Of Chicken Soup and Missing Forks

I can’t believe that we are 10 days away from Thanksgiving! And finally, we have weather that actually matches the season. We’ve had temps in the 80’s for weeks on end and little to no rain since July. We are finally having night time temps in the 40’s, and we actually got 1/4 inch of rain yesterday. I know that isn’t much, but we’ll take it!

One of my favorite activities with my children when they were small was the time spent reading aloud. I loved reading out loud to my kiddos! We read book after book each morning after we had our Bible time and before we started our school lessons. One of the series of books I read was called  The Borrowers by Mary Norton. It was a fun series to read. I thought of these books recently when I discovered that some of my forks are missing. Seriously, why should my forks be missing? It makes absolutely no sense at all unless my house is infested with borrowers! Years ago, my parents bought me 12 place settings of my flatware. They did it over time…a place setting for my birthday, another one for Christmas until I had the complete set including the serving pieces. Over the summer, I began to think that I was missing some forks. I mean, really…there were only 2 of us living here for over 3 months when Sam was deployed, but I noticed that I didn’t have all the forks. I  searched other drawers thinking that someone had put them in the wrong place, and that gave me one of my dessert forks, but the dinner forks are short by 4. Instead of 12, I have only 8. And even the 2-piece child set of spoon and fork that I used with my own children, and carefully saved for my grand babies is now missing the fork. It was not missing the fork 3 months ago! It has to be the borrowers, I tell ya!

One more thing before I share the new recipe for chicken soup. This, ya’ll!!!

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I am beyond excited to have a new little pumpkin join the family in April!!

Ok, now to the recipe. I found this recipe in our local paper a few weeks ago. It is actually supposed to be chicken in a sauce to serve over pasta or rice, but as I read the recipe, I realized that it would make a wonderful creamy chicken soup…and it did!

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 large shallots, chopped

2 c. chicken broth

1 c. heavy cream

1 tsp. minced fresh oregano (I used dried)

1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme (dried)

1/2 c. cream cheese

1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 c. roughly chopped spinach

1/2 c. chopped tomatoes

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sear the chicken for several minutes on each side, or until browned and just barely pink in the center. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Saute the shallots for a few minutes until they start to become tender. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the cream, oregano, and thyme. Heat until the edges of the sauce start to bubble. Stir in the cheeses until they melt. Stir in spinach and tomatoes and lightly simmer until the spinach wilts.

Return the chicken to the pan and allow it to heat through. If soup is too thick, add more chicken broth. If it isn’t creamy enough for you, add more heavy cream. Adjust flavors to your taste with salt and pepper!

 

Vegetable Soup

Yesterday I began making vegetable stock that ended up being vegetable soup! I saw a recipe in our local paper for vegetable stock that can be used to make other soups.  As it was cooking I realized that it could be eaten just the way it was! I made the suggestion to the hubby, and he said that the soup would be fine. What’s better for lunch on a cold January day than homemade soup, right?

It is a pretty simple recipe to make. In case you wonder at the odd amounts, I just used the fresh veggies that were left over in the fridge!  The hubby did the seasoning to his liking since he will be the one to eat most of it.

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot.  I used about 3 tbsp.  Add diced veggies and stir until well sauteed and tender.  I cooked the harder veggies first, and then added the softer ones, like mushrooms, last.

These are the veggies I used:

1 medium onion

1 large bell pepper (I used half a red and half a green)

3-4 stalks of celery

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

5 spears asparagus

2 carrots, grated

handful of broccoli florets

1 small yellow squash

5 or 6 button mushrooms

Once the veggies were tender, I added about 2-1/2 quarts of water and brought it to a boil.  I think that just 2 quarts would be fine. I also happened to have a beef bone in the freezer, so I threw that in as well…just for the flavor!

Since the veggies are already sauteed, you don’t need to cook the soup long…just until it is heated well.  This is when the hubby added the seasonings.  I really don’t know what he put in, but I can guess that he included these:  dried hot pepper flakes, oregano, basil, and black pepper.  He is trying hard to cut back on his salt in-take, so he probably didn’t add that. Feel free to season your soup however you like!

Serve your soup with a sandwich wrap and enjoy!