Tag Archives: veggies

The Best Chicken Soup

This chicken soup that (I hope) you are about to make is the BEST. It is so flavorful and does the body and soul good. And by the time you read this, we’ll be feeling like winter again AND maybe it’ll be close to the weekend so it gives you time to buy all the ingredients because…well…there is something about a hot bowl of soup on Sunday. I actually used up a lot of ingredients hanging out in the fridge to make this baby. I don’t know about you, but I never really feel like cooking on Sunday, but I do it. This soup simmering on the stove for all of 45 minutes makes it okay. And full disclosure…this recipe is inspired from Ambitious Kitchen’s Best Chicken Soup You’ll Ever Eat. It actually pops up FIRST when you type in the words “best chicken soup.” Everything I’ve ever made by Monique has been delightful so TRUST. I made a couple of modifications to add a bright lemony flavor to it but the OG stands on its own just splendidly.

Here’s how you make it.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil. I actually next leveled and used duck fat (yum)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1/2 sweet or yellow onion, diced finely
  • 1-2 celery stalks plus leaves, chopped (we chop very finely because my people don’t want to crunch it)
  • 2 carrots, sliced thinly
  • 1 TBS fresh grated ginger plus it’s juices
  • 1TBS fresh grated turmeric (you can use 1 teaspoon ground turmeric). You want the color!
  • Juice of one lemon plus its zest (zest it first)
  • 4-6 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 pound (or about 4) boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme, leaves only OR you can use a mix of dried herbs as I did here (1/2 tsp. of what you love, taste and adjust at the end)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup pearl or Israeli couscous, or tiny pasta like pastina
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas to be tossed in at the end
  • 1 parmesan rind (scrape the stamp off with a knife)

In a large pot, get the olive oil or fat shimmering. Add the onions and the celery and saute about 3 minutes until softened. Add carrots and garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add the ginger and turmeric, lemon zest and lemon juice, parm rind, and bay leaf. Add the chicken thighs to bottom of the pan and pour the broth over it all. The thighs should be submerged. Add the herbs and salt and pepper and bring to a good simmer. Cook for about 20-25 minutes until the thighs are tender.

Remove the thighs from the broth and shred with two forks. Add the chicken back to the pot then add the couscous. Cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until the couscous or pasta is done. Add the frozen peas and cook until heated through. Taste for seasoning, Top with fresh herbs.
First person to find the parm rind can eat it. It’s delicious.

NOTE:
You may want to add more broth depending on how “soupy” you like your soup. If you don’t have fresh herbs, use dried (which I did a mixture of fresh and dried on this day). You could also add beans instead of couscous, lentils, gnocchi, or quinoa. This will affect your cooking time, however. As a matter of fact, you can see on my instagram reel and maybe can tell in the photos that I used a Harvest Grain blend that I love from Trader Joe’s since there’s pearl couscous in this blend. There’s also quinoa, lentils, orzo. You might call this soup day a fridge purge day (it was).

I hope you make this Chicken Soup. It really is for the soul and when you do, tag me or let me know and let Ambitious Kitchen know too…because she really gets the credit here.

SALAD DAZE: Seven Summery Salads

I’m constantly inspired by the local seasonal ingredients around us to create fun, fresh salads to keep lunches interesting and add a cool component to dinners. Try some of our favorite salads we’ve been loving this summer. Most of these recipes are built for 2 4 people as a side or entree salad. Adjust your ingredients if you’re feeding a crowd.

Summer Squash Salad

I’d be remiss if I didn’t kick off the list with our favorite summer salad, with summer squash taking center stage. It made its debut here a few years ago. It’s crunchy, herbacious and satisfying. Try slicing the squash into ribbons for a fun twist but sliced thinly is superb. Click here for the recipe.

My version of Summer Squash Salad

Farmer’s Market Power Salad

It’s lettuce season. It’s corn season. It’s blueberry season. It’s squash season. It’s cucumber season. One visit to the farmer’s market and you’re on your way to this banging power salad. Simply add cooked quinoa and your favorite dressing. This month, I was gifted Oleamea Olive Oil so I used that. It’s organic extra virgin olive oil sourced from Aydin, Turkey, and I have to say, I’m impressed. It’s fruity and clean and the Everyday Extra Virgin used here made a perfect Shallot Vinaigrette. The premium Extra Virgin will be beautiful on caprese and with fresh bread. Typically, this salad would include freshly chucked corn in its raw form, but feel free to use cooked. I had leftover skillet cooked corn so I simply used what I had. But, raw corn on a salad? 100% yes do it. With the squash salad above? That too.

Ingredients:
Salad greens (I used arugula, mâche and tender romaine here)
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup RAW corn or cooked if you prefer
1/2 zucchini quartered
1/2 cucumber quartered
1/2-1 cup cooked quinoa
Place greens and other ingredients in a large bowl
Dressing:
1/2 shallot chopped
1 clove garlic grated
1/4 cup vinegar (champagne or white wine is great here)
Juice of half lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used Oleamea)
Salt/Pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients together, adding lemon juice, s/p to desired taste.
Disclaimer: After being contacted by their representatives, I was gifted a set of Oleamea Extra Virgin Olive Oil to give honest feedback as well as taste test for our Holiday Gift Guide. You can find Oleamea at The Fresh Market in North Carolina or online.

Triadfoodies House Side Salad aka Greens & Parm


If you’re fortunate enough to find some locally grown mâche in your area when its in season, I highly recommend adding them to your salad rotation. Great alone or combined with other salad greens, mâche (this from Daffodil Spring Farm in Valle Crucis) comes in these pretty rosettes and are a bit nutty, like watercress or arugula without the peppery bite. They complement every salad I’ve had them in. This salad, with any green or combo of greens I have on hand, is our go-to with entrees all year long, especially with pasta. But in the summer, you know we’re adding tomatoes. The two ingredient dressing is a must-try. You don’t even need a bowl…just drizzle oil & vinegar style. Super simple!

Ingredients:
Seasonal greens like mache, spinach, butter lettuce, romaine
Cherry Tomatoes, halved, optional
1/4 cup parmesan or pecorino, shaved or grated
Dressing:
1/8 cup white balsamic dressing (I like Batistini Farms)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
You can simply drizzle the vin and EVOO over the greens adding more of either when necessary. Finish with s/p and cheese.

Everyday Cucumber and Tomatoes Salad

Inspired by Chef Vivian Howard and her cookbook, Deep Run Roots, this memory triggering salad reminds me of dinners at my Grandma’s. The cookbook re-introduced this perfect salad to me and provided the ratios too. Enjoy the colors and crispness with BBQ, ribs, burgers, fried chicken or really any dish. It adds the perfect amount of acid and freshness to your meal. And as she states in DRR, the recipe is highly adaptable for adding all kinds of seasonal freshness, from watermelon to corn to blueberries and peaches. You can add a boiled egg and call it brunch and I’ve happily done so.

Ingredients:
1 tomato quartered or cherry tomatoes (use ends from a tomato sandwich..no waste!)
1 cucumber, halved
1/4 red onion, sliced very thinly
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper

Directions:
Per Howard’s book, combine the cucumber and onion with the sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Allow to marry for about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and vinegar and allow to mingle again for another 20 minutes to four hours. Best served at room temperature.

Speaking of cucumbers and salad….

Everyday Cucumber Salad

Here’s another version of a cucumber salad, taking notes from Chef Howard’s recipe but adding some garlic with options of changing up the dressing for a different flavor profile. Note: Add sesame oil and rice wine vinegar in place of balsamic and extra virgin olive oil and you have the perfect dressing for an asian inspired cuke salad. Add a chili flavored oil with white balsamic or sherry vinegar for some heat and pair with seafood. Persian, Piccolino or English cucumbers are best here but use what you’ve got. Feel free to add mâche, watercress, avocado or onions here for even more flavor, but they are not necessary, because…well it’s a cucumber salad.

Ingredients:
1-2 Cucumbers halved
Dressing:
1/4 cup balsamic dressing
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
salt/pepper to taste
Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over cukes and give them a toss. It’s okay to do this a little while before you eat as the cukes have time to quick pickle in the dressing.

Asian Cabbage Salad w/ Ginger Dressing

Okay, so this stunner with all the colors of summer is absolutely simple to make. You can use any number of veggies here. Mr. foodie doesn’t love cucumber (lol that this post has several salads with cukes) so I didn’t add it here, but cukes would be delicious and I might say necessary. As for the dressing, you can make your own as I provide a recipe here, but I will offer no judgement if you use a favorite brand from the store. Been there. Done that. Makoto forever! And Little Black Dressing Co. too.

Ingredients:
1/2 purple Napa cabbage, shredded thinly
1/4 head Romaine lettuce, shredded thinly
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1 bell pepper sliced thinly
Red onion, carrots, cukes optional
Dressing:
2 tbs. fresh ginger, grated (jarred is okay ..it really is)
1 clove garlic, grated
2 tbs. soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup sesame oil (or combo of sesame and neutral oil)
1 -2 tsp. sugar or honey to taste
sesame seeds (optional)
Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients except oil, sugar and seeds and whisk. Slowly add the sesame oil, tasting as you go. If you like it less sesame-y, begin adding the neutral oil like olive oil. Sweeten to taste. Add sesame seeds if desired.
Toss the salad and pour dressing over. Serve immediately.

Summertime Pasta & Corn Salad

Who doesn’t love a pasta salad with a light, yet creamy dressing? This herby salad has it all. Better still, you can make your own creamy dressing (think Greek yogurt, cilantro or other herbs, lime, s/p) or just use your favorite ranch. I used a Sriracha Ranch from a local restaurant, F.A.R.M Cafe in Boone. The dressing from the squash salad above would be fab with this. The salad is terrific the next day.

Ingredients:
1 lb cooked pasta (I used trottole, but any spiral or shaped pasta will do)
1 cup cooked fresh corn (the sweeter the better)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh cilantro
Handful fresh chives (optional)
Salt/pepper to taste
Your favorite creamy dressing.
Cook pasta, drain, add the rest of the ingredients to a bowl and toss. Pour enough over to cover well but not drench. You can always add more, right? Toss and enjoy.

I hope you enjoy these summery salads. Any one would be great with the addition of some protein to turn it into more of an entree. If you try them let me know!