Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

Look at that steamy goodness!

Yes please.

For some reason, there was some confusion over whether or not I liked chicken noodle soup. When I told my husband that this is what I was making for dinner, he said, “But you hate chicken noodle soup.”

Come again?

“I’ve tried to make it before, but you wouldn’t let me. You’ve never liked chicken noodle soup.”

I wasn’t really sure how to respond. Maybe he was thinking about canned chicken noodle soup? But he wouldn’t have tried to make canned chicken noodle soup. Or maybe I really had said at one point that I hated chicken noodle soup. There’s no accounting for my tastebuds before I actually started cooking. It’s like I was a different person back then or something. Momentary lapse in sanity?

I don’t know.

Anyways, chicken noodle soup. THIS chicken noodle soup. I could eat this stuff every day for the rest of my life. I texted this very thing to my husband when I was eating leftovers the next day. And if you froze leftover turkey from Thanksgiving? Turkey noodle soup!

Chicken Noodle Soup

It starts with an onion.

Chicken Noodle Soup

And then chicken.

Chicken Noodle Soup

And tons of broth.

Chicken Noodle Soup

And you might think I went a little overboard on the herbs.

Chicken Noodle Soup

I mean, I can see why you’d think that. I, too, had a momentary panic (as I do every time I don’t follow any sort of recipe). But just trust me. It’s totally worth it!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Broccoli was next.

Chicken Noodle Soup

And of course, you need noodles! I did not think far enough ahead to put egg-noodles on my grocery list, and this is what we had. It worked great! They’re noodles, so really it couldn’t have gone terribly wrong. But you never know, so I was a little nervous.

Chicken Noodle Soup

This is like happiness in a bowl. Think of a cliche about chicken noodle soup–this is it. I think I might actually make enough of this to eat it every day of my life.

And all those “extra” herbs? Maybe you can read my fortune?

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup
Makes around 8 servings

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 medium onion, diced
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
2 1/2 cups broccoli, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
black pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound dry pasta noodles (or 1/2 cup dry rice for chicken and rice soup)

Combine the onion and diced chicken in a large stock pot over medium heat.
When the chicken is cooked through, add the chicken stock and water. Then add all seasonings, minced garlic and broccoli.
Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil.
Add the pasta noodles and boil for 15-20 minutes, until the noodles are cooked fully. Serve warm!

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Pineapple Chicken with Coconut Rice

Otherwise known as the most tropical dinner I’ve ever made. Aloha!

I feel like this also got me out of my chicken rut. Lately, my chicken dinners have been so blah. Completely edible, but not exciting and only just…decent. I’ve just gotten out of my groove, and chicken has been pretty dry and flavorless. Of course this was something I had to fix.

Pineapple Chicken
Voila!

This was easy to throw together. An excellent weeknight dinner when you’re starving after work. The chicken and the rice can cook simultaneously, so it won’t take more than 30 minutes for this meal. And although I cooked everything on the stove top, it went quickly enough that I didn’t heat up the house too much.

I marinated the chicken ahead of time, but I’m not sure if that’s truly necessary. I think it would have been great either way. I’ll make it again and find out.

I also had a bit of trouble with the rice. I felt like it absorbed all the liquid so fast, but then it was still a bit crunchy. That’s never happened before, so I wonder if I have old rice? Or if we had extremely dry air that day? (This is Montana, after all.) I’m going to call it a fluke and hope it doesn’t happen to you. Let me know how it goes, ok?

Pineapple Chicken with Coconut Rice
Serves 4

For the Chicken

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (for the marinade)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (for the marinade)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (for the marinade)
  • 1 1/2 cup pineapple chunks (I used a fresh pineapple, but canned will work too! Just drain the juice first)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 3 tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

If you’re going to marinate the chicken, add the olive oil, lemon juice and salt together in a large ziplock bag. Give it a little shake to combine. Then add the chicken and refrigerate for an hour or several hours.
In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat until melted. Add the sliced chicken and onions and cook, flipping the chicken slices as needed. When the chicken is close to cooked all the way through, add the pineapple slices and sweet chili sauce. Turn the heat down a bit, and continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through and your rice is done.

For the Rice

  • 1 1/2 cups Jasmine rice
  • 2 cups canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can add more water if necessary a 1/2 cup at a time. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Place the rice in a bowl and top with the pineapple chicken. I used more sweet chili sauce to garnish, and we ate with chopsticks for fun.

Steamy Rice and Beans

Rice and Beans with Chicken
I love elaborate recipes. I really do.

But 90% of the time, I’ll look at an elaborate recipe with 20 ingredients and think, “Yeah right! Not tonight, my friend.”

Which is a pity, because ingredient lists can be deceiving as far as effort involved.

On the other hand, if I come across a recipe with only 3 or 4 ingredients, I’ll probably dismiss that one too. “Not exciting. Probably has ‘boxed something’ as an ingredient.”

Sometimes I’m too judgmental.

While this list looks medium-longish, just look at the process:
Rice and Beans with Chicken
Rice

Rice and Beans with Chicken
Sauce

Rice and Beans with Chicken
Beans

Rice and Beans with Chicken
Broth and chicken

Cover and cook. Eat.

And don’t get a steam burn!

No seriously, DON’T get a steam burn. I went to pull off the aluminum foil, and my hand got in the way of the escaping steam. It was one of those burns that actually took a second to reach my brain. At first it was like, “oh that was kind of hot,” and a second later I was jumping around the kitchen waving my hand in the air like I just didn’t care. Then I remembered to run it under cold water.

I’m quick like that.

Hours later, I was STILL icing my fingers because they felt like my skin was melting off. Unwrap with caution, folks.

Steamy Rice and Beans
Serves 4-6
Adapted from eat, live, run

2 chicken breasts, diced (or leave out the chicken!)
1 cup dry rice (I used Jasmine rice)
8 oz can of tomato sauce
14 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne, depending on how much kick you’re looking for.
guacamole for topping (I’m kind of obsessed with the Wholly Guacamole from Costco. Best ingredients list I’ve seen on store-bought guacamole.)

Preheat the oven to 350F

In a 9×13″ dish, pour in the rice, tomato sauce and kidney beans. Add the spices to the broth and whisk together. Pour the broth over the rice and beans, and give the pan a little stir. Add the chicken, and then cover the pan very tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 90 minutes with the foil on.

CAREFULLY remove the aluminum foil, top the casserole with guacamole, and serve.

Yours truly with peeling fingers,
Jo

Curry Chicken Chili

Curry Chili
I’ve been making this chili a couple times a month for awhile now.

Curry Chili
(Though this is the first time I’ve made it with chicken. I’ve been using ground beef, and it’s been amazing. But I only had chicken, and it was equally amazing.)

It was so simple to come up with the first time. I was making chili, and I decided that curry powder would be fun to try instead of chili powder. And then of course I had to add coconut milk.

I do have to admit that I was pretty nervous about how this would turn out, and how it would be received, but it remains the most requested meal to date.

Curry Chili

Curry Chili

Curry Chili

I make this exactly the same way as I make regular chili, but the difference in flavor couldn’t be bigger!

Curry Chili

Curry Chili
When you add the coconut milk, the diced tomatoes turn everything pink.

Curry Chili
But don’t worry, the curry powder fixes that right up.

Curry Chili

Curry Chili
I’m not a huge fan of pink…

Curry Chili
I am a huge fan of this though.

Curry Chili
Under 30 minutes from start to plate.

Curry Chicken Chili
Serves 6-8

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 14 oz can Garbanzo Beans, rinsed
1 14 oz can Black Beans, rinsed
1 14 oz can Kidney Beans, rinsed
1 14 oz can Diced Tomatoes
1 14 oz can of Coconut Milk
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne

Saute the diced chicken until almost cooked through. Add the diced tomatoes (including the liquid), followed by all the beans. Add the coconut milk, curry and cayenne. Salt to taste. Stir until everything is combined, and allow to simmer until the chicken is fully cooked.

You can also make this with 1 pound of ground beef, or no meat at all!

Chicken Sausage Calzones

Chicken Sausage Calzones
Calzones are so great for those times when you have a lot of random ingredients that you need to use up.

Chicken Sausage Calzones
For instance, we bought some chicken and apple sausages from Costco. I really liked them, but Nick didn’t care too much for them.

When you buy something at Costco, you don’t just end up with one package. So, the other package of sausages have been sitting in our refrigerator long enough that I was worried we’d have to throw them away if I didn’t come up with something.

Chicken Sausage Calzones
Our broccoli was the same deal. We had a lot of it, and although we’d been slowly nibbling on it for awhile, (and adding it to a few dinners) I knew that if I didn’t use up a big portion of it, a big portion of it was going to go in the trash.

Unacceptable!

Chicken Sausage Calzones
And cheese! How did we end up with four different kinds of cheese? There’s no possible way we can eat that much cheese!

Ok, so we totally can, but we needed to use it up faster than nibbling would allow.

Chicken Sausage Calzones
The solution? Roast the sausages and vegetables, add two kinds of cheese…

Chicken Sausage Calzones
Make pizza dough ***and then play with the perfect pillows***

Chicken Sausage Calzones
***I mean*** Roll out the individual portions of dough and then package everything up like so…

Chicken Sausage Calzones
And voila! You’ve just used up a ton of ingredients and made something far fancier than pizza.

Chicken Sausage Calzones
And if you’re going to go, why not go all out and make a lot?

You can freeze what you don’t need right away, thereby not wasting any food, and you have back up dinner or lunches when you’re pressed for time.

And Nick thought the sausage taste was disguised enough that he didn’t even realize it was the same sausage. Win one for me 🙂

Chicken Sausage Calzones
Serves 8

1 pre-made pizza dough (I used my bread machine, but lots of stores have ready made stuff in the freezer aisle)
2 cups chopped broccoli
1/2 cup sliced onion
3 sausage links (3 oz each) sliced into rounds. I used these
2/3 cup cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup grated mozzarella
Salt and pepper to taste
cornmeal to sprinkle on the baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 350F
On a cookie sheet, spread the sausage out to create one layer. Roast on the bottom shelf of the oven for 30 minutes (or until done), making sure to move the sausage around on the pan several times to prevent burning.
On a separate cookie sheet, spread the broccoli and the onion out to create one layer. Roast on the top shelf of the oven for about 15-20 minutes, moving everything around on the pan several times to prevent burning.
Set the vegetables and sausage aside to cool slightly before adding the cheeses, salt and pepper. Stir everything together until fully combined.

Increase the oven heat to 400F
Prepare a stone baking pan or cookie sheet by sprinkling cornmeal onto it.
Divide the pizza dough into 8 equal portions, and roll or spread the dough to create little circles. Add a few spoonfuls of the filling onto one side, leaving about 3/4 of an inch edge. Fold the other side of the dough over to create a pocket, and use a fork to seal the edges. Cut a slit or two in the top, and bake for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Survival Salad

We’ve had a long spring this year. A long wet spring.
Great for the grass and my water bill, not so great for morale.

So I’m overjoyed about 80+ degree weather. It’s seriously my favorite time of year. I may have mentioned it once or twice. (Or everyday of my life.)
photo.PNG

But even though I’m seriously a happy camper, turning on the oven when it’s 85F in my kitchen is just asking for trouble. And melted popsicles.

So what’s a Jo to do? Make a giant salad! With chicken! And vegetables! And no oven!

Summer Survival Salad
Serves 4-6

4 unfrozen chicken breasts (I like boneless and skinless, but use what you’ve got)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1-2 cups sugar snap peas (you can leave them whole, but I cut them in half for easier eating)
your favorite mix of lettuce

Marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes, up to a day, in your favorite Italian salad dressing or vinaigrette (I’ll give you my favorite recipe at the bottom).
Grill the chicken (outside! not in your kitchen!) until fully cooked, adding more marinade each time you turn the chicken. Allow the chicken to rest covered in tin foil before you slice it into strips.

In the meantime, assemble your salad. I like to do it in layers, ’cause it’s more fun that way. Then plate and serve.

Grilled Chicken Salad
See? No melted popsicles.

Grilled Chicken Salad
Start with lettuce.

Grilled Chicken Salad
Add bell peppers.

Grilled Chicken Salad
Another layer of lettuce and then cucumbers.

Grilled Chicken Salad
Another layer of lettuce and then tomatoes and sugar snap peas.

Grilled Chicken Salad
All plated and ready to eat!

My favorite salad dressing/chicken marinade
from Emeril Lagasse

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dark brown sugar
1 clove pressed garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Add all ingredients into a lidded container. Shake or whisk until everything is combined. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

What are your favorite summer survival foods?

Hump Day

It’s no secret that I read a lot of blogs.

Like, a lot.

Like, opening Google Reader after a vacation is pretty scary.

I just like to learn! And I’m fascinated with other peoples’ lives. And people take extraordinary pictures.

One of my favorite blogs is dig this chick.  And some of my favorite posts of Nici’s are Hump Day Nuggets.  Little nuggets from the past week.  A lovely collection of photos and snippets of stories.

I’ve always wanted to copy this style, but never felt like it would be right for me to do so.  It’s so uniquely Nici’s voice!  Recently, though, she began encouraging other bloggers to adopt her crazy awesome Nuggets, and I may have squealed a little bit.  No big deal.

So, here are my nuggets from the past week or so…

Our garden is finally–finally–blooming!
Basil
Basil–used in homemade tomato sauce just last night

Garlic
Garlic, curing in the sun before I will eventually roast some in the oven

Baby Eggplant
Zucchini
Baby eggplant and zucchini peeking through the leaves

Green Tomatoes
I didn’t get pictures of the red tomatoes, because we eat them as fast as they ripen. Oh mama, they’re good!

Edible Broccoli Flowers
Have you ever eaten broccoli flowers? I hadn’t either, and now I’m contemplating letting all the broccoli go to bloom.  Eating flowers is fun.

Beer Can Chicken
Beer can chicken getting smoky and juicy next to corn on the grill.

IMG_5788
Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that turned into ice cream sandwiches

Ice Cream Sandwich
Don’t worry, that post is coming soon

Coils & Feathers
I fell in love with my friend Jayann’s earrings. Fortunately, she sells them at the Farmers Market

IMG_5734
Did you catch the Oula Flash Mob on Saturday?! It’s one of my life’s goals to be part of a flash mob someday.

Lovely little nuggets. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up with them every Wednesday, but I am pleased I get to share them with you today.

What are your favorite moments/memories from the past week?

humpdaynuggets