So the kids and I haven’t been out of the house for nearly a week. Well, unless you count gingerly placing one foot on the front porch while desperately clinging to the door frame and leaning precariously out into the elements to pluck the mail from the mail box. But I don’t think that counts. Our home bound ways have been due to the frigid weather this January. I’m sure you’re aware of that, because it’s been cold pretty much everywhere in the U.S. We hit -30F windchill last night into early this morning. And the roads have been terrible – like you’re-legally-not-allowed-to-drive-on-them terrible. But according to the forecast, it will be “warming” up soon. Maybe even seeing a double digit! We haven’t gotten cabin fever yet, but I think we’re getting pretty close to it. If the weather and the roads will allow us, I think we might escape the house for a bit tomorrow.
So I rambled on in the above paragraph to explain why I thought chicken noodle soup would be an appropriate choice for lunch today. My choice must have been purely psychological, as I’m not sure why I thought I needed something to warm me up as we both now know I haven’t even been outside. Maybe this is where we should consider that daily mail gathering! 🙂
You can’t have chicken noodle soup without homemade noodles. Well, I guess you can, but you shouldn’t. I’ve had the kids help me make noodles a couple of times, and they absolutely loved it. So after Norah and I finished math, we stopped for some home economics. Even Garrett took part in this class.
Now, I would love to have included a beautiful photo of the dough making process where eggs are nestled in a mound of flour, but 1.) I forgot to take any pictures of the mixing process, and 2.) that’s not the way I do it. I’m going to tell you a little secret. Lean in closely…
A little closer…
Come on…closer, I just brushed my teeth!
I use a stand mixer to mix my pasta dough.
I’ll wait till you stop gasping.
You can stop now.
So I’ve tried the hand mixing method, and I’ve even watched a Mario Batali how-to video…but I cannot do it. I get angry. Very, very angry. With half mixed flour and eggs all over my hands, and crumbly bits everywhere, it’s not quite the peaceful scene one would imagine for making homemade noodles. So that’s why I use a stand mixer. It makes for a peaceful and practically mess-free experience. But, if you have mastered the hand-mixing method, I tip my proverbial hat to you.
So here’s the recipe I use from my Betty Crocker cookbook.
– 8 servings
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
optional – herbs, fresh or dried – I threw in some dried marjoram, dried parsley, garlic powder and black pepper
Now this is where you can decide what you want to do:
For the biggest mess – Mound the flour on your counter top – make a little well, add the salt, add the eggs. Using a fork, mix the eggs, sprinkle with the water and olive oil as you mix everything together. Knead by hand for 5-10 minutes until smooth and springy. You may need to add a little flour as you go if it’s too sticky.
For less mess – do the above mixing process in a bowl and knead on the counter top.
For the least mess – swallow your pride and throw all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on the lowest setting using the dough hook. Mix until it looks smooth, satiny and springy. Just in case you’re wondering, I have not had a problem with the noodles turning out tough, and I’ve used this method several times now, but I cannot guarantee that they won’t be tough. So I guess it’s up to you. If you really like taking high-stakes gambles in life – then try it my way! 🙂
Whatever the method you use, when your dough is complete, cover it with plastic wrap and let it take a break for 15 minutes. It’s been through a lot.
After the dough has relaxed, divide the dough into 4 equal parts.
You can either: on a floured counter top, roll out one of the balls of dough into a rectangle using a rolling pin till about 1/16 – 1/8 inches thick, loosely fold the rectangle of dough into thirds and cut into strips (whatever width you want) with a knife. Repeat with remaining 3 balls of dough.
You can use a pasta machine. This is the most fun. Especially with kiddos. We roll the dough through settings 1-5 on the rolling part of the machine before we switch to the cutting roller thingy. I know, I shouldn’t be so technical.
This is the pasta machine I use. I think I found mine at Home Goods, or TJ Maxx for about $20.
Whichever method of rolling and cutting you use, don’t be shy with the flour during the process, or you will have a stuck-together mess of noodles. Let the noodles dry in a single layer or on a drying rack for about 30 minutes. As you can see, I don’t hold closely to that single layer suggestion.
When you are ready to add the noodles to your soup, make sure that the broth is boiling. Captain Obvious says you’re welcome.
You will want to add the noodles in small batches and stir often so you don’t have big clumps of noodles. You may also want to cut the noodles into more manageable lengths. I thought of this after I added the noodles, so I just used by kitchen shears and carefully chopped them up a bit. I didn’t add all of the noodles to the soup – maybe 2/3. It’s totally your preference. My recipe suggested a 2-5 minute boil time, but I boiled them for about 15 minutes, so they would be tender and not chewy. But again, that’s up to you.
Now you have yourself some lovely chicken noodle soup.
I didn’t include my soup recipe because it’s so basic that I don’t have a recipe. Whatever recipe you make though – adding homemade noodles is a must. And when you include kids in the noodle-making process, they always think the soup is extra-delicious.