I have worked in the food and beverage industry in some form or fashion for over 10 years. It is the industry I chose to pursue a career in and it has definitely taught me many things, been very challenging and rewarding all at the same time.
One thing that having a career in food has given me the opportunity, is meeting lots and lots of people. Over the years I have met hundreds of people. From co-workers, to clients, to farmers, to restaurant owners, to brand managers and beverage reps, to fellow food bloggers and recipe developers.
Meeting all these different individuals and personalities has taught me patience (more patience than I ever thought I knew). It has given me the opportunity to work with clients for many years. And has blessed me with life long friends.
Of course, of all the people I have met over the years, I have always loved striking up conversations with fellow chefs. I am always curious about how and why they got into the food industry. Did they go to culinary school or worked their way up from dishwasher? What fancy or exotic restaurant did they work at before? What is their “go to” dish? And do you cook on your time off?
Yup, a common trend among most professional chefs, is that as soon as they walk out of that big, fancy, professional kitchen, they take the chef coat off and don’t want to go home and cook again. In fact, I have heard many chefs confess to serving their family burgers on Thanksgiving and getting take out on the way home because they are simply too exhausted, to burnt out and so not in the mood to cook.
This is something for a long time I never understood. Food is a chef’s life. How could they get burnt out? How could they settle for take out or burgers on Thanksgiving? I have always jumped at any chance to get in the kitchen. Being in the kitchen and cooking is my zen. To turn up the beat of my favorite tunes, and chop and knead, and mix and believe or not roll up my sleeves and do the dishes… in my eyes- heaven!
However, the past few months have been super busy and extremely stressful. There has been so much going on and I am barely keeping my head above water. At some point, and I don’t really know when it actually occurred, but I lost my oomph. Grocery shopping, menu planning, clipping coupons, cleaning and dinner time became dreaded chores and added stress. That is when I finally understood what all my chef mentors where talking about… a sad, sad day.
In an effort to keep my sanity and to at least get something on the table, I turned to quick, easy 30 minute meals and took advantage of a few shortcuts. One pot wonder meals, the slow cooker and frozen chopped veggies became huge life savers. In fact, when I spotted these new pre-seasoned vegetables, from Birds Eye® at my local Walmart, I immediately stocked up! Not only do their Steamfresh® Flavor Full products, like Buffalo Cauliflower and Ranch Broccoli, give me no fuss dinner side dishes, they are perfect for adding to recipes like the one I am sharing below!
I am ecstatic to say, that I am finally finding my way back into the kitchen without it feeling like a compete burden… a happy, happy day! I am not making homemade pasta or pumping out three course meals, but with a few shortcuts and back pocket recipes, I AM getting dinner on the table!
This Buffalo Chicken Soup is so easy. Simply dump and simmer. Since I use Farm Rich® Smokehouse Dry Rub Smoked Chicken, I don’t even have to worry about shredding the chicken after it boils in the soup. Yay! Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner! 🙂
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 large carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 (9.5-ounce) package Birds Eye® Steamfresh® Flavor Full Buffalo Cauliflower
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (32-ounce) carton chicken stock
½- ¾ cup buffalo wing sauce
1 (16-ounce) package Farm Rich® Smokehouse Dry Rub Smoked Chicken
½ teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper
¼ cup blue cheese crumbles
¼ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup blue cheese dressing
Heat butter and oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes, Add carrots, celery and cauliflower, and saute for an additional 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in chicken stock, buffalo sauce, chicken, salt and black pepper. Bring soup to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasonings or additional buffalo sauce, if needed. Serve immediately topped with blue cheese crumbles, diced green onion and a drizzle of blue cheese dressing.
Note: Additional stock, buffalo sauce or water maybe needed to add to any refrigerated leftovers.
Looking to not only save time but money in the kitchen? Earn $0.75 on Birds Eye Vegetables or unlock $1.00 off one Farm Rich® Smokehouse product with Ibotta while supplies last. If you haven’t used Ibotta, you have to download the app available on iOs and Android. Before you shop, be sure to unlock the rebates for both Birds Eye Vegetables and Farm Rich® Smokehouse. Then, shop! Buy the products that you’ve unlocked at major retailers. Finally, verify your purchase by scanning your barcodes and submitting a photo of your receipt!
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