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    Entries in brrrrrr! (3)

    Thursday
    Feb252016

    Broccoli Soup for the Soul

    One day recently, I was having a craving for some really good Broccoli Soup. I wanted a soup that was thick and creamy, and packed full of delicious broccoli. Oh, and it had to be easy to make, of course. This recipe has since been making the rounds in my family, and everyone seems to love it, so I thought I’d better post it here and share with everybody.

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 4 Tablespoons butter
    • 2 Tablespoons oil (vegetable, canola, safflower, etc.)
    • ½ cups flour
    • 2 ½ cups milk (whole is best)
    • 2 – 2 ½ cups chicken stock
    • 2 Tablespoons Better than Bouillon, chicken flavor
    • 1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes
    • 1 Tablespoon parsley
    • ¼ - ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • 12 ounces of broccoli florets
    • If you like heat, a little pinch of cayenne is a great addition 

    First up, the broccoli. I love the bags of organic florets that Trader Joe’s carries. Basically, all the prep work has been done for you. If there are some clusters that are really big, you might want to cut them in half or something, but certainly don’t worry about chopping broccoli. In my world, broccoli that is in soup should be nice and soft, so we’ll be cooking it enough that it will basically just fall apart.

    Add the broccoli to a pan, along with about ¼ cup water. Put the lid on, and place it over medium low heat. Then, just leave it to do its thing while you work on the soup.

    In a large saucepan, over medium heat place the butter and oil.

    When the butter is melted, add the flour.

    Stir until there are no lumps, and then continue stirring for another minute or so. After that, go ahead and pour in the chicken stock.

    If the chicken stock is cold, you might end up with big lumps of the flour mixture, but don’t panic, just keep stirring. As soon as the stock heats up, they’ll melt and disappear. Then add the milk.

    Along with the Better than Bouillon and dried onions.

    Stir the mixture until it thickens and comes to a boil.

    Turn off the heat and add the parsley and black pepper.

    Stir those in, then place on the lid. Turn the heat off for the broccoli, as well. Then just walk away from everything and let it sit for 15 minutes or so. That will give the onions a chance to rehydrate and the broccoli will finish steaming.

    When you return, the broccoli will be fall apart tender.

    Then just add it, along with any remaining liquid, to the soup.

    Give it a good stir (sometimes if the broccoli isn’t falling apart as much as I’d like, I’ll use a potato masher and give it a quick pass). You have now reached broccoli soup deliciousness!

    I like to serve mine with some freshly grated, Tillamook, extra sharp cheddar.

    What kind of food do you crave when it’s cold outside?

    Friday
    Feb212014

    Someone Get Mother Nature a Midol!

    I'm pretty sure Mother Nature is suffering from PMS.  She can’t seem to figure out what she wants to do.  At the moment, it’s decided to be cold and miserable again, and for some reason that feels even worse than when it gets cold the first time around.  Well, since I couldn’t seem to get warm, I decided it was time to try warming myself from the inside out.  What better way to do that than with chicken soup?  And what better way to have chicken soup that with homemade noodles like I used to have when I was a kid.  A nice thick, rich broth with big chunks of chicken and chewy, delicious noodles.  Sounds good, right? 

    Here’s what you’ll need for the noodles:

    2 cups flour
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    4 eggs

    Yep, that’s it.  3 ingredients.  The process of making the noodles is almost as simple.  Mix together your flour and salt, and make a well in the middle. 

    Whisk all your eggs and pour them in.  Slowly start stirring in the flour. 

    Just add from the edges and stir.  You’ll probably have to get your hands in there at some point. 

    Eventually, it will come together into a ball. 

    If your hands don’t look something like this, you’re not doing it right. 

    Dump the dough onto a floured surface and sprinkle flour over the top. 

    Knead until it looks something like this:

    Make sure it’s well floured all the way around, then wrap the whole thing in plastic and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes.  After that, remove it from the plastic and cut it in half.  Return half of the dough to the plastic, and the other to a floured surface. 

    Can’t really take pictures of the rolling process because… well… it takes both hands, but I’m sure you can figure it out.  Just keep everything well floured and keep moving the dough around so it doesn’t stick.  When you get to the right thickness, it should look something like this:

    That’s somewhere between ⅛ and ¼ inch, I’d say.  Now it’s time to cut the noodles.  A pizza cutter works fabulously for this.

    Cut the dough into long strips. 

    Apparently I was cutting while intoxicated, but that’s what makes homemade noodles homemade, right?  Cut the strips into whatever length noodles you like. 

    Toss them with more flour so they won’t stick together and spread them onto a rack.  Repeat the process with the other half of the dough.  That way they can dry out a bit while you work on the soup.   

    Here’s what you’ll need for the soup:

     

    • Chicken, I used 4 bone-in breasts, but use whatever pieces you like
    • 1 medium onion
    • 1 bunch of celery
    • 2 carrots  
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon pepper
    • Parsley
    • Water

     

    In a pan over medium high heat, put a tablespoon of oil and brown your chicken on all sides. 

    Add the pepper, half of the celery and onion, the garlic (peel the cloves, but leave them whole), and a tablespoon or so of chopped parsley.  Add enough water to the pan to cover everything. 

    Bring it to a boil and allow it to simmer for 40 minutes.  It’s a good time for a break.  After that, remove the chicken pieces from the pan.  Just put them aside to cool for a few minutes. 

    Strain the liquid and return it to the pan. 

    Add the remaining celery and onion, and the carrots.  Allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes. 

    During that time, pull the meat off the chicken pieces, and tear it into whatever size chunks you want.  I like mine a bit on the large side. (That's what she said!!) 

    Add it to the pot.

    Start adding your noodles a little at a time, stirring after each addition.

    Mmmmm… noodles.  They only take a few minutes to cook.  Now’s a good time to add another tablespoon of chopped parsley, as well.   

    You can serve it as is, but I like my broth to be a little thick.  Sometimes the flour on the noodles is enough, but this time I needed a bit more.  Whisk together 3 tablespoons flour and ½ cup cold water.  Stir it into the pot, and bring the whole thing back to a boil. 

    Allow it sit for a few minutes before serving, then just ladle it into a big bowl.  Then, if your hubby’s out of town and you’re home alone, just snuggle up in your favorite spot, wrapped in a nice cozy blanket, and finally get warm.  Mmmmm.  It doesn’t hurt if you have a little furry space heater in your lap, patiently waiting for you to finish so he can lick the bowl. 

    What warms you up when it’s cold outside?