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Ah.  It's still warm here in SoCal, but soup season is upon us.  Soup is so much more than food to fill and warm.  It's a comfort food, no doubt!  In fact that's the subject for this week:  comforting bowls of soup/stews/stoups.

Personally, I love "stoups".  "Stoup" is a term created by Rachel Ray of 30 minute meals, talk shows and even magazines.  This 40 year old bubbly wonder is the woman who also gave us EVOO, so we could all stop saying "extra virgin olive oil".  

Stoup is stew and soup combined.  Thicker than a broth based soup, but thinner than a stew.

What I love about them is that they are healthy, stick to you ribs food that truly make you feel good.  They're also great for cleaning out the fridge and pantry when you need too.

This past week I became an empty-nester and found out my daughter and son-in-law will be taking my grandkids and moving almost 400 miles away.  I went with them for the interviews to take care of the boys.

Who needs comforting more?  

Anyway, I came home from the trip tired, happy, sad and sneezing.  My husband and son (who no longer lives with us as I just mentioned) had both caught horrible colds.  I wasn't here, but I either caught it from them over the cell phone or maybe all the changes weren't good for my sinuses.  

So for dinner, I made "must go stoup".  I'm sure we've talked about my famous, ever-changing dish of "must go".  

I had made BBQ chicken before I left to Phoenix and hubby hadn't eaten any of it.  I had been meaning to make barley for a few weeks and figured I'd better use it before it wouldn't absorb and liquid and break our teeth eating it.  There were also some remnants in the vegetable drawer and a jar of spaghetti sauce that was nearing the "best if sold by date".  

Ta-da!  I shredded the chicken, chopped the veggies, made the pilaf (separately) and combined the chunky vegetable pasta sauce with some chicken stock.  It's easy, fast and perfect to stretch my "remains" until the sinuses cleared and my mood more willing to go to the produce and regular markets.

Friday-what did I actually put in that pot?

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