Um….how many boxes of pasta???

I was doing a little cleaning up and I noticed an unusual amount of pasta boxes.  I counted and ended up with 14 – FOURTEEN boxes of pasta!  And that doesn’t count the stuff I have in other containers!  I think I have a sickness.  Is there a meeting for pasta buyers anonymous?

So, I decided that I need to start cooking some pasta.  It’s getting chilly and it’s the perfect meal to be able to heat up the house.  Bear Creek makes a Creamy Chicken pasta mix that I just could eat the WHOLE thing easy.  I was going to go and buy it, but I thought “Huh.  I wonder if I could make it”.  I have never tried to recreate a recipe like this.  The only way I have ever tried was with another recipe – lol.  I didn’t take many pictures because I wasn’t sure it would turn out.  I do have some pictures for you and even something close to a recipe.

I had to think through how I wanted to make this and how I would get it the way closest to what the package is.

I started with a roux.  I added garlic to the butter to get some flavor.  The yellow glob is my version of bouillon.  I added that to kinf of ramp up the chicken flavor.
CCN_Butter

I added flour, but I couldn’t get a picture.  Next, I added the chicken broth VERY slowly.  I would add a little bit, wait for it to thicken up, add a little more, then wait, etc.
CCN_BrothAdded

I wanted to add some milk, but mine went bad.  I used powdered milk instead.  It is gross to drink, but I didn’t notice anything off when cooking with it.  I added the seasonings at this point too.  Parsley, salt and pepper went into the sauce.  I let it boil a bit on and off, but I was constantly stirring to make sure it didn’t burn.  I wanted a really thick sauce and this helped.
CCN_Milk

The original had carrots in it, so I took some of the pre-shredded ones I always have, cut them a little smaller and threw them in to cook.  I  turned down the heat and let it simmer slowly while I finished up the pasta.

See, because I made about 4 ounces of the mini pasta by Barilla, looked at my sauce and went, “Yea……that’s so not enough”.  I had to mix two different shapes which I hate doing.  BUT, I knocked out two boxes of pasta!  WOOHOO!
CNN_Done

Plated (with frozen fish)
CNN

Okay – verdict (drumroll please!!).  It was pretty good.  I couldn’t get the salt correct, but that was a small piece of it.  I actually liked the two different pastas in this.  I liked the carrots, but I should have put them in sooner so they had time to soften up a bit more.  I didn’t add nearly enough garlic.  I think there is something missing, but I can’t put my finger on it.  I think the base recipe is fine, but the seasonings still need tweaking.

Recipe: Creamy Chicken Noodles
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp Chicken Soup Base (I use Penzey’s)
Garlic cloves – I used about 1-2 tsp of garlic from Penzey’s2 tbsp flour
1 cup fat free, low sodium chicken broth
1 cup skim milk
7 ounces dry mini pasta.  If a bigger pasta is used, you may not need as much
Seasonings:
salt, pepper, parsley

Boil the pasta according to the directions on the package and set aside

Melt the butter, garlic, and soup base in a medium potAdd the flour and saute.  Cook for a couple minutes
SLOWLY add the chicken broth
Stir after every addition and wait until thick to add more
After the last of it is added, let it thicken a bit more and add the milk the same way
Taste and season accordingly.  I didn’t actually measure the salt, pepper or parsley.  I just dumped some in and tested, dumped some in and tasted
Let the sauce come to a boil to thicken up even more
Add the noodles and mix

Optional
I added in some shredded carrots.  Other vegetables may be good, too.  I would think broccoli would work well.

Love in a skillet

Or Skillet Lasagna.  Same thing.  This was perfect on a grey day.  All I was missing was some crusty bread and butter.  And maybe a dog…..or a fireplace….even a boyfriend…..I need someone to do the dishes, silly

Ingredients.  I made a couple changes.  I used Turkey sausage instead of regular.  I have tried this before and it failed miserably, but in here, it worked.  I also just used regular tomato sauce instead of diced tomatoes.  I am not a huge fan of chunky tomatoes and I forgot to get them the three times I went to the store.  I figured that was a sign and just used what I had on hand.  The original recipe used cottage cheese, but I didn’t want my grandmother to come haunt me, so I stuck with the ricotta.  One last thing – that onion?  Yea, I didn’t use it.  I cut it and the middle was ooky.  I used a slightly bigger one
SSL_Ingredients

after cooking the onion and the sausage, you are supposed to put in the other seasonings, then the noodles, then the sauce and water.  Yea, I got it backwards.  Damn noodles were on top.
SSL_SimmeringNoodles

Still worked though 🙂
SSL_Mixing

Three kinds of cheesey goodness!
SSL_Complete

This was graat.  Even with the mix up with the noodles, it worked perfectly.  I also used a vidalia onion instead of yellow because that’s what I had.  It didn’t seem to make much difference.  Honestly, I couldn’t tell it was in there.  I cut the parmesan cheese to only about 1/4 cup because I knew it would be WAY to much if I used a cup.  I love parm, but it is just so strong.  I didn’t want to overpower the whole dish.  I get little tastes of it through out the bowl which is perfect for me.  I can’t wait to try this with another type of noodle.  I did like the lasagna sheets, but they were a but unruly to try and stir when they were still hard.  Plus, it’s just not a noodle I have on hand very often (why do I keep spelling it noddle and firefox thinks this is an actual word??).  I think it will work as long as you don’t use the tiny pasta shapes.  Ziti would be good, but orzo would not work in my opinion.

Twice Baked Potatoes

I have never made these before, but I love them.  I stupidly decided to make these on a weeknight.  I was so hungry when I finally got to eat, I am not quite sure I remembered to chew – lol.

Ingredients.  I didn’t have any shallots, but I did have the freeze dried ones, so I went with that.
TBP_Ingredients

Hallowed out potato skins.  I used a combination of a spoon and a melon baller to get as much potatoey goodness out as I could
TBP_HollowedOut

Filling all mixed up
TBP_FillingDone

Used that to fill the potatoes while giggling since one potato had a crack in it and continuously made fart noises.  Yes, I am an adult, why do you ask?
TBP_FillingPotatoes

I went back over them and filled them even more with the filling that was left, then topped with the little pile of cheese and bacon there.  Why was there a little pile of cheese and bacon?  Because I didn’t follow the recipe exactly and thought the bacon went into the filling with the cheese.  Nope
TBP_ReadyForBaking

Baked!
TBP_Done

These were so good.  Here’s a little cross cut action for you.  Can you see where the potato ends and the filling begins?  I have dreams about that now
TBP_Split

I loved these.  Definitely not effortless, probably better made on a weekend when you have time, but definitely worth being made.  They were so filling, that one of them was good enough for a meal.  I even had some for breakfast.  If you think about it, all that’s missing is eggs – it has potatoes, cheese and bacon.  Sounds like a perfect fit to me!

A different type of comfort noodles

When I was growing up, my mother would make us some kind of noodle boiled in chicken broth when we were sick.  I saw this and it was a very similar recipe.  I thought it would make a simple side for a busy weeknight.

Ingredients.  Yep, that’s it.  The yellow container is soup base.  The original called for bouillon, but this was all I had.  It worked just fine.
AN_Ingredients

Done.  I don’t have many pictures because it was SO simple.  One pot, boil twice and cover for 30 minutes, stirring 2-3 times.
AN_Done

Plated
AN_Plated

I LOVED these noodles.  They are effortless except some stirring.  I think this may just replace my mother’s orzo and broth for when I am sick.  I ate on them for a while, but it does make a lot.  I would think it would go with anything.  Maybe some beef and gravy poured over top of it.  Oooh – that sounds like a good idea.  Coming up at some point.

 

Biscuit Pizza

I bought some buttermilk for a recipe that I never got around to making.  I never made it, but still had a bunch of buttermilk that I needed to use.  I came across this recipe a long time ago and decided to make it.  It was very simple to make and didn’t really take much time, but I was not a fan.  That will come later.  First – the pictures

Ingredients
BP_Ingredients

Dough all mixed up
BP_MixedUp

This is how I rolled it out without throwing it across the room.  Parchment on the bottom to make it easier to transfer to the baking sheet.  I used wax paper on top so I could roll it out without it sticking to the rolling pin.  The towel is to keep it from moving all over the place.  It worked pretty well.
BP_RollingOut

I still used my fingers to make it bigger, though
BP_ReadyForToppings

Now, start layering
BP_Sauce

Cheese
BP_Cheese

Sausage
BP_Sausage

Baked.  It looks over done, but for some reason my cheese always does that when it is on pizza
BP_Baked

So, back to the reasons I wouldn’t make it again.  It seemed a bit salty and it didn’t have the structure that I look for in a pizza dough.  I kept thinking it was going to break when I tried to eat it.  I didn’t really like the seasonings in the crust.  I probably would have preferred it to only have garlic.  I just don’t think biscuit dough is good for pizza.