Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

I didn’t really have much appreciation for homemade chicken noodle soup, until my niece, Lindsie, asked me to make it for her wedding.  I don’t know what changed, but ever since then it has been one of my favorite soups to make, maybe because it reminds me of her and that special day.  Now, there’s nothing more comforting to me than a big, steaming bowl, freshly made from (mostly) scratch. 
For convenience sake, I’ve opted to use canned broth and a hot & ready rotisserie chicken from the grocer.  Rotisserie chickens also (generally) happen to be cheaper than buying a whole, fresh chicken, so not only are you saving time, you’re saving money.  Of course, you can roast your own chicken and make your own chicken stock, but that’s another recipe in itself.  ~Joanie

Ingredients:

4 cans of chicken or vegetable broth
5 or 6 sprigs EACH of fresh rosemary, sage, & thyme, OR 1 pack fresh Poultry Medley herbs (usually found in your grocer’s refrigerated produce section.)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
4 large carrots, chopped
3 large stalks of celery, chopped
1 whole rotisserie chicken, or 1 lb cooked chicken of your choice
8 oz Egg Noodles
Salt & Pepper
Large stock pot

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Directions:
In a large stock pot, add broth and herbs.  Let herbs simmer on med heat for about 20 minutes or until they’re limp and have given up their flavor.  Fish out the herbs and discard.

Add onion and garlic and salt.  Let simmer while you chop carrots and celery.  Add remaining vegetables and turn heat to low.

Next, deconstruct your chicken.  Start by removing the breast meat, then the legs & thighs and last, the wings and any remaining meat sticking to the bones.  Don’t let any go to waste!  Chop up any large pieces and add all meat to the pot.  Add meat to the stock pot.  (Save the bones and skin for making chicken stock.)   

In a separate pot, cook egg noodles using package directions, until texture is al dente (slightly firm).  Add cooked noodles to the soup.  If needed, add salt/pepper to taste and garnish with chopped green onions.  Serve immediately and enjoy.

**This soup freezes really well and is perfect for lunch on the go!

Lemon Pound Cake Pops

For this blog post, I made the cake pops using my Lemon Pound Cake recipe, but you can use pretty much any type of cake/frosting combo to create these delectable treats. They are a bit time consuming, but the end result is worth it. Be creative and have fun!  ~Joanie

Ingredients:
(Makes about 24 pops)

1 recipe of Lemon Pound Cake (baked and cooled)

Frosting (used as a binder):
½ Stick Butter, softened
Juice of ½ Lemon
1 ½ Cups confectioners sugar (approx)
2 Tbs milk (you may need more or less, depending on consistency)

Miscellaneous Necessities
:
2-4 Cups Candy coating (wafers), OR white chips, OR chocolate chips
1 Tbs vegetable oil per 1 cup of candy coating
24 Cake pop sticks
Parchment Paper
Optional:  Sprinkles, nuts, 2nd color of candy or chocolate coating

Directions:

Start by crumbling the cake into fine crumbs.  You can do this by hand, or by using a food processor on pulse.  Set aside.

Next, mix your frosting.  Beat the butter with an electric mixer for a few minutes on medium speed.  Gradually add confectioners sugar, mix until well incorporated.  Stir in the lemon juice and mix well, then add the milk.  Beat for about 3 minutes on medium speed.  Check your consistency, add confectioners sugar if too thin, or milk if too thick, 1 Tbs at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Once frosting is complete, mix several tablespoons into your cake crumbs.  You want the cake to form a ball and hold together when you insert the stick, but you don’t want it to be too gooey.  This step is pretty much trial and error, just make sure you mix well after each addition of frosting until you get it just right.

Form cake balls into approx 1.25 inch balls.  Melt a small amount of your candy coating, dab the cake pop stick into candy, and carefully insert it into the cake ball.  Place them on parchment paper and allow the candy “glue” to harden before attempting to dip.
 

I can’t decide if this next step is my least or most favorite.  Dipping candy is so fun, and the results so pretty, but it’s a lot of work!

In a microwave safe measuring cup (or narrow bowl) heat 2 cups of candy pieces for 45 seconds.  Stir until pieces are melted and smooth.  If needed, microwave for an additional 20 seconds.  Add vegetable oil and stir until smooth.

*If you’re using chocolate, like chocolate chips, please check out this article on tempering chocolate.  Although tempering is quite simple, it is very specific.

Gently dip each cake pop into the melted candy and allow excess to drip off.  If you are using sprinkles, nuts, or any kind of crumbly coating, now is the time for that!  Roll your cake pops in your coating of choice, then place back onto the parchment paper and allow candy to harden.  **You can also let them harden “stick down” if you have something to hold them, such as a chunk  of styrofoam, or even an upside-down colander.**

Once candy coating is firm, you can drizzle with another color for a decorative touch.

Happy Spring!

Maple Glazed Salmon

My family LOVES salmon so I’m always trying to find different and intriguing ways to prepare it.  This recipe is a take on my Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon, but since I was out of brown sugar I used real maple syrup and the outcome was amazing!

**Please try to find fresh, wild caught salmon.  It does make a difference and farmed salmon is really gross!!  (If you have ever visited a salmon farm you know what I’m talking about…Blech!!)

I could not find fresh, never frozen salmon so I used a frozen filet, which is fine as long as you thaw it thoroughly before you cook or you’ll get soggy, watery salmon!  Enjoy!  ~Janna

Ingredients:
1 Salmon filet (any kind of Salmon will work), skin on.   (My fillet was about 2 lbs and I cut it into 6 large pieces which gave me 6 5 1/2 oz portions.)
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs real maple syrup OR brown sugar
3 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbs fresh grated ginger
1 Tbs water
Salt and pepper

Directions: 

Combine all ingredients, except salmon, into a small saucepan and whisk. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly so the bottom doesn’t scorch.  Turn down and keep warm.
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After cutting salmon into desired portions, pre-heat an electric grill (George Foreman type) and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  You can also use an outdoor grill, if desired.  Rub each salmon portion with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill salmon about 7 minutes on each side.  Once you put salmon on grill, refrain from moving it around!  It may break up the salmon and you wont get those pretty grill marks!DSC_0177

I plated my salmon on top of a simple green salad of iceberg lettuce, chopped green onion and tomato.  Add the warm glaze to salmon and drizzle some on the salad just before serving.  It’s that simple!!  ~Janna
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