Friday, January 30, 2009

Creamy Chicken and Pasta Soup

This recipe is on page 80 of the Pillsbury Fast and Healthy Cookbook. I'll type in the recipe as is then tell you what I changed at the end.

Creamy Chicken and Pasta Soup

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

2 (14.5 ounce) cans ready to serve fat free chicken broth with 1/3 less sodium
5.25 ounces (2 cups) uncooked medium shell pasta
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 cups skim (fat free) milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup frozen sweet peas
1 (2 ounce) jar chopped pimentos, drained
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves
dash white pepper

1. In nonstick Dutch oven, bring broth to a boil. Add pasta and chicken. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 9 to 11 minutes or until pasta is of desired doneness.

2. In small bowl or jar with tight fitting lid, combine 1 cup of the milk and flour. Beat with a wire whisk or shake until well blended.

3. Add flour mixture, remaining 3 cups milk, peas, pimentos, basil and pepper to broth mixture; cook and stir over medium heat until soup is bubbly and thickened and chicken is no longer pink. If desired, add salt to taste.

Yield: 6 (1.5 cup) servings.
Calories: 280
Calories from fat: 20
Dietary Exchanges: 2.5 starch, 2 very lean meat OR 2.5 carbohydrate, 2 very lean meat

My changes: I put the 2 cans of chicken broth in the pot and decided that wasn't enough liquid, and besides I think the broth straight out of the can is too rich, so I added about 3 cups of water and a large chicken bouillon cube. (Then there was too much broth; next time I'll only put in one can of broth, the water, and the bouillon cube.) I also made the pasta in a separate pot. I've found that cooking pasta in with the soup lets it get way too mushy, especially if there are leftovers. If you make the pasta separately then add it to each individual bowl of soup you can avoid the congealed pasta syndrome later! It definitely needed some cubed potatoes, which I'll add next time. (We love our carbs around here.) I spiced up the seasonings a little bit too; I added dill because my family LOVES dill, used regular pepper out of a grinder instead of the white pepper, went heavy on the basil, and added a good hit of salt. I left off the pimentos; I didn't think the kids would go for red bits floating around in their soup. It was a moot point since they wouldn't even try it anyway, for Pete's sake. Well, The Eldest loved it; The Middle Child tried it and declared it "too spicy" (which it wasn't at all); The Youngest wouldn't have anything to do with it.

A note about changing recipes: I don't know when the realization hit that I was allowed to CHANGE recipes, and really, nothing bad would happen, except maybe the food wouldn't turn out to be something we like, but it might not turn out anyway so I might as well go for it. The Food Police haven't been by the house to check on my cooking or anything, go figure! Maybe it was all the Food Network shows I watched for a while. ??? Whatever the reason, I finally got it. I finally learned that if I didn't like every single ingredient in a recipe, but the recipe looked good generally, I could leave out the offending ingredient!!! Now I tweak my recipes all the time and rarely follow one to the letter. I probably wouldn't try changing recipes for baking, but for regular cooking- why not! The only problem is when I make changes and make something that turns out great, but I don't write down what I did and can't replicate it later. Unfortunately that happens all too often, much to DH's chagrin! ;)

1 comment:

Kevin said...

DH also wants to remind you that a milk based soup needs to be rinsed out of the pot. Milk + heat + a few hours == glue on the bottom of the pan.