Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

 

Ohhhh I just adore you, chicken noodle soup! A few weeks ago I really wanted some homemade soup. I NEEDED homemade soup. Ya know that feeling? I really didn’t want to hear the awful “fffffflllooppp” sound as the goopy room temperature soup emptied out of its aluminum can and plopped into a sauce pan for re-heating.

No ma’am. Not this time. I wanted to hand cut the veggies, cook the chicken myself, personally choose the noodle type, and taste test the broth before bringing it all together. I figured that can’t be all that hard…right? A little time consuming, sure, but not awful.

Cooking anything “homemade” can be intimidating, but I channel my inner rock star of a mama and just do it. I know she’s in there somewhere! Sometimes she just needs coffee. I also just have strategize when’s the best time to prep and cook. Also, I buy the broth and noodles. I’m not gonna lie, one day I’d love to be that mother of twins who makes her own noodles and chicken broth AND soups. One day. But for now I think I’m doing just fine 😉

I also consulted one of my favorites to follow on All Recipes: Chef John. He has easy video tutorials, uncomplicated recipes, and a reassuring voice. I altered it just a bit, and below is how I bring to life this timeless classic.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

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1 cupChopped Onion

1 cupChopped Carrots

1 cupChopped Celery

2 tablespoonsButter, salted

1 teaspoonSalt

1 teaspoonThyme

8½ cupsChicken Broth (Gold star if you make your own! Chef John’s got a recipe for that, too: Roasted Chicken Broth)

1 cupEgg or Dumpling Noodles 

1 pound (approx) – Boiled Chicken (I boil it at medium high heat in 2 cups chicken broth/stock, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, and 1/2 tsp salt)

Step 1

Coarsely chop your onions, carrots, and celery.

Step 2

In a large stock pot start by melting the butter at medium heat, then add your onions, carrots, and celery to sautee together. Also add the salt and thyme.

Step 3

Once the onions start to get translucent, add all 8 cups of your chicken stock and stir together.

Step 4

Add in your noodles and chicken, stir, and let simmer in the broth for about 5 minutes.

Step 5

Give it all a taste! More time? More….thyme? Haah! More salt? You be the judge. And the cook. And the rockstar who get’s a high five from me for cookin yourself some homemade soup.

You did it! So proud of you! Here’s mine:

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Oh I almost forgot! I love me some oyster crackers in my soup.

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Ahhhh yes. There it is. Homemade heaven in a bowl. It always makes me happy. Sean loves it too! One day, I imagine also serving this to Henry & Emily as they come barreling in from a fun day outside in the snow. One day 😉

Enjoy!

Big hugs,

Katherine

Easy Shepard’s Pie

I was having one of those evenings where the babies were see-sawing between mildly entertained and fussy, but I also really wanted to cook something yummy. I had ground beef and carrots in the fridge, onions and seasonings in the pantry. I didn’t feel like pasta, especially because my homemade Alfredo sauce the night before was an epic fail. But suddenly, I looked in one of my cabinets and spotted this handsome devil to the right.

Now, before you get all judgy, I’ll have you know that instant mashed potatoes are freakin delicious. They give you that whipped texture without all the added work. For a mom of twins who doesn’t have very much free time for cooking – that’s everything.

I took a glance at a few recipe combinations before making it my own. I knew that Shepard’s Pie with ground beef would be pretty straight forward, but the gravy-like mixture needed to be good. Rachel Ray has a great base for this (Rachel Ray’s Shepard’s Pie), but I made lots of changes and ultimately created…THIS:

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound (ish) – Ground Beef
  • 1 – medium/large Yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 – medium Carrots, diced
  • 1 cup – Frozen Peas
  • ½ teaspoon – Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 cloves – Garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons – Butter
  • “a pinch” – Celery Salt
  • “to taste” – Regular Salt
  • 2 tablespoons – All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup – Beef Broth
  • 2 ½ teaspoons – Worcestershire Sauce

…and for the Mashed Potatoes :

  • one 8 oz “Family Size” package – Instant Mashed Potatoes (quick & easy for the win! I ADORE the garlic kind)
    • OR two of the normal sized 4 oz packages will do just fine
  • 4 cups of water

Step 1

Brown the ground beef in a pan. Drain the excess fat, then return it to the pan.

Step 2

Add in your chopped onions, diced carrots, peas, red pepper flakes, pinch of celery salt, regular salt (to taste) and minced garlic to the cooked ground beef and stir together. Cover and let it all heat together at medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3

Meanwhile…gotta get yo gravy goin’! In a separate pan, whisk together the beef broth, flour,Worcestershire sauce and butter over medium high heat. Bring just to a boil while stirring continuously, then remove it from the heat and add the gravy to your ground beef mixture. Let this sit without heat while you jump into step 4. Also – now’s a good time to turn on your oven’s broiler to low heat.

Step 4

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then remove it from the heat. Add the 8 oz package (or the two 4 oz packages) of powdered mashed potatoes and quickly stir it all together until it’s smooth. Within seconds you have gorgeous delicious garlicky mashed potatoes. Sooooooo easyyyy!

Step 5

In a casserole dish, layer the ground beef mixture first, then top it off with the mashed potatoes. Be sure to cover the ground beef completely with the mashed potatoes so that the ground beef mixture won’t bubble over and ruin the pristine potatoey topping. Pop that dish in the oven and broil it on low until it’s juuuust golden brown on the top. Let it cool a bit before serving, garnish with a little parsley on top, then serve it up!

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This dish is a total hit since the first night I made it. Some nights I made it without carrots, sometimes without peas. It’s super adjustable depending on what you have in stock. Hope y’all enjoy a slice, or 3, on an upcoming cold winter night! Be sure to comment/share if you give it a try. I’d love to see pics of your “pie”!

Big hugs,

Katherine

 

 

Slow Cooker Chili + Cheesy Grits

The weather here in Oklahoma is finally getting chilly! I’m so excited to be slow-cookin my way into cooler weather these days. As my patience for reading through recipes gets slimmer (’cause……twins!) I find myself throwing ingredients together in a mad dash between entertaining and feeding two babies. Sometimes my ‘lil on-the-spot meal creations fail. But every once in awhile……they WIN!

I’ve got a winner for ya.

I’ve noticed that most people don’t put a base of some sort underneath their chili when it’s served. Well, my sweet southern belle of a mama raised me differently. Mom would typically cook up some white rice and use that as a base for the chili and it was deeee-lish! But recently I got the inspiration to use cheesy grits as a heavenly little platform instead.

Y’all.

Oh my gosh.

It was pure heaven.

I made this on Sunday afternoon, stored it in the fridge (where it only continued to grow more and more delicious), then by Monday afternoon I was ready for a hearty lunch. I came home from taking the twins with me to Target and they were still asleep in their car seats. WIN! I whipped up some grits, added freshly grated cheese, topped the dish with chili, then more cheese for the garnish, and then…The Hallelujah Chorus broke into song. It was delicious, hearty, and good for my tired mama soul. Do you have a tired soul these days? I highly recommend trying this recipe. Your soul and stomach will thank you.

Here’s the lineup:

For the chili…

  • 1 pound (or so) – Ground Beef
  • 1 – Yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
  • 13 cup – beer (whatever you have, but a full bodied beer is best!)
  • 2 cups – Marinara Sauce
  • 1 can – Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 can – Kidney Beans, drained
  • 1 can – Pinto Beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons – Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon – Cumin
  • 2 tablespoons – Garlic Powder
  • 2 tablespoons – Italian Seasoning Mix
  • 2 teaspoons – Salt
  • 1teaspoon – Cayenne Pepper

6o9c9738For the grits…

  • 1cup – Quick Grits
  • 1 cup – Water
  • 1 tablespoon – Butter
  • 1cup – Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (mostly for the grits, the rest for the garnish)
  • Salt – to taste

Step 1

Combine all of the dry seasonings (chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, italian seasoning mix, salt, and cayenne pepper) into a small dish, then set aside until Step 3.

Step 2

Cook the ground beef in a skillet so that it’s just browned. Drain the excess fat, then return the ground beef to the stove.

Step 3

Add dry seasonings to skillet, coating the browned ground beef. Be sure to turn the heat to low.

Step 4

Pour the seasoned ground beef into the slow cooker. Add the following: raw coarsely chopped yellow onions (I don’t recommend cooking the onions with the ground beef in step 2 because it gives a slight crunch to the chili – loved it!), drained pinto and kidney beans, diced tomatoes, beer, and marinara sauce. Stir well to combine all that gloriousness.

Step 5

Set it and forget it, y’all! Set it on high, and stir occasionally if you have time. 2 to 3 hours later your home will smell heavenly.

Step 6

Once the chili is ready you can get the instant grits going in a saucepan. First, boiling your 1 cup of water, then add the grits, salt (to your taste), and butter. Be sure to stir this well to avoid clumps. Then…the cheese! Stir the shredded cheese into your grits. Add enough cheese until it tastes just right for you.

Step 7

Layer the cheesy grits first, then the chili, then some more shredded cheese for garnish.

Enjoyyyy!

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