Thursday, November 12, 2009

Can't go wrong with chicken soup!

I was looking forward to my day off today but it turned out to be quite a gloomy day. On rainy days, I like to try to do everything I possibly can to stay warm and indoor where I can marvel at the beauty outside on a fall rainy day from a safe distance. As usual, I went about my mission to find a way to warm the soul on a cold rainy holiday. Anyone who knows me knows that when it comes to cooking, I'm the queen of shortcuts. I completely admire women who came before me who set the bars high by spending hours working on one dish but that is never going to be me. I've accepted it and come to terms with it. Times have changed! If I wasn't working a full-time job and putting in a crazy number of hours, adjusting to a new home, planning my upcoming wedding, not to mention all the other things I seem to sign up for on a daily basis, I still don't think I'd like to spend my entire day cooking. I love cooking and thoroughly enjoy finding new recipes to try. However, I truly believe that if you can make delicious meals in thirty minutes (hail Rachel Ray) or less than why in the world would you want to spend four hours?

When I was introduced to Rachel Ray's thirty minute meals, I never had the chance to try it because I've always preferred Nigella's cooking style and at the time, I was busy trying to make Indian dishes. Earlier today when I started looking for a heart-warming recipe, I came across Rachel Ray's "Hungarian-ish chicken dumplings and egg noodle soup" and it was music to my hungry ears. That's exactly the kind of dish I wanted to make but I was a little skeptical about how it would taste especially since I didn't have much if any experience in making soups. At the end of the day, I have to tell you that the meal turned out every bit as delicious as I'd hoped and a complete hit not to mention it took thirty minutes to make.

If you're looking for some great comfort food on a cold rainy day, I highly recommend this recipe because 1.) I made it 2.) I ate it and 3.) it tasted way better than I ever expected. I would never recommend something if I didn't love it myself! I did make some modifications which I've made a note of below. Here's the recipe and if you end up using it, I would love to hear how it turned out for you and whether you made any modifications.


* Two 1-quart boxes chicken broth (8 cups), such as Kitchen Basics brand (I used parts chicken broth and 1 part beef broth simply because I like the taste of beef broth)
* 1 pound ground chicken
* 1 large egg
* 1 cup plain bread crumbs
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I used ground nutmeg instead)
* 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
* Fresh parsley, finely chopped (a handful)
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1-1/2 cups egg noodles
* 1/2 cup jarred Spanish piquillo peppers or roasted red peppers, cut into thin 2-inch-long strips (I didn't have any roasted red peppers so I added some jalapeno peppers for some kick)
* 6 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces, then shredded into thin sticks
* 3 tablespoons torn fresh dill (a handful)


1. In a medium saucepan, heat the broth to a boil; reduce to a simmer.
2. While the broth simmers, in a medium bowl, combine the chicken, egg, bread crumbs, nutmeg, paprika, parsley and salt and pepper. Roll the meat into 1-inch dumplings and add about 8 of them at a time to the simmering broth. Let the dumplings cook for 3 to 4 minutes, without stirring. Add the noodles, peppers and scallions and stir. Cook until the noodles are just tender. Stir in the dill. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper and serve.