I participated in an Ambassador Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Lay’s. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating and creating Homemade Chicken and Noodles.
For the last several days, my family and I have been mulling over a possibility that was hard to achieve a consensus on. I was given the chance to participate in a project that introduces Lay’s new #DoUsAFlavor Contest, where all of you can submit ideas for the next great Lay’s potato chip flavor for the chance to win a $1 million grand prize. A judging panel made up of chefs, foodies and flavor experts will narrow down the contest submissions to four finalist flavors. The four finalist flavors will then be fully developed by Frito-Lay’s culinary experts, unveiled in summer 2014 and sold nationwide. From there, it will be up to fans to vote for the finalist flavor they want to see stay on store shelves, and the finalist behind the winning flavor will take home the million dollar grand prize. See Contest Rules Here’s where the small disagreement ensued.
My post to share this fun information with you is supposed to inspire you to really think outside the box about flavors you would love to see in a chip. I needed to pick our family’s favorite meal and share the recipe and the story behind it, to help get your creative ideas churning a little bit. On the surface, this doesn’t seem like such a difficult undertaking, but we couldn’t agree on our favorite meal. It was quickly narrowed down to two and interestingly enough, both involved chicken and mashed potatoes — Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy -or- Creamy Homemade Chicken and Noodles over Mashed Potatoes. (I’m sort of detecting a potatoes and gravy theme, here.) lol At least we’re consistent in that. What it finally boiled down to is — we wanted both. 🙂 So, I’m sharing noodles, today, and hopefully I can get to fried chicken, in the future.
This is a favorite meal that we had often, in the wintertime, when I was growing up. I realize, now, that it was probably because it was an inexpensive supper to feed a large family of 7. All we knew, was that we loved it. It wasn’t until I was married, that I realized this wasn’t necessarily a common meal for everyone else in the world. I’m not sure what culture claims origination of the idea of eating chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes. My family was of German descent and I think that in the U.S., this may have been more of a regional/Midwest dish, not something widely consumed across the nation. The first time I made this for my husband, after we were married, he looked at me like I had sprouted an extra head. lol “Put my chicken and noodles on what?” He was converted in a single bite, and to this day, this is one of his most often requested meals.
Mom’s homemade chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes were always made with fresh chickens we had raised ourselves and the potatoes we stored up from our garden harvest. Her chicken chicken and noodle soup had a flavorful chicken stock base. Mine has evolved into more of a cream soup that starts with the same flavor-packed chicken stock. And the noodles? Well, I would say that not much has changed with the noodles. Homemade noodle dough rolled out and drying on the kitchen table was a familiar and welcome sight, back then, and it still is for my family, today. You can definitely make this recipe with frozen noodles from the store, but it won’t be quite as creamy and the noodles aren’t quite as tender. So, I’m encouraging you. Grab that rolling pin, dust yourself with a little flour. Make some noodles. You can totally do this!
This meal is, basically, three different processes — making the chicken stock, making the noodles, making the potatoes. It takes a little extra time and effort, but that just means there’s love in every bite. Roll up your sleeves and let’s get started. 🙂
- 1 (3 - 4 lb) whole chicken
- 2 medium onions, quartered
- 6 - 8 large carrots, washed and left whole
- 4 - 6 stalks celery, washed and left whole
- 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 Bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup butter, divided into two halves
- 2 cups whole milk
- Follow my recipe/ picture tutorial, here, to get ingredients and step-by-step instructions on how to make your own homemade noodles.
- Follow my recipe/ picture tutorial, here, to get ingredients and step-by-step instructions on how to make fabulous mashed potatoes.
- Begin, first thing in the morning, and get your chicken stock going. It needs to simmer all day to develop that deep, rich chicken-y flavor. Once you get it going, you can go about your business and not have to fuss with it much, but it does need to start early.
- We have local farmers in our area who sell fantastic pastured chickens and they are perfect for this recipe. Wherever you buy your chicken, be sure to carefully rinse it in cold water, before cooking, and practice safe handling practices to prevent cross-contamination on utensils and cutting boards.
- Place the prepared vegetables, garlic, bay leaves, chicken, salt and pepper in a large stock pot (Mine is 8 quarts).
- Fill stock pot with water, being sure to add enough to completely cover chicken and vegetables.
- Cook on high until the water comes to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium and allow the chicken to cook about 1 hour, or until the meat is tender and easy to remove from the bones.
- This is the time to mix up and roll out your noodle dough. That will give them plenty of time to dry before your evening meal.
- Don't overcook, or the meat will become dry and stringy.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool in a bowl, while the vegetables continue simmering in the stock pot.
- After about 30 minutes cooling time, remove the chicken from the bones. Put the cooked meat in the fridge, until later. Break as many as of the bones in half, as you are able to, and place them back in the stockpot. The chicken skin has lots of fat (flavor), so add that back into the post, too.
- Add ½ of your stick of butter to the stockpot. Turn the heat down to just a simmer, where you can still see the liquid moving, but there isn't a hard boil. Allow the vegetables, bones and skin to continue cooking down for 4-6 hours.
- During this period, you can peel and cook your potatoes, and mash them according to the recipe, linked above.
- Check periodically, to make sure your stock pot isn't boiling dry. You can always add more water if it seems like the level is too low. Don't go overboard with it, though. Remember, you're trying to create a flavorful, concentrated chicken stock, loaded with nutrition.
- At the end of the cooking time, strain the skin, bones, vegetables and bay leaves out of the stock pot.
- Place the vegetables in your blender with enough water to fully cover them. Blend until they are pureed smooth and then pour the vegetable puree back into your chicken stock. You should end up with at least 4 quarts of chicken stock. You can add a little water to bring the level up, if you're not there.
- Add the last half of your stick of butter and the milk to your chicken stock. (Please, don't leave out the butter. You can't believe what richness and depth of flavor it adds to your finished dish.)
- Bring the chicken stock mixture to a boil, over medium-high heat.
- Add your fresh,dried noodles, along with any leftover flour that is clinging to them or piled underneath them to your stock pot. (The flour will begin to thicken the stock into a delicious chicken gravy or cream soup.)
- Bring stock back to a boil and cook noodles until tender.
- Break the cooked chicken into chunks and add them back to the noodle pot.
- Stir the chicken and noodles frequently to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- If it seems to be too thick, add additional milk to thin it.
- This is the point where you will want to taste, again. If your stock simmered long enough, the chicken bones and veggies will give it a delicious flavor, but even if it still seems a little weak, you can tweek it by adding salt and pepper, or a little bouillon, maybe even another pat or two of butter. It will be dreamy, creamy, chicken-y noodle heaven. Just DO it! :) This is comfort food at its finest. The dish your grandkids will remember you for and generations will dedicate in your memory. Seriously. Generations!
- Place a large spoonful of mashed potatoes into a bowl and ladle your creamy chicken and noodles over the top. Keep a wooden spoon handy to beat off scavengers while you enjoy that first amazing bite. Mmmmmmmm!
- Ok, now let everybody else have some. It's only right!
I wonder if Lay’s can put homemade chicken and noodles into a potato chip? I’ll be first in line to try it, if they do! What great flavor ideas do your favorite family meals inspire? Be sure to head over to the Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” contest and submit your great idea! Who knows, you may see it on the grocery shelves, this summer!
Happy Tuesday night, All!