Chicken Soup with Stars

This is one of those simple recipes that is guaranteed to make you feel better, no matter what ails you. Whether you're sick, tired, sick of being tired, tired of being sick, or just love a good bowl of soup—this is the recipe for you. It's not a miracle cure, but it's pretty darn close. You can make your broth from scratch or cheat a little and buy it at the store. No matter how you make it it turns out perfect every single time. If you have any left over it freezes well, so makes sure to keep some on hand for last minute company or when you don't feel like cooking.

Chicken Soup with Stars

Chicken Soup with Stars
makes approximately 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients

2-3 chicken leg quarters
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup baby carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, diced
32-64oz chicken broth (see notes)
7oz star pasta, either pastilla or stelline (see notes)
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Add chicken leg quarters, onions, carrots, celery, and 32 ounces of chicken broth to the crockpot, set to high, and cook for 3-4 hours or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  • Remove the cooked chicken and allow it to cool before shredding the meat. Return shredded chicken to the crockpot.
  • On the stove partially cook your star pasta. Since cooking time on the various shapes is different, cook your pasta for half the time stated on the package, drain, and add it to the crockpot to finish cooking.
  • Allow the soup to cook for an additional 30 - 60 minutes, or until the pasta has cooked completely and the carrots are no longer crunchy. Cooking time varies greatly between models of crockpot, so I suggest checking the soup periodically during the final step so you don't overcook the pasta.
  • Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, as well as additional chicken broth as necessary (up to 32 ounces.) The partially cooked star pasta soaks up a lot of the broth while cooking, infusing it with flavor. Add the amount of broth you feel is necessary, you may not want to use the full 32 ounces.

Notes

This recipes calls for store bought broth because it's convenient, but I highly recommend making your own if you have the time. It's a fairly simple although somewhat time consuming process, however the results are definitely worth it.

To save time you can make this with leftover chicken, you'll need about 2 cups worth. I prefer to use chicken leg quarters as they're the least expensive cut of chicken sold in my area. I can usually pick them up for $0.49/lb where as a whole chicken usually runs about $1.19/lb.

This recipe is incredibly flexible, so add to it! Try adding fresh herbs or garlic to mix things up a bit. When it comes to chicken soup there is no wrong way.

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Apple Butter #Unprocessed

I really hadn't planned on buying more apples this week, but I made a last minute trip to the grocery store and discovered that they were on sale. I've never seen them priced so low and I may have been tempted to pick up a few (or possibly 12) pounds. After my marathon canning session last month where I spent my days turning 75 pounds of apples in to sauce I had decided I was done with canning for the year. Not because I was tired of canning, but because I ran out of jars. After turning my house upside down I found a few empty jars that I had been using for other purposes and decided the first project I wanted to cross off my list was apple butter. It's something that I haven't made it in years, but I felt like it was a great project to tackle for October #Unprocessed since one of my goals this month has been to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet.

Fruit butters such as apple butter, apricot butter, and vanilla bean peach butter are a great option for anyone wanting to reduce the amount of sugar in their diets. An entire batch of fruit butter uses 1 cup of sugar (or less) whereas jam or jelly will use as much as 5 cups per batch. It's definitely a much healthier option that will still allow you the occasional sweet treat. I've been enjoying mine on whole grain bread any time my craving for something sweet hits. These days I find that I don't even miss the extra sugar from jam or jelly, plus my house smells like fall every time I open up a jar. 

Apple Butter

makes 6 half-pints or 3 pints

Ingredients

7-8 lbs apples (I used Galla)

3 tablespoons home made pumpkin pie spice

1 vanilla bean

¾ cup light brown sugar or 1 cup of turbinado sugar

Equipment

immersion blender (optional)

water-bath canner or stock pot with lifter

6 half pint canning jars with lids and rings

jar grabber

magnetic lid lifter

funnel 

butter knife

ladle

clean dish towels and cloths 

Directions

  • Wash, peel, and slice apples. Place them in the crock-pot and cook on high with the lid on for 2 - 3 hours.
  • After 2 - 3 hours puree the partially cooked apples with an immersion blender or food processor, return the puree to the slow cooker. Continue cooking the apples for an additional 6 - 8 hours with the lid off.
  • After 6-8 hours the contents of the crock pot should have reduced roughly in half, if they have not you can continue to cook the apples down further. 
  • Open vanilla bean pod with a knife and scrape the insides into the apple butter. Add brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice and stir until well incorporated.
  • At this point you can fill your jars and keep them refrigerated for up to a month or process using the water bath canning directions below for storage of up to one year.

Canning Instructions

  • Sterilize your canning jars, rings, funnel, and any other equipment that will come into contact with the apple butter. You can do this easily by putting everything in the dishwasher and running it. Just don't put your equipment in with dirty dishes.
  • While your jars are sterilizing fill your stock pot with water and let it boil. It takes awhile for a large pot of water to boil, so keep this in mind. You don't want to fill your jars before your water is ready.
  • Once you're ready to fill your jars, place a sauce pan on the stove. Add your canning lids and fill pan with several inches of water. Bring the water to a simmer and allow the sealing wax on the lids to soften for several minutes.
  • Fill sterilized jars with hot apple butter leaving ¼ inch head space at the top. Remove air bubbles with a knife, wipe the rims with a clean damp rag, place lids on top and fasten ring until fingertip tight.
  • Place sealed jars on a rack in the canner or stock pot. Make sure jars are covered with water and that the waterline is about an inch over the top of the jars, then cover pot with lid.

You do not want the jars coming into contact with the bottom of the canner or stock pot because they will bounce around and likely break.

Processing times for this recipe

are 10 minutes for elevations of 0-1,000 ft and 15 minutes for elevations of 1,001-6,000 ft. These times are for quarter-pints, half-pints and pints only.

  • Process half pints and pints for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Time starts once the water has come to a complete boil again. You may need to add boiling water to keep the water level up as the jars are processing.
  • Remove jars from canner, set on a clean dish towel, and let them rest for several hours until cool. You should hear a popping sound as the lids seal. 
  • To check the seals of your jars press the center gently with your finger. If it moves up and down the jar is not sealed. You can either reprocess using a new lid never reuse an old lid or once the jar is cool, eat the apple butter. You know you want to and you deserve the treat after such hard work!
  • Label with detailed contents and date, then store in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Other Notes

I decided to use Galla apples for this recipe because they are naturally sweet which meant I could use less sugar. If you use another variety, especially one that is tart, you may need to increase the amount of sugar. 

Dr Pepper Pulled Pork

I've been hearing about pulled pork made with soda for years, but didn't get around to making it until recently. Boy, I have to tell you, I've been missing out. I feel like I should warn you guys ahead of time, this pulled pork is addictive. I'll sound like a glutton for admitting this, but I could easily eat an entire crock pot full of this all by myself. There is something about the combination of sweet and spicy that really hits the spot. Even better is the fact that this recipe is flexible, which is great, especially if you're going to be feeding a crowd. You can put it on a bun and top it with some Creamy Summer Coleslaw, make soft tacos topped with sour cream and cilantro, or eat it straight out of the slow cooker. No matter how you choose to serve it it's guaranteed to please.

Dr Pepper Pulled Pork | Not Starving Yet

Dr Pepper Pulled Pork 

Ingredients

1 5lb pork shoulder ("pork butt")
1 (7 Ounce) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 can Dr Pepper
3 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard
1 Tablespoon mild molasses
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Dry Rub

1 teaspoon cumin
1½ teaspoons coriander, ground
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper, ground
1 Tablespoon kosher salt  

Directions

  • To make the dry rub combine cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, ground black pepper, and kosher salt.
  • Separate chipotle peppers from adobo sauce. Reserve the sauce and add peppers to slow cooker with diced yellow onions and Dr Pepper.
  • Combine adobo sauce, yellow mustard, mild molasses, and Worcestershire sauce, then massage sauce over the pork butt. Top with dry rub and place in slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours, or until pork easily pulls apart. Cooking time varies widely depending on the size of the roast. Stir well to coat with juices before serving.

Notes

Our Creamy Summer Coleslaw makes the perfect side dish to accompany this recipe.

Recipe Inspiration

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/03/spicy-dr-pepper-shredded-pork/