Friday, April 25, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup

The following poem comes from A.A. Milne's book of poetry. It was written in 1924. You can just imagine Winnie the Pooh reciting these words as he walked through the woods on a very fine spring morning.
Spring Morning
by A. A. Milne

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
Down to the stream where the king-cups grow-
Up on the hill where the pine-trees blow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.
Where am I going? The clouds sail by,
Little ones, baby ones, over the sky.
Where am I going? The shadows pass,
Little ones, baby ones, over the grass.
If you were a cloud, and sailed up there,
You’d sail on water as blue as air,
And you’d see me here in the fields and say:
“Doesn’t the sky look green today?”
Where am I going? The high rooks call:
“It’s awful fun to be born at all.”
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
“We do have beautiful things to do.”
If you were a bird, and lived on high,
You’d lean on the wind when the wind came by,
You’d say to the wind when it took you away:
“That’s where I wanted to go today!”
Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.
Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup 
Cook's notes: Despite the fact the calendar says spring there are still many chilly nights. Hearty Chicken Parmesan  soup has all the flavors of decadent chicken Parmesan and its perfect for those nights when you need a warm-up. Its an easy no fuss meal when using the slow cooker.  
Suggested pastas for soup include: medium shells, bowties, farfalline 
recipe adapted from
  • 1 TB. oil
  • 3/4 cup diced sweet onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
  • 3/4 cup diced green pepper or celery
  • 1 cup diced zucchini 
  • 6 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 LB. boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 can (14.5) chunky tomatoes (basil, garlic and oregano)
  • 2 TB. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 8 oz. small pasta ( I used farfalline) 
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Heat oil in skillet and cook onion till tender about 5 minutes
  • Add in garlic, red pepper flakes and fennel, cook about 1 minute
  • In slow cooker add garlic/onion mixture, broth or stock, chicken, chunky tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, basil, zucchini and green pepper 
  • Cook on high 3 hours. Add in dried pasta and Parmesan cheese and cook 15 minutes more or until pasta is cooked al dente
  • Remove chicken, shred it with 2 forks and return back to soup mixture, Blend well 
  • Serve with croutons and grated cheese

Erika Scheurer may have a higher tolerance for poetry than most. Even most English professors.

On Friday April 25th , she’s hosting a marathon reading of Emily Dickinson’s poems — all 1,789 of them — at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN.

While visitors are welcome to come and go as they please, Scheurer, a Dickinson scholar and associate professor, plans to stick it out the entire time. An estimated 13 or 14 hours.

“I can’t get enough of her,” admitted Scheurer, who wrote her dissertation on the 19th-century poet. “It’s like a rich cheesecake.”

Speaking of cheesecake, she’s even baking Dickinson’s trademark confection — a black cake with brandy and molasses — for the occasion.

This is the second time in six years that Scheurer has hosted the marathon, which was inspired by similar ones around the country. Last time, she said, more than 100 people showed up.

To her, Dickinson’s poems are tailor-made for an event like this. “They’re short,” she said. “You can kind of breathe them in and breathe them out and move on to the next one.”

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