Crack Chicken Noodle Soup

Although Spring is just around the corner, a few weeks ago we were reminded winter wasn’t over. That promoted Jeremiah and I to cook up a few new soup recipes. I call this recipe the soup version of Canyon Chicken.

Crack Chicken Noodle Soup by Plain Chicken
Chicken soup3 c. chopped chicken
1 can condensed cheese soup
6 c. chicken broth
1 c. milk
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 package ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix
1 package Bacon Bits
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz. dried fine egg noodles, uncooked

In a large stock pot, combine chicken, cheese soup, broth, milk, celery, carrots, ranch packet, and bacon. Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Then, reduce to a simmer for 20-25 minutes, until vegetable is soft. Stir in noodles and shredded cheese. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until noodles are soft.

Notes:

  • I would suggest using leftover rotisserie chicken since this recipe doesn’t have any seasonings except ranch. I added a little parsley.
  • I used low sodium condensed soup, low sodium broth and skim milk.
  • I didn’t have celery so I omitted it from the recipe.
  • I used real bacon. I suggest maybe just sprinkling on top before serving so ensure the flavor isn’t overwhelmed.

 

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Stuffing from Scratch

It’s 5AM and I’ve been awake for about an hour now. After 30 minutes of tossing and turning in bed, I had a bit of a panic attack when I remembered that my uniform for work was in the laundry. I jumped out of bed and found myself sorting laundry in the closet as to not wake my fiancé.

I guess that is a bit of news I’d hadn’t shared here. My boyfriend proposed to me at dinner a few weeks ago. It was our 16 month anniversary and we were eating at Houlihan’s in Leawood. It was where we had gone on our very first date. We had planned to go to dinner early because the Kansas City Royals were playing game five of the World Series at 7PM. We were standing outside the restaurant talking about our first date and how we stood outside the restaurant talking after a long dinner. I turned around to walk in and Jeremiah spun me back around before getting down on one knee. I was a little in shock. If I was, you should have heard all the people around us. The people dining on the patio and getting in/out of vehicles were like “Is he prosing?” “Did she say yes?” Of course, without a doubt in my mind, I said yes. We went into the restaurant and the server asked us how it was going. I said, “We just got engaged.” He was like, “Congratulations!” I was like, “It was a minute ago just outside the restaurant. This is where we went on our first date.” The table next to us asked if he could take our photo when he overheard us. He told us how it was he and his wife’s second marriage but when you find the right one, it’s meant to be. The restaurant was so sweet and the manager brought us champagne and dessert to celebrate. Phone calls were made while we waited for our lovely dinner – the George Banks Sea Scallops with risotto and fresh arugula (one of my absolute favorite dishes of all time). As you all know by now, the Royals won it in game five beating the Mets in extra innings. It was also my mother’s birthday so this is certainly a day we will never forget.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been sleeping very long since our engagement. I wake up with ideas about our vows or what food should we make during our engagement photos. The date is set for July 2016 so I need to get cracking on these details. The venue is pretty much set, the guest list has been made, our wedding app/website has been created, half the attendants have been asked (including our adorable 3 ½ month old ring bearer), and the photographer has been selected. However, I have no idea what my dress will look like or what colors I want. I also need to email my hairdresser to see if she’s available. Every hinges on what time my hair can be done. Oh let’s hope she’s available because I have zero skill when it comes to doing my hair. I better email her right now, this is really important.

So since I’m awake and my laundry is in the wash, I decided to write a blog post for all of you. It is Thanksgiving week. Can you believe it? Normally, I would have already scoped all the Black Friday ads and had a plan for our day after Thanksgiving adventure. This year, I’m worried about whether or not I need to schedule a dress outing the Saturday after Thanksgiving with my mother and sister. I’m also not sure what on earth to get my fiancé for Christmas in our $75 spending limit?

In honor of it being Thanksgiving week though, I have decided to share with all of you one of the recipes Jeremiah and I will be making for my family. This is a recipe we learned last year while taking a cooking class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City. Not to worry my vegetarian friends, I’m including modifications for you to enjoy this recipe as well. I made both recipes for our Thanksgiving work potluck last week.

stuffingApple, Sage, & Sausage Sourdough Stuffing by Rachel Ciordas
12 oz. turkey breakfast sausage
1 tsp. oil
2 c. chopped onion
2 c. chopped apple
2 c. chopped celery
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried marjoram
½ tsp. black pepper
12 c. cubed sourdough bread
1 can fat-free, less sodium chicken broth

Cook sausage until browned. Add onion, apple, and celery. Sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in seasonings. In a large bowl, combine sausage mixture, bread, and broth. Spoon the stuffing into a sprayed 11 x 7 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees covered for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Nutrition: Makes nine (1 c.) servings. 208 calories, 5 g. fat, 11.9 g. protein, 28.9 g. carbs, 2.1 g. fiber.

Notes:

  • Rachel said to not use green apples for this recipe. They are not sweet/juicy enough to sauté.
  • Did you know you can eat the leafy part of celery? It’s actually really flavorful.
  • I brought two loaves of fresh French bread at Spouts. I cubed 1 ½ loaves and let it sit out in a bowl overnight. I used the extra bread for a brioche French Toast.
  • I used the local brand of ground sausage. It added some extra flavor. 
  • I’ve found the lowest sodium chicken broth is Rachael Ray’s brand.
  • To make it vegetarian friendly, I substituted veggie broth and removed the sausage. In its place, I put some dried cranberries. After my luncheon, Jeremiah and I mixed the leftovers. It was good so feel free to add cranberries to the original recipe.
  • For a little crisper stuffing, bake covered 15 minutes and uncovered for 35-40 minutes.

Leftover Comfort Food

If you make a turkey for Christmas, here is a recipe I made using leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. If you don’t have turkey, I am sure you could easily substitute chicken. I thought it was delicious.

Turkey & NoodlesTurkey and Noodles from Pinterest
12 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. diced onion
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. frozen egg noodles
1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
4 c. diced turkey
3 large carrots

Heat broth to a boil. Add salt, onion, carrots, and pepper. Add frozen noodles and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 10 minutes. Add flour and milk. Cook until juices are somewhat reduced and slightly thinned. Add meat. Cool slightly before serving.

Notes:

  • Freezer recipe – Just thaw and reheat at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
  • I used dry egg noodles. It worked just as well and was cheaper to purchase.
  • I used reduced sodium chicken broth. You could make your own with the leftover turkey bones. You could also use 2 parts broth/1 part water to reduce cost.
  • I used skim milk. It had to cook a little longer to thicken but it worked.
  • I used frozen carrots.
  • I add a couple of celery stalks. I think you could also had some spinach to this recipe.

Chicken Salad Casserole

I ran across this recipe on Kraft Foods website. It reminded me of a warm chicken salad.

Chix_casseroleSwiss ‘n Chicken Casserole
4 c. cooked chicken, cubed
2 c. croutons
1 & 1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
2/3 c. Miracle Whip
1/2 c. milk
4 stalks celery, sliced
1/4 c. chopped onion

Mix all ingredients in a 2 qt. greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Makes six servings.

Nutritional Information: 410 calories 115 mg. cholesterol, 1 g. fiber, 22 g. fat (8 g. saturated fat), 410 mg. sodium, 4 g. sugars, 15 g. carbs, and 37 g. protein

Notes:

  • Save 40 calories and 4 g. fat per serving by using 2% cheese, Light Miracle Whip, and skim milk.
  • I used boneless, skinless chicken breast which is healthier.
  • I also made my own croutons which allowed me to decrease fat and increase fiber.
  • Although I did not add it, some almond slices or dried cranberries might be a nice addition.

Spring Salad

This recipe comes from the Summer 2008 issue of Cooking for Two. Taste of Home no longer makes this magazine but I always loved that I didn’t have to halve recipes.

This recipe makes me think of a little bed and breakfast in Columbus, NE called Traditions. It’s an older home with colonial decor, glass dishes, and a limited menu featuring things like Homemade Chicken Salad. It’s the type of place my sister Stephanie and I go when my nephew Brock isn’t with us.

It’s a great dish for workday lunch or a night you don’t want to turn on the stove.

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad by Renee Glowe

2/3 c. uncooked spiral pasta
1/2 c. cubed cooked chicken breast
1/4 c. slivered almonds, toasted
3 T. chopped onion
2 T. dried cranberries
2 T. chopped celery
1/4 c. poppy seed salad dressing (fat-free preferred)

Cook pasta according to package directions. In the meantime, grill chicken. When pasta and chicken are done, mix with all remaining ingredients. Chill until serving. Makes two servings.

Nutritional facts: 315 calories, 8 g. fat, 1 g. saturated fat, 32 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium, 42 g. carbs, 3 g. fiber, 18 g. protein

Recipe modifications:

  • I usually make it without nuts. I’ve also made it without onion.
  • If you omit the noodles and increase the other ingredients accept the dressing, you can serve this in a tortilla with fresh romaine lettuce.

Homemade Chicken and Noodles

The first time I went to visit my Grandma and Grandpa Fletcher in Arizona, they took my mother and I to meet all their friends. One couple they hung out with my Grandpa Fletcher’s cousin Joann and her husband Jerry. When we went to Jerry and Joann’s house, Joann made this delicious homemade chicken and noodle dish. I’m sure her secret to the success of this dish was the homemade noodles. Although I never got a copy of Joann’s recipe before she passed away, I found a dish with a similar taste.

 This recipe comes from the cookbook Perfect 10. I had a chance to meet the author at a Craft Patch craft show in Lee’s Summit. The author was telling me how her family always gave rating of 1-10 (with 10 being the best) whenever she made a recipe. She placed all the perfect 10 recipes in a separate binder to make recipes for her family’s favorite dishes easily accessible. One day, she realized she had three binders full of perfect 10 recipes. The binders sparked an idea – to create a cookbook sharing these wonderful recipes with others.

The first recipe I made from the Perfect 10 cookbook was for this Homemade Chicken and Noodles. I halved it but I forgot to decrease all the spices. Loved it! The second time I made it, I didn’t do that and I added a little more carrots and celery. I felt like the flavor was better the first time. The recipe below is the original recipe as written. I would recommend making the spices a little bit more if you are adding extra vegetables.

Homemade Chicken and Noodles by Rita Lindsey

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 can (16 oz.) chicken broth
1 white onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/4 tsp. sage
1 tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves
1/8 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 package (large) Reame’s Frozen Eggs Noodles (I used regular Martha Gootch too.)

Put chicken in large stockpot. Pour in 2 cans of chicken broth and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Skim foam from top. Add vegetables and seasonings. Simmer for 1 hour or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken and cool. Then, cube. Remove bay leaves from stock and increase heat. Add noodles and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally and cook until tender and stock thickens. Add chicken back.

Serves 4-6.