Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

My friend, Cindy, who makes the most wonderful meals, made this soup for our family one night not too long ago.  After that dinner the girls and I kept thinking about, and talking about that soup.  We just had to have more.  It was so good!

My first attempt at re-creating the soup was not quite as good as Cindy’s was.  She had used a specific wild rice blend and my homemade spice blend did not quite match.  The soup was good, but a little spicy (I think too much ginger) and the girls weren’t crazy about it.  It most definitely wasn’t Cindy’s soup and that was what they wanted.

So, I waited a week or two and went back to the drawing board… or cutting board, that is.

My second attempt was much better and was quickly gobbled up by the entire family.  As a matter of fact, ALL of the soup was gone, which almost never happens at my house.  The girls even asked for it in their thermoses for lunch.


This is a great, hearty and comforting soup. Perfect for a rainy or cool fall day.  Leftovers are great – the rice absorbs as lot of the broth but it is still very good and you can always add more broth or water if you want it thinner.  We liked it just fine with less broth and it was so tasty even two days later.

I have no picture because there was nothing left to take pictures of!  Try it anyway. Smile

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup


1 pound chicken (I used a combination of thighs and breasts)
water for stock pot
chicken bouillon cube
1-2 stalks celery
1-2 carrots
1 small onion
~ 1 Tbsp garlic (minced)
2 boxes Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice (including spice packets inside)
Houston House Seasoning
~1/2 – 3/4 cup half and half (or milk)

  1. Dice celery, carrots, garlic & onion.  Add to stock pot with water and bouillon cube. Bring to a boil, adding chicken and seasoning generously with salt/pepper and Houston House Seasoning.
  2. Remove chicken and shred, reserving broth.
  3. Stir the rice and seasoning packets into the broth.
  4. Add chicken back to soup and bring to a boil.
  5. About 10 min before serving, add the half and half.  Bring back to a simmer.

It’s super easy and super, super good. I hope you give it a try.

Pasta Fagioli

This is a hard recipe to give you.  It’s hard because it’s one of those that I make with a pinch of this, a dash of that, and I just keep stirring, tasting and adjusting until I know it tastes right.

But, I’ve paid attention the last couple times I’ve made it, trying to get the portions down so that I can share this recipe with you.

I hope you will try it. I think you will like it.  I absolutely love it.  If you have ever had the Pasta Fagioli at Olive Garden, it’s a lot like that. Of course, mine is better because it’s homemade!


Pasta Fagioli 

*updated in 2013 to include Italian Sausage*

1 1/2 lb ground sirloin
1 lb ground mild Italian sausage.
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced bell peppers
1/2 cup diced celery
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup shredded (or julienned) carrots
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 can pinto beans (or great northern beans) (I use one of each)
1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 beef bouillon cube
~ 2 cups water 

Italian Seasoning
Houston House Seasoning
Grated parmesan/romano cheese blend
Ditalini pasta (about 1/2 lb)

  1. Brown ground beef & sausage, seasoning lightly with Houston House Seasoning.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, lightly sauté the onion, celery and peppers until the onions are transparent. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute – you don’t want the garlic to burn, so watch it carefully.
  3. Add to the Dutch oven your carrots, tomatoes, beans, beef and enough water to get your soup to the consistency you like. I prefer mine more stew-y, but SuperMan likes his more broth-y.
  4. Add about 2 Tbsp of Italian seasoning.  You may need to add some salt/pepper, depending on how heavily you seasoned your meat when you browned it.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover, and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Taste occasionally – you may need to add more salt, pepper or seasoning – depending on how strongly seasoned you like your soup.
  7. About 10 minutes before serving, add about 2 Tbsp parmesan/romano blend to the soup and stir.
  8. At the same time, boil your Ditalini pasta (you can also use small elbows or small shells) al dente.  You don’t want it too soft because it will absorb more liquid in the soup.
  9. Keep your pasta and soup separate until just before serving. I usually just put a few tablespoons of pasta in the bowl and ladle my soup on top of it. That way my pasta stays firm and doesn’t soak up all of the broth in the soup.
  10. To store, keep your pasta separate – I usually store it in a zip top bag with a little olive oil drizzled on it – to keep them from sticking together.

You can also cook this in the crock pot, combining all the ingredients after you’ve browned the meat and sauteed the vegetables. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Keep the pasta separate until serving.

The ultimate Italian comfort food!