This is an old standby. Any kind of noodles will work, and whatever cheese you have will be probably be ok so long as they will melt well enough. I have havarti, mozzarella, and Parmesan in this one, plus some white process cheese with jalapenos that comes in a block like Velveeta and is meant for nachos. I brown and drain the hamburger, remove it to a bowl and cook onions and celery down with some of the fat while the noodles are boiling. Melt the cheeses along with a splash of milk in the microwave and mix everything together along with a ladle of the pasta water and then put it into a casserole pan for the oven. Top with more cheese and cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes and then take off the foil to toast the top a little.Add a side salad and you are good to go!
I have a pot of this simmering on the stove as I write this. I wanted to make it a second time to see if I could make the recipe a bit simpler. Really couldn’t, so I wrote it as I went, to make sure I didn’t miss a step. I really like this soup, it has a very rich flavor, like chicken and biscuits. Mmmm….
Because I have a vita-mix, most of the soups I make start with a thick vegetable broth. It gives a great depth of flavor. It’s chocked full of nutrients and anyone who knows me well, knows I don’t eat enough vegetables, so I do what I can to up my daily veggies. But you may not want to go to that trouble, so you can substitute 4 cups of chicken broth for the vegetable broth in the recipe below.
Cream of Chicken Soup
- 1/4 tsp rosemary
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp basil
- 2 stalks celery (with leaves), rough chopped
- 2 medium carrots, rough chopped
- 1 cup cut green beans (I use frozen)
- 4 cups of water
- 2 chicken breasts (bone-in or boneless, doesn’t matter it will be shredded)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
saucepan, dutch oven or large saucepan, blender
In the blender, add rough chopped carrots, celery and green beans, spices, 2 cups of water and blend until smooth. Add to dutch oven along with chicken breasts and 2 additional cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate to cool. Add diced carrots, celery, salt and pepper to the liquid and cover. Cook until vegetables are tender crisp.
While the chicken is cooking, melt butter in the saucepan, add onions and garlic, and sauté until the onions are translucent. Whisk in flour and cook about 2 minutes or more. Turn the heat up to medium-high, slowly stir in milk and bring to a low boil, whisking until thickened. Reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally.
While the vegetables are cooking, shred the chicken. The easiest way to do this is to use two forks and pull across the grain of the meat in different directions. You can then use your fingers to break apart any large pieces.
Once the vegetables are tender crisp, whisk in the white sauce and then stir in the chicken. Cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve with parsley garnish.
Makes about 6 cups.
It was pretty cold overnight, down into the teens. We got a bare dusting of snow but that will go away today. Strong south wind and warming temps today, we have made it into the 40s but there is a chance for sprinkles later. Soup sounded pretty good. This one has the turkey and some baby carrots along with a wild rice mix from Zatarain. They make good rice mixes and we really like the wild/long grain rice mix they sell. It’s been absent from the local market so we ordered a case online.
Cookout season is in full swing. And with it, cold salads, a personal favorite. There are so many varieties out there, from coleslaw, to macaroni, to cold bean salads I thought it would be a good place to start the summer cookout season.
The featured recipe tonight is from a neighborhood cookout we had last week. I was very busy, so I had to throw together something quick. I went with a basic macaroni salad, but with a few tricks to keep it fresh and flavorful, instead of soggy and bland as some can be.
Before that, here are a few other cold salads:
JeffreyW has a traditional coleslaw recipe (and slideshow) here.
I’ve made a Caribbean Orange-Mango Coleslaw for several summer cookouts. Recipe here.
I adapted a Giada De Laurentiis, recipe for Italian Lentil Salad here.
That’s just a start. I’ll probably follow-up in a while with some veggie cold salads. But until then, what’s on your summer plate this weekend? What are some of your favorite cold salads? What’s your go-to dish when you’re invited to a cookout? Hit the comments and share your ideas.
And finally, the featured recipe (pictured above).
Quick and Easy Macaroni Salad
- 1/2 cup creamy Italian dressing (I like Newman’s Own)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
Blend together well and refrigerate until ready to mix in.
- 16 oz box favorite pasta
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp celery seeds
- 1 tsp crushed dried basil
- Salt and pepper
- 8 oz shredded carrots
- 1 celery stalk, minced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 oz cubed mild cheese (I used a marbled colby/jack)
Bring water to a boil, add 1 tsp salt and pasta. Cook until al dente (firm to tooth). Immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Do not drain well, allow macaroni to stay wet, remove to bowl. Immediately add garlic, spices, celery seed, and let sit for 5 minutes. As the pasta absorbs the remaining water, it absorbs all the flavors. Next stir in carrots, celery, cheese and tomatoes. Save tossing with the dressing until 5-10 minutes before serving. This keeps the pasta from absorbing all of it and becoming mushy and flavorless, but still gives it enough time to meld the flavors together.
It’s cloudy and rainy today and that put Mrs J into a soup mood. I started chicken simmering with onions and then ransacked the cupboards for egg noodles and came up short. I suggested the mung bean noodles I have stashed away but she refused them in favor of a run to town for “proper” noodles. While she was gone I went ahead and fixed a bowl using them. These are often called cellophane noodles and are huge in Asian cuisines. I have garnished this bowl with fresh chilies and red onions. There are a few shiitake mushroom slices in there, a splash of soy sauce, and a few drops of hot sesame oil along with the carrots and celery.
It’s a cool, rainy Saturday and we weren’t going anywhere today. Mrs J called for soup and mentioned beans but they really need to soak overnight so I mentioned another of Mrs J’s faves: Cheesy potato soup. I got the chicken broth going with a chopped onion and some of those cured ham pieces. I like to get the ham chunks falling apart done before I add any veggies so I had a little time to surf recipes to look for seasoning tips. I found this recipe atop the results page and gave it a quick study. With some modifications I followed it. Three potatoes were chopped and added to the broth. I had some bacon frying for garnish so the fat part of a roux was ready. I removed the bacon to drain on a paper towel and added a little butter to it, then cooked the carrots and celery, adding the flour when they were tender and let the roux cook a few minutes, then added white wine to mobilize it, dumping the veggie mixture into the main pot with the potatoes. After all the veggies were tender they got a quick buzz with a stick blender.
We both gave it a taste at this point and found it to be very good. I questioned Mrs J as to the need for cheese and cream but she refused to consider it without. Fine by me! I added six ounces of smoked provolone and stirred it to melt, then hit it with a scant cup of heavy cream. Fabulous! Perfect! Some fresh chives from the garden and the bacon for garnish and a crostini with goat’s milk cheddar made this The Best Potato Soup Evah! LOLGood enough for a second bowl – no time for toasting the garlic bread!