Showing posts with label chicken soup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chicken soup. Show all posts

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Soup with Chicken, Pasta, Spinach, Beans and Tomatoes

by Peg Cochran

In other words, soup with everything but the kitchen sink.  This is a "what's in the pantry" kind of soup.  Today it was on the chilly side  --autumn is rushing in after an unexpected warm spell where all anyone wanted to do was grill because we knew the season would soon be over.  But today was definitely a soup day.  I absolutely adore soup, and it takes the sting out of the fact that winter is breathing down our neck. (Although PLEASE no ten foot snow piles this year, okay?)

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (depending on how closely you are watching your calories!)
1 medium to large onion, diced
2 carrots shredded (easy peasy in the food processor)
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups chicken broth (homemade or canned)
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes plus juice
1 can cannellini beans 
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
1 cup elbow macaroni or ditalini or tubetini
1/2 5-ounce bag baby spinach
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large soup pot.  Add onion, carrot and garlic and cook until wilted--about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add chicken broth, tomatoes, cannellini beans and chicken and cook 10 to 15 minutes at a simmer to develop flavors. 

Bring soup to a boil, add pasta, reduce heat and cook according to pasta directions.  Just before the pasta is done, stir in about two handfuls of spinach and cook until spinach wilts. 

Spoon into bowls and add a healthy grating of fresh Parmesan cheese. 

Chop an onion

Shred a couple of carrots--a great way to hide veggies in a dish.

Add chicken broth and diced tomatoes 

You can use regular spinach, but baby spinach is so tender!


Full of delicious goodness!


Huh?  What does this have to do with soup?  Nothing.  But when I hard-boiled this egg I discovered it was double-yolked and I had to share this picture with you!

Have you tried the first book in my Gourmet De-Lite series?

Preparing calorie-conscious meals for the dieters of Woodstone, Connecticut, Gigi Fitzgerald knows a cheater when she sees one. And when murder is on the menu, she's ready to get the skinny on whodunit...
And the first in my Lucille series...
For middle-aged “Jersey girl” Lucille Mazzarella, only two things in life really count—her family and her friends. When her brother-in-law’s body falls out of a church confessional, everything she holds dear is threatened, especially when the police arrest her husband for the murder.

Plagued by hot flashes, a thickening waistline, a mother addicted to the home shopping channel, and a sexy old flame who’s come back to town, Lucille really has her hands full. And while she may not know much about solving crimes, this traditional churchgoer with very modern attitudes knows that with some prayers, some fast thinking, and some even faster talk she might just be able to nail the killer and restore order to her life.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Guardian Angel Chicken Soup and Biscochitos for the New Year from Cleo Coyle

The science is in. Mom's chicken soup is not just for the soul. Properties in white meat chicken, carrots, celery, garlic, and onion appear to help relieve cold and flu symptoms better than over the counter medications (source: New York Times, health/science).

To quote Dr. Patty Quinlisk, medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health: "[Researchers] looked at people who had these viral illnesses and, believe it or not, gave some of them chicken soup and didn’t give some of them chicken soup and watched which group did better. The chicken soup-eating group did better and got well faster and felt better..."

"The bottom line is," says Dr. Quinlisk, "our grandmothers were probably right and chicken soup really does work for the cold and flu.” 

As one of those hit by this year's flu epidemic, I didn't need to read the scientific research to know homemade chicken soup has healing powers. By the time I'd slurped down a single bowl of the stuff, I was feeling relief from my stuffy nose and sore throat. When my husband caught the illness (thanks to me), I felt terribly guilty and was only too happy to make him more of my soup. I swear, while working in the kitchen, I heard him cry out from the bedroom: "This is great! It's helping! It's helping!"

Curtis Sliwa, founder of
The Guardian Angels

Photo by Mahmood Al-Yousif
via Wiki Commons
So why do I call this Guardian Angel Chicken Soup? For three reasons and the first two have to do with a man named Curtis Sliwa

You may have heard of Sliwa, a New Yorker who founded the Guardian Angels organization. When Sliwa was nearly shot to death in the summer of 1992, the owner of the 2nd Avenue Deli (a legendary Jewish deli here in NYC) sent him chicken soup every day. Sliwa credits this "Jewish penicillin" for helping him recover, and he even repaid the favor by agreeing to represent the Lower East Side in a worldwide pickle eating competition (but that's another story).

The second reason has to do with Sliwa's elderly Aunt Mary, who famously simmered up chicken soup for ailing members of his Guardian Angels' organization. She would take servings of her healing soup right down to them in the subways of New York, where they patrolled. 

The final (and more personal) reason I call today's recipe Guardian Angel Chicken Soup is because of my own Aunt Mary (pictured left) who cooked up something very close to this soup for me when I was feeling poorly. My aunt was incredibly supportive through much of my life. I loved her very much and now that she's gone, I think of her as my guardian angel.

Whether you make this soup for yourself or someone you care about, I sincerely hope it brings you good feelings and good health!
~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle's
Guardian Angel
Chicken Soup
Cleo Coyle, now a CDC
statistic, is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Curtis Sliwa's Aunt Mary used a fairly common method for making her chicken soup. She threw the chicken and veggies into the pot and turned up the heat for about 4 hours. I prefer my method, which is done in one hour, and is just as healthy. Just be sure to use white meat chicken. Properties in the white meat are especially helpful for cold and flu sufferers; they also have anti-cancer properties--and that's why I specify using 1/2 of a whole split chicken breast. May you eat with joy and in good health...

Makes about 2 quarts (about 6 servings)


2 quarts (8 cups) cold water

4 cloves garlic, smashed

2 bay leaves

1/2 of a whole, split chicken breast,  
      bone in, skin on >>

1 medium to large yellow onion, chopped*

6 ribs of celery, chopped*

4 carrots, chopped*

2 envelopes of Goya's Sazon without Annatto (see my note**)

Finishing salt (such as French Grey or another coarse Sea Salt)

*If you prefer more precise measurements: the chopped onion should measure about 1 cup; the chopped celery 2 cups; and the chopped carrot 2 cups.

**Note: This soup will be bland without adding a mix of spices. The Goya Sazon is my favorite. If you can't find it, try a bouillon cube plus a spice blend that includes onion and garlic powders and ground black or white pepper. Certainly, add any other herbs or spices that you enjoy (e.g. cumin, paprika, thyme, rosemary).

DIRECTIONS: Pour the cold water into the pot. Throw in the smashed garlic and bay leaves. Bring the water to a brisk boil. Place the chicken into the pot, skin side down. (The meaty part of the breast should be submerged in the water.) Boil uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until the meat is tender enough to come off the bone and be shredded with two forks. The water in your pot will boil down during this process. Add in 1 to 2 cups of fresh water to replace the water lost.

When the chicken is cooked enough, remove it from the pot. Add the chopped vegetables, and seasoning (Goya Sazon or a bouillon cube and your own spice mix), and boil for another 10 minutes. While veggies are cooking, remove the skin from the breast and the meat from the bone and shred the breast meat. 

When the carrots are fork-tender (10 minutes of cooking should do it), remove the bay leaves from the pot, and add the shredded chicken. If your split chicken breast was particularly large, hold back a bit of the chicken meat from the soup because you don't want to overload it. Add only enough to keep the ingredients balanced.(*Note: If you'd like to make this a chicken noodle soup, this is the point where you'd add your noodles and cook until they're soft.) Cook the soup for another 6 to 8 minutes and...

Eat in good health!

~ Cleo Coyle 

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here
Follow me on twitter here.

Visit my online coffeehouse here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

As for those Biscochitos,
I'm sharing the recipe in my
New Year's newsletter... 

My apologies to those of you who have been waiting
patiently for the newsletter. The flu really set me back.
But the newsletter is now finished and sent.
I hope you enjoy it!

To sign up for my Coffeehouse Mystery newsletter,
simply send an e-mail 
to the address below
that says "Sign me up."


When you sign up, an auto-reply
will send you a link to the newsletter
and the recipe above. Enjoy! 

~ Cleo

*  *  *

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Soup by any Other Name...

If, after reading this post, you come to the conclusion that I come from a weird family, you'll be right. The soup I'm sharing today is a favorite of mine -- Dusty Noodle Soup -- and, like all family recipes -- there's a story behind it.

When my brother and I were really young we originally called this "Busia Soup" because our Busia (grandmother) made it for us. My mom was not a fan of this particular dish. In fact, she called it "Grease Soup" and told us she'd been subjected to it as a youngster during the Depression and she avoided it at all costs. Despite her personal disdain, my mom spent an afternoon with her Polish mother-in-law (our Busia) to learn how to make the broth and the thick homemade Kluski noodles so we could have it at home.

Even when my mom made it, we still called it Busia Soup. But pretty soon it earned a whole new nickname - Dusty Noodle Soup.

Family celebrations -- for the extended family on my Polish side -- were held at one particular local restaurant and this soup was always served first. It was my favorite part of the meal.

Okay, imagine this... my brother and I were the youngest cousins on this side of the family. Bored by these events, we wandered around the pre-set banquet tables while the adults cooed over new babies, chit-chatted, and drank highballs at the bar. Paul and I would find hide-and-go-seek places in the restaurant's corners and I remember an incident with decorative fake rubber grapes -- but that's a story for another time ;-)

In this pre-party playtime, Paul and I noticed that the restaurant, in an effort to be more efficient, had set up the soup bowls at each place setting. That wouldn't be so weird, except -- there was a handful of cold, sticky noodles sitting in every bowl. These noodles were waiting for the waitresses to come by with pitchers of steaming broth, which they poured after everybody finally sat down. Hmm. How long had the noodles been there? Overnight? When no one was looking, and before it was time for the waitresses to serve, Paul picked up a bowl and turned it upside down. You guessed it. The noodles didn't budge. That's when he and I came up with the moniker "Dusty Noodle" and from then on we referred to the restaurant as "The Dusty Noodle Restaurant."

We sat down to eat and Paul demonstrated his trick for our parents and older cousins - and it was good for a slightly horrified laugh. Years later, when I started bringing my then-boyfriend, now-husband to family events, we brought him in on the joke.

The extended family has grown and we don't get together that much anymore. And The Dusty Noodle burned down over a decade ago, so my own kids have never experienced the restaurant's version of this delicacy. But they think the story is hysterical. They know this recipe as "Dusty Noodle Soup" and despite the weirdness of it all, they love it (the vegetarian daughter won't have it, but it used to be one of her favorites). Just for the record - I keep my noodles in the refrigerator until it's time to serve. No dusty ones in my house!

I hesitate to call it Chicken Noodle Soup because that conjures up images of carrots and celery and other good-for-you veggies. This has none of that. This is simply chicken, broth, noodles. And I cheat by buying Kluski brand noodles. Almost as good as Busia's homemade ones, but way less time-consuming to prepare.

After reading this post, you may decide this one is *not* for you. Perfectly understandable. But it's a fast and perfect-for-a-cold-day soup and a major treat for me. I can understand why it was popular during the Depression. Except for the chicken bones, there's no waste and you get two meals out of less than $2 worth of chicken. Cheap, easy, delicious.

Dusty Noodle Soup

Chicken leg/thighs - about 2 - 3 lbs.
Chicken bouillon
Kluski noodles

Place chicken legs/thighs in a deep pot, cover with water -- and then some. I used about 2.5 lbs and covered it with about four extra inches of water. Add bouillon. I used about 5 cubes. Although the legs/thighs have more flavor than breasts would, the bouillon helps a lot. Set to high and bring to a boil. Lower heat but keep it rolling a bit for at least an hour until the chicken is cooked through and the meat starts to fall off the bones. I always start with frozen chicken -- keeping a couple pounds of poultry on hand means I can whip this up any time.

While chicken is cooking, prepare Kluski noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Keep the noodles separate from the broth, even when both are done.

When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the broth and allow it to cool before separating the meat from the bones. I usually add a little meat back into the broth, but keep the bulk to make chicken salad.

That's it. Soup stays in one bowl, noodles in the other, and they keep in the fridge for at least a week. In the spirit of the original Dusty Noodle Restaurant, I usually heat up the broth super hot, then pour it over the chilled noodles to enjoy.

I have to admit, this is probably not good for the arteries. But back during the Depression, I'll bet it kept a lot of families from going hungry.

Thanks for letting me share a little family history with you. I'll bet you have some weird and interesting food stories to tell. Anything as wacky as Dusty Noodle?

Author of Eggsecutive Orders, third in the White House Chef Mystery series

Don't forget to enter your suggestion for the name of a fictional cupcake. You could have your name and cupcake written into BUTTERCREAM BUMP OFF! (The sequel to SPRINKLE WITH MURDER, which just received a *Starrred Review* from Publishers Weekly!). Send proof of your pre-order of SPRINKLE WITH MURDER along with your name and cupcake name to Jenn at

And remember to pick up your copy of THE DIVA PAINTS THE TOWN, by Krista Davis. On sale everywhere!

And finally, congratulations to Helen K. who suggested the winning Secret Ingredient for Mystery Kitchen’s Iron Chef contest!What was the secret ingredient? Find out during our next Iron Chef week in just a week!!! And keep reading our posts to find out how to enter our next contest!