Our first course… ILP #1

This week has been the first week of exploring my Independent Learning Project.  I finally decided to center mine around food! Originally I was going to say “baking,” but then I realized that my husband and I are trying to eat healthier and desserts won’t help much with that! Therefore, I’m working on cooking, creating, and will do a bit of baking as well!

Being a farmer’s wife, I’ve had to learn to adapt to change. #1: My husband’s arrival time is different every night, so I’m never sure when supper should be ready. #2: We live 30+ miles away from the closest store, so ingredients end up as more of “suggestions” than requirements! I’ll discuss these a little bit more with each recipe!

Meal #1: Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Delicious! This one earns 6 of 5 gold stars to me, and it’s husband approved as well! (Yes, we had soup in the middle of summer!)  I got the recipe off of Pinterest, of course! soup 1This is all the soup part consists of. Pretty basic soupy stuff! (The best part will come!)

The main ingredient is noodles, which are always WAY better homemade! I used my husband’s grandma’s recipe (it’s the best that I’ve found!) Very simple, only a few ingredients needed, as you can see. noodle ing.  The noodle process is kind of fun! You start in a bowl, but then take it to the counter to work by hand for a little bit. noodle 1  Then you get your rolling pin and start spreading it out. noodle 2 You could do the entire process this way, but I have a sweet noodle maker my mom gave me! You just roll the dough through a few times, changing the thickness each time to make it a little bit thinner. It even comes with an attachment that will cut all the noodles for you, but that makes more cleaning and I don’t mind cutting them myself! noodle 4  After I got it to the thickness I desired, this is what it looked like. noodle 5  Then you cut it up and let them dry for a couple of hours! noodle 6

When you’re done with the noodles, go back to the soup base.  Put all of the seasonings in the pot, along with the whole chicken breasts and cut veggies.

Just a side note about my cutting board: It was a wedding gift from some of my closest friends and it’s probably my favorite, most used gift! board Being a farmer’s wife isn’t always easy, but I’m proud to be a member of the club!

You let the base ingredients boil for an hour. {Smells amazing!} When it’s done, remove the chicken and shred it up! (I also remove the veggies so they don’t turn into complete mush while the noodles are boiling!) z1

While the noodles boil, it’s time for things to get funky! (This is the best part!) Cream sauce! z7  It’s a basic roux or white sauce.  The recipe calls for 2 cups milk and 2 cups heavy whipping cream. Since this wasn’t a planned meal (I’m nowhere cool enough for that yet!) I didn’t have heavy whipping cream so I just used all milk. That makes this healthier, right?

Once the noodles have cooked to your desired consistency, add back in the chicken, veggies, and white sauce! Let it all cook a little longer to blend nicely and then it’s ready! z3 (I apologize I’m not very good at photography! You can’t see the carrots or true details of the soup, but it’s all there and it’s all delicious!)

This is where timing comes in. I just took it off the burner and let it sit.  I was going to put it in the fridge until Hubby came home, but he came while it was still warm so we were able to eat it rather quickly! z2 Husband Approved!

For dessert I just cut up some strawberries and blackberries. Super easy and ready at any time! z5

Snack #1: Granola

Another Pinterest find! I like to tell myself that granola is healthy if it’s homemade.  The oats and honey have to be, right? This is a very simple recipe! Combine the oil, honey, and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Make sure to boil until all the grainy stuff dissolves! Mix with the oats, cinnamon, and salt.  Put on a baking sheet and bake for an hour, stirring every so often. (I had to cook mine over an hour. Possibly the humidity?) When it’s done, cool it and then break it up and put it in airtight containers! g1 This makes an easy snack! Eat it by itself or put with yogurt and fruit to make a parfait!

Meal #2: Steak and potatoes

Time can sometimes be on your side! Marinating gets better the longer you leave it, so steaks can often be a good choice! I haven’t found my “go-to” steak recipe yet, so I like doing some experimenting on my own. These were the ingredients I found to play with last night:

I started by brushing on a touch of BBQ and worsheshire sauce. Then I sprinkled a touch of the other stuff on them.

For the potatoes, I decided to do wedges because they cook much faster than baked! s4 I just chopped them up and then mixed up everything else and smothered them.  Pretty simple 🙂  Here was the finished product! s6  Unfortunately our grill broke last week, so we had to use the little George Forman so we didn’t get the beautiful grill marks or that flame taste. 😦 Hubby really liked it all and even asked what I put on it! (That’s a huge compliment coming from him!)

For dessert we had some of that granola from earlier along with chopped up strawberries and vanilla Greek yogurt! g2 I apologize for not taking the picture sooner, when you could see all of the pretty layers.  I’ll keep working on that!

Helpful Hint: Cheese

Living on a farm is an amazing blessing. Farm fresh eggs, homegrown beef and pork, along with space for a garden. *Heaven*  If only we had dairy cows to make butter, milk, and cheese, we could go off the grid! But that would take entirely too much time and energy, so we still buy that stuff 😉 We like sliced cheese to put on sandwiches, cheeseburgers, and so on.  I’ve found that the cheapest way to buy this is in a huge package.  c1I’ve discovered that if you chunk it up, then it is much easier to manage!  Wrap each section in plastic wrap and then place in a baggie.  When you run out of the one in the fridge, just pull down a new one! This is way cheaper than buying the individually wrapped ones! Just a thought! c2

I hope you’ve enjoyed my discoveries from week 1!  I’ve really enjoyed getting to purposely explore more with food! I’ve learned that I like taking pictures as I go.  I feel like I’m a TV show host saying “Like so.”  I love watching these shows, so I apologize if you don’t!  (I also apologize for the insanely long post!)  If you have any suggestions of things I should try in the future, feel free to leave a comment!

2 thoughts on “Our first course… ILP #1

  1. Your meals look delicious! I just received one of those nifty noodle makers from my grandparents and I look forward to trying it out. I usually just buy the frozen Reames noodles, which have never disappointed, but I’d really like to try homemade! You make it look easy, so I look forward to having the time to try it out. I’ve never seen the big packages of sliced cheese without the individual wrapper, so I’ll have to check next time I’m at the store. I like saving money, so this would be right up my alley. Fun post and I look forward to seeing what you cook up next week!

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  2. Thank you! It is very easy, I promise! I’m hoping to work myself up to more complicated things, but startling slow is the best for me! I found it at Walmart! I’m a penny-pincher, so feel free to share your money saving ideas with me too! 🙂

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