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Alex Roberts and his family often serve Creamy Chicken Soup with biscuits.

Meredith Deeds, Special to the Star Tribune

Spaghetti and meatballs is a family favorite at the home of Isaac Becker and Nancy St. Pierre.

Meredith Deeds, Special to the Star Tribune

Michelle Gayer brings her love of healthy food to her children. Among Gayer's favorites: roasted cauliflower.

Meredith Deeds, Special to the Star Tribune

Recipes: Creamy Chicken Soup

  • September 26, 2012 - 2:33 PM
CREAMY CHICKEN SOUP

Serves 4.

Note: The Roberts family enjoys this soup with biscuits on the side or poured over white or brown rice that's been cooked with chicken broth in place of water. Roberts cooks up a whole chicken for his broth and shredded chicken; see recipe below.

• 1/4 c. plus 1 tsp. unsalted butter, divided

• 1/2 c. carrot, diced

• 1/2 c. onion, diced

• 1/2 c. celery, diced

• 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour (see below for gluten-free variation)

• 4 c. chicken broth (see recipe)

• 1/2 c. whole milk

• 3 c. shredded chicken (see recipe)

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• A few drops of lemon juice or hot sauce, optional

Directions

Heat 1 teaspoon of butter in a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the carrot, onion and celery to the pot and cook until tender, but not browned, about 6 minutes.

Remove the vegetables from the pan. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of butter to the same pan and stir in flour slowly until a thick paste forms. Turn to low, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in chicken broth to avoid lumps. After all the broth is incorporated, add the milk, sautéed vegetables and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the consistency of light gravy and then stir in cooked chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add lemon juice or hot pepper, if desired.

For a gluten-free version: Omit flour and sauté vegetables with 1 teaspoon butter. Do not remove vegetables when softened, add broth, then substitute 1 cup heavy cream for the whole milk and simmer until broth reaches a light gravy consistency. Finish by adding chicken, salt and pepper to taste and add a little lemon or hot sauce.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 365 Fat 21 g Sodium 290 mg

Carbohydrates 11 g Saturated fat 11 g Calcium 70 mg

Protein 32 g Cholesterol 126 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1/2 bread/starch, 4 lean meat, 2 fat.

 

SHREDDED CHICKEN AND BROTH

Makes about 2 quarts broth, 3 to 5 cups shredded chicken.

Note: This classic recipe from Alex Roberts (Restaurant Alma, Brasa) sets you up for more than one dinner throughout the week. Roberts uses the tender, moist chicken and flavorful broth in a number of dishes, but one of his favorites is a comforting Creamy Chicken Soup (recipe follows).

• 1 whole (3 to 4 lb.) chicken, rinsed and giblets discarded

• 1 carrot, peeled and trimmed

• 1 onion , peeled and cut in half

• 1 celery rib

• 2 tbsp. cider vinegar

• 1 tsp. sea salt

• 1 bay leaf

• Sprigs of fresh parsley, optional

• Sprigs of fresh thyme, optional

• 1/2 tsp. whole peppercorns, optional

Directions

Place the chicken in a large stockpot and cover with 3 quarts of cold water and bring to a simmer. Skim well with ladle until water is clear.

Add carrot, onion, celery, vinegar, salt, and herbs and peppercorns, if using. Gently simmer on low for 3 to 6 hours. Using large forks or kitchen tongs, carefully remove the chicken from the pot, allowing the hot liquid to run from the breast cavity. Place chicken in a large bowl or platter to cool.

Strain the broth into another pot or large bowl with a wire strainer and set aside. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from the bones and skin and set aside, covered, until you are ready to use. Discard bones and skin.

 

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH PARMESAN

Serves 4.

Note: One of Michelle Gayer's (Salty Tart) ways to prepare vegetables is to roast them. This quick and easy version of roasted cauliflower is a winner with both adults and kids.

• 1 medium head of cauliflower

• 2 tbsp. olive oil

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1 tbsp. grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower and cut the stem off so it sits flat on a cutting board. Slice the cauliflower head into slices 1/2-inch thick. The outside slices will fall off into pieces; remove the stem from the larger middle slices. Discard the stems and place the flowerets on the prepared baking sheet.

Drizzle slices with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Gently toss to coat. Place in the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove the tray from the oven and toss with Parmesan.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 103 Fat 8 g Sodium 73 mg

Carbohydrates 7 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 53 mg

Protein 3 g Cholesterol 1 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat.

 

Nancy's Spaghetti and Meatballs

Serves 12.

Note: Isaac Becker's wife, Nancy St. Pierre, often does the cooking at their house. This dish of Nancy's is one of the family's favorites. Not feeding 12? Divide the sauce and freeze up to two months. Becker and St. Pierre own and operate 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa.

• 3 (28-oz.) cans of tomatoes

• 2 tbsp. olive oil

• 2 onions, chopped

• 5 garlic cloves, minced, divided

• 1/4 c. plus 3 tbsp. freshly minced basil

• 3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, divided

• 11/2 tsp. salt, divided

• 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided

• 2/3 c. bread crumbs from day-old baguette (not toasted)

• 3 tbsp. whole milk

• 1/3 c. grated Parmesan Reggiano

• 1/4 c. minced white onion

• 1 egg

• 1/2 lb. ground beef

• 1/2 lb. ground pork

• 1 tsp. fennel seed

Directions

Purée the canned tomatoes in a blender.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and 4 minced garlic cloves, and cook until soft and translucent but not browned, about 6 minutes. Add the puréed tomatoes, 1/4 cup basil and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes.

Increase heat. Once the sauce is boiling, turn it down to a simmer. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; let sauce simmer while you prepare the meatballs.

In a large bowl, soak the bread crumbs in milk for about 15 minutes. Squeeze the milk out of the bread crumbs and discard the milk. Add the Parmesan, minced onion, egg, beef, pork, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, fennel seed, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Make a small patty and fry in a small skillet over medium heat until cooked through; remove from the pan and cool. Taste to determine whether or not meat needs more seasoning; adjust as needed.

Form the remaining meat mixture into walnut-size meatballs. Drop in sauce. Simmer on low for about 4 hours (or cook in a 325-degree oven for 4 hours). Serve over pasta.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 165 Fat 8 g Sodium 670 mg Saturated fat 3 g

Carbohydrates 13 g Calcium 123 mg

Protein 11 g Cholesterol 42 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 vegetable, 1 medium-fat meat, 1/2 fat.

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