Creamy Chicken Noodle Bake

I recently made one of my favorite comfort foods: egg noodles, chicken, vegetables, and a warm cream sauce, all baked together. Add to that the fact that it heats up wonderfully and tastes just as good a day or two later (it has never lasted longer than that for me to know if it’s still good a week later!), and this recipe is a winner. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

-1/2 c butter
-1 T chicken stock base
-1/2 c diced onion
-1 t garlic powder
-2 c milk
-1 c half-and-half
-3 c boiling water
-3/4 c flour
-1/4 t pepper
-1 t salt
-1/2 t Italian seasoning

-45 oz vegetables ( equivalent to three cans, or you can use frozen or fresh–I used peas, corn, and carrots)
-2 small cans of mushroom pieces, chopped finely
-4 cups cooked, diced chicken (dark or white meat, whichever you prefer)
-6 c (12 oz) egg noodles

Directions:

Boil the egg noodles in salted water until tender. While they are cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the chicken base, onion, and garlic powder, then add the milk, half-and-half, and water. (I used the hot water from my noodles since they were done cooking at this point.) Add the flour and seasonings and whisk together to form a sauce. Add flour or water if you want it thicker or thinner–it should be like a heavy cream soup.

Add the vegetables and meat and cook until hot.

Divide the cooked noodles between three 8×8 pans or pie plates and divide the vegetable/meat/sauce over the top.

To serve, bake covered at 350°F, taking the foil off at the very end if desired.
To store, cool completely, then cover with plastic, wrap in foil, and seal in a gallon Ziploc bag. After freezing, thaw completely, remove bag and plastic and bake as otherwise.
*Note: I intentionally make a large amount of this recipe, since I always want to make some extra to freeze and eat later. If you only want to make one recipe, simply third the recipe–or to make it in a 9×13 pan, make two thirds of it. It’s a pretty forgiving recipe–I’ve tried several different modifications, and although this is the one I like best, they were all good!
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Meat Chili

Last night I made one of my favorite winter dinners–chili and cornbread. I love that it’s warm and filling, and full of good flavors–and very easy! Dinner in 45 minutes.

Ingredients:

-1 lb. hamburger
-1 T butter or oil, for frying
-3 stalks of celery, chopped
-1 large onion, chopped
-2 cans kidney beans
-1/2 c ketchup
-1 can cream of tomato soup
-1 soup can (about 1 c) milk
-14 oz chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned (with juice)
-1/2 t salt
-2 t chili powder
-1/4 t cayenne pepper (vary for how hot you want it; this is medium heat)
-1/2 t garlic powder
-1/2 t parsley

-Sour cream and colby cheese, to top

Directions:

Brown hamburger in a skillet. In a medium stockpot, melt butter and saute celery and onion. Add the meat and the rest of the ingredients to the stockpot, bring to a boil, and simmer for half an hour.

Serve in bowls with a generous sprinkling of cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

* I used this recipe for my cornbread and baked it for 30 minutes, covered with foil, and baked another 10.

Pork Chops & Rice

This morning was fairly frigid and I knew we would be wanting some warm dinner–so I got some pork chops out of the freezer and looked forward to this dish all day! I love that it’s both simple and full of flavor–one of our “keeper” recipes, for sure!

Ingredients:

-1 T olive oil
-4 3/4 inch pork chops
-1 can (10 1/2 oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup
-3/4 c milk
-3 T (1 1-oz pkg.) ranch dressing mix
-2 1/4 c water
-1 c uncooked long grain white rice

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and brown pork chops on both sides. Add the soup, milk, and half the ranch dressing powder and bring to a boil. Cover and cook until pork is thoroughly done, 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir the remaining ranch dressing powder into the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the rice, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes).

Serve pork and rice smothered in soup sauce. Hold jaw carefully, lest it drop to the floor at such an easy and delicious meal. Receive compliments graciously. 😉