Enjoy chicken soup with rice

In February it will be

My snowman’s anniversary

With cake for him and soup for me

Happy once, happy twice

Happy chicken soup with rice

If you’ve never read the book “Chicken Soup with Rice,” you’re missing an enjoyable read. When one of my daughters was in first grade, her teacher used the catchy lyrics from a book by Maurice Sendak as the theme of a play. The children held props to coincide with the rhyming verses for each month of the year, which they memorized and recited as they stood on stage.

It is a relatively small book, which you could purchase on Amazon. Both you and a child in your life will have the rhyming verses in your head for a long time.

While getting together some comfort food recipes to include in my column this week, I came across my favorite chicken soup recipe. Although it doesn’t include rice, it’s still a good recipe.

Although February is a good month to think of making soup and other comfort foods, it is also the month of many birthdays of famous, and not so famous people, but still very special people.

My husband, Stan, had a brother Robert, and a sister Celia, who had birthdays in February. Our oldest daughter, Alana, had her birthday on Feb. 17, and our oldest granddaughter, Christine, turned 24 this month.

We still celebrate the birthdays of our two most famous presidents in February, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. They were so well-known for their accomplishments that we now celebrate Presidents Day, a federal holiday where all government offices are closed that day. Abraham Lincoln was our 16th president. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy in 1863. In 1787, George Washington was elected president of the convention that wrote the U.S. Constitution. Two years later, he became America’s first president.

The poem ends with the following words:

I told you once, I told you twice

All seasons of the year are nice

For eating chicken soup with rice

• • • • •

Quick Chicken Soup with Dumplings – or Noodles

Makes about 4 servings

  • 8 cups broth (I use 2 containers of broth, 1 regular and 1 low-sodium)
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • 3 small carrots, diced—or use about 10 baby carrots, cut-up
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

In a large pot, bring broth to a boil. Add carrots, celery and onions, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about ½ hour or until carrots and celery are done.

Dumpling ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup milk (more, if needed)

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, combine egg and milk. Make a well in center of flour; pour egg-milk mixture into well and stir until well-combined.

Drop tablespoons of the dumpling batter into simmering soup. Simmer until dumplings float (doesn’t take long). Serve at once.

Traditional Meat Loaf

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 teaspoon beef-flavor instant bouillon
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • ¾ cup cracker crumbs or seasoned or unseasoned dry bread crumbs
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

Heat oven to 350 F. In large bowl, dissolve beef bouillon in hot water. Add all remaining ingredients; mix well. Spoon mixture into ungreased 8x4 inch loaf pan or shape mixture into 8x4 inch loaf in ungreased 12x8 inch (2-quart) baking dish.

Bake at 350 F for 1-1/4 hours. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Note: I only had 1 lb. of beef, so I decreased the ingredients slightly.

Pepper Corn Beef Hash

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 can corned beef hash or use 1 can of corned beef, cubed
  • 2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
  • ½ cup chopped green pepper
  • ½ cup chopped red pepper
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Brown meat in oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add all remaining ingredients; mix well.

Cook 10 to 15 minutes or until bell peppers and onions are tender and mixture is thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.

Enjoy the simple pleasures of life and, of course, eat well.

Call or email me with questions or comments. I can be reached at 920-980-3885 or email owl.mcp@gmail.com.

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