Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chicken Florentine Soup

Well, it just wouldn't be right if I didn't mention Vanessa and Emily in this post. Recently we all met for lunch. Now I was actually trying out my eldest daughters advice about time management. She suggested I go to lunch with someone that had a tight time schedule which would prevent me from falling into Narnia time. Sounded like it might work. These two young mothers would be in pursuit to pick up their little toddlers at the local Mother's Day out program.

I told them they would be responsible to watch the time and when they had to leave, I would leave. We were having such a delightful lunch and a lively conversation and time was slipping. When I sensed it was the time we should be departing and going our separate ways, they just giggled and announced, "Got 'cha! Our moms are picking up our children, so we have all the time you can spare!" So much for time management!

The local Italian restaurant served Chicken Florentine soup with their lunch special and since I am usually willing to try something new I ordered some! Emily being the great adventurous cook, too admitted to never making it! Needless to say, since I had never eaten it I certainly didn't recall ever looking at a recipe. Well, my dear ladies I have been wanting some more soup and with a little google search I discovered there were many different ways to make it. And I did what I like to do best...... Just started tossing stuff in the pot!

I will save the Ricky and Lucy story for the end....... So let's get cooking!

Teresa's Chicken Florentine Soup
(First Attempt)

4-boneless chicken breasts
Cover them with water; add salt, pepper and garlic powder; simmer until done
Dice into bite size pieces and add back to broth and continue to simmer

Add one yellow onion finely diced
About one cup of finely diced carrots 
About one cup of finely diced celery
Minced garlic - about 2 Tblsp.
2- boxes of chicken broth
** optional - A shake or two of "Slap Ya Mama" by Walker & Sons

Remove a couple of cups of hot broth from stock pot and whisk in 3-Tblsp. of flour ( I went really easy on the flour due to gluten issues, therefore my soup was pretty thin )

Bring back to a simmer

Add 1-cup of white cooking wine
2-3 bay leaves (I try to remember to scoop out those floating leaves - failure to do so will bring on the commentaries)

Then add:

8 oz. of cream cheese
1 & 1/2 cup of heavy cream

Add a carton of fresh baby spinach (sliced)
* I added a bunch because I figured it would be a easy way to get my family to eat a healthy portion! Warning: the green stuff floating in the pot gave it the "fear factor food" name at my house tonight.

Simmer a few minutes until spinach wilts and now it is time to sit down and enjoy some piping hot Chicken Florintine!


One loaf of stale French bread-sliced into one inch cubes

1-stick of melted butter

Stir in:
1-tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
Black pepper
A couple of shakes of  "Slap Ya Mama" by Walker & Sons

Continue stirring as you drizzle the butter over the bread pieces.

Bake 350 for 20 minutes-
Stir them around
Lower oven to 225 and continue to bake an additional 20 minutes
Turn off the oven!

But, leave them in the oven for a couple of hours. The goal is to dry them out slowly. Crispy is the goal!

Serve with soup and if you have any leftovers they store great in a ziplock bag for up to one week.

The calendar in Texas says it is spring, but my pansies are still loving the really cool nights!

Pan of bread cubes before the spices are added......

The broth mixture with the onions added....... 

The finished soup and croutons......yummy goodness!

Reece and Leslie showed up un-expectantly and just in time for dinner! Imagine that! Well, needless to say they have become accustom to my experiments in the kitchen, but tonight was even a tad out on the edge, because Olivia kept saying we were having fear factor food.

A close up of the finished croutons. I have been making these for years
and they never fail to be a big hit with the family!

Read on to learn more about this mysterious tortilla that showed up in
the middle of my Italian night...... the Mexicans are coming........!

Top view of dessert.....What is it you ask?

Tarimisu Wanna Be

1 small box of Jello Vanilla instant pudding & pie filling
1 small box of Jello devil's food instant pudding & pie filling

Mix both boxes "together" and follow directions on the box and add about 3- Tbsp of brewed coffee

Now for the really easy part:
I put one Tbsp. of coffee in the bottom of the glass and laid a girl scout cookie on top of the coffee. I then spooned in the pudding mixture and topped with a dollop of heavy whipped whipping cream. Two more girl scout cookies garnished the top and there you have a very simple dessert.

Let us talk a bit about that whipping cream..... I really wanted some cream cheese and powder sugar mixture, but didn't have any. So I poured about a half of cup of heavy whipping cream into a chilled bowl and added a couple of Tbsp. of sugar and beat with a fork until it got stiff. Normally I would have used a mixer for this process, but decided I was not making enough to justify the mess. It doesn't look as pretty, but taste was super!

Well I was already committed to the evening menu and with Reece and Leslie
showing up I decided to throw together a quick dessert.

Ready for the Ricky and Lucy part of the story!? Everybody kept coming through the kitchen and asking what was for dinner.... My answer was the same every time, "Chicken Florentine" and their response was "Chicken who?!" When Olivia went to get her dad for dinner he enters the kitchen with a fairly decent attitude about dinner. "So we are dinning like the Italians?" You know you really should have married an Italian, I am Mexican and Mexican's don't eat Italian food! About half way through his bowl of soup he departs from the kitchen table and starts warming up some flour tortillas. Well of course Leslie starts picking out her chicken and rolling it up in her tortilla! You know after 32 years of many Ricky and Lucy moments I have learned more about going with the flow and choosing not to be insulted or angered! Most of the time I can laugh at our differences and we have tried to instill in our children that it is okay to embrace both sides of their parents cuisine worlds.

Finally we had reached the end of the main course and it was time to serve the dessert. Needless to say the anticipation was somewhat high because chocolate was involved. Leslie takes a bite and says, "Oh, no, you put coffee in it!" Damita and Olivia chose to eat theirs, but decided it would have been much better without the coffee..... Reece ate his and Leslie's or at least I think that is what happened. And as for Jose' (Ricky) he announced that he had had enough Italian food for one night and trotted off to the fridge again, only to return with his Mexican rice pudding! Yep, it was just the store bought-pre-packaged kind. As he is peeling off the foil top announces that if he cannot pronounce it then he shouldn't eat it! 

All in all the meal was pretty tasty, I just didn't have the right guests over for dinner! Emily and Vanessa I should have called you, perhaps you would have appreciated my efforts a tad bit more! In closing let me send up a warning to you sensitive gals..... If you decide to experiment in the kitchen and try new things that your family is not accustom to eating, you should have a tough exterior along with a sense of humor! Getting upset over a meal just simply isn't worth it! It wasn't exactly the family dinner gathering at the June Cleaver's table, but it was our dinner table and 32 years later we still think it is pretty important to hang out at the table and dine together! Want to know one more little secret we have enforced all of these years at the dinner table? No TV! We like to talk about our day ...... It really is important to connect with our loved ones and sometimes this is the only time after long work days and school activities and all the other craziness our busy lives take on. Go ahead whip up something new tonight and experience the satisfaction of helping your family out of the box!

Go and make some melodies with those you love today!
Till my coffee cup and mouse meet again,


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