baking history :: cheater chicken soup {life}

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I was never a big Chicken Noodle Soup fan growing up. We were a Campbell's condensed soup family (Come on now, it was the 70s. No judging.), so give me Chicken and Stars any day. I remember, sometime in elementary school learning a song called "Chicken Soup with Rice" and my dad bought cans of Chicken with Rice after that. I don't know, the ratios always seemed off. Too many carrots (of cooked carrots, I am also not a fan), not enough chicken, noodles too gummy and hard to eat. No, for me, Chicken Noodle Soup never completely caught on.

However. I get it. I get that there's not much more comforting that the bland, barely spiced bowl of warmth that is this soup. Something subtle and easy on the tummy. So when we were all under our rock last week it was the first thing I thought to make us. There are a gazillion ways to make Chicken Noodle Soup and get it rich and flavorful, to elevate it to an art. Was I prepared to do that? Uh. No. Heck, even now I'm still contemplating a nap at any moment. I needed something easy, comforting, nourishing, flavorful (but not too flavorful), and did I mention easy? Here's what I came up with.

Cheater's Chicken Soup

1 Whole Rotisserie Chicken

1 chopped veggie pack: carrots, onion & celery

olive oil


chicken broth

egg noodles

fresh ground pepper

Saute´the vegetables in the olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat until soft. Of course you can chop an onion, a carrot or two and a few stalks of celery, but I was looking for maximum easy so I grabbed the pre-chopped pack that our grocery store carries. While the vegetables are sauteíng, shred some of the chicken from the rotisserie chicken. I ended up using maybe a cup and a half of both white and dark meat as well as some of the skin.

Once the vegetables are soft and just beginning to brown, deglaze the pan with some of the sherry. Add the chicken and enough broth to reach the volume of soup you desire. Bring to a slow boil. Once the soup is boiling, add the noodles and cook until just tender. Taste and adjust seasonings. With the chicken and broth, it should be plenty salty, but you may want to add more sherry and some fresh ground pepper.

Serve with warm rolls to sop up the broth. And feel better!

baking history :: humble muffin {life}

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I am trying like mad to get interesting, diverse foods on the table for breakfast ... for all of us. It's working sometimes. And in keeping with my desire to have our baked goods be actually, you know, baked here and not somewhere else, I decided to see how muffins might go over. We've never been big muffin eaters around here. In fact, I was never much of a muffin eater at all. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever made muffins for the people that live here with me now. This might explain how, when I first went to make these puppies (on National Blueberry Pancake Day, no less) and had everything assembled, I stumbled when I couldn't find my muffin tins. Luckily, I hadn't yet cracked an egg.

My neighbor Catherine came to the rescue, and the next day we were all systems go. Muffin time. I had plenty of cookbooks to scour through to find a good blueberry muffin recipe, but what I didn't have was time. Thank you, All Recipes! Quick internet searches can be hit or miss, and this one definitely hit. We had them for breakfast (or sometimes lunch, ahem), but I heard tell that those we returned to Catherine in her empty muffin tin were perhaps consumed with ice cream... However you have them, I'd venture to say they aren't so humble anymore.

From All Recipies To Die For Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Batter

1.5 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1/3 cup milk (or more)

1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 400º and line muffin tin with muffin liners. (You could skip the liners and grease your tins, but that never seems to work for me.) In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. In a one-cup measuring cup, add egg to 1/3 cup vegetable oil and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with the flour mixture and fold in the blueberries. Fill liners nearly to the top.

Cinnamon Crumble

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1 1/5 teaspoons cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and mix with a fork (or your fingers, which, quite honestly, are easier), and crumble on top of blueberry batter before baking.

Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

The original recipe calls for 8 large muffins, but because of how our family works, I knew that 12 would work better for us. My liners weren't completely full, and I reduced the cooking time just a bit. Enjoy!