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.

 

Immune Boosting Roast Chicken

My Facebook feed is full of people suffering from the flu. I’ve so far escaped but, with all the parades and events heading into Mardi Gras on February 13th, I need all the immune boosting I can get.

I had thawed a chicken and decided that I’d do something that contained a lot of natural antibiotics – ginger, garlic, oregano, lemon juice. I altered my lemon oregano roast chicken recipe – the original called for dry white wine, for example and I replaced that liquid with ginger ale. If you can’t eat garlic, replace it with a tablespoon of minced ginger instead.

Immune Boosting Roast Chicken

4 to 5 lb whole chicken
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup ginger ale
1/4 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons crushed dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

4 russet potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes

Remove the backbone of the chicken and reserve for another use. Cut chicken into quarters and place in a zip top bag. Whisk together the lemon juice, ginger ale, olive oil, oregano, garlic, ginger, salt and black pepper. Pour over the chicken. Seal and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Toss the cubes of potatoes with a little olive oil and spread them out in a shallow roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes. Stir the potatoes around and add the chicken with its marinade, balancing the chicken on top of the potatoes. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the thickest part of the thigh reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before dividing among dinner plates.

 

 

Bus 57 Apple Cake

Here is a very easy cake recipe from the kitchen of Miryam Levy. Seems she had listened in on a conversation in French between two women sitting behind her on the 57 line from Haifa to Kiryat Bialik. And, voila, bus cake!

My only addition was to toss the apples with a little cinnamon (1.5 teaspoons) for a little more flavor. However, the cake should be just fine without that step. I experimented with both red (Honey crisp) and green (Granny Smith). The sugar was a little much with the red ones but perfect with the tarter, green ones. The green apple cake, because the apples aren’t as juicy, had a lovely crunch along the edges as well. The red apple cake was more moist and dense, so it is really up to personal taste as to which apples you choose to use. Heck, I may try it again with a mix of apples!

Red (Honey Crisp) Apple Cake

I also still had the grater out when doing the second cake and so I grated the butter for more even distribution on the top of the cake. The top picture is the red apple cake with sliced butter. The bottom picture is the Granny Smith cake with grated butter.

Green (Granny Smith) Apple Cake

Bus 57 Apple Cake

1 cup semolina
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 stick cold butter, divided
3-5 apples, depending on size to make 3 cups grated (I recommend Granny Smith)
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Generously butter a round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter it as well. I used one tablespoon of butter on this step.

Mix semolina, sugar, salt and flour together and pour half the amount into pan. Peel, core and grate apples. If desired, toss the grated apples with a little cinnamon. Evenly spread the apples over the first layer of dry cake mix. Pour the rest of the dry mix over grated apples. Slice or grate the butter and layer  it over the top of the cake.

Bake until golden, about 60 minutes.

Serve hot, topped with ice cream or whipped cream. I also had it cold the next morning with my tea and it was wonderful, too!

As this recipe doesn’t use eggs, substitute margarine for butter and you’ve got a terrific vegan dessert!

Cheese Nibbles

It seems that every southerner I know has a cheese straw, cheese nibble, or cheese wafer recipe. In fact here are links to just a few (here, here, here) plus I’m including a picture of my family’s recipe from my maternal great-grandmother.

I’ve been lucky that Michelle has been working on perfecting her recipe. In the below picture, she added a little more flour to the puffy yellow ones (and a little red food coloring to the others to tell the difference). There wasn’t enough crunch, so she extended the cooking time and the result were very tasty!

Cheese Nibbles

10 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated cold and left to come to room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and at room temperature
1 cup sifted flour
2/3 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
pinch cayenne

I recommend tripling the recipe but, as most mixers can’t handle such a heavy batter, do each batch separately.

Put the softened cheese and butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer. Using the heaviest mixer paddle attachment, beat until the mixture has the consistency of whipped cream, 15 to 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, sift the flour with the spices. Gradually add the seasoned flour to the cheese mixture by large spoonfuls, beating well after each addition.

Roll batter into nickle sized balls and press down on baking sheets with your thumb. Bake for about 15 minutes in a 350 degree F oven until bottoms are slightly browned.

Alternatively, you could place a portion of the dough into a cookie press fitted with the star tube and press the dough onto a cookie sheet in three inch strips. Repeat until the pan is full. Bake until straws are golden brown and crisp.

Cool on pan 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container. For longer storage, place the airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

To recrisp cheese nibbles that have been stored, bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Honeycomb Crunch

Time for more quick, no-bake desserts. This one is a little messy but the darker chocolate compensates for the sweetness of the cereal.

The recipe calls for 8 cups of cereal but I just used the entire 12.5 ounce box and an entire bag of bittersweet chocolate chips.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Honeycomb Crunch

1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 cups bittersweet chocolate morsels
8 cups Honeycomb cereal
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Place cereal in a large bowl. Melt chocolate and peanut butter in a double boiler. Let cool slightly and then pour over the cereal. Stir gently until everything is well coated.  Pour onto a baking sheet and let the chocolate set for an hour.

In a large paper bag, place 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Dump in the chocolate covered cereal into the bag and shake out another 1/4 cup of powdered sugar on the top. Shake vigorously until sugar coats the pieces. Pour out onto a large baking sheet and let cool completely before putting in zip top plastic bags.