Chicken Soup, It’s What the Doctor Ordered!

As you know, the family was sick through Christmas.  I managed to catch a minor cold this week, so chicken soup is on the menu.  It’s a simple and basic recipe that my mom taught me.  Hopefully you won’t get sick, but hopefully you’ll still try the soup to warm your bones on these chilly nights.

Start by bringing a package of chicken breasts, one onion and about three medium celery stalks to a boil in a large pot.  For this, I buy the whole chicken breasts with skin and bones.  You remove it later but it makes for a better chicken broth.  Cover the celery, chicken and onion with enough water to be about 2 inches above the chicken.  Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the chicken cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.  If you can pull the chicken easily apart and it’s not pink inside, good job!

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Next, remove the chicken and vegetables from the broth.  Let the chicken cool down.

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You can discard of the celery and onion.  I usually like to strain the broth after it cools a bit.  You can strain it through a kitchen towel to a bowl then put it back in your pot to cook the soup.

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Cut up about three to four carrots and celery stalks.  For this, you’ll want to de-string your celery so you won’t get inedible celery strings in your soup.

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You can add more or less vegetables.  Add them to the strained chicken broth.

After after the chicken has cooled enough for you to handle, shred it into bite size pieces.  Obviously remove the skin and the bone.

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For this soup, I like to make a large pot.  I cook an egg noodle separately and add to each serving day because otherwise the noodles will get gummy and make the soup murky and thicker.  I prefer also adding salt to it to taste rather than putting it in when cooking.

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As I usually make this when I’m under the weather, it makes sense to me to not season it heavily cause taste buds most likely want something simple.  It seems to work for me and makes me feel better, however I’m sure this can be a great simple base to add more vegetables and any savory seasoning that you like to change it up.

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Hope y’all stay well through 2015!  Let’s all plan to have a healthy and happy New Year!

Let’s Roll!

My apologies for a lapse in the cooking and blog writing.  My family is a bit under the weather this holiday season.  I’m recovering from surgery.  I had a little cancer that had to be removed, so my doctor successfully removed my thyroid and some lymph nodes.  They say that I won’t even miss them!  It turned out to be a couple of types of cancer with one rare type called medullary.  My family and friends have been calling me an overachiever!  I’ll be just fine but have some healing to do, so I’ve been taking it easy.  Not an easy thing for me to do, but necessary.

My uncle had knee surgery, my aunt is not feeling well, my parents decided to get a bad cold…so needless to say we’re all not celebrating as usual this year.   We will all get together in the new year and have a redo on Christmas.  For now, we’re all going to focus on healing.

I learned last night that part of the healing process should include making cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve with my good friend Debi!  I unexpectedly decided to bring her lunch that afternoon and then stayed to help her make four types of cookies and cinnamon rolls.  She did most of it, but it was a great time hanging out as we listened to holiday tunes and chatted about how funny I was on drugs from the surgery.

Cinnamon rolls for her family is a holiday tradition.  The recipe comes from their church cookbook.

Disneyland Cinnamon Rolls (from Sarah Judkins)

1/2 cup warm water + 2 Tbsp. yeast (mix and set aside)

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1 (One) 3 oz. package of instant vanilla pudding mix

2 (Two) cups milk (microwaved to take the chill off)

2 (Two) tbsp. sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 (Two) eggs, slightly beaten

1 (One) tsp. salt

8 (Eight) cups flour

In a large bowl, mix the pudding with the milk.  (This pudding is going to be thicker than normal as we are not making it to the package specifications on the box)  Add butter, eggs and salt.  Mix well.  Add the yeast mixture.  Mix well.

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Gradually add flour and knead until smooth.  image

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Put in a large greased bowl.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size.  Handy tip:  warm a wet kitchen towel in the microwave.  Cover the bowl with the towel and set in the microwave.  Do not turn your microwave on!

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Punch down, cover and let rise until double in size for a second time.  The recipe calls to do this twice but we did this about four times and Debi says she usually does it more.  It can take 8 to 10 hours.  We did a faster version in about 5 hours last night.

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Roll dough on a very large floured surface to a long rectangular shape, approximately 34″x21″.  We split the dough in half to do this.  It would have rolled out to the entire surface of the table if we didn’t split it!

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Spread:  the recipe suggests the following

1(One) cup butter, melted

2 (Two) cups brown sugar

2 (Two) tbsp cinnamon

Brush on melted butter.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over top.

We did ours with a minor modification.  We mixed the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon to make a spreadable paste.

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Roll into a jelly roll.  Measure every two inches and cut.  Handy tip:  use clean dental floss to slice!

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Place in a greased pan, gently pack them so they stay together, and allow to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.  We placed our pans on top of the stove cause the oven was warm from baking cookies already.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Frost while still warm.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (One) 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 (One) tsp vanilla

3 (Three) cups powdered sugar

2 (Two) tsps milk

Mix well in a bowl until creamy and smooth.

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Hope you enjoy your holiday with family, friends and warm cinnamon rolls!