The world is rife with quick recipes these days. Rachel Ray has been teaching millions how to cook thousands of meals in just 30 minutes. Microwave cookbooks abound. Grocery store shelves are stocked with boxes of "just add water" meals waiting to grace your table. And as grateful as I am for 7 minute Mac-N-Cheese, 3 mintue Ramen noodles, and 45 second microwaveable hotdogs, I gotta say that there is something fine and noble in preparing the occasional all-from-scratch-ready-to-eat-in-just-a-few-days kind of meals. For this reason, I come before you today in order to share my recipe for...
How To Make Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup In Just 3 Months
Buy a rotisserie chicken and serve it for dinner with cornbread and steamed vegetables. When dinner is over, pick any leftover meat off the bones of the chicken. Chop chicken meat and save for tomorrow's chicken salad. Shove any leftover chunks of "questionable" meat, grissel, and the rest of the chicken carcass into a big Ziplock Freezer bag and toss it into your freezer.
2 weeks later, pick up another rotisserie chicken or roast your own. Serve it for dinner with roasted potatoes, carrots, and onions, a lovely green salad and some garlic bread. When dinner is over, pick any leftover meat off the bones of the chicken. Shred chicken meat and use in next day's chicken enchiladas. Shove rest of the chicken carcass into a big Ziplock Freezer bag and toss it into your freezer.
Some day when you are cleaning out the fridge and need to get rid of the last straggling veggies, pull out a big stock pot. Fill it with your two frozen chicken carcasses and any leftover veggies (preferably celery, carrots, onion, garlic). Do not add parsley as it tends to color the broth green. Throw in some salt, pepper, and maybe a bit of sage, rosemary, and thyme. You really don't want to season it too much because you can season it to taste when you use it later. Add enough water to cover everything in the pan. Get it to a boil and then turn heat down and let it simmer for several hours (or until the liquid becomes golden in color and tastes like a yummy, hearty chicken broth. Strain liquid through a mesh strainer and toss the solid junk. I prefer to strain my liquid into a big, clean, pitcher because it takes up less space int he fridge. Cover pitcher, or bowl, with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for several hours or overnight. After broth has chilled, remove fat layer. Now take out a bunch of Ziplock sandwich bags and a 1C. measure. Scoop out 1C measurements of gelatinous broth into sandwich bags and seal shut. Put all of your little bags into one big Ziplock Freezer bag and throw back into freezer.
Buy another rotisserie chicken or roast your own. Serve it for dinner with Parmesean mashed potatoes and carmelized onions, fresh steamed broccoli and carrots, and applesauce. When dinner is over, pick any leftover meat off the bones of the chicken. Chop chicken meat and use in next day's Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. Shove rest of the chicken carcass into a big Ziplock Freezer bag and toss it into your freezer.
Next Day: In a big bowl, dump 2 1/2 C. flour, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking powder. Make a well in the middle of the flour (just push your fist in the middle and take it out), and crack in four eggs. Using a wooden spoon, mix eggs into the flour until it gets too hard to stir. Using clean hands, start kneading the mixture until it all comes together and feels smooth (it will seems like it is much too dry at first but will eventually come together nicely). Wrap in plastic and set aside while you chop veggies.
Later... dust counter top with flour and roll out noodle dough as thin as you can (because the dough has baking powder the noodles will puff up a bit so don't worry about getting it too thin), my husband likes 'em a bit thick. Cut in strips, or spoon size squares, or do what we like to do: using very tiny cookie cutters, let the kids cut out a bunch of shapes. This also makes it fun for them to eat as they hunt for their favorite shapes in the soup.
Set a big pot of salted water to boil. When it gets a good boil going add a bunch of the noodles and let them cook for 4-6 minutes. Pull out with slotted spoon and toss them into the soup you are making on the next burner (see soup recipe below). Continue boiling noodles in batches until they are all done and added to the soup.
While kids are cutting out noodles... In a big pot melt some butter and throw in a bunch of chopped onion, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring, until onions become translucent. Throw in 2, 3, or 4 (depending on the size of your family) bags of broth (remove the plastic bags), and leftover cut up chicken. Bring to a boil and season if needed. When all the noodles are in let it cook for a few minutes more while the children set the table.
Call out, "DINNER TIME!" Sit and enjoy your soup, but don't forget to act like an exhausted martyr as you proclaim, "I'm so glad you like it, it only took me 3 months to make."