Cream of Chicken with Wild Rice

2 tbsp. oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small cubes (If you use other chicken parts, you will need to skim the fat off the top of the soup before adding flour mixture.)

1-1/2 quarts water + 4 tsp. chicken stock or 4 cups broth + 2 cups water

1 small to medium size onion

3 stalks of celery

1-1/4 cups of prepared wild rice (follow package directions) I used 1 cup water and 1/4 cup Fall River Wild Rice.

3 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. flour

1-1/2 cup half and half or milk (half and half makes a richer, creamier soup with more calories. Both are very good.)

1/4 tsp. parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Brown chicken cubes in hot oil over medium heat. Stir and cook about 5 min. for a flavorful start on your broth. Add water and broth, celery and onion. Cook 2 hours.  In a small sauce pan, melt butter on low heat and add flour to form a paste. Stir well quickly and then add milk or cream slowly while stirring. Bring back to a light boil and stir constantly while mixture thickens. Add this mixture to the soup. Add cooked rice and parsley. Heat back to a small boil, stirring well. Turn off and serve.

Good Old-Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup

2 lbs. beef – Get a piece of flavorful beef from the butcher. (Flank, round, tri tip (coulotte), or chuck are good)

2 tbsp. cooking oil

1 large onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3/4 cup shredded cabbage (optional)

3 large carrots, diced

2 quarts of water plus beef base – enough to turn 5 cups water to broth (Better than Bullion® is a great tasting organic choice)

1 can diced tomatoes

1 cup of fresh cut raw green beans

3 potatoes, cut in bite-sized pieces

1 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise, then cross-sliced

Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Cut meat in bite-sized pieces and brown in hot fat on all sides. Lower heat to medium low and cook 5 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.

Add onions, celery and cabbage if desired. Stir in for a minute or two to brown slightly. Add water and tomatoes. Cook 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Taste. Add more beef base if desired but only a little at a time, if needed.  Skim any fat off the top of the soup with a spoon or ladle.

Add carrots and  green beans. Bring back to simmering and simmer 25 minutes. Add zucchini and potatoes. Cook 30-40 minutes more until vegetables are tender. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese if desired.