Wednesday Quickie – Chicken Noodle Soup with Fennel & Scallions

Dear Josie’s,

I love your delicious Chicken Noodle soup when I don’t feel right, the fennel and scallions you have really brings it home. But why does it have to cost me $1,000 / oz?! I don’t feel the love!

So, I figured out the next best thing – a quickie version of your soup. Hope you don’t mind.

xoxo,

Branching Owl

Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Who wants to be chopping up stuff with a runny nose?! To save even more time, buy pre-chopped organic vegetables – Whole Foods NYC has some in their Produce section.

Ingredients (4 Servings)

– 3 Stalks Celery Chopped

– 2 Carrots Sliced (or Chopped if carrots are large)

– 1 Onion Chopped

– 1 Fennel – White Part Only, Sliced in Thin Wedges

– 1 lbs Chicken Breast Tenderloin cubed

– 1 32 oz box of Organic Chicken Stock

– 4 Stalks Scallions – Green and White Parts, Sliced

– Salt and Pepper to taste

– Macaroni Noodles

Directions

– In a large stock pot, bring chicken stock to a boil on med to high heat.

– Throw in sliced fennel, celery, carrots, & onions in boiling stock. Lower to medium heat and cook for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

– Once vegetables are tender, place cubed chicken tenderloin in soup stock. Continue to cook for about 30 minutes or so until chicken is cooked through but not overdone. Stir occasionally.

– While the soup is cooking, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and cook your noodles until al dente – about 8 minutes

– Few minutes before serving, stir in the sliced scallions and macaroni. Salt and pepper to taste. Voila!

Storage

– I would store soup and macaroni separately (toss macaroni in some olive oil to prevent clumping)

Wednesday Quickie: Roasted Brussel Sprouts w/Fuji Apples & Pistachios

I fell in love with this dish when I had it at Alta a few years ago.  I’ve made close replicas of this overtime, but came up with this quickie for when I’m in a pinch.  The adapted recipe has its own wonderful flavor profile that makes it a tad lighter and refreshing for the warmer weather.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Fuji Apples and Pistachios

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Fuji Apples and Pistachios

I think this is a perfect vegetable side for any main course – with the lemon adding a nice sparkle and a tad of sweetness from the honey to bring out other flavors. We had it with a simple grilled Halibut the other night and I’ve also served it with Pork Chops before. For my friends who are in love with bacon, I’m sure this would taste amazing with some chopped, pan fried bacon bits too!

Ingredients (4 Side Servings)

– 10 oz Brussel Sprouts: Trim stem and cut into halves

– ½ Fuji Apple: Thinly sliced, julienne or cut into bite size

– ½ Cup Roasted / Shelled Pistachios: Roughly chopped.  (Bake at 300F for 5 minutes if you can’t find roasted)

– Drizzle of Honey to taste; Splash of Lemon Juice to taste (or ½ teaspoon of Lemon Zest)

– Dollop of Sour Cream for Garnish

– Salt / Pepper to taste; Olive oil to toss sprouts

Directions

– Pre-heat oven to 400F; Toss halved brussel sprouts with some olive oil, salt and paper

– Bake brussel sprouts for approximately 12 – 15 minutes, until sprouts are tender and have a nice golden crisp

– Once sprouts are ready, toss with sliced apples and chopped pistachios in a large mixing bowl

– Drizzle the mixture with some honey and a splash of lemon juice to taste

– Garnish each portion with a dollop of sour cream

Storage / Leftovers

If you would like to re-heat the brussel sprouts the next day for leftovers, I suggest tossing / storing the apples separately as you don’t want the apples to wilt during the re-heating process.  If all is tossed already, eating leftovers at room temperature is still quite tasty!

The FroYo Revolution! (Updated)

Hey friend, do you love Froyo but you don’t love all the gunk these popular chains put in their “frozen yogurt”? Maybe you just want a giant thing of Froyo for yourself but refuse to overpay for it. Well I am you!

After failing to find a readily available, organic, plain frozen yogurt treat on the marketplace, I set out on my personal odyssey to find the best home-made recipe out there. Below, you’ll find a eat-right-out-of-the-ice-cream-maker good Fro-yo recipe.

Homemade Frozen Yogurt

Homemade Frozen Yogurt

I have experimented with using natural sweeteners + all sorts of yogurts:  full fat, non fat, regular, Greek, you name it.  While the taste was genuinely yogurt-ish, it wasn’t tangy enough and the consistency was sometimes icy or hard to keep.

The secret ingredients to this simple formula I think, are 1. Full Fat Greek or Regular Yogurt 2. Sour Cream 3. Lemon Juice.  Adapted from Just One Cookbook the combination of these ingredients makes for a decadent, tangy, slightly icy but creamy treat!

Recipe (Yields about 2 Quarts)

– 4  cups Organic Full Fat Plain or Greek Yogurt (I like Stonyfields for plain or Wallaby’s for their Greek version)

– 1 cup Organic Cane Sugar (adjust according to taste, can also be other natural sweeteners)

– 2 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice (more or less depending on the amount of tang you enjoy)

– 1/4 tsp. Salt

– 1/2 cup Sour Cream (less if you like it icy)

Directions

– In a large bowl, mix in all ingredients until well combined

– Strain mixture through a sieve for a smoother Froyo (you can skip this step for plain frozen yogurt)

– Process mixture in ice-cream maker (this is the one I use) until frozen, about 25 – 30  minutes

– Store in air-tight container and freeze for several hours for a firmer consistency  (or just eat it right out of the maker, no judgement)

Serving Tip: After the Froyo has been in the freezer for 24hr+, it can become very hard to serve, you almost need a chisel to get the good stuff out!  If you have a big container of it, I recommend letting the container sit on the counter for at least 10 – 20 mins to soften before serving.

Spring has (almost) Sprung – Tahini Noodles with Chicken & Cucumber

Mother nature finally blessed us with a warm day in NYC – yippee! While I am not going to fall into another “sunny day trap” (and dry clean my coats for the season), I will however, cook to celebrate this ephemeral yet exciting occasion because I miss the summer oh so much.

Tahini Noodles with Chicken and Cucumber

Tahini Noodles with Chicken and Cucumber

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tahini, it’s really just a fancy name for grounded sesame paste. This fragrant condiment is common in Middle Eastern dishes (like hummus), but I’ve added a little soy sauce twist to this and created a nice Asian noodle meal.  Served at room temperature, this extremely versatile dish is perfect for cooling down in warm weather.  You can find tahini at your local ethnic food store, Whole Foods, or Amazon!

Recipe (4 Servings)

– 1 lbs Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast

– 4 Bunches of Dry Round Udon Noodles (or Spaghetti)

– 2 Cucumbers cut into 2 inch strips

– 8 Tbsp Tahini

– 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce (adjust according to your taste)

– 4 Tbsp Water

Sesame with Sea Salt as desired

Directions

– Fill medium sauce pan with enough room temperature water to cover the chicken breast, you may salt the water if you’d like.  Place chicken breast in sauce pan with room temperature water on low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes, allowing the water to come to a nice simmer (but not boiling).

– While the chicken is cooking, mix tahini, soy sauce, and water together in a large mixing bowl (enough to contain your noodles and ingredients for tossing later on), to create a nice and creamy sauce. Chop up the cucumbers if you haven’t done so already.

– Check the chicken and make sure it’s cooked through in the center, remove from sauce pan, and rinse under cold water.  ‘Tear’ the warm chicken breast into strips.

– In a small sauce pan, place water on boil and cook the noodles according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Rinse noodles under cold water once it’s cooked through and strain.

– Place chicken & cucumber strips and noodles into the large mixing bowl with sauce and toss well. Serve immediately and sprinkle your noodles with some sesame with sea salt for garnish!

Variations and Storage

– For a vegetarian version of this, you can substitute the chicken with strips of extra firm tofu. I would mix in just a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil to give it extra flava!

– If you made too much chicken and cut up extra cucumber, I would recommend storing them in separate containers. Otherwise, your cucumbers will get soggy! And don’t mix in the noodles with sauce either, I would cook up the noodles when you’re ready to serve the leftovers.

Souper Winter Months – Broccoli and Potato Soup

In Midtown NYC where I work, healthy and delicious lunch options are available, but you really have to do your investigative work.  When I don’t have time to walk all the way to Westerly Natural Market, the best kept NY Soup secret, I go to Between the Bread. Their stuff is a bit pricey, but I’ve always been able to find dairy free and healthy food options.

Speaking of soup, did you know that January & February are official soup months?! Holy moly. In honor of that, I had to come up with a couple of hearty yet healthy soup recipes. Crediting BTB for inspiring this easy Broccoli and Potato Soup.

Broccoli and Potato Soup

 I am so pleased with how hearty and flavorful this recipe turned out! Serve with some toasted crusty bread and enjoy.

Ingredients (4 – 6 servings):

– 2 Small heads of broccoli, trim off stem and use florets for soup

– 3 Medium sized yellow potatoes

– 1 Medium sized onion, chopped

– 2 cloves of garlic, roughly sliced

– 1 32oz box of chicken or vegetable stock (or home-made stock)

– 1 tsp salt; 1/2 tsp pepper; 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste, so adjust as needed)

Directions

– Heat up 1 – 2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large stock pot, add chopped onion and sliced garlic. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.

– Add potatoes, stir with onions and garlic to coat with oil. About 2 – 3 minutes.

– Add chicken or vegetable stock to cover potatoes, broccoli, garlic, and onions and bring to boil. Cover and lower to low-medium heat, and let simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are relatively soft.

– Then, add broccoli and simmer for another 15 – 20 minutes.  Cook until tender.

– In batches, use a food processor to roughly blend the ingredients.

Coming up next, Mushroom and Wild Rice soup!! Delish!