Curl up with chicken and noodles

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s feasts are traditional indulgences that are hard to pass up. Not long afterward, the resolution is made to avoid savory comfort foods, but Valentine’s Day is lurking around the corner to tempt any New Year’s resolve.

We are in for more low temperatures, and the urge to cuddle under a blanket with a warm cup is strong. So, for my next Tribune Cooks trick, I made a warm, savory comfort food that doesn’t seem to be terribly unhealthy for you.

I got on the Bob Evans email list somehow, and they remind me daily of their specials – including chicken and noodles. Since I don’t get to go down on the farm that often, I decided to make my own, and also as usual, I was lured in by the Pioneer Woman and her wonderful-looking dishes.

The Pioneer Woman cooking blog hasn’t let me down yet. The recipes are easy to follow and designed for the average home cook, and always taste great. Even her homemade noodles seemed like something I could do without ruining it. Store-bought egg noodles are fine and also encouraged, but I figured I’d give it a whirl, and if they came out OK, the recipe can be used for fresh pastas. I always like an excuse to use my big knives.

The chicken recipe was surprisingly easy, as were the homemade noodles. The chicken pulled apart like butter. The dough was easy to knead, and I mixed and kneaded it all in the same bowl. I rolled it out a little thicker, since I liked bigger noodles, but beware since they plump up while boiling. Mine were on the verge of becoming dumplings. Make sure to cook them longer if they are cut thicker. Also, my broth looked a little un-chickeny, so I added a tablespoon of Gia Russa chicken soup base. You can taste the broth and adjust accordingly during cooking.

But the aromas coming from the pot told me that the taste would make up for any small error. And it did! The vegetables were soft and flavorful, the chicken tender, and the sauce thick and savory. I finished my bowl, and used a warm roll to scoop up what was left.

The chicken skin can be removed to make the recipe healthier, and more veggies can be added to load the pot with more nutrition. To save time, a rotisserie chicken from the deli can be subbed in, already cooked and ready to pull apart. For the daring, a little cheddar cheese can make a good garnish.

Don’t let the Polar Vortex Part II get in the way of comfort.