I published a chicken soup recipe awhile back here that I’ve made for years. These past few months I’ve found a new way of making chicken soup that is much faster to put together and tastes pretty darn good!
My son has been “into” brining poultry after we brined a turkey for Thanksgiving last year. He uses a recipe where uses equal amounts of kosher salt and sugar boiled to completely dissolve and then cool. He then puts two chickens in a large container with the brine and refrigerates over night. The next day he rinses the chickens in cold water, applies an herb run and roasts them. This is absolutely delicious and there is leftover chicken for salads, sandwiches and soups for a week for three of us. Maybe I’ll get more details later and publish a full blog on Brined Chicken! You can use any type of chicken you have available for this soup, however.
Fast Homemade Chicken Soup.
Chicken Soup – Fast to Make
- 2 cups of cut up roasted chicken
- 8 cups chicken broth (I use 2 – 32 oz. boxes of broth – or make your own broth as noted in my original chicken soup recipe).
- 2-4 cups hot water – depending on how much liquid you want in your soup
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 tsp (generous) of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme leaves
- 3 bay leaves
- 4-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups onion, chopped
- 2 cups carrots, chopped
- 2 cups celery, chopped
- 1 pkg frozen spinach (10 oz) – I’ve also used fresh chopped bok choy or baby spinach. Leave the spinach out for a couple hours to thaw if possible, but not necessary.
- 3/4 cup pearled barley
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or equivalent dried parsley)
Put it Together
- Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add garlic and sauté briefly. Add thyme, red pepper flakes, onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté until just tender – 7-10 minutes.
- While veggies are sautéing, warm the chicken broth in another pan until almost boiling. Add this to the original soup pan and bring mixture to a low boil. Add bay leaves.
- Rinse the barley in warm water for a minute or two. Add this to the broth mixture. Bring soup back to low boil and simmer until barley is done. This usually takes 35-30 minutes.
- Add the spinach and cook until it is thawed or add the fresh spinach or bok choy.
- Add chicken and parsley. Cook until hot. Let simmer a few more minutes to meld flavors.
- Serve with bread, crackers and/or a simple lettuce salad. Enjoy.
I used to make yogurt occasionally when the kids were younger and I had a “real” yogurt maker of sorts. It always seemed to be too much “putzing” to be worth the effort. I recently heard about making yogurt in a crockpot and I was intrigued. So I did some research on the Internet and came up with a method that worked for me. There are numerous variations out there and you will need to find one that fits into your workflow. After a few adjustments, this is the method that works for me.
Homemade yogurt is awesome! It has a smooth, mellow taste and I can eat it by the spoonful without any sweetener.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 1/2 gallon of milk (I use 2%)
- 1/4 cup of plain yogurt with live active cultures. (I’ve been using Greek Gods Yogurt)
- A 2-3 qt crockpot
- Candy Thermometer
- Small blanket
Put it Together:
- Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat until 185 F. (Some versions call for putting this in the crockpot and heat til 185, but I find it’s faster to heat in a pan first. You may also want to add a cup of powdered milk to make it thicker, but I never have it around, so don’t put it in :-).
- Pour the milk into the crockpot and cool to 110-115 F. This may take an hour or two. I leave the cover off and put the thermometer in the crockpot to monitor.
- Remove 1-2 cups of milk and transfer to a small bowl. Add the 1/4 cup of yogurt and whisk to mix. Add mixture back into crockpot and stir.
- Cover the crockpot and then wrap it up in a small blanket. Place the wrapped crockpot in an oven that is not turned on. Turn the oven light on and shut the door. Leave in oven 8-12 hrs. (The main purpose of the crockpot in this recipe is to act as an insulator to keep the temperature constant.)
- Remove crockpot from oven. At this point you can remove the base container from the crockpot and refrigerate until later or strain the yogurt to remove the excess whey to make it Greek yogurt.
- To strain the yogurt, place a damp thin, white, cotton kitchen towel or several layers of cheesecloth in a colander. Place the colander over a bowl. Transfer the yogurt to the lined-colander. It may take an hour or two to strain the yogurt if using a towel (which is what I do). You will have a cup or two of whey which can be saved to use for baking. It can be substituted for buttermilk in recipes calling for this.
- Once the yogurt has drained, place it in jars or glass containers and refrigerate. This makes 2 ping jars.
- Enjoy!! I serve this with fresh or frozen berries and sometimes my homemade granola on top.
I haven’t posted anything for a long time. Doesn’t mean I’m ignoring my blog cuz I use it to lookup my recipes frequently. Work and family seem to have left less time to write. But with Thanksgiving coming, I decided to put down the stuffing recipe I got from my daughter and edited to what we had on hand. This stuffing goes over very well with our guests and it’s open to any tweaking or changes the cook wants to make!
Apple, Cranberry, Sausage Stuffing
- 1 1/2 loaves of 100% whole wheat or multi-grain bread.
- 1 – 1 1/2 lbs pork sausage (you could substitute turkey sausage if desired)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 apple, cored & chopped
- 1 Tbsp. dried sage
- 1 Tbsp. dried rosemary
- 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
- 6 Tbsp. melted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley. Substitute dried if not available.
- 4-5 cups liquid – mixture of chicken/turkey broth and water – use proportions as you wish.
Put it Together:
- Cube the bread in desired size. (My hubby did an awesome job of making nice small cubes of the bread and it made a difference in the outcome). Put the bread in a couple of cake pans and toast in oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Check on this frequently and stir as needed as the bread isn’t in a single layer. Remove when it’s at your desired “toastiness” and transfer to a large bowl.
- Brown the sausage in skillet. When almost done, add the onions and garlic. Stir until onions done and sausage is nicely browned… probably another 5 minutes.
- Add the celery, rosemary, thyme, and sage. Stir a few more minutes to meld flavors.
- Pour sausage mixture over dried bread cubes. Add apple, cranberries, melted butter and parsley. Mix.
- Add broth, stirring until desired consistency is reached. The last time I made this, I used 4 1/2 cups broth. The dryness of the bread and how moist you want it if you stuff the turkey will dictate the amount of liquid used.
- You may either stuff the turkey or bake the stuffing in the oven. I have baked it at 350 for 45 minutes or so. I also like to put it in a crockpot on low for a couple hours.
I’ve always liked Apple Crisp from when my Mother and Grandmother used to make it when I was a child…. fond childhood memories, comfort food and all that goes with it!
My daughter recently made a Berry Crisp when we were visiting her – it was sumptious. Got the recipe from her and adjusted to what we had on hand. The fruit measurements are close to what I had available. You can use any combination you have on hand just so you have 4 1/2 – 5 cups of fruit – even if it’s only one or two kinds. I’ve been thinking of using peaches or nectarines for one of the fruits sometime.
Ingredients – filling:
- 1 1/2 cups sliced/diced strawberries
Berry Crisp – fresh out of the oven. One helping removed before it even cooled!
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups blackberries
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1/4 cup sugar (I’ve been using raw cane sugar)
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. cinnamon (I love Penzey’s Vietnamese cinnamon.
- 2 tsp. corn starch
Ingredients – Topping:
- 1 1/4 cups rolled whole oatmeal (not quick kind)
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I use pastry flour)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon (See my Penzey’s link on filling)
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar.
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4-1/2 cup chopped nuts (I’ve used sliced almonds or pecans cuz that’s what was there. You can omit if you wish, but why??)
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
Put it Together:
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Put all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and gently mix. Set aside.
- In another bowl, mix topping ingredients (except for butter) thoroughly. Add the butter and mix again.
- Put the fruit mixture in a deep dish pie pan.
- Cover with the topping mixture, spreading out evenly.
- Bake in 375 degree F oven for 40 minutes or until fruit is done and topping lightly browned.
Serve plain, with whipped cream, or with vanilla yogurt. This is not overly sweet, so it could easily be served for breakfast. In fact, I have had it for breakfast :-). Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!
I’ve been on a granola kick lately. I used to make it a lot when the kids were younger, but got away from that. Then my daughter made this granola for us that we really liked and inspired me to start again. Got her recipe and then made some changes just because I could. I’ve made this a few times and it’s gone over quite well. I had searched the Internet for recipes, but they all had too much oil and/or sweetener in them. So this is what I came up with…
- 4 cups 7-grain cereal (the type I used had rolled oats, rolled wheat, some sunflower seeds and not sure what else)
- 4 cups Old-Fashioned Oatmeal
- 1 1/2 cups natural whole almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 2 rounded Tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. Vanilla
- 1/3 cup Safflower Oil (or whatever you like for oil)
- 1/3 cup REAL Maple Syrup
- 2 cups dried fruit – I’ve used cherries, raisins, currents
Put it Together
- In a large bowl, combine oatmeal, 7-grain cereal, nuts, cinnamon, salt
- In a small bowel combine oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.
- Pour the syrup mixture over the cereal mixture. Mix thoroughly to coat everything.
- pour in two cake pans and spread out evenly.
- Bake at 270 degrees for 1 1/2 hours… stir every 14-20 minutes to bake evenly.
- Remove from oven and put granola into large bowl. Let cool. Add dried fruit and store in containers.
I put this on my yogurt/fresh fruit mixture for breakfast. My son likes to eat it by the handful as a snack.
There is room for a lot of variation in the recipe…. you could use all oatmeal, add some flax meal, maybe some pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Substitute walnuts for the pecans. Use honey instead of maple syrup…. you get the picture :-).
There are numerous ways of preparing refried beans and we all probably feel our way is the best. I used to have a recipe given to me by my sister several years ago that I can no longer find. I searched the Internet and none seemed quite what my sister made, so I decided to wing it. I think my rendition turned out pretty well so figured I’d better write it down before I forgot…
I initially soaked the beans and then started cooking them. Unfortunately, I didn’t turn the heat down and they burned in my nice stainless steel pot and left a black bottom. (BTW, boiling water with a healthy dose of Dawn Dish Detergent for 5-10 minutes really made this easy to clean!) Not wanting to do this again and it being later in the evening, I took more pinto beans, washed them and put them in a crock pot with water, salt and several cloves of garlic. Set it on high for a couple hours and then low before I went to bed. Wonderful perfectly cooked pinto beans in the morning!!!
- 4 cups dried Pinto Beans
- 6-8 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
- Sea Salt to taste (I used a generous teaspoon)
- 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp. Chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 4 Tbsp. oil (mixture of olive oil, safflower oil, or canola oil. Actually bacon grease drippings makes this extra good if that’s your want or you have bacon around)
Put it Together
- Rinse the beans and pick them over, taking the odd wrinkled ones out.
Refried Beans ready to be served with tortillas or as a side dish.
- Put in a large crock pot with 10-12 cups of warm water. Add a generous teaspoon or so of salt and the garlic. Put the crock pot on high for a couple hours and then on low overnight. I start this early in the evening.
- The next morning, drain off most of the liquid, leaving enough to make it a thick soupy mixture.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and saute the onions, jalapenos, carrot, and another clove or two of garlic if desired.
- Add the beans, tomato paste, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly and heat through stirring constantly for a couple minutes.
- Mash the beans with a potato masher or use an immersion blender (that’s what I did) pureeing until as smooth or chunky as you want it. Season with more salt if desired.
- Serve with tortillas, salsa, lettuce & shredded cheese. I also serve as a side dish with shredded cheese and/or salsa.
We had quite a bit of broccoli in our garden, especially after the first frost…my son froze it in several gallon freezer bags. We wanted to do something besides the typical stir-fry or steam/boil… so this is what we came up with. The amounts are really just what we had on hand and what looked good, so feel free to experiment. My son added the Cajun seasoning and we find that we like it! Putting lots of thin sliced onions in the mix gives this a delicious treat.
Stir Fried Broccoli with a Kick
- 2 bunches of fresh broccoli cut in bite size pieces or a large bag of frozen broccoli
- 2-3 medium onions – cut in half and sliced thin
- 5-6 large cloves garlic, minced
Stir Fried Broccoli with a Kick
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- Sea salt to taste
- Cajun seasoning such as Slap Ya Momma which can be found on Amazon
Put it Together:
- Steam the frozen broccoli until it is thawed and slightly done. If using fresh, steam for 5-6 minutes. Drain and rinse in cool water.
- Heat Olive Oil in large pan and saute the onions, garlic, and red pepper a couple minutes until onions are starting to go limp.
- Add the drained broccoli and continue cooking until done.
- Season with sea salt and the Cajun seasoning.