Creamy chicken soup for the soul

After a long day- curling up with this soup and my family is perfect. I can throw it together quickly- I often do it at nap time and then just let it sit at low on the stove or at 200 degrees in the oven till it is time to eat. If you don’t eat meat use vegetable broth and omit the chicken. This is a great dish to take a friend who is sick or just needs a pick me up! It is so easy to transport and tastes even better the next day. Enjoy!

Creamy chicken soup

5 slices of bacon cut into small chunks- optional                                                               1 tablespoon olive oil                                                                                                                 1 1/2 tablespoons butter                                                                                                           2 chicken breasts cut into small bite size chunks                                                               2 1/2 teaspoons salt- divided                                                                                                   2 teaspoons pepper- divided                                                                                                   1 1/2 teaspoons paprika- divided                                                                                           3 teaspoons Mrs. Dash garlic and herb seasoning- divided                                             4 small yellow potatoes peeled and cubed                                                                           3 carrots chopped                                                                                                                     1 medium yellow onion chopped                                                                                             1 celery stalk chopped                                                                                                               2 cloves garlic minced                                                                                                               3 tablespoons flour                                                                                                                 1/4 cup vermouth or other white wine                                                                                 4 cups or 1 cup chicken stock                                                                                             3/4 cup half & half

– In a large pot cook the bacon if using it. Cook till crispy- set aside.

– Take bacon grease out of pan. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of the butter. Add the chicken. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash seasoning. Cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes on medium- high heat till they get a little brown.

– Add the vegetables except the garlic. Put the remaining olive oil and butter in and stir the pot. Add one more teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash seasoning. Cook on medium- high heat for three minutes. You aren’t looking for everything to be cooked just to be some brown on the veggies for flavor.

– Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.

– Add the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly.

– Add the vermouth and let it cook away.

– Add the chicken stock and remaining seasonings. Bring to a boil.

– Once boiling add the bacon back in. Simmer for 30-40 minutes. Add the half & half before serving and season to taste.

The yummy soup!
The yummy soup!

Serves 4-6. Serve with crescent rolls.

I recommend using Kitchen Basics stock with this recipe. It is such a yummy stock! Hope you love it =) Tune in tomorrow for chopped salad with gorgonzola and avocado!

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Easy Comfort Food

My husbands favorite meal is pasta with pesto. I make it for him all of the time! Ordinarily I make homemade pesto. I couldn’t make it homemade yesterday for our special pasta dinner because we currently don’t have a food processor! We are in the Boston area for three months for my husband’s job- and don’t have most of our belongings with us.
Using store bought pesto makes this meal super easy. I love that this meal includes carbs, veggies and protein. Everything you need in one pot. I recommend you make a big pot of it- and save the leftovers for weekly lunches. The recipe serves 4- but the servings are very large!

Easy chicken pesto with mushrooms and asparagus
1 pound box of farfalle pasta (bowties) or any other type of pasta of your choice
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts- cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter divided
1 bundle of asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
8 ounce pack of button mushrooms- chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped                                                                                                       1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided                                                                         1/4 cup half and half                                                                                                                8 ounce container store bought pesto

The veggies all chopped. I buy the sliced mushrooms and chop them smaller.
The veggies all chopped. I buy the packaged sliced mushrooms and chop them smaller.

-Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Add pasta and cook according to directions. Take 1-2 minutes off the cooking time for al dente.

The pasta. We do Barilla Plus a lot of the time for added protein.
The pasta. We do Barilla Plus a lot of the time for added protein.

– Sprinkle the salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder on the chicken.

– In a large pan melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add the chicken. Spread it out and don’t stir for a while to get the chicken browned. Remove when fully cooked. Set aside.

– In the same pan add the remaining olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon butter. Add the mushrooms. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the asparagus. Brown and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper.

Veggies browning. Make sure to get color on the mushrooms. It brings out so much flavor when they are caramelized.
Veggies browning. Make sure to get color on the mushrooms. It brings out so much flavor when they are caramelized.

– In the pasta pot add the cooked pasta. Top with the remaining butter and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Stir and add the pesto and 1/2 and 1/2.  Add the chicken and veggies and stir. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Stirring everything together.
Stirring everything together.
Dinner!
Dinner!

Optional- Add crispy bacon for a smoky flavor. Substitute or add onions, peas or whatever other veggies you like. Shallots would be great.