Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

For this soup, you cook the noodles separately, then place them in the soup bowl and add the soup and other toppings right on top of them.  Rice noodles can get really mushy if you overcook them, so by adding them to the soup bowl, you never have to worry about mushy noodles!

Rice Noodles

Place rice noodles in a large, heat-proof bowl. Add boiling water to cover and let sit, gently moving them apart with a fork. Check for doneness by biting one to see if it is cooked through. Really thin noodles cook in 7 minutes or so and thicker ones may need 10. When done, drain and toss with a little sesame oil.

4 Tbsp Soy sauce
2 Tbsp Mirin (can use cider vinegar with a little sugar)
2 tsp dark Sesame Oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp Sambal Oelek (Can use Sriracha or any hot sauce you like)
8 cups chicken stock
1 lb. thinly sliced chicken breast
1 head chopped Napa cabbage

Add everything except chicken and cabbage to a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add the chicken and cabbage and cook until the chicken is done and the cabbage is slightly softened,7-8 more minutes.

1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
6 scallions, thinly sliced

To serve, place noodles in a large soup bowl. Ladle soup over the noodles, and top with cilantro and green onions. Serve with soy sauce and Sriracha to let each person season their soup.

Camp Chicken Noodle Soup

Just back from Niobrara and while we were there, I made chicken noodle soup that was so easy and so good – just with what I had on hand. Chicken thighs have  enough fat and flavor to make chicken broth unnecessary, and while we were in a cabin, this would be great for camping, too.  See my notes below to prep this recipe for camping.

1 onion, cut up
2 carrots, cut up
2 stalks celery, cut up
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
pinch of ground cloves
2 tsp dried parsley
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (mine were frozen in a lump, from Costco)
7-8 cups water
1 package noodles

Saute onion, carrots and celery in olive oil. Add spices and stir in. Add chicken and water. Cook 20 minutes.

If chicken is frozen, just cook it in a lump and after 10 minutes or so, you should be able to start pulling it apart. Fish out the bigger pieces, and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Return to pot. Finish cooking. Add noodles and cook for another 8-10 minutes until noodles are done.

To prep this for camping: cut up veggies and bag them with oil and spices. Bring frozen chicken and noodles in their bag. The frozen chicken helps keep the veggies cool.  A really satisfying supper.

Zuppa Italiano with Sausage, Potato & Kale

4 slices, turkey bacon or real bacon, chopped
1 lb. hot Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
6 cups of chicken broth
2 big potatoes, cut into thin, bite-sized pieces
1 tsp salt
1 cup half n half
2 cups kale, chopped

Saute turkey bacon in a little olive oil. (Real bacon won’t need oil.)

Add sausage, garlic and red pepper. Brown well. Remove sausage from pan, and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Add back to pan, and add broth potatoes and salt. Cook 20 minutes. Add Kale and cook 2 more minutes. Add half & half and check seasoning.

Sausage, Bean & Kale Soup

Lots of stains on this page, and notes scribbled in above and below the recipe, so you know it’s one of our favorite soups!  I probably make this soup more often than any other.

1 1/2 cup dried calico beans (a mix you buy), soaked in 6 cups water
or 2 cans black beans, and one can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained.

3/4 cup chopped turkey or real ham – (can skip if  you don’t have it – just add more sausage)
8 oz. sausage, halved and cut into 1/2″ pieces
4 slices turkey or real bacon, chopped into 3/4″ pieces
1 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 1/2 cup chopped leeks
4-5 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp fresh, snipped rosemary or 2 tsp dried
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 bay leave
3 cups kale, rough chopped

Rinse beans and soak over night or simmer them for four hours. (If using canned beans, just rinse and drain them.)

Melt butter in a large pot. Add meats and cook 10 minutes, them remove. Add veggies and cook 10 minutes. Add meat back in, add beans, spices and chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour. Just before serving, add the kale and cook 2 minutes more. Check salt and pepper.

My notes say: Delish to have on a winter night with hot baguettes, Good to have with Mummy and Pappa. Most tellingly: If using canned beans, only use kidney and black beans. (I think there was an unfortunate incident with garbanzo beans.)

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle SoupJust made this for a quick supper tonight and realized it’s one of those recipes that you don’t write down.  I was lucky enough to see my Mom make it a hundred times, but once you know the basics – you can add almost any veggies or meat you like.

It takes advantage of one of my favorite shortcuts: easy homemade chicken stock.

Costco sells roasted chickens that are cheap, delicious and wonderfully seasoned. When I get home, I let them cool and remove all the meat, which I either use right away or freeze.  Click here for easy instructions.

1/2 onion, diced
2-3 carrots, sliced (Use more if they are small, or if you really like carrots)
1 cup sliced celery (I wash it really well and just cut right across the top of the bunch.)
1 Tbsp olive oil
Chicken Stock (About 6 cups)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 package of pasta (I love Orecchiette “little ears” pasta)
1/4 cup scallions, sliced
1-2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped up

Heat oil in a stockpot, and add onion, carrots and celery. Saute for a few minutes until the onions are getting soft. Add the chicken stock, salt, pepper bay leaves and cloves. Let cook for 15-20 minutes on low heat. Bring to the boil, and add 1/2 package of pasta (1/2 pound?) Cook for 13 minutes, and add scallions and parsley. Cook just a couple more minutes. Check seasonings and serve.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is a wonderful fall vegetable and I made this soup for the first time for Thanksgiving, 2006.   I had just gotten an immersion blender, and was anxious to try it out pureeing the soup.

I didn’t read any instructions or warnings, and just plopped the blender right in the hot pot of soup.  Hot squash soup, when it splashes up, is essentially vegetable napalm and it sticks and burns in a very dramatic way. I carry an oval  scar on my left forearm to this day.

Operator error aside, it’s a delicious soup and perfect on cold fall nights.

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 cup chopped onion
4 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half

Saute onion and squash in butter. Add spices and cook 10 minutees. Add broth and cook 30 more minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool a bit and then buzz it with an immersion blender, or in a regular blender.

Just before serving, check the salt and pepper, and stir in half and half.

Onion Soup

I used to make french onion soup in Karachi quite often because I could get all the ingredients fairly easily and Kumy loved it. I used the only cheese available back then – “Greens”- which came in a wax cover. These days I use Gruyere.

3 onions, sliced very thin
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp brown sugar
5-6 cups water
2 Tbsp white wine
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
French bread, cut into 1/2″ thick slices
Gruyere Cheese, cut into nice slices

Saute onions in oil and butter, until completely translucent and the onions are starting to brown. Add the flour and sugar and cook until the flour is starting to darken. This can happen fairly quickly so don’t let it burn.

Add water, wine, salt and pepper and cook 20 minutes, stirring to get up all the brown bits from the pan. Cook longer if you want to reduce the broth a bit.

Melt some more butter in a frying pan and fry the bread slices in it for a little bit.

Ladle soup into oven-proof bowls, and place the bread on top. Add just a bit more broth on top of the bread, then add cheese. Heat under a broiler until the cheese melts and starts to brown a little bit.