Cooking, Holidays

Chicken Soup Is Always A Good Idea

It’s the Sunday before Christmas, The cards have been mailed, all the gifts are wrapped, and everything for our holiday dinner for two has been purchased. That leaves making Dean a batch of peanut butter fudge, and a pot of homemade chicken soup with pasta.

It is a cold dreary day, a perfect time to make the soup. There is something cozy, nourishing, and delicious about this homemade soup. I have made this recipe countless times, and this version is a favorite. This soup is all about the yummy rich broth that will warm you inside.

1 Whole Chicken – 4 lbs’ish
1 large Yellow Onion
5 Carrots
5 Celery Stalks
1 Garlic Bulb (big one or 2 small)
4 Springs Fresh Thyme
5 ounces Ditalini or other small pasta
1 32 Ounce Chicken Bone Broth
8 Cups Cold Water
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper Mill or Peppercorns

You can skip this step, but it really does make the chicken even better. 4 or 5 hours before you make the soup (or even overnight) unwrap the chicken and pat it dry, set the chicken in a shallow dish. Remove the giblet package, open and place them in the dish too. Salt everything very well. If you use Morton Kosher Salt use at least 1 Tablespoon on the outside, and 1 Teaspoon inside the cavity. Morton is more salty than Diamond, so adjust to the brand you use. Loosely cover the chicken and giblets, put the dish in the fridge.

When you are ready to make the soup:

In a large heavy pot (I use a 4 quart pot with lid) place the chicken breast side up. Add the following :
Quarter the large yellow onion – do not remove skin.
Chop 2 of the carrots into large chunks – do not peel.
Chop 2 celery stocks into large chunks – if there are celery leaves put those in too
4 Sprigs fresh thyme – leave on the branches
1 Head of garlic – do not peel, just cut on the equator to half
1 32 Ounce chicken bone broth (will make the broth a deeper color)
8 Cups cold water
If you have a pepper mill do several turns all over the top of the chicken, liquid, and vege, or toss in 9 or 10 whole peppercorns

Bring to a boil, skim the top as needed to remove any bubbling foam. Cover with the lid and turn down to a simmer. Let it simmer for 60 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

While the chicken cooks peel 3 carrots and cut them into circular slices, and do the same with 3 stalks of celery and set aside for later.

When the chicken is done remove from the pot, and put on a board or plate. While the chicken cools enough to handle, strain the broth. Discard all the vegetables from the stock, they’ve done their job.

Put the broth back in the pot and taste for seasoning, add salt or pepper if needed. Bring the seasoned broth to a boil and add the ditalini. Stir well, and add the carrots and celery. While the pasta and vege cook remove the skin from the chicken and tear into pieces. When the pasta is cooked add the chicken. Turn the stove off and check for seasoning. I always add fresh thyme leaves to the finish the soup. Serve & enjoy!

Family, Holidays

That Holiday Spirit

This year it will be a Christmas for two, Dean & I. Before Thanksgiving we decided we wouldn’t put up the big holiday tree. It is a lot of work, and we weren’t feeling the Christmas spirit. Then one evening, shortly after Thanksgiving, we were talking and I mentioned I miss having a tree and feel like it would make my heart so happy. He agreed with a nod, and we moved on to other topics.

The next morning I got up and went to work, and when I got home that evening our front door area was decorated. There was a new wreath, new holiday mat, lots of lights, garland, and glittery things. I was wowed! I unlocked the door, amazed at all the holiday fun, and was greeted by the sweetest 5′ tree. Next to it were the holiday bins filled with my favorite ornaments, and more glittery things. He had also gotten a smaller star and tree skirt for our little tree.

I was so surprised and touched that this man spent his day doing all of this just to see me smile and to make my heart happy. We spent the evening decorating the tree, listening to Christmas music, and enjoying the spirit of the season.

Each night our little tree, patio and entry are lit up, and so too is my heart. Dean really has given me what I needed this holiday season. We will miss family & friends, but our Christmas for two is beyond wonderful in so many ways.

Family, Holidays

He’s More Than a Veteran to Me

I’m the wife of a retired United States Marine. During his twenty-one years I had my fair share of tearful goodbyes mixed in with missed holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. I also had many sleepless nights, and days being glued to the news, and the worry that he was OK. I also got to experience those wonderful homecomings, and the relief of knowing he was finally home.

I have such a deep love and respect for Dean, and my sense of pride I feel for him is difficult to put into words. He gave so much bravely, unselfishly and honorably. He is so much more than a Veteran to me, he’s my guy.

Today is Veteran’s Day – and to him and all those who served and are serving – Thank You.