by Sean Keeley, culinary specialist, Lincoln Land Community College
Well I made it to 52 and with the help of my kids and my best friend we had a super celebration. I arrived to signs in the yard and a German chocolate cake kitchen! It was my wish to have a pizza party and for the first time ever my kids hopped in the car went to the drive through and picked up the pizza without me. I am sure many of you have gone through it, but for me it was one of the first times watching my kids take the keys and go on a mission.
The pizza party was a success, the cake was a success and the fun was also! Pizza parties are rare around here so somewhere around the week before we had to do some cooking. I was/am still healing up, and I have been in a panic that food will run out – even though the freezer is full and there are always several other options to cook something if it had to be done!
It was not planned but one of the kings of comfort food was heading to the stove. Chicken and noodles! We had everything on hand but carrots, so we went for it. We added a new (to me) ingredient that I have never used in chicken and noodles. It was so good, and so obvious, I will never make them again without.
Chicken & Noodles ala Illinois
Preheat oven to 350ᵒF. Grease a 9”x9” cake/brownie pan.
Take one package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 2-3 pounds – trim fat and sprinkle with salt, pepper and a little poultry seasoning. Bake until done. Shred or cut into large dice, set aside.
Meanwhile in a large stock pot sauté over medium heat,
2 Tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, large dice
2 medium carrots, sliced ¼” thick (optional)
3 ribs celery, sliced ¼”thick
5 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (or 1 teaspoons dried thyme leaves)
½ cup Italian parsley, minced (if available)
Once the onions are translucent add in
2 quarts chicken stock
1 can cream of chicken soup (the secret ingredient)
Bring to a boil and then turn to a simmer for 20 minutes. Return to a boil and add in
1 package (24 ounce) Reames frozen “homestyle” noodles (the one time I am brand specific)
Maintain a simmer for 20 minutes, stir occasionally and then add in the chicken meat. Heat for 5 minutes and serve.
We served it right out of the pot. Sometimes over mashed potatoes, sometimes with saltines. It did not go into the freezer as planned. We ate it for lunch and dinner three days straight until it was gone. It was a sad farewell, but we knew we’d meet again!
Want to know more?
Lincoln Land Community College offers associate degree programs in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management and academic credit certificates in Culinary Arts and Baking/Pastry. For more information call 217-786-4613 or visit www.llcc.edu/hospitality-culinary-arts.