Chicken Noodle Soup {Healthy + Easy}

Healthy Chicken Noodle Soup-5This is a LONG cold stretch, isn’t it? The winter has been unrelenting for so many parts of the country. Know what helps? Soup.

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Soup helps so many things. It is an ultimate comfort food for a reason – it warms from the inside out, and somehow always brings a smile. This winter, I have been thrilled every time I have seen a big bowl of chicken noodle soup staring back at me when I open the fridge. Score.

Making chicken soup from scratch is not difficult, and you know exactly what is going in to it: chicken, vegetables, garlic, herbs, water. Noodles if you want them, and salt to your taste. It is barely more work than boiling all of those things together, I promise. Healthy, easy, satisfying.

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Chicken Noodle Soup {Healthy + Easy}
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 carrots {wash all; leave one unpeeled and cut it into three pieces; peel two, and cut the tops and bottom off of them}
  • 2 stalks of celery {wash all; cut into three pieces each}
  • 1 yellow or white onion {wash it; prep it to get ready to chop by cutting off the top and bottom, and removing the outer peels}
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ t whole black peppercorns
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 whole organic or hormone-free chicken, any size
  • water {about 6-10 cups}
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 c wide egg noodles {optional}
Instructions
  1. Place the unpeeled carrot, the celery, and the trimmings (the parts you have cut off and wouldn’t eat) from the carrots, celery, and onion in a large soup pot. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Bring the pot over to the counter next to the sink.
  2. Wash the chicken in the sink and remove the bag of giblets, if it’s inside the chicken. Pat dry with paper towels (just so it doesn’t drip).
  3. Place the chicken on top of the vegetable trimmings. Cover with water until the chicken is submerged by an inch.
  4. Bring to a boil over high heat; when it boils, reduce the heat so the liquid is just simmering – this is about medium heat for me because the pot is so full.
  5. Cook for about an hour.
  6. During this time, dice the onion, slice the garlic, and slice the two remaining carrots into coins less than ¼″ thick.
  7. After the hour, try to skim off any fat from the top, but don’t worry, you will have another chance to skim off fat.
  8. Place a very large bowl (or another soup pot) in your sink, and place a colander inside. Have a second bowl, and a fine mesh strainer available close by.
  9. Remove the chicken from the pot with tongs, and place on a surface with a lip (like a curved plate). Let it cool for a bit until you can handle it.
  10. Meanwhile, carefully pour the contents from the pot into the colander that is inside the bowl. Discard what remains in the colander – you only want to keep the chicken stock (and the chicken, which you have set aside).
  11. Place the fine mesh strainer over the second bowl, and pour the chicken stock from the first bowl into the second.
  12. Heat the empty pot over medium-high. Add a bit of olive oil and cook the diced onion and carrot coins until they start to soften; add the garlic and thyme, and cook for a few minutes more.
  13. Add the strained stock back to the pot, and bring back to a boil.
  14. While you are waiting for the stock to boil, pull the chicken off of the bone. I usually just use the white meat in my soup. You can chop it or shred it.
  15. Add the noodles {if using} and chicken, and cook until the noodles are cooked through.
  16. You could eat the soup now, but you will probably find it to taste a bit greasy. So, if you can bear to wait, once it cools a bit, refrigerate it over night. I find that a thick plastic pitcher (or two) with a snap-on lid words great for refrigerating and serving purposes.
  17. In the morning, you will find that the fat has risen to the top and solidified. Just scoop it off with a large spoon and throw it away. You may be scooping out a bit of thyme this way, but don’t worry, you already cooked the flavor out of it.

 

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This is a great lunch to bring to work – just keep a pitcher in the work fridge, and have a bowl on hand for heating and serving. It also freezes really well, I would recommend portioning into round ziplock containers for freezing. You can change up the noodles you use, but the wide egg noodles just scream chicken noodle soup, don’t they?

Healthy Chicken Noodle Soup-6Want to make your own chicken stock for use in another recipe?  I would use this same method and just stop at the point where you strain the stock. Use the chicken for another purpose, like a chicken salad.

Comments

  1. says

    Great looking soup. I love big pieces in my soup, not all tiny little bits, I want those chunks.
    With all this cold, soup is on the menu a lot of nights at our house (trying to warm up), thanks for sharing.

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