Easy Chicken Pazole [RECIPE]

Easy Chicken Pazole
Get this hearty Mexican soup on the table in just 10 minutes! (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Just because time is at a premium, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get a homemade dinner on the table in minutes. This recipe turns pantry staples and a few fresh ingredients into a classic Mexican soup that is both hearty and delicious.

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Chicken And Dumplings Are Simple And Delicious [RECIPE]

Chicken and Dumplings

Jathan Fink/Jadeworks Entertainment

I am always looking for recipes that taste good and are simple to make. This recipe for chicken and dumplings is not only easy to assemble, but will be on the table within an hour. Read more of this post

Celebrate our planet this April

April 2011

Earth Day is in our hands 2011

Earth Day is celebrated worldwide on April 22, although it may be commemorated on other dates in your community.

Dear friends,

Despite tax season, April is a fun month. The weather is generally a little warmer, spring is officially in full swing, and people’s spirits are generally much better than they were during the chilly winter months. Plus there are several great events to look forward to!

As we’ve told you before, one of our favorite charities is the Nature Conservancy, whose motto is “Protecting nature. Preserving life.” This year in celebration of Earth Day (on April 22nd), they are encouraging all of us to get outside, have fun and explore nature as a family. They’re also urging people to “picnic for the planet,” by hosting picnic meetups in 199 cities around the globe.

The Earth Day Network is also urging people to pledge to live and act sustainably. You can find great resources about how to reduce your carbon footprint on their Website, find ways to get involved and can even make donations to the cause.

But Earth Day also means the release of a brand new film from Disneynature, African Cats! The film follows two feline families striving to make a home in the wildest place on earth. See African Cats during opening week, and Disneynature will make a donation in your honor to protect the savanna these cats call home. And before you watch the movie, be sure to visit the African Cats Website for educational information and downloads that can help you teach your children about the science and geography themes in the film.

And if you’re in Cincinnati, you can join us down at Sawyer Point at noon on Saturday, April 16th for the 41st Anniversary Celebration of Earth Day! There will be tons of stuff to see and do for the entire family, including animal presentations featuring an aquarium and petting zoo, a rock-climbing wall, great food and live music.

Then, on Friday, April 29th, head on down to Great American Ball Park for UC Night at the Reds! The Reds will take on the Florida Marlins and the park will be packed with UC alumni. Buy reduced rate tickets, then be sure to show up early for the pre-game activities and FREE giveaways in the Reds fan zone!

The reptile house at the Cincinnati Zoo during Zoo Blooms

Color explodes at the Cincinnati Zoo during Zoo Blooms throughout the April 2011.

Get out your garden gear and prepare to plant a tree, because the 29th is also Arbor Day. For those of you who aren’t sure what the Arbor Day Foundation is or how the day gained popularity across America, you can check out two articles Jathan wrote last year about the trees in our lives and the origins of Arbor Day on his philanthropy blog, Some People’s Lives.

April is also a great time to start planning your summer garden. You can visit the Cincinnati Zoo for ideas during the entire month of April as the park explodes with color during Zoo Blooms. This event always fuels our imaginations, particularly since spring makes us anxious to plant tons of herbs, veggies and flowers of our own. Because we plant the majority of these plants in containers, be sure to watch for a future blog post about that. We’ll give you some great tips on gardening, including inexpensive ways to make your yard look phenomenal!

And in case you missed them, be sure to explore our site for great food ideas, including everything from kitchen basics like heart-healthy Chicken Broth to our favorite Southern Fried and Southern Barbecued Chicken recipes. Then check out family favorites like Tomato Soup with Mozzarella Croutons, Classic Cinnamon Buns and No-Bake Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Cookies. If you love Italian cuisine, try our authentic Italian Minestrone and Rigatoni with Rapid Ragu. For something spicy, kick up the heat with Hoppin’ John, a traditional Southern dish with just the right amount of heat. There’s something for everyone on Jathan & Heather!

So what are you waiting for? Get outside, commune with nature, plant a tree, take a picnic, watch a game, or plan your garden. It’s spring, and there is no better time to enjoy the great outdoors!

Jathan & Heather

p.s. Watch the preview to African Cats below!

Broth, Stock & Barrel—Part One

Adding cracked pepper to a pot of broth

Preparing homemade broth or stock makes a heart healthy alternative to store-bought brands.

Broth or stock is the base for many of our favorite recipes. Both create an additional layer of flavor, adding complexity to soups, gravies, sauces and more. The addition of a bit of stock or broth can even make a can of store-bought veggies taste like you slaved over them at the stove.

But some of you have asked, “What’s the difference between broth and stock? Aren’t they the same thing?” In this two-part post, we’ll discuss how these things vary from one another, and will also give you easy to follow directions so you can create your own that is low in calories, carbs, cholesterol and fat.

Broth is used around the globe and is one of the simplest soups to make. Using everyday ingredients like poultry, vegetables and herbs deepens the flavor of this thin, clear liquid. How does broth vary from stock? Simply put, broth utilizes meat (in our case, a whole chicken is used) while stock is made from bones (we’ll use beef bones) rather than meat. Meat adds flavor while bones contribute body.

Although both broth and stock may contain similar ingredients (aside from the bones or meat, of course), broth cooks differently. It simmers less than stock and has a lighter, fresher flavor. Yet neither is difficult to prepare. In fact, with a little planning, there’s no reason you should ever have to buy canned stock or broth again!

Once you make your broth and strain out the fat and ingredients, it is easy to store. You can do so in a variety of ways, whether you choose to store it in plastic containers, ice-cube trays or in resealable plastic bags. Both broth and stock can be kept refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for up to three months. The only exception to this rule would be if you chose to create fish stock, which can only be stored for two months in the freezer before it goes bad.

Now that you know broth basics, let’s get to cookin’!

Chicken Broth

Homemade chicken broth can be stored in a variety of containers and frozen for up to three months!

Chicken Broth

PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 2 hours
  • 6-pound hen or 6-pounds chicken pieces, washed and patted dry
  • 2 1/2 quarts water
  • 3 celery ribs with leaves, quartered
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours.
  2. Pour broth through a strainer, discarding vegetables and herbs. Set chicken aside and allow to cool. Cover broth and chill thoroughly. Skim and discard solidified fat from top of broth. Shred chicken, discard bones, and store meat in a plastic container or resealable bag for future use. (This cooked meat is great in soup, casseroles, and even chicken salad!)
  3. Store broth in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months. Thaw and use as directed in recipes that call for chicken broth.

MONEY SAVING TIP: Before you prepare your next batch of chicken broth, reserve parts of the chicken you may normally discard when cooking (like backs, necks, etc.) in a plastic bag in the freezer. Then, when you want to make broth, you may have enough loose parts to prepare it without having to buy another chicken!

YIELDS: 10 cups

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment.