I was feeling a bit under the weather and chicken soup is the first thing on my mind when other people in my household are sick. I know none of them will whip up homemade chicken soup for me, so ill or not, it's up to me. That and the fact I'm the only one home. I guess I wasn't in the mood for noodles.
I haven't cooked but one day this week anyway. Between the funeral, taking my mother to an appointment, and procuring my daughters random furniture, I haven't been home. I did manage to do laundry and make a casserole on Monday. So making dinner yesterday was at least another accomplishment for the week.
Soup was not only a good food for me yesterday, but also for my husband because he had four cavities filled (none of us girls had cavities - he got them all for us - way to take one for the team, Dad!) and his mouth was numb when he got home. So when he was sure he was dribble-safe (his mouth came back to life), he had a bowl. It wasn't major surgery or anything, but it's nice to give it all a rest with something easy to chew.
I didn't have the sage, poultry seasoning or whole bay leaves this recipe calls for, so I just made do with extra bouillon and ground bay leaves. In spite of that, it was just what the doctor ordered. My daughter stopped at the store and got some crusty bread to go with it. I doubled it so there would be enough for leftovers/lunches.
Chicken with Barley Soup (from allrecipes.com)
Original recipe makes 6 servings
- 8 cups water
- 2 pounds chicken thighs, or more to taste
- 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped celery (try to include celery leaves)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3/4 cup pearl barley
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cube chicken bouillon, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Combine water, chicken thighs, and bay leaves in a large stock pot; bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, place a cover on the pot, and cook at a simmer until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.
- Remove chicken to a cutting board to cool. Remove and discard bones, skin, and fat from chicken. Cut remaining meat into bite-sized pieces.
- Cool broth until the fat congeals on the surface. Skim and discard fat.
- Return soup to heat; add carrots, celery, onion, pearl barley, bay leaves, chicken bouillon, poultry seasoning, sage, salt, and black pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat to low, place cover on the pot, and simmer until the barley is cooked and the vegetables are tender, 60 to 90 minutes. Stir lemon juice into the soup just before serving.
I feel the need to pay homage to the Italian meatloaf my Cooking Buddy and I made last week. She, like me, is often struck with the sudden desire to cook something particular. She saw this Italian Meatloaf on Pioneer Woman's website and just had to try it. It was very simple to put together and when she gave me the option of cooking my loaf at her house or at home, I was originally going to take it home. Then I thought better of it.
I was there on Friday and I don't cook on weekends. Not that throwing a pre-prepared meatloaf in the oven could be considered cooking, but it was more likely to get eaten if I cooked it while I was at her house. Her oven was hot and ready, after all. Also, if I cooked it at my house and my family smelled that heavenly aroma coming out of the oven, I'd be on the hook to finish the rest of the meal.
I wasn't sure when or how I was going to serve it until Saturday night when I realized we were going to Cirque du Soleil's 1:30pm showing. It's an awkward time because it's right after lunch, but too early for dinner (even for us). You kind of have to get there by noon to get parking and we picked up my mother by 10:30.
So I sliced that meatloaf up and made it into sandwiches for the five of us. It was sooooo good sitting there in the car, watching the torrential rain drench everything. Something to keep our minds off the weather and being crammed in a steamy car. It turned out to be the perfect time to eat, thus avoiding buying expensive food from the venue.
Enough already! Just give up the recipe. Here ya go:
Italian Meatloaf (from the Pioneer Woman)
2 lbs ground beef
6 slices crust Italian bread (soak it in the milk)
1 cup whole milk (we used 2%; I'd probably use half and half or a mix of skim and half and half)
1 cup grated Parmesan
4 whole large eggs
1/3 minced parsley (we used dried)
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
12 slices thin pancetta (about 4 to 6 oz)
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat oven to 350
- Place the ground beef, milk soaked bread, Parmesan, eggs, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper into a large bowl and smush/knead it around with your hands until everything is completely mixed.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a separate bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, brown sugar, mustard, cayenne, and Worcestershire and stir together.
- Place the meat mixture on a drip pan (a pan with a slotted tray on top - we just put it in regular pans and formed it into a loaf making sure there was space around the outside of the loaf) and form it into a big honkin' loaf shape. Arrange the pancetta slices in an overlapping patterny all over the surface then spoon the tomato mixture all over the top. (Leave any excess juices in the bowl).
- Tent the pan with foil and bake it for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and contine baking it for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees and the meatloaf is no longer pink in the middle.
- Cut it into thick slices and serve it with your favorite sides.
So there you have it - Chicken with Barley Soup for when you're under the weather on a cloudy day and Italian Meatloaf in the car on a rainy day.
I don't question these things, I just make them happen.