Chicken-Mushroom Dinner Soup Is Filling, Nourishing, and Soothing

After I’ve been on a plane for hours, racing through airports, changing planes, and finally reaching my destination, I’m tired and hungry. I feel the same way after a long car trip. When I check into my hotel there are only three things I want to eat — soup, a roll, and a glass of wine.

Sometimes I have dessert, but this is rare for me. Before I order, I ask about the soup of the day. I also ask if the soup contains any soy protein because I’m allergic to it. Over the years, I’ve slurped some mighty tasty soup, and chicken is one of my favorites, including Goulash soup in Yugoslavia and mushroom soup in Poland.

Now that I’m my husband’s caregiver I have less time to make meals from scratch. Still, I want to prepare tempting and nutritious meals for my husband, who is paralyzed. Both of us like soup and the other day, when dark clouds were rolling in, and a storm was about to strike, I felt like soup. Dinner time was an hour away and I wondered what kind of soup I could make.

Fortunately, I had a rotisserie chicken in the refrigerator and two cans of mushroom soup in the pantry. A half hour later, fragrant mushroom soup with lots of chicken was simmering on the stove. My husband and I are salt sensitive, so I buy reduced sodium canned soup and salt-free broth. Mushroom soup can have a grayish color and, to give it more color, I added some carrots and tiny peas.

Personally, I like shredded chicken better than chunks. After I shredded half of the rotisserie chicken breast I had about two cups of meat. You may want to add more shredded chicken. Adding the sherry removes the canned taste of the soup. If you like mushrooms, you will enjoy this quick soup recipe, an ideal dinner after a busy day.

INGREDIENTS

8-ounce box button mushrooms, brushed clean with a paper towel
4 tablespoons butter
26-ounce carton no-salt chicken broth
2 10 3/4-ounce cans reduced sodium mushroom soup
1/4 petite carrots, sliced into tiny coins
1 cup tiny frozen peas
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cups shredded chicken (1/2 rotisserie chicken breast)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons extra dry sherry (optional)

METHOD

Cut the mushrooms into thin slices. Melt butter in large pan and cook mushrooms over medium heat until they start to brown. Add the chicken broth, the undiluted canned soup, carrots, peas, shredded chicken, and Italian seasoning. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cover the pan and simmer the soup for 15 minutes to cook vegetables. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the dry sherry. Serve immediately with crackers or crusty bread and a glass of wine if you wish.

How To Make The Ultimate Iced Frappe

Thanks for reading our article. You must have noticed the huge increase in the number of outlets offering frappes and frappuccinos, particularly during the spring and summer months. If companies like McDonald’s and Costa Coffee are selling them, then you can be sure that everyone else will follow.

Whether you want to know how to make a frappe so you can serve them to your customers or just to enjoy one at home on a hot summer day, this article is designed to make life as easy as possible and have you making the ultimate iced drinks in no time!

Before we start, I should probably clear up something which we’re asked by our customers quite regularly. What is the difference (if any) between a frappe and a frappuccino? You’ll see frappes sold in McDonald’s and frappuccinos sold in Starbucks. Put simply, a frappuccino is a fancy frappe loaded with whipped cream, syrup and sometimes chocolate sauce. Frappuccino is actually a registered trademark of Starbucks, so think of it as the difference between a burger and Big Mac, whereas the frappe was an accidental invention originating in Greece, and outside of the USA, is usually served as a flavoured, iced, milk-based drink without all the toppings.

Frappe

So let’s drop the Frappuccino as it’s simply a trademark name, and concentrate on how to make an amazing, grown-up and delicious frappe…

1. Take a 12oz tumbler and fill it near to the top with ice cubes
2. Pour milk over the top of the ice and up to the top of the glass
3. Empty the contents of the glass into your blender
4. Add a scoop of frappe mix to your blender. There are a wide number of flavours to choose from, so pick your favourite.
5. If you want to add a further shot of flavouring syrup, then do it at this point, but don’t add any cream or extra sugar.
6. Blend until smooth and pour back into a glass.
7. You can add any additional touches at this point, and there are no rules – try chocolate shavings, a little whipped cream or a drizzle of sauce.

When topping your frappe, remember that sometimes less is more. A frappe served to you in America will be loaded with whipped cream and look more like a Knickerbocker Glory than an iced drink and will be impossible to consume without a spoon. European tastes are a little different, and a lot of customers seem to prefer skipping the toppings altogether, despite what you might find served in a McDonald’s or Starbucks (and no prizes for knowing the nationality of both these companies!)

There are a lot of great flavoured frappe powders available to buy that take all the effort out of making these drinks, from standard vanilla and chocolate to sticky toffee (one of our favourites). Alternatively, if you don’t have a blender, don’t worry – there are now some liquid frappes available in cartons, pre-mixed so all you need is a cup of ice cubes and just pour the frappe over them and serve.

Don’t be afraid to experiment a little too – unlike coffee, there is so much interpretation around of what a frappe should actually be that you can pretty much come up with anything based on the above recipe, and so long as you (or your customers) like it, then who is to say it’s wrong?

We hope you’ll soon be serving the best iced drinks in town, and if you happen to end up inventing something totally amazing, don’t keep it to yourself! Let us know and we’ll share it with everyone.

Eat Like an Indian!

As a town forever rushing on adrenaline, Gurgaon keeps going on fantastic food options, all through the day and night. For the satisfaction of its huge-spending family-oriented clientele, and corporate honchos from business houses and organizations, the town has awesome lip smacking food on offer, thanks to the thousands of restaurants. While food from all over the world is easily available at the numerous eateries, Indian cuisine takes the cake, when it comes to the first choice for food lovers of Gurgaon.

While there are many takers for food with flavours from the world over, ranging from Italian to Mexican, Greek to Spanish, the heart of Gurgaon beats for the enormous variety of Indian cuisines that are on offer, ranging from North Indian to South Indian, Bengali to Guajarati, Kashmiri to Konkani. Truly, Gurgaon has it all, when it comes to pampering your taste buds with Indian flavours.

While Gurgaon’s Mediterranean eateries are famous for their awesome varieties of falafels, shawarmas, pitas and tahini sauces for you to choose from, its Chinese joints rustle up all kinds of dishes, ranging from the Hunan variety to the traditional varieties, such as Manchurian and Schezuan chicken, chopsueys and chilly chicken. While Gurgaon’s exclusively European-style restaurants are known for their tasty soups, fish and chips, and soups, along with pizzas roasted in ovens, and yummy sandwiches, the city’s Japanese restaurants will offer you amazing grub from the land of the rising sun, in the form of a lavish selection of noodles, such as the authentic Japanese udon, or other kinds of dishes like thesoba, various kinds of sushis, for example, the nigiri, maki, and chirashi varieties, along with various other delicious items to pick your choice from.

The Indian cuisine restaurants in Gurgaon serve up all kinds of regional specialties, ranging from the Kashmiri Goshtaba (velvet textured meatballs in rich yogurt gravy), mutton yakhni (yogurt and Kashmiri spice infused mutton), methi maaz (mutton steeped in fenugreek broth) and the special Kashmiri Rogan josh (meat cooked in special spices and Kashmiri chillies) to Gujarati cuisine specialties such as khakras and thheplas and farsan, from Andhra cuisine specialties of idlis, dosas, and rasams to Bengali specialties like lau chingri, ilish maachh bhaapey, mutton kosha, deemer devil, rosogolla and other finger-licking sweetmeats that Bengal is famous for.

Most of these restaurants in Gurgaon offer amazing offers for its clientele as well. Be it special lunch and buffet offers, or happy hour drinks deals, or a variety of coupons for special occasions and days, restaurant deals in Gurgaon are found aplenty.

Chocolate, The Misunderstood Superfood

We’ve been hearing for years that chocolate is actually good for our health, yet this kind of statement is very misleading. There is a specific type of chocolate that is beneficial. And for those of us with a super-sweet tooth, it’s not the especially appealing kind.

Dark Chocolate. That’s right. And it has to be at least 70% cacao to be any good to you inside and especially out.

We really don’t have to get into it’s origins. It’s pretty commonly known that chocolate comes from the cacao beans in the tropical regions of the world, like Africa, Madagascar, and South America. Just like coffee, it’s much more familiar to us consumers once it’s been roasted and processed much further from its natural state. But we need to understand that the less processed our chocolate, the more beneficial it is.

Right out of the cacao bean, the pulp and seeds are referred to as cacao. It doesn’t become cocoa until it’s been roasted and ground up good. So when you are in the store and you see “70% cacao” or “88% cacao”, you usually know you’re getting the real unadulterated stuff. Dark chocolate contains more cacao and therefore retains it’s naturally-occurring compounds that the media sing praises about. Trouble is, that good-for-you components, also known as flavonoids or flavonols, are naturally bitter. When you’re eating semi-sweetened or milk chocolate, the manufacturers have replaced those compounds with milk and sugar so they would taste better. Frankly, your health isn’t the first thing on their minds… your taste buds are.

This is why the term “chocolate” as a superfood is a misrepresentation. My idea of chocolate isn’t the same as someone else’s. Hell, my idea of chocolate isn’t even what is was 5 years ago! The superficial Chocolate is the dark variety. And not just any dark chocolate. In fact, even if you find the chocolate bars that say “70% cacao” right on the front of the label, you need to check the ingredients. The first ingredient listed is usually the main ingredient. If it says anything besides “bittersweet chocolate” (I’ve seen “milk” in some), it’s not going to be the real thing.

By the way, in case you are concerned about the “chocolate liquor” you often see on labels, don’t worry! It’s not referring to anything alcoholic. After the cacao nibs are roasted and hulled out of their shells, then ground into a gritty paste, this is what it’s called. The word “liquor” simply refers to its liquid state. I can’t tell you how many times I had to clear this up for people who avoid alcohol for religious and health purposes.

Personally, when I am choosing dark chocolate, I have an additional criteria. I happen to favor products in general that are good for the environment. Chocolate is certainly no exception, especially when it has the “Rainforest Alliance Certified” seal of approval on the label. This means that the cacao used to make the chocolate was bought from small and often family-owned proprietors that work sustainably. This, in turn, protects the habitats and communities directly affected by these proprietors. And because the environment and its inhabitants are their first priority, I’m moved to buy my chocolate from them exclusively. I like people who care about something larger than themselves

Spring Asparagus Soup With Parmesan and Romano Cheeses

After a long, and often brutal winter, Minnesotans are eager for spring. We watch for buds on trees and bulbs peeking through snow. The arrival of fresh asparagus in grocery stores is another sign of spring. If the asparagus is available, warmer days must be coming.

I wheeled by cart past the asparagus display — tall spears set in crushed ice — and then doubled back. Since I was cooking for one I didn’t need a large bunch of this spring vegetable. Still, I could buy some and use it in several ways. To stay fresh asparagus must be stored properly. I treat it like flowers. I cut off some of the woody stem part, plunk it in a glass of water, cover it with a plastic bag, and put it in the fridge.

This flavorful spring vegetable has many health benefits. “Asparagus Nutrition Facts,” an article on the Nutrition and You website, the vegetable is in calories, contains fiber, contains anti-oxidants, is rich in folates, contains vitamins E and K, plus copper and iron. According to the article, the spears were revered by Greeks and Romans.

I revere it, too, and that’s why I decided to use half of the bunch in stir-fry, and the other half in soup. An experienced cook, I decided to create my own recipe. On his way through the kitchen my grandson asked, “What are you making?” He seemed a bit surprised when I told him I was making soup. Later, when he had some for lunch he was more surprised.

“It’s good!” he exclaimed. I hope you think my recipe is good and will use this spring vegetable in many ways. Substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth if you are a vegetarian. For heartier soup add some cooked, shredded chicken. Here’s the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
26-ounce carton chicken broth (salted or unsalted)
1/2 bunch fresh asparagus
1 rib celery, finely diced
2 tablespoons red pepper, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
Salt to taste (may be omitted)
1/2 cup grated and mixed Parmesan-Romano cheese

METHOD

Rinse asparagus and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer pieces to a microwave dish, add a little water, cover, and cook three minutes on high. Melt butter in soup kettle. Add in flour and cook for one minute, whisking constantly. Gradually add chicken broth, still whisking constantly. Continue whisking until any lumps are gone. Using a slotted spoon, transfer asparagus to soup kettle. Add all remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer on lowest setting for 10 minutes to blend flavors. Pass extra cheese if desired. Makes 6 servings.