Homemade Chicken Soup

This is Recipe #4 of our Meal Plan using Chicken Breast.

What we’re repurposing
Homemade stock (8 1/2 cups total)
Chicken, about 2 breasts worth, chopped
*Note: I love dark meat in soup too. If you prefer shredded meat, you can use chicken thighs and the soup is equally good!

What you need
Half an onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, cut in half lengthwise and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Carrot – probably about 1/2 cup total, peeled and chopped
Noodles – Whatever shape your family likes. This time I used whole wheat rotini.
*Optional: Seasonings (bay leaf, oregano, parsley, basil are good in chicken soup)

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I like to let my soup cook as long as possible, because it develops flavor better that way. And usually, the longer you let the chicken simmer in the broth, the softer it gets and it breaks into smaller pieces. I started my prep around 9:30 in the morning and we ate around 4:30.
In a stock pot or large sauce pan add a pat of butter, then add your chopped onion.
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Next add garlic.
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When onions looking translucent…
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Add celery.
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Here’s how I like to do my carrots. One end is always thicker than the other, so right in the middle I cut the carrot in half:

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Then I cut the thicker piece in half lengthwise:

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Then chop!

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Add carrots to the pot.
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If you’re using additional seasonings, now’s the time to add them. Sprinkle maybe a 1/2 teaspoon of each that you’d like to use and stir. I didn’t use them this time because I just wanted a good chicken flavor and a more mild broth since I’m still on the mend. Plus our chicken was heavily seasoned, so that will add lots of flavor.
Now we’re going to “sweat” the veggies. Place the lid on the pot and let them cook for a few minutes. When you open it again, it will be steamy, aromatic, and the veggies will be nice and soft:
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Now it’s time for our chicken stock! You can add little by little if you want, but I just pour it right in, stirring all the while.
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And now for our chicken! Cut the breast into strips and cut each strip in half:
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Then chop the strips:

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Once it’s chopped, add to soup and stir.
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After 3 hours it will look a little something like this:
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Continue to simmer over low heat until dinner time – another 3 hours is good.
Add your choice of noodles about 10 – 15 minutes prior to serving, depending on the type of noodles. Remember that the longer it simmers with the noodles in it, the more the noodles will absorb the liquid. So be careful not to leave it too long, or you’ll end up with no broth!

Complete!

Complete! Nutritious, delicious, great for a sick day or a cold one!

Serve with salad and a nice loaf of bread.
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A Must Read!

I came across this article today and about died laughing. This lady totally nailed it. All the chaos, interruptions, worries about judgmental strangers, crazy solutions that you would never think of unless – until – you were put in that specific situation. This is the essence of being a SAHM. (For those of you that are now clueless, that stands for “Stay At Home Mom”.)
Here’s the link: http://thestir.cafemom.com/baby/124135/this_is_what_a_stayathome

If she were to continue describing a day, she might say how the dinner hour is similar to what she described at breakfast. Touching raw chicken while simultaneously trying to break up a fist fight between your kids. Water boiling over on the stove because you had to clean up a spill one of your kids made. Or how in fact, the day is filled with cleaning up, the new messes, then cleaning again, and more new messes…. Then especially how after dinner, we go through the whole bedtime routine, and yes it works most of the time. But sometimes one kid just doesn’t want to stay in bed (“But I want to hang out with you out here” or “I want to cuddle with you”. How do you say no to those things?! It’s HARD, let me tell you.) And THEN, when you finally get – in my case- all 3 kids to bed, you are either SUPER exhausted and ready to drop right there (even though your To Do list is as long as it was this morning), or you start up on that list and get interrupted by a kid waking up to go potty or having a coughing fit or from a bad dream. No, this does not happen EVERY night, but it happens often enough that I now expect it and either do as much as I can as fast as I can, or if I haven’t had any ME time, I might sit down and try to watch my show on DVR (which I’m behind on by like, 4 weeks). Sometimes I’d end up falling asleep anyway. Waking up at 2am in the recliner to a crying baby. Oops! I guess sleeping in my bed alone and actually comfortable tonight isn’t going to happen (the hubs works 3rd shift).

Anyway, I’m sure many moms can relate to the article above. Our life is chaotic, always changing/adjusting/problem-solving, discouraging at times. It is also fun and rewarding. As long as you keep a positive attitude and (as corny as it sounds) believe in yourself, you can do a better job that you expected. Even though we probably look back at the end of the day and only think of the ways we could’ve done better. Sometimes I look at my kids and think, “How did you get SO CUTE!?” And just the cute moments where your 2 year old son talks about himself in the 3rd person as ‘the wizard’ is worth it 🙂