Chicken & Vegetable Soup

I love shortcuts as much as the next mom.  This soup takes advantage of a really good product from the grocery store- Perdue Shortcuts.  I used the Fajita flavored one in this soup, but you could make it with any kind of cooked chicken.


Mushroom Soup with Herbs and Sherry

Here’s a warm and savory soup for a cold day.  I like this recipe because no matter what kind of mushrooms I use, the result is a woodsy, deep flavor.  I have also added some heavy cream to this recipe at the end to make it a Mushroom Cream Soup.  It could also be reduced down to a delicious sauce (just back off on the salt). The soup-making technique outlined here is very similar to other soup recipes. Once you master this technique, you can substitute the ingredients you like or happen to have on hand.  So what are you waiting for?  Go make some soup!




Straw-Melon Soup and Re-post of Chicken & Dumplings

During the first warm day of the year I decided to break out one of my favorite summertime recipes for a kids’ cooking class.  We whipped up some Straw-Melon Soup and the kids devoured it!  It tastes like Summer.  Sip some summer for yourself.    Also, I’m re-posting the Chicken & Dumplings recipe because I found a typo!  Use this one instead.

Two Winter’s Day Chicken Recipes: Chicken and Dumplings & Chicken Fried Rice

I’m always amazed at how differently people define the word “dumpling.”  Well I like them the way my mother makes them: thin and almost “noodley.”  No matter what the size of the dumpling, most people have no problem finishing off a huge bowl of this classic comfort food- Chicken & Dumplings.  Try some before the winter is over.

Leftovers for dinner.  BOO!  HISS! says my spoiled family.  BUT….. if they are re-purposed into something yummy- then YAY, MAMA!  I love Chicken Fried rice because it’s so versatile.  You just need to have some kind of cooked chicken, some old and cold rice, hopefully a piece of an onion and some random veggie remnants from the bottom of the fridge drawer.  This is usually a hit with the kids and it’s a one-dish wonder.


New England Clam Chowder gets rave reviews

First of all, let me say I’m sorry there is no picture of this dish.  I never seem to get a chance to snap one because there is always someone bearing down on me with a ladle ready to dive in as soon as I say “ready.”  And then there’s chowder drippings everywhere…. not a pretty picture.  So for this post, just close your eyes and visualize a bowl of thick and creamy clam chowder.  It might seem odd to include bottled clam juice in this recipe, but I like the way the extra juice tastes super clammy.  If I want the soup to taste like only potatoes, I’ll make potato soup.  Of course, if you can get your hands on fresh clam juice without having to splurge for extra clams, go for it.   Tips:  Render the pork slowly, don’t let the onions brown, whisk the milk like there’s no tomorrow,  cut potatoes into even pieces for consistent cooking, and for the love of delicious seafood – don’t over-cook the clams!  Over-cooked clams have been known to cause husband riots.

You can do it! French Onion Soup

This is one of those recipes I encourage people to try because it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients and it’s not difficult at all, just requires a little patience.  When you taste this deeply-flavored, savory soup you will know it was worth the investment of time.  Self-serve it to a crowd in a crock pot or kick off a dinner party with steaming crocks of it.  I promise guests will be impressed!  I also like that you can make the soup a day or so ahead of time and re-heat.  Tips:  You must cook the onions slowly on medium heat or they will not caramelize and they will burn. If you see the edges getting dark, turn down the heat.  If the onions start to stick more than just a little and darken on the edges, add a tiny bit of stock to loosen them up.  Your goal is to have soft, evenly colored, golden brown onions with a sweet flavor.  You’ll know you’re on the right track when you see that beautiful golden color start to emerge.  Just keep it low and slow.

Good Ole’ Chicken Noodle Soup…

Sometimes, you just gotta stick to the basics.  You’ll be hard pressed to find many folks who don’t like chicken noodle soup, kids included.  If you’re a true Southerner like me, you’ll sprinkle in a few saltine crackers before going in for the slurp.  Cold January days inspire me to make soups and I do love experimenting with exotic and interesting hot concoctions.  But sometimes, I just want a quick comfort food lunch for family or friends and this is a winner.    You’ll notice that I don’t recommend boiling the chicken.  I think boiled chicken is just plain dry and gross unless it’s boiled as part of the stock-making process.  When a recipe calls for cooked chicken (especially white meat chicken), I bake it with olive oil, salt and pepper and then chop it up.

Note:  If you are not planning to eat the soup right away or think you’ll have a lot left over, cook the noodles separately and add with the chicken just before serving.  You don’t want noodles sitting around in hot broth getting soggy.

Straw-Melon Soup makes yummy use of leftover fruit

One of the most valuable things I’ve learned in culinary school is how to creatively use up leftover or extra food.  It’s really cool to open the door of my fridge and behold all those little containers of miscellaneous food from a few days ago and AHA!  I have an idea for something that will totally re-make the ingredients.

I bought a lot of fruit on sale last week and we have enjoyed having it as summer snacks and lunch add-ons.  But… today I realized I had a pretty big bowl of watermelon balls and a container of organic strawberries that needed a quick rescue.  Thinking back on some “use up” ideas from school, I decided to make a cold fruit soup.  WOW was it good!  Delicious and refreshing on this 90 degree day.  It tastes like strawberries and watermelon in the same perfect moment.  You could serve in a bowl with whipped cream, freeze into a popsicle or make a smoothie.  We pretty much finished it off with a spoon before it could be transformed into anything else.  You could change the ingredients in this soup to your taste or whatever leftover items are lurking in your fridge.

Strawmelon soup

Good for You Comfort Food– Turkey Taco Soup

I love sharing recipes with my neighbor!  She’s a terrific cook and always has a good story to go with her dish of the day.  She shared a recipe with me that she found for Weight Watchers Taco Soup.  It’s delicious and guilt-free!  I decided to heighten the flavor profile a bit with some cilantro and crushed red pepper.  Comfort food you can live with!

Turkey Taco Soup

1 lb ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 (1 oz) package of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
1 (1 oz) package of Taco Seasoning Mix
1 (16 oz) can of pinto beans, undrained
1 (16 oz) can chili beans, undrained
1 (16 oz) can whole kernel corn
2 (14.5 oz) cans Mexican-style diced tomatoes
3 Tbsp. chopped, fresh cilantro
1 tsp. crushed red pepper

Brown meat and onions, draining if desired.  Stir seasoning packets into meat.  Add rest of ingredients, except cilantro.  Simmer 1 hour.   Stir in cilantro and serve.  12 servings.