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Soup for when you’re on the move, and after

There’s hardly a time of the year when a bowl of soup isn’t welcomed.

I made a big pot of chicken noodle soup one morning before helping our son move over the weekend. After a full day of packing and unpacking boxes, we all returned to our house hungry and devoured big bowls of soup topped with oyster crackers that really hit the spot.

This soup can be easily portioned and placed in freezer containers for another day.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Serving size: 8     

Vegetable oil

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion chopped

3/4 cup celery chopped

5 cups chicken bouillon

2 cups water

3 chicken bouillon cubes

1 cup sliced carrots

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley or many use dried

2 cups egg noodles (1 pound), cooked and drained

Oyster crackers (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Add the chicken and drizzle with vegetable or olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.  In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until onions are caramelized. Dice the chicken and add to the pan along with the remaining ingredients, except noodles and crackers. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the noodles and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, or until the noodles are tender. Serve with oyster crackers.

Nummy Pasta

Makes 6 large servings

1 box penne pasta

1/4 cup butter

1 large can whole peeled tomatoes, cut with a scissor (I used a quart of home-canned tomatoes)

3 tablespoon fresh basil (can used dried)

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons heavy cream

In a saucepan, combine the 1/4-cup butter, canned tomatoes, basil and red pepper flakes. Let simmer for about a 1/2 hour. In another pan, cooked penne pasta; drain. Combine the pasta with the tomato mixture. Add the 3 tablespoons of butter and the cream. Mix over low heat. Sprinkle with 6 ounces of shredded Parmesan cheese. Mix gently. Serve pasta sprinkled with additional fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Pistachio Dessert

Serving size: 12     

1 cup flour

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup melted butter

3 cups milk

8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup Cool Whip

1 cup powdered sugar

2 small packages Pistachio Instant Pudding

Mix together flour, nuts and butter. Press into a 9-by-13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool. In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, Cool Whip and powdered sugar. Beat and spread on top of cooled crust. Mix milk and instant pudding. Beat and put on top of second layer. Put Cool Whip on top of pudding. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired. You can use any flavor of instant pudding, but I prefer pistachio.

GARY’S TIP: Use tongs or a spatula rather than a fork to turn meats. That way you won’t lose any of the delicious juices.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: There is no scale or chart on Earth to measure what a true friend is worth.