Fried Noodles: A Childhood Favorite

Fried Noodles W/Cheese | Brittany's PantryMy parents would probably think that this is a little funny.  You throw something together for dinner, trying to shake things up a little, and that small, insignificant side dish becomes one of your oldest daughter’s most favorite childhood dishes.  Not my Dad’s excellent chili or his bechamel sauce with seafood over linguine.  Not my Mom’s homemade bread, which, if I close my eyes, I can smell right now, salty butter melting all over it and dripping with honey.  And certainly not the oatmeal raisin cookies my brother and I once made with garlic powder instead of cinnamon.  My Mom wouldn’t let us bake and serve those, but Nathan and I did eat the dough.  But let me back up a little.

When I was a kid, my parents used to make pan fried noodles.  These are not connected in any way to Asian cooking.  They were literally egg noodles fried in a pan.  Well, not just any pan.  In an enormous cast iron pan with 4 inch high sides.  It was like a kettle or dutch oven, but it had a handle on it like a skillet.  I assume they still own this phenomenon, as I have never seen one anywhere else so I don’t know how they would ever replace it.  I cannot even begin to count how many pounds of hamburger with a diced onion I browned in that skillet, or batches of beef storganoff I mixed together.  And it was perfect to fry up a batch of noodles.  Now, this whole process is so easy its a little embarrassing.  You take some noodles and fry them.  Yup.  That’s it.  Its a little astonishing that this was my favorite meal to make in college.  Or that when my husband was deployed and I was facing months of nights cooking for only one person (something I do NOT like to do), that this was my go to meal.  My quick, easy, comforting and always tasty plate of goodness.  I will also add that with the exception of cereal, it is quite possibly the only meatless dish that I would pass off as a meal.  I would add leftover pulled chicken if I had it on hand, but…I can’t believe I am saying this…its better without.  As a kid, we ate it as a side dish with a protein and a vegetable.  It took a large bag of egg noodles and I don’t recall leftovers.  After learning to cook meals for 8 people, half of them boys and all of us athletes, it took years for me to scale back my portions when preparing food.  This recipe is perfect for a family of four.  I have added a few things over the years that my parents never bothered with.  I am pretty sure they just poured vegetable oil in the hot pan and dumped in cooked noodles.  Maybe some salt.  Mine is a bit more interesting, but every bit as true to the original.

Fried Noodles

1/2 bag of egg noodles, cooked according to pkg directions
1 T canola or olive oil
1 T butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, optional

Add the oil and butter to a skillet and heat over med high heat till foam subsides.  Add noodles and sprinkle with garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Let the noodles fry for a minute or two.  If you toss them around they will steam and turn mushy without getting crispy.  Once they start to get some color, toss them a bit, letting them get crunchy, but not burnt.  Toss them a third time and pull off the heat.  If desired, top with Parmesan cheese.

Note: I used to use the cheapest curly egg noodles I could find.  When I found out the nutritional difference between those and the yolk free or cholesterol free noodles, I switched.  The curliness of the noodles fries up much better than any other kind I have tried.  Also, I use butter for flavor and oil so that I can fry at a higher temperature.  Feel free to use all heart healthy oils, but if you use all butter, it will burn the edges of your noodles before they can get crispy.

Simple Soup

Simple Soup just may be the fastest and easiest meal you will ever make.  {Brittany's Pantry}Just a quick note to post this fantastic soup.  We have company this week and I made this for a light supper the other night when we were all still full from lunch, but wanted a little something.  A fresh, steaming batch of popovers and it was the perfect meal!  It takes less than 15 minutes to make, its satisfying, and the ingredients can always be on hand.  Its the perfect warm lunch on a chilly weekend or quick dinner during the week.  I got the idea when I saw Giada DeLaurentiis make something similar on the Food Network, but never looked up the recipe.  I have no idea how close this is to her original, but its what I have been making for the last several years.  Alter as you like and enjoy!

Simple Soup

2 boxes good quality chicken broth
1 small package cheese tortellini, refrigerated or frozen
1 tsp dried parsley
fresh ground black pepper

Bring all ingredients, except pasta, to a boil.  Add pasta and simmer for several minutes or until pasta floats and is cooked through.  Serves 4.
Note: Feel free to use any kind of refrigerated or frozen filled pasta.  Smaller seems to work better, but there are alot of different varieties of tortellini out there.  There are even whole wheat filled pastas which is awesome in this soup.

California Chopped Salad

California Chopped Salad W/Shrimp | Brittany's PantryO.K. So I have been a bit busy these last few days and while I have been cooking, I have not had the time to tell you about it.  We replaced all the storm windows in our screen porch, finished painting the outside of our house, finished up swimming lessons…we have had a full week!

This is a Giada DeLaurentiis recipe and while I don’t love and follow every chef on the Food Network, she is one I have been loyal to long before she became so well known.  My husband I have regular cravings for the Chicken Piccata and Lemon Spaghetti from her first cookbook, Everyday Italian.  I think the only other person I am so dedicated to in the food world is Ina Garten.  But that is another day.

This is so fresh and tangy and scrumptious, my family ate every last morsel.  To be fair, my husband will eat just about anything and I seem to have the only two kids in the universe who aren’t picky.  Even so, this was an exceptionally good meal.  Hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did.  I already have it on the menu plan again for next week!

California Chopped Salad W/Shrimp | Brittany's Pantry California Chopped Salad-recipe modified 1/26/13
Inspired by Giada De Laurentiis

1 head romaine lettuce, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
1 c frozen corn, defrosted
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise or quartered if very large
8 oz large shrimp, peeled and deveined
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tomatoes, chunked, or 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced

3 T lemon juice
3 T olive oil
1 T honey
salt and pepper

Toss the shrimp and zucchini in a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.  If the shrimp is not large enough to grill, skewer the seafood and grill over medium hight heat with the zucchini, until shrimp is just pink and the zucchini has grill marks and is just cooked.  Cube the zucchini and shrimp into bite sized pieces. Add the romaine to a large serving bowl or platter.  Add the remaining salad ingredients.  Whisk all dressing ingredients together and drizzle over salad.  Toss lightly.  Serve and enjoy!

O.K. Its official. I started a blog. And, may I add, that I did it all by myself. The appearance may change over time as I figure out what all the computer jargin means, (Figure out? Who are we kidding. I’ll ask my husband.) but until then, this is what ya get!
The subject? My favorite thing to talk about, after my family. Food. Glorious food. My heart beats a little faster just thinking about it!

For those of you that don’t know me well, I like to cook. A lot. And after several bouts of good natured pestering, I have started this blog to talk about what I am cooking. I will post recipes as time allows-I have two children and it IS summer-and will try to keep the culinary chit chat interesting.
Basic Wheat Bread For Bread Machine | Brittany's PantrySo my first recipe is one that I get requests for the most. It is the basic wheat bread that I make all the time and try to keep loaves of stocked in my freezer. Its my own creation, but as with all recipes, feel free to change what you like.
Basic Wheat Bread For Bread Machine | Brittany's Pantry Basic Wheat Bread-for a bread machine
This recipe makes a 2lb loaf. Use the basic wheat bread setting. If making the bread on the rapid cycle, increase the yeast to 1 T. All bread machines seem to be pretty reliable and I use mine all the time. It is an incredible time saver and who ever regretted making homemade bread? No one! If you are in the market, give this version a try. It works well for our family.
Note: This recipe has been adjusted since the original post date. 5/31/11

Place all ing. in the bread machine in the order given. If your bread machine loads with all the wet ing. on the bottom, just flip flop the order.
2 c bread flour
2 c white whole wheat flour
3 T wheat germ
2 T ground flax, optional
1 tsp salt
1 c fat free or low fat plain yogurt
2/3 c water
3 T canola oil
3 T honey or maple syrup

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Note: White whole wheat flour is milled from white whole wheat, instead of the traditional red wheat. As a result it has all the nutritional benefits of regular whole wheat flour, but is lighter in flavor and texture. You can use it in all your recipes that ask for whole wheat flour, but they wont be as heavy or grainy. King Aurthur makes a great one. Its also really easy to sneak it into cookies or baked goods. Replace half of your regular flour with white whole wheat, and your kids will probably never know the difference. Happy baking!