House Soup & Chocolate Mint Brownies

A few weeks back (actually, our last Family Feast) I made what is called House Soup.  I have just now gotten some time that I can post the recipe – or, what I would call the ‘guidelines’!

I actually just made this soup based off of a similar one that I was introduced to at my last job. There was a little Chinese Food place just down from our office, and this was the place that called to all of us at certain times – especially when it was cold here in the desert (truly a rare occurrence, even in the winter. So, we used the ‘bellow 80 degrees’ as a cold measurement!)

When you went in to this restaurant and ordered the House Soup, they actually made it fresh right there. Best…stuff…ever! I should go and see if this little place is still around.

Truly, there is no recipe for this wonderful concoction.  You really just start with a chicken stock/broth base and go from there with the veggies. The constants are the 2 meats.

House Soup (this is my recipe for serving 6 people)

1 pound skirt steak – cut into strips

  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cubed

  • 2 pounds medium shrimp, shell and tail off

  • 4 cups chicken stock or broth (more or less depending on how much of the ingredients you have – you will need to cover everything with the broth.

  • 2 cups each of your choice of chopped veggies – my go to choices are:

    • Broccoli

    • Snow peas

    • Carrots

    • Purple cabbage

    • Leeks

    • Green onions

    • Celery

    • Napa Cabbage

    • Bean Sprouts

    • Salt & Pepper - to taste

    • Soy Sauce – to taste

  1. In a skillet cook steak until no pink is present. Remove and drain. Repeat the process for the chicken cubes.

  2. In a large pot bring stock to a boil. Add in steak and chicken. Return to a boil for 10 minutes.

  3. Add in all vegetables and shrimp. Add liquid to cover ingredients.

  4. Return to a boil and cook until shrimp turns pink.

  5. Ade salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Serve with soy sauce should your guests choose to add it to their bowl of soup!


With this particular lunch I made a very simple dessert, jazzed up a bit.

Andes Brownies


  • Brownie mix (and necessary ingredients)

  • 1 bag of Andes Mints, unwrapped

  1. Bake a standard brownie mix as directed on the box.

  2. Remove brownies from over and immediately lay the mints out over the hot brownies.

  3. Wait 5 minutes and use a spatula to spread the melted mints.

There you have in – mint chocolate frosted brownies.


Sunday Family Feast Recap (Soup-er Sunday Name Change)

I haven’t posted a real Soup-er Sunday Recap in a while. There is a few reasons for that – and they really only amount to excuses.

The Soup-er Sunday schedule had gotten a little off kilter for the month of January. Family travelled, illness struck and then there was the Super Bowl! It’s not that we didn’t get together, but on one of them I actually ordered food and I can’t even remember all of the rest!

Alas, I think we are back to a bit of the normal again. Although March might be a little funky – we will be missing the son as he travels for business. We will still get together, we will just be down a man.

Additionally, I need to come up with a new name for these Sundays because here in the desert, soup is not going to be on the menu for many more weeks just because it’s getting warmer already. I think it will become Sunday Family Feast. That fits anything on the menu!

Ok…now that I’ve addressed the past and future….lets get to the present! We got together yesterday for our normal Sunday Family Feast as well as celebrating my mom’s birthday which is this coming Tuesday. Before I get to the main dish – let me say that I did make a dessert, but it didn’t come out photo worthy (I failed on getting my 2nd layer of the cake out of the pan successfully) in my opinion. Alas, since it was a hit taste wise with the crew, I will be making it again and will take photos then.

So, for lunch this week I made what our family has always called Gardner’s Delight. Initially it was a chicken pasta salad with cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage and the only veggies in it. I have changed it up several times over the years and my version of Gardener’s Delight is PACKED with veggies. Whatever I can find that looks beautiful and in season…it goes in (ok…I am aware of those I’m serving it to and what veggies they like so that I don’t include something that won’t be eaten at all.). Chicken is always my go-to meat for this dish, however, shrimp works well too.

The recipe below is the exact recipe I made for our lunch yesterday. This made enough for 6 of us at lunch – with several having seconds and I think there may have been some thirds. I also had a container for the kids to take home with them and a container still in the fridge (this salad is even better the next day!). This is a large batch and you can modify it down or up accordingly.

Gardner’s Delight Pasta Salad                                            

  • 1 Roasted Chicken – shredded (I roasted mine the day before, pulled it all off the bone and then put the pieces in a Ziploc in the fridge overnight until I was ready for the next step.)

  • 3 – 12oz pkgs Rotini pasta (I actually use Wacky Mac veggie pasta will all of the different shapes. You can also use shaped pasta – I find them a lot at Cost Plus World Market)

  • 2 cans medium black olives, drained

  • 2 Green Bell Peppers, diced

  • 2 Red Bell Peppers, diced

  • 1 Celery heart, diced

  • ½ Head Purple Cabbage, chopped

  • 1 Bunch Broccoli, chopped

  • 1 Head Cauliflower, chopped

  • 1 Small bag Snow Peas in the shell

  • 1 Large bottle House or Zesty/Robust Italian Salad Dressing

  1. In a large pot (I use an 8 quart pot for this amount) bring water to a boil and cook pasta until tender. Drain.

  2. While the pasta is draining (if you have a pot like I do, the strainer just lifts out of the pot, this is perfect, lift it out and set it in the sink. If not, pour your pasta in a large strainer to drain.) combine chicken, chopped veggies and drained olives in the pot. Mix well with your hands.

  3. Add in the pasta a few handfuls at a time.

  4. Once ½ of the pasta has been added, pour the entire bottle of salad dressing over the mixture. Combine with your hands (make certain you get to the bottom of the pot as you want everything incorporated well.).

  5. Add the remaining pasta and combine well until everything is coated with the dressing.

  6. Chill for at least 2 hours. Serve.

That’s it. Easy Peasy! Like I said, it is super quick, super yummy and a perfect meal in the warmer months of Summer.

Hope you like.