Saturday, October 20, 2018

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

After such a hot and rainy summer, I have been more than ready for Fall which is my favorite season and the cooler temperatures it brings with it.  This morning was one of those cooler Fall days.  A bit drizzle-y and bit chilly but perfect for soup making.   I no longer buy the cartons of prepared soup stock and I now make my own.   I always heard that making your own stock is easy and and so much tastier, healthier and less expensive and it really is!   I get to control how much salt goes into that pot.  

Chicken Noodle Soup is one of my favorites.  Such a basic soup and a classic for good reason.  Easy and economical because I make it using what is left over from our weekly rotisserie chicken.    This is a “Use what you have” recipe.  The ingredients are simple.  Celery, carrots, onions, parsley or cilantro like I used today, garlic, kosher salt and pepper.  I saw a recipe recently that added a bay leaf.  I wanted to try that but forgot.    Some recipes I’ve seen add a bit of dill. Will also have to give that a go one of these days as well.

Chicken Noodle Soup Pot

I have a medium sized soup pot that came with a wire basket that makes soup making so much easier.  I simply put all my ingredients into the basket, lower it into the pot, and add enough water to cover all the ingredients.  This pot makes me very happy but is not a necessity.  I have been making this soup for years, long before I owned it using a Dutch oven sized pot and then later a real soup stock pot.  This pot with the basket however, is wonderful.

When making the stock, I roughly cut up all the ingredients and throw them into the pot.  This recipe is NOT precise.  Use what you have and if you like carrots, by all means, add a ton of carrots.  I like to include the celery leaves for this step.   I cut up an onion and leave the skins on because they help add color.  Same with the garlic. 

I bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for about an hour.  Makes the kitchen warm and it smells delightful. 

Back in the days before the the magical soup pot with the basket, I would use a strainer over my largest bowl to strain out the chicken bones, etc… Just be very careful everything is so hot!  You might want to do it in steps and let it cool first before straining.

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 leftover Rotisserie Chicken.  (Keep all the skin and bones.  I looked for a deep dark colored rotisserie chicken.  I think they have more flavor).

1 large onion  (Leave the skins on and cut in big chunks.)

4 cloves of garlic

4 or 5 celery stalks roughly cut.   (Lot’s of times I cut off the bottom of the whole celery and throw that in too.)

Carrots    (I add about a half of a bag of baby carrots or whatever kind of carrots you have.  Today I used carrots sticks and like the look!)

Parsley or Cilantro.  ( I take a handful and tear it off and them roughly cut it up and throw into the pot.  Save some to add at the end.)

Egg Noodles.  ( I boil them up in a separate pot.  I like No Yolks brand but use whatever kind of noodles you like best.  Resist the urge to just throwing the dried noodle into the soup pot to let them cook there.  I’ve done this but the extra starch that comes off the noodles as they cook give the soup a look and texture that I don’t care for.  I like a clearer broth if that makes sense.)

1 tsp. kosher salt.  (This is an estimate.  Go in light with the salt.  You can always add more to taste at the end.)

1/2 tsp black pepper.  (Same. Go in light and add more later if you need to.)

Then, when the stock has that deep rich golden color that I love, I can lift the basket up out of the pot and pull out some of the now cooked carrots, celery and onions, set them on my cutting board and chop them up to add back into the soup along with the chicken meat that I picked off of the leftover  rotisserie chicken.  After I've taken out everything I want to add back to my finished soup, I discard what’s left in the basket. 

  Chicken Noodle Soup Bowl

And then!!  It’s time to enjoy.  Add some of your cooked noodles to a bowl, and use a ladle to add your soup to the bowl.  This makes a lot of soup.  You can share it and it also freezes well without the noodles.  Cook up fresh noodles each time you serve it.  That’s it!  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Confetti Cookies

These delightful cookies are as cheerful as they are delicious!  I took them to a Fourth of July BBQ a couple of weeks ago and got a lot of “oh! who made the cookies?”  They are like a tender and moister vanilla shortbread cookie loaded with sprinkles.  How can you not smile when you look at them?


   I found the recipe in this wonderful Cookbook called Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson.  Joy writes the Joy The Baker Blog.  Love, love, love her blog and have loved it for years. 

     Confetti Cookies Homemade Decadence Cookbook

I have mentioned before that I write in my cookbooks.  I’m sure that makes some people cringe but I have been doing it for many many years.  I write down things like if people liked it, what the occasion was and I write down the date.  And you know one of my favorite things is to flip through one of my books and come across a recipe that I might have made years ago that I either made with or for my kids.  I still have the Baklava recipe my daughter and I made when she was in the 5th grade for her Greek Festival at her school.  Or Peanut Butter Cookies I baked with my son which at one point were his favorite.  God Bless peanut butter.  For a long time it was the only thing that boy would eat!

Confetti Cookie Recipe            

Anyway!  Here is the recipe with all of my notes.  I doubled the recipe and marked down how long it took to bake in my new oven.  I recently had our kitchen updated and got a new oven after the the other one more or less blew up.   And now I have a beautiful new Kitchen Aid which I love BUT it has been very hard getting used to the fact that this oven takes almost  a full 10 minutes longer to bake anything.  But slowly but surely we are becoming friends. 

Confetti Cookies and Peaches

Here is the recipe along with my usual commentary.  : )

These measurements are for a DOUBLE recipe since I just can’t see if you are going to go to the trouble to make these why you wouldn’t want to have a few extra on hand.  The doubled recipe works fine in my Kitchen Aid mixer sized bowl 

Confetti Cookies

3 Cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 cup butter (2 sticks.)

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean (I used 1 tbsp. of vanilla bean paste.)

2 large egg

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup sprinkles.   This was a whole tub.  ( I also prefer “jimmies” over nonpareils.)

Confetti Cookie Sprinkles


In a medium bowl mix the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together. 

Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes.  Add the vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste, the eggs, the vanilla extract, and beat till thoroughly combined.

Reduce the mixer to slow and slowly add the dry flour mixture.  Incorporate the flour into the wet ingredients then add 1/2 cup of sprinkles. 

Put the other half of the sprinkles in a shallow bowl or dish.  Scoop your cookie dough into a ball and then roll it in the sprinkles.  Place on a cookie sheet prepared with parchment paper and then place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Bake the chilled cookie balls for 10 minutes at 350 degrees in the center of the oven Give each cookie about 2 inches of space.  Bake until the cookies have spread and are just beginning to brown around the edges but are mostly pale and soft. 

Let cool on the cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling. 

Makes about 30 small cookies or 15 large cookies.

Confetti Cookies in Jar    

I made the large size batch and they took about 22 minutes but then again I have a crazy oven.   And now looking at these pictures….I think I overbaked them!!  They really should not be quite so brown. You want a lighter and a bit more pale in color.

The cookies I baked in the first photos have that paler color you might want.  Those were the smaller sized cookies I baked for the Fourth of July BBQ.  The cookies below I baked as I was writing this blog post.  They are larger and are a bit browner.   But no worries!  Rest assured they do not taste burned and are delicious.  I am one of those people who like the way the sugar in the cookies caramelizes and usually enjoy the brown edges of a cookie the most. 

confetti Cookies with jars

But I have to say, follow your own instincts since you know your oven better than anyone else!


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Boursin Spinach and Cheddar Quiche

Zinnias in the kitchen

What a beautiful weekend it has been although a bit hotter than I would like. But what are you going to do?  It’s July!   I found these gorgeous Zinnias at the Farmers Market yesterday.  Love the flowers that are available in the summertime for cheapness here.  I only paid $5 for that bouquet.  It’s been a lazy weekend for the most part.  Spent a lot of time recycling/painting old plastic flower pots and then planting in them.  I pulled out my old stencils and made some very unattractive green plastic pots pretty and useful again.  My “Bee” pots turned out quite cute I think!

Bee Pot with Button Fern

  Boursin Spinach and Cheddar Quiche was a delicious way to start the day today.  I had a bag of spinach getting close to being past it’s prime and I always have lots of eggs.  Found the baking dish at Goodwill yesterday for $1.00 and picked it up to give to my daughter.  Gave it a trial run today and I think she will be happy to have it.  She said she didn’t have a quiche baking dish yet which is hard to believe because that girl got almost everything she could possible need or want last year as shower and wedding gifts.  Decided to blog the recipe today so after she gets her quiche dish she can make this right away.

Portland Maine Mug     Fountain

So this morning I sat on the deck just like I did yesterday morning, listened to the trickling water of the fountain which is my new favorite thing and drank my coffee out of my new favorite mug.  My son lives in Portland now and we just got back from a visit there a couple of weeks ago.  Loved every minute of the trip.    Will have to do a blog post soon and get my pictures from that trip up.  I cannot wait to go back!

Boursin Spinach Cheddar Quiche     Boursin Shallot and Chive

So back to the purpose of this post. 

I did this all without a recipe so what follows below are my estimates of what and how much I used.  No worries that you won't get the amounts right.  You cannot screw this one up.  It always turns out delicious!  This is a crust-less quiche!

Boursin Spinach Cheddar Quiche

5 or 6 eggs

1/4 cup half and half and 1/4 cup of water to thin it out.

(or milk, whatever you have on hand.)

1 box of Boursin cheese.  I used the Shallot and Chive flavored Boursin.

Handful of fresh spinach.  (In the past I have use a small box of frozen spinach.  Microwaved it about 4 minutes and then drained off all of the liquid.  Then pull apart with a fork before mixing it in.)

1 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese



Preheat over to 350 degrees.  In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the half and half with water or just use milk.  Add the spinach.  Crumble up the hockey puck size disk of the Boursin and drop the crumbles into the mixture.  Add about 1/2 cup of the Cheddar Cheese.  I also threw in a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese.  This is a great recipe for using up what’s in your refrigerator.  Add about 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper.  Stir.

Pour the mixture into your quiche dish.  No need to prep the dish.  It always seems to turn out non-stick. 

Sprinkle the top with some of the leftover Cheddar cheese and it’s ready to go into the oven.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minute.  Then check on it.  Mine needed a full 15 more minutes to finish cooking.  Will puff up and get a beautiful golden color right around the time it is done.  Can use a cake tester if you are not sure.  Serve it hot or cold.  Serves 4 to 6.