Monday, November 28, 2016

Chicken Noodle Soup Revised

Struggling to make ends meet thru the last weeks before finals and Winter break? Just trying to stay warm? Limited time to cook...or no skills at all?  This recipe hits all of the cooking excuses, i.e. no money, no time, no skills to eat good food while being a college student or living on a fixed budget!

The 15 minutes you invest in making this ultimate comfort food will be the best thing you do this week to soothe your soul, warm your heart and calm your mind, and ensure you have another meal ahead. Better yet, you could share a bowl of this meal with someone else in need of company, a break, decent conversation, or a decent meal--seriously! 

My son couldn't believe how quickly I made the soup during his recent Thanksgiving break stating he didn't make soup, "because it took too long". Bah-Humbug! Excuses.

Chicken Noodle Soup Revised
(Adapted from Cooking Light Thanksgiving Edition 2016)

Large 5-quart saucepan 

2 Tbls extra-virgin Olive oil
1 1/2 cups of yellow onion, chopped
1 1/3 cups of carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
4 cups chicken stock (homemade, store-bought, or bouillons)
1 1/2 cups of water
1 Tbls white MISO (optional, but this adds so much depth)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 (9oz) bag of frozen cheese tortellini 
8 oz of skinless, rotisserie chicken, shredded
2-3 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

1. Wash your hands.
2. Prep all of your ingredients, i.e. stock, chicken, veggies as recommended. 
3. Heat 2 Tbls of oil in large saucepan over Medium heat.
4. Add onions, celery and carrots, and sauce x 8 minutes.

5. Add Miso, stock, water, and bring to a boil. 
6. Simmer for 5 minutes.

7. Add cheese tortellini x 3 minutes.
8. Add chicken

9. Serve up a mouth-watering, hunger-curing meal in a bowl. 

10. Share some with a friend.


  • No Money:
    • roast your own chicken
    • make your own stock from carcass
    • use regular pasta, i.e. rotini, farfalle, shells, penne, elbow
    • omit the meat
    • reduce cost to potentially less than $1 per serving
    • have a lot of mouths to feed on a fixed budget, this will help
  • No Waste:
    • soups are great for using vegetables on the verge of spoiling, especially for making the stock
    • use the chicken carcass, even if you bought the rotisserie to make an incredible stock by covering it with water, adding quartered onion, smashed garlic, and 2-3 roughly chopped old carrots / celery sticks, wilting parsley or other herbs, and some salt and pepper, 
  • No Equipment:
    • only need a large pot 
    • a knife
  • No Skills:
    • most grocery stores have any kind of vegetable pre-sliced--if you have money, this will be a super-cinch of a meal
    • can you stir stuff in a big pot and adjust the heat? then you can make this meal.
    • can you chop a few vegetables? then you can make this meal
    • can you eat with your hands and pull chicken off of the bone? then you can make this meal
  • No Health:
    • cut back on Sodium by using low-sodium broth and omitting salt if you have trouble with blood pressure, retaining water, or heart / kidney disease
    • adds vegetables into your life
    • filling meal if trying to lose weight
    • great way to have meat as "a side" 
Nutrition Info:
Servings: 6 (1 1/2 cups) 
Calories 281 / Fat 10.3g / Protein 22g / Carb 26g / Sodium 637mg / Fiber 5g / Sugars 5g
Cost:  $1.54-$1.80 / serving

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Chicken Rollups

College cooking doesnt get any easier than this! 
One pan--that's it...and put the whole thing in the oven! 

One pan cooking!
One pan clean-up!
One pan for everything!

Use this blog as a guide, an example if you will, to make it the first time, but then knock yourself out...the oven will be your roasting oyster! Flavors, veggies--no meal will taste or look the same, but it will take no time at all for you to make or clean up!

(Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens and Cooking Light recipes)

Cuban Chicken Rollups

Large sheet pan
Non-stick spray

6-8 boneless, thin-sliced chicken breast--pounded thinner if needed
8-10 thin slices of ham
8-10 thin slices of gouda, or shredded
Hamburger pickles, chopped
Dijon mustard
Bread Crumbs

Optional Combos:
Pickled jalapeƱos

1. Wash your hands and keep surfaces clean.
2. Preheat oven to 375-400F degrees
3. Cover chicken breasts in bread crumbs

4. Add slice of ham and thin layer of mustard.
5. Add cheese and pickles.

6. Tightly roll-up the chicken breasts and secure with a toothpick.
7. Place face-down on foiled baking sheet.

8. Surround everything with veggies--you choose!

9. Bake at 375F-400F degrees x 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

10. Rest entire sheet 5 minutes before digging in.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Grab N Go Breakfast Cups

Sorry that I have been M.I.A with my city's team--The Chicago Cubs--winning the World Series 2016 and putting The Curse of the Goat to rest after 108 year drought! Some things take priority!  

That said, I certainly did not miss noticing a few fantastic recipes for those of us always on the go and rushing to our next all-night celebrations! Nothing worse than waking up late for work, or class (as it was for 5 million Cubs fans the morning after);and, fending for food with your eyes glazed over and a pounding headache. 


Was it worth every moment of stress? Of course it was--but the next day could have been so much better with a few of these incredible Grab and Go Breakfast Cups in my fridge...we could have headed to work, or class, tired but satisfied.

No worries! The 2016 Presidential Election is tomorrow--this might be as good of a time to prep as any given the late night most of us will have this week! 

Keep these simple mini-meals for 3-5 days in your fridge (20 second microwave) or freeze them up to 3 months instead (30 second microwave)!  

(Adapted from Better Homes & Garden One Pan Recipes magazine recipe 'Upside Down Waffle and Egg Cups')

Grab 'N Go Breakfast Cups

One 12-muffin cups baking sheet
PAM Spray

12 Frozen Mini-Waffles, toasted
Maple syrup

6 eggs, lightly beaten (I used egg whites for 1-2 eggs)
3 Tbls milk
2 Tbls parmesan (optional)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

11/2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6-8 Sausage Breakfast links, seared and sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced

1. Wash your hands.
2. Preheat oven to 375F degrees
3. Spray muffin cups with PAM, toast waffles and sear sausages.

4. Place a single mini-waffle in the bottom of each muffin cup.
5. Divide the shredded cheese across all 12 muffin tins.
6. Add sausage and green onions.

7. Lightly beat eggs, parmesan, salt and pepper, and fill each muffin tin 75% to rim.

8. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
9. Allow to cool before removing from tin and drizzling with maple syrup...or not!

9. Of note, the mini-waffles tend to get absorbed into the egg mixture, and really are not visible once the muffins are, I stuck one on top just before eating to demonstrate what should have happened!

 10. These were gone in 24 hours. The next morning, and 20 seconds later, my stomach was happy out the door!