Ramen Noodle Chicken Dump Recipe
Thank God is right…this is so simple, and the ramen lovers in your house will be thanking Confucius. It’s very cheap to make, and the time it takes is even cheaper.
One little hint, though. I would use more milk (like ½ cup more), and more cream cheese. I noticed my noodles got a little dry during the cooking process. Watch the chicken too, so it’s not too dry, as you are already using a cooked bird to start. But, if you step up the milk and the cream cheese, it should be ok.
A real cheap dump…every mother’s dream. LOL
Unfortunately, or fortunately, for those of us who love our kitchen, it’s back to school, and that means back to regimen and the age-old question: “What’s for dinner?” Listen, even with my love affair with my pots and olive oil, I find the question itchingly irritating every time it comes up. It evokes the same irritation as “Mom, by tomorrow I need…” and “Can I have money for…”
Every season I struggle with bringing life, enjoyment and appreciation to fall cooking. I find fall depressing because as a true Cancerian, there should be no other freaking season but summer, OK? Messy buns and my grill…we hold hands in a summer romance from May to Labor Day. But, like a typical summer fling, it dries up with the leaves, cooler weather and pumpkin lattes. Bah Humbug until Thanksgiving.
This week marked the second full week of school and everything else, so I wanted to share a recipe or two that was not so bad and might help ease you back to weeknight meals.
If you want to destress yourself before you start stressing about dinner, always remember that something that can be made ahead, has few ingredients or can be made quickly is your best friend.
Last night, I did this, minus the bread bowls:
Easy, quick, and very yummy. Well, let’s face it, anything that has even a partial cream base is going to be good, even if it’s mixed with newspaper and crazy glue.
This is, oddly enough, not a Paula Deen penning, despite the dairy fat and the bacon. However, it was just as yummy. One pot, a side of bread and a salad, and poof…they can all shut up, cause this one is GOOOOOOOOD.
This was waaaay too easy. I guess Trisha Yearwood had a gig somewhere. No time to even bake.
I was dubious since it was a no-bake with five ingredients, but go figure. Whip it up fast and bring it to your next play-date or 'what do I bring' event.
Yummy to the end! Keep 'em in the fridge ... even better.
Check out the full recipe on Food Network here.
CHEAT OF THE WEEK
I just started baking more. Why? I don’t know. I love to cook as you
know, and I enjoy baking. (There is a difference, lol). I think I’m just
really into batter. And, no matter how healthy I cook during the week to maintain my new biceps, I can’t break up with my girl, Paula Deen. You have to make these, because truly, it doesn’t get any more “why did I just eat that,” than four sticks of “buttuh” and three other ingredients. One of them being potato chips. I am giving you full permission to cheat on these. They are quick, and melt in your mouth yummy. We don’t say fattening. If you can get past the batter and into the oven, well, impressive.
Click here to see the full recipe!
RECIPE OF THE DAY ... ITALIAN FISH
Growing up in an Italian household means a lot of things: lots of tomatoes, left over meatball sandwiches from Nonna’s Sunday sauce, smelly lunches, pasta with almost anything in it, stories of poor immigrants and how much polenta they consumed. The red, white and green list is endless. But, I do remember how magical Christmas always was. Christmas Eve was celebrated to the extent of a non-Italian’s New Year’s Eve, and it was just magical. Except for, well, all the fish.
As years went by, my tastebuds matured and I was not only able to stomach baccala’, but actually enjoy it, and Christmas miracle of Christmas miracle, cook it now for my family. Yet, I remember one dish I did eat, and that was fried spearing. What is a spearing? It looks like chum, or bait for a bluefish, but it’s cheap and when it’s fried, it’s as yummy as a McDonald’s fry.
And, in typical Italian fashion, it’s incredibly easy to prepare:
In a colander, throw a handful of clean fish, as dry as possible, with a handful of flour, salt and pepper.
Shake the fish and the flour until there is only a coating on the fish.
Have a VERY HOT deep fryer ready to go.
Fry the fish until golden brown and crunchy. Salt to taste.
These little babies were my seafood gateway. I still hate baccala’, but you can’t have everything! LOL. Buon Natale!!!!
RECIPE OF THE WEEK ... CICERCHIATA
As time marches on, I find myself digging very deeply into the depths of a magical time in my life, my childhood. And, as every child does from January 1st of the new year, until December 24th, 11 long months of the same year, I dreamed of Christmas. Italian Christmas is filled with a lot of fun and edible stuff, but mainly fish. However, my mother was an immigrant from Vasto, Italy and there is one Christmas season Sunday which will forever be embedded in my head just like sugar plums and the Polly Puff house I got when I was six, the making of the cicerchiata. (CHEE CHER KIATA).
It's actually a very simple dessert, similar to the more popular Italian recipe of struffoli.
Both are made of fried dough balls, glued together with epoxied honey and the cici with melted chocolate. The cici (as we so lovingly called it) could break off a denture or filling if it wasn’t made correctly, but Nonna, the Cici lieutenant, carabieniere, and overall supervisor made sure you didn’t make crap. She oversaw every ball dimension, every sprinkle, every drop of honey.
At the end of the process, it was formed into a wreath, and if you needed a trip to the burn unit while trying to form hot dough balls and honey into a perfectly frozen wreath, well, then you did your job.
As most Italian recipes go, the simple yet tasty combination of just a few simple ingredients epiphany themselves into something rather delicious.
Mix when frying dough:
Basically, the dough is refrigerated and then rolled into snake like tubes with your hands. Then you cut them into balls or little cushions.
Once they are at room temperature, heat the honey and the chocolate in a HUGE pot until boiling. Really boiling. Then add the dough balls, and with all your might, and a huge wooden spoon, you stir, stir, stir until it all makes a very sticky, large honey ball.
While it is still extremely hot, dump the pot’s contents onto a big table, preferable a kitchen island which is easily cleaned. Then, start making wreaths. Any size you like. Once the concoction is in the shape and size you prefer, decorate with Christmas sprinkles and let cool.
My memory, my favorite, which always brought my family together … every one of them, was more cherished than this delicacy. Make food … make memories, and always teach your kids to make both. Buon Natale!!
The night before last, my mother came to me in a dream. Usually she comes to me when she’s mad or upset, so in the 22 years she’s been gone, she only came to me twice … but one of them was two nights ago, and last night Jean Nidetch came to me, too. Now I know why.
If you know me at all, you know that as much as I am a “foodie”, I am also a “watchie”, and portion control is my greatest weapon against hip enlargement. But last night’s dinner, I mean come on Sunny Anderson, ravioli for the crust of a cheeseburger casserole? Swiss cheese and American … with heavy cream and beef? Holy shit. Yup, welcome to hog heaven, and boy was it good.
Now, I’m pretty quick on the draw when it comes to a weeknight meal. I did find this recipe a bit time consuming because it was step-heavy, but can I assure you, after you slobber all over it when it comes out of the oven, you will be happy you slaved a little. I had two casserole dissenters … but I consider this a worthy hit time wise and taste bud wise. I also loved the little pickle juice side salad.
Side salad … lol
Here’s the link!
Give it a sauté … I bet you will love it more than your Aunt Helen’s tuna casserole.
If you knew my father, his Leo persona was quite in contrast with his underlying simplicity. After my mom passed away, I would invite him for dinner.
Me: Dad, what do you want to eat.
Dad: I’m happy with a him sandwich…and a martini.
There was always a martini on every menu with him, but his entrée desires were so simple: pasta, pasta, pasta, and sometimes a steak. He was not a huge eater, and I think his culinary desires branched back to his immigrant roots, which bordered on extreme simplicity.
So, since my holiday cooking break is over, I started out slowly this week. I made a slow cooker, (we are having an affair again, lol) tangy pot roast, and this side, one of my father’s favorites:
PEAS and PANCETTA (or ham) with ONIONS.
1 bag frozen, defrosted sweet peas
1 c. chopped Pancetta (or ham can work, too).
1 c. chopped onions
Sautee the pancetta until crisp in olive oil. Not too much olive oil since the pancetta has its own fat to clog your arteries.
Then add the onions and cook until they are soft.
Throw in the peas and cook until they are heated through.
That is IT!!!!! His favorite side dish. I miss him. When I made this…I could smell his cologne. I think he came for dinner.
Doesn’t it sound just super gross? Remember I come from a long line of cooks and survivors who did not let an animal die in vain. We use all the parts … every single one. In reality, that’s what post Thanksgiving turkey soup is … turkey carcass soup.
I cook a feast on Thanksgiving. It’s quite the catharsis, and rewarding. I also lose about five lbs. every holiday because I get full picking.So, it’s really a symbiotic relationship, the bird and me. When Thanksgiving Monday comes and we are back to the grind before Christmas, I keep it simple, and really, it gets no simpler than shoving a turkey rib cage into some flavored water and letting it boil for a few hours. Let the stove do all the work. What you will need:
Saute all the veggies with some olive oil and kosher salt. (Except the bay leaves). When they are tender, throw in your turkey body. (IF there is meat on the bones, leave it alone. Fill the pot up about ¾ of the way with cold water. Throw in the bay leaves, bouillon, season with some salt and pepper and stir.
Turn the pot on simmer.
Stir every hour or so, and let cook for a minimum of three hours. You will know you have accomplished this herculean task of making soup when your house smells like, well, turkey soup.
You may have to turn it off earlier than dinnertime, and reheat it. That is fine.
When you are ready to reheat, or eat, get another pot, and dump everything in the soup pot into a large strainer positioned on the extra pot. Now the fun begins. Pull the meat off the bones and throw it back into the broth, and search for any bones and ditch them. Throw all the veggies and the meat back in the broth. Throw away the bay leaves.
Cook your tortellini separately. If you cook them in the broth, the pasta absorbs all the liquid and you have very swollen tortellini and no broth.
I put them aside to be eaten when you eat the soup.
Decorate with a little Parmigiano and there’s dinner. EASY, EASY EASY.