My husband, Doug, and I met in 2007. I was in my late 20’s, he was in his early 30’s. When we met, we were both at the point of our lives of wanting to settle down, get married and start a family. We were married within the first year of meeting. I quickly learned that he came from a long line of outstanding cooks. His mother, Marilyn, always made a full-blown spread for dinner as he was growing up. When I learned of this, I knew I had big shoes to fill!!
On our second or third date, Doug took me to meet his family at the lake. This was especially exciting for me because growing up, I’d always wanted to go to lakes on the weekend with my family, but time never allowed. We arrived at the campsite early in the evening on a Friday. When we showed up, his sister and her family were already there, and Doug’s mom and dad were busy preparing dinner. Marilyn was sitting at the concrete picnic table cutting up potatoes for fried potatoes (a Bolin family staple). Doug’s dad, Ronnie, had Ribeyes marinating and Jena, Doug’s sister, was putting together a salad. It was a scene that I could picture myself in, in the future!
Though there are numerous recipes of Marilyn’s that I LOVE! The two that pop into my head right away are her Ham & Beans and her Cheesy Chicken and Noodle Soup. She only makes ham and beans when her kids’ families are visiting. They are like no other ham & beans I’ve ever had. If Marilyn makes ham & beans when we are visiting and Jena’s family can’t make it, or vice versa, Rodney, Jena’s husband, and I always joke about who Marilyn loves more. In our eyes, Marilyn shows love through her food. So, when she makes ham & beans for you, well then, you rank high in her book. The same joke goes between Doug and Jena, but it’s when Marilyn makes her famous sweet tea. Apparently, she only makes it when Doug’s family is visiting, which is a good thing, because her sweet tea is TO DIE FOR!!! It’s obvious who she loves more, don’t ya think?
The other recipe, Cheesy Chicken and Noodle soup, is amazing, comforting and light, all at the same time! The first time I had this soup was around Christmas time. We were visiting Doug’s parents for the holidays. We showed up after dinnertime, but we were so hungry when we got there. She whipped up this batch of cheesy chicken noodle soup and I can remember the first time that I tasted it. It had chunky carrots, tender egg noodles and this cheesy broth that was so flavorful!! It has become a staple in our house ever since. My Dinner Diva Facebook group has come to love it as well! And you know what? It is SO SIMPLE!! But Marilyn has this way of taking a recipe and making it greater than it ever was intended to be! She’s that way with many things in her life, but since this is a recipe column, we’ll leave it at that.
Granny Bolin’s Cheesy Chicken & Noodle Soup
6 cups of chicken broth
1 Tbsp. chicken base
2+ tsp. Salt, pepper & dried parsley. Add or omit, to your liking.
2 Tbsp. granulated garlic and 2 Tbsp. onion powder
1-2 Tbsp. oil of choice
3 medium carrots, sliced
3 stalks of celery slice
16 oz. wide egg noodles
3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded or cubed
8-10 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed
- Sauté carrots and celery in a large stock pot with oil. Cook until almost tender.
- Add seasonings and sauté for another minute or so.
- Add chicken breast and chicken broth.
- Bring to a boil and add egg noodles.
- Turn heat down and simmer until noodles are al dente.
- Add cubed Velveeta and stir until thoroughly melted
- Let soup continue to simmer until noodles are done. About 5 minutes or so.
You can always add more Velveeta to make the broth as cheesy as you like.