Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chicken Can-Can

This is one of the easiest recipes I've ever tried. As much as I enjoy recipes that are truly made from scratch, some times it's nice to have something like that that you can just whip together in an instant with a few things from the pantry. It's warm and creamy and tasty. What more can you ask for? Oh, and it also bears a striking resemblance to the Cream of Chicken Noodle Soup that Campbell's used to sell (1. Why did they stop? 2. Can you tell I was a Campbell's Soup kid? This is the second post in two days that mentions the brand. Love that stuff! Homestyle Chicken Noodle is my all time favorite. I could eat it at every meal to this day. Nom.)

Anywho... here's the recipe that grandma clipped from an old issue of Taste of Home Magazine:

1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed chicken noodle soup, undiluted
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 can (10 oz.) chunk white chicken, drained
1 can (5 oz.) chow mein noodles (note: I would not use these again the next time)

In a large skillet, combine the first five ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the chicken; heat through. Serve over chow mein noodles or substitute with any noodle of your choice.

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When I made this, I used the chow mein noodles the recipe called for - partly because I like them, and partly because I had half a bag in the cupboard leftover from some chop suey we had a few weeks back. I was not a fan of the taste combo here at all. Not even a little bit. Ptooey. BUT, the creamy chicken stuff was super good on its own, and it totally reminded me of that old Campbell's soup. Next time I make this, I'll be using some type of noodle that resembles those in the chicken noodle soup. Something straight, thick, and flat. Maybe some of those home made noodles you see in specialty shops. That would be perfection.

I will probably also use "real" chicken rather than canned chicken. The canned chicken tasted fine and worked great and was ├╝ber easy, but it kinda skeeves me out and I'm not sure why. Next time I'll probably use some shredded chicken breasts (I like to boil chicken breasts with onion and then shred them in my Kitchen Aid Mixer. One of the many things Pinterest has taught me.) rather than the canned stuff.

The days are getting shorter and the temps are dropping up here in NE Wisconsin. It's the perfect time to whip up some of this comfort food...

Enjoy!

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Beef Barley Soup

This isn't one of grandma's recipes, but it's still new to me so I thought I'd share it here. I was looking for some comfort food, and wanted something easy to throw together in the crock pot and found this in one of my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks (love those books!). It's in the "Slow Cooker Recipes" book on page 109 if you have a collection yourself. :)

Overall, it was a hit. Both my 4 year old son AND my husband enjoyed it so I'd call that a success. The only commentary from the hubsy was that it was a little bland, and I concur. I think the recipe has plenty of salt between the actual salt and what is contained in the bouillon, but it could use a little cracked pepper to zip it up a bit. I don't like spice, but it has to have a little something to give it some oomph.

Here's the recipe:

2 c. carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (I just sliced up some baby carrots we had on hand)
1 c. celery, thinly sliced
3/4 c. green pepper, diced (I omitted)
1 c. onion, diced (I just used one whole onion, didn't measure)
1 lb. stew beef, cubed
1/2 c. pearl barley, uncooked
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
3 cubes beef bouillon
2 T. catsup
1 t. salt
3/4 t. dried basil
5 c. water (maybe next time I'll substitute in some beef broth here?)

Layer vegetables, beef and barley in a slow cooker; add seasonings. Pour water over all; do not stir. Cover and cook on low setting for 9 to 11 hours. Makes 4-6 servings.

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I would definitely make this soup again, but with a few minor adjustments (pepper, beef broth). I had enough for four bowls and was able to freeze two meals worth to boot, so I'd say that's a win. There's nothing better than just being able to whip some home made soup out of the freezer for supper at the end of a long day!

Enjoy, and let me know if you try it!

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