Summer/Anytime Chicken Soup

Ah Ha!! My grands all began school today, all in one drop off location for the first time ever! So I’m making chicken soup to begin the new school year and soothe their souls. Enjoy in good health and I’ll give you an “A”. Consider making a double batch and sharing with family, a neighbor, or a friend. This is good Southern “know how!”

1 whole uncooked chicken
Water
1/2 t fresh thyme
1/2 t fresh oregano
1/2 t fresh basil, chopped
1/2 t dried red pepper flakes
1 t mustard seeds
3 Tbs olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 large carrots, diced
1 bunch spinach

Place whole chicken into large soup pot.
Add all spices, seasonings, and cover with water until chicken is submerged by two inches.
Bring chicken to boil, and reduce to simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove chicken and set aside to cool.
Continue to simmer broth another 30 minutes.
After chicken cools slightly, shred chicken by pulling apart with two forks.
Heat oil in skillet; add onion; cook until transparent, about 3 minutes.
Add remaining vegetables and cook for two minutes.
Add vegetables and chicken back to soup broth.
Toss in spinach at last minute and allow to wilt, about 1 minute.
Serve warm.

Quick Cauliflower Soup

There’s a long version I can share if you really want me to; but I was in a hurry this go around. I have a dear friend who took a tumble and fractured her jaw. Long story short, she needs to eat cream, pudding, a bowl full of mush* (nod to Goodnight Moon) and yummy homemade soup… for weeks. So I raced to the kitchen and made this Speedy Gonzales version of Cauliflower Soup (bonus, no cream!) and it turned out deliciously. Took every possible short cut known to this gal, and I’m hooking you straight up good people. So resurrect your middle school trapper keeper and take some notes. You have a choice…keep your old habits, or make new ones. It doesn’t need to be a complex tapestry!

3 Tbs olive oil
2 bags frozen chopped onions
1/2 t red pepper
2 cans cubed white potatoes, drained
3 bags frozen chopped cauliflowers, garlic flavored
10 cups low sodium vegetable stock
2 t ground oregano
2 t dried thyme
2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 t parsley paste**

In large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.
Add onion and red pepper.
Cook until softened, 5 to 6 minutes.
Add potatoes, cauliflower, stock, oregano, thyme, pepper, salt, and parsley paste.
Bring to simmer, and cook covered, until tender, about 30 minutes.
Blend with an immersion blender (or standard blender) until smooth.

This recipe made 6 quarts.
May easily cut in half. But i have several friends in need of some love…and since we can’t hug currently, hanging a quart of soup and a loaf of homemade bread on the doorknob works rather well.
Simple bread recipe coming soon!
Freezes beautifully.

* pic of mush
** would usually garnish with fresh parsley, but since i was putting it in containers, I mixed the paste in for the added flavor.

Everything Bagel Cheese Twists

A word from my kitchen…This is just the perfect little accompaniment for your afternoon tea or appetizer for cocktail hour. In my household, they are loved equally by both children and adults. The children like cheese on all of the twists and bagel spices on only half of the twists. The choice is yours, and it’s always right. The children and I have been making these together for years, because a good recipe never gets old!

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in refrigerator
1 large egg, beaten
2 Tbs everything bagel seasoning
1/4 cup grated Assiago cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out dough to smooth creases.
Cut puff pastry sheet in half crosswise, (I like using a pizza cutter for ease!) on lightly floured surface.
Then cut each half into 1″ wide strips.
Brush with egg wash.
Sprinkle with bagel seasoning and cheese (The children and I made half with bagel seasoning and half with just cheese).
Roll with rolling pin to set the ingredients into the pastry.
Twist each strip a few times.
Place on baking sheet.
Bake 18 minutes; rotate baking sheet; bake 4 more minutes until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool.

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

IMG_4037Taking a little mental trip back to my time in Thailand. Call me lazy…I’m finally getting around to completing my photo book of this trip that was fourteen months ago! All of the treats that we enjoyed keep popping up in my noggin as I pour over the hundreds of photographs. This recipe is based on a chicken soup that Chef Ohm of the Anantara Riverside Resort taught us. As we cooked by his side throughout the afternoon, along with a splash or more of champagne…he uttered some nice sayings like “remember that a recipe has no soul on its own; you bring the soul to it.” And Chef Ohm brought it folks! Sharing the soul and love; just sharing it.

Soup Thai Chicken Coconut Soup II

Ingredients:
3 Tbs sesame oil
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 medium carrots, diced
4 celery ribs, diced
2 t fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cans light coconut milk
2 Tbs red curry paste
3/4 t salt
3/4 t black pepper
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
2 Tbs smooth, light peanut butter
2 cups fresh baby spinach
2 green onions, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Fresh cilantro leaves
Salted peanuts, chopped

Directions:
In large saucepan, heat sesame oil over medium heat.
Add chicken, carrots, and celery.
Cook and stir until vegetables are softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add ginger and garlic; cook 1 minute.
Stir in tomatoes, coconut milk, curry paste, salt, and pepper.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
Add edamame; cook 10 more minutes.
Stir in peanut butter.
Stir in spinach, green onions, and lime.
Cook until spinach is wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Place in soup bowls.
Top with cilantro and chopped peanuts.
Garnish with a lime wedge.
Serves 8.

IMG_4052

A sampling from our private cooking class with Chef Ohm. Yummy!

Quick Fall Mushroom Soup

Soup Quick Mushroom III

It may not feel like it quite yet but the Autumn Equinox in our Northern Hemisphere is at 4:02pm TODAY! So Happy Friday to All. Yay. Here’s a little simple soup to wake up those taste buds. Why enjoy a small serving when you can have it all!

2 Tbs butter
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
6 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 cans (14 oz each) chicken broth
1 cup Half and Half cream
1/3 cup dry sherry
4 springs fresh thyme
1 Tbs fresh chopped thyme for garnish.

In large saucepan, heat butter over medium high heat.
Sauté mushrooms and onions until tender, about 5 minutes.
In separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, pepper, and 1 can chicken broth until smooth.
Stir into mushroom mixture.
Stir in remaining broth.
Bring to boil.
Cook until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low.
Stir in cream, sherry, and thyme sprigs.
Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove thyme.
Puree with immersion blender in the pot; or transfer to blender and puree.
OR, serve with mushrooms as they are.
Garnish with chopped fresh thyme

Serves 6.

All the Way from Mexico, Black Bean Soup

GulfHola Baby! This was supposed to be coming to you last week from Cabo on the Tropic of Cancer! For a bit of geography click on this link and learn all about our tropics, latitudes, longitudes, and the likes. Exercise for the brain y’all. But the night before we were to travel, a little publicized Tropical Storm named Lydia hit the Baha Peninsula, washing out roads, closing the airport, knocking out electricity, and much more. I was ready to throw in the towel and just stay home; but not my fast thinking sister-in-law HHH. Within thirty minutes, she had us re-booked to the east coast of Mexico with stellar accommodations at The Iberostar.  PoolI was determined to do some testing of Mexican/Southwestern recipes with the Cabo Chef at Diamante. so I just switched gears and here I am sharing new knowledge with you good people from Playa del Carmen instead! Mucho to come! Yummy, Bold Flavors! Just attempting to put some well being into each and every day.

Soup Black Bean Soup I

3 Tbs olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 Tbs ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 14 oz cans black beans, drained and divided
3 cups chicken broth
Juice of whole lime
1/4 t salt
1/2 t black pepper

For Garnish:
Avocado, cut into small pieces
Cilantro, chopped
Sour Cream
Lime slices

Heat oil over medium high heat in soup pot.
Add onion.
Sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add cumin, garlic, 2 cans of drained beans, and broth.
Cover and cook on low 30 minutes.
While soup is cooking, heat remaining 1 can beans in separate pot for 20 minutes, until tender.
Remove soup pot from heat.
Carefully blend with immersion blender until smooth and totally blended.*
Add lime juice, salt and pepper.

To serve:
Ladle soup into bowl.
Spoon separate beans in center.
Top with dollop of sour cream, avocado pieces, cilantro, and lime.**

*You may also use a blender to blend soup in batches. Cover top with wet paper towel instead of blender top. This allows steam to escape.

**I squeeze a bit more lime juice in to each bowl after it is served and garnish side of bowl with additional lime slice.Palm Trees

Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup

Sunday Soup Day! Or Any Day of the Week is Soup Day (for Me)!  This is a Software Update for Your Palate. Sleep In and Then Whip This up in a Nano Minute. Trust Me!

I made this for my nephew a few weeks ago when he was recovering from a summer case of pneumonia…cured his ills…may cure yours too!

Soup Summer Lemon Chicken Rice Soup II
1 Tbs olive oil
2 leeks, white and pale green parts, rinsed, halved lengthwise, and sliced crosswise into 1/2 inch slices
4 celery stalks, sliced crosswise
6 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup uncooked orzo
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t ground pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 3 lemons
Breast meat of rotisserie chicken, chopped
1/2 cup fresh chopped dill

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
Add leeks and celery, and sauté 5 to 6 minutes, until tender.
Bring broth to a boil over medium high heat in large soup pot.
Add orzo and cook 2 minutes less than package directions.
Remove pot from heat.
Stir in cooked onion and celery, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, chicken, and dill.
Cover pot and allow to stand 10 minutes.

Serve with lemon slice as garnish.

Spring Onion Soup

Sun streaming through the breakfast room window on my little Spring Onion Soup!

Don’t be sad thinking you can’t have your beloved French Onion Soup just because the winter is over! I’ve skinnied it up for you! This comes in under 200 calories for a full cup and a half serving. So sharpen your pencil and take note of this. I’m playing for keeps good people, and cooking in a lively Spring has Sprung manner.

1/2 stick butter
3 sweet onions, sliced
1 cup dry sherry
6 cups water
6 envelopes of Herb Ox granulated beef bouillon*
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t salt
1/2 t dried thyme
6 slices French bread, toasted on both sides with olive oil, salt, and pepper
6 oz shredded Fontina cheese
Snipped chives for garnish

(This is a duo serving; hence the onions are scarce! Don’t want to mislead anyone.)

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.
Add onions and cook 12 to 15 minutes, or until onions are soft and lightly browned.
Stir in sherry and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Bring water to boil in soup pot.
Add in bouillon and stir to combine.
Add onions to broth pot.
Add Worcestershire, salt, and thyme.
Cover and cook on low 30 minutes.

Preheat broiler.
Ladle soup into 6 ovenproof ramekins.
Top with bread slice.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Broil until cheese melts.
Sprinkle with chives before serving.

*I use sodium free broth whenever I can. Do you know that one serving of canned broth can carry 800+ mg of sodium. SNAP. Who needs that? Am I right!

Topping the soup with toasty French bread slice

And then, the cheese please

Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

the don…It’s supposed to get cold and maybe even snow this weekend. I’ll go to the grocery if you’ll whip up a pot of that yummy chicken rice soup for the grands and me! My happy reply…dealeo! I’m here as the CFO (Chief Female Officer) of Forest Hills just helping to Empower Your Culinary Dreams, while offering a little nod to International Women’s Day.

soup-cream-of-chicken-and-wild-rice

Here’s What You’ll Need:
1 Tbs olive oil
4 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
5 stalks celery, sliced
5 carrots, sliced
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 bay leaves
1 t chopped dill
1 t celery seed
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup quick cooking wild rice
Breast meat of rotisserie chicken, chopped
Cup fat free sour cream
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

And Here’s How You Do It:
Heat oil in soup pot.
Add mushrooms, celery, carrots, and onion.
Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add flour, and all other seasonings and stir until incorporated, about a minute.
Add broth, and bring to a boil.
Add rice, and reduce to simmer.
Cover and cook 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in chicken, sour cream, and parsley.
Cook on medium 5 minutes, stirring half way through time.
Turn heat off, leaving pot on hot eye.
Stir again, and let sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Adapted from Cooking Light.
Serves 6.
380 calories for 2 cup serving.

Chicken Soup with Herbed Cornmeal Dumplings

Soup. Owned.

Everyone knows I could eat soup for every meal. Make this yummy chicken and dumplings (with a twist), and call your best friend. Some things are simply worthy of passing down, and this one will not disappoint! It’s a one bowl wonder; no need for bread on the side – it’s right there in the soup just looking up at you. Licking my lips.soup-chciken-with-herbed-cornmeal-dumplings-iv

Here’s your grocery list:
1/4 cup salted butter, divided
8 medium carrots, thinly sliced
8 stalks celery, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour, divided
8 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 t kosher salt
Breast meat of a rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/2 cup coarse plain yellow cornmeal
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t lemon salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 Tbs chopped flat leaf parsley
2 Tbs chopped fresh thyme

Now, here’s your “how to”:
Melt 2 Tbs of butter in soup pot over medium high heat.
Add carrots, celery, and onion.
Cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 6 minutes.
Add 2 Tbs of flour.
Stir to combine, and cook 2 minutes.
Add half of broth, bay leaf, and 1/2 t salt.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 4 to 5 minutes.
Stir in remaining broth, and chicken.
Remove pot from heat.

In medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, lemon salt, black pepper, and remaining 1/2 cup flour.
Cut remaining 2 Tbs butter into flour mixture with pastry blender, until it resembles coarse meal.
Add buttermilk, parsley, and thyme.
Stir just until dough is moistened.

soup-chciken-with-herbed-cornmeal-dumplings-iiHeat soup pot over medium heat.
Roll dumplings into 10 to 12 balls.
Drop dumplings 1/2 to 1 inch apart into soup mixture.
Cover and cook until dumplings are done, and dry to touch, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Initially they will appear to be breaking apart.
Leave them alone and they will be just fine.
Serve immediately.
Serves 6.

Next stop, Bangkok! Crossing borders. Taking cooking lessons as we venture to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Um hmm. Coming home with new talents to share. Can’t wait. Bet you can’t either!