Sunday, December 11, 2011

Soup and Santas

A few days after Thanksgiving, I made a shopping trip to Trader Joe's in a desperate attempt to put a little beef back into my life. One of the fun things about Trader Joe's is the way they put a few of their products together and offer samples of the results. That day, they had created a rather tasty chicken soup--but being fed up with winged meat, I mentally filed the idea away for another day.

I was talking to my friend Sandy a few days later, and Sandy told me about this wonderful soup she'd made using chicken strips, chicken broth, and spinach-artichoke dip. Really? That was the same stuff I'd sampled at Trader Joe's! It turned out we were both there on the same day.

Fast forward another week, and I'm back in Trader Joe's, thinking about how comforting soup is in the winter, and that soup came to mind, so I grabbed some spinach-artichoke dip from the frozen food aisle, and a couple cartons of free range organic chicken broth. The next day, Hubby went to Safeway and found rotisserie chicken on sale--the two chicken breasts, shredded, were just what I needed. And while I was disappointed to find I didn't have a package of whole grain and wild rice in my cupboard, I DID have a package of rice pilaf.

Here's what dinner looked like--and I can't even tell you how really excellent it tasted!

Seriously, it was super simple to make. Here's what I did:

I cooked a package of Rice-A-Roni rice pilaf according to directions, but I used 2 cups of chicken broth instead of water.

While that was cooking, I poured the rest of the two containers of chicken broth into the crockpot and added the package (now defrosted in the fridge for two days) of spinach-artichoke dip. After stirring it around, I added the meat from two chicken breasts, and turned the crockpot on low.

When the rice was nearly done, I added it--with the liquid still in the pan--to the crockpot and left it alone for three or four hours, other than the occasional stir. Now it would have been just fine like that, but I had about 3/4 cup of cream left over in the fridge that I wanted to use up, so I added it to the soup. Milk, half and half, or nothing would have been nearly as good, so don't worry if you don't have cream to add or if you don't want those added calories and fat.

I have a seasoning mix called Soup Pot, and I added about a half teaspoon of that to the soup, but it's not that necessary either. You can add about the same amount of poultry seasoning for a similar result.

I also had a package of Crescent rolls left in the fridge from Thanksgiving. Before rolling them up, I brushed them with melted butter and sprinkled on some grated parmesan cheese and minced fresh thyme--also left over from Thanksgiving. Yum!

Having soup cooking in the crockpot left more time for me in the Sweat Shop. I made two more little Santa wallhangings today--this time, I experimented using more wool and some brushed cotton. Oh, and these guys are lighter and brighter too!

The Wild Child came home from work chilled to the bone, just as I was putting the leftover soup in a plastic container. I was so glad I could offer her a nice hot bowl of soup and a couple of warmed up Crescent rolls. After thawing out, she was ready to help me pick a winner for the Pere Noel pattern--and the entry she picked was from Sandie ~call me crazy. Sandie said, "LOL I love that cardinal rule!! :-) Your little quilt turned out wonderfully~ I either applique with the little iron, or just blanket stitch on some things. Maybe I should devote more time to applique in 2012 too...hmmm. Thanks for the chance on the pattern~ I have a friend who collects Santa's from all over, and if I won it, I'd make it for her. Have a happy weekend!"

Congratulations, Sandie! Please email me your address, and I'll get this pattern in the mail to you.

I hope all of you are making the most of your weekend and getting things done that need doing. Tomorrow we'll decorate gingerbread houses. I know we'll have fun!


Me and My Stitches said...

Your soup sounds wonderful - we eat lots of soup during the winter. Have fun with the gingerbread houses - sounds like fun!

Josie McRazie said...

mmmm might have to try the soup! sounds great! No Trader Joes around here for those kind of ideas, so thanks!

dianne said...

yeah babeeee - those bright Santas are waaaay cool! don't you want to tickle those tummies?!? i really need to learn applique ... seriously ... and then i'll hafta look for the Irish Santa - Melissa has reconfirmed her belief that she is more potatoes than pasta AND in Santa (after watching Prancer six times last week - she used to leave the room when i'd put Prancer into the dvd player - but now she knows that Sam Elliott is the dad ... i gotta say, it is fast becoming my not-so-favorite christmas movie cuz more than once or twice each season is a bit too much for me)

Anna said...

congrats Sandi!!! I am sitting her at 0730 with a cuppa coffee drooling over chicken soup! lol

Miss Jean said...

Don't you just love Trader Joe's? We have one near us and unless I want to spend lots of time and money there I can't take hubs anywhere near there. He loves it! The one up by you is awesome. Bigger than our.

Sandie ~call me crazy said...

Oh my! I was reading along, and then came to my name and had to give a little 'whoohoo'! :-) Thank you so much! Your Santa's are adorable! We love soup and your recipe sounds wonderful! Have a happy day!

Anonymous said...

That soup sounds great. Now I'll have to check around to see what I can throw into the crockpot for some soup later on. Then I'll put your recipe on my grocery list for later. Thanks for sharing.

Pam at Antique or Not said...

Kim, your dinner looks scrumptious, and it sounds so easy! Gotta love those easy meals.

Love love love your Santa wallhangings! They are super cute!


Penny said...

Kim ~ Hmm,our nearby TJ's hasn't offered any soup samples lately!It's so enjoyable to shop there & sample! Thanks for sharing such a yummy sounding soup w/ ur own special add-ins.I want to try soon! Penny in So CA!