chicken and wild rice soup – it’s always soup szn in my heart

chicken and wild rice soup with mushrooms and spinach

Chicken and wild rice soup with mushrooms and spinach.

this chicken and rice soup has quickly become one of my family’s favorites, and it’s one of my go-to freezer meals. this recipe makes a huge pot of soup and you could easily eat it for dinner, have leftovers, and still have some to stash away in the freezer. i originally made this as a vegetarian soup with just mushrooms, and of course my husband had to make a “where’s the meat?” comment, so i added chicken. equally delicious either way. i always enjoy a good vegetarian meal, but he usually expects meat for dinner. my kids also could take or leave meat, and both love mushrooms so this works both ways for us. you can also use any chicken meat you have leftover or sitting around in the freezer. let me know if you try this recipe, and what you prefer; chicken and wild rice or mushroom and wild rice?

ingredients

2 cups of precooked chicken*
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of minced garlic
3-4 medium carrots, diced
2 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
8 oz baby bella or white button mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup wild rice
1/2 cup jasmine rice
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
8-10 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach – chopped or torn into pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

instructions

normally i pre-chop all my vegetables/herbs before starting a recipe like this so i’m prepared when i need to add something in. so first, cut or shred up your chicken and set aside. chop carrots, onions, and celery and set aside. slice mushrooms and set aside. if you are mincing your own garlic, do that now as well and put it with the mushrooms, these will be added together.

heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and add the two tablespoons of olive oil. saute the onions, carrots, and celery with a large pinch of salt and pepper until the onions start to become translucent, then add the mushrooms and garlic. continue cooking this mixture until the mushrooms have released all their liquid and it starts to evaporate. at this time add the rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf, and add the chicken back in. once everything is heated through, about 2 minutes, sprinkle the two tablespoons of flour, and continue cooking the mixture for 2 more minutes. pour over the wine, chicken broth, and add the rice. make sure everything is combined and bring this to a boil. reduce the heat to low and simmer it partially covered for 45 minutes, or until the rice is fully cooked. check and stir the soup to make sure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom, or you need to add more liquid. i usually start with 8 cups of broth, and if it seems like the rice has absorbed all the liquid or it’s sticking to the bottom, i add the additional 2 cups. once the rice is completely cooked through, you can then add in the spinach and simmer for about 5 more minutes until it’s heated through.

serve with croutons, or a nice crusty sourdough loaf like we do 🙂 hope you enjoy this soup as much as our family does!

*note about chicken – you could also use two fresh chicken breasts. if using this method, cut the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces, and brown them in the dutch oven over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in two batches, then set aside on a plate before starting to saute the vegetables. add them back in when you add in the herbs. i have made this recipe with chicken breasts using this method as well as chicken thighs that i had already precooked in the instant pot. a rotisserie chicken would also work really well.

another breakfast bake – caramelized onion and spinach strata

caramelized onion and spinach breakfast strata

picture of strata with caramelized onions and spinach

we’re all about the breakfast bakes right now apparently. mostly because i’ve been looking for more recipes that i can bake up at the beginning of the week and we can heat it up for multiple days. breakfast is one of the hardest meals for me, and it makes things so much easier when you have two toddlers to cook for in the morning, especially since ryan just left on a month long training. #militarylife. i love this caramelized onion and spinach strata because it’s easily customizable, you can add whatever you have on hand… next time ryan suggested i add potatoes and i’m definitely going to try that. eggs have so much nutrition, and it’s a fun way to get veggies in at the morning meal, as well as helping me use up yesterdays stale sourdough, which i always feel like gets wasted. homemade bread goes stale so fast because there are no preservatives, and casseroles are an amazing way to use that up. you can use whatever bread you have laying around! i find a crusty leftover loaf of bread works really well with this recipe though, because it stands up to the egg mixture and retains some chewiness rather than becoming all soggy in the casserole. hope you enjoy this yummy strata as much as we did! 🙂

ingredients

9 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped or just ripped into pieces
half a loaf of crusty bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 2-2 1/2 cups)
1 cup shredded cheese of choice
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon, but adjust based on your preferences)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
cooking spray or extra butter to coat baking dish

instructions

preheat your oven to 350 degrees. slice the onion thinly, add the butter and olive oil to a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. sauté the onions until they start to caramelize and brown, about 7-10 minutes. add the minced garlic and cook for one more minute, then take off the heat to cool slightly. honestly, you could caramelize these fully and it would add a more complex flavor, but i was being lazy and just got a little dark brown color on them knowing they would cook all the way through in the oven. while the onions are cooling, slice up your bread into 1 inch cubes, and set aside. whisk together the eggs, milk, heavy cream, shredded cheese, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cheese. fold in the spinach and onion/garlic mixture and the bread cubes. spread evenly into a 9×13 baking dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray or lined with butter. bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the bread is a golden brown, and it’s completely set in the middle. then enjoy for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner!