Monday, October 27, 2008

Mom's Chicken & Noodles (non-Cajun dish)

My apologies for my absence. Things have been a bit on the crazy side.

And I GUESS I apologize also for the fact that this is NOT a post about cajun food.

Actually...this is a post about what my coworkers jokingly call "Yankee food". Because as much as I love the Cajun food and culture....every so often I crave my mom's cooking, like most every other person on the planet. And since my mom has never lived anywhere other than Missouri...she makes "Missouri" food. A lot of which is highly Germanic in heritage (though I don't think of it as being German, because it's just good ol' Midwest food to me). And those cravings particularly hit me once it starts getting cold outside. Not that there's a LOT of "cold" here in southern Louisiana...but around that first drop (which we got last week--57 degrees at night, people! Brr! I know....some of you who still live up north are laughing hysterically at my pansy-butt right now.)

And my absolute favorite "Mom Food" is my mother's famous Chicken & Noodles w/Mashed Potatoes. She brings it to family functions (along with her cherry cheesecake, but we won't go into that right now.... *drools*) and everyone in our family knows it...and every time I visit home, summer or winter, I request she makes it.

So, anywho, I digress. We got that cold snap, and my internal gears decided it was time for culinary journey up the Mighty Mississippi. Granted--this is definitely a carb-fest, but if kept in check, you can have MANY MANY delicious comforting meals that are still health-conscious.

Shopping List:
- 3.5 lbs of bone-in chicken (skin is fine too--both the bones & skin will help add flavor to our broth/sauce, but we can skim most of the fat off before we finish the dish. All white meat is best.)
- 24 oz bag of frozen egg noodles (Reames is a popular brand--these are harder to find here in Louisiana. Target is the only place I can find them, though there were a few A&P stores in NOLA that carried them as well when I lived there.)
- Light or Fat-Free Sour Cream (I love sour cream in my mashed potatoes, you may not. This is optional.)
- 5 lb bag of russet potatoes (I actually only cooked about 7 potatoes during this process...BUT I have a bunch of leftovers w/no mashed potatoes, so I'll likely have to cook the rest to go with those leftovers.)
-milk (skim or fat free)
-SmartBalance butter
- Chicken bouillon (1 cube or 1 tbsp loose)

Salt, pepper, basil, chive, garlic salt, cajun seasoning (see, I snuck SOMETHING cajun in there!)

1. Start two pots of water to boil (salted).

2. Cube potatoes (skin-on...nutritional value!) and place into one of the pots, cover and let cook until potatoes are fork tender (~30-40min). Drain, add 1/4c milk, 1/4c sour cream, 1/4c butter, and mash thoroughly. Season w/salt, pepper, and additional butter (or butter sub--like a butter flavored salt substitute to kill two birds w/one stone) to taste. Set aside (keep warm in oven on a low setting if desired).

3. Place chicken in 2nd pot of boiling water, add 1 tbsp garlic salt and several dashes of pepper. Cover and let boil over medium-high heat for 45 minutes or until tender. Once cooked, remove from the water and set aside to cool for a bit. Add 1 tbsp of chicken boullion to the water and return to boil. Skim any fat off the surface of the water.

4. Once your "chicken broth" has resumed boil, add in the egg noodles and let boil over medium heat. Set timer for 25 minutes. While that's going, begin separating your chicken...this cooking method keeps the meat very moist, and it will slide off the bone. Throw away all bones, fatty bits, and skin, then put chicken (slightly shredded) back into the pot w/the noodles. Add basil & additional salt & pepper. Continue to skim any fat off the top as it cooks out.

5. Once your noodles are fully cooked and tender (the broth will thicken somewhat into a sauce), taste test and season to desired...basil, garlic salt, cajun seasoning & pepper are my picks for this meal. I like mine with a lot of pepper. Just be careful not to get it too salty. Once desired flavor is acheived, allow to cool slightly before serving on top of the mashed potatoes.

6. Serve with a slice of lightly buttered wheat bread.

This will easily make about 12-14 servings, so feel free to cut back the recipe if desired.

Serving size is 1/2c mashed potatoes, covered by ~1 cup chicken & these are pretty hearty servings! Definitely filling!!!

Also--if you're watching your pennies, this is a great way to do so...Cost is only about $1/serving! (Especially if you catch the chicken on sale like I did!)

Amount Per Serving

Calories 394.9

Total Fat 4.1 g

Saturated Fat 1.1 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g

Monounsaturated Fat 1.1 g

Cholesterol 115.1 mg

Sodium 375.5 mg

Potassium 690.7 mg

Total Carbohydrate 54.4 g

Dietary Fiber 3.4 g

Sugars 0.5 g

Protein 34.4 g