Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Chicken Vegetable Soup

The second dish from 1 batch of crockpot chicken breasts, my kid's favorite soup that he requests to take for lunch at school.  My husband and I love this too on a cold rainy day.  It's the ultimate comfort food - chicken noodle soup, only this has the volume turned up with some spinach for extra nutrition.   Plus, who wants to make homemade stock with a whole chicken????  Yuck!  That means lots of extra fat that you have to try to skim off and twice the work.  This is such a quick soup to make, it doesn't even make sense to buy that stuff in a can.  Try it - you'll never buy canned soup again!!!

Happy Cooking!

So first, the chicken that leads to an amazing soup...

Crockpot Shredded Chicken:
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 1-1.5 lbs depending on the size
2-3 stalks of celery
2 cups of chicken stock (I buy low-sodium, organic when it's on sale.  Make sure it is stock, not broth.  Stock has so much more flavor.)
1/4 tsp each onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper
 Place the celery on the bottom of the crockpot and the chicken breasts on top.  Pour the chicken stock around the chicken and sprinkle the chicken breasts with the seasonings.  Cook on high for 4 hours.
Shred the chicken for your use.  Save the cooking liquid as the base of any soup.  The flavor will be quite concentrated, so you will need to add water (see the recipe that follows for Chicken Vegetable Soup).  This recipe can be used anytime you need shredded chicken for another recipe.  Perfectly simple and delicious.

And now for the soup...perfect comfort food, whether you are sick, cold, or just want a one pot healthy meal for your family.  I just realized I don't have that many pictures - I must have been concentrating on the enchuritto recipe. 

Chicken Vegetable Soup
1 chicken breast, diced/shredded (from the recipe above)
the cooking liquid from the shredded chicken recipe above (discard the celery stalks)
2 cups of water
1 T olive oil
2 T chopped onion
2 stalk on celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1/2-3/4 cup of frozen spinach (or even more if you prefer and your children don't mind)
1/2 cup ditalini pasta, or any other small pasta, uncooked

In a large pot, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat.  Cook the onion, celery, and carrot until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Add the frozen spinach and stir frequently until melted and heated through, 2-3 minutes.

Add the cooking liquid from the chicken and the water.  Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 10-15 minutes or until pasta is tender.  Add the diced/shredded chicken and stir.  Turn off the heat and serve.  Feel free to add salt and pepper to taste.  I don't add any for my children, but I prefer some.  Also, feel free to substitute or add any vegetables that your children love.  Soup is a great way to sneak in all the food groups.  Enjoy!

And if you want to try the Chicken and Spinach Enchurittos, click here:
2 dishes with 1 recipe!  Don't do double the work!!!

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