Monthly Archives: April 2014

Chicken-Noodle Stoup: A Warm Dish for a Dreary Night

Stoup Title

 

It was just a blah Thursday. Work was quiet, it was rainy, I had a headache, and hubby and I were just in a funk. So I suggested it may be a good night for chicken-noodle stoup. For those of you who don’t follow Rachael Ray, stoup is a delicious combination of soup and stew. Think soup, but with LOTS of STUFF in it, more stuff than broth. It’s delicious. Once you start making stoups, regular soups will seem like dinky little child’s play. Shayne requests this dinner multiple times per winter, and occasionally in the summer just because. It’s easy to make, and is just a feel-good meal. There’s lots of veggies, it doesn’t leave you bloated, and it always feels like a well-rounded meal.

Also, just as a warning – I was experimenting with PicMonkey tonight.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

 

-two to three chicken breasts

-two carrots

-shallot

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-1 c frozen peas

-1.5 c dried pasta

-1 T butter

-4 c chicken broth + 2 c water

First, season the chicken breasts with your choice of seasonings (this will impart a lot of flavor into the broth, so choose wisely). I used salt, pepper, and my trusty Greek seasoning. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil into a deep pot, and cook the chicken over medium heat, turning a few times to get a nice golden color on both sides.

Chicken

**Alternately, if you want to go a little healthier, you can bake or poach the chicken breasts. I’ve tried all three methods, and I prefer the stovetop grilling method because I think it has more flavor**

While the chicken is cooking, dice the shallot into a fine dice, and thinly slice the carrots. Normally I throw in 2-3 stalks of celery, but we didn’t have any tonight, so I did without.

Veggie Dice

When chicken is fully cooked, remove to a plate and let cool. Melt 2 T butter in the same pan and swirl to coat. Toast the pasta in the butter until it gets a touch of that nice, brown butter smell without getting burnt. If you’ve never had brown butter…you’ll know it when you smell it. You will also be tempted to just dip anything you can find into the brown butter and eat it right then and there. Refrain.

Browning Pasta

You can use any pasta, though I imagine any straight, stringy pasta would be hard to brown. I had these multi-colored guys in my pantry and wanted to use them up. You’re just looking for the pasta to get a toast on it, you don’t want to try and cook it. It won’t work. When it’s decently toasted, remove from pan.

Next, saute the diced veggies in the same pot. Drizzle additional EVOO in with them if need be. Cook for 10 minutes or until the carrots start to soften. Add the garlic, and stir until fragrant.

Saute

Sometime during all this sauteing, dice the chicken into small bites. I like to ideally have chicken in every spoonful.

Chicken Dice

When everything is sauteed, add the chicken broth and water, then return the diced chicken and pasta to the pot. Bring to a rolling boil, and then simmer until the pasta is fully cooked. I periodically sneak a piece of pasta to check.

When the pasta is just about cooked, add the frozen peas. Continue to cook until the peas are soft. Tonight, I also threw in some parsley for garnish, and a splash of lemon juice at the very end of the cooking process.

Rolling Boil

 

Ladle into bowls and enjoy! Your tummy will be happy. I got hungry again just writing this up.

It seriously feels like winter tonight. Last week, the Oregon weather was a big tease, and we had a few beautiful days…I even got to pull out a sundress! Now, forecasts are calling for a weekend full of rain. Nothing like a good indoor Easter egg hunt.

How do you like to celebrate spring? A big Easter dinner? Frolicking in the sunshine? Dancing in the Pacific Northwest spring rains?

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Ireland Recap

We are recovered from our Ireland jet-lag and back to the grind of work/sleep/eat/clean. But OH do we miss vacation. Ireland was absolutely fantastic, the weather was gorgeous when we were there, just as good as home if not better, we met a lot of delightful people, and ate and drank a lot of delicious things.

Ireland?

 

I mean, LOOK at this view. We didn’t get shots this gorgeous when we were in the Caribbean! The water was so blue!

Our first day, we were weary from a long three flights from Seattle to Dublin, but we rallied, dropped our stuff off at our hotel, and walked right into the hotel restaurant for our first Irish breakfast.

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They don’t kid around about breakfast there. Once we were fueled and caffiened up, we hoofed it across Dublin. Our first stop – Trinity College for a tour and the Book of Kells.

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Biblophile’s heaven!

The Long Room is full of old book smell. I love old book smell. If someone ever bottles it, I WILL wear it as perfume. Then we asked our tour guide for a suggestion of where to get our first pint. We settled on Bowe’s, which we walked past three different times before finally figuring out how to enter.

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We managed to stay awake until 9, and then crashed. And, thanks to my friend jetlag, woke up every two hours, all night long. The next day, we took the train to Killarney to explore the western coast. I made Shayne drive (we returned home still happily married, miraculously) the rental car from the train to our B&B. And we ran into so many gorgeous sites! Like this castle by the side of the road.

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We spent the next two days exploring all that County Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula had to offer.

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When we took the train back to Dublin, we had a full day and a half to continue our explorations. Most of our time was spent wandering through shops and alleyways of delicious smelling takeaway restaurants. I didn’t manage to take a picture of the best fish and chips ever before devouring it (thank you Leo Burdock’s). Everyone talks about Irish and British food and how boring it is…LIES. There’s a lot going on in the Dublin food scene. I fully intend on going back when I have money to properly check it out.

We came back exhausted, but with cameras full of gorgeous pictures and hearts full of happiness. I could move there in an instant, I’m not even kidding. The people are as friendly as can be, the scenery is beautiful, and the food and drinks just made me happy. I gained some vacation weight, and I’m quite alright with it. This may have been a spontaneous trip, but it was definitely a success.

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