Join Me in the Kitchen: Quick Cheesy Chicken Soup

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Contributing Writer Vicki McGraw
Contributing Writer Vicki McGraw, Elegant Edibles Catering

Well friends, we are almost 1/12th of the way through 2020! My gosh, where do the days go? The month seems to have flown by, but I do feel that I have accomplished something. I have spent many of the quiet days cleaning, organizing and purging my space of otherwise useless junk. Because my days are calm after the chaos of the holiday season, I feel the New Year offers a perfect opportunity to get “my life in order”, if you will. If you are anything like me, you are shaking your head in agreement, understanding my “pack-rat syndrome” and feeling the need to de-clutter your life.

Because true cleaning and de-cluttering a whole house (or as in my case, business space) can seem to be an overwhelming task, I like to break that down and take one room at a time. Think small and the task seems much more manageable. I have gone through each room of my business, one room and one day at a time, and purged my shelves of old, useless and otherwise “why on earth did I keep this” things. What seemed like an absolute necessary gadget when it was purchased never made it out of the package, so why, years later, am I still keeping it? Times and trends change, just as fashions and taste change, and we need to adapt and adjust.

Of the many things I seem to have collected that are real space wasters are the hundreds of cookbooks and cooking magazines I have hoarded over the years. While I have a few cookbooks that I use repeatedly, the number is miniscule when compared to the actual volumes I have accumulated and never used beyond the one recipe I bought the book for. The cookbooks that I no longer want can be discarded, but I hate to fill landfill space with such things so I recommend donating them whenever possible. If your local library doesn’t want them you may have to think outside the box…Is there a local church group or school that might have a desire for such items? Or maybe just offer to trade with friends! Magazine type cookbooks can be recycled, so that is an appropriate way to dispose of them. As I have done with many cookbooks, I find myself having purchased a magazine for a particular recipe, so before I toss it in the recycle bin, I pull out the pages that interest me, use a three-hole punch and add them to the “great idea” binder I keep. Thanks to technology and our good friend “Google”, we don’t need to keep volumes of cookbooks on hand any more; a simple google search or tap into one of the many recipe apps available and I can usually find a plethora of recipes for whatever menu item I want to create. From there I can print it if I so desire (to add to my binder). Organization and technology can go hand in hand if you open your mind to it!

The coming days are forecasted to be perfect for staying indoors, so, dear friends, this week I offer you this challenge…set aside a few hours to de-clutter and organize just one room, and feel the freedom of having a little extra space in your life!

Quick Cheesy Chicken Soup
(a recipe from my “great idea binder”!)

4 C cubed, cooked chicken
2 can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
3 ½ C water
1-16 oz package of frozen mixed veggies
2 C frozen diced (hash brown style) potatoes
1- 16 oz package processed cheese (like Velveeta), cubed
In a large pot, combine everything EXCEPT cheese. Bring to a broil and then turn down to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes, until veggies and potatoes are tender. Add cheese, stirring until melted (do not boil!).

To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.