Chicken Noodle Soup

Whelp, I seemed to have come down with the cold that has been running amok around here. It means that it is time for some food therapy. I really like the chicken soup I make with dumplings (see recipe HERE), so I started there when making it chicken noodle soup. I’m still into turmeric, so I added a little of that and the bonus is it makes the soup a beautiful color.

Before you say it, I know how easy it is to make egg noodles! I’m sick so cut me a little slack for going for frozen, especially when Reames makes it so easy to just toss ’em in the pot.

Chicken Noodle Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
6 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
12 ounces egg noodles (I used Reames Frozen Egg Noodles)
Reserved chicken (about 3 cups of shredded chicken)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a Dutch oven, melt butter and heat oil over medium heat. Add carrot, celery and garlic. Sauté the vegetables until they are soft, a couple of minutes. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Sprinkle in the turmeric. Continue to stir and cook for 5 minutes to remove the starchy taste from the flour. Do not let the roux burn or turn dark brown, lower the heat as necessary. Toss in the bay leaves. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition to remove any lumps. Stir in salt and pepper.

Bring the sauce to a boil and then let simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, this takes around 30 minutes. Fold the reserved shredded chicken and the egg noodles into the sauce. Bring up to a boil and then turn down the heat. Let simmer gently for 30 more minutes.

Taste for seasoning and serve.

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Marbled Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake

I’ve already posted the Lemon Blackberry Cheesecake Michelle and I made using a John Besh recipe as our template. Besides wanting to make it truly our own, the big problem was that it just wasn’t blackberry enough. Michelle had the idea of making it more of a structured filling and we figured that double the blackberries meant double the flavor.

We were right! Intense fruit flavor balanced with creamy cheesecake. Major yum!

Michell made these in three 8×8 pans for easy freezing and transportation. To do so, she had to triple the graham cracker crust but the rest of the recipe is plenty of batter to fill them up.

Marbled Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake

3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 pounds cream cheese
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon limoncello

3 cups blackberries, pureed
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
Juice from one lemon (zest lemon and put the zest in the cheesecake batter)
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Grease a 9 inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the remaining butter in a medium bowl. Press onto the bottom and part way up the sides of the pan. Bake it for 10 or 15 minutes before putting in the filling.

 

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Blend in the milk, then beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in the sour cream, flour, lemon zest and limoncello until smooth. Divide the mixture between two bowls.

 

In a food processor or blender, puree blackberries with the lemon juice. Mix in sugar and flour. Pulse a few times before adding in egg and vanilla extract.

 

Pour half the cheesecake mixture into prepared pans. Then add the blackberry filling in dollops on top. Pour on remaining cheesecake batter.

 

Place in oven and bake for 2 hours, until the topping is set. Remove from the oven. Raise temperature to 350 and return pan to oven to bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

 

Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Sweet Potato Oat Bran Muffins

Michelle and I are nearing our anniversary and I wanted to bake her a special treat. As compromise is the heart of any good relationship, I crafted these muffins that are full of sweet potato and oat bran goodness for her but tasty enough for me. Of course, she is going to experiment with the fat content and even switching to some whole wheat flour but, for me, for now, these are a success – lots of sweet potato flavor but not dense and heavy.

This recipe is an amalgamation from one for Sweet Potato Muffins from The Loveless Cafe and one from King Arthur Flour for Oat Bran Muffins. The recipe makes 36 regular sized muffins but don’t be intimidated as they freeze really well.

We usually buy lots sweet potatoes when they’re on sale and then bake them all up, scoop out the insides and freeze them in 1 and 2 cup measurements. That makes it easy to pull them out and put them in all kinds of recipes, like this one. You’ll need about 3 sweet potatoes to make 2 cups baked and mashed.

Sweet Potato Oat Bran Muffins

1/2 cup oat bran hot cereal, not flakes (I used Hodgson Mill)
1 pound butter (4 sticks unsalted butter), divided
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups sweet potatoes, baked and mashed
3 cups all-purpose flour
1  1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
cinnamon sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Place cupcake liners into the cups of 2 twelve-count muffin pans, set aside.

Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Mix with the oat bran cereal and let cool slightly. Melt 1/3 cup butter and stir into cereal along with 1 tablespoon honey. Set aside.

Cream remaining butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl of the mixer and then add sweet potatoes and beat until blended. Add in the oat bran mixture.

In a separate bowl add all dry ingredients, whisking to ensure all the spices and baking powder are well-blended with the flour. Add flour mixture to sweet potato mixture a little at a time until you have a smooth consistency. With a spoon, mix in chopped pecans. Stir the vanilla into the milk. Slowly add milk mixture to the muffin batter, stirring until just blended.

Spoon mixture into muffin tin, filling each cup 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar.

Bake first pan of muffins for approximately 20-30 minutes, rotating midway through baking. They are done when golden brown and a toothpick placed in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove first pan and set the second muffin tin in the oven.

Let baked muffins rest in pan for 5 minutes before removing and letting cool completely. Let the muffin tin cool slightly before placing in more liners and refilling the pan as the second one bakes.

 

Main Street Cafe – Collins, MS

If you’re ever near Collins, Mississippi at lunchtime consider stopping in at the Main Street Café. It is smack dab between I-49 and US-84 on Main Street (Highway 184) in Collins. They have an all you can eat buffet for $10 that includes your drink, and a wide selection of down home, Southern classics (a mess of peas, a pot of beans, fried okra, greens, gumbo, cornbread, a large variety of desserts and a salad bar). For the meat selection, they offer ribs, chicken and sometimes catfish. You need to get there by 2pm, though, as they are only open from 9:30am to 2pm on weekdays.

As you can see from my plate, I didn’t waste much stomach space on veggies. Their fried chicken is excellent. Very tasty and juicy, with crisp skin and a good seasoning. I got my money’s worth on fried chicken alone!

The tea is fresh, the servers are friendly and the food is quite good. I definitely recommend it.