Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

There are so many chicken noodle soup recipes out there but I’ve pretty much perfected the art of making one that’s quick yet still “homemade” tasting. I use cheesecloth to strain the soup as it catches all the little bits that you don’t really want in your broth. You can find it in the baking section of your grocery store.


1 rotisserie chicken (from grocery store)

1 onion, peeled and halved

4 stalks celery, including leaves

3 carrots, cut in half

8 cups chicken broth

2 cups frozen peas and carrots

1-2 cups frozen pearl onions

1 package frozen Grandma’s Homestyle Noodles, thaw as directed

salt and pepper to taste

Put the chicken broth in a large stock pot and add the whole chicken, onion, celery, and carrots.  Add salt and pepper. Bring to boil, then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for at least an hour, or up to two hours.  Using a large piece of cheesecloth laid over a colander, strain the soup into another large stock pot. Discard vegetables.  Let the chicken cool while you add the peas and carrots, pearl onions and thawed noodles to the pot.  Cook until noodles are done.  Pick the chicken off the bone and add the meat to the soup.  Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.





Pasta Fagioli with Red beans

I’m a soup gal.  I love soups of all kinds, but this one is great because not only does it have a great flavor but it’s hearty enough that if you add a hunk of bread and a glass of wine you can call it Dinner.  I like that in a soup.


4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

2 tbls butter

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 ounces pancetta, chopped

6 cups chicken broth

2 (14 oz) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup small macaroni, like elbow or orcchiette

salt and pepper to taste

parmesean cheese and olive oil to top dish

Cheesecloth or kitchen twine

Wrap the thyme and rosemary sprigs in a piece of cheesecloth and tie in a knot, or tie with kitchen twine.  Heat the butter in a large, heavy stockpot over a medium flame.  Add the onion, pancetta, and garlic and saute until the onion is tender (about 5 minutes).  Add the broth, beans and herbs.  Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease heat to medium and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.  At this point, remove the herb packet and discard it.  Measure out 1 cup of the mixture and either puree it in a blender or, if you have an immersion blender, put one cup in a larger (4 cup) glass measuring cup and puree it using the immersion blender.  Return the puree to the rest of the soup, cover and return to a boil over high heat.  Add the macaroni, cover again and boil approximately 8 minutes, so that the pasta is done “al dente.”  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve the soup sprinkled with parmesean cheese and drizzled with olive oil.


Japanese Mushroom Soup

Happy New Year! Working in retail, the holiday season was a busy one for me so I haven’t been blogging much but I hope to do more of it now!  And I was cooking this soup up today so I figured what better time to start.
One of my girls loves the Japanese steakhouse near us… in fact we’ve gone there every year for her birthday as long as I can remember.  We all love the near-clear soup they serve, with just a few mushrooms and onion bits floating in it and when I found this recipe I knew I had to try it.  I tweaked it a bit and, while it’s not exactly like the local  restaurant’s, it’s pretty darn good as is.  
Japanese Mushroom Soup
                                                               Japanese Mushroom Soup
1 celery stalk
1 small onion
2 carrots
Canned French fried onions
1 small piece fresh ginger (about 1 inch long)
3 garlic cloves
2 large beef bouillon cubes
2 large chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
8 cups water
Cut the celery, onion and carrots in fourths and add to the water in a large stock pot.  Cut the ginger and garlic into a few pieces each and toss into the water, along with the bouillon cubes.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for a least an hour.  Strain the vegetables, discarding them and leaving just the broth.  Add the sliced mushrooms and simmer a few minutes more.  Serve with a few French fried onions sprinkled on top. 

Broccoli Cheese Soup

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2 large heads broccoli, cut into 1-2” pieces
1 large brown onion, diced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
2 medium carrots, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup ½ and ½ or heavy whipping cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Saute broccoli pieces and onion in olive oil in large, heavy stock pot until onion is soft (about 5 minutes).  Add chicken stock, carrots, salt, pepper and cayenne.  Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and either use an immersion blender to blend the soup into a puree consistency, or if you don’t have immersion blender allow mixture to cool at least 5 minutes and carefully place small portions of the soup in a regular blender and puree a little at a time.  Be VERY careful doing this with hot liquids, always leaving the blender lid slightly ajar so as not to for a vacuum while blending).  Once blended, return all soup to pot. 
In a small cup, stir the flour into the melted butter.  Add this to the hot soup and return the soup to a medium heat to bring back to a simmer for 5 minutes (this will thicken the soup up).
Slowly stir in the ½ and ½ or heavy whipping cream and cheese and stir well.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small brown onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 each green and red bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1 10oz can Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups water
chicken breast meat (from grocery store roasted chicken)
3 tablespoons cornmeal
6 corn tortillas, cut into small strips
In large stock pot, saute onion in olive oil over medium low heat until soft (about 5 minutes);  Add garlic, green and red peppers and saute 3 minutes more.  Sprinkle seasonings over vegetables, then stir in Rotel, chicken broth, tomato paste and water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for at least 30 minutes, slightly covered.  Add chicken meat.  Put cornmeal in a small cup and stir small amount of hot water in to make a loose paste or slurry.  Pour in to soup.  Put tortilla strips into soup.  Simmer for 10 minutes or so, as it will thicken up.  Serve it with sour cream, avocado, cheddar and jack cheese, etc as toppings. 

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup
6-8oz fresh button mushrooms
6-8oz fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 stick, plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry paper towel. Don’t wash them! Separate the stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if there are big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom STEMS, the onion, carrot, the sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock. If not, add some water.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the stick of butter and add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 ½  teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half, cream, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot!



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