Chicken Noodle Soup

Posted: January 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Pasta, Poultry, Soup | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Chicken Noodle Soup

My poor Ed has come down with some sort of sickness, so I decided to make him some chicken noodle soup from scratch. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to canned soup now. This stuff turned out downright amazing. I combined a recipe for chicken soup from the January 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living and this recipe by Tyler Florence and came up with this. Tasty tasty. Comfort food at its best.

NOTE: I have edited this a bit since I first posted it. Tweaked the quantities to make more soup happen! It’s great reheated. I’ve also made a few variations since I originally posted it: adding leftover spiced rice or dumplings instead of noodles, adding leeks, etc. I’ll post the dumpling recipe soon…

Chicken Noodle Soup

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, January 2010, and Tyler Florence

Yield: About 8 servings

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs chicken thighs (about 5 thighs) (frozen or thawed, doesn’t really matter)
14 cups water
3 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 celery stalks, sliced in half lengthwise then chopped
3 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
1 small jalapeno pepper, cut into rounds (optional)
6-8 oz. wide egg noodles (or rice, or dumplings, or whatever you’d like)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring chicken, water, salt, pepper, bay leaf and thyme to a boil.
  2. Add onions, celery and garlic. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken thighs. Add carrots. Simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes.
  4. While soup is simmering, remove chicken from the bone by using two forks. Pull into bite-sized pieces. Add bones back to soup as you’re going.
  5. When 30 minutes is up, add egg noodles. Taste broth and add more salt or pepper if it’s needed. I added a bit more salt. When in doubt, add more salt.
  6. Turn up the heat a bit and cook, uncovered, until noodles are tender — about 10-12 minutes.
  7. Add chicken back into soup and stir until it’s heated. Remove bones. Adjust salt and pepper as necessary. At the very end, add jalapeno peppers.

I love how easy it is to make soup!


Vegan Alfredo

Posted: November 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Pasta, Vegan, Vegetarian | 3 Comments »

...Vegan alfredo! Yum.

Inspired by Arlette, I’ve been making Vegan Yum Yum’s vegan alfredo the past couple of weeks. The only reason I haven’t posted about it yet is because it’s surprisingly hard to photograph: by the time you remember to get the camera out, you’ve already eaten it all! This happened to me at least twice. It’s just that good. No, it’s not exactly the same as “real” alfredo but who cares? It’s tasty in its own right, and far healthier.

I like to call this recipe a vegan chemistry experiment. It’s made out of a bunch of random pantry and fridge staples that most people would probably never think to combine. It’s really satisfying to turn a pile of ingredients into something you’d never expect from them.

Vegan chemistry experiment

I took a cue from Arlette and doubled the cashews. I also reduced the soy sauce and nutritional yeast quantities a bit because the first time I made it, those flavors were too strong for my taste.

I have to say, this recipe is one of the easiest things to make in my dinner arsenal. You literally throw all the ingredients into a blender, turn it on, and about 1 minute later you’re done. Oh, and boil the pasta. Seriously though, cooking doesn’t get much quicker than that. It reheats pretty well too (unlike real alfredo).

Vegan Alfredo

Adapted from Vegan Yum Yum’s Hurry Up Alfredo

Serves about 4 people — depending on appetites.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup soymilk
2/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons Earth Balance
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
pinch nutmeg
black pepper, to taste
toasted pine nuts (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Boil water and cook your favorite pasta to eat with alfredo.
  2. While the pasta’s cooking, put all ingredients into the blender. Blend on high for about 30 seconds to a minute, until it’s reached a creamy consistency.
  3. Pour sauce over cooked, drained pasta and toss. I like to throw in some toasted pine nuts too. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you add to this dish.
  4. Serve with fresh ground black pepper. (Don’t tell but I like to put fresh grated parmesan cheese on top of mine. Hey, I never claimed to be vegan myself! I just like to make tasty things for my lactose intolerant fiance and my vegan friends.)
  5. That’s it!

A Pantry Dinner – Orzo with Sausage, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts

Posted: April 28th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Pasta | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

I know, I know, it’s been way too long since I’ve posted. I’ve been busy, broke, and a bit fooded-out to be honest. I promise I have a few more posts up my sleeve, coming soon! To whet your appetite, here’s a dinner I made a couple of weeks ago but never got around to posting.

Something I like to do when I only have pantry staples lying around is put together a grain or pasta with whatever jarred/canned/bulk things I have lying around. Usually it’s got a bit of a Mediterranean nature — Italy, Greece, the Middle East, whatever. Couscous or orzo or rice or spiral pasta. Sun-dried tomatoes (always sundried tomatoes). Whatever meat I’ve got lying around, usually sausage or bacon. Pine nuts. An aromatic or two, like shallots, onions, or garlic. Fresh veggies if I have them, particularly mushrooms or red bell peppers. Maybe some chickpeas. Everything but the grain goes in the skillet with some olive oil, salt & pepper, maybe some other spices, then it’s all mixed together with the cooked grain. Maybe toss in some feta or parmesan if that’s what floats your boat. Dinner!

Pantry Dinner - Orzo

Here’s one take on this theme. Ingredients are all approximate.

Orzo with Sausage, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cup dry orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil – you can decrease this significantly if you wish
2 medium shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced or smashed
2 sausages (I used Niman Ranch Italian Sweet sausages), cut into rounds, and then each round in half
1/3 cup pine nuts
2/3 of a 9 oz jar of sundried tomatoes, oil drained (or add a bit of it — it’s very tasty!)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
generous splash of vodka
pinch oregano
salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Start boiling some water for your pasta.
  2. Dry roast pine nuts over medium heat until golden brown. Keep an eye on them — they burn fast!. Set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil. Sautee shallots till translucent.
  4. Add garlic, sautee 30 seconds
  5. Add sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, salt, pepper, oregano, stir till mixed. Cook a bit till the sausage is heated through (I get the fully cooked kind, so I don’t have to worry about whether it’s going to kill me or not).
  6. Add tomato paste, stir till everthing is covered. Here’s a trick: You know how recipes only ever call for one or two tablespoons of tomato paste and you end up wasting the rest of that little can? Next time, line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap, then dole out 1 tablespoon portions of tomato paste into each hole. Freeze, and transfer to a freezer-safe bag. 1 tablespoon portions of tomato paste, ready to go!
  7. Add vodka, stir till absorbed and/or evaporated. A bit of alcohol “unlocks” some of the flavor compounds in tomatoes that aren’t otherwise accessible (source). That’s why your grandpa always throws some wine into his pasta sauce.
  8. At this point, your pasta water should be boiling. Add orzo and cook according to the directions on the package — usually about 8 minutes. Drain.
  9. Mix everything together. Toss some feta in if you have it. Serve! Yum.

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