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Homemade Croutons

Posted on 21 February 2012 by noelskitchen

Not only does making homemade croutons allow you to utilize the ends of the loaves of bread, it also allows you to make delicious, fresh croutons to add to your salads and soups.

Home Made Croutons Are Easy To Make

With a little bit of oil and seasoning, you can have homemade bread crumbs in 5 to 7 minutes-it’s that easy!

Croutons in our house are like potato chips. They get gobbled up before they make it to the salad or topping of a meal. If I want them toi last longer, I simply cube the leftover bread, place in a zip-loc freezer bag and toss in the freezer. When I’m ready to use them, I pull out about a cup or two and toss with oilve oil and a bit of seasoning and bake.

If you have leftover regular sandwich bread or loaves of french bread, making homemade croutons only takes a few simple steps to make.  Simply cut the bread into cubes as shown below, then follow directions below and you’ll have tasty homemade croutons in no time.

 Homemade Croutons


  • Leftover bread or baquette, cut into cubes (white or wheat)
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese, dried herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary), garlic powder


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Toss bread cubes with olive oil, salt, pepper and seasonings (see above) on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until golden. Cool.

 Toss a few croutons on some Quick Minestrone Soup from my post earlier that I shared over the weekend for a great combination.

Homemade croutons, stored in a plastic container or a plastic bag, last up to two weeks unrefrigerated.


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Quick Minestrone Soup

Posted on 19 February 2012 by noelskitchen

A basic but lovely vegetable soup – it’s jam-packed fully of goodness and will do anyone who eats it the world of good! 

Soup is a great way to make the most of leftover vegetables which can spoil more quickly. Make up a big batch of soup– you can keep the rest in the fridge for light suppers, packed lunches, and even freeze portions in zip-loc bags to eat another day. This soup is great for using up any odds and ends of pasta.

 Quick Minestrone Soup

Serves: 8


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 strips bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 large potato, scrubbed and diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Large handful of spinach leaves
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat a large pot over a medium heat and add olive oil. Throw in the bacon and fry it gently until it starts to turn brown.( The kitchen should smell fantastic right about now.) Add the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, stirring now and then, until the vegetables have softened.
  2. Add the tomatoes, potato and vegetable broth, then cover with a lid and bring everything slowly to the boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes, then check (with the tip of a paring knife) that the potato is soft and cooked through.
  3. Add the spinach and pasta, and cook for 10 more minutes, until the pasta is cooked. If the soup is too thick for you after cooking the pasta, thin it with a little more broth or water.
  4. Finish by seasoning with a little salt and black pepper and pass the Parmesan around the table for people to sprinkle on their soup.

The ingredients I used were just what I had on hand in my pantry and refrigerator. You could certainly use kale, leeks, basil, chick peas or kidney beans in this recipe.

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Healthy Budget Meal Ideas: Soups and Stews

Posted on 09 September 2011 by noelskitchen

Healthy Budget Meal Ideas

Most of the items that are put into soups and stews are very reasonable in price and believe me, a nice bowl of homemade soup or stew is an extremely nutritious meal for your family. Nowadays, it’s so easy for people to reach for a can of soup and there is no question about the fact that canned or prepared soup has a place in our life, but it just can’t compare with a homemade soup.

Soups and Stews

Soups and stews also provide one of the best ways to use up leftover turkey, chicken or beef. You’ll find your soup or stew will have a better flavor if you include the bones along with the meat while cooking. Just remember to remove the bones before serving. The bone marrow gives the soup additional flavor.

Herbs are another ingredient that will make a tremendous difference in the flavor of your soups and stews. Experiment with different types of herbs to find the right ones to suit your family’s taste. A bay leaf, fresh parsley, and thyme are generally included in most soups and stews. You’ll be truly amazed at the wonderful flavor it will add to your soup or stew.

One Dish Meals

The great thing about a soup or stew is that it is a one dish meal. When you cook vegetables, don’t throw away the water because much of the nutrition is contained in the water. Simple pour in a freezable container and freeze. Add it to a soup or stew.

With homemade soups and stews, you don’t throw it away so your family gets the full food value. Some of our family’s favorites are:

Taco, Bean and Rice Soup

Favorite Vegetable Beef Soup

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Harvest Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Mom’s Favorite Chili in a bread bowl

What are some of your family’s favorite soup and stew recipes?

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Make Leftovers Into A New Meal! (Taco, Bean and Rice Soup)

Posted on 26 July 2011 by noelskitchen

Don’t throw out your leftovers! Check out this recipe using leftover Taco meat and you can make your family a whole other delicious meal using the slow cooker!


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Chicken Soup for the Girl’s Soul:A Recipe For Young Girls

Posted on 04 May 2011 by noelskitchen


A few years ago, I was in Chicago attending my Pampered Chef National Conference. One of the speakers was Jack Canfield, author of many of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books and author of the book Chicken Soup for the Girl’s Soul. I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Mr. Canfield while I was in Chicago. What an inspiration! Needless to say, I purchased his Chicken Soup for the Entrpreneur’s Soul and a couple others. I refer to them often when I need a little inspiration.

Over the weekend, we went to the Community Book Swap, a great place to freecycle books, magazines, records, and CD’s.  This is where I picked up a copy of the Chicken Soup for the Girl’s Soul. I immediately thought our daughter would enjoy reading a book that answers some of those questions young girls always have. Finally, a book that covers issues for girls only! The universal “coming of age” events of a preteen girl-first bra, first crush, physical changes and emotional mood swings. Chicken Soup for the Girl′s Soul is a book by girls, for girls, where readers can find encouragement, support and positive advice about the challenges of being a preteen girl.

Chicken Soup For Young Girls

There’s something so comforting about a bowl of Chicken Soup. when you’re sick, what’s the first thing that’s ordered? Chicken Soup. Here’s a great Homemade Chicken Soup that will warm up anyone’s soul:

Chicken Soup Recipe for Young Girls



4 chicken leg quarters, skin and fat removed
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
2 Tablespoons lemon juice


  • Combine chicken, broth, water, onion and garlic in (8-qt./7.6 L) Stockpot over medium-high heat; bring to a boil.
  •  Reduce heat to a simmer; skim fat and foam off top using Skimmer. Stir in bay leaves and half of the parsley. Simmer 45 minutes, skimming occasionally.
  • Remove chicken pieces from Stockpot and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  • Meanwhile, add carrots and celery to soup; simmer 15 minutes.
  • Remove chicken meat from bones; discard bones and return chicken to soup. Stir in lemon juice. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with remaining parsley.

Yield: 6 servings (8 cups)

 Enjoy a bowl of this soup with a great book!

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