Elsa’s Portuguese Green Soup

I like to freeze things. Sort of like Elsa from Frozen, only I freeze food. I especially can’t resist freezing leftover food, particularly chicken or turkey carcasses. The trouble is, they take up room in my cramped, bottom-loading freezer. Once the ice cream has nowhere to go, the carcasses must leave, and soup must be made. Priorities are important!

Fortunately for me, we are having our first snow storm of the season, and there is nothing better than a bowl of soup and binge-watching Parks & Rec with the kids on a day like that! So I had my motivation to get moving on making soup.

I had made the chicken broth during the week actually, and it is simple. Good project for kids to help with because the chopping is minimal. You are going to toss the veggies away so no need to labor over chopping.

Broth recipe
1 chicken or turkey carcass
1 onion, cut in half, or diced in large pieces
2 ribs celery, cut up or whole
2 carrots, cut  up or whole
2 tsp salt
couple cloves of garlic (optional)

Put all the ingredients in your pot and cover with water. It’s probably about 10 cups. 8 is fine, so is 12. Boil and then simmer for two hours. Drain off the veggies, because you don’t want them anymore. And that’s it! Let it cool in the fridge and then in a few hours skim the fat off and put it in your dog’s food. Done and done.

Now I had the broth, but didn’t feel like chicken noodle, etc., so it was sitting in the fridge waiting for a decision to be made as to its final disposition. This morning, I happened upon a recipe for Portuguese Caldo Verde (green soup). Delicious, and if you already have the broth, it’ll take about an hour to make if you are a slow chopper, like I am. Could be faster if you’re a speed demon. (I like all my fingers.) With kids, I’d use a chop box for onions and potatoes, or I would supervise really carefully.

Portuguese Caldo Verde
1 bunch of collard greens
4 onions
4 Yukon Gold potatoes
2 Yukon Gold potatoes
9 cups of chicken broth
12 oz package of chorizo sausage
1/4 cup olive oil

  1. Peel 4 potatoes and roughly chop.
  2. Rough chop onion.
  3. Put potatoes and onion in pot, add broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Peel and chop 2 potatoes and cook separately, about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove rib from greens, and thinly slice. Do not be lazy 🙂 (Kids can do this easily with a pair of kitchen shears)
  6. Thinly slice chorizo.Collard.chorizo
  7. After broth has cooked 15 minutes, use an immersible stick blender to blend it into a smooth texture. Add sausage, olive oil and greens. Cook covered on medium heat for 12 minutes. Add the two reserved potatoes. We add the chopped potatoes to the individual soup bowls because not everyone here is a fan of boiled potatoes.

Nice, rich flavors. Hits the spot on a cold, wintry day, even in Arendelle, I bet.collard.chorizo.soup


Mason Jar Salads: Bottled Up Creativity

Today during a cooking class we made those Mason jar salads that seem to be everywhere on social media. These are assembled in layers, starting with the dressing and then ending with the fragile lettuce leaves on top. So, how’d it go, assembling salad with kids ranging from age 8-10, and promoting the idea that they might want to actually eat it with dinner?

In the words of my 18-year-old helper, Nick: “Mom, I’ve never seen kids so excited to make SALAD.”

Yep, they loved it. I think it’s because it’s part salad bar, part art project and completely creative. They get to choose what to put in and how much of each ingredient. Jar_salad

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 quart wide mouth glass mason jar. These are standard issue.
  • Salad dressing
  • Assortment of hard veggies — Carrots, celery, cucumbers, onions, cherry tomatoes
  • Assortment of less sturdy or oddly shapped veggies — zucchini, mushrooms, chick peas, corn, black beans, kidney beans, olives
  • Lettuce (we used iceberg, romaine and an assortment of small “fancy” heads. You could use spinach, too.)
  • Topping: Sunflower seeds, raisins, craisins, granola, nuts. (We used sunflower seeds only.) No croutons because they’ll absorb the moisture from the lettuce, etc. and become weird bread pieces.


  • Cooked pasta (Rotini, fusilli, elbow work well)
  • Cheese
  • Meat (chicken, turkey, tuna, or even hard-boiled eggs)

By “sturdy,” I mean veggies that don’t soak up dressing. The important part of this is the attention to the layering process, so the final product isn’t pickley and soggy. Yuck. Instead, let’s make something that’s “yum”:

  1. Add dressing. We made oil and vinegar using 3 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp vinegar. Stir with a fork to emulsify.
  2. Add sturdy veggies. We used cucumbers, carrots, a little bit of onion and cherry tomatoes.
  3. Add next group of veggies. We used beans and corn.
  4. Add lettuce. Some used all different kinds, others none.
  5. Add pasta. We used rotini. Those that opted against lettuce used pasta.
  6. Finish with topping. If you are using cheese and meat, put those in and THEN the topping.

Pictured is one made for my hubby’s lunch tomorrow, using pasta and tuna. Aren’t they pretty? The kids today made really beautiful jarred salads. Using different types of lettuce really gives the meal a richer look, I think.

Ideally, this should fill the glass jar, eliminating any air gap. If you are eating within the next day, a gap shouldn’t matter. I know people who pack five of these on Sunday and use one a day for lunch. If that’s your plan, fill it to the top. Either way, use glass jars because the contents keep fresher longer. Remember too, to dump it on a substantial size plate, that way the dressing will be on top. Of course there’s nothing wrong with eating it upside down (especially if you’re at work and forgot the plate. Not sure I’d want to eat on one of those “community” plates in the lunchroom!)

Now enjoy your work and eat!