Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chicken Egg Drop Soup for a Cold

My mom bought Matt and I a crock pot for Christmas and I had made plans to test it out on one of my Harris Teeter $2.70 chickens by making coq au vin (chicken in red wine).  Unfortunately, Matt came down with a cold which meant coq au vin and my crock pot were going to have to wait.  I was going to have to make soup.

I'm bored of chicken noodle soup.  If you get it at a restaurant, or out of a can, you'll be lucky if the broth isn't made from a bouillon cube.  Even if it is made from scratch, more often than not it's full of  large mushy pieces of overcooked carrot and celery and bloated egg noodles.   I suppose it can be comforting, especially if that's what you grew up with (I loved Campbell's as a kid), but I"m tired of it.  So I changed it up a bit.

This soup is especially good for someone with a cold because it has lots of ginger and garlic. 

The recipe makes about 4 large servings of soup with 1/2 the chicken meat left over to use in something else.  I made brown Spanish rice with shredded chicken and beans (recipe to come).  That's two meals with a chicken that cost less than $3! 

What you need to make the broth

A whole chicken, or bone-in chicken parts (about 4 - 5 lbs)
Tops of green onions (just chop off the tops of the entire bunch)
Garlic - I used about 7 cloves (Your discretion)
Ginger - peeled and sliced thin, about 7 quarter-sized slices (Your discretion)
Black pepper - peppercorns or ground, either is fine

What you need to finish the soup

Cornstarch slurry - about 2 Tbsp of cornstarch and a 1/4 cup cold water - Use your fingers to break up any lumps
Shredded chicken - 1/2 of the meat from the boiled chicken
1 carrot - Small dice
Sesame oil - about 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
Soy Sauce - about 2 tablespoon or to taste
2 eggs - whisked
white part of green onions - chopped small, 1/4 cup
Minced fresh ginger - 1 Tbsp


Take a whole chicken and put it into a large pot.  Add enough water to cover the chicken.  Add the tops of the green onion to pot as well as the ginger, garlic and black pepper.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, occasionally skimming the fat and impurities (foamy stuff) off the top.  Cook for about two hours or until chicken falls off the bone and the broth has a good flavor.  Strain the broth into another pot through a colander large enough to hold the chicken (or pull out the chicken and strain).  Let the meat cool then shred it with your hands.  Bring the broth to a boil.  Slowly add your cornstarch slurry in an even stream into the boiling broth.  Add shredded chicken and carrots and cook until carrots are tender (if they are chopped really small, it'll take about a minute).  Add sesame oil and soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour eggs into the broth in a slow steady stream and immediately turn off heat.  Finish with chopped green onions and ginger.  Serve with sticky rice.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Eating comfort food at the comfort station

Yesterday Matt and I had the day off together but he came down with a cold (or possibly the flu) and spent the day sleeping in the comfort station.  For those of you who don't know what the comfort station is, which I am suspecting is all of you because I just came up with the term yesterday, it is a little place (usually in the living room) where a really comfy area is set up for you to lay when you are feeling ill.  There were probably times as a child, and were too sick to go to school, when your mom would set up an area in the living room with lots of pillows and the softest blankets where you could watch cartoons, eat ice cream and just be comfortable.   That is the comfort station.

So while Matt rested in the comfort station, I decided to do some cooking...

Breakfast:  Maple brown sugar oatmeal with cranberries
Lunch:  Fresh mozzarella, spinach, mushroom, onion, sausage pizza (1/2 whole wheat).  Spinach salad
Dinner:  Chicken egg drop soup with sticky rice

Almost all the ingredients used to make these meals were purchased at a fraction of the normal cost.  Go here to see how I shop.


I've never made oatmeal before until yesterday.  At least not the type that doesn't require opening a little brown pouch and pouring water over it.  I despise the little brown pouch...  Or maybe I don't hate the pouch as much as the contents within the pouch and what it turns into once it comes in contact with water. Its like a Gizmo and Gremlins sort of situation.

Apparently Matt likes oatmeal.  To him it is comfort food that reminds him of his childhood.  And while I can't stand the instant stuff, I've never had made-from-scratch oatmeal.  I figured I shouldn't hate something I haven't even tried.  After all, canned asparagus (I hate) tastes nothing like fresh (I love).

Also, I had to do something with all those oats in my cupboard.

Oh...  And it turns out oatmeal is actually pretty good.

Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal with Dried Cranberries

1 1/2 cups of low fat milk
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon
vanilla extract
sprinkling of brown sugar
drizzle of maple syrup
3/4 cup oats
sprinkling of brown sugar for the top of the oatmeal
cranberries or any other dried/fresh fruit

Set oven on broil.  Bring milk, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar and maple syrup to a boil. 
Add as little or as much sweetener and flavorings as you'd like...  Taste the flavored milk, if you like it then it's good.  Brown sugar will also go on top of the oatmeal so careful not to over sweeten.
Add oats, cook on medium heat for about five minutes stirring frequently.  Once oats have softened and the mixture is thick, pour into a oven proof bowl, sprinkle the top with brown sugar and broil for a few minutes until sugar has melted.  Add cranberries or other fruit.  Bowl will be hot so careful!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Asian tuna salad

I have lots of tuna and a brand new jar of mayo in my cupboard. So, as you might have guessed, I made tuna salad. Asian tuna salad.

Instead of the usual mayo, mustard, pickles, celery... Or whatever it is that you choose to use... Try mixing tuna with mayo, sesame oil, sesame seeds, green onions and siracha. Just make it to your taste, although I would start with a small amount sesame oil and siracha because the flavor/spice can quickly become overwhelming.

If you want to go healthy, substitute some of the mayo with greek yogurt. Serve on a toasted whole wheat bun with green leaf lettuce, if you'd like.

Friday, January 21, 2011


A couple of months ago I came across a white whole wheat flour by King Arthur Flour. I have found that it is lighter and not as harsh as the traditional whole wheat flour yet the nutritional content remains the same. To read about it a little more go to the King Arthur Flour website.

When I bake at home, I try and incorporate as much whole wheat flour into my recipes as possible. If you're not really used to eating whole wheat products but would like to, start off by using 1/2 all purpose flour and 1/2 white whole wheat flour.

Here is a recipe for whole wheat banana pancakes that I think you will like. If all you have is white flour, that will work fine for this recipe.


1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 egg
1 banana
2 Tablespoons melted butter

Combine the milk and lemon juice, set aside. Mix dry ingredients in bowl. Smash banana in separate bowl, add egg and milk. Combine wet and dry ingredients together until flour is moistened (it will still be lumpy). Add butter and stir just to incorporate. Cook as you would any other pancake.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Matt and I have agreed that we are going to be serious about saving money this year. I have started to clip coupons and purchase items that are on sale and with those items I try to come up with recipes that taste good, are somewhat healthy and aren't full of preservatives and artificial ingredients.

I have lots of oats and dried cranberries on hand so I thought I'd make some granola. This is Alton Brown's recipe (it's good) which I tweaked just a little due to the lack of ingredients in my cupboard. For something a little healthier, try reducing the sugar a little and substituting half the oil with apple sauce. If you don't have maple syrup, use honey.


3 cups oats
1/4 cup + 2 T brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2T maple syrup
1/4 cup oil
3/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven: 250 degrees.
Mix all the ingredients, except for the oats and cranberries in a large bowl. Toss in oats. Bake for about an hour or until a nice toasty color, tossing every 15 minutes. Cool. Toss in dried cranberries.
Yield: 6 servings
Price per serving: Aprox. $0.30