Winter Weather Recipe

With cold weather expected to set in by dinner time tonight, I have been thinking about some of my favorite comfort foods.  Foods that not only warm my insides but warm my soul on a wintry night.  AS the temps have begun to plummet today I took a walk out in the yard (when feeding some cold hungry Mallards) and discovered some very green and cheery Italian parsley still growing in my herb garden.  I wanted to utilize parsley in the kitchen before the cold could take it down, so I will share an easy and hearty winter standard here at Green Heron Pond.  It is a variation on my usual- “flexible ingredient” chicken soup. And this soup is in honor of a new baby girl in Italy we have been thinking and dreaming about!

The Pond’s Italian Parsley & Pasta Chicken Soup

Ingredients: Use whatever type of chicken broth/stock (32 oz size) you like.  (maybe add a chicken bouillon cube* or two and a little extra water), 2 chicken breasts or 5-7 chicken breast tenderloins, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 onion chopped, most of a small bag of baby carrots- chopped, 2 celery ribs chopped, 1 small container “baby bella” mushrooms cleaned and sliced thin, a handful of baby kale- rough chopped, 1/2 a can cannellini beans- rinsed, 1/2 can diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup dried pasta (I like whole wheat farfalle) fresh Italian parsley and salt and pepper as needed.

Directions: Just cover chicken with enough stock, add onions, bay leaves and simmer until chicken is tender, around an hour or little more.  You may want to shred chicken a bit and then add rest of stock and the fresh veggies continuing to simmer for around another 30 minutes until veggies are tender but NOT mushy.  Add rinsed cannellinis, diced tomatoes and pasta and simmer another 15-20 minutes.  Top with fresh parsley and gently stir in and simmer for a few more minutes.

This recipe will double easily and I love it with crusty bread coated with melted butter and chopped garlic.  Grate a bit of parmesan over the top of your soup bowl too! If I did not have the fresh parsley, I would use a pinch of  dried oregano.

Italian Parsley and Pasta
Italian Parsley fresh from the garden!!

*OK, confession, disclaimer here… I have been known to use Knorr Chicken Bouillon cubes in conjunction with broth/stock to keep from using so much salt and to help fortify the soup! And Gasp– I love the hearty flavor!