Fall Favorites #2

The air is cooler, the grass is getting crunchy, and the leaves are turning. That can only mean fall is here!

In Wyoming fall isn't only cooler, sometimes it is downright cold. There has been rain and drizzle for three days. So there is only one thing to do, make soup!

I love making soup. Any kind will do. There is something about chopping and mixing that creates a soulful concoction.

Today it was chicken noodle. This is the easiest soup to whip up in no time at all.

Frozen peas
Frozen noodles
Watkins chicken broth mix

I don't really measure this out. It's more of a toss and see what it looks and tastes like.

In a large pot mix the chicken mix and water. Add the mix according to the package directions for the amount of water you added.

Let it come to a boil. At this point add the chicken. You can use any kind you like. I sometimes you leftover rotisserie chicken shredded. If using fresh, you can chop and sauté in a pan, boil in water then shred, or bake breasts in the oven sprinkles with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. Either way works, just chop or shred and add to the broth.

Next add the carrots and peas. I use dehydrated carrots. They are one of my top pantry items. Just drop a handful or two into the pot. They will plump up to perfect pieces. If using raw dice to bitesize pieces and add. Also add peas to your desired tastes.

Finally add the frozen noodles. Let them thaw on the counter until they are soft. I sometimes put them in the microwave for 25 second bursts. Drop one at a time into the soup. It is time consuming, but if you drop the whole thing it will be one big lump.

Let cook for 20-25 minutes at a simmer. When the noodles are plump and thick, taste the broth. Watkins contains no salt. So you will need to adjust to taste with salt and pepper.


Chicken Soup on a Cold Day!

If you have read many of my posts you know that I love soup. It is my go to meal when I’m unsure what to cook. It is my go to meal when it’s cold. Let’s face it, it is my go to meal anytime!!

It has been overly cold here in Wyoming, and finally I found chicken on sale. Chicken in Wyoming is outrageously overpriced. At home in Tennessee, it is so cheap!!

When I have chicken I usually make chicken noodle soup. However this time I mixed it up and made chicken and rice. 

All of my chicken soups start with a great broth or base. You can do this lots of ways. However I love Watkins Chicken Base.  It adds the perfect mixture of seasonings without salt.  

I mix several cups of water with the seasoning according to the directions. Bring this to a slow boil. Toss in chopped chicken or you can toss in cooked shredding chicken. Let this cook until the chicken is done or until warm. 

I then add my onions and carrots. These are freeze dried and will plump back up. I toss in whatever amount to my liking. Thrive is an awesome company! I use so many of their products. The veggies never go bad and I don’t have to worry I always have them on hand!

Let this cook until the veggies are plump and tender. At that point I add in the frozen noodles or in this case uncooked rice. If you use noodles it really tastes much better with homemade or frozen. Regular pasta just doesn’t do it. 

Let it cook until tender at a slow boil.  If you like throw in some frozen peas and 1 tsp or so of celery powder. 

If you would like your soup a little thicker, mix together water and cornstarch until blended. Pour a little at a time into the soup until it reaches your desired consistency. 

Check taste. You will need to add salt and pepper. Sometimes it needs more chicken flavoring and I will mix in a little water and more Watkins seasoning. 



2 chicken breasts

Peas, carrots, onions

Frozen Noodles or rice

Watkins chicken soup base

It’s what I dreamed about!


I woke up the other day with a craving for this soup inside a delicious bread bowl. Luckily for me the local grocery store carries fresh made bread bowls, and I found a recipe for the soup.  Within minutes, yes minutes I had mouth watering soup steaming inside a delicious bread bowl.

My picky eater son would not touch the soup. However he would dip the bread into my soup and eat that.  Weird!!

This was perfect on a snowy blowy morning.  I think it will freeze well to be enjoyed many times through the winter.


Broccoli Cheese Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



1/2 cup butter

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1-2 pkgs (16 ounces each) frozen chopped broccoli

7 cups of hot water mixed with Watkins Chicken soup base or 4 cans of chicken broth

1 pound (1 box) of processed cheese, cubed. (I used 1.5 boxes)

1-2 cups heavy cream

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 cup water

salt and pepper to taste


1. Melt butter in a large soup pan. Toss in onions and sauté until tender.  Stir in the broccoli (depending on how much broccoli you want add 1 or 2 bags)  and cover with the chicken broth.  Simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 15 minutes.

2.  Reduce heat, and stir in the cubed cheese. Stir until completely melted. Paying careful attention that it is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

3.  Add the cream. Stir to combine.  Next mix the cornstarch and the water. Add to the soup mixture.  Stir to incorporate. Stir often until thickened to your liking.  Add the garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.

4. Pour into bread bowls.  Enjoy





Goulash, Oh Yeah!

Goulash, Oh Yeah!

There is nothing like a bowl of old fashioned goulash on a snowy day.  This past Saturday brought 3 plus inches of snow to our area. It was awesome. Well for me anyways. I was at a conference that whole day and by the time I got home all the work was completed. My hubby ran all the cows in and put the heavies into the shed.  We were ready for winter to show it’s head one more time.

I of course was SOOO excited. I love winter, I love snow, and I love cold weather. But not so much for newborn calves and cows that need to calve.  But it came anyway.

On Sunday we fed the cows and got everyone taken care of.  That night things were pretty cold and I whipped up my husband’s favorite, Goulash.  His grandmother Bobbi made this and it is fabulous. I made it for the first time about 2 years ago. I don’t know why I didn’t want to make it before or why I didn’t even want to taste it, but I didn’t. JJ finally talked me into it and I have loved it ever since. It is slightly sweet and just has the best flavor. To be honest I have actually made tomato soup from scratch just so that I could make Goulash.  Now that is dedication.

When the power went out last October and I had a house full of hunters. I made this soup and it was devoured. It is one of those recipes that everyone enjoys.  I like mine plain. My husband eats it with a slice of bread with jelly. The kids use butter crackers. Anyway you eat it, it is delicious!

Go make it now! You won’t be disapointed.

Grandma Bobbi's Goulash

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Rating: 5 Stars
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  • onion, chopped
  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 3 cans tomato soup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups elbow noodles, uncooked
  • 1 can water
1.In a large skillet or saucepan, brown the hamburger with the onion. Drain grease.
2.Add tomato soups and brown sugar. You may need to add 1 can of water if too thick.
3.Add the cooked elbow macaroni and let it simmer until the noodles are tender. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup

As I promised here is the recipe for this wonderful soup.  Trust me that hits home on a cold night. I made it in the morning for lunch. I was all alone and it was fantastic.  My husband and children really don’t care for this very much, so I was so happy to make it just for myself.  They are not real fans of gnocchi.

I left one container in the fridge,which I enjoyed for lunch today. The rest I put in containers and froze for another time. I am an avid freezer of everything. I hate for stuff to go to waste, so if I can freeze it I do.

Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups half/half
  • 2 (14oz) cans of chicken broth
  • 1 cup carrots, finely diced or shredded
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1 pkg gnocchi
  • 1 box frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp parsley

In a large pot, combine oil and butter. When melted add onion, celery, and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent.  Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, then add the half/half.

In another pot cook gnocchi according to pkg directions.


Add carrots and chicken to the soup mixture.  Once the mixture thickens add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and turn to a simmer.


Once it thickens again add the gnocchi, spinach, and seasonings.  Simmer until heated thro


ughly. Before serving season to taste.


This is the basic recipe. I will tell you that I deviate from this every time.  I seldom cook the gnocchi in another pot. I know there is a good reason, but to me why dirty another pot, when I can throw it in with the soup and leT it cook there. So when I add the chicken and carrots, I also add the gnocchi.  I guess it is just one of my pet peeves. If it turns out okay, why mess with more dishes to clean later.


I also have used heavy cream instead of half and half and it turned out just fine. My reasoning was that it was in my fridge and I didn’t have that much milk to thin it out.  I guess it was just a much creamier and a much higher calorie count then the above recipe. Also it was oh, so good!


Maybe Minestrone

I am not a huge TV watcher. I can take it or leave it and I would say 98% of the time I leave it.  However there is one exception. I do DVR Pioneer Woman, Barefoot Contessa, and Trisha Yearwood. There is one more but I haven’t watched any of the shows yet, so I can’t even remember the name.  Oh well, these are my big three. Everyone in my house knows that if Mom sits down and turns TV on, it is going to cooking shows.  Well it is what I do.

This morning started much the same as usual, take the kids to the bus stop and come back here for my breakfast before I begin cleaning or tackling any other to do items.  I have been eating the Pioneer Woman’s Spinach Artichoke dip for breakfast. I made it a couple of days ago. Look that one up on her blog. It is amazing!!!

Well I decided to catch up with Mrs. Ina.  She was making a great soup called Minestrone. Never made it before. However lots of chopping, lots of cooking. The longer I watched the more I thought I can make this. I have NEARLY all the ingredients. Well Decision made. The end of the show Ina and her husband were in front of the cozy fire and that topped it for me. I want to be warm and cozy enjoying this soup.

As I looked at Ina’s recipe, it immediately became apparent that I was going to have to improvise. I did not have a lot of the ingredients and since I live 33 miles from civilization, I would not be getting them anytime soon.  However I was already invested so here we go. Check hers out at www.foodnetwork.com. Hopefully next time I will have all the stuff to make it her way. When living on the ranch the main lesson I have learned is flexibility in all things. You gotta make things work.

Here we go. Her recipe uses pancetta. I don’t have any, never have. So I am going for bacon. Is that the same. I hope so. Maybe they are close and it will give a similar taste. I chopped it up with my handy-dandy kitchen shears and cooked it until almost crumbly, but not crunchy. I have a high hate for crunchy bacon. EWWW!

The next couple of items goes extremely well. I have carrots, onions, celery, but no squash. I figure potatoes will do. So I chop up a couple of those and throw them in. I let them cook with garlic, thyme. I do not have any canned tomatoes. But what I do have is a can of tomato sauce and some fresh tomatoes. I throw that in with about half a can of water. I add the 4 cups of chicken stock from my freezer. (Darn if I had thought ahead. I just made it and put in the freezer yesterday.) I let it all cook for about 30 minutes until the veggies were tender.

I then added 2 cups of dry elbow noodles. That was all I had besides rainbow spirals. I do not have any beans what so ever. I have never been out of beans. I am not sure what has happened to my cabinets. I am usually overly stocked on everything. I am thinking a major shopping endeavor is going to happen soon in my future.

I add 1 block of frozen chopped spinach and let it melt in the pot. I add some more chicken stock. Yep the rest of what I made. At this point my pot is almost to the spilling point. However I add just another handful of noodles. I figure they will soak up some extra moisture.  My chicken stock also has some chicken that came off the bones. So I do have some of that floating in my pot. Not sure how this is going to turn out.

It begins to thicken. The noodles are done. I add just a little more salt and pepper. Ladle myself a bowl and top with grated parmesan cheese. Not bad. Not bad at all. Wow, I can only imagine if I had made it properly as in her recipe, but this is pretty good.

Here is my recipe. If you make it let me know it I need to adjust something. Sometimes I forget my exact substitutions.


How many utensils can I fit in that pot? I know crazy.

Connie's Substitution Minestrone

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

  • 5-7 pieces of bacon, cut into pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large potatoes, washed and diced with skins on
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 can of water
  • 4 tomatoes, washed, and diced
  • 6-8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups dry pasta
  • 1 pkg frozen chopped spinach
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Cook the bacon over medium heat until brown, but not crunchy. (unless you like crunchy)  Add the onions, celery, carrots, and potatoes. Stir and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, tomato sauce, water, tomatoes, and 4-5 cups of the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce and cook uncovered at a simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add the dry pasta and spinach.  Cook at a simmer until the pasta is done. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve in large bowls, with parmesan sprinkled over the top.


Oh, it’s yummy. Hopefully the hubby will agree when he arrives home off the mountain.

First Time Potato and Ham Soup!


When it’s cold out I want soup. When I am stressed I want soup. (Well I want to chop stuff up and soup lets me do that.)Last week was just cold, damp and gloomy. So I was in the soup making mood.

When our last week of hunters drive away. That is my cue to begin cleaning out the hunting house and bringing all the food back to my house. With the power outage, I had more than my usual amount of food to bring home and some needed cooked. I had two bags of the diced ham. I use it for a ham, egg, cheese, and hash brown breakfast casserole. My kids won’t eat it, and I hate eggs. (Yes, long story, but I detest them.)  So I needed to use it up.

Searching online I found several ham and potato soup recipes. I am notorious for reading 10 recipes and then using parts of all of them. It usually works out okay, until I go to make it again and have no idea what I did. This is one of those instances, but I think I remember pretty good.

Well I pulled out the pot and away we went.  I actually turned out delicious. My overly picky son, devoured it. He even took it to school in his lunch the next day and wanted it for supper. So it is a make again recipe.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Ham and Potato Soup

  • 3-4 large potatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 6 cups water, or enough to cover the potatoes
  • 1-2 pkgs diced ham,
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Watkins Chicken flavoring or bullion granules
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp flour to thicken
  • 3 cups, milk or more to thin

1. Combine the potatoes, onion, ham, and water in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, cook over medium heat until tender.  Stir in the chicken flavoring, salt, and pepper.

2. Stir together butter and flour until combined. Add to the soup mixture.  Stir until dissolved. Add the milk. Stir over medium low heat until thick and soup is heated through.

3. Adjust with more thickening or thinning until you reach the desired consistency. Season to taste.

This is a great soup because you can add to it with more ham, maybe cheese. Serve it as thick or as thin as you desire.