This week started out with a failed attempt at salmon cakes (more on this when I find a recipe that works). I’m flying solo, so my food goals have been reduced to quick comfort food that the kids can handle on their own without complaining. Hmmm…as with my New Year’s Resolution to “take more time for myself,” I’m dubious.
Chicken noodle soup popped into my head, but I pushed it aside. Chicken noodle soup belongs in the *sick food* category, along with saltines and ginger ale. It’s what you eat when you have to violently push air through your nostrils in order to taste anything at all. You don’t care that this never really works because, let’s face it, this soup usually tastes like salty water with a few bits of limp chicken.
However, my kids haven’t made the sick association yet, and it meets all the other necessary criteria. Comfort food? Check. One pot meal? Check. Easy to handle on their own with a spoon? Check. So, I thought I’d take a stab at jazzing up this old standby.
As I mentioned, time is at a premium this week, so I made this soup with unsalted store-bought chicken stock and rotisserie chicken. The flavorful chicken makes up for the fact that I didn’t make my own stock. The stock is pretty important though, so don’t be afraid to splurge a little and get a good one. Also, try to stick to unsalted stocks or broths. Call me a control freak, but I like being the sole distributor of those tiny flavor crystals.
I added egg noodles because my kids love them and, if I’m being honest, because I had an annoying handful of them sitting in my pantry. Who leaves behind a single cup of dried egg noodles? This would also be good with ½ cup of cooked rice or any other small pasta shape.
I made the soup earlier in the day, cooled and refrigerated it, and then quickly reheated it at dinnertime. This enhanced the flavor and made dinnertime stress-free. At the end of the day, the bowls were licked clean and I hadn’t stooped to frozen pizza or macaroni and cheese (at least not yet). Comfort food is labeled as such for a reason, and quick, one-p0t comfort food, well that’s as solid as pedicures and bubble baths … which I’ll also try again someday, when I resolve to stick to my New Year’s Resolution.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ large onion, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 10 grinds of black pepper
- Dark meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (reserve the white meat for another meal)
- 1 ½ cups egg noodles
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
- Additional salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat a 4 to 5 quart saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion, celery, carrots, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and stir. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Add the broth, cover the pot, and turn the heat to high. When the broth reaches a boil, add the noodles. Cover and return to a simmer. Cook five minutes, then add the chicken, thyme, and parsley. Stir to combine, turn off the stove, and cover the pot. If serving immediately, let the pot sit for 15 minutes. In this time, the noodles will finish cooking, the flavors will develop, and the soup will cool slightly so no one burns the roof of their mouth. Check for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper if desired.
- If eating later, allow the soup to cool down completely, refrigerate, and then reheat on medium-low until heated through. Enjoy a bowl on its own, or like we did, with grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches.