Monday, March 11, 2013

The author of ingenuity is desperation...or something like that

Alright kids. So I really need to get off my lazy butt and stop thinking about alll the things I want to blog about and actually do it. For instance. I've been reading quite a bit, but can I think of anything cool to say about those books that hasn't been said before...right now, no. Not to mention, that life has been sort of crazy over the last few months. I started helping out my friend who runs an animal rescue called Rocky's Rescue by fostering a puppy...i.e. I took on another child. And then in the middle of it all my husband had to make an emergency business trip that ended up consuming the whole month of February. Thus making me want to just hide in a dark room every night rocking back and forth saying "It's okay...It's okay...two more weeks...I can do this....breeeeaaathh."
So the fact that this next subject has kept my attention for the last few weeks means that it might be something fun to share with you....and more likely it has to do with food.

Here's the story.

So while my husband was on the other side of the country basking in the sun and sand and claiming to work. I decided that if I was going to survive with out my "Mommy Time" (the time where my husband steps in at 4:00 every day while I go scream into a pillow or take a very long walk to keep myself from having a conniption ) I was going to have to take charge and become (cue the echo effect) "The FUN FUN FUN MOM MOM MOM!!!!" I felt that with Hubby out of the way,so to speak, now might be a good time to do some of the things with the kids that he would either roll his eyes at or talk me out of. Besides, we Skyped every night during dinner so it's not like I was completely unsupervised..right? (He should just be happy that I didn't take a road trip to Disney Land)

On one particular day I was trying to figure out what to do for dinner. Going out to eat was not an option ( I went out the night before it was like trying to herd monkeys) I had been wanting to make some sort of pasta/ ravioli thing. But to do what I wanted I needed to find my pasta maker. I know it's in my garage somewhere!!!! I swear, I just saw it about two months ago. The only problem is that Hubby is the only one who knows where things are in there and I can't move things around to reach them in the dark poisonous spider infested corners...I'm short and did I mention the poisonous spiders?

I was conflicted...I knew my kids would love to help turn the crank and watch the dough come out. It's like using a very sophisticated  play dough press. And darn it, I wanted homemade noodlly goodness! So what was I do to?

Well, the only thing I could think to do...something a lot more fun.

Cookie cutter noodles!!!!!!

As you can see by the picture. The process is quite simple.

Here is what you need:
-Dough recipe for home made noodles like this one (it's the first link I found when I googled "Home made noodle recipe" but feel free to look around)
-Rolling pin
-A lot of extra flour for dusting your table/flat surface.
-Cookie cutters - any size, shape or theme. I wouldn't use anything too intricate though...We used Christmas, Easter and pretty much what ever was in my big bag of cookie cutters that I've collected over the years...heck there is even a train in there....
-A large pot of boiling liquid.Water, Chicken broth or Vegetable broth or what ever you want to cook your noodles in.

Now you are ready!

Make your dough. I have a recipe that has been handed down from my mom from her mom etc. We call them Pot Pie noodles (because in Pennsylvania Dutch culture Pot Pie is not really a pie with flaky crust and filling but a form of noodle soup. And now you know!). But really any Egg dough recipe would do...

Roll out your dough. It can be thick 1/4 inch or thin 1/8 inch. It doesn't matter. Just remember that the thicker the noodle the longer it takes to cook.* Now is the time when you will need some of that extra flour. You don't want the dough to stick to your surface because then that makes it really hard to pick it up and still keep its shape. And don't be worried if your dough isn't all that smooth. It will still taste yummy. Also, the extra flour comes in handy if your kids are like mine. The second your back is turned they decide they are going to just plop a cookie cutter right in the middle of the dough instead of starting at the edge and systematically cutting the dough as to achieve the maximum yield per roll....Thus, making it necessary to re-roll the dough several times until it is all used up. (throwing hands in the air with eye roll...bah! Kids!)

Next comes the fun part... you dump out the cookie cutters and let them have at it!

While they are having fun, make sure your liquid is boiling before you start adding noodles**otherwise your noodles could disintegrate.

And then you just let them cook. Depending on the thickness, cooking times will vary. But that's when the "Oh well, I guess I'm just going to have to taste one of these every two or three minutes to see if they are done." goes into effect. Also, like with any noodle, make sure you stir regularly. You don't want them to burn on the bottom or stick together.

Who says that gingerbread men cookie cutters are only for Christmas?

 In this batch I think I used too small of a pot so the noodles started to break up a little bit while I was stirring...
In all honestly, I didn't mind it.....From  now on, I think I'm going to call this "Zombie Pot Pie"

If Gingerbread men aren't your thing...try Angels
Or Butterflies....

Or Dinosaurs... You can see by the end my pot started to get too small....

In the end I think I will call this idea a success! As long as I made sure that one of their favorite characters was visible in their bowl of soup, they were willing to eat it...I even sneaked in some veggies.

**Some people like to let their pasta dry out a bit before they cook it...I do not. Even though it might take longer to cook, I like the spongy outside that goes with the extra flour and liquid in the fresh noodle. But do what you know you like.

So I was thinking after I posted this...1. I need to go back and edit all the spelling mistakes and 2. Another cool thing to try with this would be to add some food coloring to the dough before you roll it out....just to add to the fun and to maybe color co-ordinate with any holiday theme you wish.