Simple and Quick Wild Rice Chicken Soup


wild rice chicken soup photo by vsimon

A client requested Wild Rice Soup, please. I responded “sure”. Then I searched some of my favorite online recipe sites. had a likely candidate, Wild Rice Soup III, submitted by Diane.

It is quick

I adapted it for a pressure cooker, as I often do. Why take an hour to cook something delicious and healthful, when it can be done in 15 minutes?

That is all the time it takes to produce tender wild rice, and really tender chicken breast. To finish the soup, cube the chicken and add more liquid.

It is inexpensive

Bone-in chicken is very budget friendly, as is cooking quickly in a pressure cooker. This is a very useful skill to know. For other recipes, you can shred it (enchiladas), or dice it (salad or casseroles). I am sure you have many other ideas for cooked chicken.

I remove the skin before cooking so the finished dish is less oily. And I still enjoy a few yellow globules of rich chicken fat, just enough for my tastes.

It is simple

Cooking a whole grain and veggies with the chicken streamlines your efforts.

And I often use a frozen blend of onion, celery, and pepper. It goes straight into the pot frozen, no dicing required. You still have to dice the carrots though.

Or you can use any combo of these veggies fresh, to total 4 cups.

Dairy free if need be

This can make a fine broth based soup. Omit the milk and add more water and gluten free flavoring base, or packaged broth. Be sure to read the labels.

Un-pressured soup

Of course, this soup is successful from scratch on the stove top. Those notes are below.

And it is also a good way to use up leftover chicken or wild rice. *chuckle* Most people probably do not have extra cooked wild rice in the fridge. But if you do, you are half way to a steaming bowl of soup.

Cook it once, serve twice, or more

This soup freezes well. So make a big batch, to enjoy now and later.

Wild Rice Chicken Soup in a Pressure Cooker

serves 6 metric measures
1 1/4 pound bone in chicken about .5 kg
10 ounces frozen onion, celery, and pepper blend 280 gm
3/4 cup raw wild rice 135 gm
1 cup diced carrots 130 gm
3 cups water 720 ml
3 cups milk, or more water 720 ml
chicken base, such as Better than Bouillon, optional  

salt and pepper to taste

Remove skin from chicken and discard. Place chicken in the pressure cooker. Add onion blend, raw wild rice, carrots, and 3 cups water.

Lock the top on the pressure cooker and bring to pressure. Cook for 15 minutes.

Cool the cooker by slow release, or under running water to quickly release the pressure if you are in a hurry to eat.

Remove chicken from the cooker. Allow to cool enough to handle. Remove bones and dice chicken.

Add diced chicken back into the cooker. Add milk or water to desired consistency.

Add some chicken base if you want more chicken flavor. I usually add about a tablespoon.

Serve. 🙂

Stovetop directions

Simply put all the ingredients, except the milk in a stock-pot and simmer for about an hour. You will have to babysit it a bit, and add more water. When the chicken and rice are tender, proceed as above.

Please help me choose a pressure cooker

See Make Friends with a Pressure Cooker. Don’t you want a pressure cooker now?

1-5-10 This recipe was submitted to Amy Green’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. This recipe roundup celebrates fabulous healthy food with many tempting entry’s.

Mexican Meatball Soup


Mexican meatball soup photo by vsimon

Soup for supper? This soup is hearty enough. Garnish with diced avocado and serve with cornbread or corn chips. Ah, comfort food.

Keep it simple

This was a tasty recipe as written. But I simplified it a bit, using a convenience ingredient available in the freezer section. It is a diced blend of onion, celery and sweet pepper.

I use it all the time to cut down on chopping (ha-ha). If you love the meditative rhythm of chopping, you can use 3 cups total of diced raw onion, celery and bell pepper. Any combination will do.

Keep it healthy

Super lean ground beef works well here. These little meatballs made with cornmeal are so tender. No need for greasy high fat ground meat. So I omitted the ground pork found in the original recipe.

And I subbed cooked whole grain brown rice for the white rice. I always cook this in a pressure cooker because it is fast and easy. It may be time to make friends with one.

Or, if you are not ready to make that first step yet, you can cook a batch of brown rice on the stovetop. Cool, and freeze some to add later to soups like this. It can go right from the freezer into the soup pot.

Keep it gluten free

Read the label on the salsa if you buy it instead of make it yourself. Most are gluten free, but check.

Mexican Meatball Soup with Rice and Cilantro

Adapted from a recipe on by Jill Cole of Fallbrook, California.

Servings: 6 to 8 supper servings.

Ingredients metric measures
10 oz frozen chopped onions/ celery/ pepper blend 300 gm
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1 gm
3 cups water                                  720 ml
1 28-ounce canned or jarred diced tomatoes in juice 800 gm
1 pound lean ground beef .5 kg
6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal 55 gm
1/4 cup liquid, milk or water 60 ml
1 large egg 50 gm
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1 gm
1 1/2 cup cooked brown rice ? Can you tell me?
1/2 cup chunky tomato salsa 120 ml
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro 20 gm

salt and pepper to taste 

diced avocado to garnish, optional                       


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion blend and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes.

Add water and tomatoes with juices. Bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, make meatballs. Combine ground beef, cornmeal, liquid, egg, salt, pepper, and cumin, in a medium bowl. Mix well.

Shape meat mixture into little ½” balls. Add meatballs to simmering soup as you shape each one. Gently stir occasionally to keep them from clumping together.

Cover and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. 

Add cooked rice, salsa, and most of the cilantro. Save a bit of cilantro for a garnish if you like.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

We like thick soups, but you can add additional water to desired consistency. Cook a bit longer if needed to warm it up.

Pour into soup bowls and garnish with diced avocado.

Leftovers? Heat them up in the morning and put in a thermos for lunch.

New info on rice

Arsenic in some rice? Really? Darn! Do I need to be concerned?

Tricia Thompson, MS, RD, writes a blog called Living Gluten Free at Tricia is an expert on gluten free ingredients and labeling. A recent post is called Gluten-Free Diet, Arsenic, and Rice.

As noted in Tricia’s post, cooking rice in large volumes of low arsenic water and draining off the water can lower the arsenic content of the finished rice. See a scientific abstract at ScienceDirect titled Arsenic burden of cooked rice: Traditional and modern methods.

Bottom line: I am not overly concerned about the levels of arsenic in rice. I will continue to enjoy whole grain rices. And I will continue to cook it in a pressure cooker without lots of extra water. But my diet is not based on rice or rice flour.

Enjoy the large variety of gluten free ingredients, don’t get stuck on just a few. There are many gluten free whole grains and flours to choose from.

And in this recipe, you can omit the rice if you like. The soup will not be as thick, it will still be tasty.

P is for Potato-Oven Fries

When learning about the gluten free diet, one of the first things a person might be told is to substitute a plain baked potato for bread at dinner. You really cannot beat potatoes for comfort, simplicity, nutrition, versatility, availability and even cost. Yeah, something that is gluten free and cheap!

planting-potatoes photo by mike_warren


Did you know that potatoes have lots more potassium than a banana? They are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, and iron. They have fiber and are fat free, until you add some.


Potatoes are delightful at any time of the day. In the morning, enjoy the sizzle of hash browns frying, or thready potato pancakes. At lunch, imagine the toasty aroma of oven-fries (see recipe below). How about tangy potato salad, crisp chips, or simple boiled potatoes?

At dinner serve fluffy baked potatoes, or twice-baked boats loaded with cheese and bacon, or roasted wedges with fragrant herbs.

Or consider quick microwaved spuds, mashed potatoes with rivulets of melted butter, smashed reds with bits of skin and cream cheese, scalloped in cream sauce, chunky soup, cheesy gratins, and on, and on. Stay tuned for more mouthwatering recipes.

potato-plant photo by cygnus921

And you may be continually amazed how many fun colors of potatoes there are. The flesh can be white, yellow, red and blue. The skin can be brown, red, yellow or blue. The tubers may be big or small, round or long and skinny. Bored with the same old, same old? No way.

The flesh of potatoes can be starchy or waxy. Starchy potatoes are best for baked potatoes since the cute little granules of starch fluff up so well. Waxy are best for potato salad, the smooth cubes hold their shape well and do not fall apart when mixed with the other ingredients.

We planted several kinds of potatoes this year. Including a new variety called Cranberry Red, the skin and flesh are both red. And Swedish Fingerlings, yellowish flesh in the shape of a fat finger.

Turning the fragrant earth to find buried potato treasure is a real summer treat. In July and August, we will let you know how our backyard potato harvest turns out.

red-and-white-potatoes photo by mike_warren

Availability and Cost

Fresh potatoes of some kind, especially white and red, are available year round. They cost as little as 25 cents per serving. Since there are so many ways to simply prepare a fresh potato, that is what I usually do.

Organic fresh potatoes are available and cost more than non-organic potatoes. If you eat a lot of potatoes, you might want to choose organic to reduce your exposure to chemicals.

I buy organic potatoes in 3-pound bags. That is quite a bit for the two of us and it takes a while for us to eat them all. I have to make sure they are in a very dark place to keep them from sprouting, since organic potatoes are not coated with an anti-sprout spray. It freaks me out when I open the cupboard and long wormy sprouts wave at me.

Processed potatoes are found throughout the grocery store. These include dehydrated, canned, refrigerated, and frozen potatoes. These cost more, and may or may not have gluten added. Be sure to read the label.


oven-fried-potatoes photo by vsimon

The Simplest Oven Fried Potatoes

1 medium potato per person, any kind

oil, I prefer canola

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut potatoes into sticks, thick or thin. I leave the skins on.

Put on a baking sheet. Using parchment paper or non-stick foil makes clean up a snap.

Drizzle with oil and massage it over all the surfaces of the potatoes. Use a lot of oil if you want more calories, use only a little if you want fewer calories.

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how thick the sticks are and how crispy you like your potatoes. The skinny fries pictured took 30 minutes. There is no need to fuss turning the potatoes during baking, please leave them alone. They will brown on the bottom where they contact the pan. And in other spots on the top and sides.

Serve with ketchup if desired. Heinz and Annie’s Organic are gluten free, as are others. Again, read the label.

Please share. What is your favorite kind of potato, and your favorite way to eat them?