Tag Archives: chicken broth

Really Easy Asian Won Ton Soup

wonton up close

It’s April and we’ve seen teasing glimpses of spring, but it’s cold and rainy again today…

This means it’s still soup weather!

Here is the easiest soup in the world– especially if you use pre-made wontons.  My friend Judy of Bebe Loves Okazu has a wonderful homemade recipe here.  You can make these and freeze uncooked wontons on a plate.  When frozen,  transfer to a ziploc bag to have on hand for later use. They can be plopped into the broth and simmered in the soup–no need for thawing.

Today, I was lazy, and I used Trader Joe’s Chicken Cilantro Mini Wontons.  I also defrosted some homemade chicken broth.

I simmered the frozen mini wontons in the broth and added some chopped frozen spinach, cubed tofu, a couple of slivers of fresh ginger.  When it was all heated through, I added a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil and garnished with chopped scallions.  So warming and delicious — perfect for a cold, rainy spring day!

wonton soup

Really Easy Asian Wonton Soup

Note:  You can use whatever you have in your freezer or vegetable bin — try meatballs instead, or use snow peas or frozen peas or edamame.  You can’t go wrong either way!

About 2 cups of chicken broth (or other broth)

knob of ginger sliced thinly and jullienned

a handful of wontons

a handful of tofu cubes

a handful of chopped frozen spinach or other vegetable that can cook quickly

a dash of soy sauce (to taste)

a dash of sesame oil (to taste)

a spring of scallion, finely diced

1.  Heat broth in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Add wontons or other cooked meat, tofu, chopped spinach or other vegetable. Simmer until cooked and heated through, about 6-8 minutes.  Add soy sauce and sesame oil.  Garnish with scallions.  Serve.

Makes 2 servings.

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Enchilada Remix

close up enchilada

Oh my gosh, people, I do believe, I am back!  Thank you all so much for your words of support and encouragement!  It’s been a long haul…

In my last post, I mentioned a wonderful way to cook chicken and make delicious broth at the same time.  This is one of the meals I made with the fruits of those labors:  Chicken Enchiladas.  So easy and yummy.  I did a post a couple of years back on Chicken Enchiladas that I made with my mom (I grew up with this dish), and I think I’ve improved it (sorry, mom!)!  My friend, Judy, of Bebe Loves Okazu (check out her beautiful, beautiful blog!) had mentioned she had made it but sauteed the onions.  Also, she wanted a thicker sauce.  I was keeping this in mind when I redid this recipe.  I also streamlined it a bit and instead of spraying and softening the tortillas in the oven, I just covered 6 at a time with a damp paper towel and heated in the microwave.

Sauteing the onions gave the dish a sweeter, milder flavor, and made the sauce tastier.  I reduced the amount of broth and increased the tomato sauce, which made the resulting sauce thicker — perfect for serving at the table.

Hope all of you have a wonderful Saint Patrick’s Day this Sunday!  I plan to relax with my family and just enjoy being. 🙂  Here is an image I did for the occasion with the same kids from Valentine’s Day.

May good luck flow your way!

May good luck flow your way!

Chicken Enchiladas (revised)

1 medium onion, diced

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

3 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon (or to taste) chili powder

kosher salt to taste

12 corn tortillas

About 4 cups shredded cooked chicken

About 8 oz. or more (to taste) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Saute diced onion in oil on stove in a large pot.

3.  When onions are softened and translucent, transfer about 80% of them to a bowl and set aside.  To the remaining cooked onions in pot add tomato sauce, chicken broth, chili powder, and salt to taste.  Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until thickened.

4.  Heat 6 tortillas at a time, covering with a damp paper towel, in the microwave for 45- 50 seconds, until warm and pliable.

5.  Pour some sauce into a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan to coat bottom.  Lay one of the warmed tortillas in dish and coat both sides with sauce.  Then fill with  a handful of chicken, sprinkle of sauteed onions, and a bit of shredded cheese.  Roll up into a tube seam-side down.  Continue with five more warmed tortillas.  Then warm the remaining 6 tortillas and fill these in the dish, adding sauce to coat, as needed.  For the last two enchiladas, you may want to coat, fill and roll in another dish because there isn’t much space left.  I find that doing the bulk of the filling and rolling in the backing dish itself helpful though, because you don’t have to worry about the tortilla breaking and spilling mid-transfer!

6.  When all twelve enchiladas are arranged in baking dish, cover with cooked sauce, and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Alternatively, you could also refrigerate up to this time and bake later.  We did this, and baked it for about 30 minutes.

Makes 12 enchiladas.  Serve with extra sauce.

enchilada

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Filed under chicken, Dinner, Uncategorized

Broccoli Sweet Potato Soup and 2012 in Review

soup

Happy 2013 Everyone!

Have you all made your New Year’s resolutions?

I have to say, I have not.  I find that the label, “New Year’s Resolution”, carries too much weight, fraught with emotional baggage–my own craziness.  So my work around is to make goals at other times of the year. 🙂

One art related goal I made back in November is to draw from life every day.  I bought a beautiful Moleskin sketchbook which I LOVE because it’s small and easy to carry everywhere.   It’s really hard to draw in public without anyone noticing.  Hopefully I’m getting better at it.  Here are some samples:

Tim Horton's

Tim Horton’s

Easier to draw strangers when they aren't looking at me!

Starbucks.  It’s easier to draw strangers when they aren’t facing at me!

Jamie on Denis' phone

Jamie on Denis’ phone

In flight

In flight

j an d d

A lot of people make health oriented goals at New Year’s.  I guess the combination of holiday indulgences and pants getting more snug (I’m guilty of this as well!) and the promise of a new year — a clean slate– is part of the appeal.  With the frigid winter temperatures outside, a hot bowl of soup is a great remedy for the winter chill as well as the tighter waistbands!

soup close

We’ve been enjoying this nutrient dense, filling, and comforting Broccoli Sweet Potato Soup recently.  I’m happy to say that even my 8-year old loves this one so much, I don’t have to “hide” what’s in it!  It’s so easy to make too if you have a good blender.  See recipe at end of post. Served with cheese toast or a salad, it makes a delicious, comforting, healthy, guilt-free, New Year’s Resolutions compliant lunch!

Thanks to you all for making 2012 such a great year for this blog!  Followers and views doubled from 2011!  The most popular post of 2012 was Monthly Lego Build and Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Secret Ingredient, one of my favorites. Check it out!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 78,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

soup

Broccoli Sweet Potato Soup

Two small heads of broccoli florets chopped, or about 4 cups chopped broccoli

One small sweet potato

1 3/4 cups to 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Steam broccoli in steamer on stove for about 8 -10 minutes.  Alternatively, steam broccoli in a bowl covered with saran in microwave until cooked, about 4-5 minutes, depending on microwave

2.  Prick holes in sweet potato and cook in microwave for 4 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, peel and remove flesh.

3.  Place broccoli, sweet potato, and broth in blender and puree until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add more broth and reheat if you want a thinner consistency.

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Filed under Art Related, Lunch, Soup, Soup, Vegetables

Pea Soup Andersen’s Inspired Slow Cooker Pea Soup


It’s getting colder each day here in New York — you know what that means:  Perfect soup weather!  It’s our favorite thing to eat this time of year.

Jamie’s favorite soup – vegetable soup with alphabet pasta – inspired me to write and illustrate Soup Day.

The recipe is at the end of the story.

Other tasty soups to warm you in cold weather:

French Onion Soup

Roasted Tomato Soup

Creamy Green Soup

Butternut Squash Harvest Soup

Last week I was going through our pantry to collect food to donate to areas in our neighborhood which had been had been hit hard by the hurricane.  Among the things I came across was a half filled container of dried peas. I had no idea which presidential administration they were from– perhaps the Clinton era?  I decided to risk it and try to make some pea soup in my slow cooker.
A lot of recipes I came across called for a ham hock thrown in, but I was too busy to go on a hunt for one, so I used 1/2 cup chopped apple smoked cured nitrite free bacon from Trader Joe’s.  It was about 4 slices, and I trimmed off the excess fat.

I based my recipe on this one, because it mentioned Pea Soup Andersen’s – a beloved roadside restaurant in the Central Coast of California where I am from.

Jamie and I posing as Happea and Pea-wee in the parking lot.

It didn’t call for ham hock or bacon, but I decided to throw in some bacon just the same.  I also used 4 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of water instead of all water, and I decided to cook it in my slow cooker instead of on the stove.

The resulting soup was smoky, flavorful, and creamy — just as good as its inspiration!  The amount of dried peas I used cost about $.75, so the whole batch cost about $3.25!  It made about ten generous portions, half of which I have stored in our freezer for future winter days.

If you are ever on the Central Coast, though, tootling along the 101, do stop by and check out Pea Soup Andersen’s.  It’s not just the soup and sharp cheddar sold there that are  great — the whole atmosphere of the restaurant and gift shop is unique.  Just a few miles away is Solvang, a town filled with restaurants, toy stores, bakeries, and gift shops built in the traditional Danish style of architecture.  It is kind of like walking into part of an amusement park–kitschy but cute.  (I think it is the reason why I never had a phobia of dentists — my childhood dentist had a practice there and I loved visiting all the gift stores and eating Ebleskevers afterwards!)  🙂


Pea Soup Andersen’s Inspired Slow Cooker Pea Soup

4 slices smoked bacon trimmed of fat and chopped up, about ½ cup

2 cups dried peas, rinsed and cleared of debris

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

1 celery rib, chopped

1 medium carrot, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

¼  teaspoon dried thyme

salt

pepper to taste

  1. Pour everything into slow cooker.  Cook on low for about 8-10 hours or high for about 6-8 hours.  Check to see how soft the peas are.  I cooked mine for low on 2 hours, but they didn’t seem to be getting soft and I knew they were really old!  So I cooked them on high for the next 4 hours.
  2. Remove bay leaf.  Puree soup in batches in blender until smooth (only fill blender half-way and leave an open vent at the top, either covering with a towel or using a lid with a vent – alternatively, use an immersion blender instead!).  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Reheat and serve.

Makes at least 10 generous servings.
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Filed under Soup, Soup, Travel

Pumpkin Custard and How to Use Leftover Ingredients

Let me tell you something about myself:  I hate wasting food.

One of my pet peeves used to be recipes that only used a small amount of an ingredient, as in one tablespoon of chopped, fresh parsley or two tablespoons of tomato paste, etc.  The leftovers would languish and eventually go bad in the refrigerator — only to be discovered later.  I say “used to be” because I’ve found ways around wasting the rest of the ingredients through various methods.

I realized I did not clarify that with the last recipe I posted! The pumpkin granola bars only call for 1/4 cup each of pumpkin puree and applesauce.   So I wanted to use this as an opportunity to share some tips for using leftover ingredients.

Whenever I have extra, I either use it up right away (e.g. we ate the leftover applesauce over the next days), or I freeze it.  It can drive my patient husband crazy, but I’ve been known to fill our ice cube trays with all sorts of leftover ingredients:  Coconut milk (leftover from curry —  frozen coconut milk is great in smoothies!), tomato paste, marinara sauce, chicken and beef broths, apple sauce, milk and coffee creamer (before we go on a long trip and I know it would go bad otherwise — these are also great in smoothies and frapuccinos!)  Yes, I’ve even frozen pumpkin puree in ice cube trays.  The resulting pumpkin cubes are great in smoothies and this terrific pumpkin frappucino (I use the frozen pumpkin and less ice, so it has more flavor).

My ice cube molds hold about 2 tablespoons.  I freeze the food in them and then transfer the cubes to a labelled freezer bag — the key word being labelled!
Don’t skip this step — believe me, frozen chicken broth looks a lot like applesauce.  To defrost, I zap them in the microwave.  I know each cube is 2 tablespoons, so two cubes are 1/4 cup and four cubes are 1/2, etc.

Frozen coconut milk cubes.

For the leftover pumpkin from the pumpkin granola in the last post, I decided not to freeze the rest of the pumpkin puree and instead made a simple pumpkin pie dessert minus the crust.

I blended the pumpkin, sweetener (I used stevia), cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and milk to taste  in a blender.  Then I added an egg and blended some more. I transferred the mixture to little ramekins and nuked them in the microwave for 2 minutes, then 1 1/2 minutes each until they looked done.  They were delicious with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice on top.

A less decadent pumpkin “pie” dessert.

For leftover ingredients that do not lend themselves easily to freezing, I make other things.  For leftover parsley, I always make tabouleh.  Here is a crunchy version inspired by Mark Bittman.  When I have leftover basil, I always make fresh pesto (which you can freeze or use immediately).  Here’s a recipe that I used when I had leftover basil after making stuffed zucchini.

Recently, I threw together a shrimp curry and had leftover coconut milk (which I froze as mentioned above) and chick peas.  A great way to use leftover chick peas is to puree them with tahini, lemon, garlic, salt, and olive oil to taste and make hummus.  If you only have a little bit though, I would recommend roasting them at a high temperature.  They make a yummy snack or salty treat to throw on your salad.  Just coat with oil or nonstick spray, kosher salt, and/or other seasoning and roast at 400 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes or so.  Roast until they are crunchy.  They are SO good.  I usually end up eating them all in one sitting.  They would probably be good mixed with popcorn, but I never save enough to try it out!

Do you have tricks for using up or saving leftover recipe ingredients?  Do share — I’d love to hear about them!

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On a literary note — I just want to let you all know that this weekend Denis and I will be on a panel with other authors of Halloween themed books at the wonderful Books of Wonder this Saturday at 12-2 pm to share Hush Little Monster.

Oct 27th
Saturday

12pm -2pm
HAUNTED HALLOWEEN FUN!
KARINA WOLF – The Insomniacs
MICHAEL LEVITON- My First Ghost
LEO LANDRY- Trick or Treat
DENNIS MARKELL – Hush, Little Monster
MELISSA IWAI – Hush, Little Monster
GIANNA MARINO – Too Tall Houses

On Sunday, we will be at Book Court in Brooklyn at 11 am.  I will be bringing these (mini) monster cookies to pass out.  If you are in the area, please stop by and say “boo!” 🙂

For info on upcoming events, check here.

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Now for the “recipes” — these are really just guidelines!  It depends on how much of the ingredient you have.

Pumpkin Custard

almost a can of pumpkin puree

sweetener of choice to taste

cinnamon to taste

pumpkin pie spice to taste

1-2 tablespoons or more milk, depending on how thick you like it-for a richer flavor and texture, use heavy cream

1 egg

1.  Blend everything in a blender except egg.  Then taste and adjust spices and milk.  Then add egg and blend some more.  You could also do this in a food processor.

2.  Transfer mixture to ramekins.  Microwave for 2 minutes.  Then again for about 1 1/2 minutes until custard looks cooked.  Serve with whipped cream and extra cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.

These are quite addicting. If you like them a lot, just go for a whole can!

Roasted Chickpeas

Leftover chickpeas

Non-stick spray

salt and or other seasonings of your choice

1.  Spray chickpeas with spray and sprinkle with salt on foil or parchment lined baking sheet.  Roast at 400 degrees F, shaking pan every 15 minutes, until chickpeas are crunchy — about 30-45 minutes.

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Filed under Books, Desserts, Sides, Vegetarian