It’s Soup Season!

Fall and winter are always the best time to make and eat soup and there are two reasons why.  One, it’s cold out, so a bowl of soup warms you up from the inside out.  Two, it’s cold and flu season, and what better remedy for a sore throat and headache then a piping hot bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup?  As I am in college, I wanted this to not take too long, and I came across this recipe that is very time flexible   Now I have my very own batch of chicken noodle soup that I made all by myself, and on this cold day of November, it’s the perfect comfort food!

Here is the recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup:

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INGREDIENTS:
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1-3 garlic cloves, to taste
1 1/2 pounds (about 6) chicken thighs, preferably bone-in
1 bay leaf
1-2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 pound noodles
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1-3 teaspoons salt

EQUIPMENT 
6-quart soup pot
Long-handled spoon
Pasta pot

DIRECTIONS

1. Cook the Vegetables: Warm a teaspoon of oil over medium heat in the dutch oven or soup pot. Add the diced onions, celery, and carrots with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables just start to soften, 3-5 minutes. Clear a space in the middle of the pan and add the garlic. Cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds, then stir the garlic into the vegetables.

2. Sear the Chicken: Remove the skin from the chicken thighs, but leave the bone in. (Boneless chicken thighs are also fine in this recipe, but the bones add richness to the broth.) Move the vegetables to the edges of the pan and warm the remaining teaspoon of oil in the middle of the pan. When hot, add the chicken thighs, fitting them into a single layer. It’s ok if they are snug. Cook without moving for about 3 minutes, until the underside is seared golden. Flip the thighs and sear the other side until golden.

3. Add the Broth and Simmer: Add the bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the pot. Pour in one quart of the broth, reserving the remaining quart for later. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Shred the Chicken: Move the pot off the heat and transfer the chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon. Use two forks to pull the meat apart into shreds (or chop into cubes). Remove and discard any bones. It’s ok if the meat is still a little pink in the middle at this point.

5. Cook the Pasta: Bring a separate pot of water to a boil for the pasta. When boiling, salt the water generously and add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is barely al dente and the drain. 

6. Finish the Soup: Return the shredded chicken to the soup and bring to a simmer. If the chicken wasn’t quite finished cooking, continue simmering until it has cooked through.  If a thinner broth is desired, add additional chicken broth. Remove the bay leaf, and taste the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.  Spoon some of the pasta into a bowl and spoon the soup over the pasta and serve.

**REMEMBER** If you add the pasta directly to the soup, it will keep absorbing moisture, which often makes the pasta soggy.  To avoid this, store the pasta separate from the soup and serve it with the soup in individual portions.

Recipe courtesy of theKitchn.com

With a bowl of this homemade soup in hand, all you need is a blanket and a good movie, and you are ready for the fall and winter months! Enjoy!

Not-Your-Typical Mac and Cheese

I have always loved cheese.  Growing up, cheese and crackers were a regular snack in my family.  Now that I’m in college, I can’t exactly go out and buy all those nicer cheeses because I just don’t have the money, so I try and find other ways to fit it into my eating habits.

Traditional boxed mac and cheese is a college staple.  All you have to do is heat up some water, add it to the pasta, and pour in the cheese powder.  But…CHEESE POWDER?? That is definitely not what I want to be eating.  If I am going to be eating cheese, it should at least be real and not have orange food coloring in it!  So this recipe is my solution.  Yes, it takes a little longer than instant mac and cheese, but it is so worth it.  It has other ingredients like broccoli and chicken that make you feel better about what you are eating too.  You also get REAL cheese in your macaroni, not some fake powdered nonsense.  So get rid of your boxed college food, and get cooking with some real cheese!

Here is the recipe for the Broccoli Sundried Tomato Mac and Cheese

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Serves 4

Ingredients:
8oz large macaroni noodles
3 cups small broccoli florets
2 large chicken breasts (about 1lb), cut into bite-sized pieces
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons oil (I used oil from the sun-dried tomatoes)
6oz Laughing Cow Lite Cheese Wedges (I used Garlic & Herb)
3/4 – 1 cup milk
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook macaroni noodles in a large pot of salted, boiling water. Add broccoli to the pot 3 minutes before noodles are done cooking, then drain well and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove to a plate and set aside. In the same skillet, add cheese, milk, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper, then stir until cheese is melted, and sauce is thick. Add cooked chicken, noodles, and broccoli to the skillet then stir well to combine. Add more milk if sauce isn’t creamy enough, then serve.

Recipe Courtesy of http://iowagirleats.com/

For this recipe, I thought that Laughing Cow was a great idea because it is creamy, lite, and it is a really good melting cheese.  It also does not cost too much, and to top it off, only 35 calories a wedge! Enjoy!

EXTRA! Here is a little example of the prep process!