Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

I did a soup posting last week and I normally would not do another soup recipe so soon.  I do have a reason.  The kosher link upIMG_0310 for this month is “comfort food” (see below!).  There are plenty of foods that I consider comfort food – spaghetti and red sauce, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, the list could go on.  However, if I was to pick my ultimate favorite comfort food it would be a hot bowl of chicken soup.  There is just something about walking in the door to the smell of chicken soup cooking on the stove.  It is what makes you feel better when you are sick, when you are cold and when you are down.

Part of the reason chicken soup is my favorite comfort food is that it reminds me of family.  Everyone has at least one grandma with a chicken soup recipe that was probably passed down from her grandmother.  Since I have already posted my family’s chicken soup recipe on this blog I decided to post my husband’s grandmother’s recipe.  Unfortunately Grandma Shirley (aka Rue) is no longer with us.  I am so lucky that I was able to sit down with her one day in her kitchen and for her to tell me how she makes her chicken soup. I only had it once, but I remember it being delicious. You could taste the love.  She never did write it down, or give me exact measurements, so I just experimented and added my own touches until I came up with what I think is a pretty darn good chicken soup.

Being that I love chicken soup I am pretty picky when I eat it out or at someone else’s house.  I find that people often go overboard with the dill, or that the soup does not have a lot of flavor.  You won’t have that problem with this recipe!  It has rich and delicious and perfect.  The key ingredient (according to Grandma Shirley) is the sweet potato.  Funny enough, this is the secret ingredient in my carrot ginger soup as well.  It adds a sweetness and great color.  I have made it without the sweet potato and it is just not the same.  You just want to be sure not to put it in until an hour before you serve as it could fall apart.  The other 2 ingredients that are key are the parsnip and turnip.  I know these are not items you buy every day, but they make a big difference in the flavor of the dish.

The soup is very easy to make.  You basically just throw everything in a pot, add water and come back to stir every once in a while.  The time commitment comes from letting it cook for hours.  I say two hours is the minimum, but the longer the better!  You can leave it cooking on the stove and get on with whatever else you need to do.

I personally like this soup with matzah balls, but it is also great with noodles, rice or just with the vegetables.  You can either shred the chicken and add it to each bowl, or leave it out.  Leftovers are delish and it also freezes well.  Just be sure to serve it HOT.

 

Prep Time: 15

Cook Time: 2 – 6 hours

Yield: 8 servings

 

Cooking SprayIMG_0296

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large carrots, cut into coins

2 large celery stalks, cut into medium sized piecedIMG_0293

2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into coins

1 large turnip (or 2 small ones), peeled and chopped

1 pound chicken thighs or legs and 1 pound chicken breast, skin removed on the bone

1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into medium sized chunks (not small, they will break up)IMG_0303

6 sprigs fresh parsley

6 sprigs fresh dill

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 large bay leaves

3 quarts water

Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Coat the bottom of a very large soup pot with nonstick cooking spray and heat on medium temperature.  Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, parsnips and turnip.   Allow vegetable so soften, about 5-7 minutes, stirring often.

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Add the chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper.  Fill the pot with water until the chicken and vegetables are covered by at least 5 -6 inches.  Again add a few pinches of salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Tie parsley, thyme and dill together with twine and add to pot along with the bay leaves.  Stir well.

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Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low so that the soup is simmering.  Skim the fat and any solids off the top of the soup.  Let the soup simmer.  Come back every 30 minutes to stir and skim any fat or solids.

About an hour before you are going to serve the soup add the sweet potato.  You do not want to add it in the beginning because it will fall apart in the soup.  When you add the sweet potato bring the soup to a boil again by raising the heat.  After it boils reduce to simmer.  Keep it over medium-low heat until you are ready to serve.

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Carrot Ginger Soup

After long last – a new post!  For those of you who regularly follow this blog I must thank you for coming back to the site even thoughIMG_0283 I have not posted in months.  It is amazing that I am still getting traffic and that people are telling me to keep posting new recipes.  I actually really miss blogging, but my priority these days are taking care of my two little ones and my day job.  I have so many recipes that I am dying to put pen to paper, but alas, there are just not enough hours in the day!

So, why a new recipe now?  I have been making this dish a lot lately.  I love soups and the fall/winter time is the perfect time for it.   The reason I am finally getting around to writing this recipe up is because my mom is taking it to a  “Sweets, Snack and Soup Swap”.  Everyone at the party is supposed to bring either a sweet, snack or a soup for every person at the party and then they all get to take home the treats along with the recipes. Cute idea!  My mom loves this soup so I told her I would make it for the party.  Since she needs the written recipe I figured I might as well post it here.  I have been meaning to anyway….

I know I am not the first person to make carrot ginger soup.  However, I believe my recipe is unique and one of the best out there (at least I think so!).  There is a restaurant that I really like, and makes a great carrot ginger soup.  One day I had a craving for it, but did not have time to get to the said restaurant, and to be honest the place charges an arm and a leg for a bowl of soup.  So, I did what many people do and went to the internet to find a good recipe.  I found one that I thought fit my three criteria – it has to be easy, it has to be quick and has to be GOOD.  The recipes I found were quick and easy, but not really good.  In fact, most were pretty blah.  They just seemed to be missing something.  So, I started from scratch and came up with my own creation.

There are a couple of elements that make my version of this dish easy, quick and GOOD.  Using baby carrots is key.  They save time on peeling carrots and I also find them to be sweeter.  Another big time saver is using already pureed ginger.  You can find this in a jar or tube in most grocery stores.  Another alternative is to use frozen crushed ginger.   Dorot is a brand that I like and can be found in the freezer section of the grocery store.  The easiest way to puree the soup is to use one of my favorite kitchen tools, the immersion blender.  If you do not have an immersion blender you can use a blender or food processor.

I have a few ingredients in this recipe that are not typical to carrot ginger soup, but I think make a big difference.  I love the sherry in this soup as it adds a certain warmth.  I have made it without, and it is still a delicious soup, but is even better with the sherry.  The sweet potato is not traditional in this recipe, but I think it makes a big difference to the texture and layering of flavors.  At this point I even like this soup better than the one I had at the restaurant!  Another perk is that it is low in fat, high in vitamins (actually good for you!) and pretty filling.  It makes an excellent starter dish or main course with a piece of crusty whole grain bread.  I am so happy to finally be able to share this recipe as I have been making it so often.  Stay tuned next week as I am planning a new posting so that I can participate in the kosher link up for December – comfort food – yum!

 

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time:  25 Minutes

Yield:  4 – 8 servings

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, choppedIMG_0273

1 lb. baby carrots, chopped

2 tablespoons of ginger puree or grated ginger (if using frozen ginger cubes you need 6)

1 tablespoon sherry (optional)

1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubedIMG_0277

32 oz. of vegetable broth (I like the Imagine brand)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Ground black pepper

 

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic, and cook until they just begin to soften (about 5 minutes) stirring often.  Lower the heat if the onions begin sticking to the pot.  Add the ginger and sherry and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, but not brown.

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Add the chopped baby carrots and sweet potato, salt and ground black pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often and then add the vegetable stock.  Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.

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After the soup has come to a boil, give the soup a good stir, lower the heat to medium and cover the pot.  Cook covered for 20 minutes.  You want to be sure that the soup is still simmering, but not at a rolling boil.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it is a smooth consistency.  Serve hot.

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Lemon Ginger Stir Fry

This post was supposed to be published last week.  Unfortunately, it was derailed by my son getting sick.  For all you parents out stir fry done in panthere, I think you will agree that there is nothing more stressful than your child getting sick.  You can have stress in your job, your relationship, or any area in your life, but there is nothing as stressful as watching your little one ill.  Last week was my son.  This week is my 6 month old baby.  To say I am at my wits end is an understatement!

Since I have both kids in bed right now I decided to go ahead and write this post.  This is actually one of the first recipes that I created back in college.  I used to make lots and lots of stir fries in college and this one became a favorite.  I remember a visit to London where I was staying with a friend who lived in a flat with several roommates.  As a thank you for letting us stay I made this for everyone for dinner.  It was such a hit that people were literally licking their plate clean.  I knew I had a winner at that point!  Recently I gave this recipe to my sister and her husband.  They liked it so much they decided to make it again and photograph it for me – thanks Ro and Bill! (notice the adorable dog in the picture – that’s Wrigley)

My original version of this recipe was made with chicken so that is how I always make it.  However, you can leave the chicken out for a vegetarian dish.  You can also change up the vegetables for whatever looks good, or you happen to really like.  Different colored peppers and zucchini are also great in here.  With all the veggies, little fat and lean protein this is as healthy as it is tasty.  I like to serve this over white or brown rice.  Delicious!

 

 

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 15 – 20 Minutes

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

 

 

2 tablespoons canola oilStir Fry Prep 2

2 scallions, chopped

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Juice of 1 large lemon, or 2 small lemons

1/4 cup soy sauce (I prefer low sodium)

2 large chicken breasts, cut into chunksStir fry wrigly

1 head of bok choy, washed well and chopped

2 cups chopped broccoli

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup and a half snap peas, halved

Sesame seeds (optional)

 

 

Put up water for whatever rice you plan to make.  Prepare the rice.

In a large skillet heat the canola oil over medium heat.  Place the ginger and scallions in the pan and sauté until the scallions just begin to soften, about 2 minutes.  Add the lemon juice and soy sauce and stir.

Stir fry scallions and ginger

Place the chicken into the pan and let cook for four to five minutes.

stir fry chicken in pan

Add the broccoli and let cook for two or three minutes, until it begins to soften.  Add the bok choy and stir. Once that softens a bit add the snap peas and mushrooms.  The idea is to add the vegetables in order of which will take the longest to cook.

stir fry in pan2

Sauté over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve over whatever rice you like best.

stir fry in bowl

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Carrot Slaw

In my previous post I mentioned that I was working on some summer time recipes.  This is one of them.  When the weather is hot slaw 4outside I love easy and no-cook recipes.  This is a nice dish to take on the go, for a picnic or outside party as it does not have any mayonnaise and can sit out for a while.

This recipe came about when I was really wanting salad one night, but was out of lettuce.  I did have a bag of grated carrots in the fridge. I started looking through my pantry, putting things into a bowl and Wallah!

 

 

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time:  0 Minutes

Yield: 4 – 8 servings

 

 

10 oz package of pre-shredded carrots

½ cup cashew nuts

½ cup dried cranberries

5 scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons canola oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Ground black pepper

 

 

Place the carrots, nuts, cranberries and scallions into a large bowl.

slaw raw

Dissolve the honey and salt into the vinegar in a smaller bowl.  Add the pepper and whisk in the canola oil.

slaw dressing 2

Add the dressing to the carrot mixture and mix well.

slaw 3

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Pea and Mint Soup

The kosher link up this month is cold soup (see below).  At first this theme gave me pause as I LOVE soup, but seldom eat cold soup, unless it is gazpacho.  I could have done a gazpacho recipe, but thought about my mint and pea soup which I have made hot, and wondered if  it would be good cold.  So, I tried it and found that it is still really good cold and very refreshing as well.  Phew!

Now that summer is here and the heat is on it is nice to have some cold recipes that do not require much time in front of a stove.  I am working on a few “summery” recipes and cold soup fits right in.  Stay tuned for a few salad and slaw recipes that I hope to post this summer.

A nice thing about this recipe is that it is so easy and quick to make.  There are really only 3 ingredients so it is easy to shop for.  You can find some great vegetable broths on the market which also make this soup a cinch to make. I prefer to use one with low sodium so that I can control the amount of salt in the recipe, and there are a few organic ones which make a nice base for this soup.  It is a perfect make ahead dish and as I said before it can be served cold or hot.  If you happen to have an immersion blender (one of my all time favorite kitchen gadgets) then this recipe is a total breeze.  If you do not then you can use a blender, but I highly recommend  investing in an immersion blender.  My one just died after 8 years and I purchased a new one for only $30.  Totally worth it!

 

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time:  10 Minutes

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

 

32 oz. vegetable broth

16 oz. frozen peas

1 tablespoon fresh mint finely chopped

Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish (optional)

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Ground black pepper

 

Pour the vegetable broth into a pot and heat over medium heat.  Stir in frozen peas and chopped mint.  Bring to boil and simmer for five minutes.

Pea Soup - Pot

Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a blender.

Pea soup - immersion

Serve hot or cold and garnish with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Pea Soup - finished

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Perfect Scrambled Eggs

I love weekends. I love them for many reasons.  One of my favorite things to do on a weekend is to make a really good breakfast.  It DSC_0582.NEFdoes not have to be fancy.  Perfectly cooked scrambled eggs and some whole grain toast with a veggie “sausage” is a simple, nutritious and delicious breakfast that is great for a weekend and is easy and quick enough for any day of the week.
Most people know how to make scrambled eggs.  However, do you know how to make perfect scrambled eggs?  If I am out and order eggs I find them to either be too runny or way over cooked.  They key to perfect scrambled eggs is a nonstick frying pan, enough fat to cook the eggs in and to cook them low and slow while constantly stirring them with a rubber spatula.  If you follow this recipe and this technique your scrambled eggs will come out fluffy and perfect every time.  The other secret to my scrambled eggs is a dash or two of hot sauce.  It is not enough to make the eggs spicy, but enough to add a great flavor.  Whenever I make these eggs people always ask what makes them so good.  It is the hot sauce – you have to try it!
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time:  10 Minutes
Yield: 2 servings
2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon of milk (any kind you have)
1 – 2 dashes hot sauce (I like Frank’s Original Hot Sauce)
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in an 8 inch skillet over medium-low heat.
Beat the eggs and add the milk, hot sauce, a pinch of salt and pepper.  Beat until it is all combined and frothy.
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Pour the eggs into the frying pan and lower the heat to low.  Slowly stir the eggs with a rubber spatula.   Keep stirring the eggs pulling the cooked eggs away from the sides of the pan.
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Keep the eggs moving until just cooked through and firm.
scrambled eggs

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Caesar Salad With Garlic Bread Croutons

Alas, my maternity leave has come to an end.  I have gone back to work (my day job) so now I figure it is time for me to start bloggingCesar Salad again.  I decided to make my return with the Kosher Link Up (see below).  This month the theme is croutons.  I would love to say that I have a really creative use for croutons in a recipe, but my recipe is for a traditional use for the little crouton – salad.  I have a FANTASTIC salad recipe with really delicious croutons.  I do not like most store bought croutons.  I find them to be overly salty and hard as rocks.  These have no sodium and you can make them as crisp as you like.  The reason I call the them “garlic bread croutons” is because this is actually how I  make garlic bread and just do not cook it as long.  I use both whole wheat and white bread only because I think it looks pretty. However, you can use any bread you would like.

My recipe is close to a traditional Caesar salad, but without the raw egg yolk.  Truthfully, I have made it with the egg and do not find there to be much of a difference.  Since that is the case I would rather leave it out and save on the calories and salmonella risk!  Yes, there are anchovies in it.  If you are really freaked out then you can leave them out, but I HIGHLY recommend that you try it!  It is not fishy at all!  Whenever someone sees me making the dressing they get nervous about the anchovies and I have to promise that they will never know they are there.  The trick is to really chop and work the anchovies into a paste with the fresh garlic and then incorporate the paste into the dressing.  They add a great flavor without the fishy taste.  Trust me, my husband and sister would not touch it if it were fishy at all and they are my biggest fans of this dish 🙂

I make this salad all the time because it is very easy and so, so good.  I am always getting requests for it so I am glad I will finally be able to share the recipe.  It is great as a starter salad or main course with a piece of grilled or blackened fish.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 – 15 Minutes

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

4 slices bread (I use 2 whole wheat and 2 regular, but you can use all the same)

butter

2 large heads of romaine lettuce washed and dried (or 3 packages pre-washed)

1 tablespoon garlic powder

Juice of one large lemon

3 anchovy fillets

1 large garlic clove

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little more for garnish

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Lay all four slices of bread on a large plate or cutting board.  Butter one side of each piece of bread.  Sprinkle that side with garlic powder.  Cut the crusts off the bread and then cut them into bite size squares to make the croutons.  Place the croutons on a foil lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray (quick clean up).  Cook in the oven for  5 minutes, then toss and cook another 5-10 minutes until the croutons are crunchy.

Croutons2

Juice the lemon into a large bowl.  If you are not getting a lot of juice from the lemon use another one.   Finely mince the garlic clove.  Once chopped add the anchovy fillets on top of the garlic.  Continue to mince and chop the garlic and anchovy together until the two are integrated into a paste.

Anchovy Garlic

Add the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and whisk together until everything is combined.  Pour the olive oil in a stream into the mixture while whisking until there is a thick dressing consistency.

Chop the lettuce and add it to the bowl with the dressing.  Toss until the lettuce is covered with dressing.  Add the croutons to the top and sprinkle with some additional Parmesan cheese.

Cesar Salad2



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