn and peppers). Finally, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts in place of chicken legs that the original recipe calls for. The addition of stock rather than water really changed the dish - it's not bland at all. It's actually really delish.

Chicken and Noodles
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, copyright 2003

3 chicken breasts
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped onions (3 medium)
2 cups sliced carrots (3-4 medium)
1 cup sliced celery (2 stalks)
3 cups wide egg noodles (6 oz)
1 cup frozen peas (I used Trader Joe's Soybean Succotash)
2 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour

In a Dutch oven, combine chicken, stock, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Add onions, carrots and celery. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer covered for 20 - 30 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Discard the bay leaves. Remove chicken from Dutch oven; cool slightly. Chop chicken and set aside.

Bring stock mixture to boil. Add noodles and cook for five minutes. Stir in peas and two cups of milk. In a screw-top jar with a lid, combine the remaining one cup of milk with the flour. Cover and shake until smooth. Stir into noodle mixture. Cook and stir until thicened and bubbly. Stir in chopped chicken. Cook and stir for one to two minutes more or until mixture is heated through.

As originally written, this is a lite recipe (311 calories, 6 grams fat, 5 grams fiber). I'm not sure what my substitutions would do to the calorie count, etc. but I'd imagine it's pretty close since the stock is fat free and I used white meat rather than the dark it originally calls for.

Start to finish, this dinner took about an hour to make. Not much to look at, but it's a delicious home cooked meal for a cold night.

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