Because of the weather and the flu, this is definitely the season for soup. Soups are easy, as well as nourishing. All you need is the right broth and you can add just about anything to it. While stews are hearty and bring snowy winter cabins to mind, soups are soothing and make me smile inside.
Recipe of the Week: Barley and Chicken Soup
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes (or 1/2 c. leftover chicken stock)
2 small golden potatoes and 2 small red potatoes, cubed unpeeled
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 c. cubed leftover chicken (or turkey or both)
1/3 c. barley
1/4 c. wild rice
1/2 tsp. each sea salt and ground pepper
1 tbs. Mrs Dash’s Garlic & Herb seasoning
2 tbs. dried basil
2/3 c. frozen mixed vegetables
1. In dutch oven put broth, water, and cubes. Turn burner on medium heat.
2. Add potatoes, onion, celery, barley, rice, and seasonings, except for the basil. Stir, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. If liquid level is below halfway point, add more water and broth to bring it back up. Add chicken, frozen vegetables, and basil. Lower heat to med. low, taste broth and add more seasonings if necessary, cover, and cook another 15 minutes. Serve with crackers or bread.
Alternatives: a)If you don’t have any leftover chicken or turkey, cook four skinless/boneless chicken thighs in water, 30 minutes if thawed/40 minutes if frozen. Remove them from pot, let them cool before cubing them and removing any remaining soft, fatty stuff. Add broth and bouillon to water, and complete steps 2 and 3. Or b) go meatless and use vegetable broth and bouillon.
Thought of the Week: Tax season…Ugh! As if having to file a tax return isn’t bad enough, we are exposed to nearly four months (almost 1/3 of the year) of repetitive tax return commercials. As soon as the new year’s celebrations are over, the advertising begins. These redundant ads for tax return assistance are worse than political ads; they are on almost every channel morning, noon, and night. Although I’m glad so many nice people want to help everyone with their tax forms, most of us already know about these companies, as well as about the DIY software programs – we have seen their commercials year after year after year. They stress me out more than doing the tax return does, because I don’t need to be reminded about our annual federal obligation over and over again.