Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

Creamy soup with chicken, vegetables and wild rice.

wp-1490828927558.jpg

Soup is always the cure when someone in the house is sick isn’t it??  Or if it’s cold outside (STILL!) or when you have leftover chicken and Half & Half that has to be used 😉  I don’t make soup all that often to be honest, but when I do this is a staple and beside my Italian Wedding soup, which I’ll be posting soon, this is the most requested.  It’s simple and not over done with crazy flavor – just enough to be yummy, especially when someone is sick and can’t taste it anyway!

To make this job even quicker – I use the slicing blade on my food processor for the veggies – I can literally get this to the table in about a half hour – bonus in my book!

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 box long grain & wild rice with seasoning packet
  • 2 cups Fat free Half & Half
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ground thyme
  1. Melt butter in a large stock pot until foamy.
  2. Add carrots, celery and onion, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
  3. Saute veggies on medium heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in cooked chicken and chicken broth, increase heat to high and bring to boil.
  5. Once boiling, add rice and seasoning packet.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high.  Stir in Half & Half, salt, pepper and thyme and bring back to boil to heat Half & Half.

Recipe Notes:

  • This is a great recipe to use some leftover chicken or even turkey – or from a store bought rotisserie chicken.  Or, you can boil a large chicken breast until cooked thru and chop or shred.
  • I use the original Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice.  If you sub with the fast cook version, reduce cooking time from 20 minutes to 10 minutes.  They now have other flavors too – I bet the Roasted Garlic & Herb would be delicious!
  • This soup isn’t overly brothy (is that even a word?) Add more chicken broth or Half & Half if you like it thinner.

Prep Time:  10 minutes     Total Time:  50 minutes     Servings:  6

Estimated Calories per Serving – based on 6 servings – 260.

General Tso-ish Chicken

Tender chicken in a Chinese sweet and spicy sauce.

wp-1490562081581.jpg

As our hankering for Chinese food continues, so does my desire to recreate healthier versions of our favorite meals at home.  The easiest way to do that is to skip the fried meat and replace it with sauteed instead – don’t get me wrong, I LOVE fried food – but I also like to eat healthy and save my calories for a nice glass of wine or craft beer… So I compromise and skip the Chinese food that has fried chicken – like General Tso chicken has.  But believe me, the swap is still tasty and the calories you’ll save might get you two glasses of wine 🙂

This recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes so you can get a warm meal on your table on those busy evenings!  Serve this chicken with a side of white rice or my Fried Rice, and it’s even great with quinoa.  I also like to throw in some steamed broccoli or water chestnuts when we’re in the mood.

General Tso-ish Chicken

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. instant garlic
  • ¼ – ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ cup water
  • 1½ tbsp. corn starch
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  1. In a medium saute pan, heat oil over medium-high and saute chicken until no longer pink, about 5 minutes
  2. While chicken is cooking whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic, pepper flakes, ginger, water and corn starch.
  3. Pour into chicken and cook on medium heat until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes, string occasionally.
  4. Just before serving, toss in the green onion.

Recipe Notes:

  • Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to suit your taste.
  • You can easily sub the same amount of shrimp or pork for the chicken, beef would work well too I’m sure.

Prep Time:  5 minutes     Total Time:  20 minutes     Servings:  4

Estimated Calories per Serving – based on 4 servings – 260.

Cincinnati Style 3-Ways

Cincinnati chili over warm spaghetti noodles piled sky high with shredded cheddar cheese.

wp-1490315464565.jpg

My hubby grew up in Cincinnati… and EVERYTHING is better in Cincinnati, and everything comes from or is made in Cincinnati, so he says 🙂  When we go back to visit family in Cincy there are a few places we have to eat every. single. time.  La Rosa’s Pizza is one and so is Skyline or Goldstar Chili – both are Cincinnati style chili – which is not your typical chili – it’s an acquired taste for sure, and the ingredients are strange, BUT it works and it’s so good!

The first time I had Cincinnati style chili was on a Coney Dog, which is a short, skinless hot dog with chili, onion, mustard and tons of shredded cheddar.  I remember asking for pickles on mine and that was a big no-n0, and I guess a Michigan thing LOL!  I reluctantly tried one and was hooked… then I was given a 3-Way… warm spaghetti noodles with chili and cheese… SO GOOD!  Of course I had to figure out a way to make this at home since we couldn’t drive 6 hours every time we had a craving.  You can buy Skyline chili in a can, but it smells like cat food and has a ton of preservatives in it so making it from scratch was the answer.  Yes, there’s chocolate in it and yes, its kinda runny, but that’s what makes it unique and from Cincinnati 🙂

Cincinnati Style 3-Ways

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 ½ cups beef broth
  • 16 oz. tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 ½ tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. instant garlic
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. allspice
  1. In a large pot brown ground beef with onion until no longer pink and drain.
  2. Add beef broth and simmer on medium heat, uncovered for 10 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered for 1 hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes.
  4. Serve with 1 lb. of cooked spaghetti noodles and shredded cheddar cheese.

Recipe Notes:

  • For Coney Dogs, serve the chili over hot dogs with diced onion, mustard and shredded cheddar cheese.
  • You can make a 4-Way by adding diced onion or a 5-Way by adding diced onion and warm kidney beans.
  • Serve with oyster crackers like they do at the restaurant.

Prep Time:  5 minutes     Total Time:  1 hour, 15 minutes     Servings: 8

Estimated Calories Per Serving – based on 8 servings – 450.  Based on 2 oz. of spaghetti and 1 oz. shredded cheese.

Chicken Vegetable Dumpling Soup

Thick and creamy chicken vegetable soup with tender, chewy dumplings.

wp-1489535506849.jpg

Winter is still hanging on here in Michigan and it’s mid-March.  We were lucky enough a couple weeks ago to hit 70 degrees a day or two… but it’s Michigan and winter is back 😦  On cold days, or the day after your husband has oral surgery, the best thing to eat is a hearty soup that will warm you up from the inside out and is easy to eat!

This soup has everything that my heart desires, a thick base, fresh veggies, tender chicken and perfect dumplings.  If you’re not a dumpling fan, you haven’t had the right ones… These dumplings are chewy and not overly “bready” like some can be – the outsides are a bit like pasta and the inside is just the right consistency to soak up some extra broth… Total comfort food for a cold night, or for someone that can’t chew very well 🙂

Chicken Vegetable Dumpling Soup

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground thyme
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup cold water + 2 tbsp. cornstarch

For the Dumplings:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground thyme
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  1. Melt butter in large stock pot and add carrots, celery and onion.  Saute on medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken and season with pepper, garlic powder thyme and salt.  Saute until chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes
  3. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. While soup is simmering, make the dumplings by mixing together all the ingredients, set aside.
  5. Mix the ¼ cup cold water and 2 tbsp. cornstarch together and pour into soup.  Turn heat to medium-high and bring back to boil.
  6. When soup is boiling, drop dumpling mixture by the spoonful on top of soup.
  7. Cover and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes WITHOUT removing top.

Recipe Notes:

  • We like our veggies and chicken cut pretty small, but chop them to your liking, add additional cooking time if needed.
  • The dumpling mixture is quite sticky, don’t worry, they turn out perfect – as long as you don’t lift the top while they are cooking!  Drop them from a standard spoon and if you need to, push them around to fit them all in.
  • This is a totally a meal in itself, or serve with a small side salad.

Prep Time:  10 minutes     Total Time:  1 hour     Servings:  4

Estimated Calories Per Serving – based on 4 servings – 250.  Based on 1% milk in the dumplings.

 

 

Easy Beef Stoganoff

Creamy mushroom sauce with ground beef and egg noodles.

wp-1487982890945.jpg

Hamburger Helper™.  You KNOW you’ve cooked with it before…  I’m not ashamed to admit it!  I also ate it probably once a week as a kid when we were busy running here and there.  My favorites were lasagna, teriyaki rice and of course, stroganoff.  So easy and it was so good!  But one day I told myself that I would never make it again… something about those packets of powdered cream and seasonings made me rethink what I was serving to my family.

My hubby asked me years and years ago to make stoganoff like “from the box” and this recipe is what I came up with.  It really doesn’t take more time than that box and has much more flavor too.  Yes, this recipe is not fancy and that’s okay with me – my family likes it and I can get it to the table in under 30 minutes when I want to feed them a home-cooked meal before they go off to do their thing for the evening.

Easy Beef Stroganoff 

  • 1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups dry egg noodles, cooked per package directions
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 4 tsp beef bouillon
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp parsley
  1. Cook egg noodles per package direction, drain and set aside.
  2. Brown and drain fat from ground beef.
  3. Stir in cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, milk, beef bouillon.  Season with pepper and parsley.
  4. Toss in noodles and cook on medium heat until noodles are heated thru and sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.

Recipe Notes:

  • I’ll serve this with a side of sweet peas or corn, whichever we’re in the mood for.
  • If you have the extra time, toss in some sliced, Cremini mushrooms for more flavor. Add them in with the noodles and cook until desired tenderness.
  • Lighten up the calories by using 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup, fat free milk and light sour cream (about 360 per serving).

Prep Time:  20 minutes     Total Time:  25 minutes     Servings:  4

Estimated Calories Per Serving – based on 4 servings – 415.  Based on regular cream of mushroom soup, regular sour cream and 1% milk.