The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Natalie Schmitt: Thinking Out Loud - Sharing Stories & Recipes

1-11-2021- column

Whew! We made it through all the special family holiday meals and shared goodies. The frig is finally empty of leftovers and I’m on our last bag of treats from the neighbor. I think he must have ESP. I was telling Mark how I missed my Grandmother’s peanut brittle and toffee bits. A few minutes later, Loren shows up at our door sharing a bag of homemade treats, including peanut brittle and toffee. It was just like Grandma’s!

It is nice to enjoy special meals and treats but now it is time to get back to normal food. For Mark, that is meat and potatoes and a veggie of color at my urging. There is something very comforting in simple cooking. I think that is why we are always fixing a dish to take over to the neighbors when they have too much going on in their life.

Twelve years ago when I was in the hospital with meningitis, friends from near and far filled our frig and freezer with meals for our young family. I didn’t have to cook for over a month with all the lasagna and hamburger casseroles/hotdishes waiting in the freezer. The kids loved the different dishes, but there was a favorite dish they still remember. Joyce brought over a couple of quart jars of her Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. They gobbled it all up before I got home to even have a taste! A couple years later, Joyce brought over more soup for me to enjoy. Now I understand why the kids were so nuts about her soup.

I’m always taken by surprise when someone asks for “my recipe” and Joyce was too when I asked if I could share it in my column. She said she really didn’t have a recipe. It was some of this and some of that but she took a moment to write it down. She says the secret is the Homemade Noodles from the Betty Crocker Cookbook. You need to make them a day or two before you want to make the soup. (If you don’t have time to make the noodles, you can buy homemade frozen noodles at the grocery store. They’re very thick and taste like homemade.)

Homemade Egg Noodles

(Betty Crocker Cookbook)
2 c. flour
3 egg yolks
1 egg
2 tsp salt
¼ to ½ c. water

Make well in center of flour. Add egg yolks, egg and salt; mix thoroughly. Mix in water, 1 TBSP at a time, until dough is stiff but easy to roll.

Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll dough, one part at a time into paper-this rectangle on well floured cloth-covered board. (keep remaining dough covered)

Loosely fold rectangle lengthwise into thirds; cut crosswise into ¼ inch strips. Shake out strips and place on towel until stiff and dry, about 2 hours.

Break dry strips into smaller pieces to add to soup.

Chicken Noodle Soup, Joyce Schmitt (our husbands are distant cousins)

In large pot/stock pot add:

2 – 3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. shredded or chopped carrots
½ - ¾ c. chopped sweet onion
½ tsp lemon pepper
3+ chicken bouillon cubes1 quart water

Cook until vegetables are almost soft.


1 – 2 quarts more water
3 – 4 chicken bouillon cubes

Bring to boil.


½ to 1 batch homemade noodles
Cook until noodles are almost done.


1 – 2 can mushroom soup

Simmer. Serve.

It is hard to believe I’ve been sharing my adventures and misadventures in the kitchen with you as I learn to be a country cook. I have enjoyed it, but I’m not the only one who has stories and recipes to share. We are all country cooks. I would love to share your tips, ideas, stories and recipes. If you’re not comfortable writing them, just contact me and I’ll put it together for you. Do you have questions or need advice? Let me know and we’ll see what we can discover. My greatest puzzle is how to peel hard boiled eggs without destroying the egg!? Do you use fresh or older eggs? Do you peel when they’re still hot or after they’ve cooled? I’ve tried several different ways and just can’t seem to peel enough eggs make a pretty plate of deviled eggs. I usually end up with a big batch of egg salad! Any suggestions?

Next month we’ll learn how to spell love with food for Valentine’s Day.


As their 4 children pursue dairy careers off the farm, Natalie and Mark are starting a new adventure of milking registered Holsteins just because they like good cows on their Minnesota farm. (Natalie grew up in Stronghurst, the daughter of Becky and the late Larry Dowell.)