Sunday, February 05, 2012

CDC Noodles

Anyone in the military community knows that CDC does not necessary stand for "Center of Disease Control." That would be a pretty freaky name for a meal huh? Actually, CDC in this case stands for "Child Development Center", which is the preschool and daycare located on most large military installations.

Samuel absolutely loves to go to the CDC. I don't have him enrolled yet in preschool. He goes to what's called "hourly care". I try to get him in at regular times (this requires me being on the ball and calling to book 30 days out). One of the things that he loves, surprisingly, is the food there. Like any federally funded operation, the CDC has cafeteria food for their cuisine. Nothing fancy. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the fact that all his peers are there eating, so instead flailing himself down dramatically on the floor declaring, "I HATE that stuff MOMMY!" he's more inclined to acted "civilized".

Samuel these days lives off of macaroni & cheese, milk and air. I bust my butt trying to come up with creative and healthy things for him to eat and it's to no avail. Thank goodness for multivitamins! I'm not proud of my own vanity & jealousy but I still really wonder why he enjoys cafeteria food over my own? My food that's been cooked with my love? Regardless of my feelings though, the "lunch lady" has stolen him away from me. My good friend and neighbor went to pick up her daughter there the other day and spotted him shoveling food into his mouth. He didn't even stop to say goodbye to his friend.

So instead of wallowing in my misery, I decided to take a hint and try to replicate a kind of cafeteria style meal at home. It's basically beef with egg noodles. Nothing fancy to this thing; just the basics:

  • 1 lb. beef (I used flank steak ) cut into bite size pieces or, strips
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots (about 1 carrot)
  • 12 oz. bag of egg noodles
  • 3 Tbsp. Bouillon (I use this at the commissary I think it's $4.99 for a jar) or about 6 cups of broth
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking oil
This is not an exact science by any stretch of the imagination nor is it difficult. For some this may come our too salty. Just add more water next time or, less broth/bouillon.
  1. Heat oil in skillet and brown meat.
  2. Add Bouillon & 5 cups of water/5 cups broth, noodles, & carrots.
  3. Cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes.
  4. With slotted spoon, take out everything in the skillet and place in a large bowl.
  5. There should be some dripping left in the skillet. Put the Tbsp. of flour in the skillet and whisk in the drippings.
  6. Add remaining cup of water and boil/simmer until thick.
  7. Dump all ingredients back into the skillet and stir up.

That's it. My kid wolfs this down. My husband makes sure there is always a lot more... which there is. This feeds 4 very well for one serving and there should be leftovers.

I don' think it's too "unhealthy", but the sodium could be a factor in this. Again, adjust the meal to your taste buds. Since the bouillon that I use is vegetable base, adding a bunch of mushrooms instead of meat could really work in this. I'd do it but family is not fond of the fungi. Also, it's pretty economical and is made in less than 30 minutes. Free of dairy & alcohol.



At 3:23 AM, Blogger Poppy said...

I completely understand! I have 6 children and they are pretty open to my cuisine. However, our daycare children do not seem to appreciate the culinary delights that I put in front in them each day.

I've found that the more bland the food, the better my little daycare sweeties will eat. And cafeteria food is probably the most accurate description I can come up with.

Thanks for sharing this solid recipe that I can add to my meal collection! (It actually looks yummy)

Have a great day!


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