Frozen Chicken Soup.

 

Hello everyone! It’s Tiffany from The Nesting Project here to address an important issue in the month of January and during flu season: homemade chicken soup.  The unfortunate thing about homemade chicken soup is that when you need it your are usually least likely to feel like making it. So I’m going to share a process that I’ve come up with that helps me make sure I always have some on hand for my family or even care packages for friends who end up needing a little extra food TLC.

One of my favorite things to freeze soups and purees in is Mason jars. While I love canning I rarely need to do that when I can just stick it in the freezer. I did this for all the baby food I made for my daughter this year. I would just freeze it in Mason jars and then defrost it one at a time. The trick to doing this is make sure you leave room at the top (I leave about an inch). Another good thing about this is that when I make soups I always have so much left over and we rarely finish it all even when I try. So instead of having to throw it away I fill up Mason jars and then we have it for another meal the next week. Another way I use this? Tomato sauce. I make a large batch and fill up Mason jars and I have fresh tomato sauce all month.

Now back to my chicken soup. Whenever I roast a chicken or during a busy week get a rotisserie chicken I never throw away the bones. Usually there is plenty of bits of chicken left that make the perfect addition for chicken soup. To make this less time consuming I add chicken stock to it and the pasta into the soup instead of cooking it before. Everything goes in the pot and simmers for a couple of hours and then I have chicken soup for dinner or in mason jars as insurance against a cold.

It’s definitely one of those pantry staples you should try to have on hand for you or your loved ones.

 

Chicken Soup

Bones from 1 leftover roasted chicken

3 medium sliced carrots

3 medium stalks of celery chopped

1/2 of a medium onion chopped

4 cloves of garlic minced

6 cups water

6 cups chicken stock

6 oz Rotini pasta (roughly 1/2 a box)

2 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of Italian seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a stockpot add the olive oil, onion and garlic and cook on medium-high until translucent. Add the celery and carrots and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and water. Then add the chicken bones along with the Italian Season. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 1.5 to 2 hours. During the last 30 minutes take out the bones and clean any chicken meat off and put into the soup. Then add the pasta and finish cooking until it’s al dente.

Let cool and put into sterilized Mason jars while leaving at least an inch at the top. Add the tops and put in freezer.

 

 

Christmas Cranberry French Toast Casserole

 

Hello everyone! It’s Tiffany from The Nesting Project here today to bring you a breakfast recipe idea for Christmas morning.

The holidays are perfect for make ahead casseroles, especially when you’re talking about Christmas morning. The last thing you want to do is slave away in the kitchen making breakfast while everyone is having fun unwrapping gifts. There are many great French Toast recipes out there but I was really wanting to come up with a festive seasonal dish that I could make the night before and just pop in the oven with maybe a  pan of bacon and in 30 minutes you have a great Christmas breakfast. The best thing about this is that you don’t have to waste any precious memories. You will be there for every smile and laugh.

Cranberries are an untapped resource for breakfast recipes in my opinion so I decided to create a recipe that used homemade cranberry sauce in a French Toast Casserole. The color is festive and the flavors echo the holiday perfectly. Just pour half into a 13×9 glass baking dish and then top with cubed Italian bread and the egg/mixture. Just remember to take the casserole out of the fridge the morning of and let it come to room temperature.

Merry Christmas to everyone and I wish you peace and blessings in the coming New Year.

Cranberry French Toast Casserole

1 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries

1 cup water

1 orange

1 lemon

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1 16 oz loaf Italian bread cubed

5 eggs

2 cups half and half

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the juice and the zest of the orange and lemon. Let it come to a simmer and when the skins of the cranberries split apart lower to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally for about 20 minutes. When the sauce thickens take it off the heat and let it cool slightly. Butter a 9×13 glass baking dish. Pour half of the cranberry sauce into the bottom.  (reserve the other half to pour  over the top for when you serve the final casserole)

Add the cubed Italian bread on top of the cranberry sauce. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, half and half, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla until combined. Pour on top of the bread evenly. If you are making this the night before then cover it with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Make sure you let it come to room temperature the next morning.

Put in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. You’ll start to see the cranberry sauce bubble and ooze up through the bread. When you cut and serve, invert the slices so the beautiful red cranberry sauce is the first thing your family sees. Enjoy!

 

Mashed Cauliflower and Kale for Thanksgiving.

I’m grateful for delicious local produce.

Hello everyone! It’s Tiffany from The Nesting Project back again to share a delicious side dish for your Thanksgiving table, mashed cauliflower and kale.  A month ago I was excited to write about Oxfam’s GROW method and how eating locally and seasonally can be an amazing adventure. I am privileged to be able to do a Thanksgiving post in honor of the GROW method thanks again to my neighbor’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box. She has continued to hand off leftover produce from her box and I’ve been busy creating recipes to utilize them.  What better time to put this into practice than this week: one of the biggest eating holidays of the year.

So in this installment we have cauliflower and kale making an appearance for my Thanksgiving table. One of my favorite side dishes is mashed potatoes. It’s comforting and delicious. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t have ton’s of nutrients though. So why not achieve the same comfort food equivalent with a few new ingredients. Cauliflower is a great substitution to achieve the velvety texture of a mashed potato. It’s also in season. Kale is another great seasonal green that you can add to it and it’s also packed with Vitamin A. It’s a great way to sneak greens into your diet. First you roast everything together with some olive oil and 4-5 cloves of garlic and then you blend them with a little warm milk and Parmesan cheese. I challenge you to tell me this dish isn’t as comforting and it’s straight from my CSA (well my wonderful neighbor’s CSA) box, grown from our local Tant Hill Farm. I hope you enjoy it and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Mashed Cauliflower & Kale

4-5 small heads or 1 large head of Cauliflower

1 large handful of roughly chopped Kale

4-5 cloves of garlic peeled

1/2 cup warm milk

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Olive Oil

Salt & pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Break up Cauliflower (see pic 2)  and add Kale, and garlic cloves to a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over them until everything is lightly coated. Spread onto sheet pan and lightly season with salt and pepper. Stick into oven for 30 minutes. Take out the sheet pan and put aluminum foil over it for about 10 minutes. Put entire mixture into blender or food processor with warm milk and Parmesan cheese and pulse until smooth. (If you want you can add another 1/4 of milk if you want it more smooth and less thick) Check to see if you need to add a bit more salt or pepper. Serves roughly 2 people as a side dish so make sure to double/triple it if you want to use it for a large crowd!