Sep 13, 2008

Rachael's Chicken and Vegetable Soup

This soup is so yummy. I eat a bit of Progresso, but when I am in the mood for a soul soothing soup that doesn't take me all day, this is what I make. My ULTRA picky nieces and nephew even like it (but of course without the noodles... Which was funny because I thought that would be the only thing they would eat the first time I made it for them).

Rachael's Chicken and Vegetable Soup
(serves 4)

1 breast of chicken, cut into 3 large chunks
6 cups chicken broth (I use bullion cubes because they are inexpensive. my favorite bullion is the BJ's Whole Sale brand, which of course you buy at BJ's. you could also use canned broth)
1 can cream of chicken OR celery soup
1 10oz bag frozen veggies, your choice. mixed veggies are nice, or just peas and carrots
your choice of seasoning if you want - like a bay leaf (which you take out before you eat remember), dried parsley, pepper

In a 5QT stock pot (larger if you are doubling it), place your broth. Turn the heat to medium to medium high. You are looking for a low boil. Place your chicken chunks in the low-boiling broth. Let them cook until they are cooked through (about 7-8 minutes depending on the size of your chunks). Check to make sure there isn't any more pink, but try to not over cook them. Take them out and let them cool on a plate.

Add cream of chicken or celery soup. Whisk to incorporate.

Add in your frozen veggies. Your mixture of course will be cooled, and it will take a little bit for it to return to the low boil.

So in the mean time, shred the chicken chunks, being careful not to burn yourself if the chicken is still hot. Your hands are the best tool for this. You will notice that the chicken will pull apart along the grain of the meat. This is what you want. On a side note, I once asked Eric to shred my chicken for me while I was making the sauce for BBQ chicken sandwiches (which will come later). He used two forks and it ended up being the consistency of meat-sawdust. So again, make sure your pieces are decent sizes, not shredded to a pulp. If this seems to intimidating to some, you can always just use a knife and cut the meat into smaller chunks.

Add your chicken back to the pot. Add whatever seasoning you want. At this point you can do one of two things. You can put the top on the pot and let it simmer and blend for 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Or you can eat it if everyone is hungry NOW.

I personally like my soup with a nice buttered roll to dip. Or served over mashed potatoes which makes it creamy and delicious. Or you can cook your favorite noodles to add in for chicken-noodle soup.

I hope you will try to make your own soup if you never have. I promise it isn't hard, only hard to mess up! Soups are very forgiving. And even though I like canned soups when I'm in the mood 5 minutes before lunch, but really there is NOTHING like homemade soup. Did I mention this can take less than an hour to make? So really, this is an easy, healthy, and quick dinner everyone will enjoy on a cool fall or winter day.

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