Category Archives: Soups

Hot and comforting soups and stews.

Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Bowl

Ok, ever since Panera started advertising their chicken noodle bowl, I’ve been dying to try one.  Problem is…

I never have time to get there, and today I had a teeny, tiny stomach bug.  I started craving a chicken noodle bowl and I’ve never had one!  How does that happen?  Really great advertising on their part I’d say!  So I started a little Pinterest research, looked into my pantry and made one using the leftovers I had on hand, like yesterday’s grilled chicken and it was delish!  I still don’t know what Panera’s noodle bowls taste like, and it doesn’t even matter because this was so good!

And the best part, I used what I had on hand and it took around 2o minutes or so.  I didn’t really time it, because it tasted so good, I forgot!  I didn’t measure the seasonings exactly so start small and adjust, being careful to go easy with the oyster and soy sauce. Doesn’t that make you hungry?

Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Bowl

Ingredients:

1 pack of ramen noodles (discard flavor packet)

3 or more cups of chicken broth depending on how much broth you want

2 tbsp. finely diced onion

3 baby carrots sliced thin

a small handful of baby spinach with stems removed

1 small thinly sliced pre-cooked chicken breast (mine had been grilled and was sprinkled with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders)

10 very thin julienne

red pepper strips

4 dashes of garlic powder

1 heaping tbsp. oyster sauce

1 -2 tsp. soy sauce (low sodium if you want  control the salt)

a few dashes ground ginger

a dash of pepper  sriracha sauce

Directions:

Pour chicken broth in a pot on high and let boil.  Add onions and peppers and carrots.  Let boil for about 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.  Add ramen noodles and stir occasionally.  Add seasonings and stir.  Taste and adjust to your liking.  Everything should blend together.  You should taste the soy sauce/oyster sauce but they should not overpower.  If you really like heat add more sriracha sauce!  I allowed it to cook for about 15 minutes on medium to reduce the broth and let the flavors come together.  When everything has been added and the noodles are done, then add the spinach and let cook until spinach is just wilted.  It’s done!

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Simple Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe has taken me almost my whole married life to perfect.  Really.  This is supposed to be so easy that any Southerner should be able to do it in their sleep, but not me.

Give me something hard and it’s no prob but this has kept me up at night and to make it worse, it’s one of my hubby’s favorites.  His great-aunt was amazing at it. But I think I’ve got it!  It’s probably still not perfect, but it’s darn close.  I kept it as simple as I could.  It is warm, comforting and delicious.  Again I started really easy with the seasonings, because I like to adjust as things cook.  This way it becomes your recipe. You can use a whole chicken and the broth from it which would be amazing. But tonight I just had boneless, skinless chicken and it worked just fine.

People also argue over whether to do rolled dumplings or drop dumplings.  I do drop most of the time.  Mainly because it saves a lot of time and I don’t have to get flour everywhere.  There’s no need to argue and debate the type of dumplings, both are amazing!  So no more arguing people!

Broth:

2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 bouillon cube

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 tbsp. butter and 3-4 tablespoons of flour

Dumplings:

2 cups of flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

/4 cup of shortening

1 tsp. butter

3/4 – 1 cup of milk

Directions:

Boil chicken in a large pot covered with water.  Add the seasonings and bouillon cube.  Cook chicken till done.  Then remove chicken and save the broth in the pot.  Shred chicken and add back to the pot with the broth.

a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients for the dumplings together.  Add the shortening and butter and cut in with a pastry cutter. Work together until it’s evenly mixed, but don’t overwork.  Add in 3/4 cup of the milk and stir gently until you have a nice dough. If it’s too dry add in the rest of the milk.  Too wet add a little bit of flour.  Set to the side and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes.

In a small pan melt butter and add the 1/4 cup of flour.  Allow the flour and butter to cook for a few minutes to get rid of the flour taste.  Mix together adding broth with a whisk until nice and smooth.  Add to broth pot and mix.  I added it about a tablespoon at a time till I got the desired thickness of broth.  I wound up using about 1/2.  Bring pot to a boil.  This is the time to add the soup and adjust seasonings.  I added about 1 tsp. of salt and 1/4 tsp. more pepper and 1/4 tsp. of onion powder.  Adjust till you get the taste you want.

Take dumpling dough and either roll out on a floured surface and cut into thin squares or drop by tiny spoonfuls into the broth.  Every once in a while stir the dumplings very gently while adding them in.  After all dumplings have been added, reduce heat to a simmer and cover.  Cook for 15 to 20 minutes.  Do not take lid off!  When dumplings are fluffy in the middle they are done.

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Creamy Potato, Gnocchi and Ham Soup

Today I was looking at the pouring down, cold rain and wondering what to make for supper.  Then I stood in front of my open refrigerator staring at the leftover ham from Easter and wondered what else can I do with it? Potato, Gnocchi and Ham Soup…

Then a friend suggested ham and potato soup. It sounded wonderful and then for some reason that I can’t explain, I started craving gnocchi.  I searched and searched everywhere for soup recipes that contained ham, gnocchi and potatoes.  I couldn’t find one that had all three, so not to be defeated I came up with this recipe, Creamy Potato, Gnocchi and Ham Soup.  It is totally my own!  It is warm and yummy and delicate.  But so easy to make.  My recipe made enough for 5 people with seconds and a little leftover for lunch tomorrow. It took about one hour total time from start to finish.  Try it and tell me what you think!

Ingredients:

8 medium potatoes cubed

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic

1/4 tsp. thyme

salt

1 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

2 chicken bouillon cubes

3 cans of chicken broth

1 cup of half and half

2 cups of chopped ham

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 stick butter

4 tbsp. flour

1 16 oz. package of gnocchi

Directions:

Boil potatoes in a large pot of water with bouillon cubes and a little salt.  Cook till just done and then drain.  In a large pot melt butter on a med. low temp and then sprinkle in flour. Let flour cook in the butter for a few minutes to get rid of the flour taste.  Then with a whisk mix the butter and flour together in a paste and add onion powder and garlic powder and mix well.  Turn the temperature up to high to get a boil and add stock one can at a time and whisk well with each one.

When stock is boiling and well mixed add the potatoes back in and the ham.  Allow to cook till potatoes are tender.  While stock is boiling add gnocchi.  Stir often.  Cook till gnocchi is tender, about 3 minutes.  Turn down to medium and add half and half, thyme and pepper.  Add cheese and stir until completely melted and mixed into the soup.  Adjust salt and seasonings if needed.

Suggestions:  Serve topped with shredded cheese, add diced cooked bacon, try Italian sausage instead of ham.  For a little heat add a dash or two of cayenne powder.

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Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

Ok, so the weather outside was frightful and I was hungry.  So were my kids.  I wanted soup, but I didn’t want to open a can, again.  I had been looking online at soup recipes and decided to try making a cream of chicken soup, even though I had a can of the deliciousness in my cabinet ready to go.  It turned out better than I thought and really close to canned stuff, but better and with a lot less salt.  I can’t wait to try it out in casseroles!  It was warm, thick and creamy and  it only took about 30 minutes.  This recipe serves about 4 to 5 people.IMG_3186

Ingredients:

2 cooked chicken breasts diced

3 Tbsp. butter

3 Tbsp. flour

salt

pepper

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. sage

2 cans of evaporated milk

1 can of chicken broth

1 chicken bouillon cube

Directions:

First cut chicken into cubes.  I took two chicken breasts and seasoned them with salt, pepper, seasoning salt and sage and cooked them in a little olive oil in a skillet.  Then cut them into cubes.  You could use any leftover chicken that you have or use a rotisserie chicken.

In a medium size pot, melt the butter on medium heat.  Once melted sprinkle in the flour.  Let sit for about a minute or two to get rid of the flour taste, but don’t let the flour brown.  With a whisk, mix the flour and butter together.  Let cook for an additional minute or two.  Then whisk in the chicken broth and mix until smooth. Add the chicken to the pot and the evaporated milk and bouillon cube and seasonings.  Salt and pepper to your taste.  Allow to cook till warmed through.  If it’s not as thick as you like, make a slurry of 1 tbsp. flour and 2 tbsp. milk.  Whisk till smooth and add to the soup.  Cook on medium until thick and creamy.  Watch your temperature carefully and turn down if it gets too hot so you don’t scorch the bottom.  Adjust seasonings and enjoy!  Feel free to add crackers, croutons or toasted bread like we did.

 

 

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

This is by far my most requested soup recipe and it’s amazing and warm and perfect for cold winter nights.  My family loves it and so do their friends…

Matter of fact, Emily has two friends that request this almost every time they come over!  I love that! Last night Becca’s best friend came over and my hubby, she calls him Papa Bare, wanted her to try it and he requested it especially for her.  How sweet!

Well we almost didn’t get to make it.  The basketball games took a little while, but we won!  Then my dishwasher decided not to work and my dishes were piled high in my sink and they were all over my counter. It looked like dinner impossible.  So, my sweet hubby hand washed all the dishes!  How could I not make his favorite soup for him?

This soup is thick and creamy and it’s better than anything you get in a restaurant!  Or so I’ve been told by those who’ve had it.  Even though we didn’t get to eat until almost 10pm, it was worth the wait.  It takes about an hour to make, but it’s super easy and loaded with potatoes.  And Becca’s friend loved it!

Ingredients:

5 pounds of potatoes peeled and cut into cubes

6 cans of evaporated milk (or enough to make 8 total cups)

1 pound block of Velveeta cheese

1/2 stick of butter

1/4 cup of flour

salt

pepper

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 pack of bacon

1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  I put my bacon on a wire cooling rack in a baking sheet and bake it in the oven.  If you prefer, you can cook your bacon on the stovetop.  I just love how it cooks in the oven.

Boil potatoes in a large pot in salted water.  Be sure to use a good bit of salt this is your only chance to get the potatoes salted.  Cook until about 1/2  to 3/4 done, you do not want to cook them all the way done yet or overcook them.  They will turn to mush if you do.  They will finish cooking when everything is put together.  Drain potatoes.

While your potatoes are cooking, in a sauce pot, melt the butter on about medium heat.

 

Once melted, add flour. Let flour sit for about 1-2 minutes. You don’t want to have a flour taste in your soup. Then blend it with the melted butter with a whisk. Watch your temperature and turn it down to low. You don’t want to over brown your butter/flour.

Add 1 can (about 2 cups ) evaporated milk and whisk with the flour/butter mixture until smooth. Cut Velveeta into large chunks and add to the pot to melt.

Stir with your whisk to blend it all together. It should come out smooth and creamy.

Once your potatoes are drained add them back to your large pot and pour in 6 cups of evaporated milk.  Turn heat up to medium.  Once the soup is a little warm, add the sauce from the other pot and stir gently to combine.  You want your soup to be on a low simmer for about 20 minutes.  But watch your temperature so you don’t scorch the soup on the bottom.  You can always turn it down if you think it’s too hot.

Once the soup is good and warm it’s time to add your seasonings.  I start with about 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. of pepper, because you can always add more but you can’t take it out!  Add the onion powder, garlic and cayenne.  Allow to cook for about 10 minutes and then taste and adjust the seasonings to your taste.

When potatoes are nice and tender and the soup is good and warm, then it’s done!  Time to eat!  Top bowls of soup with crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar cheese.  Enjoy!

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Christmas Over Salad

I’ve been eating wonderful leftovers from Christmas, just like everyone else.  But today, I needed something different.  But I still needed to use the leftovers that are lurking in my fridge.  My body was craving salad after eating all of those fattening and yummy foods.  So here is what I came up with.  I just used the ham and turkey that had been smoked and Emily used some of the Boston Butt.  We also had lots of veggies to play with, some fresh and some that were already cooked like Becca’s fried corn.  It was amazing!  Have fun playing with your leftovers!

 

 

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Christmas Over Salad

Ingredients:

Baby Spinach

Romaine Lettuce

Fancy Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Broccoli (or any veggies that you have leftover)

Baby Carrots

Ham

Turkey

Cornbread Croutons (recipe below)

Favorite dressing

Directions:

Tear lettuce and pile on to your plate or in a large bowl if you’re making it for the family.  Add baby spinach and toss.  Slice baby carrots into thin slices.  You can add as much as you like.  Break or cut broccoli into bite size pieces.  Now for the leftover ham and turkey!  Add warm or cold, it’s up to you.  Cut into small chunks and add to salad.  Top with cheese, croutons and your favorite dressing.

Cornbread croutons:  Take the leftover cornbread that you made for your stuffing or dressing and cute into cubes.  Day old or older works better than fresh.  Heat up a little olive oil in a skillet on medium heat.  Add croutons.  Allow them to get golden brown and turn over.  Be careful to make sure they don’t burn.  You could also do them in the oven.  They are yummy!

Tuscan Bean Soup

I was starving today and it was just little ol’ me and I decided to try out Better Home’s and Garden’s Tuscan Bean Soup recipe.  It was so amazing that I ate the whole thing all by myself!  Just so you know I cut the recipe in half since it was just me, myself and I.  But it was sooooo yummy!  I could scream it was so good!  You have to try it and it’s super quick and easy.  I think next time I’m going to add some country ham to it, but it’s perfection as is.

My Favorite Beef Stew Recipe

I have been craving fall food lately, especially beef stew.  In NC fall is in the air early even though it’s 85 degrees.  It should still be sweltering!  But I’ll take it, because fall is my favorite time of year.

The lighting outside has changed, the air isn’t as humid and it feels cooler and the sun is going down so quickly.  With all of this, it’s no wonder I’ve been craving beef stew and all of my fall favorites.  My poor hubby went out last night and scoured the stores for beef stew since I was craving it so badly.  I guess everyone else is craving it too, because he had to go to a couple of stores to find it. But he finally find it!  We didn’t eat supper till 9pm last night, but it was so worth the wait!  It felt like home and we all curled up on the couches with piping hot bowls of it, creamy rice and buttery cornbread.  It was a cozy fall-to-be evening.

Paula Deen’s Old Time Beef Stew recipe is amazing and it makes your kitchen smell so good.  I love when I add in the spices because it instantly smelled like fall.  Try it out, I’m sure you’ll love it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds stew beef
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Dash ground allspice or ground cloves
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions:

Brown meat in hot oil. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots and celery. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer. To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid. Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.

* The only changes that I made were:  I didn’t have allspice so I did a few dashes of cinnamon and a pinch or two of nutmeg.  I omitted the celery (my family doesn’t like it) and added about 7 diced potatoes.  I also used 3 pounds of beef stew and cut it into smaller bite size chunks.  It will cook a little quicker and it stretches out the meat.  I also kept a watch on the water to make sure it didn’t cook away and added more if needed.  I also adjusted the seasoning about 20 minutes before serving and added more if needed.

Serving Suggestion:

I served this with creamy rice; you can pour the stew over the rice which is really yummy and it helps the stew go further and it’s just really yummy, along with a side of buttery cornbread.  Truly southern and yummy!

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Southern Chicken and Noodles

This meal is warm and comforting; so pull up a chair by the fire and enjoy!

Slow Cooked Version (Takes a few hours):

1 whole chicken

Several teaspoons of salt

Pepper

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Thyme

Dash of cinnamon

1 can Cream of Chicken soup

2 chicken Bullion cubes or stock

1 package Egg Noodles (which ever size you like)

water

Directions:

Remove the icky parts from the chicken (if you’re lucky, they’ll be in a bag inside the chicken or get one with the parts already removed.  Rinse the chicken and put in a large pot.  You are going to add the seasonings to the inside cavity of the chicken.  Add a generous teaspoon of salt, about 1/2 teaspoon of pepper (more or less depending on your tastes), about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of thyme and just a dash of cinnamon.  These measurements are approximates, adjust to your liking; you just want the chicken to be flavored nicely from the inside out.  Then cover chicken with water and cook on medium-high till the thickest parts are done and it’s falling apart when you move the legs.  You could also cook it in a crockpot overnight on low.

Once chicken is done, remove from the pot carefully and set aside to cool enough to handle.  Don’t dump out your cooking liquid, set it to the side for now. Once cool, it’s time to remove all of the yummy meat!  Pull off the skin and remove the meat, shred and set aside.  Don’t forget to make a wish with the wishbone!

Run the cooking liquid through a strainer or use a paper towel and a colander. This way you remove any funky stuff. It’s worth this step because the liquid adds so much flavor! (If you’re doing the creamy version, add that step now.) Add the liquid back to a pot and add enough water to cook the noodles in.  Add cream of chicken soup and bullion cubes and stir till well mixed.  Shred chicken and add as much as you like.  When water is boiling add the noodles and cook till tender. Taste and add seasonings to your liking.  I usually add more salt, and about another 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and thyme.

Quick Version (About 45 minutes):

You could use a rotisserie chicken or any pre-cooked chicken or:

Same recipe as above except use 4 chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken.  Boil chicken breasts in water with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic thyme and a dash of cinnamon.  Remove chicken breasts when cooked through and shred.  (Add creamy version step here.) Add shredded to chicken back to pot and add enough water to cook noodles.  When water is boiling add cream of chicken soup and bouillon cubes; stir well.  Add noodles and cook till tender.  Add seasonings to taste.

Thick and Creamy Version:

Prepare as either of the above versions, except you will need to either put cooking liquid in a bowl or use another pot.  In an empty pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter.  Sprinkle in 3 tablespoons of flour.  Allow to cook together for a minute or two on medium and then mix well.  Slowly add cooking liquid back into the pot using a whisk to mix thoroughly.  From here follow the rest of the recipes.  Allow this version to cook on medium until desired thickness is reached.  If it’s too thick, thin with more water.

Tips:

If you’re feeling really adventurous and have the time, try making my daughter’s homemade egg noodles instead of the store-bought ones.  They are scrumptious!

This is yummy with cornbread!  My hubby loves to eat this with a side of beets.

Sorry I don’t have exact measurements.  I taste it while the noodles are cooking and add seasonings as they cook. I Adjust seasonings as I go but I will make a point of paying attention and make the measurements more exact.  But, that’s also the fun of cooking, adjust it to how you like it.  A well seasoned broth makes all the difference in the taste, just don’t over salt it.

You can use any of the remaining shredded chicken for lots of things like:  Chicken pot pie, chicken salad, or anything that calls for shredded chicken.

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