Monthly Archives: November 2010

Ballsy Chicken Soup

I’ve been all about the balls lately.

Hm, that came out rather wrong.

I mean the hot pot balls and the chocolate chip cookie dough balls from the weekend.

And today was Ballsy Chicken Soup. Little balls of chicken in a mellow veggie brothy soup. It’s perfect for another wet Vancouver day. (Seriously, it’s POURING outside.)

The Soup:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bunch kale leaves torn into bit sized pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 C whole wheat fusilli (measured dry)
  • 9 C liquid (I used 4 C low-sodium chicken broth, 5 C water)
  • 1 tsp herbs of your choice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 sliced green onion for garnish (or cilantro, but I didn’t have any)
  • handful of spinach leaves for each bowl


The Balls:

  • 1 lb extra lean ground chicken
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp Montreal steak seasoning (I know, we’re not making steak here, but seriously, I love this stuff!)
  • few drops sesame oil
  • light drizzle of grapeseed oil (or any other oil)
  • 1/2  C ground quick oats (just throw quick oats into a food processor. Or just use quick oats. I’m just being difficult. Actually, I just wanted to use up the ground oats I had left over from another recipe.)


To make the balls, mix everything together in a large bowl. I like to use my hands. I mean, this is Ballsy Chicken Soup–you gotta be fearless, have a bit of an attitude, and get a little dirty while doing this. That, and you can mix it more evenly and quickly with your hands, which is important cuz you don’t want to overmix. Overworking your meat will make the balls tough. Heh.

Using two teaspoons, shape the mixture into tablespoon-sized little balls and place onto a sprayed cookie sheet. I know, I know, I just made a big deal about something to do with balls and using your hands; you could use your hands to roll them, but this mixture is quite wet and sticky, and I found that by using the spoons, more of the meat ended up in balls rather than on your hands. I just scooped/passed the mixture back and forth between the two spoons until they resembled a ball shape. No need to be perfect here.

Heat some oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion, carrots, celery, and garlic until slightly brown. Add a little salt, pepper, and herbs of your choice.

Add liquid, turn up heat to high. When it comes to a boil, add pasta and kale, and turn down to med-high. Cook for 6 mins.

Turn temperature up to high again. Drop in the chicken balls one at a time, but try to do this quickly, as they cook in no time at all, and you want them to finish cooking at around the same time. Then dump in the diced red bell pepper. Cook for 4 mins. Taste test, and season further with salt/pepper if needed.

To serve, place a handful of spinach leaves in the bottom of each bowl.

Ladle soup on top and garnish with green onion.

Mmmm I love me some balls.


Posted by on November 30, 2010 in Kitchen Adventures



A Foodful Weekend

Another lovely weekend steeped with the joys of food. I spent most of it either eating or cooking. 🙂

Saturday evening was a pleasant affair, starting with hot pot!

My favourite hot pot item was the organic oyster mushroom. Yummm.

After dinner, it was all about the Balls. No, not these fish balls from hot pot…

…I’m talking about Chocolate Chip Dough Balls!

After seeing so many bloggers make these, I couldn’t resist trying them out. The idea is that they taste like and have the texture of cookie dough, but they’re baked! Tell me that doesn’t sound like a winner!

Unfortunately, I messed up the recipe a bit. I used this awesome recipe, and they were still super tasty and possibly the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had, mishaps and all. Had I managed to actually read the instructions properly, I’m sure they would have been outta this world. But the mistakes started when I measured the butter incorrectly. Pretty sure I didn’t use enough because afterwards I had more butter left over in the fridge than I should have had. So then I ended up having to put in a bit of applesauce to moisten it more. FAIL #1.

Then when I was supposed to chill the dough, I stuck it in the freezer instead of the fridge. Um, yeah, I know. My train of thought at the time was that it would chill faster that way. And maybe it still would’ve been fine had I NOT FORGOTTEN ABOUT IT, and left it in there for OVER A HALF HOUR. I blame the Law and Order episode that I was attempting to watch while baking. Note to self, do not try to multi-task while baking. So by the time I remembered with a jolt and a few choice words, the dough was rock hard. FAIL #2.

So then I had to leave it out to warm up before I could roll them into balls. But balls they eventually did become, and into the oven they went. Unfortunately, I left them in there for too long. There was a point at which I was going to take them out, but then I second-guessed myself and was worried they weren’t cooked through yet (I was worried about the raw egg that was in the cookie dough), and left them in for a minute or two too long. FAIL # 3.

So the texture was more crumbly and not as soft as they should have been. But still sooo good, and Len and my mom really liked them. And I sure had a ball making them! 😉

Sunday was a relaxing, happy day. Braved the crowds at Costco, where we picked up this little gem:

Ch-ch-ch-Chia! Seeds. I’ve heard so much about this superfood! Stay tuned for future posts on my uses for them! 😉

Len and I then tried out a new restaurant, the Roundel Cafe, for lunch. It was really good, and we enjoyed it immensely. We both tried their Eggs Benny special of the day, with Polish back bacon (which was so flavourful but not overly salty), served atop waffles! Epic. They use fresh, locally sourced organic ingredients, and those eggs were the best eggs I’ve ever had in my life. In fact, Len deemed it to be the best Eggs Benny he’d ever had, and he oughtta know as he’s become a bit of an Eggs Benny connoisseur. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera. Fail.

We then rushed home to catch the Grey Cup! I know I’m from Saskatchewan, so that alone means I should be a die-hard, fiercely loyal football fan. But the truth is, Sunday’s game was only the 3rd football game I’ve ever watched in my life. And all three games were watched after I had moved away from Sask. Go figure.

But I cheer on the Riders in spirit, and this year, we all dressed in green to show our support!

Hm, it looks more blue in the picture. I assure you it was green!

My mom got in the spirit:

And I just realized that we forgot to take a picture of Len. But I assure you he was dressed in green as well.

Alas, our team did not win. 🙁 But with Len explaining the game as I watched with undivided attention, I feel like I now know a wee bit more about football than before, so that’s a win for me.

Who am I kidding, I didn’t exactly watch with undivided attention. Nope, I prepared dinner while watching! Food. Football. Priorities, people. 🙂

And you’d do the same too if your dinner was to feature Chicken Pot Pie! (And if you were making it for the first time. And if football just isn’t really your thing and you kind of find the whole run 2 yards, get tackled and piled upon thing kinda comical. Sorry, football fans out there!)

Chicken Pot Pie…Er, Biscuit

For the stew:

  • 1 lb mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2-3 potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp herbs of your choice (I used oregano and thyme; sage would’ve been really nice too)
  • 2 C liquid (I used 2/3 C low-sodium chicken broth and 1 and 1/3 C water)
  • 1 C frozen green peas
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (I know, I totally cheated here. But it was the low-fat variety if that makes it any better)
  • salt and pepper
  • grapeseed oil (or any vegetable-based oil)


For the pie biscuit tops:

  • 2 C pastry flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 5 TB unsalted butter
  • 3/4 C skim milk
  • 1/3 C fat-free plain yogurt
  • optional: a tiny drizzle of brown rice syrup or honey

Heat some oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown mushrooms and about 1/2 of the minced garlic (about 5 mins). When mushrooms have softened and taken on a golden brown colour, sprinkle in a small amount of salt and pepper and set aside.

In the same pan, cook chicken breasts over medium heat with some oil: about 10-12 mins total, flipping once and season with salt and pepper. (Len told me his secret to juicy chicken meat: cover the whole time until near the end of cooking when you uncover and let the meat brown and the juices in the pan evaporate.) Remove and set aside. Dice up once they have cooled.

In the same pan again, saute onion, carrots, celery, and the rest of the garlic over medium heat. Add a splash of water or broth if there is a lot of browned chicken bits on the bottom of the pan. When the veggies have softened, add potatoes, herbs, and broth/liquid. The liquid should just cover all the veggies in the pan. Cover, turn temperature to high, and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 mins until potatoes are done.

In the meantime, prepare biscuits. Preheat oven to 400°. Sift and combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Cut in butter until the butter is small pea-sized. In a separate bowl, combine milk and yogurt (and syrup if using). Gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry, being careful not to overmix.

Okay, back to the stew… When potatoes are done, add in the chicken and mushrooms, then the canned soup and peas. Mix the soup in well, and, using your spatula, smoosh up some of the potatoes to help thicken the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle stew into individual oven-safe bowls over a cookie sheet or into an oven-safe casserole dish.

The stew was creamy and made the house smell lovely!

Now spread a THIN layer of biscuit batter on top of each bowl of stew, place in oven and bake for 20-25 mins until the tops are golden brown and the stew underneath is bubbling. I stress the THIN layer because I spread on too much batter and the biscuit became super thick, poofy, and kinda took over the stew.

Your other option is to cook the stew on the stovetop for longer (until the sauce is bubbly), bake the drop biscuits separately, and then place a biscuit on top of each serving of stew. In this case, you would “drop” individual portions of batter onto a cookie sheet, spread them out to about a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thickness, and bake for 12-15 mins or until golden brown. I think in the future, I will try this method. It won’t look quite as pretty, but I think it would be much easier and the biscuits will turn out flakier.

Dinner was yummy and comforting:


And we needed the comfort after the disappointing loss for the Riders. 🙁

We rounded out the evening with another fun and exciting episode of the Amazing Race (only 2 more episodes left for this season!).

It was such a fun, simple, but recharging kind of weekend. Just what I love and look forward to every week.


Posted by on November 30, 2010 in Kitchen Adventures

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