Chicken Noodle Soup (Adorable Shapes Welcomed)

Main Dishes, Recipes

April Showers make me want to curl up in our cozy house with a hot bowl of comforting chicken noodle soup, especially since the aroma of chicken will likely lure at least one of our cats over to beg for a morsel. I’ll be honest, I used to be content to opening up a can of Campbell’s (the one with the star shapes was my favorite), but after making your own chicken soup, you can never really go back. This is the perfect recipe to use up random chicken parts – wings are great for both rendering the stock and shredding up to eat since they have a good bone-to-meat ratio, but you can also use a chicken carcass (perhaps after butchering your own chicken – my latest “thing”) paired with more meaty parts. I’ve even been known to muster up the effort to prepare this soup for myself while out sick, it’s that easy. Leftovers freeze well for a rainy day, but this small-batch recipe will serve about 4.

Chicken Noodle Soup (made even more fun with Hello Kitty Macaroni)

Chicken Noodle Soup (made even more fun with Hello Kitty shaped macaroni!)

Ingredients:

1 lb bone-in chicken (I used 10 wings)

1 tablespoon oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced

3-4 carrots, diced or sliced

3-4 stalks of celery, sliced

5-6 cups of water

Dried bay leaves

Dried thyme

Salt & pepper

1 1-lb box of pasta, any shape

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and set aside. Start prepping your vegetables.

Sizzle sizzle!

Sizzle sizzle!

In a large pot, heat the oil and saute the garlic until just barely browned. Add the chicken and sear on all sides.

Veg-tastic!

Veg-tastic!

Toss in the onions and let them sweat a bit, just a few minutes. Add in the rest of the vegetables and pour in the water. Bring to a boil.

Mmm soup..

Mmm soup..

Add in the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam that may form.

Cook according to package instructions, and what a cute package it is!

Cook according to package instructions, and what a cute package it is!

As the broth is simmering, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse and set aside.

Ta-da! Soup is ready.

Ta-da! Soup is ready.

When ready to serve, spoon some pasta into a bowl and ladle the soup over it. If you’re packing up leftovers, it is best to store the noodles separately from the broth, otherwise the pasta will absorb extra liquid and turn to mush.

For the days when you feel under the weather, we hope this chicken noodle soup brings some comfort and smiles :]

Roasted Bone Marrow

Appetizers and Starters, Recipes, Side Dishes

Roasted bone marrow has to be one of my all-time favorite comforting meat-treats. One Sunday as Martin and I were strolling through our local Mar Vista Farmer’s Market, we stumbled upon Dey Dey Farms, now our go-to vendor for grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chickens. The vendor stall lists their many products on a whiteboard and two words caught my eye — marrow bones. “DIY marrow?” I asked Martin. He was game (haha – no pun intended) and we selected a pound, approximately 4 cross-sections of the cow’s femur. The man behind the table told us that marrow is best consumed raw to really take advantage of its nutritional content, but I just could not resist the thought of gelatinous, rich marrow spread over toast.

Roasted Bone Marrow

Roasted Bone Marrow

Do-it-yourself roasted bone marrow is actually quite easy, and I wish I had learned that sooner. To me, this is the perfect hearty dish for a cold winter’s night.

Ingredients:

Marrow *

Sea salt & pepper

Dried parsley flakes

* For a light dinner or appetizer, we allotted a half pound per person.

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Clean the marrow bones. Some people like to soak the bones to extract the blood but I haven’t had issues with roasting them as-is. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both of the cut sides of the bones. Top with some dried parsley and roast for about 20 minutes or until the marrow middles break down into a glistening gelatin.

Hot out of the oven!

Hot out of the oven

Serve with a nice, crusty bread au naturale or slice a baguette into crostinis. Use a marrow spoon or just any small spoon to dig out the gelatinous bits and spread them on the bread for a heavenly bite.

You could also whip up a lemon-dressed parsley salad, the traditional accompaniment for roasted bone marrow. For further decadence, serve a bone (or two) alongside a succulent steak!

Stunning

Stunning.

Bon appetit~!

our-growing-edge-badgeI almost always order roasted bone marrow if I see it offered on a menu, but this was my first time making it at home so I thought it would be perfect for this month’s example of my growing edge – the part of me that yearns to keep learning and trying new things and meeting new challenges. Thanks to Bunny Eats Design for inviting us to participate in the monthly blogging event for Our Growing Edge. :3

Comfort Food: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Main Dishes, Recipes

In college, Martin and I were camp counselors for UCLA UniCamp, an organization that sends under-served youth to week-long sessions of summer camp run by student volunteers. In fact, that’s how we first met; we were in the same camp session – Martin as arts & crafts specialist and I as archery specialist. One of our (and the kids’) favorite camp meals has to be Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup day. Crispy, gooey sandwiches paired perfectly with piping hot bowls of comforting soup, complemented by a snack of celery sticks and peanut butter! Okay, so the celery and PB are optional, but on cold winter nights, we love to whip up this classic combo. While we did not succumb to the convenience of the iconic red and white can of Campbell’s, we frequently purchased the boxed soups at Trader Joes (roasted red pepper and tomato — yum!!). Recently, however, we started making our own soup, somewhat from scratch. The result is a rich, creamy (even without the cream!) soup that tastes dramatically better and the amount of additional effort is minimal.

Iconic Americana: grilled cheese & tomato soup

Iconic Americana: grilled cheese & tomato soup

This recipe for tomato soup is quite simple – just a few ingredients and perhaps 30 minutes of your time (maybe 40 if you’re slow at prep like I am).

Ingredients:

Ingredients:

1 small/medium sweet onion, chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large fresh tomato, diced

28 oz canned tomatoes (diced or whole; I used 2 14-oz cans of diced)

Dried or fresh thyme, about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon

Dried or fresh basil, about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon

Salt & pepper to taste

Yields 4-6 servings; leftovers freeze well

Step 1

Step 1

Step 1: Prep

Mince the garlic. Scrape into your stock pot. Move on to chopping the onions. Cry. Wipe tears from the corners of your eyes. Add to the stock pot. Drizzle in the olive oil and sautee on medium-high heat with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Meanwhile, dice the fresh tomato; leave the skins on.

Step 2

Step 2

Step 2: Sweat

No, don’t go for a run. Stir the onions and garlic frequently to keep them from burning. “Sweat” the onions; cook them until they are translucent and have lost that onion-y sharpness. This may take about 10 minutes… just be patient. When you’ve got them where you want them, add the tomatoes and let them cook until the pieces start to wilt and fall apart.

Step 3

Step 3 & 4

Step 3: Can Opener

Stir the tomato-onion mixture and break up the pieces a bit. Open the can(s) of tomatoes and pour them in. Wait – don’t throw away the can yet! If using a 14 oz can, fill it up with water and add to the pot (if using a 28 oz can, fill halfway instead).

Step 4: Season

Mix in the sugar and herbs. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the soup has heated through and the flavors have begun to meld. Take the pot off the heat.

Step 5

Step 5

Step 5: Blend

Usually I don’t like recipes that call for special tools that you’ll rarely use again, but in this particular case, I’ve been converted — immersion blenders rock. Also known by its less intriguing name of “stick blender,” this easy to clean kitchen accessory makes it easy-peasy to make smooth soups like butternut squash and creamy tomato soup without any cream. Be sure the blending end is completely submerged before pulsing or you’ll end up wearing this soup. At this stage, you can make the soup as creamy or chunky as you’d like. As you can see, I pulverized it till it was silky smooth. (Note: to get it even smoother you can strain it through a chinois if you’re feeling fancy.)

The finished soup

The finished soup

Step 6: Melt

In a frying pan, melt some butter over medium-high heat until it foams and starts to brown. Gingerly place your assembled bread-cheese-bread, rotating it a bit to pick up all the buttery goodness. Toast for a minute or two. Flip with a spatula. Watch for the perfect balance of letting the cheese completely melt and not burning the bottom slice of bread. Cut into triangles and serve with a hearty bowl of soup (Steps 1-5). Voila!

Bon Appetit!

Bon Appetit!