Easy Chicken Alphabet Soup

Easy Chicken Alphabet Soup

Do you remember having alphabet soup as a kid?? When I saw these alphabet pasta shapes at our local ALDI I just had to buy some! More for me than anyone else. Possum has been really getting into the alphabet lately and can even sing the whole alphabet song (proud beaming mumma over here! hello!). I thought this would be a fun way for her to play, learn and enjoy delicious homemade chicken alphabet soup. Possum makes soup at most meals. This involves putting a bit of everything into her cup of water, stirring it and then drinking it……… delicious……

This Easy Chicken Alphabet Soup is the perfect way to use up leftover roast chicken. A nice bonus when you’re using meal planning is this 2 for 1 kind of cooking! Less fuss, less stress and less cost. Bingo!

And yes I did have just a bit of fun picking out the letters to spell “alphabet” for my nice pic up the top 🙂 You likey? I used a Lego keyring (guess who owns that one!) as my lighting. So fancy! So professional!

Alphabet Noodles

As a little side story, it’s funny how sometimes the universe knows things way before you do. I cooked this soup on Saturday night. I did the grocery shopping during Saturday day, I normally do it Monday. I also strangely had the house pretty darn clean and organised by the time I went to bed that night. Plus Possum hadn’t had any Mummy Milk for 3 days… That night I was rushed to hospital with bleeding. I am 30 weeks pregnant and have placenta praevia. Legoman was out bush and out of phone reception. Not a fun situation.

To cut a long story short, I am now home again after a couple of nights in hospital. Both baby and I are absolutely fine. I was joking that had the hospital had a kitchen, a DSLR and wifi I could’ve happily blogged whilst there! Instead I used up all my data on my phone reading everyone else’s blogs (I found a few new ones here and here)!

Easy Chicken Noodles Soup cooking

Easy Chicken Alphabet Noodle Soup – Serves 4

For the broth:

Leftover Roast Chicken (I had nearly half a chicken left), skin and bones included

3 carrots very roughly chopped

1 onion peeled and quartered

2 bay leaves

10 peppercorns

a pinch of salt

1/2 red capsicum very roughly chopped

5 cups of water

large handful fresh parsley

For the remainder of the soup

1/2 cup of alphabet soup noodles

2 carrots sliced

2 cups broccoli florets

1. Place all ingredients for the broth into a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 10-11 hours. Or do as I did and start it on high for a few hours while you go do the grocery shopping then turn in to low until close to dinner time.

2. After cooking the broth, strain it through a pasta strainer. Strip chicken carcass of as much meat as you can. I still had nearly half a chicken on my leftovers so this was quite a meaty soup.

3. Add the strained broth and chicken meat to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add your sliced carrots. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add your alphabet pasta and broccoli. Cook for 5 minutes.

4. Then serve! It’s really that crazy simple!!

If you don’t have a slow cooker you can easily make the broth by sitting all the ingredients in a large saucepan on very low heat on the stove top. You could reduce the cooking time this way too.

I could’ve tried to style this soup, but really it’s such a kiddie classic and nostalgic wonder, I just had to put a picture of Possum’s cute little pink bowl and teaspoon instead. I hope your family enjoys this Easy Chicken Noodle Soup!

Toddler Serve of Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

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Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones

Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones

After Mother’s Day on Sunday you may have some roast pumpkin swimming around in your fridge. Or maybe you totally forgot Mother’s Day and are looking for a way to make it up to the person who gave you life! Either way, these  Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones are delicious!

Mother’s Day was a bit of a non event in our house. Legoman went to work and Possum and I went to a birthday party. I did get to stay in bed an extra 30 minutes and we had croissants for breakfast. Win! Possum gave me a very sweet book called I Love You Mummy and Legoman gave me/us welding gloves, a small shovel and a metal bucket. Romance hey! The romantic thing is that they are all used with our fire place, and they have already been put to good use.

The scones were made for the birthday party Possum and I went to, which was a combined 2nd birthday party for Possum and a few of her little buddies. We had such an amazing afternoon on a friend’s property in the Kanimbla Valley. Amazing views, a beautiful large creek, heaps of space for happy toddlers plus we even all chipped in and got a jumping castle. Needless to say poor Possum was beyond tired by the time we got home.  And the scones were a success!

These Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones are great for kids as they are low in sugar and actually have some veg in them. If you like you could play around with the buttermilk and pumpkin ratios if you want more pumpkin in there. Possum and I just had to do some quality control when they came out of the oven! Yummo!

Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones – makes 12-15

2 cups self raising flour

1 Tbsp caster sugar

pinch salt

60g butter chilled and chopped

3/4 cup buttermilk

freshly grated nutmeg ~1/4 tsp

1/3 cup roasted pumpkin

extra buttermilk for brushing

Preheat oven to 220°C standard/200°C fan forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Add flour, nutmeg, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Combine. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour until the mix resembles fine bread crumbs (I used to love doing this as a kid growing up).

Make a well into the centre of mix. Add buttermilk and pumpkin. Use a butter knife to combine until it forms a sticky dough. Turn out onto a floured surface (also put a little flour on your hands). Knead gently until smooth.

Press out the dough until ~2cm thick. You can either cut into desired number of scones or use a cutter to make shapes (I did love hearts, surprise surprise!). Place the scones on the baking tray so that they are just touching. Brush the tops with some buttermilk.

Bake in the top half of the oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Serve with butter, ricotta or even mascarpone for a special touch of yum!

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A duck is not a chicken

Happy New Year!!! Hope you all had a wonderful evening doing whatever it was you wanted to do. We shared an early party with some friends and all 3 of us were sound asleep by 9:30! Winner! This whole holiday period has been an interesting experience with a life hungry toddler. Sleep and routine have shifted hugely, and our “no TV” house has turned into a daily dose of Play School on the laptop for some quiet time. Thankyou Big Ted!

This year we hosted Christmas Day at our house with my mother in law and brother in law joining us for lunch. I wanted to cook something a bit tizzy but simple to make. I found a 2kg duck for $14 at Coles a few weeks ago and thought it would be the perfect treat! Mmmmmmm roast duck. I grew up in a suburb that had multiple Chinese Roast Duck shops, so I had high expectations.

The finished product

The finished product

Christmas Day arrives. Duck is thawed in time, phew! First hurdle complete. I take the duck out of the packaging. What. The. It still had it’s neck on and that thing just didn’t look right. A duck is certainly NOT a chicken. It’s all long and lanky with no boobs. Kind of a gawky drag bird. It also still had a few downy feathers on it. Armed with my eyebrow tweezers I attempted to pluck what I could out of the duck. About 20 plucks later I gave up and hoped they would kind of cook away. Turns out they didn’t…

The recipe I used was super simple and easy. Stuff the duck with fresh orange, cinnamon and thyme. Season well with salt and roast at 170 (fan forced) for 1.5 hours. Rest for 20 minutes and serve with a basil and cherry salsa. I added a few potatoes to the pan thinking potatoes roasted in duck fat, AHmazing.

The duck was tasty, but we got in a bit of a flap trying to get everything on the table at the same time so was served close to cold. It was lovely and moist but the skin didn’t have that beautiful crispy, caramelised goodness I associate with roast duck. The salsa was delicious and would be one to keep in mind at summer time. The potatoes didn’t look like much, not much fat cooked off the duck. But the flavour was a lovely surprise. All the yummy citrus and spice flavours had soaked into the potatoes, yummmmmm.

A couple of days later I thought I would pick over the remains to get as much meat as possible to make something with. Once again, a duck ain’t a chicken. With a roast chook there seems to be ample meat to find in hidden nooks and crevices. With this duck it seemed to have twice as many bones and more fat than I had imagined. I began prying tiny morsels of meat off the bones until I grabbed something that felt odd. It was it’s wind pipe!!!!! I nearly flung the carcass across the room. I didn’t care how little meat was left on that thing, I wasn’t touching it again!

So my duck spring rolls were more carrot and cabbage than duck, but were delicious none the less… And here is the recipe.

Duck Spring Rolls

Leftover roast duck meat

5 spring onions finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic crushed

2 carrots, julienned (I used a peeler as I’m not that skilled!)

1/8 cabbage finely chopped

75g packet mung bean vermicelli

1 Tbsp kecap manis

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp curry powder

Spring rolls wrappers

Boil the kettle and pour water over the noddles. Let soak for about 10 minutes, until soft. Drain and rinse. Set aside.

In a hot skillet or fry pan, add some oil and fry the duck meat, shallots and garlic until starting to get crispy. Add vegetables. Stir for a couple of minutes. Add kecap manis, sugar and curry powder. Mix together. Take off heat and mix with the noddles.

Spoon some mixture onto a spring roll wrapper and roll as per packet directions. I found i had to squeeze it in tight to make them nice compact spring rolls. Continue until you either run out of mix or wrappers.

Deep fry in hot oil until golden. Serve with rice, salad and some sweet chilli sauce.

This made about 12 GIANT spring rolls.

(sorry no photos! got too distracted by fresh deep friend spring rolls to remember to take a pic!)

Fridge Clearout Challenge

At the end of every week there is the leftover, scrap, random containers of food challenge to navigate prior to doing the weekly shop on Monday morning. Sometimes this is a delicious treasure hunt if what you’ve cooked during the week has been a hit! But other times, like tonight, you stare at the leftovers on offer and think that a piece of toast might be a better option.

There is the Italian Sausage and lentil stew that I did in the slow cooker last night. Possum wasn’t a fan, Legoman wasn’t a fan. I must’ve been hungry as I quite liked it…

There is a BIG container of the Beef and Beer Stew I made earlier in the week (with a kilo of lovely organic beef!) which tasted quite horrible. So disappointing. Still figuring out how to redeem that one.

And then there was the big piece of Jarrahdale pumpkin which was meant to go into a Pumpkin, Chickpea and Lemongrass stew that never got made.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

Pumpkin.

Pumpkin.

Pumpkin, Fetta and Lentil Pie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am proud to say this was a winner! My own recipe too! Possum loved it. I loved it. And it was super easy to make.

I thought we had puff pastry (in my head there is an endless supply of it in my freezer), turns out we only had shortcrust. So I made it more of a pastry sandwich than a pie, but if you went to a fancy restaurant they would’ve called it a pie!

Here we go…

Even tasty on its own!

Even tasty on its own!

Pumpkin, Fetta and Lentil Pie

500g piece of Jarrahdale Pumpkin, or another strong flavoured pumpkin

400g tin of brown lentils, drained and rinsed

70g Greek Fetta cut into small cubes

2 cloves of garlic crushed

2 Tablespoons tomato chutney

1/2 cup frozen peas

black pepper to taste

2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry

1. Place whole piece of pumpkin in oven at 160C for 1-2 hours. If you don’t have much time, cut the pumpkin and roast hotter for less time. Possum and I spent the time outside pulling out weeds then vacuuming the house.

2. Take pumpkin out of oven, scoop flesh into a bowl. Discard seeds and skin.

3. Stir in lentils, fetta, chutney, peas and pepper.

4. Cut (or break, as I did) the frozen pastry sheets into desired shapes. Place into oven at 180C for 10 minutes.

5. Take pastry out of the oven, top every second piece with pumpkin mix (more is better), place a second piece of pastry on top.

6. Return to the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden.

Enjoy!!

I would suggest serving with a green salad on the side if you have the right stuff available.

How do you take a good photo of this??? Here is the finished product.

How do you take a good photo of this??? Here is the finished product.

Pumpkin, Fetta and Lentil Pie

Affordability : EXCELLENT. Pumpkin will cost you about $1, Lentils $1, fetta $2, peas 20c. Pastry is also only a couple of dollars and as its a frozen product, something you can buy on special or in bulk and keep for a long time.

Time Factor : MODERATE. You do need the time to roast the pumpkin, but you could use leftover pumpkin from a roast dinner, or make it a day ahead if you know your schedule in advance.

Complexity : LOW. Very easy, join in your kidlets to stir and scoop.

Deliciousness : EXCELLENT. Surprisingly full of flavour!

Mess : LOW. One or two baking trays and a bowl and spoon.

Tummy Filling Factor : MODERATE. Bulk out your plate with a lovely fresh green salad. Possum ate half an avo with hers.

Possum Friendly? YES. She ate all of it!! I cut it up into small squares for her. She had fun pulling the two pieces apart, picking out the peas and cheese, mushing the pumpkin and lentils. She is also having a really good try with cutlery. Tonight she was attempting to chop her dinner with a full sized dinner knife. The shortcrust pastry thankfully cracked and crumbled at her effort 🙂

Would I make it again? Yes, probably after a busy day.

A night off

The mummy tank is running low tonight. Possum had a grizzly afternoon and Legoman is having a late one at work. I got very close to ordering pizza then felt guilty about how much food is in the fridge. 

At 7:20 staring into an open fridge. Sod the meal plan tonight. Hmmmmm Philadelphia cream cheese. Left over rissoles. Spinach. Spanish onion. BBQ sauce. Open pack of tortillas. That’s a meal yeah?

Oh and there’s crumble!! Winner!

At least I saved some money and saved myself from “I just ate a whole pizza on my own” guilt.

Off to bed I think. Night night y’all.

Meal Plan 30/3 – 5/4

SUNDAY / showers 18

Grilled Lemony Herb Chicken with Leftover Risotto and Vegetables

MONDAY / possible shower 21

Ants Climbing A Tree

TUESDAY / partly cloudy 22

Rissoles and Vegetables

WEDNESDAY / shower or two 23

Fish with Pumpkin and Silverbeet Tian

THURSDAY / shower and chance of a storm 21

Chicken Pesto Pasta

FRIDAY / shower or two 16

Spinachy Bean Burger Tacos

SATURDAY / a few showers 19

Leftover Pies

The burgers are better at…home.

I love burgers. All of them! A good burger is such a nice treat. I remember a burger I ate on the first day of schoolies in Byron Bay. It was a “works” burger. Beetroot, egg, bacon, onions, tomato, lettuce, cheese, beef. The egg still runny, leaving golden yolk running down my hands. The sounds of waves, the smell of sunshine and new found freedom. Mmmmmmmmmmm. I have tried a few time to recreate such goodness at home. But it’s never quite the same. Probably the fact I’m a grown up with responsibilities doesn’t quite compare to that 18 year old on holidays.

So when I saw the promise of a 15 minute meal and a delicious burger all on the same page, I was sold.

To make the patties I combined 500g of lamb mince with 5 Tbsp of tomato relish, 1 egg and some leftover quinoa. Then shaped and refrigerated until needed. They were cooked for about 5 minutes each side. The mixture was easy to shape but a bit wet and floppy when cooking, but it meant the patties were nice and moist.

Mixing the patties

Mixing the patties

I splurged and bought some turkish rolls, some persian fetta, roasted capsicum and hummus. Topped off with some mixed leafy greens.

Yummo! Best home made burger yet! And so grown up too.

Gourmet Burger

Gourmet Burger

Lego Man and I were trying to figure out how you take a photo of a burger. They don’t look good from on top. It’s tricky to do a side shot. Every burger ad on TV has just one single perfect “bite” taken out of it. So here is our “bite” photo. Starring Lego Man’s lovely man hands 🙂

Lego Man Approves

Lego Man Approves

15 minute Gourmet Burger

Affordability : MODERATE. You’d pay $15 for a burger like this out and about. Plus at home you can eat one…and a half of them! Probably cost around $5 per burger to make at home using nice extras.

Time Factor : EXCELLENT. Minimal prep and super quick to mix and cook.

Complexity : LOW. A good one for bigger kids to get involved with. Plus there is the fun of “make your own” burger.

Deliciousness : EXCELLENT. Just what I felt like eating tonight! And not too unhealthy either.

Mess : LOW. One mixing bowl and something to cook the patties on (I used the hot plate).

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. Tummy was perfectly full after 1.5 burgers.

Possum Friendly? YES. She could absolutely enjoy one of the burger patties but i wouldn’t serve her the persian fetta or roasted capsicum. She could have the hummus and a bit of bread though.

Would I make it again? Yes, will keep this in the back of my mind for a quick weeknight dinner, or even if friends are coming over. Great if you see special things like the fetta on quick sale at the supermarket.

From last night’s meal… Possum loved the leftover vegetables today alongside one of the pork balls. She had a preference for the zucchini, then carrots and capsicum then cabbage. The poor green beans were left on the tray.

Leftover stir fry veg

Leftover stir fry veg