Inevitably, I came down with a cold once the weather shifted. Autumn breezes turned into winter gusts of wind, often accompanied by slushy half-frozen rain. The days became shorter and darkness fell sooner than I was ready for. In fact, I am not yet ready at all for the coming months of frigid slush and wind tunnels, but I am optimistic enough to keep in mind that I have many things to look forward to as well.
One of the many comforts of winter is the arrival of soup season! Even though I make soup all year round, I much prefer the heartier varieties that I get to make come wintertime. I always experiment with new combinations, but when the time calls for it I always fall back on the classic favorite of soups- chicken noodle. My mom makes the absolute best chicken noodle soup and I don’t care who says otherwise. Feel free to challenge her because you will lose. I like her technique not only because it is very flavorful, but also because she always makes it in a “made-to-order” fashion. Every time we have rotisserie chicken for dinner, I know that within the next few days my mom will throw all of the saved up bones into a pot of water with other seasonings and let it boil down for hours. I can’t think of anything that makes me feel more nostalgic than tasting this soup and remembering back to how our family members could be in any room of the house and still smell the aroma of chicken broth wafting out from the kitchen. Once the broth was ready, my mom would lay out big pots of pasta, peas, and chicken pieces. We would then all go down the line and add as much of each ingredient that we wanted into our own bowls. I loved this because everyone likes their soup a little different. Me- I like it full of goods- lots of pasta and peas to accompany the flavorful, herb-infused broth. Throw in a dash of Maggi at the end and its perfect.
People really don’t realize how lucky they are to have someone take care of them when they’re ill as children. Now that I am in college, I have a routine for when I get sick. No matter how horrible or fatigued I feel, I throw on my onsie pajamas and devote the few hours necessary to cook up my moms chicken noodle soup recipe, no short-cuts allowed. I curl up on the couch with a steaming bowl of soup and pop When Harry Met Sally into the DVD player. Who needs medication when I have that foolproof cure?
P.S. sorry but the recipe is top secret!
This is my go-to stressed out meal of choice. I know it is sort of odd, but macaroni salad has been a comfort food for me since I was a little girl. I remember when I was hitting pre-teen age I got my first cook book, of course it was called something like “The Teen Cook Book”. Even though it was cheesy it had the best recipes! I’m sure I still have it lying around the house somewhere. Anyway, the tuna macaroni salad really stayed with me throughout my whole life as something delicious and comforting during hard times. I remember making it when I was still pretty little and my step grandpa Opa tried it. He thought it was great! Surprisingly, this meal and Opa’s reaction was one of the first confidence boosters that I ever got in the kitchen. This last final exam period was exceptionally hard on me, and luckily the ingredients required for this recipe are very inexpensive so that’s an added plus.
I actually wrote a short blog about this dish during the fall semester final exam period, however that story was about a disaster experience! Luckily this particular concoction turned out fine without any pepper-mill mishaps.
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- White Tuna
- Corn (not normal for my recipe but I had it on hand and figured why not)
- Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
My dad recently moved to Minneapolis for a few months to try out a new job. He rented out a cozy but slightly sparse apartment so in consequence I had the idea to help him out by making a few frozen meals! I only had a few weeks on break in the twin cities so I couldn’t leave him high and dry with nothing to eat after I left! (not to demean his ability to fend for himself, I had to get my skills from someone) I decided to make him a few different soups and freeze them so he could heat up portions whenever he wanted a snack or an easy meal. I somehow had the crazy idea that I could make all these soups at once…which I did successfully! I felt like a chef running around a hectic crazy kitchen, there were so many things to do at once! My step sister Emily enlisted herself as a soux chef, which I am grateful for. We had a great time! I hadn’t seen Emily in a few months since we were going to different schools in different parts of the country so it was really nice to catch up while we prepped ingredients and chopped veggies.
The soups listed above are from left to right: Ham Potato and Leek soup, Vegan Chili, and Curry Lentil soup. I also made a really flavorful chicken noodle soup with peas but it is not shown here. The vegan chili and curry lentil soups are ones I have done before but the Ham soup was a new attempt for me! I think that one turned out to be my favorite of the batches because of the fact that I haven’t made it before and that it ended up being so tasty! I made it because we had a gigantic glazed ham for our christmas dinner and then subsequently had pounds and pounds of leftover ham meat that we never could have finished! I made the soup by first boiling the large ham bone with some leeks, and bay leaves for about two hours to get all the flavors into the water. I then continued making the soup by adding lots of other onions, assorted beans, potatoes, seasonings, and not to forget many large hunks of delicious ham. It was funny to make my family try every soup once I finished. They really haven’t tried a whole lot of my cooking because I have really mostly gotten into it since I have been away at school so it was interesting to see how surprised they were at how good all my cooking was. I made the family line up and try each soup, every person seemed to have a different favorite. I kept some for us then packaged the rest up and brought it over to my dad!! He later texted me saying that he was at a Au Bon Pain and saw their ham soup. He said that their version was watery in comparison and had only a few peas and some fatty ham. He loved mine because it was very hearty and had lots of good quality meat in it. What a success.
- Ham Bone
- Bay Leaves
- Navy Beans
- Salt and Pepper
Mmmm, honestly, describing the soup here and now makes me crave another bowl! What to do…