Chunky Chicken and mushroom soup

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup…

chicken soupWe are working, I hope, through the last of the days on end rain storms where even the worms drown in unforgiving driveway puddles…

IMG_7389 and unplanned driveway streams…

IMG_7390Goats are hanging near the doorway..

IMG_7398As well as the dynamic duo…

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We tried basic ditching to get a little immediate relief. They have a little bridge to cross.

IMG_7396So for days like this, chicken soup is still in order. But I wanted a soup with big chunky vegetables, mushrooms and meat. I started by cooking the chicken whole (and frozen) on a low simmer for about an hour. Next I pulled out the crock pot. I pulled the cooked chicken and strain the bits. Once cooled, I  pulled the meat off and put it in the fridge till day 2. Here comes the crock pot.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.comBones go in along with a couple carrots, celery tops, onion (or scallions if like me that’s all you have in the fridge), @ 4 bay leaves,  a wedge of lemon, peppercorns, and a couple cloves of garlic. Potato bits and mushroom stems are also a nice addition. I use all the liquid from cooking chicken and top off to about 10-12 cups liquid. It will sit on low for about 24 hours and fill your house with a savory, homey scent. It’s gold baby.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-2No dicing or cubing here. I want to know if it is a slice of carrot or piece of celery in my mouth. 1 large onion, 4-5 carrots, 4 stalks of celery.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-3Same goes for the mushrooms- 6-8 larger brown caps (small portobellos) and 8-10 larger shiitakes. Don’t forget how much they shrink.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-5And if you want to give your soup a little more flavor, I strongly encourage sautéing your veggies in olive oil first and seasoning them on their own.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-6And then add the liquid gold to the big pot of veggies and lift up the “suc”- the yummy brown bits on the bottom  (that you hopefully didn’t burn black:) with a spatula or spoon.

I have to admit after nibbling on the chicken for a day, I bought another split breast that I gently simmered in the 24 hour stock for only 30 minutes. So I essentially had 3 big breasts… keep it down folks.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-7About 4 cups largely shredded chicken in the end- mostly white meat. And of course these pieces still fit in your mouth. I don’t want to have to cut my soup into smaller pieces for god’s sake. Not that big!… Throw the meat in the pot.

And lastly, I added about ½ cup chopped parsley and seasoned the soup with salt, pepper and lemon. I wanted a simple, clean flavor and skipped any other herbs (rosemary, marjoram and thyme would be on another batch)

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-4

We are all ready for a break of sunshine.

IMG_7392And dry soils…

IMG_7393But until then how about another bowl of chunky chicken and mushroom soup!

RECAP: Portions – About 8-10. One dinner and lunch for 2. Then dinner for 4 at the neighbors…. and still a little left for the freezer.

  • Simmer one  3-4# chicken (skin on for me) in water till cooked- about 1 hour. Fill water to about ½  up way around chicken.
  • Pull chicken and let cool. Strain liquid and place in crockpot. Add enough water to make approx 10-12 cups liquid.
  • Remove meat from the bones and place all bones in the crockpot.  Put meat in the fridge till day 2.
  • Add to crockpot- 2 medium carrots, 2 celery middle stalks w/ leaves, ½ onion, peppercorns (8-12 if you must count), 4 bay leaves (less if you want-  won’t make or break your stock), couple cloves of garlic. Anything else you feel moved to add to create flavor- mushroom and potato bits, parsley stems.
  • Cook on low for up to 24 hours for a dark, rich, healthy chicken stock. Pull a little cup out and add a pinch of salt to just enjoy on its own. Strain liquid. (Cook up another breast for more meat if you ate a bunch waiting for your stock! and for a heartier soup)
  • Cut up 3-4 carrots, 4 stalks of celery, 1 onion
  • Slice 6-8 large cap mushrooms, 8-10 large shiitake mushrooms
  • Sauté veggies in your big soup pot with a little olive oil and season to taste. Add 24 hour stock. 
  • Take your chicken meat and pull apart/shred into larger but mouth fitting pieces. Add to soup pot.
  • Chop ½ cup parsley and add to soup pot.
  • Season to taste with salt, white pepper and lemon 

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-8Cheers,

WT

 

 

chobani chicken salad, pomegranate, tarragon,walnuts

I love this salad. I’ve been working on some new lunch recipes to cover us through the week. Roasted chicken breast, Chobani plain greek yogurt, pomegranate, walnuts and fresh tarragon. Um hell yes.

I’ve been sitting on this post for a few weeks so if you can’t find the pomegranate I have substituted grapes split in half or even quartered if you have the patience. Just a pop of sweet is what I like.

Print recipe: {Chobani chicken salad, pomegranate & tarragon}

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.com-9

I’ve been making yogurt lately from raw milk we get locally, but if I don’t have it on hand I’m happy to turn to Chobani yogurt. Really. Yes, contact from the company did motivate this post but I was happy to do it. And though I think healthy fats are totally good for us, I wanted to go with the plain yogurt to dress this salad and went with the  0% fat. I used one small container for the recipe.

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.comIdeally you can start with some leftover roasted chicken breast from the night before. I’ll sometimes even roast two birds at a time if I really want to stock up for the week.

Roast chicken@wendyellenthomas.com

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups/12 oz chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 cup celery including leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup onion chopped fine
  • ½ cup walnuts chopped
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2T fresh tarragon chopped
  • ½ cup Chobani 0% natural greek yogurt
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper

I cube about 2 cups or 12oz chicken breast.Personally, I generally prefer cubing to shredding. And to be honest, I would never put chicken in a food processor unless you WANT something resembling tuna from a can.

Chop celery, onion, walnuts and a couple tablespoons of fresh tarragon

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.com-5Then have some fun looking at videos on THE BEST way to cut a pomegranate and decide you’re just going to quarter the damn thing with a knife.

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.com-3And take extra pics because they are just a gift from heaven and so photogenic

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.com-4Now pull it all together with your yogurt, a little olive oil, maple syrup, cider vinegar and salt and pepper- it’s a one bowl mixer. And do your thing to make it your own- little more salt? pepper? vinegar or lemon juice? sweet?

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.com-6And voila… Looks like my Grandma’s bowl? Because it is:)

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.com-11

I like to think Chobani has earned their leadership in the market for Greek yogurt through quality in their product – hormone free milk, non-GMO ingredients and by keeping with the tradition of production. As a matter of fact, I’m inspired to try making my own Greek yogurt.

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.com-10Here’s a nutritional breakdown of the chicken salad with Chobani Greek Yogurt including calories and all that good obsessive stuff.

Chobani chicken salad,pomegranate & tarragon

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.com-2

I happily wrote this post on behalf of Chobani Greek Yogurt in response to a request for new recipes. The opinions are all mine and I only would ever share products I’d use myself. You can find loads more great recipes here.

Summer harvest begins!

Here we are already ending the first week of July. The garden is going gangbusters and we’re loving every minute and every morsel. We’ve been enjoying greens since March, peas over the last month and the broccoli has actually gone to seed now. But for me when the root veggies start showing their true selves, I feel summer harvest knocking at the door. These baby carrots and beets are only moments shy of fully maturing. We are devouring the first zucchinis, blissfully ignorant to the idea of the late August green giant overload. We have Green zucchini, Costata Romanescos with the racing stripes, and Scalloped green/yellow pattypans soon to arrive. Unfortunately, I mismarked the yellow crookneck and they seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle.

Harvest dinner 7-7-2013-2

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Spaghetti squash and sausage

spaghetti squash and meatballs-10

I’m rounding up January with one more healthy dish. I won’t even pretend to disguise the fact that I’ve been nibbling at the chocolate with virtual abandon but will also report, I’m starting my fourth week of regular exercise. Despite the scale’s refusal to acquiesce in a manner I’d prefer, there is just less meat to grab in the middle, if you know what I mean. I can work with that. Unfortunately, being on my own right now there is nobody to test my theory… but I’ll keep you posted 🙂

We’ve had a good couple weeks, striking through many items on our list(s) and feeling like we are moving forward in life. O, still in Germany, is back in the room where he grew up till he finishes the semester and homeland security gives us a green light. We are counting down the days till we can enjoy life as a non-commuter family, at least till October.

I also finally set up the Lowell Ego light I received as a Christmas gift from my mother. Thanks mom! Don’t take this the wrong way, but I was amazed at how such a flimsy, plastic, kind of crap light is so entirely perfect. Granted, I’ve nothing to compare it to, but so far it has proven far better than photos with overhead room lights. Leary about its quality after reading many reviews, I was prepared for the worst. It is a wee bit scary to put together. Simple, but you feel like you are going to break it before you even flip the switch. I did only buy one to try out and I’m not sure if I would buy a second. So here’s my first ever set of photos taken after dark. I’ll keep practicing.

On to some chow…I’ve got a simple dish here that will please your palette and your waistline. It is combined inspiration from  Karen @ Backroad Journal’s spaghetti squash and Karista @ Karista’s kitchen’s meatballs. It is the lazy version.

spaghetti squash and meatballs

The spaghetti squash is split in half and seeds are scooped out. I drizzle a little olive oil, salt and pepper and some herb- tonight it was thyme. Often it’s fresh rosemary. I love how these guys are starting to break a sweat under the light!

spaghetti squash and meatballs-2

The squash was baked with a little water at the bottom of the pan (glass dish is fine) at 400°F for 45 minutes. You know it’s done when easily punctured with a knife. The inside is scraped up with a fork into strands… hence the name spaghetti squash.

spaghetti squash and meatballs-7

Again, being the lazy road here, I used one 16oz package of Isernio’s breakfast chicken sausage.

spaghetti squash and meatballs-4

All I added was a little fennel seed, oregano, thyme and sage and 1/2 cup of diced apples. We are still working off a few of our apples in cold storage from December.

spaghetti squash and meatballs-3

And 1/3 cup diced onions…

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The meatballs were a little sticky and rough around the edges because I skipped on the egg and breadcrumbs. I could lie and say it was to keep it GF. It was just due to the lazy part and frankly, being completely caught up with my new light. Honestly, there’s no need for the accurate measurements, it was just easier for photos!

spaghetti squash and meatballs-5I heated up a little olive oil and butter and plopped sticky balls in the pan to brown them. I finished them off in the oven at 400°F for about 10 minutes.

spaghetti squash and meatballs-8I steamed a little kale in the frying pan juices and had a little fun plating it up. I drizzled a tad more olive oil on the squash. Chloe was impressed with the presentation but not mad on the squash. I had to pull out these sweet Pillivuyt plates because our everyday dishes are fiestaware and I wanted a white plate. But I’ll say, it was a little more fun to eat like this.

spaghetti squash and meatballs-9I’m so looking forward to baking again.

Tschüß xo

And a little hello from Otis.. the days of rinsing him off in the sink with the sprayer are numbered…

One Year Ago: Espresso Cupcakes
Espresso Cupcakes

Turkey Kebabs & Glass Noodle Salad… you heard me right.

Turkey Kebabs & Glass Noodle Salad… you heard me right.

I know what you are thinking… what is it with this chick and the glass noodles? People, I could eat these everyday. I think I must have been Vietnamese in a past life. Or Thai. My palette extends pretty far and wide but I find that when I’m trying to eat healthy, I could add cilantro and/or mint, basil, ginger and garlic and a squirt of fish sauce to just about everything. And I’m thinking the thai chili sauce isn’t so bad either. And I would rather not hear anything contradictory to that warm fuzzy feeling I have about it.

But first, the turkey kebabs…

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Tarragon Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Hazelnuts & a side of Asparagus

This tarragon chicken salad with cranberries and hazelnuts, exploding with flavor and texture, easily kept my mind off the cupcakes and yeasted cakes I’ve temporarily sworn off. And it will yours too. I didn’t search for any recipe this time because I didn’t want to know if someone’s already done it. Sometimes, with the access we have online to practically everything, it can take a bit of the thrill out of thinking you’ve discovered something for yourself. Now I know tarragon chicken salad is nothing new. And I know somebody out there has put cranberries or hazelnuts with chicken. Maybe they even used an orange vinaigrette to dress it. And yes, once I publish this post I might very well google it… but until then I’m enjoying having put this together myself.

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Valentines… bath,duck and kumquats

Valentines… bath,duck and kumquats

Ok not the rubber kind and it was the car that got the bath. Happy Valentine’s day honey. Right? What do we get for our loving husbands? Mine isn’t into power tools but how about washing and vacuuming the car, I thought. It was my first car wash in Germany. I was returning from dropping Chloe off at school.. which on a side note is so totally American. These kids here are trained young for church, getting themselves around, and crossing streets only when the green guy flashes. We see 5 year olds out there rain, sun, snow walking to school. They’ve got backpacks as big as their little bodies and until they leave home at 18, they are independent. It’s great. But you have to start straight away. Like with church. My choir did a couple songs for the kids service today and these kids start so young going to church. It is just something you do on Sundays. You start them before they realize they have choices.  It’s not like a “hmm… should we go to church today?” It’s just what you do. By the time they hit puberty it’s part of a structure that just is. I’m not religious per se so it’s not about going to church… but the principal of training, ya know?

You can read further about my car wash experience down below. It was pretty funny. But now here are a couple ideas for a lovely Valentine’s Day meal or weekend dinner.

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