Chicken and Noodles

Picture this. Six years old, wandering my way through the lunch line. On the menu today: chicken and noodles. The cafeteria worker slops the delicious mess right on my plate, and to my surprise, a little pile of mashed potatoes is tucked under all that glory. So, I give it a try (my mother had taught me well, a “try” bite). Minutes later, the tray is empty. Years later, this is what chicken and noodles looks like at our house!

Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups sweet yellow onion, diced

1 1/2 cups carrots, diced

1 1/2 cups celery, diced

1/4 cup all purpose flour

32 oz water

6 bouillon chicken cubes

2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed

2 cups frozen egg noodles

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Add butter and vegetables to dutch oven on the stovetop over medium heat. Cook 3-5 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add flour to vegetables, stir to coat and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Add water, chicken cubes, chicken and egg noodles. Reduce the heat to simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally as mixture begins to thicken.
  4. Serve warm.

Notes

  1. Here in the mid-west, we eat chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes. Don’t knock it until you try it! Pairs well with a fruit and veggie of your choice 🙂

Meat the Only Stromboli Recipe You Will Ever Need

In my previous life (a few months ago), I would roll out a pre-made crust from the can to treat my family on pizza night. Our lives forever changed the day I stepped up and experimented with homemade pizza dough. The feeling of molding a perfectly developed dough—irreplaceable. I can’t say that I will never-ever use a can of crust again, but I can say that my family will be completely crushed on that day. Roll-up this hearty, meat-filled Stromboli for a REAL treat this week!

Makes: 10 pieces

Ingredients

For the Dough:

1 cup warm water

2 ÂĽ teaspoon active dry yeast

3 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

Cooking spray

For the Filling:

1 cup marinara sauce

½ pound lean ground beef, cooked

½ pound deli pepperoni, sliced thin

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Âľ teaspoon Italian seasoning, divided

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions

  1. Combine the yeast and water. Let set for 5 minutes.
  2. In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt and olive oil. After 5 minutes, when the yeast is frothy, pour the water over the flour mixture. Using the dough hook, begin mixing the dough. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Knead the dough on medium speed until fully developed. See notes.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball. Lightly spritz the inside of the bowl with cooking spray and return the ball to the bowl. Lightly spritz the top of the dough with cooking spray as well and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours until double in size.
  4. When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Roll the dough out on a clean surface into a 1 ½ x 2-foot rectangle, about ½ an inch thick.
  6. Spread the marinara evenly across the dough, leaving about 1″ around the edge.
  7. Layer the ground beef, pepperoni and cheese over the marinara sauce and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon seasoning.
  8. Beginning with the shorter side, roll the dough into a log. When rolled entirely, transfer to a greased baking sheet with the crease from the dough tucked under.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a golden crown crust has formed on the top.
  10. Remove the Stromboli from the oven. Spread melted butter across the top and sprinkle with remaining seasoning.
  11. Let set for 5-10 minutes before slicing into 1” pieces for serving.

Notes

  1. Kneading the dough usually takes around 5 minutes. A fun way to test and see if your dough is fully developed is the “windowpane test”. Pull apart a small piece of dough and begin to stretch it between your fingers. When the dough is fully developed, it will thin as it is stretched to create a small window but won’t break apart. That’s when you know that you are ready to rock-and-roll on to the next step!
  2. Pizza dough adapted from the Crazy for Crust recipe, https://www.crazyforcrust.com/the-ultimate-pizza-crust-recipe/.
  3. Alert. Family-friendly recipe here! Get your kids’ (or borrowed nieces and nephews) hands in the dough: measuring, rolling, filling. Fun stuff!

Tell me, what would you pair with Stromboli to build a balanced plate?


A Hungry Cowboy’s Chunky Chili

Ever crunched for time and that special someone asks, “What’s for supper?” Rather than letting yourself begin to boil, may I suggest taking this as-easy-as-it-gets chili to a gentle boil instead? Dump. Dump. Dump. Stir. Enjoy as-is, or pour over chips with cheese and sour cream for a take on the ever-classic chili pie.

Makes: 8-10 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive or canola oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

2 cans chili beans, 15 oz

1 can black beans, 15 oz

1 can diced tomatoes, 15 oz

1-2 cups of meat (chopped brisket, shredded chicken, ground beef, etc.)

1 package chili seasoning, 1.25 ounces (or homemade chili seasoning)

1-2 cups of water

Directions

  1. In a large dutch oven or stockpot, sauté the onion in oil over medium heat for 5 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the beans, tomatoes, meat and seasoning to the onions.
  3. Simmer on low heat for an hour.
  4. Add water to thin chili to the desired consistency.

Notes

For a more balanced plate, serve with a fruit or veggie or glass of milk! You could even be a little sneaky and stash some veggies in the chili. So sneaky.