Tag Archives: chicken soup

An A+ Soup with Chinese Noodles (chicken, spinach, lime) – Serves 8

I got home at 7pm last night and we were eating this soup in 45 minutes (granted I worked in the kitchen like a speed demon!). This was another case of knowing I would be home late but not wanted to waste money ordering out (not to mention the food wouldn’t be as good and all of that paper and plastic waste from containers, utensils and napkins!).

A+ Soup

A+ Soup

This is an amazing meal and satisfies all kinds of hunger, from the person who wants lots of food to the person who has a longing for something restorative and healing (like my daughter who was getting over a tummy bug).

A few ingredients made this dish stand out for me: lime juice, thin vegetable-laden broth and the addition of fresh Chinese-Style noodles (below).

These Chinese Style Noodles worked great with this soup

These Chinese Style Noodles worked great with this soup

I try my best to keep fresh wonton skins, egg-roll wrappers or these noodles in my fridge. They can be found in the cold fridge in the veggie section of most supermarkets. They are fresh, floury, light, and delicious for all kinds of dishes. They have an expiration date so I always grab a packet from the back with the longest expiry date. Last night they were the perfect thing to bolster the thin broth.

If you decide to make this, and have some leftover, keep the noodles in a container separate from the soup and add to the reheated soup cold, (the residual heat will warm them up nicely). At least that is what my plan is for lunch today!

Just wanted to show you more of what is growing in my garden at the monent: lovely chives

Just wanted to show you more of what is growing in my garden at the moment: lovely chives (they would also make a great garnish for this soup)

* This is a very good Blood Type A Diet recipe. if you are very strict or a sensitive “A” omit the cayenne pepper flakes*

You will need:

3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb chicken breast, very thinly sliced

1 medium onion (sweet or yellow)

2 celery ribs, including leaves, diced

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 sprig fresh rosemary (left whole)

1 cup shredded or matchstick carrots

1 bunch scallions, including green part (green onions), sliced

10 or so medium shiitake mushrooms, caps thinly sliced

4 cups baby spinach leaves (or regular spinach – chopped)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes

10 cups veggie or chicken broth (or 12 good quality bouillon cube and water)

juice of 1 lime (or about 3 tbs)

sea-salt to taste


1 – Put large soup pot on medium heat and add the oil. when it has warmed, add the onions, garlic and celery and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pepper flakes.

Saute onions and celery, add chili flakes

Saute onions and celery, add chili flakes

2 – Add the carrots and rosemary and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.

Add carrots and rosemary

Add carrots and rosemary

3 – Next add the sliced mushrooms and scallions and continue to cook for another 3 or so minutes.

add mushrooms and scallions

Add mushrooms and scallions

4 – Add the broth (or water and bouillon cube) and turn heat to high. When the liquid comes to a boil, add the chicken and stir.

add liquid, then chicken

Add liquid, then chicken

5 – Add the spinach leaves (or chopped spinach) and bring back to a boil. When it begins to boil, turn the heat down and bring soup to a slight simmer. Cover with lid and simmer for about 12 minutes. Turn heat off and add the lime juice. Taste for addition of salt or pepper. Stir and replace lid. Let the soup sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Add spinach

Add spinach

6 – While the soup is sitting put a big pot of water on to boil (boils faster with a lid!) and when it is boiling cook fresh noodles according to instructions. Drain and rinse well with cold water and set aside.

*this brand says it takes 3 minutes to cook, but I found they were cooked in 2 minutes. I’d advise checking the noodles earlier than the cooking time stated in the instructions*

Put some noodles into bottom of bowl

Put some noodles into bottom of bowl

To serve, place a portion of noodles in the bottom of a soup bowl (as much or as little as you like) and ladle the soup over them.

Add Soup

Add Soup

Some of us add a swirl of sriracha sauce to the soup which gave it an additional bite of heat.

Add hot sauce if you like (we like Sriracha Sauce)

Add hot sauce if you like (we like Sriracha Sauce)

Very Handy Chicken & Escarole Soup (serves 4-6)

If you only have 1 measly piece of chicken breast in your fridge, as I had last night, along with a 1/2 head of escarole and enough pastina (tiny pasta) to almost fill a 1/2 cup measure, then this is the dinner for you!

Very Handy Chicken & Escarole Soup

Soup has an uncanny knack of pretending to be more than it is, and frankly puts the Loaves & Fishes parable to shame. I can’t admit to being very “holy” but the parable of the Loaves & Fishes always intrigued me: I just think it should have been soup, far more believable.

If you don’t believe in miracles, invite 6 people over and make this soup. You may need a loaf of bread to go along with it.

*This is a Blood Type A Diet Friendly Recipe, (Neutral & Beneficial ingredients used)*


You will need:

3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 good quality veggie or chicken bouillon cube (I use Rapunzel brand with herbs)

1 chicken breast, sliced into small bite-sized pieces

1 med/large sweet onion, medium dice

3 very large white mushroom, thinly sliced (if you use small mushrooms: double the amount)

1/2 head of escarole, chopped (4 to 5 cups chopped)

1/2 cup pastina (very tiny pasta granules. I used baby pasta stars by Barilla)

7 cups water

1 tbs mild curry powder (I used madras)

1 tsp coarse sea-salt

several grinds black pepper


1 – Prep all veggies and chop chicken.

prep all ingredients before getting started

2 – Put med/large soup pot on medium heat and add oil. When it warms, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.

Saute onions

3 – Add mushrooms and continue to cook for another 8 or so minutes. The mushrooms and onions will become soft and sweet.

add mushrooms

4 – Add the curry powder and mix. Add the stock cube and cook until dissolved.

add curry & stock cube

5 – Add the water and escarole and bring to the boil. Add salt and several grinds of pepper.

add liquid and escarole

6 – Turn up the heat and add the chicken. When liquid comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Do not let boil.

Next, the chicken

7 – Add pasta and cover. Cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let soup sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Then pastina

Serve with lots of crusty bread (and wine!). You can garnish with more pepper and even a hot sauce of your choice.

chow time

Very Italian Chicken Soup (Serves 4)

When I say this is “very Italian” many honest-to-goodness Italians might be rolling their eyes.  Forgive me, but I can explain.

Good Spoonful

I have never come across such industrious soup makes in my life! On every menu I have read since arriving in this fair land, there are at least 6 soups to choose from. There is always Ribollita, whose main ingredients are stale bread, cabbage and beans. There is also a local take on minestrone, as well as a farro and spelt soup, to name but a few.

the ingredient that dressed up my soup

It is no wonder I felt compelled to make soup last night for dinner. I went to the vegetable stand and was baffled with choices. I wanted a bit of everything, so, I ended up buying a bit of everything! The one great purchase was a bunch of tiny little mushrooms called Agrocybe Aegerita, (commonly know as poplar or velvet mushrooms. They grow in tight clusters). They had dark brown caps and looked like they were picked by fairies (seriously!)

last night's sunset in Cortona

Having become so inspired by all the wonderful soups I had tasted over the past few weeks, I decided to try my hand at a very rustic, all-in-one sort of soup. I had some cooked, basmati rice leftover from a previous meal, and knew I could dump it in last-minute to round out the dish and make it more dinner-y.

It was delightful in every way, and the kids couldn’t get enough of those cute little mushrooms.  I may have created a culinary monster, as I was asked to make soup again tomorrow….hmmm.


You will need: 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 2 chicken breast fillets, chopped into bite-sized pieces, 1 large onion, diced, 1 large celery rib, including leaves, chopped, 1 large carrot, sliced, 1 bunch swiss chard, leaves chopped roughly (about 6 cups), 1 zucchini, chopped into thick match sticks, 1 small red pepper, diced, 2 cups tiny mushrooms, OR 2 cups crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced, 1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes, 1 tbs tomato puree concentrate, 1 good quality chicken or vegetarian bouillon cube, 8 cups water, 3 cups cooked basmati rice, sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

1 – Prep all ingredients before you begin the actual cooking.

saute veggies in stages

2 – Add the oil to large soup pot and place on medium heat. Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook for 5 minutes.

continue to add veggies and saute

3 – Add the peppers and mushrooms and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, before adding the zucchini. Cook for another 3 minutes or so.

add liquid and chicken

4 – Add the liquid and cayenne pepper flakes, and bring it to a boil.

5 – Add the chicken, tomato puree, and chard, and bring back to a boil. Turn down to low, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add rice and cook until rice warms (about 3 minutes). Turn off heat and let sit on stove top for about 5 minutes before serving.

serve with Parmigiano Reggiano or pecorino cheese (if you like)

Serve in shallow soup bowls as is, or with some grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Crusty bread is also a nice addition.

Chicken with Leeks (serves 6-8) Also, My Reality Check

The challenge in my new kitchen was arriving without any of my trusty kitchen tools, you know… pots, pans, that special spoon, etc etc.

Lovely Chicken with Leeks

 Well, that is not entirely true. When we were trying to figure out how to pack for 4 months away from home, (which incidentally involved travelling around for about 3 weeks before we finally settled in our apartment in Cortona), I insisted on packing my giant, All Clad pan! I couldn’t envision my future with out! My man Dave rolled his eyes and shook his head as I strategically shoved it into my suitcase, arguing that it was the ideal pace to store my socks and underwear.

Off to Cortona!

I should also mention that after the pan was safely installed, I shoved in another small pan, my favorite tongs, a good knife, a champagne stopper, a bottle of sriracha sauce, a can of chipotle peppers, Maldon salt, tea, 32 vegetarian bouillon cubes, a can of curry powder, a container of pure maple syrup, a stack of cooking magazines and my favorite Mario Batali cookbook.

Our trek to our apartment (interesting in the snow)

Yes, I am slightly nuts, but I accepted that, years ago.

Things turned out a little differently than I had hoped. I only remembered when I got to Ireland and saw my sister’s oven how much smaller a standard oven is in Europe. My pan looked ridiculously big on the stove top and was far too monstrous for the oven! I had carried a pan over three thousand miles, only to leave it in Ireland, to be picked up on the way home.

The city wall in Cortona

My decision not to haul the pan to Italy was the only sensible one I made. As I suspected, the oven and stove top were smaller and I would have to be content with what was provided. As I searched through the cabinets I was relieved to find several good-sized pots, however, the frying/sauté pan was a dingy non-stick affair with the “non-stick’ bits coming off. There was no pan that could be used as a casserole for the oven, not even a ceramic or glass baking pan; this would be a challenge.


Then I had a revelation, or more like a “kick in the behind” moment. Who did I think I was ??? I grew up in Ireland with no running water in the house, a solid fuel stove, and very limited pots and pans. Now, here I was, all high and mighty, and whining about my lovely new kitchen in the most beautiful town in the world!

This little Fiat zipped through the snow!

 I got a grip of myself and proceeded to turn out this amazing little dish using an old saucepan, with a lid from an enamel pot that had probably been thrown out years ago. I decided to use the saucepan like a casserole pot and cooked this chicken dish in the oven.  The leeks from the local vegetable stall, along with chicken from a few miles away tasted so delicious, I have a feeling that cooking with less than perfect equipment will not hinder the flavors in any way.


Chicken With Leeks

You will Need: 3 chicken legs, 2 chicken breast fillets, 3 leeks, halved & sliced (white parts and into a little of the green), 3 carrots, sliced, 3 celery ribs, sliced (including leaves), 1 sprig fresh rosemary, 1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes, 2 tsp mild curry powder (optional), 2 cups white wine, 3 cups chicken broth (or 3 cups water, 1 good quality veggie or chicken bouillon cube), 4 cups cooked rice.

Preheat oven 350*

*If you would like rice, cook it before you do anything else. (you can also omit the rice and serve with some crusty bread)

for Chicken with Leeks

1 – Prep all veggies and place in the bottom of a big oven-proof pot or casserole (which has a lid). Add the herbs and curry powder (if using)

Place meat on top of leeks

2 – Pour in the wine and broth and place the chicken pieces on top, tucking the breast under the legs (keeps them moist). Season with some sea salt and pepper. Cover with lid and place in oven for 2 hours.

Remove from oven and remove meat

3 – Take chicken out of the pot and slice breast and take meat off of legs.

Chicken with Leeks

To serve, add some rice to shallow bowls and give you diners a bit of each meat *(or in my case, breast to son, leg meat to daughter!), followed by some generous ladles of broth and cooked veggies. Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper flakes (if you like), and you are ready to chow down!