When is that thing called summer supposed to start showing itself? The official start day of June 21 is less than a month away and it sure doesn’t feel like it. Baseball and softball games canceled, grills left unused, hot dog buns screaming out for their lost long partner, the hot dog.

Memorial Day is supposed to usher in shorts, hamburgers, Slip N’ Slides and cold beer. Last night was barely above freezing!

I decided to poll some folks and found out it is pretty unanimous on the favorite foods to make and eat while it is raining. Soups and chili topped the list by a long shot.

Last year, I gave you a family favorite chili recipe and in case you lost it, will tag if on the end just in case. I will concentrate on chicken noodle soup today, however, because, as hard as you try, it is nearly impossible to mess it up. If you can boil pasta, you can make chicken noodle soup.

Personally, I like my soups hearty. The more chunks and pieces I can get in a spoonful the better. One of my good friends likes to emulsify everything until it’s a thick soup like paste. The first empty, depressing spoonful makes you wonder why your life has gone by so fast and you’re now eating retirement home food.

You won’t find that in any of Doug’s soup recipes, some teeth required — or fake ones if you are fancy enough.

Chicken noodle soup can go as far, or short as you want it. Want to make your own noodles? Go for it; it will only make it that much better. Want to just have noodles and chicken in broth? They are your taste buds.

In any case, I hope the soup or chili get your through the next rainy spell. I promise there are sunny days ahead.

Chicken noodle soup 

12 fresh baby carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

4 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1-1/2 teaspoons mustard seed

2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

1-1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves

1-1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

4 cans (14.5 ounces each) chicken broth

1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated linguine

Coarsely ground pepper and additional minced fresh parsley, optional

1. In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine the first six ingredients. Place mustard seed and garlic on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with kitchen string to form a bag. Place in slow cooker. Add chicken and broth. Cover and cook on low until meat is tender, 5-6 hours.

2. Discard spice bag. Remove chicken; cool slightly. Stir linguine into soup; cover and cook on high until tender, about 30 minutes. Cut chicken into pieces and return to soup; heat through. Sprinkle with coarsely ground pepper and additional parsley if desired.

3. Enjoy!

 

Chili

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes

1 can tomato soup

1 15 ounce can chili beans (undrained)

1 15 ounce can black beans (undrained)

2 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon thyme

Cayenne pepper to taste

salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the beef and onion and saute until meat is browned and onion is tender. Add the stewed tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce and beans.

2. Season with the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, thyme, cayenne pepper and salt and ground black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for one hour.

3. Enjoy!

 

Cinnamon rolls

For the dough:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup warm water, (read your yeast packet for temperature suggestions)

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, one envelope

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

2 egg yolks

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, **see note**

For the filling:

5 tablespoons butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark)

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

For the frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons milk or cream

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, for the frosting

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

pinch of Salt

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the milk.

3. In a large bowl whisk together the warm water, yeast and sugar. Whisk in the egg plus egg yolks. Add the salt, 2 cups of the flour and the butter/milk mixture. Stir with a spatula until combined.

4. Add the last 2 cups of flour and work it in with your hands, kneading the dough in the bowl for about 8 minutes, only adding more flour if the dough seems too sticky or wet. It should be soft, pliable and shiny from the butter in the dough.

5. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a large oiled bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until it doubles in size.

6. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with parchment paper. When the dough has doubled in size lay it on the prepared work surface and roll it out to about 16 by 12 inches, with the shortest side closest to you.

7. Make the filling by mixing together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. It will be clumpy. Sprinkle the filling all over the dough, going all the way to the outside edges. Start rolling the dough away from you and cut into 6 equal pieces. Lay the pieces in the prepared baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and let them rise for another 1 1/2 hours.

8. Bake the risen rolls for 25-30 minutes. They will be golden.

9. While the buns bake, make the frosting. Beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add in the milk or cream, vanilla and almond extracts, and the pinch of salt. Then add in the light corn syrup. Beat on high until smooth.

10. Spread the frosting generously over the hot cinnamon buns.