Pardon me for not blogging recently; I had family in town and you know how that is. I would be totally back into the swing of things if we weren't all sick. This cold weather does not agree with the Marks girls. Last night we were all in need of a nice warm healing soup. Soups are one of the easiest things to make. They're cheap and they go a long way to feed a family. I have suggestions for a thicker version if you need a heartier stew-like consistency to satisfy you. This is my Chicken Noodle Recipe:
a pound of diced raw chicken (any part of the bird you happen to have)
half a pound of pasta, any shape
12 cups vegetable or chicken broth (or water plus bouillion cubes)
a can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
a bag of frozen veggies - "seasoning blend" OR two fresh diced carrots, two fresh diced stalks of celery, one diced red bell pepper, and one diced onion.
two jars of baby food - mixed veggie, carrots, or peas.
any of the following: parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, garlic powder, dill, bay leaves.
Honestly you could throw all of this in the pot, turn it on high and eat in fifteen minutes. You don't need any oil if you do it this way and it will reduce the fat content. But I like to babysit my cooking so this is what I do:
Sautee the veggies and the herbs and spices in olive oil for two to three minutes. Add the baby food and four cups of broth, bring to a boil, and add the chicken. Boil for a minute, add four more cups of broth and return to a boil. Add the pasta and the beans, then cook for ten minutes or until the pasta is done. Keep an eye on it and add more broth to your desired consistency. I like really brothy soup so I use all twelve cups. The pasta will absorb more water as it sits, so if you're eating it again the next day you will need to add more liquid anyway. Serve and enjoy! Just don't eat the bay leaves.
My 3 year old loves soup and my one year old loves pasta so this recipe made the whole family happy, and will for several days. It's extremely healthy, especially if you leave out the olive oil and use whole-wheat pasta. There are so many veggies in here it's not even funny.
If you like a thicker soup, use a little less water and add a can of crushed tomatoes to give it a heartier consistency and flavor. You could also add more baby food, or leave it out altogether if you don't have any on hand.
Another great thing about soups is they are so versatile and flexible. If you don't have carrots, add mushrooms instead. If you don't have chicken, add lentils for some protein. Throw all your going-bad-ingredients in the pot and let it go.
A word on bouillion cubes if you're not familiar: They are cheaper than prepared broth and take up a lot less space. A jar of bouillion cubes makes like a truckload of prepared broth and that would not be pretty on your countertop. I also like them because I don't have to know exactly how much broth I need before making the dish. I can just keep adding water to the soup, and then add the appropriate number of bouillion cubes. One cube in one cup of water makes one cup of broth. I frequently drink straight broth for lunch, and can add more or less water to achieve the flavor I'm looking for. If you make a lot of soups they are the better option in my opinion.