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Dinner

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

October 11, 2018

I realized on my meal plan that I’ve never blogged about a staple meal in our house, probably because it feels so ordinary and I like a little fancy in a recipe to be blog worthy. But sometimes the classics deserve a space too.

Whenever my family comes down with a cold, like countless other mothers, I try to make a batch of this chicken noodle soup. I love how every mom makes it just a little bit differently and puts there own spin on it, so feel free to play around and make this recipe your own. This is my basic recipe but I like to change up the pasta and the herbs each time.

Sure in a pinch a can of soup works, but I don’t love the flavor anymore – it tastes like tin to me and I notice my kids don’t eat it. When you are feeding lots of people its just as easy and way more flavorful and nutritious to take 20 minutes and put a pot of this together. I usually have a batch of homemade stock in the freezer, and it really adds to the homemade, put-marrow-in-your bones feel to this dish, but boxed works fine.

Side note: One of my rules of feeding a family is always feel good about homemade stock, but never feel bad about boxed. Maybe you already know about the peaceful and easy rhythm of using up your rotisserie chicken carcass and bottom of the veggie drawer contents, and how good it makes your house smell. If not, see how I make chicken stock in this (very old!) blog post. 

One of my favorite things about this soup is using really fine egg noodles. They are creamier than spaghetti noodles, but about the same diameter. You might already have a preference, like larger egg noddles, but its fun to play around with the pasta in this soup. Ditalini? Alphabet Shapes? Orzo? All so fun especially for younger kids. But I usually have a bag of this vermicelli egg noodles in my pantry for this soup. It also goes by thin egg noodles in some brands but it’s the same thing.

And as for herbs, play around with those too. In general, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, sage, and parsley are all perfect here. I use either a tablespoon of freshly chopped or a teaspoon of dried. We like it herby.

I could go on about the health qualities of this soup but I’m not a nutritionist. Ok fine – herbs have potent healing properties and so does garlic, so feel free to double the amount if you like. My mom used to scrape raw garlic on Triscuits when were sick, which you could also do if your children will eat it.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (print recipe here):

  1. 2 T. olive oil
  2. 2 medium onions, diced
  3. 5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  4. 5 medium celery stalks, sliced
  5. 5 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 8 cups chicken broth
  7. 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 Tablesoon fresh thyme, I was out)
  8. 1 Tablesoon chopped fresh Rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried Rosemary)
  9. 4 cups chicken, shredded or chopped – you can use raw or cooked, see recipe for when to add
  10. 6 oz. (about half a bag) thin Egg Noodles
  11. salt and pepper to taste
  12. Fresh parsley for garnish
  13. A splash of lemon juice, optional

Directions:

  1. Melt oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic, cook for 2 minutes more. Add carrots, celery, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes until onion begins to soften and brown a bit.
  2. If using raw cubed chicken add it after herbs and cook for 5 more minutes
  3. Add chicken broth.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add noodles.  Return heat to high.  Bring soup back to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium high. Boil for about 20 minutes until noodles are cooked through.
  5. If using cooked chicken add it here
  6. Taste soup and add additional herbs, salt, and pepper to your preference.
  7. Serve with chopped parsley for garnish

Weekly Meal Plan 10/2

October 4, 2018

Hello October!

Fall is my favorite. We’re planning on heading north for the long weekend, and will be eating out at our favorite places to keep it simple. But I’m planning on doubling the beef stew just in case! It travels really well and gets better each day.

Here’s what we’re having this week. Happy Fall! xoxo Katie

Monday

Root Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie – this was my daughter’s dinner choice since it was her Saint’s Day, St. Therese the Little Flower. I am linking my Root Vegetable version (usually post my Easy Shepherd’s Pie) for a little change.

Tuesday 

Stuffed Chicken Breasts 

Wednesday

Eggplant Parm

Thursday 

Instapot Beef Stew 

Friday, Saturday, Sunday 

Going North & Eating Out – Time to look at all the peak foliage in the White Mountains.

Weekly Meal Planning 8/27

August 27, 2018

I used to be a lot more lax in my meal planning, preferring to have three or four recipes on hand and letting our inspirations take us where they may each day. And then sports with four kids happened! And needing to coordinate with a sitter/au pair person!

And you know what? Now I love that I spend zero energy each day wondering what we will have for dinner. It’s automatic, turn-key and so much simpler. I also like to have a few options for how to make something really simple and quick, but sometimes I like to know how to maximize the flavor. Example: the enchiladas for Sunday’s dinner. I have made my own enchilada sauce before and it is not hard, and it’s so yummy! But if I only have 10 minutes, I’m going to go with the super easy Betty Crocker version and use rotisserie chicken and canned sauce. Or my Easy Shepherd’s Pie, which uses all natural store made mashed potatoes but I link to the original recipe by Alton Brown with his delicious mashed potatoes. I am giving you both so you can pick which one works.

I hope these links help you build your meal plan!

Monday

Easy Shepherd’s Pie 

Tuesday 

Mini Meatloaves

We start school today! Mini meatloaves our our traditional first day of school meal. Here is one year where I made it with Turkey Bacon but we usually go back to this recipe from Martha Stewart.

Wednesday

Wednesdays will be our crock pot dinner night for sure, with overlapping sports practices. If you have favorites in your family please share them in the comments!

Chicken Taco Bowls

Thursday

Cheesy Baked Gnocchi

Friday 

Pizza

Saturday 

We love to do a date night at home, so the kids will have something simple, and I’ll make this Filet au Poivre recipe in a cast iron skillet with a red wine reduction.  

We usually like to eat this with roasted veggies, but sometimes I like to make a yummy artichoke risotto on the side.

Sunday

Chicken Enchiladas:

Easy & Quick

Healthy & Flavorful

 

Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken Breasts with Avocado Salsa

July 18, 2018

I can’t believe I have been Food Blogging for almost 7 years and I haven’t ever posted one of our favorite dinners.

This Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken Breast with Avocado Salsa is one of those dishes that might seem boring because of the simplicity of it, then surprises and delights with its bold spicy heat from the Cayenne rub (just 3 ingredients!), the cool creaminess from the avocado, then the crunch from the onion, all tied together with lime juice and salt. It’s our perennial answer to what to do with the frozen chicken breasts in the freezer that actually gets us excited for dinner. And it is beyond easy to make.

I love that it’s low carb, that it is SO satisfying from the good fats in the avocado, and we usually have the ingredients on hand, if we have timed the avocado ripeness just right. My kids love avocados and any meal where they get to count it as their vegetable.

And while the little kids don’t love the spice, you can coat their chicken breasts in a ranch seasoning packed instead of the spice rub or just cook it with salt and pepper and then dip theirs in ranch. (I usually serve some pasta or rice on the side too.)

(This is such a workhorse meal for us that I didn’t even have time to get great pics of it, but couldn’t keep that from sharing with you all.)

You might even find yourself making the salsa on its own to have deconstructed guacamole whenever the feeling hits you.

And it would also make a great appetizer if you skewered chicken thighs, put the rub on and grilled them, and then dipped them into a smoother guacamole or this chunky version here.

Hope this makes it on to your weekly rotation! If my husband had his way, this would be dinner 3 nights a week.

Now I’m off to take a gaggle of kids to the pool, which is on repeat these lovely warm days.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken Breasts with Avocado Salsa (printer version here.)

Ingredients

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Hass avocado, pitted and cut into chunks

Directions

  • 1. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne; rub all over chicken.
  • 2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chicken, and cook until browned on the outside and opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
  • 3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onion and lime juice; set aside. Just before serving, fold avocado chunks into onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken topped with salsa.

 

Recipe is from MarthaStewart.com

Lemongrass Coconut Chicken over Grains

April 13, 2013

Now that I am getting ready for baby in a few weeks, I am all about making meals to freeze. I will share some of my favorites as I make them this month, because finding new meal ideas to freeze ahead are one of the biggest requests I get.

As I started to think about what to make, I looked to the meals that I have bought and liked in the freezer aisle.  At the top of my list was this entree from Kashi:

 

I always feel great after I eat this, and knew it froze well, so I thought, what if I recreated it at home? Turns out it is super easy:

I was also excited to get to use this ingredient that friends and healthy food writers have been raving about:

This is supposed to be the healthiest fat we can eat, though I used it as a flavor booster, with the healthiness factor as a bonus (always my priority levels).

You start with these grains, and while they cook according to their packages:

You make the yummy sauce for the top with these ingredients:

Note the jalepeno – I decided to leave it out since my kids don’t love spicy, but if you do, leave it in!  I was so happy to discover how easy this dish is.  First you melt the 2 T. of the coconut oil on med-high heat, then saute the aromatics in it:

I can’t believe how much the pureed Lemongrass and Ginger speed up this dish, and you don’t even notice the difference.  If you can’t find these ingredients in these tubes, try to get the original and just use about the same amount (1 T.) of minced ginger, and about six 1-inch pieces of lemongrass stalks (about 2-3 stalks, tops trimmed) removing them after the sauce has simmered.  Then you add the chicken:

Then after the chicken has turned mostly white, add the cocount milk and lime juice, simmering on med-low for 10 min. to infuse the flavors:

After 10 min, mash this mixture of flour and coconut oil together and add to sauce thicken it (it does a beautiful job! It is just like thickening a french sauce with butter and flour):

When it is all cooked, add the veggies (I love how the frozen bag of stir fry veggies felt like I was eating the Kashi meal since they are perfectly cut, also super speedy):

Cook until veggies are cooked through, then serve over combined grains.  If you are freezing them like I did, just lay out 3 medium sized containers, letting sauce cool before assembly:

 

Ready to freeze! I did layer grains with sauce on top, so each container is like the entree, even though this picture looks like I froze them separately. It was so good I made a second batch the next day and we ate if for dinner – the kids were licking their plates.

Lemongrass Coconut Chicken (printer version here.)

1 c. wheat berries – cook according to package

1 c. red quinoa (use regular if you can’t find red) – cook according to package

1 c. brown rice – cook according to package


2 T. coconut oil

1 large shallot, chopped*

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 T. lemongrass

1 T. ginger

3 chicken breasts, thinly sliced (I try to use organic)

1 t. salt

1 can light coconut milk

2 T. lime juice

2 T. flour + 1 T. coconut oil

Bag of stir fry veggies (broccoli, carrots, snap peas)

* If you like it spicy, can add 1/2-1 jalapeno minced with shallot and garlic, or serve with Sriracha sauce.

Directions:

Cook grains according to package directions. Rice will take longest, around 50-60 min, and a rice cooker helps, so put it on first.  Then wheat berries and quinoa should be around the same time, so you can cook them together on stove, around 15 min. Look at packages to get amount of water needed.

While the grains cook, melt coconut oil on Med-High heat in a large fry pan. Add shallots and garlic, saute for 3 min until fragrent.  Add lemongrass and ginger, saute for 1-2 min.  Then add chicken, and sprinkle with 1 t. salt.  Cook 3-5 min., flipping over until chicken is mostly all white.  Then add coconut milk, and simmer for 10 min.  While it cooks, mash together 1 T. coconut oil with 2 T. flour, then add to chicken/coconut milk mixture to thicken it.  Cook for a few minutes then add veggies. Stir to combine and warm up veggies.

Serve over combined grains when hot, or freeze in portion sized containers.

 

Please let me know what your favorite make ahead freezer meals are!!

Left Over Ham = Lentil Soup

April 4, 2013

Quick post here for all of you with a leftover ham bone in your fridge.  It is a flavor jackpot, so don’t even think about throwing it away! Find some of these:

As the package says, chefs really do love these petite french lentils, they are delicious under filet of Salmon or Swordfish.  BUT, for today we are interested in the recipe on the back for Lentil Soup. Really, any lentils will do but not all have a recipe on the back.  If you use bigger lentils, you may need more time until they are soft.  I left out the tomatoes and zucchini, and where it says ‘add the stock’, also toss in your leftover ham bone. I doubled this recipe as well since I was trying to cover the ham bone.

If you are more visual, this soup is super easy, just sautee your Mire Poix (the French flavor base for soups and stews), which is carrots, onion, celery, plus 2 bay leaves:

 

Then toss in your lentils, ham bone, and broth. Simmer for 20-25 min. That is it!

 

When it is done simmering, take out the ham bone and try to cut off any extra meat and toss it in the soup. I was surprised at how much mine had on it:

 

 

This soup is so good, so soul satisfying.  I adore it and can’t wait to eat some more. And it is one of the healthiest foods you can find, plus you didn’t waste ham leftovers. Feel good all around. My ham was from Trader Joes, and it was SO good.  It infused the soup with a smoky, sweet goodness that mixes so well with the petite lentils.  I could eat this every day. French rustic home cooking, sigh…..

 

I would love to hear some of your healthy meals from leftovers!