Weeknight Chicken Noodle Soup

Around our house, this soup is the first line of defense against colds, headaches, and feeling under the weather. As soon as sniffles are heard, we gather the ingredients to get this soup going.

 

I consider this a “weeknight” chicken soup because the broth is not based on a homemade chicken stock, it just comes out of a box. The active preparation time for this soup is minimal, but the chicken does take time to roast and cool. If I know I am going to be pressed for time in the evening, I sometimes roast the chicken a day in advance.

 

Speaking of chicken, this soup is extra tasty if you use bone-in, skin on chicken breasts. Sure, boneless, skinless breasts work as as well, but I think the extra taste is worth some additional fat!

 

The noodles in this soup suck up lots of broth, so stick with simple shapes like shells or elbows that will hold up well. If you like your soup to have plenty of broth, you may want to add an extra container of chicken stock to the soup when reheating it the next day.

 

Yield: 12 cups

 

Ingredients:

  • ~ 1 lb chicken breasts (1 full chicken breast or two split breasts)
  • 2 – 32 oz. containers Kitchen Basics chicken broth or unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large or 1-1/2 medium white or yellow onions
  • 3 – 4 celery stalks
  • ~2 c. baby carrots or 2-3 peeled and trimmed carrots
  • 1/2 c. GF pasta shells or elbows (I use Tinkyada brand)
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried poultry seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • salt – to taste
  • optional: fresh thyme or parsley. I use them if I happen to have them around, but don’t purchase them just for soup.

Other Equipment:

  • meat thermometer
  • 8 QT or larger soup pot
  • baking dish
  • aluminum foil

Ingredient note: I love Kitchen Basics brand broth. I have tried some of the other GF brands out there, and I think this one tastes the best. It is carried in regular supermarkets, no specialty stores required. And for some reason the NO GLUTENS that they put all over the package always makes me smile.

Instructions:

Chicken preparation:

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Arrange the chicken in a baking dish. If you are using boneless skinless chicken breasts, add 1/2 c. of the chicken broth to the pan to keep the meat moist. Insert the meat thermometer into the middle of one of the chicken breasts, and arrange so that the thermometer hangs over the edge of the baking dish.

Cover the baking dish with foil, making sure to crimp the foil under the edges of the baking dish. Place the dish in the oven and bake the chicken. Monitor the meat thermometer through the oven window and make sure that the chicken reaches the minimum safe temperature. Foodsafety.gov says that chicken needs to be cooked to 165 ºF, but I usually cook it to the 180ºF poultry mark on my meat thermometer, and there haven’t been any rubber chickens yet.

 

Cooking times will vary, but approximate times are 40 minutes for boneless chicken breasts and an hour for bone-in breasts. Check the chicken temperature after 30 minutes, and check every 10-15 minutes after that until the meat thermometer indicates that it is done.

Remove the pan from the oven, and set it aside to cool. Do not remove the foil covering or the meat thermometer. Leave the dish covered until the temperature on the meat thermometer is below 140 ºF (This takes 40 – 60 minutes). Prep the vegetables while the chicken is cooling. Once the chicken is cooler, it can be uncovered and cut into smaller chunks. Save any chicken juices and broth that are in the baking dish.

For skin-on chicken breasts, pull off the skin and discard it. The chicken meat should be easy to remove from the bone using your fingers. On a cutting board, cut the chicken into 1” strips, cutting perpendicular to the grain of the meat. Use your fingers to break small chunks off of the strips.

Skinless chicken breasts don’t usually flake apart as easily, so just dice into 1” chunks.

Set aside the prepared chicken.

Vegetable preparation:

I have included approximate vegetable quantities, but you can include as much or as little as you like. The key is to have equal amounts of chopped onion, celery, and carrots.

Cut the onions into a 1/2” – 1/4” dice. Cut the celery into 1/4” slices. Where the celery stem is broad, cut it it half lengthwise before chopping into slices. Cut the carrots into rounds that are 1/8” thick.

You should have about 1-3/4 c. of each chopped vegetable.

If you are including any fresh herbs, finely dice them or use scissors to snip them into small pieces. I had some parsley hanging out in the fridge, so I am including about 2 tablespoons, chopped. Thyme has a stronger flavor, start with 1/4 – 1/2 tablespoons and taste. 

 

Assemble the soup:

 

Heat the olive oil in the 8 QT soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to turn translucent, 4 – 6 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the carrots and celery, and cook until the carrots are tender, another 3 – 6 minutes. Add the cartons of chicken broth, black pepper, and poultry seasoning, and bring the soup to a boil. Also add any reserved chicken liquid that was in the bottom of the baking dish. Add the pasta to the boiling soup, and cook the pasta until it is just done, or slightly underdone (consult package for cook times). Remove the soup pot from heat. The pasta will continue cooking a little bit more. Add in the diced chicken and fresh herbs. Sample the soup and add salt and more poultry seasoning and pepper to taste.

 

Easy to print recipe:

Weeknight Chicken Noodle Soup

Yield: 12 cups of soup

 

Ingredients:

  • ~ 1 lb chicken breasts (1 full chicken breast or two split breasts)
    2 – 32 oz. containers Kitchen Basics chicken broth or unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large or 1-1/2 medium white or yellow onions
  • 3 – 4 celery stalks
  • ~2 c. baby carrots or 2-3 peeled and trimmed carrots
  • 1/2 c. GF pasta shells or elbows (I use Tinkyada brand)
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried poultry seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • salt – to taste
  • optional: fresh thyme or parsley

Other Equipment:

  • meat thermometer
  • 8 QT or larger soup pot
  • baking dish
  • aluminum foil

Instructions:

Chicken preparation:

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Arrange the chicken in a baking dish. If you are using boneless skinless chicken breasts, add 1/2 c. of the chicken broth to the pan to keep the meat moist. Insert the meat thermometer into the middle of one of the chicken breasts, and arrange so that the thermometer hangs over the edge of the baking dish.

Cover the baking dish with foil, making sure to crimp the foil under the edges of the baking dish. Place the dish in the oven and bake the chicken. Monitor the meat thermometer through the oven window and make sure that the chicken reaches the minimum safe temperature of 165 ºF, or cook up to 180ºF.

Cooking times will vary, but approximate cooking times are 40 minutes for boneless chicken breasts and an hour for bone-in breasts. Check the chicken temperature after 30 minutes, and check every 10-15 minutes after that until the meat thermometer indicates that it is done.

Remove the pan from the oven, and set it aside to cool. Do not remove the foil covering or the meat thermometer. Leave the dish covered until the temperature on the meat thermometer is below 140 ºF (This takes 40 – 60 minutes). Prep the vegetables while the chicken is cooling. Once the chicken is cooler, it can be uncovered and cut into smaller chunks. Save any chicken juices and broth that are in the baking dish.

For skin-on chicken breasts, pull off the skin and discard it. The chicken meat should be easy to remove from the bone using your fingers. On a cutting board, cut the chicken into 1” strips, cutting perpendicular to the grain of the meat. Use your fingers to break small chunks off of the strips.

Skinless chicken breasts don’t usually flake apart as easily, so just dice into 1” chunks.

Set aside the prepared chicken.

Vegetable preparation:

Cut the onions into a 1/2” – 1/4” dice. Cut the celery into 1/4” slices. Where the celery stem is broad, cut it it half lengthwise before chopping into slices. Cut the carrots into rounds that are 1/8” thick.

You should have about 1-3/4 c. of each chopped vegetable.

If you are including any fresh herbs, finely dice them or use scissors to snip them into small pieces. Options include 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parleys or 1/4 – 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme. Additional amounts can be added to taste.

Assemble the soup:

Heat the olive oil in the 8 QT soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to turn translucent, 4 – 6 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the carrots and celery, and cook until the carrots are tender, another 3 – 6 minutes. Add the cartons of chicken broth, black pepper, and poultry seasoning, and any reserved juices from the baking dish and bring the soup to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling soup, and cook the pasta until it is just done, or slightly underdone (consult package for cook times). Remove the soup pot from heat. The pasta will continue cooking a little bit more. Add in the diced chicken and fresh herbs. Sample the soup and add salt and more poultry seasoning and pepper to taste.

 

 

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