Kelsey asked for a couple recipes of the food that she was able to choke down when she lived here. First one is the Tuscan Chicken Soup. It’s pretty good, if I do say so myself. Oddly enough, I think it’s an old Weight Watchers recipe. I got it from a friend at work. He said he often makes it for guests and that they always like it. In fact, I just made it a couple days ago, and there’s a bowl or 2 left over in the fridge right now. Yum.
Tuscan Chicken Soup
- olive oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 Cup chopped onion
- 1 pound ground chicken
- about 3 14.5oz cans of chicken broth
- 1/2 Cup uncooked orzo
- 1 – 14.5oz can of stewed tomatoes (chop up the tomatoes, but keep the liquid and add to soup)
- 1 – 16oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp black pepper (fresh ground is best)
- 1 – 6oz package of fresh baby spinach
- shredded Parmesan cheese
- Cook garlic and onion in oil about 5 mins until tender. I ususally cook the onion for a couple minutes, then throw in the garlic Add chicken and cook about 5 more minutes and crumble the chicken as it cooks
- Add the broth and the next 6 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer about 20 minutes until orzo is done.
- Stir in the bag o’ spinach until the spinach wilts, about 2-3 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls, and top with cheese. Eat the soup.
Chili is one of those “make it up as you go along” kind of recipes. The basic recipe is a chopped onion and a few minced cloves of garlic cooked in oil until they start to soften. You can also add some chopped green pepper and/or jalapenos if you like that kind of thing.
Add about 2 pounds of ground beef and cook until it’s no longer red, breaking it up as it cooks. You can also use ground turkey, or rough chopped chuck for chili, or a combination if you want.
Then add a large 29oz can of crushed tomatoes, and four 14.5 oz cans of small red beans or kidney beans or whatever beans you like. I usually dump in a 12 oz can of V8 juice and/or a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes because it usually needs more liquid and I like tomatoes.
You need to put in about 3 tablespoons of chili powder to start, and some cumin is nice, about a tablespoon. Add some pepper, maybe a teaspoon or so. Be careful with salt. It’s easy to over-salt. I’d put in just a little, maybe a teaspoon or so, then add small amounts as it cooks if you think it needs more. Remember, you can always add a little salt, but you can’t take it out once it’s in there. Taste it as it cooks and add chili powder or whatever you think it needs more of or what would be good. It will need more chili powder. Worcestershire sauce is good in chili, as is some liquid smoke, if you like liquid smoke.
Let it simmer over low heat until the beans are the correct degree of softness and it thickens up a bit. Put in bowls and if you want, add cheese, sour cream, chopped onions, cornbread or crackers on the side, whatever. Eat the chili.
Ron is a Managing Attorney at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and a graduate of Michigan State University (Go Sparty!). He has lived in Virginia since 1983 with his Wife Brenda, Children Don, Brian, Gabe, and Amanda, and an assortment of dogs and cats.