So as I walked into class the other day, Anna and Sarah excitedly presented me with a very special bouquet for my birthday. It was lush and full and contained only two things… fennel and bok choy.
Do they know me or what?!
So of course I immediately was fitspired during my trip to the farmers’ market and grocery store and knew I would use both vegetables in my food prep that week. The very first key to food prep that works is organization. When you can use one or two foods/ingredients in multiple ways/meals your food prep falls into place and you have good, healthy, tasty meals that work in your week’s schedule.
In other words, that bouquet became the gift that just kept giving!
Since that beautiful bok choy stood out, I instantly knew that I would be making bok choy chicken soup with it. This is a favorite recipe in our house, a twist on your typical chicken noodle soup with different veggies and whole grain barley instead of noodles. So many vitamins and fiber! And as luck would have it the grocer had chicken thighs on sale, so this all was a no-brainer! I had already planned on doing turkey thighs in my slow cooker, so doing chicken thighs in another made things twice as easy. PLUS, I made sure I added tasty extras (onions, celery, fennel stalks, a sweet pepper) to both cookers to make the broth/stock I would need for the bok choy soup later. It yielded just enough and WOW did it make my soup!
On Saturday night I also soaked my barley for the soup and some extra for a couple of lunches that week (more doubling up). That way the barley would be done, as well. On food prep Sunday I also went ahead and cut up all the rest of the ingredients. I even went ahead an added the chicken thighs to this bowl; everything went into the fridge and kept perfectly until ready to cook on Tuesday. All I had to do was saute the garlic, put the rest into the pot, bring to a boil, then simmer!
Bok Choy Chicken Soup
1/2 c. barley soaked overnight
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 T olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced (about half of a small package)
one bunch of bok choy, chopped
one bunch Napa cabbage, chopped
one small can green chilis
3-4 chicken thighs, skinned, cooked, and shredded
64 oz. chicken broth
salt and pepper
1/4 celery seed
1 c. water (adjust per taste for consistency)
one handful fresh fennel fronds, chopped (that’s the top)
omit green chilis and instead add the juice of 1/2 lemon
**Barley must be soaked overnight, so do that ahead of time. I went ahead and cooked mine, as well, so it was ready to go into the pot and cut down my cooking at dinner time.**
Saute garlic in olive oil. Add broth, seasoning, chicken and vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until veggies are tender. (And barley if not cooked ahead.) I know you will enjoy this one!