chicken soup – just add noodles, or gnocchi, or whatever

Here’s the thing, my dad is really good at making soup. Like really, really good. I would ask him what he would put in it, and he would just say “oh you know, a little of this and a little of that.” Or he would just smile and say that it was a secret family recipe, which as a family member always used to annoy me. I decided to do the only normal thing, and snoop on him when he was in the kitchen. It turns out that he really does put in a little of this and a little of that. Soup is very forgivable, and it takes a lot to mess it up. Soup usually tastes better the next day, so you can prepare it the day before.

This is my favorite chicken soup recipe.  It freezes well, so I always have some in my freezer. If you are sick, just heat it and throw in some noodles and you have homemade chicken noodle soup. It is a great thing to bring to a sick friend; you can win major points by bringing them homemade chicken soup.  Add in some gnocchi or some diced potatoes, bacon, and a little cream and you have a completely different meal. By adding in new ingredients after your thaw your soup, your soup will taste fresh and like you have been working on it all day. Adding in just a pinch of the seasonings that you used can also help revive the soup.

This recipe makes a ton of soup. I freeze it into 4 cup portions. I am a big fan of the ziploc twist ‘n loc containers. Just make sure you leave a little room at the top because frozen soup expands.

Basic Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb carrots, chopped
  • 1 lb onions, chopped
  • 1 lb celery, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded // If you need a recipe, check out this one
  • 16 cups chicken stock or broth // I usually just use whatever I have on hand. If you want to make your own, here is a recipe
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp dill or parsley // I prefer my chicken soup with dill, but others prefer parsley
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper // This helps clear out your sinuses when you are sick, but isn’t enough to make it spicy
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in carrots, onions, and celery. Sprinkle with some salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until they start to take on some color.
  2. Pour in the chicken stock. Add in the bay leaf, dill or parsley, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Simmer until the vegetables are just soft. Add in the shredded chicken. Cook until the chicken is heated through. Stir and taste to adjust the seasonings.
  4. At this point, I usually let it cool in the fridge overnight and then freeze or serve it the next day.
  5. If you want to make chicken noodle soup, cook the noodles separately and add them when you have finished heating up the chicken soup. This will keep the noodles from sucking up all of the liquid in the soup, and it also keeps the soup from getting too starchy/gummy.

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