Easy chicken vegetable soup

Here is an easy soup I made twice this past week, and one that is real easy–chicken vegetable soup. Here is a general list of what you’ll need:

Olive oil or vegetable oil
1-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 carton chicken broth
assorted vegetables such as onion, carrot, celery, cabbage, green beans (whatever you have on hand)
assorted frozen vegetables such as corn, optional
noodles or pasta
Salt, pepper, and dried herbs

Grab a large soup pot and pour in about 2 tablespoons of oil. Heat on medium heat for a minute or two, and meanwhile cut the chicken into small pieces. Put chicken in pot and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then stir very few minutes. Meanwhile, chop your vegetables (maybe 2 cups total), and add to the pot. Sprinkle more salt and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes, then add frozen corn and other frozen vegetables if using (1/2 to 1 more cup total), and chicken broth. Add another 1-2 cups water, noodles or pasta (about 3/4 cup dry), a bit more salt and pepper, and herbs such as Italian seasoning, oregano or basil (just a teaspoon or so). Stir and cook for about 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Serves 3-4.


Pizza omelet

Yeah, you read that right. But I’m not talking about cracking eggs in a pan with tomatoes and mozzarella. I’m talking about the way I did it this past weekend–with bits of leftover pizza folded into an omelet. Something about it is very primitive, very college, very hangover. But mostly, it was delicious. Just ask my wife.

It started with some leftover pizza we had in the fridge. I used homemade pizza, like the one I posted here last month. But you can use any pizza you have left over from the night before.

Take out 2-3 large eggs. Heat the pizza (1 large or two small slices) for 30 seconds in the microwave or 5 minutes in the toaster oven at 350 degrees, just to warm it a bit. Cut the crusts off, then cut the pizza into bite size cubes. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Crack the eggs into a bowl with a splash of milk or water, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Pour the eggs into the pan, and swish the pan a bit to let the eggs cook and set evenly. When the egg is almost set, sprinkle with the pizza bits.

When the egg is almost entirely set, fold over half and cook for 30 seconds. Flip the omelet and cook for another 30 seconds. Slide onto a plate and cut in half. Serves two hungry and/or hung over people.

Bonus–try it with a Bloody Mary, like the one I posted here.


A Can a week: Chef Boyardee Overstuffed Beef Ravioli

Chef JimThere is something innately comforting to me about Chef Boyardee products. I grew up eating them on cold winter days when I was a kid, and in particular was thrilled when my mom taught me how to open a can and heat it on the stove. I mean, it wasn’t like I was learning to cook, but it’s liberating to a kid knowing that he can heat up his own lunch (I’m dating myself here, but we didn’t own a microwave until the mid-’80s.

Anyway, Beef-a-roni is still awesome, and so are the raviolis and standard spaghetti and meatballs. But the one small drawback to some of these items is the lack of meat. Enter the Overstuffed Beef Ravioli. I mean, it’s not exactly premium beef here–I’m guessing it’s akin to ground chuck and/or the kind of ground meat used at Taco Bell. And it has fillers in it, but so do standard meatballs or the filling in your typical ravioli.

But I digress. The Overstuffed Beef Ravioli is delicious, and it really does have 25% more meat as promised, and it seems like even more than that. It’s also nice that it is doused in a rich meat sauce as well. Yum. And Chef Boyardee’s tomato sauce is really tasty, and always has been. For you guys who need some quick meals to have on hand and do not have time to make something from scratch or even from a box, you should keep a few cans of this meaty pasta in your pantry.

One word of advice though–one can equals two servings, and that equals 500 calories. If you are not watching your waistline (and I’m guessing most of you that are reading this are not), and you like meat, this is some good stuff right here. You done well, Chef!


Product review: Blue Bunny Birthday Party ice cream sandwiches

Yeah, I know. This is a kid’s product. And I bought these for our 4-year old. But being a sucker for new products, especially any kind of snack food, I had to try them. I mean, I want to make sure my kid isn’t eating something that doesn’t taste good, right?

Anyway, I had no intention of reviewing this product, but these ice cream sandwiches are so good that I couldn’t help but pimp them. We’re talking birthday cake flavored ice cream (what a great invention that is!) with confetti sprinkles and blue icing swirl, between two vanilla cookies (rather than the standard chocolate). Being that I don’t want to be 400 pounds and also that I need to save some for the kid, I think I will cease eating any more of these. But trust me, I could eat the whole box in one sitting. Okay, maybe half the box, but still….

So if you see these Blue Bunny gems in your freezer, go for it…..just beware of how much you will love them.


A can a week: Swanson Chicken & Dumplings

Chef JimA can a week is back! We hope to bring this feature each week, since grocery store shelves are lined with the stuff…canned food, that is. Anyway, this week we tried Swanson Chicken & Dumplings. It’s not soup, but rather chunks of chicken and small dumplings in a rich chicken gravy.

The pros–very tasty and satisfying, especially on a cold day like today; quality chicken meat and nicely made dumplings; perfectly seasoned
The cons–a bit thin, and if I would have known, I could have tried it over noodles or rice; the chicken chunks were small; and I would have liked some carrots, peas or celery in addition to the chicken and the dumplings.

But overall this is a winning can of food, and as I said a very satisfying cold weather lunch.


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