The easiest and fastest chicken noodle soup

Yesterday was a work from home day like all the rest, except the kids were out of school for a holiday. I, of course, forgot about this holiday and wasn’t prepared to serve them lunch. It was a little cold and windy, so a quick soup sounded good. This recipe is versatile — you can sub in whatever veggies or noodles you happen to have on hand. You could even sub the chicken breast for leftover pork tenderloin, or omit the meat all together. I had only frozen chicken on hand, so I did a quick defrost method. This takes about ten minutes to prep, and can simmer for as little as 20 minutes or as much as an hour. This version serves two tiny people and two adults (or it could make two larger portions).

Ingredients:

  • One large chicken breast (mine was frozen, I popped it into a bowl of hot water for a few minutes)
  • One box (four cups) organic chicken bone broth, plus one cup water
  • Three to four large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • Three celery stalks, chopped
  • One onion, finely chopped
  • Two tablespoons avocado oil
  • One tablespoon minced garlic (two to three cloves)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • About 8 oz (half a normal sized package) rice noodles (you can sub any regular gluten free pasta here)
  • A few sprigs of thyme, leaves torn off and stalks discarded

Bring the broth and water to a boil, add the frozen/partially defrosted chicken breast and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover, and simmer about five to ten minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. While this is happening, boil a separate pot of water for the noodles.

Add all of the veggies to the pot, and let simmer for a few minutes. Add the salt, pepper and thyme. Pull the chicken breast out and cut it up into small pieces (or shred it if it is soft enough). Add the chicken back to the mix.

Boil the noodles separately until they are al dente, while allowing the soup mixture to continue simmering. Once the noodles are almost done, but not quite, drain and rinse them. Add them to the soup.

Divide into as many servings as you wish (this can make two large servings or four smaller ones).

Buttery beef and barley stew with green chili

I don’t know if it was general pandemic stress or the attempted coup on the government by white supremacists, but yesterday I really got a craving for something comfortable and familiar. I don’t mean to make light of a horrible situation, but jokes and food are how I cope. So I strayed from my usual gluten-free adaptations today for some traditional beef and barley stew—with green chiles because I’m from New Mexico and green chile is how New Mexicans cope. I hope you like it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 5-10 cloves of garlic, to taste
  • 1 lb beef stew meat
  • 12 oz jar or can of green chile
  • 1 cup beef bone broth
  • 3.5 cups hot water
  • 5-8 carrots, depending on size, peeled and chopped into rounds
  • 5-6 stalks celery, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley (skip if you are gluten free)
  • 3 tablespoons grassfed butter

Directions:

Heat the avocado oil in a large and heavy soup pan or Dutch oven. Sauté the onion until it it translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and and the beef stew pieces, carefully —one or two at a time. Season with salt, pepper and cumin and brown the meat on all sides. Add the green chili and let simmer five minutes on low. Add the broth and water and bring to a boil. Drop the heat back to a simmer for about a half hour, and then add the carrots and celery.

Read the directions on your barley! The one I used took 50 minutes, but there are quicker cooking versions. Once your veggies are almost as soft as you’d like, toss in the barley for time it says on the package. Add the butter at the very end and stir till melted. Adjust broth for salt and serve. Makes about six large servings.

Easy no-breadcrumb meatballs

My family loves meatballs! But my stomach hates the hidden breadcrumbs. This recipe is a super simple, versatile version of the Italian favorite—and its gluten-free.

Ingredients (makes 15 two-inch meatballs):

  • One pound grassfed ground beef
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped herbs (I use parsley, but basil or oregano or a combo would work well)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl (I find it’s best to mix with my hands). Roll the meat mixture out into 15 balls. Bake for 25 minutes, let cool five minutes before serving. These go well with any gluten free pasta and Marcella Hazan’s simple marinara.

Stuffed poblano peppers

These are easy, not too hot, and pair perfectly with any Mexican food leftovers you may need to use. We had some pinto beans that I wanted to use creatively and with some leftover pozole my mom made the night before that we served on the side of this. The combo was perfect.

I made enough for two of us to each have one half, and another half to fry an egg on in the morning. You could easily double or even triple this recipe for a larger family meal.

Ingredients:

  • Two medium sized poblano peppers
  • About a half to 3/4 cup of cooked pinto beans
  • Four tablespoons creme fraiche (sour cream will work)
  • About a half cup shredded goat cheese cheddar, plus some to toast on top
  • A handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Two green onions, chopped
  • About a cup of finely chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the poblanos in half lengthwise and remove the tops, seeds and pith. Lie them face up on the pan and bake for about ten minutes to soften.

While they cook, mix all of the other ingredients together. Pull the peppers out of the oven and divide the mixture evenly between them. Top with additional goat cheese cheddar, or other cheese of choice.

Bake for 18 minutes. Let stand about five minutes before serving.

Fast cabbage slaw with tarragon dressing

This one came from a need to use a head of cabbage I’d picked from the garden for this recipe. I’d only used a couple of leaves and wanted to do something with the rest before it became forgotten in my crisper. I also had some fresh snap peas harvested this morning, so I decided to put them together. This ended up being tart, spicy, sweet and crunchy with the added depth of the tarragon’s light licorice flavor.

Recipe:

For the slaw:

  • One small head of cabbage (if store bought, use half or less), chopped into bite size or smaller chunks
  • About a cup of fresh snap peas or green beans, ends snapped off and cut into thirds
  • 10-12 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 1/2 a red onion, diced

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3-4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • Cracked pepper, to taste
  • A light dusting of cayenne pepper

Combine all of the vegetables and toss in a medium sized bowl. I love this bowl for everything.

Combine all of the dressing items and whisk. add the dressing to the slaw and toss. Enjoy on its own or as a side dish.

Chicken in Saffron Broth

This dish started with me flipping through one of Julia Child’s cookbooks and seeing something called “Pot-Au-Feu.” It looked good, if a little complicated. In Julia’s recipe, she trussed the chicken and stuffed it with homemade dressing before placing it in the boiling water. That sounded great, but I needed something quicker. I started with the veggies I had on hand — carrots, a leek, some green beans from the garden and a few gold potatoes. I also added four cloves of garlic later. The real magic of this meal is that my VERY picky children loved it. That’s a win in this house. (Scroll to the bottom for quick ingredients and instructions.)

Veggies ready for chopping
Vegetables including carrots, leeks, garlic, potatoes and garden green beans. Add what you have on hand!
Saffron
Saffron can be hard to find, but this one is at Central Market for $8. I used about 1/4 of it for this recipe.
Everything in the pot
I love it when it all comes together and looks like boiling art!
Whole chicken pulled out of the broth
Can’t you just smell it?
The finished product
The finished product!

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, preferably pastured and/or organic
  • 1 package Italian sausage links (or sausage of choice). Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods both have Whole 30 compliant ones that we like.
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • Water, to fill the pan
  • Four to five medium gold potatoes
  • One large leek
  • One to two cups fresh green beans or snap peas, ends cut off
  • Three to five large carrots
  • Four cloves garlic (or to taste)
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Sprig of Rosemary

Chop all veggies and set aside. Place the defrosted whole chicken, giblets removed, in a large stock pan. Fill to cover 2/3 of the chicken with warm water. Bring pot to a boil while you add saffron, salt and pepper. Turn down to a simmer and cover for about an hour, or until chicken is cooked through. Time can vary based on the size of your chicken. Add veggies, garlic (diced), rosemary and sausages. Simmer for another 20 minutes or so, until all veggies and sausages are cooked through. Pull the chicken out and set in a bowl or on a platter with a lip, and cut off the pieces you want to serve. Place the chicken, a piece of sausage and desired amount of veggies and broth in a bowl. Enjoy!