My New Favorite Chicken Soup

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.

chicken soup

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the spinach and cook until it is thawed or add the fresh spinach or bok choy.
  5. Add chicken and parsley. Cook until hot. Let simmer a few more minutes to meld flavors.
  6. Serve with bread, crackers and/or a simple lettuce salad. Enjoy.

Stir Fried Broccoli with a Kick

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Heat Olive Oil in large pan and saute the onions, garlic, and red pepper a couple minutes until onions are starting to go limp.
  3. Add the drained broccoli and continue cooking until done.
  4. Season with sea salt and the Cajun seasoning.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Broccoli is probably one of the more popular cruciferous vegetables being touted for its health benefits… but there are numerous other ones. Brussels sprouts is a favorite around here…. and our most favorite way of preparing it is to roast it. My mother used to harvest brussels sprouts from our garden after the first frost and prepare them by boiling and serving with butter. I always liked this, but roasting takes it to a new level.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts


  • 1-2 lbs. fresh brussels sprouts


    Brussels Sprouts before roasting

  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. Maldon Salt (you can use any salt (regular or sea salt), but Maldon Salt adds a nice dimension to this dish
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Put it Together:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Clean brussels sprouts – cut ends off, halve, and rinse in water, removing any leaves that are damaged or wilted. Drain.
  3. Combine brussels sprouts and olive oil in a 13 x 9 inch cake pan. Add salt and lightly mix.
  4. Roast brussels sprouts in oven 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned. Toss a few times to mix during roasting time. Season with pepper and additional salt if desired.

    roasted brussels sprouts

    Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  5. Serve and enjoy!!

Simmered Cabbage

I really like cabbage, but don’t think to cook it as often as I should as it’s so good for you with all sorts of antioxidants and cancer fighting substances. I also like it raw as in coleslaw, but when fall and winter are here, cooked cabbage is always a nice addition to the meal. Here’s what I like to make (Note to self: Make it more often!). My husband thought it was awesome, so the recipe will stay in the “list of things to make.”

Simmered Cabbage


  • 1 small head of cabbage, chopped (around 4-5 cups)

    simmered cabbage

    Simmered cabbage

  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
Put it Together:
  1. Melt butter and add olive oil to large skillet
  2. Add garlic and saute briefly
  3. Add cabbage, salt & pepper and saute 5 minutes, stirring often
  4. Add the broth, bring to just boiling, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove cover and simmer an additional 10 minutes or until done, stirring often.
  6. Season with additional salt & pepper if desired. Enjoy!

Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I really like the fall orange vegetables available this time of year. I particularly like sweet potatoes and will pop one in the toaster oven for a meal. I’ll season it with cinnamon, various curries, nutmeg, or whatever suits me at the moment. Recently, I saw a recipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes with vanilla. Made a few changes and served it up for Thanksgiving. It was well received.

Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes


  • 4 large sweet potatoes or 6 medium sized ones
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, fresh grated is best
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest


  1. Cut ends off sweet potatoes and bake in oven at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hr or until done.
  2. Remove potatoes from oven and cool long enough so that you can handle them to peel skins off. Cut in chunks and place in medium sized bowl.
  3. Put milk and orange zest in small cooking pan. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrap seeds. Put all in milk mixture, bring to just simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the long vanilla bean. (the aroma of this is just heavenly!)
  4. Add milk mixture, butter, and nutmeg to peeled sweet potatoes. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Add more milk if mixture is too thick for you. Serve with sea salt and white pepper for additional seasoning if desired.