White Bean and Hearty Greens Soup

soup with white beans, carrots, kale, mushrooms and chicken sausage

To be honest, I am not a bean lover. I know how good they are for me and that they are a source of low fat protein as well as fiber but somehow, I have never fully embraced them. A small amount of tiny black beans in my chili and a tiny helping of my mother’s Calico Baked Beans recipe at a summer cookout is enough for me. But I keep on trying. And truthfully, I am coming to like them more and more. Especially white beans.

I ran into a friend who recently made the Chicken and White Bean Chili recipe that I posted in December. She was talking about how she needed to add more beans to her diet. But she sounds a little more adventurous than me when it comes to variety. So, here I am offering another soup recipe with white beans but really, if you are up for it, any bean will likely do. So mix it up and substitute the beans if you want. And let me know how it goes. Who knows? Maybe I will add another bean to my list.

White Bean and Hearty Greens Soup

(Serves about 6)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 shallots, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

4-5 Italian chicken sausage

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup white wine

3-4 cups chicken stock

1 15 oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons chopped, fresh rosemary

3 cups chopped kale or any other hearty winter greens such as chard, mustard greens, escarole, etc.

salt and pepper

garnishes: red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese

crusty bread

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add shallots.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook shallots until transparent, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage meat from the casings and add to the pot.  Break up the meat with a wooden spoon.  Allow sausage meat to brown, only stirring enough to brown all the meat.  Add garlic, carrots and mushrooms.  Cook until the mushrooms just begin to soften, another 5 minutes, or so. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pot to release any cooked on bits.  Reduce slightly, about 5 minutes.  Add chicken stock, beans and rosemary.  Bring soup to a boil and add greens.  Turn down heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until the carrots are softened and greens are wilted.  Taste soup and add more salt and pepper, if needed.  Serve with garnishes and crusty bread.

 

 

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Thai Carrot Soup with Tahini Swirl

pureed carrot soup with Thai flavors and a swirl of tahini, ginger and lemon dressing

An abundance of grated carrots in my freezer and a craving for sweet, spicy, sour and earthy flavors led me down the path to this recipe. Pureed carrots thickened with rice and seasoned with a hint of fish sauce, warm spices: ginger, cumin and nutmeg and sour notes of lime. To finish it off, I riffed on one of my favorite salad dressings borrowed from Modern Potluck by Kristin Donnelly from her recipe for “Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame -Ginger Dressing”. (You will not regret purchasing this book as all of the recipes are delicious, easy and useful. So, as soon as you are finished reading this, order your copy!) And yes, I realize that her salad is described as “Chinese” and I am calling my soup, “Thai”. To be honest, in this area, I may not be accurate but I do know what I like. And this carrot soup with Tahini Swirl drizzled on top is a winner.

Thai Carrot Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 inch piece of ginger, chopped fine

pinch of salt

2 teaspoons sambal oelek (chili paste)

4 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup white rice

8 large carrots, chopped

1 tablespoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 can coconut milk

juice from 1 lime

1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce

2 teaspoons fish sauce

For garnish: fresh cilantro, Sriracha sauce, Thahini sauce (see following recipe)

Add olive oil to a large stock pot and heat on medium high. Add onion, garlic, ginger, salt and chili paste. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and rice. Bring to a boil.

Add the carrots, cumin and nutmeg. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes, until carrots and rice are soft. Add the coconut milk. Remove from heat and puree soup with an immersion blender or allow to cool before blending in a regular blender being careful to release the steam. Add the soup back to the pot and add lime juice, soy sauce and fish sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference by adding more salt, lime juice or sambal oelek (chili paste).

Serve with Tahini dressing, Sriracha and cilantro leaves.

Tahini Dressing

(adapted from Modern Potluck by Kristin Donnelly)

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

3 tablespoons tahini

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated

1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili garlic paste or sambel oelek

3 tablespoons of grapeseed or canola oil

 

Using a whisk, blend all ingredients until smooth. Serve with meats, vegetables or soup. If you would like to use this as a salad dressing, reduce the amount of tahini to 2 teaspoons and increase the oil to 1/2 cup.

 

Lasagna Soup with Fresh Ricotta

creamy tomato soup with lasagana noodles and italian chicken sausage and dollops of ricotta cheese

Who doesn’t love a big hunk of lasagna with melty cheese oozing from its soft pasta layers?  Little chunks of sausage and meatballs hidden among the ricotta and mozzerella waiting to be discovered and dug out like tiny treasures in a red sauce filled landscape flavored by oregano and garlic?

Sadly, devouring all that lasagna goodness requires unbuttoning one’s pants and taking a long winter nap followed by a guilt filled morning and a long, joyless trip to the gym.  Is it really worth it?

My longing for all that is craveworthy about lasagna and my desire not to feel guilty or gluttonous about consuming such a rich meal has led me to search out viable alternatives.  I  will be honest.  I was skeptical at first about this soup recipe that I was finally able to find on the food network website.  How could one recreate the flavors, decadent feeling and tastes in a soup that is far less caloric than its inspiration?  I decided it was worth a try.

As you have probably already suspected, this soup recipe delivers on all counts: melty cheese from the fresh ricotta dollops, creamy and tomatoey sauce, chunky noodles and bits of Italian spiced meat.  If you are feeling extra hungry, make some garlic bread to dip in your bowl.  This soup makes a comforting and somewhat guilt free meal.

I changed up some parts of the recipe but included the link to the original if you want to check it out.  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/lasagna-soup-2268968. The recipe for the Ricotta cheese is a combination of a few from my research mixed up with my memory of a recipe that I once had from a friend of mine.  Unfortunately, I cannot find my original copy but I think I came pretty close in recreating it.  Make the Ricotta a day or a few hours in advance.

 

Lasagana Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium sized onion, chopped

2 sweet Italian sausages, casings removed

2 hot Italian sausages, casings removed

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups chicken broth

1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped basil

1 Parmesan rind or /13 cup grated parmesan cheese

8 oz. lasagna noodles, broken into pieces (about 10 noodles)

1/4 cup whole milk

Ricotta cheese (see following recipe)

optional: red pepper flakes and extra basil for garnish

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring until onions soften, about 4 minutes.  Add the sausage, garlic and oregano.  Cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage with a spoon until the sausage is browned and cooked through.  Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring until darkened, about 2 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, Parmesan rind ( wait to add the cheese, if using grated) and 1 cup water, cover and bring to a simmer.  Uncover and cook until slightly reduced , about 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, boil water in a large pot and add the lasagna noodles.  Cook according to package directions.  Drain and add to soup.  Add milk, parmesan (if using grated) and basil.  Simmer for about 1 minute.  Divide the soup among bowls and top with small dollops of Ricotta cheese.

ricotta cheese curds

 

Ricotta Cheese

8 cups whole milk ( I use Garelick brand)

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

 

Line a large strainer with 4 layers of cheese cloth being sure that it hangs over the sides about an inch or two.  Place the strainer over a large bowl.

In a large, heavy pot slowly bring milk, cream and salt to a rolling boil.  Stir it occasionally to prevent scorching.  Add the lemon juice, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring continuously, until the mixture curdles.  This takes about 2 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the curds and place them in the strainer lined with cheese cloth.  Let the cheese drain for at least and hour.  Use the cheese immediately or place it in a covered container in the refrigerator.  It will keep for about 2 days.  

*You can use the liquid from the cheese, called whey in all types of ways.  It’s protein rich.  Use it in smoothies and bread recipes instead of milk or water.

**This cheese tastes delicious when served with salty crackers and topped with honey.

Chicken and White Bean Chili with Green Onion and Parmesan Crostini

White bean chili with chicken sausage and parmesan crostini

If you are looking for a hearty soup that is not too heavy, this one is the perfect solution to your problem.  Browned ground chicken and onions with all the spices you love in a good, stick to your ribs chili.  Cannellini beans and Swiss chard give this soup and Italian twist.  Top it off with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.  An untraditional crostini with green onions, chive, cream cheese and more Parmesan bring it all together into a satisfying meal.

The first time I made this was in 2012 when I saw an episode of Giada De Laurentiiis’ cooking show on the Food Network at that time.  She also served it with a crostini but I cannot seem to find that recipe, so I had to riff on it, instead.  Everytime I make this easy to put together soup and bread combination, I get rave reviews.  I should take this one out more often!

Chicken and White Bean Chili

(serves about 6)

(adapted from White Bean and Chicken Chili by Giada De Laurentiis, 2012)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 pounds ground chicken or turkey or a combination

1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon dried oregano

3 teaspoons chili powder

3 tablepsoons flour

2 (15 oz. cans) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 bunch (about 1 pound) swiss chard, stems removed, chopped to 1 inch pieces

1 1/2 cups frozen corn

4 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

black pepper

Parmesan cheese

chopped parsley

In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds.  Add the ground meat, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, oregano, and chili powder.  Cook, stirring frequently until the meat is browned and cooked through about 8-10 minutes.  Stir the flour into the meat mixture.  Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn and chicken stock.  Bring mixture to a simmer, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Simmer for about 50-60 minutes until liquid reduces and the chili is thickened.  Add the red pepper flakes, taste for seasoning and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Serve with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Green Onion and Parmesan Crostini

1 (8 oz block) cream cheese, softened

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

4 green onions, diced

2 tablespoons chopped chives

12 slices baguette, on the diagonal for more surface area

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat boiler in oven.  In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, salt, pepper, green onions and chives.  Spread mixture on one side of each slice of bread.  Place bread on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle each slice with Parmesan cheese, making sure it adheres to cream cheese mixture.  Broil bread slices for 2-4 minutes until cheese melts and turns brown on edges.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Chicken Italian Sausage and Zucchini Soup

soup with chicken Italian sausage and zucchini

Last week, a high fever ran rampant through our house.  It threatened to derail all holiday tasks and planning.  Thankfully, I had already made this soup.  The tender chunks of zucchini, zesty tomato base and filling chicken sausage made it the perfect antidote to my sickeness.  My eleven year old preferred gingerale and nutella on crackers to combat his cold.  That’s o.k.  I was so sick, I didn’t even get mad at him for refusing to even try it.  I ‘m glad to have had plenty of this soup to heat up and eat in my bathrobe while I wished my cold away.

All I could think about was how much I still had left to do: the holiday baking, shopping, wrapping and don’t forget all the driving.  It seems my kids are doing just about everything possible at this point in their lives.  It’s good that they are busy and happy to participate in all manner of activities from tap dancing to travel basketball.  But all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and watch Iron Chef.  Needless to say, that didn’t happen.

I am on the mend now and able to document the recipe that brought me back to the living.  The original source is from and incredible cookbook called, Soup Swap by Kathy Gunst.  I changed up a few things.  Mainly the sausage: I used chicken and could not find hot Italian chicken sausage at my local market.  Instead, I used some Italian chicken and cheese sausage and chicken and kale sausage.  It worked.  I also added a parmesan rind to the soup as it simmered to add some richness to the broth.  Fresh basil at this time of year is pretty rough, if you can find it at all in a New England supermarket, so I opted to leave it out.  Here is my version of “Hope’s Italian Sausage-Zucchini Soup”.  I hope you make it in good health.

Chicken Italian Sausage and Zucchini Soup

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

total 16 oz. chicken sausage: Italian, Cheese, or any type you like, casings removed

1 small onion, diced

2 large garlic cloves minced

sea salt

black pepper2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon sugar

2 lbs. zucchini, diced

3 large celery stalks, diced

1 large yellow or orange pepper, diced

2-4 cups chicken stock

pinch of red chili flakes

parmesan rind

garnish: parmesan cheese, chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium high.  remove the casings from sausage and add to warm oil.  Cook sausage, breaking up pieces as it browns.  Once the sausage is cooked through, add the onion and garlic.  Turn heat to medium low and cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Add the tomatoes, parsley and sugar.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the zucchini, celery, yellow/orange pepper, chicken stock, chili flakes and parmesan rind.  Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed.

To serve: ladle into bowls and top with grated parmesan and chopped parsley.

Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle

soup with carrots, chicken, noodles and Asian flavors

I’ve made a version of this soup before.  This Asian Chicken Noodle has a little more kick and depth of flavor from cooking the chicken in the pot first.  But like most soups, anyone can adapt it to whatever their personal tastes are or what needs to be used up in the pantry.  It’s a good soup to make when you are feeling a little down from holiday stresses.  Right now, everyone, it seems has a cold.  I had a lingering sore throat for weeks.  Hoarse every night after projecting my voice in the school lunchroom ( read: shouting).  It wasn’t until after I took the advice from a colleague to employ the old school treatment of gargling multiple times a day with warm salt water that I was finally cured.  Of course, the soup helped by soothing my throat and warming up my aching bones with its spicy notes of ginger, Sriracha and Thai red curry.  Whatever your December malaise or Holiday woe, this zippy soup will be sure to pick you up so that you can keep going.

 

Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

water

1 red pepper, chopped

1 yellow pepper, chopped

8 cups chicken broth

1 chunk of fresh ginger (about 2 inches)

4 teaspoons Sriracha

1/4  cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 1 lime)

4 teaspoons red curry paste

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

3 oz. uncooked wide rice noodles (flat)

garnishes: grated fresh carrot, cilantro, lime wedges, Sriracha, green onions

Season chicken on both sides with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Heat a large soup pot on medium high.  Add the oil.  Once the oil is shimmering, add the chicken.  Allow to sear on one side until the chicken releases from the pan.  Flip the chicken and sear for another 4-5 minutes until the second side releases from the pan.  Add 3 tablespoons-1/3 cup water to the bottom of the pan to loosen chicken bits and juices.  Turn heat to simmer, cover and cook chicken for 10 minutes, until just cooked through.  Remove chicken and juices to a dish and cover with tin foil.  

Add peppers to soup pot.  Turn heat back to medium high.  Saute peppers until they begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes.  Add chicken broth and all seasonings through cider vinegar.  Shred chicken and add back to pot along with any accumulated juices.  Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, add 6 cups of water to a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Add rice noodles.  Cook 3 minutes, then drain.  Place about 1/4 cup-1/2 cup of rice noodles in each serving bowl.

Taste soup and adjust seasonings.  Ladle soup over each noodle serving.  Serve with garnishes on side.

 

Southwestern Chicken Soup

soup with chicken, cheese and southwestern flavors

I really wanted to make chicken tortilla soup.  A hearty tomato based soup thickened with tortilla chips.  Filling and you guessed, it fattening.  But oh so delicious!  After doing a little internet research snuggled up with my cup of coffee and my phone early one  morning, I came across The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup.  No tortillas or taco chips in it.  Huh?  What do I know about Southwestern cooking, anyway?  Not much, except that I like it.  And I liked her basic list of ingredients, most of which I used in the recipe below.  But I forgot to put it in the slow cooker. Or I didn’t have enough time to do it in the morning before I left for work.  Still the recipe I came up with didn’t take long, at all.  And I preferred that I browned the chicken first.

I gave the soup to my soup ladies and they all loved it…especially that it was much lower in calories than what I usually make.  I ate all the leftovers myself, adorning each bowl with the entire list of suggested garnishes.  When there was only a tiny amount left, I poured it on a pile of tortilla chips and pretended that it was a plate of fancy nachos.  Whatever your taste, however you decorate your bowl, this recipe is a winner.

 

Southwestern Chicken Soup

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 taco seasoning pouch, I use McCormick

1 medium sized onion, diced

1 red pepper, chopped

1 yellow pepper, chopped

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 4 oz. can diced green chilis

4 oz. tomato paste

3 cups chicken stock

1 chili in adobo, chopped

2 16 oz. cans black beans

salt and pepper

garnishes:

lime wedges, sour cream, grated cheddar, diced jalapeno, cilantro, tortilla chips

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat.  Coat chicken breasts with taco seasoning and add to pot.  Cook until chicken is browned on both sides.  Lower heat and add diced onion and remaining taco seasoning.  Stir to combine.  Cover pot and allow onions to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add chopped peppers, chili powder and cumin.  Stir to combine and cook uncovered for up to ten minutes until the peppers begin to soften and spices are fragrant.  Add tomatoes, green chilis, tomato paste, chicken stock and chili in adobo.  Bring mixture to a boil then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.  

Remove chicken from soup and shred with forks into large pieces.  Add the chicken back to the pot.  Drain and rinse black beans and add to soup.  Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.  Serve with garnishes.

 

 

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

 

butternut squash soup with Sriracha and chives

The texture of pureed butternut squash lends itself well to a creamy soup.  The bright colors are welcome in late fall when the yellow, orange and red leaves begin to turn brown.  To add extra spice, add a few drops of sriracha.  Fresh chives and a dollop of sour cream make the soup a bit more decadent and turn a weeknight meal into something special.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a raging wind storm late on a Sunday night that left half the town without power for 2 days.  Thankfully, the weather was warm enough so that people did not need heat, but refrigerators were filled with groceries for the week and school children feared that Trick or Treating might be cancelled if the electric company didn’t get it all back on before sundown on October 31st.

Huge branches and entire trees littered front lawns, broke through fences, landed on garages and smashed car roofs.  We were lucky.  There is an old, dead tree that grew touching our picket fence just about 12 feet from the front of the house and managed to circle its branches around the power line that connects us to civilization.  It did not come down in this nor’easter. But that storm was enough to scare me into action.

Since I did not want our luck to run out, I called my dad, the master of tree cutting and the family expert on electrical wires. (He is a retired lineman from the local electric company.)  The tree cutting was scheduled for Saturday so that Rob could help out.  Everyday from Monday through Friday, I found my dad outside my house, looking upward, looking at the tree from across the street, leaning back on the fence in the angle of the tree growth, being one with the tree.  Each day when I asked him if he wanted some coffee or if I could do anything to help, he waved me on as if to say, “Nothing to see here.”  He was deep in thought, calculating, planning.  This was not a task for the faint of heart.

When Saturday finally came, I was so stressed out about the project, I had to leave.  I made up errands to run, excuses not to be there.  I had faith in my dad, but the chainsaw and ladder combination scared the crap out of me. I also didn’t want to be around if the tree decided to come down on my roof and rip to wires out with it.

As luck and mother nature would have it, tree cutting day was especially raw and cold with enough wind to whip through multiple layers and freeze your ears and fingertips.  I was glad I had some of this soup on hand.  I heated it up, called the guys in for a lunchtime break, then got in my car and headed far away until the whole thing was over.

I found out days later that my dad envisioned taking out (and possibly demolishing) part of my fence, a necessary casualty in his mind.  But my mother stepped in and lectured him.  She knew that I had faith in his master of tree cutting.  I am glad to report only one picket popped off and the tree is now a stack of perfectly split wood awaiting my dad’s wood stove to heat his shop this winter.

 

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

salt

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into cubes

4 cups chicken stock, plus more, if needed

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2-3 dashed Worcestershire sauce

1 chili in adobo, chopped

1 16 oz. container sour cream

1 hand full fresh basil, chopped

Add the onion, olive oil and 2 large pinches of salt to a large soup pot set over medium low heat.  Stir to combine.  Cover pot and cook, stirring onion occasionally until it is very soft, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the squash.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Add 4 cups of chicken stock, ginger, turmeric, pepper and nutmeg.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for another 20 minutes.  Add Worcestershire sauce and chili in adobo, stir to combine.

Work in batches and puree soup in a blender.  (You will have to allow it to cool, first.) Or, puree soup with an immersion blender until smooth.  Add sour cream and basil.  Puree to blend but leave some small pieces and specks of basil.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve on a cold night or after a long day of dragging brush in the yard.

 

Cream of Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese Soup

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

School vacation week.  Normally I dread it but I this month, I welcomed slowing down, not having to drive the kids here and there and wake up every morning before dawn to get everything accomplished in a day.  And the kids were actually pretty good, except for Wednesday (Soup delivery day).  Whenever I have something on my agenda that is important to me, I swear they sense it and do everything they can to throw me over the edge of all reason.  That and the fact that they started their day with dentist appointments probably didn’t help, either.  But in spite of all that, me and Punch and Judy managed to get all the soup delivered without killing each other.

Cream of Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese Soup is a few of my customers’ favorite.  Who doesn’t  dream about dunking a crusty piece of homemade bread into warm cream and sharp cheddar cheesy goodness?  I puree the broccoli so according to one of my special customers    ( btw, they are all special), ” I love that it didn’t have big chunks of broccoli so the flavor of the cheddar and the sweetness of the carrots was not “interrupted” by a mouthful of broccoli yet you still get the broccoli flavor.”  I couldn’t have said it better, myself!

Cream of Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese Soup

serves 4-6

6 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, chopped

1/4 cup AP flour

2 cups whole milk, warm

3 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

salt and pepper

4 cups broccoli florets (about one large head)

1 large carrot, diced

2 1/2 cups (about 8 oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese (mix yellow and white)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

dash Worcestershire sauce

Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Whisk in flour and cook until golden.  Gradually whisk in warm milk until smooth.  Add chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg.  Season with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to med/low-low and cook uncovered until thickened (about 20 minutes).

Add the broccoli and carrot to the soup mixture.  Simmer until tender (about 20 minutes).  Discard bay leaves.  Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.  Add the grated cheese to the soup and stir until melted.  Add Dijon mustard and Worcestershire.  Stir to combine.  If soup is too thick, add more chicken stock. 

Fresh Chive Butter

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

dash Tabasco sauce

dash cider vinegar

1 small bunch fresh chives, chopped fine (about 1/4 cup)

Puree butter, salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce and cider vinegar in a Kitchen Aid with paddle attachment.  Add chives.  Combine thoroughly.  Slather on fresh bread and enjoy.

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Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I was completely out of control this week.  There was way to much on my calendar, all pretty much my own doing.  But even though I was an overextended lunatic, I managed ( I think, because I am going so fast, that I remember nothing) to make a pretty decent soup.

It all really began last Saturday with the Girl Scout Cookie booth in freezing cold weather outside of Walmart. Selling cookies for four hours with 10 year old girls who constantly complain and ask to use the bathroom really wears me down. Of course, that wasn’t the only item on our agenda for the day which also included Ava and Declan going to their own basketball games, a Girl Scout ice skating event and a birthday party for one of Ava’s friends to top it all off.  Sunday, Monday and Tuesday all were filled with inventory prep and scanning hundreds of pieces of merchandise at BD for me. After spending 9 hours doing that on Monday, I went directly to help Karyn with her “Cup of Life” fundraiser.  After a long day of “beep, beep, beep” then wrangling 7th and 8th graders to serve hot chocolate, behave themselves, stop using their phones, etc.  I was spent and still hadn’t made any part of the soup or mixed the bread dough until I got home at 9:00pm.  There is more for Tuesday and Wednesday, but it’s far too exhausting to relive while writing this post, so I will leave it at that and get on with the recipe.  By the way, I think it came out pretty well as I did get to enjoy it myself on Wednesday night after Ava’s Girl Scout meeting which involved 4th grade girls painting birdhouses, their clothes and getting water and paint just about everywhere except where it was intended.

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

serves 4-6

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup grated carrot (about 1 medium)

1/2 cup thinly sliced sugar snap peas

2 teaspoons chili garlic paste

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 (2 inch) piece peeled fresh ginger

3 ounces uncooked rice flour noodles (wide)

1 1/2 cups shredded chicken

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

optional: 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Bread

Ginger Citrus Butter

Bring first eight ingredients to a simmer in a large pot, keep warm. 

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, add rice noodles and cook 3 minutes.  Drain.  Place 1/4-1/2 cup noodles in each bowl.

Discard ginger from simmering broth mixture.  Add chicken, lime juice and vinegar.  Adjust seasonings adding more chili garlic paste to make hotter and/or soy sauce for salt. Fill noodle bowls with broth mixture and garnish with green onions as well as cilantro and mint, if desired.  Serve with fresh Bread and Ginger Citrus Butter (see following recipe).

Ginger Citrus Butter

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

zest from 1/2 of one lemon, 1/2 of one lime, 1/2 of one orange

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1/4 teaspoon dried ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together.  Serve with freshly baked bread. Devour, enjoy.