Healthier Creamy Wild Rice Chicken Soup

IMG_2140 Has anyone ever made a whole recipe just because of one ingredient? I do that all the time, even when it seems impractical or counterproductive. I made this delicious, creamy hearty wild rice and chicken soup for two reasons:

  1. it’s freaking delicious
  2. because I had a container of sour cream

Seems silly just for sour cream, but I had all the other ingredients and a lot of free time. I loosely followed this Cream of Turkey & Wild Rice Soup from Eating WellIMG_2130Step 1. First things first, let’s cook the wild rice. This will take almost 40 minutes, so best to let it cook while we put everything else together. Prepare the rice as the package instructs. You will need about 1 – 1 1/2 cup cooked wild rice. I never realized how expensive wild rice was until I bought it for the first time I made this recipe. The bag I bought was about $12. Yikes! Definitely a grocery splurge. But so worth it if you consider that wild rice tastes great and has a nutty flavor but fills you up with lots of fiber and essential minerals like zinc and folate.

Step 2. You will need:

  • a small pot
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoon
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots (I had to make due with baby carrots and extra shredded carrots)

IMG_2131Heat up the olive oil over medium heat in the pot. Add in all the vegetables and cook until softened, for about 5 minutes. IMG_2132Step 2. You will need:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • pepper

Add in the flour and coat the cooked vegetables until browned. Sprinkle salt and pepper in for flavor. Cook everything for about 2 minutes. IMG_2133Step 3. Add in:

  • 32 oz of reduced sodium chicken broth (4 cups)

Bring the broth to boil and lower the heat to simmer. IMG_2134Step 4. Add in:

  • 3 cups of shredded chicken (or turkey if you’d like)
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat or fat-free sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or dried parsley

Add in the chicken and stir. IMG_2136Step 5. Add in the sour cream and parsley and stir until all ingredients are combined.       Once the soup is heated through, lower the heat enough to just keep the pot warm. Your wild rice should be done soon. Once the rice is ready, add 1 to 1 1/2 cups to the soup and mix well. IMG_2139

IMG_2141Just in time for a rainy day (on the third day of summer, of course, Seattle!)…that’s okay, I got my Netflix and a bowl of this yummy warm soup!

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Zuppa Toscana

I know eating at Olive Garden is not the coolest place to say you’ve eaten at, but I am absolutely in love with their Zuppa Toscana soup. It’s a creamy soup with collared greens, chunks of spicy Italian sausage, and slices of potato. I wanted to see if I could make it at home.

Yesterday night was perfect for some warm, rich soup…I live in the Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco, which doesn’t always live up to its name as you can see from the picture below. It was so cold and foggy before it even got dark!

View from my backyard

View from my backyard

I scoured the web for a homemade version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana and decided to try Cycle Michael’s Copycat from Food.com.

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I quickly found out that the instructions from this recipe was not the best. Just a heads up, you do need a big soup pot (like the one in the photo) and a smaller one for later.

Start by browning the Italian sausage in the pot, I added a few slivers a butter so that the meat wouldn’t stick or burn. I bought Sweet Italian Pork Sausage from Trader Joe’s but I think spicy sausage would have been great and similar to the restaurant version. In retrospect I would have cut the sausage into smaller pieces.

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Next add the chicken broth and water.

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In a separate pot you want to cook your potatoes, minced garlic, and onion slices until the potatoes are soft. I actually cut the potato into thin slices instead of chunks because they cook faster and you won’t get a spoonful of potato later.

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When ready add the small pot ingredients into the big soup pot. I also added turkey bacon that was baked in the toaster oven earlier. Sprinkle in salt and pepper and let it all simmer together to let the flavors really meld.

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Lastly, the finally ingredients: turn to low heat and add kale first because it needs to cook longer to get soft or else uncooked kale is pretty tough to chew and tastes bitter. Slowly pour in the heavy whipping cream and heat thoroughly without it simmering or boiling.

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The final product! It smelled really good and tasted amazingly similar to Olive Garden’s version, just a little more watery. I am assuming the restaurant likes to add more cream to make it richer, but I prefer to keep this healthier.

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Now if only I could make their famous breadsticks at home!

Soup + Cheddar Biscuits Lunch

I am known to only bake at night, but on this nice lazy Sunday I manage to try some new recipes while the sun is still out!

When I make something, it’s usually brought about by a “recipe of opportunity” as I like to call it. I rarely actually have something in mind I want to make. It’s not “oh I want to make *this* I will go by the specific ingredients” it’s usually more like, “oh I have some  _______ left over, what can I make with this?” and this is where Allrecipes.com‘s ingredient search flies in to the rescue.

I had some buttermilk left over from my Zombie Cupcake recipe and some celery, broccoli, and potatoes I got from work (Poor social worker….don’t judge me.)

Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

Ready..set…go!

adding buttermilk to the dry mix

being the kitchen noob that I am I had no idea what a “biscuit cutter” is…I used a knife- it worked.

This was a easy, quick recipe- with simple ingredients you can find at home, the only thing I needed to buy was the sharp cheddar cheese. I did omit the cayenne pepper because I did not have any on hand.

Fluffy cheddar biscuits!

This was my first try making savory biscuits and they turned out quite tasty, I lost track of how many I was nibbling on while I was making the soup!

I actually find cooking a lot more challenging than baking sweets, but I’ve eased into the cooking realm with soups and chili. Finding a decent recipe for celery was surprisingly hard. What the hell do you do with celery (besides eat it raw with peanut butter?!)

Peanut Butter Vegetable Chicken Soup 

This was a great healthy recipe with loads of every kind of veggie you can think of and no need to add butter or oil! The peanut butter gives it a southeast/Thai-style flavor, slightly sweet and nutty.

Round 2! (Yes that is my laptop sitting on top of the toaster oven.)

veggies galore!

the final product

Soup + Biscuits = delicious light lunch