30 Minute AMAZING Lemon Pepper Chicken Noodle Soup

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In early November, Greg and I  arrived in sunny Southern California for a week of much longed-for and needed vacation.  I took no time in shimmying into my bathing suit (and immediately donning a cover-up), loading my tote bag with “beach reads” and a pair of sunglasses.  I snapped a picture of the glistening pool, palm trees, blue sky and mountains in the distance, then posted it to Facebook extolling the joys of time away!  Savored every moment of  sunshine that first day of vacation, went back to the condo enjoyed a relaxing evening  and fell asleep.

The next morning I woke to find that my skin was hot, my body aching, my throat swollen, my head felt about twice its normal size,  and my ears seemed stuffed with cotton.  Greg too had caught the bug, but he had taken the flu shot earlier in the month, so his misery was limited in time and scope.  I did not get the shot, so my misery knew no bounds. There was no doubt about it:  I had the flu.  I don’t really remember much about the next next six days of “vacation” as I spent most of it sleeping or on drugs.

When I am sick, Greg does a fine job caring for me, truly he does.  That entire week he was the one who braved getting out and going to the store, ferrying in rations of cold medicine, cough drops and canned chicken soup.  But the truth is,  I wish I  could have a Well Me to take care of the Sick Me, because the Well Me makes a killer homemade chicken soup.

This one uses one of my favorite Trader Joe’s products: Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta.   The lemon flavor is not overly strong and the texture of these noodles is perfect for chicken soup: firm but tender –a near-perfect pasta product!

The great thing about this homemade soup is that it only takes 30 minutes to make but tastes like you’ve toiled in the kitchen all day.  The special noodles take it to a “gourmet” level that you would be proud to serve to guests.

I believe this easy chicken soup will become your go-to recipe to serve on a chilly day, make for a sick family member or cheer up a friend with the flu.  (You might also consider tucking in a copy of We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook for your friend.  Nothing cures what ails you like homemade soup and laughter.)  It is also easy to “veganize” this dish, and I’ll list alternative ingredients in the recipe below.

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Fast & Easy Lemon-Pepper Pappardelle Chicken Soup

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Ingredients

2  T. olive oil (or oil and butter combo)

2 T. flour

4 cups of chicken or veggie broth

½ c. water

½ c. milk or almond milk

3 cloves garlic, grated or pressed

4 oz. Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Noodles, broken into 1 – 2 inch pieces (Trader Joe’s brand recommended/ 4 ozs is about ½ a package.  Unflavored Pappardelle or other wide noodle will also work if you prefer or cannot find pappardelle pasta at your grocery store.)

4 carrots, peeled and diced (the smaller the dice or slice, the faster they’ll cook)

3 large mushrooms, diced

2 cups of cooked chicken, pulled from a deli roasted chicken (I like to keep some of the pieces fairly large, some small. )

*VEGANS can substitute a can of big butter beans or your favorite vegan chicken substitute for the meat.  But add toward the end of cooking.

½ c. frozen corn

½ c. frozen peas

½ to 1 t. salt (you’ll have to taste test because some broths and chickens are saltier than others)

½ to 1 t. pepper (according to your taste)

½ to 1 t. your favorite dried herbs  ( I use a little Italian seasoning, a little basil)

Dash hot sauce to taste (like Tabasco)

Directions

In a big soup pot, heat the oil or oil/butter combination until it begins to bubble.  Add flour and whisk this roux until smooth and bubbly.  Very slowly, and while still whisking with one hand, add one cup of the chicken broth, stirring until smooth.  Add the rest of the broth, the water, the milk and garlic, then  continue to stir and let it come to a boil.

Add the broken pappardelle noodles and carrots and mushrooms. Simmer this until the veggies and noodles are almost tender.   Add chicken, corn, peas, seasonings and dash of hot sauce. Continue to simmer until noodles and veggies are tender  (but not mushy) and heated through.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

We usually serve steaming bowls of this hearty soup with hot buttered cornbread and fresh apple slices.

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From: http://www.laughcrycook.com


Crispy Eggplant Marsala (Vegan)

Crispy Eggplant Marsala

Crispy Eggplant Marsala

Rachel (the daughter)

Once upon a time, there was a girl who didn’t like mushrooms. She took much care to avoid them until one day, her restaurant manager made her taste Chicken Marsala. She tasted the chicken with the sauce and pushed the mushrooms to the side. The sauce was heavenly. On her lunch break, she craved that yummy rich sweet sauce, so she ordered the Chicken Marsala without the mushrooms. She was sad. The sauce was not the same. Maybe, she thought, I do like the taste of mushrooms but not mushrooms themselves. The next day, she ordered it again and ate around the mushrooms. The sauce was delightful once again. It seems mushrooms added a depth of flavor she loved. She often rewarded herself at the end of a long waitressing shift with her new favorite dish. As time went on, she got brave and occasionally tried a little bite of mushroom with the chicken. Maybe, she thought, I do like mushrooms … but only in this dish.

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Years later, the girl gave up meat and found that mushrooms were actually delicious in many dishes if you know how to cook them. Now that she loved mushrooms, she was sad that she missed out on the best part of chicken marsala for so long. So she decided to make a vegan ‘chicken’ marsala using crispy eggplant. It was everything she hoped it would be and more. And she was very happy.

A vegan twist on the dish that first made me swoon for mushrooms.

A vegan twist on the dish that first made me swoon for mushrooms.

Eggplant Marsala

Serves 4

Ingredients

16 oz whole wheat spaghetti or choice of pasta, cooked

Crispy Eggplant

1 small Eggplant (peeled and sliced into 12 quarter inch thick slices)
1 cup flour
1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
2 cups Panko bread crumbs seasoned with 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoing, 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley, and a little salt & pepper)

Marsala Sauce

1/2 medium sized yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced or diced
16 oz mushrooms (any variety), sliced thin
2 tablespoons Earth Balance (vegan margarine)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cups Marsala Wine
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
salt & pepper to taste
parsley for garnish

Most of the ingredients. I modified a few things as I went though, like leaving out the milk and adding flour.

Most of the ingredients. I modified a few things as I went though, like leaving out the milk.

Directions

Place eggplant in colander or between paper towels and sprinkle it with salt. Let sit for at least 30 minutes to remove moisture. Pat dry with clean paper towels when done.

Salt the eggplant and let rest between paper towels or in a colander to remove excess moisture before frying. Makes it crispier!

Salt the eggplant and let rest between paper towels or in a colander to remove excess moisture before frying. Makes it crispier!

Heat a large skillet (preferably heavy stainless steel or iron) on medium high heat. Add Earth Balance and olive oil and let it heat up. Add mushrooms and cook until they’ve browned and shrunk quite a bit in size. Stir in onions and garlic, reduce heat if needed so garlic doesn’t burn, saute for 2-3 minutes until soft. Pour in 1/2 cup of wine and scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in one tablespoon of flour and slowly add the rest of the wine and veggie broth. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, remove lid and simmer until liquid is reduced to about half. If it’s not thick enough, stir in a little more flour and keep cooking down. Season to taste with salt & fresh cracked pepper. Stir in pasta noodles and cover to keep warm.

The sauce should be thick enough to cling to the noodles.

The sauce should be thick enough to cling to the noodles.

In another skillet, heat a thin layer of olive oil (or your choice of oil) on medium heat. Set up an assembly line with shallow bowls of flour, milk, and seasoned panko bread crumbs.  Dip eggplant slices in milk, then flour, then milk again, then bread crumbs. Put in single layer in the oil and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until crispy and golden brown. Remove slices to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat in batches until all eggplant is cooked.

Dredging station.

Dredging station.

Serve the marsala pasta topped with crispy eggplant and sprinkled with parsley. Or serve the eggplant to the side of the pasta if you want to keep it crispy longer.

Toddler Approved.

Toddler Approved

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Crispy Eggplant Marsala (Vegan)
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-Uk
This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook


“Healing” Panang Curry 2 Ways — Traditional and Soup

Panang Curry Soup

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Traditional Panang Curry with Shrimp

(Becky, the Mama.)

A sure-fire way to humble yourself is to announce: “I never (fill-in-the-blank)” publically.  (Or worse, “My child will never…..”)   And so when I declared, on Facebook that I almost never get sick, I should have known I was in for it.

For some unknown reason, for nearly a week, day after day, I  forgot to take my daily regime of immune-boosting supplements (fish oil, odorless garlic, probiotics, super green food powder) and woke up one morning feeling as though I was swallowing razor blades.

I went on the attack with liberal doses of all my regular supplements above  plus a couple of more exotic-sounding ones: olive leaf extract and astragalus.  By mid-afternoon my throat had calmed considerably and by nightfall it did not hurt at all.  (I did, however, get the standard stuffy head, runny nose bit – though, thankfully, without fever and it seems to be running its course fairly quickly.)

My husband was also out of town, so I had no choice but to practice good self-care and nourish my body as best I could, all by my lonesome.

In addition to honey-sweetened white tea (more nutrition-packed than green tea) laced with fresh grated ginger, and sips of Feel Good Blueberry Smoothie, I made two pots of healing soup.

First, I made a classic home-style chicken soup, a super quick and easy recipe I’ll share in coming weeks.  The other, is my new favorite “healing soup” – a Thai Panang Curry soup, rich with cancer-fighting and immune boosting antioxidants from the ginger and spices, cruciferous veggies, shitake mushrooms (which contain a compound called lentinan, shown to strengthen the immune system’s ability to fight infection and disease) and vitamin & mineral rich kale. Coconut milk, too, has healing properties.  It  contains lauric acid, antimicrobial lipids and capric acid, which have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

Afriend introduced me to my first good Thai Panang curry , when she bought us both take-out containers of it during a working writer’s lunch.  It was love at first bite.  It hit all the strong flavor notes I crave: spice from the curry and ginger, slightly sweet and creamy from the coconut milk, a touch of tang from fresh lime, and salty-savory-earthy from the mushrooms, veggies and broth.

It sounds so exotic, but I do not make complicated recipes, especially when I’m fighting a cold, so trust me – this is quick and easy. Feel free to substitute any veggies you have on hand, or enjoy, in this basic recipe.   I’ve included instructions for both tradition curry with rice and also the soup, in the recipe below.

 

Panang Curry with Shrimp

Panang Curry with Shrimp

“Healing” Panang Curry Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 can coconut milk (I prefer whole fat as it makes a creamier soup).

1 ½ cups veggie broth (or chicken broth)  — use 3/4 c  if you prefer to make the thicker curry version

½ small jar Thai red curry (about 3 T – less if you prefer less spice) (This jar of curry is found in Asian section of most groceries now and is small, about the size of a baby food jar.)

1 t. fresh grated ginger (pinch of dried ginger if you don’t have fresh)

1 t. brown sugar

Soy sauce or sea salt  to taste

1 c. rainbow slaw (or broccoli slaw)

1 large clove garlic

1 T. olive or coconut oil

1 T. butter

2/3 c. sliced mushrooms (I used shitake)

1 c. loosely packed, torn kale

1 fresh chopped tomato

2 sliced green onions

Slice of lime

Cilantro (sprig or chopped) and/or basil for garnish

Protein of your choice:  grilled diced tofu, diced or shredded chicken; or cooked shrimp, 1/2  to 1 cup depending on preference.  I use a small amount of chicken in the soup — as I  like the veggies taking center stage in this soup.  You could also sprinkle in toasted peanuts for added protein.  For the curry and rice version I prefer shrimp, about 5 medium shrimp per person.)

Instructions:

Saute garlic with mushrooms, slaw and kale in oil and butter in a deep large skillet until just tender. Dump all the ingredients except the last three (green onions, lime, cilantro or fresh basil ) into a large skillet and simmer until veggies are tender but not mushy. Add chopped fresh tomato last, and stir to heat through.  Ladle veggies and broth into each bowl, then garnish with a sprig of cilantro or basil (or chop it up and sprinkle), some green onions, and a slice of lime to squeeze over and stir in right before eating.

Variation:  To make a more traditional curry instead of soup, use half the broth and put a scoop of jasmine rice in the middle of the bowl before garnishes.  Sauteed shrimp is beautiful, artfully arranged around the rice and on top of the curry.  You can use any veggies you like in place of slaw, mushrooms or kale.  Add slices of cooked sweet potato and pineapple for a creamy pineapple curry.  To add heat, use a few drop of siracha sauce or thai chili paste.

Panang Curry Soup

 

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This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: “healing” Panang Curry Soup
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-Kz
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Pecan Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini

Becky’s Pecan Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini

My daughter Rachel, the gorgeous vegan who co-writes this blog with me, just flew home to Texas today after four fabulous and fun-filled days visiting us here in Colorado. Because I only get to see my newest grandson every two to three months, I’m always shocked by how big he is. But in my wildest imagination, I did not expect 9 month old Jackson to hit the floor and immediately start moving my furniture around. Seriously, Rachel says he spends a portion of every day pushing and rearranging her furniture. Either he is a miniature Popeye-in-the-Making (he does love his spinach!), or a budding interior decorator.

Jackson at Work

“Hi Nonny. I think this chair just works better here, in the middle of the floor, don’t you?”

Whatever the case, Rachel and Jackson could be the poster mom & baby for an ad campaign for Eating Your Vegies.

Rach & Jackson relaxing in our backyard this weekend

She is not only beautiful, but I marveled at her strength as well.  I was stunned with admiration as I watched her toss a diaper bag weighing as much as a baby elephant  over one shoulder,  while she balanced Jackson (no lightweight!) on the other hip, as if they were bags of popcorn.

For their farewell vegan lunch today, I made one of my favorite vegie dishes, Mushroom-Pecan Stuffed Zucchini. I invented this recipe a couple of months ago, and it quickly became one of my favorite staple vegetable dishes. I’m really enjoying being an EOD (Every Other Day) vegetarian, feel my tummy is lighter and flatter and clothes a bit looser.  This may be my favorite meatless meal. It’s a good comfort food while I’m missing the pitter-pat of my daughter’s feet and the scoot-scoot-scoot sound of my grandson moving the furniture across the wood floor.

Pecan Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini

Pecan Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini

Serves 4 -6

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter (or Earth Balance for vegans)
4 zucchini squashes, cut in half lengthwise, then the middle cut out like a canoe, then diced (see pic below,  I just cut a “v” shape to hollow it out quickly.)
8 ounces of mushrooms, any kind, diced (to yield 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pieces soft whole wheat bread made into crumbs (I use food processor)
1/2 cup pecans, broken or chopped (walnuts are also great)
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, divided (vegans sub with vegan cheese or omit)
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
8 cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced for garnish
fresh basil or oregano (enough for garnish)

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Put hollowed out zucchini “boats” in a heat-proof rectangle pan, lightly salt & pepper, and microwave for 6 minutes. In the meantime, heat oil and butter together in a skillet, and add the chopped zucchini and mushrooms and garlic.

I scooped out zucchini by simply cutting a “v” shaped piece out of the center.

Chopped zucchini (the scooped out middle portions) and mushrooms, ready for skillet

Stir and cover, cooking over medium heat for about 5 minutes, so that juices accumulate and don’t evaporate. When vegies are soft and translucent and “juicy,” toss in bread crumbs, 1/4 c. Parm cheese, pecans, 3/4 t.  salt and 1/2 t.  pepper. Stir. Turn off heat. Stuffing should be moist. (If dry, add a little more butter, oil and/or water.)  Fill the “nuked” zucchini with stuffing, decorate with sliced tomatoes, cover pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. Parm, and put back in under broiler, watching carefully until Parmesan starts to melt and tomatoes start to brown just a little. Garnish with fresh basil or oregano leaves.

Delicious served alone as a vegetarian meal or as a side dish for any occasion.

Variation: Try adding cooked crumbled sausage for omnivores in your family to make a complete meal-in-one.

Pecan Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini

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The Title: Pecan Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini
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Marinated Portobello Burger

Marinated Portobello Burgers

When I was about 12, I went on a ski trip with my family. While hanging out at the base, some older teens hollered out to me and my brothers “Hey, you want some shrooms?”

I giggled and naively said, “Those guys must be on drugs or something. Why would they think we want some mushrooms while we are skiing?”

My big brothers busted out laughing.

I didn’t know how right I had been until they finally stopped laughing to explain to me what the “shrooms” those dudes spoke of were.

Lucky for me, I didn’t like mushrooms and would have turned down the offer even if my big brothers hadn’t been there to fill me in.

Nowadays, I might be in trouble if someone hollers out and offers me some shrooms, though.

It turns out after more than 25 years of hating mushrooms, I’ve discovered I actually love a good shroom!

The first time I ordered a Portobello Burger was shortly after going vegan. It was the only thing on the menu I could eat, so I figured I’d give it a try. It was thick, chewy, flavorless and spongy. I stayed away from portobellos after that and eased my way into the land of shrooms with baby bellas sauteed in evoo and garlic.

Recently we were at the new plant-based cafe in Dallas, VSPot, and I decided to try their marinated portobello burger. Some people at the neighboring table were raving about it, so I thought I’d give the portobello one more go. It was so succulent it almost melted in my mouth. The mushroom was cooked down really thin so you would never have guessed you were biting into a thick spongy portobello cap.

Tonight I made my own portobello burger and I have to say, it was awesome. The flavors are quite different than the one we had at the VSpot and I didn’t manage to get it quite as thin, but it will definitely hold me over until our next visit!

Wanna shroom?

Rachel’s
Marinated Portobello Burger

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 Portobello Mushrooms, stems removed and gently wiped clean with a damp sponge
4 Buns (I used Whole Grain Ciabatta Sandwich Rolls from our store’s bakery)
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup of Braggs Aminos (or soy sauce)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
Topping suggestions: sauteed spinach, caramelized red onions, roasted red peppers

Mix the marinade in a bowl. Pour into a gallon sized zip top bag and add the portobello caps. Shake it up to cover the mushrooms and place in the refrigerator. I let mine marinate for about 5 hours, but I think you could go as little as an hour if you’re short on time or as long as 8-10 if you want to marinate them while you’re at work.

Heat a skillet on medium heat with evoo covering the bottom. Put the mushroom caps in 1-2 at a time bottoms down and with a spatula or the bottom of a sauce pan, gently hold the mushrooms down. Don’t apply too much pressure at first or you’ll tear the edges. Turn the mushrooms over and continue applying gentle pressure. Repeat turning back and forth every few minutes for about 10 minutes until the mushroom cap is only a few centimeters thick.

I ate mine on ciabatta rolls that I smeared with Vegenaise (vegan mayo) mixed with minced garlic and toasted on a lightly oiled saute pan (this gives the bread a nice crunch), topped with sauteed spinach and garlic and caramelized red onions. I thought I was going to need a protein like some beans to add to this, but I was plenty full after one mushroom burger and a side of sauteed yellow squash and zucchini.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Marinated Portobello Burger
The URL:https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/03/27/marinated-portobello-burger
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved