Archive for April, 2009

Like it or not we are going through an economic depression. That doesn’t mean we have to get depressed about it though. I decided that instead of feeling deprived, okay I was feeling that way at first, I was going to change my approach to eating and cooking. The first thing I did was to look at all the ways I was wasting food and subsequently money. I tend to buy too much food often being swayed by divine inspiration to make dishes that I don’t have enough time to make during the week. I had to rein in my creative juices and discipline myself to plan my meals. I had to remind myself that there would be plenty of opportunities to make all those yummy dishes, just not all in one week. Now I buy only what I need for the week which results in me not having food rotting or getting old and limp in the fridge because I can’t get to them. Another thing I’ve been doing is making use of every part of a roast chicken.

I’ve found that I can make 3 extremely satisfying meals for two people from one roast chicken. The first night my husband and I enjoy the succulent breast meat with a carb and veggie or in Mexican tortas. I use the dark meat from the thighs and drumsticks to make another meal that serves 4 people. Sometimes it’s chicken hash, other times chicken pot pie or empanadas. We either invite another couple over for
that meal or have leftovers. Then I use the bones I’ve saved from that same bird to make a rich chicken stock. One particularly satisfying meal I make with that stock is chicken vegetable noodle soup. It’s an easy, non fussy kind of soup that doesn’t require exact measurements. Here’s my recipe for it.
Give it a try. It’s easy to make,cheap and totally satisfying in taste.

Pumped up Chicken Broth

1-49 1/2 oz. can chicken stock
Bones from roasted chicken- body, legs, thighs
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup chopped celery ( some leaves are fine)
1/2 onion coarsely chopped
1 carrot coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Bring all to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain all solids through colander or cheesecloth.

Chicken Vegetable noodle soup Serves: 4

1 chopped onion*
3 carrots chopped
2 medium stalks of celery chopped 1/2-1 inch long
1 leek, sliced 1/2 thick, washed and drained
2 Tablsp. butter, olive oil or chicken fat

1 boneless skinless chicken thigh- cut up into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp. salt

1 recipe of pumped up chicken broth
1-2 medium sized potatoes diced into 1 inch pieces
handful of Italian parsley chopped- approx. 1/4 cup
1 cup of mixed vegetables **
salt, pepper
2 Handfuls of dried wide egg noodles

1. Saute onion, carrots, celery and leek in butter or oil until onion is softened and yellow.
Add chicken pieces that have been mixed with salt. Saute for 3 minutes or until chicken is white.
2. Add chicken broth. Add potatoes and bring to boil.
3. Turn down flame and simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Add parsley with mixed vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Taste soup and adjust to taste with salt and black pepper.
6. Bring soup to a boil and add the dried noodles. Break up the noodles into 1 inch pieces before you add
them to the soup.
7. Boil gently until noodles are cooked. Taste again and add more salt/pepper as needed.

That’s it ! Enjoy !

* The size of chopped carrots, onions don’t need to be precise. It’ really a matter of how rustic you want your soup to look. The bigger chunks, the more rustic, the tinier the pieces the soup will look more dainty. ** Use any cut up leftover vegetables you might have in your fridge or use frozen mixed veggies.

**Exception: no beets, red cabbage or leafy veggies.

A general rule about size of vegetables is that they should all be around the same size for the purpose of cooking time as well as aesthetics. Don’t stress over this, just relax and enjoy the process of making
it and enjoying how good it makes your kitchen smell.

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