I love chicken & noodles when the weather gets cooler. I especially love it when everyone in the house gets the first round of fall/winter cold and cough, and we all need some warm-your-bones comfort food. Ideally, I would always have time to make homemade noodles, chop fresh veggies, and hand-harvest herbs from my windowsill garden (confession: I don’t even have a windowsill garden), but there are days when fast and tasty is necessary. This recipe is for those days.
If you don’t have very many people in your household, please take note before you begin. I was not kidding about this being a large family recipe. Made per these instructions, this recipe filled my 8-quart stock pot nearly to the top. There are seven of us, and we had about a third of the pot left over. If you’re not feeding lots of people, I hope you have plenty of Tupperware.
This Is How I Make Chicken & Noodles
Start by rinsing the chicken pieces and putting them into a large stock pot (at least 8 quarts). Add enough water to cover the chicken, plus a cup or two. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer for 45 minutes. Check the chicken to be sure it’s done. It should be falling off the bones. If not, let it simmer for another 15 minutes.
When the chicken is cooked, remove the pieces from the stock pot and place them on a large plate to cool. This is where I put my kids and husband to work with dinner prep! I set a big bowl in front of them for the chicken, another small bowl for the skins (the dogs enjoy the treat), and a couple of small plates in front of the kids for bones and icky gristly pieces. They go to work on “picking the chicken” while I tend to the broth.
If you don’t know how to remove chicken from the bone, it’s a pretty simple task to learn. Remove the skin. Pull the big pieces of meat off the bone with your fingers. Tear it into bite-size pieces and check for the gristly bits that you don’t care to eat. Pull those off with your fingers or a knife and throw them away. Use your fingers to pull any remaining smaller bits of meat from the bone. Feed the skins to the dog or other beloved carnivorous pet, and throw the bones away.
As you cooked the chicken, the water magically transformed into chicken broth. There might be some stuff floating in the pot. You can remove those bits with a fine strainer. Or a tea basket. I don’t have a fine strainer, OK? Reusable coffee filters also work. You don’t need to remove every single particle. I just want you to be comfortable with your broth.
Add the two other cartons of chicken broth to your magical pot o’ broth. Throw in your lima beans or other veggies, plus the Italian seasoning. Bring the whole mess back to a decent simmer. By now, your assistants should have a big bowl of bite-size chicken for you, so grab it and put the chicken (sans bowl, please) back into the pot. Pour in your noodles and cook until they’re done to your liking. About 15 minutes is a good start.
When the noodles are done, pour the can of evaporated milk into the pot. Give it a stir, and you’re ready to serve it! Ladle into bowls, add some salt and pepper, and crumble a few crackers on top if you wish. I don’t like to add salt until the end because my family has varying saltiness preferences, and sometimes the stock is salty enough on its own. That’s it!
The recipe is written out like an actual recipe below. Don’t forget to take a look at my Recipe & Craft Disclaimers!
- 2-3 pounds chicken thighs or legs
- 2 32-ounce cartons of chicken broth
- 1 bag of frozen lima beans (or, if you loathe limas, some frozen carrots or peas)
- 1-pound bag of homestyle noodles (I use Essenhaus narrow homestyle)
- 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 2 tsp. onion powder (or better yet, 1 Tbsp. freeze-dried diced onion)
- 12-ounce can of evaporated milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Saltines or buttery crackers to crumble on top
- Rinse chicken, place in large stock pot. Cover with water, then add 2 additional cups of water.
- Bring chicken to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 45 minutes.
- Remove chicken to a plate to cool. Reserve broth in stock pot.
- Remove chicken from bones, tear into bite-size pieces and set aside.
- Strain broth if desired. Add 2 cartons of broth to pot.
- Add frozen vegetables and Italian seasoning to pot and return to simmer.
- Return chicken pieces to the pot. Add noodles. Simmer until noodles are done, about 15 minutes.
- Pour the can of evaporated milk into the pot. Stir.
- Serve and add salt and pepper to taste. Crumble crackers on top (optional).