Chicken Soup for the Soul

Have I told you that the teenage munchkin is “fasting”?  Actually, maybe I’m not supposed to be talking about it but she didn’t tell me NOT to and she should know that nothing is sacred unless specifically stated!  lol  She’s fasting because she wants to show God that she’s open to sacrificing for him the way Jesus did for our sins (her words).  She tells me that she wants to be open to receiving HIS wishes for her life.  She does NOT get this from me.  I’ve never really been a disciplined person and I’m ashamed that I’m the one who believes that God can’t see me sneak that cookie or piece of candy.  Julia isn’t fasting for just a day.  She’s been only eating non processed foods for 2 weeks now.  Mostly she eats boiled eggs and raw vegetables and fruits.  Every day, I try to cook her fish but she can have VERY little salt so everything tastes bland.  I’m proud of her though because, for the most part, she’s not trying to argue about what kind of food she can have.  Yesterday, she kind of pushed the ticket.  She’d forgotten that she told me she couldn’t eat pasta because it was a starch.  So NO starches, right?  She thought I wouldn’t notice when she started frying potatoes and green peppers last night!  lol  Her reasoning?  Potatoes are a vegetable grown from the ground and so were green peppers.  What about the starch thing, Julia?  Oh THIS starch is okay, I’m SURE of it.  What about the fact that potatoes really don’t have nutritional value and you’re eating them in order to feel full?  Oh that’s okay too.  God will understand.  Well OKAY then.  I guess the rules change when you’re really hungry?

Today I’m making her some of Paula Deen’s chicken rice soup.  There’s NOTHING in this soup that she CAN’T have and since it’s cold and snowy AND she’s working hard painting and cleaning, it just FEELS like a soup kind of day.  Everything comes from God’s earth and the chicken is even healthy, right?  This will be the only time in the past 2 weeks that she’s eaten chicken though.  She tells me that this is like a 5 star meal for her!  And then I reminded her about those fried potatoes last night.  Was that like a 4 star meal?  lol

By now you know that I get my recipes from SOMEWHERE.  Lately it’s bee from the great Paula Deen.    However, I rarely stick to a recipe.  This one is revised by me but comes mostly from her.  Everyone’s got their own way of doing chicken soup.  Soup is just one of those foods that you can’t mess up PLUS it’s good for what ails you!  If you feel bad physically or emotionally, I PROMISE you’ll feel better after a great big bowl of this!

Cure – All Chicken Rice Soup

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken, cut up, rinsed and patted dry (mine was 5.5 lbs)

6 celery stalks, washed (use with the green leaves)

6 large carrots chopped into coins

2 lrg Vidalia onions (halved through the root end)

6 cloves garlic (minced)

2 tsp dried thyme

4 bay leaves

5 tsp salt

2 chicken bouillon cubes

2 tsp black pepper

2 tsp tarragon (dried)

2 cups long grain white rice

2/3 cups chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

In a large stockpot, combine chicken, 12 cups water, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt, black pepper, tarragon and thyme.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until the chicken is cooked through (around an hour).

Remove the chicken and carrots from stockpot and set aside.  Strain the remaining liquid and discard the solids.  Return the strained broth to the pot, stir in rice and bring to a gentle simmer, cook until the rice is tender about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, once the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick meat off the bones, discarding skin and bones.  Return the chicken and carrots to the pot.  Simmer for another 5 minutes.  Adjust seasoning and stir in parsley right before serving.

*The bones make the soup!  You can always use boneless chicken breast.  I do if that’s all I have on hand but if you want REALLY good soup, full of flavor, you’ll want to use chicken on the bone.

*This recipe is a double batch.  It will serve 12-18 people generously.  I always double recipes because I can freeze a batch for later.  It saves time and money 🙂  Enjoy!

Paula Deen’s Old Fashioned Creamed Chicken

During my stay in Columbia, waiting for my Dad to recover from surgery, the step mom and I were able to get away and have dinner at Cracker Barrel.  I’m not a HUGE fan of their food but I DO love to shop in their little country store!  lol  I know, by now, I’ve GOT to be boring you with all my bragging about the large collection of cookbooks I’ve acquired through the years, but they make me happy so I purchased just “1 more”.  You’ve also heard me mention, on more than one occasion, my adoration of the great Southern Lady, Paula Deen.  It’s strange that I’ve never owned one of HER cookbooks.  I fixed that though, this weekend!  I purchased, Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible published by Simon and Schuster.  This reads like a book with all her stories.  The recipes are easy to follow and I love hearing about her Southern life!  I HIGHLY recommend purchasing this book, if you’re in to that sort of thing 😉

Product Details

So yesterday, Sunday, was my first day back home and, once again, I didn’t feel like cooking but necessity called. I had 3 chicken breasts in the freezer and not much else.  I also had a friend and her 20 year old son spending the day with us.  Bryar, the 20 year old, doesn’t like a lot of “different” food and he won’t even try many people’s cooking.  I guess I should feel blessed because MY cooking is something he’ll at least TRY.  lol  This recipe was a complete hit with everybody, even Bryar.  He told me that I didn’t make NEARLY enough!  I was thrilled to be able to stretch 3 chicken breasts enough to feed 5 of us!  The great Paula Deen came through for me once more 🙂  God, I love that lady!  lol

Here’s what I made:

Old Fashioned Creamed Chicken over Rice

Ingredients:

1 TBSP butter

1 TBSP all purpose flour

1/2 cup chicken broth (I used the broth from boiling the chicken breasts)

1/2 cup half and half (I used heavy cream because that’s what I had on hand)

1 TBSP dry sherry (I used white zinfindel because that’s all I had)

2 cups chopped or shredded chicken breasts (I used all 3 breasts – about 6 cups)

1/2 tsp dried thyme (i used more)

salt and pepper to taste

1 to 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley or green scallions for garnish (optional)

*Recipe as written will serve 4 people.  It’s intended for use with leftover chicken but I had to triple the recipe and STILL didn’t have enough to serve 5 of us.  I served this over rice.  It was so good they couldn’t stop eating!  lol

Directions:

  1. in a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until bubbling, about 1 minute.  Whisk in the broth, half and half and sherry.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring until nice and thick, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the chicken, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste, and warm through.  Serve over rice, noodles or potatoes, garnished with parsley or scallions.

*Paula suggests this recipe is good served in frozen, baked pastry shells or homemade biscuits or cornbread.

The simple things in life…. FRIED PORK CHOPS! lol

I haven’t been posting about food lately because, well, I’ve been uninspired.  Sadly, nothing I’ve found on Pinterest lately has been working. They look fantastic but taste dry or just plain gross. Recipes I see on WordPress don’t reach out and grab me (for the most part).  Maybe I’m in a slump?  Probably.

My slump is your gain!  God I crack myself up!  lol  No seriously, I don’t have a recipe that will blow your socks off but I DO have a great recipe for deep fried pork chops!  I don’t mind sharing with you my love for Ms Paula Deen, the Queen of Butter 🙂

 I’m not ashamed of my love for butter or simple food.  Hell, I pretty much love ALL types of food, it just has to taste great!  AND, BTW…  I’m not fat, in case you were wondering.  I think you should be able to enjoy a good pork cop (or stick of butter) in moderation 😉

Tonight, at MY house, we had deep fried pork chops (thanks to Paula) and garlic mashed potatoes (can I tell you that I use real cream in my taters?) with broccoli and LOTS of butter.  I wonder why my hubby won’t even try to lose weight?  Guess I’m not helping matters BUT!!!!  But why can’t you eat what you want sometimes and exercise a little so that you CAN enjoy a pork chop every now and then?  lol  BTW…  these were SO tasty and delicious.  It’s not like I needed a recipe for fried pork chops because this is something that I could do in my sleep.  I just wanted to see how OTHER people did chops.  Who better to consult than the Southern Lady and her Sons!?

Lady and Son’s Fried Pork Chops           Fried Pork Chops

Ingredients 

4 cups vegetable oil
8 (8-ounce) bone-in pork chops, about 1-inch thick
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch celery seeds
2/3 cup buttermilk  (*I used about a cup)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

Heat oil in a deep skillet to 350 degrees F.

Arrange the pork chops in a large shallow dish. Season each pork chop, on both sides, with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and celery seeds. Pour the buttermilk over the chops and turn to coat.

Place flour into a large shallow dish. Dip each pork chop into the flour mixture and coat well, shaking off the excess.

Using tongs, gently lower the chops into the deep skillet in batches if necessary. Fry for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Transfer chops to a paper towel-lined pate to drain. Serve hot.

And there you go!  Simple, easy and it didn’t take a lot of time.  Probably the only downfall, besides the almost half a can of Crisco I used, was the amount of cleaning that my teenage munchkin had to do afterward.  lol  It’s not fun to do greasy dishes with wet flour dried to them 😦  BAD mom!  What do YOU do when you’re uninspired?

Great Grandma’s Chicken and Dumplings, a French, country recipe

My mother’s family were 100% French (Canadian French) when they came to settle in the tiny little country town of Old Mines Missouri. Nobody spoke English even up until their death, when my mother was young.  The thing she remembers most about her grandmother, my great grandmother, is that she was a very “cold” woman and that she didn’t show affection.  I’d have to guess it was because she had SO many children and they had to work VERY hard just to survive.  She didn’t have TIME to show affection.  Every Sunday, my grandpa would load up all 10 of his children and they’d visit his parents in Old Mines, for Sunday dinner after church.

My great grandmother would spend the day cooking the most delicious meals.  They weren’t elaborate, or sophisticated, but they were the most delicious dishes my mom remembers tasting.  In particular, there was the bouillon.  Bouillon had to be served before every meal no matter how hot it was outside.  It’s a French thing.  Most of the time, they’d eat outside because there wasn’t enough room for everyone inside the tiny house.  The kitchen that my great grandmother cooked in was not like any kitchen that I’ve ever had to prepare a meal in.  Food was prepared usually over an open fire.  It was too tiny for anyone to offer help, but they still tried to help.  She didn’t have much patience with anyone getting in her way, from what I understand.  The other thing I find interesting about their family “get togethers” is that the children were made to eat last.  Here’s how it went:  The men ate first, then the women and THEN the little children ate what was left.  WTH????  Totally not acceptable to me because I’ve ALWAYS made sure that the kids get enough to eat FIRST, before anyone else gets to eat.  However, Mom tells me that it really made sense for the old timers to do things this way because they were a “farming” people.  It was important to feed the men first so that they can get back out into the field and work.  The other reason that the men needed to eat first is that it was necessary that the men have the most food because they needed the food to fuel their hard physical labor.  Ok…  I’m struggling with the part of my constitution, the STRONG woman part, that says this way of thinking isn’t right!  Then there’s the logical part of my brain that tells me “Ok Michelle, you weren’t raised on a farm and don’t know what it was like to work as physically hard as the men did back then”.  Here’s my OTHER logical thought:  On a Sunday, after church, the men WEREN’T working on the farm!  Why couldn’t the rules change for  a Sunday?  I mean the women’s work was NEVER done but the men got to relax AND eat more food leaving whatever was left behind for the women and the children.  Good thing my big mouth didn’t live back then (1940’s and 1950’s)!  lol  This actually wasn’t the point of my story….  it never ceases to amaze me how easily I get off subject 😉  I was originally just going to post my great grandmother’s recipe for Chicken and dumplings!  lol

Now that I’ve come off my “rant”, I want to share with you my great grandmother’s recipe for chicken and dumplings.  I actually think it’s SO cool that my family still has her recipes and that they were translated to English for future generations!

Ingredients for chicken:

1 whole roasting chicken (1 used an 8 lb chicken today but any size will do)

3 stalks celery with their tops

3 carrots, washed but not peeled

2 med onions, peeled but whole

3 TBSP salt

3 TBSP pepper

2 tsp dried oregano

2 TBSP garlic powder

2 TBSP dried thyme

Directions for chicken

Place chicken in a very large dutch oven and cover with water.  Place all seasonings and vegetables in dutch oven and bring to boil.  Cover and simmer on low until chicken starts coming apart.  Once chicken is done, let cool so you can start taking the chicken off the bones.  Remove vegetables from stock pot and discard.  Skim fat from broth and replace chicken back into the pan.  Heat broth back up with chicken.

At this point you will want to thicken the soup by:

  • Heat the desired amount of chicken stock in an appropriately sized saucepan until it reaches a simmering boil.

  • Measure 1/4 cup of cold water and pour it into a bowl. Add two tablespoons of flour.

  • Mix the flour and cold water until it dissolves completely into a smooth, even paste.

  • Add the flour mixture a little at a time until the stock reaches the desired consistency.

    This is a little complicated if you’re not a seasoned cook but if I can do it so can you!  lol

    I also add a stick of butter to the broth because my family (who, btw, believe it or not DON’T have weight issues… lol) tells me the broth needs to be rich and all French recipes call for butter.  I’m TOTALLY ok with that!

    Grandma Boyer’s Rolled Dumplings

    Ingredients

    3 cups of flour

    2 eggs beaten

    3/4 cup chicken broth

    2/3 cups lard (yeah, I use shortening)

    1 tsp salt

    Directions

    Beat eggs, add COOLED broth to beaten eggs.  Mix flour, salt and lard together until crumbles form (I use a pastry blender for this).  Add egg mixture and mix well.  Roll thin onto floured board.  Drop dumplings into boiling, thickened broth.

    Note:  For an 8 lb chicken, I will double or even triple the dumpling recipe.  It just depends on how many people I’m feeding.  PLUS, I like leftovers especially if I’m going through the trouble of making dumplings!  lol

    Hope you all enjoy!  We’re having this tonight and LAWDY does my house EVER smell delicious right now!  lol