Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow, Snow Go Away - Creamy Chicken and Barley Soup

It is cold. We have had around 5 inches of snow fall in the last 24 hours and this morning I awoke to my oldest muffin sick as a dog. Lovely. I don't know about you but when it is this cold outside I want nothing more than to sit and do nothing. My taste buds also seem to kick into overdrive and I crave everything that is NOT in this house and that I can't possibly make with the pantry items I have on hand. Last year when we had a snow storm I ordered from the local Chinese food place that delivered thinking they would be closed and not only did they deliver but the poor guy had to park at the bottom of our hill and run the food up so I had to give him a huge tip. I don't have the heart to do that again, as good as lo mein sounds.
But, if you are anything like me you are sick of the same old soups of chicken and rice, chicken with noodles, chicken and dumplings, chicken tortilla, you get my point. So, I thumbed through a few recipes and decided to combine a couple to make a new soup. The salesman's grandmother is famous for a wild rice soup that she makes every Christmas day that I love. I found a recipe that was similar to her soup and added what I did had on hand and it turned out very tasty. I am attempting to eat lower-carb and for some reason I feel like I did with this, despite the fact there are a few carbs in it. It is a relatively low fat soup that you can adjust to fit what you have on hand. Stay warm and Enjoy!

Creamy Chicken and Barley Soup
2 Chicken breasts
olive oil, salt and pepper
Drizzle the olive on and s&p on the chicken. Roast at 425 for 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Once cooked, chop chicken and set aside. *You could also use 2 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken.

2 stalks celery diced
1 small onion diced
2 large carrots diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
6 oz button mushrooms(approx 12 standard size) chopped (I always prefer fresh but you could use a can)
6 cups chicken stock (I use water and add better than bullion chicken base)
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp curry powder
2 heaping Tbsp flour
1 cup barley (I had quick cooking)
1/2 cup milk or cream
1/3 cup sherry

In the bottom of a large pot over medium heat, warm 2 tsp of olive oil. Add celery, onions and carrots and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the olive oil and sautee until soft, around 5-8 minutes. Next, add garlic and mushrooms and sautee for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in mustard, curry and flour and let cook for 1 minute so that the raw flour taste can cook off of the veggies. Next, pour in chicken stock and chicken and another splash of s&p and allow it to come to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low and add barley. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and allow barley to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once barley has become soft add in milk and sherry and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes to let the alcohol cook out. Serve with some crusty bread and a big salad and enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011


Wow. It has been a while. Is anyone still there? I have taken a break from typing the last two months, not by choice but when you have a million Trojans decided to eat up your hard drive you are not left with too many choices other than to close up the computer and just walk away. So much has happened since we last talked. We have had many of my favorite holidays pass us by and personal celebrations for me including my 30th birthday and 7th wedding anniversary. December was a totally nutso month for me, between cooking, baking, catering, working, wrapping, traveling, decorating...there was not much time to sit and reflect on too much. But, I love the New Years day and eve celebrations and the fresh start that you are able to get every year. It is like changing out the batteries on an old toy for my babies and seeing their faces light up with excitement over something that was once old but is now new again. This year I have put forth many goals, not really resolutions but just things that I need to do. There are many areas in my life that I feel have been put on the back burner for a long time but this year I am going to take care of me. I want to shed a few pounds, read a few books, pay off some debt and hopefully work my way into being one step closer into owning my own place. I have been dreaming for several months now about opening up the Yellow Rose. I have laid awake many nights dreaming of my turquoise tables and ladder back chairs and what my menu will look like and the kind of boots I want to wear with my apron opening day. I tend to dream in full on color with lights flashing and cameras rolling but I am ready to put that dream in place. Please pray for me and my goals as I pray for you and yours. I pray that your goals will make you a better believer and follower of God and the unbelievable power that he has over our lives and that you will ask for His faithful provisions as he leads you and your loved ones into this next year. Cheers!