Thursday, October 25, 2012

Clean Room

If your kids are like mine they leave everything they own on the floor so you can step on it when you go to tuck them in at night. Despite threats, bribes, begging, and flat out telling them to clean up, the piles on the floor had reached a point I could no longer ignore and so I went in to clean.

Often I have cleaned and reorganised everything but this time I didn't feel like cleaning. I got a huge bin, picked up any and everything that wasn't where it was supposed to be and took the bin back to my room. What I left was a poem on the door. 'A' had to read and explain it to 'B' who just didn't get what it meant. Amazingly they cleaned up the rest of the room and set to work on several chores to earn back toys. They sorted clothes and unloaded the dish washer and even helped pick up baby C's stuff in the front room. Seems to be working pretty well.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle

Fall allergies have hit me hard this year so this past few days I have been feeling less than fantastic. When you can't breathe you usually don't much feel like making a fancy dinner or even anything healthy. What I really wanted the other night was some chicken noodle soup and as I refuse to use that canned stuff and happened to have everything I needed on hand (thank you Bountiful Baskets) I set to making my quick and easy chicken noodle soup.

Chicken Noodle Soup (serves 8-10)
prep/cook time 45 minutes
3  boneless skinless chicken breasts
12-15 cups water*
3 cloves garlic
6  carrots
6  celery
4-6  cups uncooked noodles
2-3 tsp chicken broth base
salt/pepper to taste

In a large stock pot combine water and garlic. While the water is heating up put chicken breasts in skillet to brown and scrub and chop your carrots and celery. (I use the celery leaves too when I make this.)

Add carrots and celery to the garlic/water and bring to a low boil.

Next you'll add in your broth base. You want to use chicken base not chicken flavor, you can really tell the difference. Also you'll have to add a lot more if it's flavored to get the right taste. Start with just 2 tsp base, give it a quick taste and add more base if needed. You don't want it too strong because when you add the chicken and drippings later the flavor will be stronger.

Depending on the type of noodles you are using you may want to add them now. I used thick Italian noodles and they take 15-20 minutes to cook. Other noodles only take 5-10 minutes and you can wait until nearer to the end. Also if you don't like as many noodles use closer to 4 cups instead of 6.

When your chicken is all browned add a couple spoonfuls of liquid from your pot to the pan. Stir liquid to gather up all the yummy chicken drippings. Remove the chicken and dump the liquid back into the pot. This adds a lot of flavor so don't skip this step.

Chop or shred your chicken breasts into whatever size pieces you prefer and add them to the pot.

Test a noodle and carrot to make sure everything is cooked to soft.

You can add salt/pepper to the entire pot or let everyone spice their own bowl. Dish up and Enjoy!
*The amount of water you use will depend on two things: what liquid ratio you want in your finished soup and how much water your noodles absorb. If you use thick Italian noodles they will absorb a lot more water. The bowl pictured above was about the average liquid per bowl when using 12 cups of water.