March 22, 2010

Quick and Dirty Chicken Noodle Soup

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...I told you how I make my chicken stock in this post about my chicken wild rice soup. It's quite the process (although it turns out very yummy!), especially if you are a freak like me about skimming all the fat off.

This weekend, Steve came down with a cold and my first thought was "I better make him some chicken noodle soup". Because it is an indisputable rule written about the universe, that when people we love get sick, women (and some men) feel the immediate need to make chicken noodle soup. Right? Or is it just that my first thought always centers around food, and this is just a good excuse for me to hole up in my kitchen for several hours? Not sure...

Either way, here was my dilemma: I didn't really want to hole up in my kitchen for several hours making chicken noodle soup. The weather has been unseasonably warm, and I am still on my crazy Italian food kick (will it ever stop?). My plan was to roast tomatoes all afternoon for homemade marinara sauce. But the man must have chicken noodle soup. Sick people MUST eat chicken noodle soup, or they will never, ever, heal. Plus I felt bad for him. It sucks to be sick.

So I compromised my belief system and made a "cheater" chicken noodle soup, where I skipped out on making the long version of my chicken stock. Here's what I did:

PS - it turned out really good

Quick and Dirty Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut up into bite sized pieces
  • carrots
  • celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh oregano
  • fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • lots of fat free, less sodium chicken broth (like 72 oz or more)
  • chicken bouillon
  • egg noodles
Dump all of the chicken broth in a stock pot. Add a few sprigs of thyme and oregano, along with the bay leaves and a couple teaspoons of chicken bouillon. Chop up your carrots, celery, garlic and onion (I used lots of veggies - it is supposed to be a healing soup, after all), and add them to the pot. Bring everything to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the veggies are starting to get tender*. Remove the sprigs of thyme, oregano, and the bay leaves and discard. Add chicken, simmer until cooked through. Season with salt, pepper and more chicken bouillon to taste. Add egg noodles (again, the amount depends on if you want a super hearty soup, or lots of broth) and cook until al dente. Serve! And feel better!

* Do you see what is happening here? Instead of sauteing the veggies first in butter or oil, we are cooking them right in the broth, along with the fresh herbs - thereby infusing the broth with the flavors...which is what you do when you make homemade chicken stock! Shortcut! And boneless, skinless chicken breasts don't have the fat that a whole chicken does, so you don't have to skim any fat off. Aren't I SMART?!?!

The only downfall to this soup is that because the chicken is boneless, skinless and lower in fat, it doesn't come out as tender (it is drier...if that makes sense talking about soup...). Other than that I was very happy with the results. And now Steve will not have to suffer from this cold until next winter, when I am in the mood to make magical chicken soup again.

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