Category Archives: Soup and chili

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Soup

This is going to be a quick one. It’s 5:24 a.m. and I’m supposed to go for a run in 6 minutes. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Soup

Adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked and cubed (or shredded) chicken
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups fat free milk (or no higher than 2%)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup hot wing sauce
  • 4 oz Velveeta, cubed


  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour. Set aside.
  2. Put the chopped onion and celery into the slow cooker. Add the chicken, broth, and milk. Sprinkle the garlic powder on top. (Note: The original recipe calls for celery salt and garlic salt. I don’t like to add much salt to soups when I’m cooking (and as the recipe states, the cheese and broth have enough salt on their own), so I leave it out. But feel free to add it if you like salty soups)
  3. Stir in the flour and butter mixture. Add hot sauce.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on hight for 3-4 hours. Stir in Velveeta 20 minutes before serving.

Buffalo Chicken Soup

 Click here for printable

Wow this is good soup. This is “Cook it for lunch and then “forget” to tell your husband that you made it so you can eat the rest by yourself all week” good.

The soup thickens the next day, and it’s fun to dip tortilla chips into it, but still eat it with a spoon, so it counts as a meal.
Don Corleone and I love this soup. I don’t give the little Critics any. I think it would be too spicy for them, plus then I’d have to share.
And in case you were curious, here’s an update on my morning. Between 5:24 when I started this post and 7:00 or so (or whenever I get around to publishing), my kids woke up at 5:30, I ran one mile and it took 13 minutes, my 5-year-old (Curious George) drank two cups of milk and then puked it up all over the carpet (and me), I couldn’t figure out a formatting problem with this post (hence the random periods after each paragraph), and I posted a recipe.
And that’s all I have to say about that.

Chicken Soup with Noodles or Matzo Balls

I know what you’re thinking.

‘Haven’t I heard you talk about observing the season of Lent? Now you’re making chicken soup? What does a goyim know about cooking Jewish penicillin?’

Well, don’t worry. I’m only half goyim. The nice Jewish girl half of me will be doing the cooking today. The shikse is taking a nap.

There are as many recipes for chicken soup out there as there are Bubbyes who make them. But no matter what recipe you use, nothing beats a bowl of nice, hot chicken soup, whether you’re sick or not.

Chicken Soup with Noodles or Matzo Balls

  • 1 whole 4-5 lb chicken
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into large chunks, or handful of baby carrots
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 rounded tsp chicken bouillon
  • noodles or matzo balls (see recipe for details)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • large handful chopped, fresh dill


  1. Put chicken in a large stockpot and just cover with water. Add next 4 ingredients. I also like to sprinkle a bit of thyme and sage in there (or poultry seasoning), but that’s optional. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, occasionally skimming the fat off the top.
  2. Make the matzo balls, if using (see below).
  3. Strain the broth. Set the chicken aside to cool.
  4. Bring broth to a boil and add chopped onions, carrots, celery, and seasonings (bay leaf through bouillon). Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  5. Add noodles, if using. My husband likes a lot of noodles, so I add about 2-3 cups of wide egg noodles. Cook for about 15 minutes, until noodles are done.
  6. Remove from heat. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick off the meat and add to the soup. I usually add about 2 cups of the chicken and then put the rest in the freezer to use for another soup recipe later.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste, and fresh dill. I do 1/2 tsp of pepper and 1 tsp kosher salt.
Chicken Noodle Soup

Personally, I prefer matzo balls. The noodles just don’t stay on my spoon, and then they’re sloppy. I usually just make a big pot of chicken soup and freeze it in batches. Then on the day I’m serving it I’ll add either noodles or matzo balls, depending on my mood, or which sick person I’m making it for, and their preference.

This is my mom’s (Bubbye’s) matzo ball recipe:

Bubbye’s Matzo Balls

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  1. Beat egg whites until stiff.
  2. Beat yolks, then fold into egg whites. Fold in matzo meal 1 spoonful at a time. Add salt, pepper, and melted butter. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Form matzo mixture into balls (remember that they will grow as they cook). Drop into boiling water. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for 30 minutes.

Matzo Ball Soup

We were having matzo ball soup the day I asked The Critics what they thought. Here’s what they said:

Batman: Mommy, I LOVE this soup!

Sarah Crewe: It’s good!

Curious George: Matzo ball soup is my favorite! He then ate only the matzo balls, and cried when I said he had to eat the veggies, too. He said: If I have to eat the carrots, then I don’t like it.

Elmo ate at least 3 bowls

Don Corleone: This is really good!

And finally, I leave you with the old blind man/soup scene in Young Frankenstein. Two of my Critics watched this clip with me. I was cracking up, while they kept saying, “Why is it so funny? I don’t understand…”

My 6-year-old always says, “Grownups think weird things are funny.”

Yeah, right back atcha, kiddo!

Easy Hot and Sour Soup

Did you know that March is Music in Our Schools Month?

Did you know that students who study music generally perform higher on their SATs than those who don’t?

Did you know that students who study music generally hold a higher GPA than those who don’t?

Did you know that schools that produce the highest academic achievement spend about 20-30% of the day on the arts, with special emphasis on music?

Did you know studies show that students doing poorly academically caught up to, and even surpassed their fellow students in reading and math when given music lessons for seven months?

Did you know that high school students who are in band or orchestra are less likely to use drugs and alcohol?


Oops, sorry, just tripped while getting off my soapbox 😉

All of the facts above can be found at:

Yes, it’s true, music education is extremely important. Do you know what else is extremely important? Movie musicals! Like The Sound of Music!

One of the first times we went out, my husband (who was then just a cute college boy I liked) and I were going for a walk, and ended up at a gazebo in a park near our college. There we shared our first kiss, and I said, “This is just like in The Sound of Music” and he said, “I never saw that movie.”

I couldn’t believe it. Don’t worry, he has seen it quite a few times since, and really likes it a lot! (Really!)

"There were times when we would look at each other... I could hardly breathe."

I’m pretty sure this is exactly what we looked like that night back in  college 🙂

Easy Hot and Sour Soup

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup pork, cooked and diced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced or diced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes*
  • 1 can bamboo shoots, drained
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • scallions, sliced, for serving

*We like our soup really hot. You might want to start with 1/4 tsp and add more later.


  1. Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Lower heat to a simmer.
  2. Add pork and mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. While simmering, combine oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Add to broth.
  4. Add bamboo shoots and water chestnuts and cook for about another 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.
  5. Garnish with green onions.

Hot and Sour Soup

Don Corleone and I really love this soup.  I usually make it for lunch for us.  One time I asked the kids if they wanted to try it, and they politely declined.  It’s okay, it’s pretty hot, so I wasn’t going to make them eat it.  Plus, it’s nice to eat lunch without hearing, “How come you get to have that and we don’t???”

"Silver white winters that melt into springs/ These are a few of my favorite things"

"You brought music back into the house. I had forgotten."

"Oh, there's nothing wrong with the children. Only the governesses."

"Do, a deer, a female deer/Re, a drop of golden sun..."

"My fellow Austrians, I shall not be seeing you again perhaps for a very long time. I would like to sing for you now... a love song. I know you share this love. I pray that you will never let it die."

Wow, it was really hard to narrow down images from this movie!

"The hills are alive with the sound of music"

And finally…

People are weird:

And last but not least… Nothing says hilarity like a cat in a Julie Andrews pose:

Happy Music in Our Schools Month 😀






Hearty Irish O’ Chili and Irish Candy Potatoes

Top o’ the mornin’, to ya, from The O’Critics in Me Kitchen!

"A fine soft day in the spring, it was, when the train pulled into Castletown, three hours late as usual, and himself got off. He didn't have the look of an American tourist at all about him. Not a camera on him; what was worse, not even a fishin' rod." -The Quiet Man

It’s unfortunate, but true. There’s not too much about Irish food that I find appealing. Or, I should say, Irish food that I know about.  I spent a lot of time in the last few years searching the internet for a St. Patrick’s Day meal but the two ideas that kept coming up again and again are corned beef with cabbage and Irish stew.

My husband doesn’t like corned beef, and I just can’t get excited about stew. And I wanted a St. Patrick’s Day dinner that I could get excited about.

I toyed with the idea of making an Irish fry-up, with eggs and hash browns and sausage, and other fried goodies, but my inner Jiminy Cricket just wouldn’t allow it.

So I decided to take my chili recipe and Irish it up a bit. I’m not sure the Irish are known for their chili. But I won’t tell if you won’t.

"I declare my soul, when I tell 'em this, down at the pub, they won't believe a word of it." -Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hearty Irish O’Chili

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs beef stew pieces
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bottle (1 1/2 cups) Guiness (see note)*
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, slightly drained
  • 2 15-oz cans potatoes, drained and diced


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add beef and onion and cook until beef is almost fully cooked.  It will continue to cook while the chili simmers.
  2. Add the chili powder through bay leaves. Cook and stir for one minute.
  3. Stir in beer, stock, tomatoes, and potatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat.  Simmer 1 hour.
  4. Uncover and cook an additional 30 minutes, to thicken. Discard bay leaves.

*Note about the Guiness: This recipe calls for one bottle. I’m totally okay with it if you want to use slightly more than one bottle. Just do everything the same, but insert the following dialogue, spoken loudly from your kitchen, for all to hear:

“Well, would you look at that! I had to open a second bottle of Guiness for just a few drops! What a waste! [sigh loudly] I guess I will just have to take one for the team and finish the bottle while I cook.”

Good job, that was very convincing!

"Sure we could have been famous and made albums and stuff, but that would have been predictable. This way it's poetry." -The Committments

There may have been a slight disagreement with my husband over the potatoes.  See, I opened a can of sliced potatoes, and dumped them into the pot. Don Corleone came over and said, “Oh, you have to chop those!” And I said, “But I don’t feel like it” and he said, “No, really, you should.” And I said, “Fine you do it,” and he said, “Fine, I will” and that’s the story of how the potatoes got to be diced.

Don Corleone dices potatoes

I know he was right, but I’m just so darn lazy efficient always looking for shortcuts just wanted him to do it eh, lazy works.

Finian's Rainbow

"Green is the color of the shamrocks /and the grass on Blarney hill / Oh, the darlin' green of Ireland /and the good old dollar bill." -Finnian's Rainbow

I knew this would be a tough one. As I said in my Groundhog Day post, more than half my critics don’t like chili. But the ones that count do, so too bad for the rest 😉

Irish Chili

Don Corleone: It’s good. It’s what they would serve at the wedding of Pancho Villa and Margaret O’Hara

Sarah Crewe: It’s pretty good.

Batman: It’s good. Yeah, it’s really good!

Curious George: I don’t really like it.

Elmo: Yeah. My soup. (She ate her whole bowl)

I thought it was good; a change from regular chili. It was not spicy at all. The potatoes made an interesting addition. It was almost a stew, but with enough chili flavor to be called “chili.”

"The sea is a sickness and you two will come to grieve for it!" -The Secret of Roan Inish

We also had Irish Soda Bread for dinner. I found a super easy recipe here. Notice the little hands trying to grab the bread? That would be my little Elmo.

Irish Soda Bread

For dessert:

Irish Candy Potatoes

  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • cinnamon


  1. Mix together the milk, coconut, vanilla, and salt.
  2. Add powdered sugar, slowly, until dough is easy to work with and not too sticky. Roll into balls, and roll balls in cinnamon. Place on waxed paper.

Irish Candy Potatoes

They’re so cute! They look like miniature potatoes. Unless you’re this guy, then they look gigantic:

Gigantic potatoes

I hope you all have a very fun, blessed St. Patrick’s Day!

Waking Ned

"We find the winner and make sure we are their best friend when they cash the check." -Waking Ned Devine

I’ll leave you with a little Irish humor:

Paddy O’Connor finds a Genie lamp and rubs it. Out comes the Genie and asks “Master you have released me from the lamp and I grant you three wishes, what would you like”

Paddy scratches his head, then answers “A bottle of Guinness that never gets empty. “Granted master” retorted the Genie and produced the bottle. Paddy was delighted and got drunk on this one magic Guiness bottle for weeks then he remembered that he had two other wishes. He rubbed the lamp again and the Genie appeared. “Yes master, you have two more wishes, what would you like?” “You know that magic, never ending Guinness bottle” he asks the Genie. “Well, for my final two wishes, I’d like another two of them”

Slow down, there, little guy. This bottle has an end:

Where's the beer?

May your home be filled with laughter
May your pockets be filled with gold
And may you have all the happiness
Your Irish heart can hold.


Slow Cooker Turkey Taco Chili

Happy Groundhog Day!

groundhog day, bill murray

"There is no way that this winter is *ever* going to end as long as this groundhog keeps seeing his shadow. I don't see any other way out. He's got to be stopped. And I have to stop him." -Groundhog Day

Well, unlike the movie, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning, so according to him, we will have an early spring. What does he know, he’s only been right 39% of the time since 1887! I shouldn’t be too hard on him, though. He’s as good a meteorologist as any, I suppose!

"This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather." -Groundhog Day

Well, I know I’m in the minority, but personally, I like winter. In fact, I love winter! Spring is nice, sure, but I just love everything about winter, from Christmas right on through to… well, whenever it decides to end.

"Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today." -Groundhog Day

Anyhoo, whatever Mr. Phil says, it’s still winter right now. And if you, like much of the country, it seems, are looking outside and seeing something like this:

My neighbor's tree

or this:

Another neighbor's tree

or this:

My tree

or this:

My backyard

then what YOU need is chili.

We have chili a lot in my house, in various forms. It makes my husband and 6-year-old very happy. It makes my 4-year-old very angry. In fact, he stormed into the kitchen at dinner time and said, “I HATE chili! Make me some pasta!” As it happens, I already had a pot of macaroni cooking for him, because I always make plain macaroni for the kids when we have chili. But a “Nope, sorry, there is no pasta for rude little boys” prompted an apology, and he happily ate his pasta at dinner.

Turkey Taco Chili

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with chiles (like Rotel)
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 3-4 TBSP taco seasoning*
  • shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese
  • sour cream

*I don’t know how many tablespoons are in a packet of taco seasoning, but I’m guessing 1 packet will do. I make my own taco seasoning from this recipe, and I just keep it in a gladware container in the pantry, because you never know when you’ll have a taco emergency.

Brown the turkey with the onion and garlic and drain. Place in slow cooker with the beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Add the taco seasoning and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.

And for those of you non-crockpotters (you know who you are!) this can just as easily be done on the stovetop. Or you can just go buy a crockpot, because they’re AWESOME!


turkey taco chili

I like to top mine with cheese and sour cream.

And, of course, one must always remember to accessorize:


chili accessories

I was going to post this recipe last night, but one of the accessories (I’ll let you figure out which one), made me (and my husband) fall asleep on the couch right after dinner and not wake up until after the kid’s bedtime.

They didn’t mind.

And for dessert:


"Antique car" pound cakes

How cute are these little cakes?

Pound cake cars 2I made these chocolate chip pound cakes using a pan I got for Christmas a few years ago. I don’t use it very often because I’m not very good at decorating them! But it makes these super cute little antique cars:

antique car cake pan

It isn’t so super cute when it comes time to clean it, though! 😦

Of course I heard no complaints from the critics about dessert. But dinner?

Batman: It’s delicious! A bunch of thumbs up!

Don Corleone: This is really good. If you make this every day, I’m going to need some new pants.

Sarah Crewe: Leaning towards good… I think.

Curious George, who did taste it: I don’t like it. It’s spicy.

I asked Elmo if she liked it, and she nodded and said her new favorite phrase: “There it is!” And she did, in fact, eat every bite.

Now go make some chili!