Saturday, December 26, 2009

Apple upsidedown gingerbread with cinnamon whipped cream

Apples are my favorite fruit, hands down. Gingerbread is high on my list of favorites as well. Thats why when I heard about apple gingerbread upside down cake I knew it would be a hit. I mean whats not to love, apples, spicy gingerbread, caramel topping, sounds like a serious case of Kitchen Witchcraft to me!

The first time I made this gingerbread upside down cake I used McIntosh apples. While they did have good flavor the apples tendency to become overly soft when cooked was an issue. The 2nd time around I used Pink Ladies. Wow, what an improvement! The apple flavor is still very pronounced but the apples have a tarter edge than the McIntosh did, and a firmer flesh which stood up to the gingerbread, as well as the caramel topping, a lot better.

I decided to use my old standby cast iron skillet to bake this gingerbread cake in. What can I say, I love my cast iron!! Old fashioned pineapple upside down cake is made in an iron skillet, why not my apple upside down gingerbread? Here's how the cast iron helps make a superior upside down cake, or gingerbread:

~The caramel topping cooks in the same pan as the cake bakes in, less pans to clean!
~Cast iron holds heat extremely well. This means that the pan is pretty darn hot when you pour your batter into it, resulting in a very even bake and a delectable crusty edge
~Because the caramel is cooked and never removed from the pan it develops a deep caramel flavor, something that was lost in the original. (at least at my high altitude it was)

The cinnamon whipped cream is a Kitchen Witch exclusive. The slightly sweetened spicy cream is the crowning touch to an already delicious cake.

Apple upside down gingerbread
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, serves 12
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
4 apples (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges (I used Pink Ladies)

1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup dark molasses
1/3 cup honey
1 cup milk
1 T lemon juice
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 t fresh ground nutmeg

Cinnamon Whipped cream
1 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 t vanilla
3 shakes cinnamon or 1/8 t approx
1 T powdered sugar

Heat a cast iron skillet over med heat. Add the topping ingredients to the pan, whisk well. It will take a bit of cooking but the mixture will go from grainy to smooth caramel, just keep working it! Cook the caramel for 5 minutes over med heat, stirring often.

Arrange apple slices on top of the hot caramel, using a spiral pattern. Remember this will be your presentation side! You will probally have about 1 apples worth of slices that won't fit into your pretty design. Dice them up & sprinkle over the top of the arranged apples.

In the work bowl of a mixer whip butter until fluffy. Add sugar, whip well. Add honey, molasses and egg, mixing well until smooth. Add the milk & lemon juice, mix well. The batter will be very curdled looking, this is normal.

Sift flour, spices, salt & soda together. Add dry ingredients to the wet in 3 installments, scraping down the sides after each installment. Batter will begin to smooth out after 2nd addition.

Pour batter over apple slices using care not to disturb the apples. Smooth batter on top and bake at 335* for 45-60 minutes. Start checking at 45 min, remove when a toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 min before inverting.

USE CAUTION when inverting, the cast iron will be HOT still. Invert cake onto a large plate.

To make the cinnamon whipped cream add all ingredients into a work bowl and whip cream with a mixer. You will want stiff peaks, about 5 min of whipping.

Top cake with dollops of whipped cream. Best when served warm. Delicious with coffee.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


As the sweet, brown, buttery smells of cooking caramel fill the Kitchen Witch headquarters we know the holiday baking season is upon us.

Here in Colorado its pretty difficult to make candies and other boiled sugar confections because of our altitude. For you low landers, that's anyone under 3,000 ft above sea level, you probaly don't have any clue what I'm talking about. Let me tell you. Water boils at 212* at sea level. Here, at 6,000+ ft ABOVE sea level water boils around 190*. Whats the problem, Kitchen Witch, your water boils at a lower temp, things should cook faster, right? Well, no, not so much. What happens here is that the water in say caramel boils out too soon and the sugars start to recrystalize before we want them to, resulting in caramel that is crunchy and hard, not soft & chewy. Or cookies that are flat as pancakes, not soft & chewy and puffy. Altitude, its a bitch!

The caramel recipe I'm about to share with you is more of a 'cheaters caramel' compared to a traditional caramel preparation (sugar, butter and cream). I realize that true candy makers will probally shudder at the corn syrup addition to the caramel but its what allows this caramel to work so well at our altitude.
For those who are wondering, the corn syrup alters the crystaline structure of the dissolved sugar, and won't allow it to recrystalize and become hard or crunchy. The corn syrup is the key to a chewy caramel at the Kitchen Witches high altitude.
If you are in a lower altitude & would like to try a more traditional approach please do and let me know how it goes! For those of us, lowlanders and highlanders alike, who would love homemade caramels thats pretty fool-proof, give this one a shot! It has not let me down yet!

Chewy caramels
from the Better Homes & Gardens 'Complete step by step cookbook'
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 c brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla

Melt butter in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add brown sugar and salt, stir well until it incorporates.

Add corn syrup and stir very well. *TIP spray the measuring cup with non stick spray before measuring the corn syrup, it'll pour right out and not stick to your cup that way*

Once mixture starts to boil add the sweetened condensed milk.

Notice how the caramel darkens as it gets closer to the target temperature.

Boil sugar mixture over med heat until it comes to the hard ball stage - that was 233* here at my altitude, please use the altitude conversion chart to determine what temp you should be aiming for based on your location.

Pour caramel into a buttered 8x8 pan, dust with kosher salt (salted caramel is amazing, try it!) and allow to cool completely before cutting & wrapping.

OR you can pour hot caramel onto pecan clusters to make 'turtles'. Top each cluster with a few chocolate chips. The residual heat in the caramel will melt the chips, all you have to do is come back & spread the melted chocolate over the caramel.

Candy stages, temp (at sea level) and cold water test results
Thread (230*-234*) -- syrup dropped from spoon spins 2 in thread
Soft Ball (234*-240*) -- syrup can be shaped into a ball that flattens when removed from water.
firm ball (244*- 248*) -- syrup can be shaped into a firm ball that does not flatten when removed from water
hard ball (250*- 266*) -- syrup forms a hard ball that is pliable
soft crack (270*-290*) -- syrup separates into threads that are not brittle
hard crack (300*-310*) -- syrup separates into hard, brittle threads

To do the cold water test, which is most accurate for high altitudes, get a small bowl of water, add 4-6 ice cubes, once water is very cold remove ice & drop small amounts of syrup into the water. I HIGHLY recommend doing this test through out the cooking process, to familiarize yourself with what the syrup looks like at the different stages.

ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT: Decrease temperature about 2* for every 1,000 ft above sea level

Happy Winter Solstice everyone! I wish you all a very happy holiday season filled with yummy treats, good friends, family and fun! May your kitchen be filled with delicious treats to sustain you through the winter season. By the power of three by three I wish you all Blessed Be!
With much love,
Andrea the Kitchen Witch

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cavity Finders aka Magic Bars

There is one thing that I make annually that really says CHRISTMAS to us and that's Cavity Finders. They also go by Hello Dolly bars, magic bars or 5 layer bars. But around here they are known as Cavity finders. The name should be pretty self explanatory but for those of you who don't get it let me explain. These bars are sweet, chewy, chocolaty goodness and if you have even the slightest dental imperfection you will know all about it after eating one of these bars. Is it a coincidence that we have our semi annual dentist cleaning appointment in January? I think not.

This recipe is NOT a Kitchen Witch creation. It is, however, simplicity and deliciousness in a 13x9 pan. My mom used to make these when I was a little girl. The recipe has been around forever - and regardless of what you call them, Cavity finders are Christmas baking at its finest, at least in this Kitchen Witches' eyes, and taste buds.

Cavity Finders
adapted from EAGLE brand Magic bars Recipe

1 stick unsalted butter
1 sleeve graham crackers, pulverized
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 bag chocolate chips
1/2 bag coconut flakes
1 c chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350*.

In a 13x9 pan place stick of butter and put into hot oven to melt butter.

Crush graham crackers. I use my food processor set up with a grating blade. This produces even crumbs and is turbo fast. If you don't have a food processor put the whole crackers in a large zip top bag and smash away. This method is a great way to relieve holiday stress!

Pour cracker crumbs evenly over melted butter. Tamp down with the flat end of a glass to create an even crust.

Top the crust with sweetened condensed milk.

Top the milk layer with the chocolate chips.

Top the chocolate chips with the coconut flakes.

Top coconut flakes with chopped pecans. Press firmly into pan with palm of hand. This creates a nice tight cookie and makes slicing easier.

Bake for 25 min or until sides are golden brown and the milk is bubbling up in the center. Allow to cool for a full 24 hours before cutting. Yes, I'm serious. The 24 hr rest gives the chocolate time to solidify and the ingredients to meld into a cohesive bar. Your patience will be rewarded!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pizza: Crust and sauce

When looking around the Kitchen Witch headquarters, better know as my kitchen, I discovered a LOT of things that I needed to use up, and quick! Let's take a look at the stellar ingredients I had to work with, shall we?

3/4 of a bag of cherry tomatoes that are just about past their prime. Skins, kinda wrinkly. Great. 1/4 c of Feta cheese in the fridge. A package of Canadian bacon in the freezer. A can of pineapple that's been living in my pantry for far too long. 5, yes 5, smoked sundried tomatoes. Wow. What an odd combination of ingredients, and they all need to be used up TODAY! This is going to take some serious Kitchen Witchcraft to make something edible out of this mess!

I started with the tomatoes. They could be roasted, concentrating their flavor and making peeling easier. What else do I have around here? Garlic, onion, herbs, all pantry staples. Sounds like pizza fixin's if you ask me! Pizza dough, I can make that. Cheese, toppings, check. Its pizza time!

This sauce is one of the better ones I've made. The husband declared it "The best pizza you've made, ever!" Looks like past their prime tomatoes made into a pizza sauce is a hit! This sauce is not saucy like most pizzas, rather its thick and paste like, more of a tomato pesto, which packed an awesome punch of tomato flavor. Crispy crust, generous toppings, yup, it was pizza success! And best of all, I used up a LOT of ingredients that could have otherwise ended up in the trash or compost pile. Brilliant!

2 1/4 c King Arthur Bread flour
1 1/4 t yeast (1/2 packet)
2 t white sugar
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1-2 T EVOO
1 + 1T c warm water

Proof yeast in small bowl with 1/4 c warm water and 1 t sugar. While yeast proofs mix flour, sugar and salt in the work bowl of your stand mixer. Once yeast is foamy add it to the flour mix along with EVOO and water. Mix with dough hook about 8 min or until you have a smooth tight ball of dough.

Coat dough ball with a drizzle of EVOO, toss around in bowl to coat ball completely and sides of bowl as well. Cover with plastic and set aside in a warm spot to rise. Allow to rise at least 30 min, but can go longer if you have time.

Spread dough out onto a pizza pan. Prick bottom of pizza with tines of a fork, this is called docking. Docking gives the steam a place to escape so the dough doesn't rise and puff there. This will give you less air bubbles on the surface of your pizza and a nice crispy crust.

3/4 bag cherry tomatoes, halved
5 smoked sun dried tomatoes
1/2 can diced canned tomatoes, rinsed & drained
2 cloves garlic, smashed (to be removed later)
1 t dry Italian seasoning, divided
1 T onion, fine diced
2-3 T EVOO
crushed red pepper flakes

Heat oil in a small skillet. I have this super awesome 6 in cast iron skillet that's perfect for this. Add garlic to cold oil, heat on med until garlic is just barely browned on 1st side. Flip garlic, add 3/4 t italian seasoning and 2 dashes pepper flakes & sautee until garlic is golden on 2nd side. Strain off herbs, pepper flakes & garlic, reserve garlic.

Pour hot oil over diced sun dried tomatoes. Add 1/4 t italian seasoning and 1 dash pepper flakes, 2 pinches salt & a few grinds pepper. Stir well & allow to cool while tomatoes roast.

Halve tomatoes & place cut side down on a silpat or parchment paper lined sheet pan (for easy clean up). Roast at 400* for 20 min or until the juices start to brown & the skins are bubbled & browned. Remove skins, run knife thru pulp to puree it essentially.

Drain canned tomatoes. Rinse well with water, this helps remove can flavor. Grab handful (about 1/2 the can), squeeze well to remove most juice, run knife thru as well. Add tomatoes to sundried tomato oil infusion, stir very well. Season w/ S&P as needed.

Toppings (Hawaiian style)
Canadian bacon
1/2 red bell pepper, fine dice
1 T onion, fine dice
1 can pineapple, in own juice, drained well
2 c mozzarella cheese grated
1/4 c Asiago cheese, grated or can use Parmesean
1/4 c Feta cheese

To assemble pizza spread sauce over crust evenly

Top with cheeses and toppings.

Bake a 400* for about 20-30 min or until crust is golden and cheese has melted & started to brown. Please allow to cool for about 5 minutes before you slice & devour this pizza. This rest time allows the cheese to firm up again so your topppings don't just fall off your slice.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oven roasted potatoes

Mmm...potatoes! These innocent tubers are the stuff that dinner dreams are made of! If you're sick & tired of mashed, baked and boring potatoes, the Kitchen Witch has the solution for you: Oven Roasted Potatoes!

With minimal ingredients (4, including salt & pepper!) and simple preparations you'll have an awesome side dish on the table in no time. These golden cubes of potatoey goodness are the perfect accompiment to pretty much anything! Having a dinner party? Add some fresh chopped herbs to the finished potatoes - the heat of the potatoes will draw out the herbs essential oils, scenting your dish with deliciousness. Grate on some fresh asiago or Parmesean cheese and you've created potato perfection!

But don't regulate these golden gems to the dinner table only! Top your roasted beauties with scrambled eggs, veggies, meats & cheese and you've got a skillet meal that any 24 hr pancake joint would be jealous of. With a fraction of the fat & calories - not to mention the PHO's that most restaurants use for their frying - they are almost health food!

However you decide to serve your oven roasted potatoes I'm sure you'll find them to be a Kitchen Witch Essential recipe and one of your go to's for a simple side dish!

Oven Roasted Potatoes
1 potato per person to be served (Russets are used here however Yukon Gold are my favorite potatoes for this application. Feel free to use what you have!)
drizzle of oil
Kosher salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 450*

Peel and rinse potatoes. Dice into 1/2 in cubes. Dry off cubes, this removes the surface startch and moisture which helps the potatoes to brown. Believe me if you skip this step your potatoes will be cooked thru but won't ever develop their golden crust that makes this dish so delicious.

Once potatoes are dried put onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, about 1 t per potato, toss with 1-2 heavy pinches of salt and a grind or 2 of pepper per potato. Toss with hands to evenly coat all potato cubes. Its very important that you get nice even distribution of oil & seasonings here.
Bake potatoes for about 15-20 min OR until bottoms turn nice & brown. With a spatula stir potatoes trying to turn as many over as possible. Trying to turn them too soon will cause the cubes to stick - the starches haven't cooked all the way, which will A. frustrate you when trying to turn them, B. make a HUGE mess on your baking sheet and C. result in gummy potatoes, not a good thing in this Kitchen Witches opinion! If they stick and/or the backs peel off the potato & stick to the tray, put them back in the oven & try again in 5 minutes.

Put tray back in oven after turning, bake for 5-7 min longer, remove & stir again. Repeat this one more time before serving. The potatoes are done when the exterior is golden brown & crispy, the interior is soft & fluffy (30-40 min total).

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 205.7
Total Fat: 4.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 1,175.5 mg
Total Carbs: 37.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.7 g
Protein: 4.3 g

Monday, December 14, 2009

Herbed chicken with white wine sauce

This is one of my all time favorite dinners. Its super quick and yet looks, and tastes, very impressive. Minimal effort for maximum flavor, sounds like a Kitchen Witch essential for sure!

In the summer when my herb garden is in full swing I like to stir up the herbs. One of our favorites is "Scarborough fair chicken" which, not surprisingly, consists of parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme as the herbal additions to my white wine & garlic. They make an amazing combination, Simon & Garfunkel knew a good thing when they sang it apparently. Marjoram, parsley and thyme is also a favorite combo. Marjoram has such a delicate scent & flavor, its great in summer, we really enjoy it! Try your favorite combo of herbs - I promise you can't really go wrong! *NOTE if using fresh herbs DOUBLE the amount of the dried.

In the winter when fresh herbs are harder to come by with out paying a premium I use dried with great success.

Herbed chicken with white wine sauce
2 chicken breasts
1 t dry Italian seasoning blend (oregano, rosemary, basil, marjoram) (or favorite herb blend)
4 pinches kosher salt
4 dashes pepper
1 clove garlic minced
1 t EVOO
3/4 c dry white wine, divided
1 T oil for sautee
2 T butter for sauce

Reserve 1/2 c of the wine for sauce.

Assemble marinade: 1/4 c wine, herbs, salt, pepper, garlic & EVOO, pour over chicken & marinate 2-4 hrs. Pound to 1/4 in thick overall for even cooking (I do this while the chicken is in a zip top bag marinating, no messy chicken spatters that way! Just be sure to use the smooth side of the mallet).

Remove chicken from marinade, remove large garlic pieces from chicken to avoid burning. Pat dry with paper towels to help browning.

Heat a stainless skillet over med heat.**DO NOT USE NONSTICK OR CAST IRON. Non stick won't allow the fond (browned bits) to form on the pan so you can't make a pan sauce. Cast iron will react with the wine giving the dish a metallic taste.

Add 1 T oil to pan, once it shimmers add chicken. Allow chicken to cook on 1st side about 4 min or until golden brown and chicken easily lifts from pan. If it won't release its not ready to flip.

Flip chicken & cook to an internal temp of 160* (about 4-5 min longer). Remove chicken & cover loosely with foil while sauce is being made. *NOTE: take temp of the chicken in the thickest part of the chicken, placing the thermometer in through the side wall of the chicken breast.

This yucky looking pan plus that glass of white wine will equal this wonderful brown liquid!

Deglaze pan with 1/2 c wine. Scrape bottom of pan with whisk or wooden spoon to loosen all cooked on browned bits. Simmer over med heat until reduced by 1/2. Add butter stirring well to incorporate into sauce. The butter will help thicken sauce further & add a nice gloss.

This sauce is more of a jus, or finishing sauce, so a little goes a long way. It is not a thick gravy. 1 to 2 T per person is usually plenty. Pour the sauce over the chicken after plating for best presentation.

Nutrition Facts
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 359.3
Total Fat 20.0 g
Saturated Fat 8.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.7 g
Cholesterol 99.5 mg
Sodium 1,245.5 mg
Potassium 310.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 3.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Sugars 0.6 g
Protein 27.5 g.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kitchen Witch Basics: Chicken Stock

Chicken stock is liquid gold in the kitchen. Its so easy to make, literally out of scraps, so its uber cost efficent too. Its used in things as simple as rice (to add flavor) or as the basis of a soup or stew. Nothing makes your food taste like you spent a lot of time slaving over it than good chicken stock. I use it constantly in my kitchen and always have at least 8 cups in the freezer waiting for a destination. Once you try homemade you'll understand why its so coveted.

Recently my local grocery haunt had bone in chicken breasts for .99/lb. Being a good Kitchen Witch boning out the breast is no problem, leaving me with an excessive amount of chicken bones to use up. If you, however, are squeamish about boning chicken, have no fear! There are alternatives - I'll tell you about them - keep reading.

Being a budget savvy Kitchen Witch I will freeze vegetable scraps, things like the ends of carrots or celery, to be used for stock. Since the veg is being simmered for 8 hours or more, the softness that freezing causes isn't an issue. Try keeping a zip top freezer bag of the cut ends, you'll be amazed how fast it adds up, and that's money you've paid that you're literally throwing away! Can you tell I'm very anti waste in the kitchen? Ingredients are expensive!

Ok back to the stock! So far we've got scrap bones and scrap veggies. Right about now I'm sure you're thinking "Um, Kitchen Witch, I'm afraid you've lost me here. Between your waste/cost rant and the scraps galore I'm not sure I want to venture to this strange new land". Fear not faithful reader. You don't need to use scraps to make stock, its simply a good way to use stuff that would otherwise become compost fodder or worse yet, trash!

For the boning/raw chicken challenged: use a package of leg quarters. They are very cheap and make excellent stock. And yes my white meat only friends, the dark meat is ok to make stock with. Believe me, I'm a white meat only kind of girl & I use the leg quarters when I'm out of bones, with great success, too.

Chicken Stock
10 chicken breast bones & skin OR 1 pack legs & thighs (also called leg quarters)
1 yellow onion SKIN ON (it adds great color to the stock) with an X cut in the top
3-4 carrots, skins scraped, cut into thirds
3-4 stalks celery cut into thirds
4 garlic cloves, crushed
15 black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
2 t dry thyme leaves OR 8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 t dry sage leaves OR 8-10 fresh sage leaves
1 handful parsley, fresh
1 T kosher salt
Water, about 1 gallon, however this will depend on the size of your stock pot

In a large stock pot add the chicken (bones), veggies, herbs & spices. Add water - about a gallon, until ingredients are covered by about 2 inches of water.

Over medium heat bring stock up to a simmer. DO NOT BOIL!** Once simmering reduce heat to low & cover. Skim off any scum that collects on top in the 1st hour or so of cooking. Simmer over very low heat, you want just a few bubbles breaking the surface of the stock, for 8 hours. Stock will have a very rich golden color to it.

Line a colander with paper towels or a clean tea towel. Pour stock through strainer allowing chicken, bones & veggies to collect in colander. Discard bones & veg. (No the chicken left over isn't worth saving. Why you ask? Because its been cooked too long, its completely dry & not worth your time!) An added bonus of the straining/towel method is that most of the fat collects in the towels so you just throw it, and those calories, away. That's waste I can handle!

Transfer stock to 2-4 cup size plastic containers.
Frozen stock stores up to 6-9 months.
Refrigerated stock stores 7 days maximum

**Do NOT Boil, why?? Because boiling causes agitation which allows the fat to emulsify with the stock, and the sediment (herbs, minerals) that normally float to the bottom get trapped in this emulsification, just like Italian dressing. This causes a greasy cloudy stock, which is unattractive and not nearly as tasty as the non boiled version. Trust the Witch on this one, take the full 8 hrs over a very slow simmer and reap the rewards.

Question:My stock is giggly, like jello almost. Did I do something wrong??

Answer: Nope! Not at all! As a matter of fact that gelatin is proof that you've done your job, and done it well, as a stock maker. The gel is the collagen and gelatins that have broken down from the bones & connective tissues of the chicken. Sure, that may sound gross but its really where the flavor is at. You know that 'finger lickin' good' quality of a good gravy or the stickiness that a good stew has? Well my friend, that's collagen! It fools your mouth into thinking its got something fatty & delightful because it coats your tounge with a velvety texture, like fat does. However collagen and gelatin are both fat free, so you get all the flavors and none of the calories or fat. The thicker the stock the more concentrated in flavor it is. If you have jello like stock, congratulations! Job well done!

Creamy chicken noodle soup

I don't know about you but I like creamy soups. Broth soups like chicken noodle are good for an appetizer, but for a main course meal I need a nice creamy soup to really satisfy me.

So when the jones for chicken noodle soup hit I decided that a creamy version was defiantly in order. Lucky for me I had a fresh batch of chicken stock just waiting to be used. Chicken stock is so easy to make and the flavor is SO much better than canned, why use anything else? I'll share the chicken stock recipe with you all another time.

When I make soups I dice my veg pretty small, like 1/4 inch pieces. Yes I'm anal like that. I like even consistency in my veggies and meat, I should be able to fit one of each ingredient on a spoon with some delicious soupy part & enjoy the bite as a complete flavor experience. You, however, can hack your veggies as big or as small as you like.

Creamy chicken noodle soup

4 cups homemade chicken stock (ok, canned is fine too)
2 carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 t poultry seasoning
2 chicken breasts, diced
1/2 of a 11 oz pack frozen 'fresh' egg noodles (dry egg noodles work too, use about 3 c)
1 c 2% milk
1/2 c half & half
3 T flour
2 T fresh minced parsley
1 T oil

Heat a large pot over med/hi heat. Add oil. Once hot add carrots, celery & onions. Sautee 5 min or until onions just start to brown. Add chicken.

When chicken starts to brown add the poultry seasoning and stir well. Don't worry if chicken sticks, it'll come up when we add the liquid. The browning, however, will add a lot of flavor so don't be afraid of it. Once you have some brown bits add the chicken stock and stir well, loosening browned bits from bottom of pan. Simmer 5 min or until carrots start to soften.

Add milk and noodles to soup. Stir well. Simmer on med heat covered for 12 minutes or until noodles are soft. Make a slurry of the half & half and flour (a slurry is a mix of starch and liquid that's added to thicken a soup or sauce. Add the flour to the half & half & whisk well - no lumps please!) Simmer for 5 min. Stir in parsley and enjoy!

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