Good for the Soul: Homemade Chicken Soup
Most of us growing up when we were sick, soup was what we ate. And the top choice was some form of chicken soup. Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup from a can was in our cupboard growing up. While my Mom was a good cook and did make soup, I don’t remember her ever making a chicken soup. I do make a couple of soups such as Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Rice Soup, but never the traditional chicken soup.
Not that this recipe is very traditional. I’ve made it with some healthy flu fighting ingredients such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, fresh herbs, and orzo pasta. It is a step-up from canned soups. This is a quick and simple recipe. There are the traditional ingredients of onion, celery, carrots, chicken, and chicken broth, but the addition of the garlic, ginger along with fresh rosemary and thyme kicks it up with a more complex flavor.
Now if you are sick with cold, flu, or stomach bug, a more complex flavor may not be what you are going for, but instead something warm and liquid to fill your belly. And that’s fine, but just because you are sick doesn’t mean your taste buds should suffer or the people you share meals with.
Make a big pot of this homemade chicken soup with orzo pasta, it will become a family favorite.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 large carrots, thinly sliced
- 2-3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric)
- 6-8 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme, stems removed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup small pasta
- 2/3 cup frozen peas
- - Place a large dutch oven over medium high heat and add in oil. Once oil is hot, add in garlic, onion, carrots and celery; cook for a few minutes until onion becomes translucent.
- - Next add in grated ginger and turmeric. Sauté for to let the spices cook a bit for about 30 seconds, then add in chicken broth, chicken breast, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper.
- - Bring soup to a boil, then stir in pasta. Chicken should be covered with broth.
- - Reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.
- - Once chicken is cooked, remove then shred the chicken with two forks. Add chicken back to pot then stir in frozen peas. If the soup is too thick then add more broth.
Creamy Parmesan Gnocchi with Kale
Creamy Parmesan Gnocchi is one of the only recipe where I can get my guys to eat kale without faces of pure disgust. The menfolk in my house are not fond of kale or any other bitter greens regardless of how it is prepared. You can simmer those greens with pork, butter, and salt for years and it still isn’t tasty enough. So this is a challenge since dark leafy greens are good for you.
While I like all sorts of greens, be it not often prepared in a healthy manner outside of spinach, I want to get more greens in my family’s diet outside of salads. In the summer, salads are wonderful, but in the winter something warm and hearty is needed.
Fits the Bill
This is where Creamy Parmesan Gnocchi fits the bill. It is a one-pot meal with simple ingredients. Outside of kale and maybe gnocchi – and I’ll come to that in a minute – are pantry items. All it is veg broth, minced garlic, milk, butter, white beans, and chunk Parmesan cheese. My pantry has an array of canned white beans such as Northern White, Cannellini, and butter beans. Use whatever you have in your cabinets. The final texture may change, but do what works best for you. Shock your pantry with bottled minced garlic and veg broth. I always have “real” butter on hand to cook and bake with in my kitchen. Don’t skimp on the Parmesan cheese. Buy a chunk and grate it yourself. One it is cheaper and two it is real cheese.
You can buy various types of gnocchi today. I admit there are three packages of potato gnocchi in my cabinets along with penne pasta. I decided last winter I was going to make homemade gnocchi. As I continue to evaluate my relationship with processed foods, I look to make my food from wholesome ingredients. I have to say that homemade gnocchi is amazing compared to the store-made. Just a level of fresh and taste. While it is simple, there is a process in making them well. If you want to make homemade gnocchi then go here.
This a family favorite even with the kale in it, but when kale isn’t available then I use spinach. It is a quick vegetarian meal for a busy weekday night.
- - 1 tablespoon olive oil
- - 4 teaspoons minced garlic
- - 2 cups veggie broth
- - 1 cup milk
- - 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- - Salt and pepper, to taste
- - 16 ounces gnocchi
- - 3 cups chopped fresh kale
- - 1 (15 oz) can white beans, drained
- - ? cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- - Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat.
- - Add garlic; stir constantly for 1 minute until fragrant.
- - Add broth, milk, butter and a few dashes of salt and pepper.
- - Add gnocchi; stir to combine.
- - Cook, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes until gnocchi is soft and cooked through.
- - Stir in kale, beans and Parmesan cheese.
- - Cook until kale is just wilted.
- - Serve with more grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
Vegetarian French Onion Soup from Your Pantry
It seemed a waste to throw out homemade baguette, but it was stale. And stale baguettes are not very nice. Unless you repurpose them to use as rocks or bats.
What to do? Make vegetarian French onion soup. It is a great quick soup out of your pantry. So simple and satisfying. The meat eaters will not realize it isn’t made with beef broth due the infusion of thyme and butter. It gives it a richness.
Vegetarian French Onion Soup Recipe
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- unsalted butter
- olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- generous twist of the pepper mill or 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- baguette sliced thickly
- Shredded Swiss cheese
- Slice onions thinly.
- Heat butter and oil over medium heat in a sauce pan or small Dutch oven.
- Saute onions until soft.
- Add thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Pour in broth and stir.
- Come to a simmer and cook for 15 mins.
- Turn on broiler to HI.
- Arrange baguette pieces in 4 bowls.
- Pour soup over the bread.
- Add Swiss cheese.
- Put under the broiler until cheese is melted and browning a bit.
Super Quick and Simple Cheddar Cauliflower Soup
Cheddar Cauliflower Soup is a super quick, simple, and tasty vegetarian meal for a busy weekday or a lazy weekend. Done in as little as 30 minutes with a handful of ingredients. That is the beauty of this recipe is it is so quick and simple with amazing flavors. It is rich and hearty.
I originally found this recipe in the William Sonoma catalog years ago. It has become one of our top five soups we regularly have on our table during the winter. I have swapped out ingredients to make it vegetarian as well as used white pepper. It is a flexible soup allowing you to use broths and diary you have on had.
Just add some crusty bread. If you are feeling fancy or have a crowd, then a cheese and/or charcuterie board could be added. A warm and yummy dinner is served.
Cheddar Cauliflower Soup Recipe
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 head cauliflower, about 2 1/2 lb., cut into florets
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste (1 teaspoon of white pepper give a lovely flavor.)
- 8 oz. white cheddar cheese, shredded
- In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the broth, cream, the 2 tsp. salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to a fine puree, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the cheese and stir until melted and well combined with the soup.
- Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
Easy Potato Leek Soup
Often on the weekends, we will have large filling lunches. When we do, I usually make my easy potato leek soup for dinner. Soup is perfect for a light dinner. It is a filling and satisfying meal. I swear it helps with digestion after the larger lunch meal. Plus, it comforts the soup as you sip warm, savory goodness.
The soup has become a family favorite years ago. I made this soup when our family was in Vaals, The Netherlands at a holiday cottage. My Dutch mother-in-law was a super cook. And no one could cook in her kitchen at home or when we stayed in holiday cottages. One day, it had been a long day and she wasn’t feeling well, so I made this soup for her. She liked it. I knew it was a keeper recipe and I had broken through as a daughter-in-law who could cook.
This soup is simple and quick. Perfect for anything really you are in need of comfort food. Just leeks, potatoes, broth, and milk with some seasoning. That’s it. So simple yet so delicious. That’s the beauty of it. Potato leek soup is a great starter soup for beginner cooks. My secret ingredient is Knorr’s Aromat Seasoning. Mine is from the Netherlands; however, you can now order it online. I sprinkle that on the leeks when they are cooking. It gives it a lovely flavor. You can add smoked sausage if you want some meat; my guys insist on having smoked sausage in this soup.
Easy Potato Leek Soup Recipe
- 2-3 tablespoons butter
- 2-3 leeks chopped thinly
- 5-10 shakes Aromat
- 2 large potatoes cubed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup milk
- dash white pepperFor meat-eaters
- package smoked turkey sausage
- Melt butter in a Dutch Oven over medium heat being careful not to brown the butter.
- Add chopped leeks cooking until soft sprinkling with Aromat seasoning then add the cubed potatoes.
- Pour in vegetable broth bringing to a soft boil.
- If using sausage then here is where you add it and bring it back to a soft boil.
- Simmer with lid on until potatoes are soft usually about 25 minutes.
- Remove sausage to a plate and slice it.
- Use hand blender to blend the soup.
- Pour milk and cook until warm.
- Add sausage and warm for 5 minutes or so.
- Serve with toasted bread.
Fabulous French Lentil Sausage Stew with Rosemary
Seriously. This recipe for French Lentil Sausage Stew is fabulous. And addictive. When I make it, I cannot get enough of it and can sit in front of the pan with a big spoon just eating it. The worst thing I can do is make this dish early in the day; because I ended up “sampling” it throughout the day. Glad it feeds four to six people or there would be nothing left for dinner!
Simple ingredients are the best I find. Everything can be found at your local grocery store. I usually do not buy anything special for the dish outside of French lentils where I purchase them when on sale stocking up and hot Italian sausage. The rosemary is from my herb garden. Everything else is in my pantry. This is when a well-stocked pantry helps in meal preparation, but that is for another post.
One of the keys to this dish is chopping the veg and herb finely. It helps release favor and cooking time. I cook the lentils in one pot as I am cooking the veg and sausage in another one. Helps with cooking time. From start to finish, this could be a 45 to one hour meal. It is a satisfying dinner or lunch for cold weather. As my Mom would say, “It warms the cockles of your heart.”
French Lentil Sausage Stew Recipe
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cups petite green lentils
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion chopped finely
- 1/2 cup baby carrots chopped finely
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary chopped finely
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 14oz package hot Italian sausage
- 1 8oz can tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon hot paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
- Combine 4 cups water, broth, and lentils in a large saucepan over medium heat bringing to a simmer.
- Cook until almost tender.
- While the lentils are cooking, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add onion, carrot, rosemary, and garlic to pan sautéing until tender.
- Add sausage cooking until no more red appears and crumbled.
- Add tomato paste and remaining ingredients cooking until heated.
- Add lentils to sausage mixture bringing to a boil.
- Cook until lentils are tender.