Chicken. Noodle. Soup.

I first wrote this title as “Chicken Noodle Coup”, and almost kept the spelling error. This was one of the first things I ever learned how to “make”, and make is in quotes because it’s so delicious that it’s almost unfair how simple it is to throw together. It was my mom’s go-to recipe whenever my sister and I were sick growing up, and now it’s mine! This is everything you’d expect comfort food to be – healthy, simple, full of flavor, and it warms you so much that you can almost feel it fighting off your cold.  

I like a lot of noodles in mine, and I’ve found that egg noodles are the best, but if you add them directly to the soup as it’s cooking, they’ll continue to soak up the broth when the rest goes in the fridge.  So, either cut back on the amount of noodles you add, or cook them separately and add to the soup as you reheat it.

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP (makes about 10 bowls)

– 1 lb. chicken breasts or chicken tenders, cubed
– 1 large vidalia onion, sliced into strips
– 3 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices
– 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/4 inch slices
– 1 tbsp. butter
– 6-8 cups mix of chicken & vegetable broth (48 – 64 ounces, depending on how much broth you like)
– egg noodles – I usually use about half a bag, but adjust this to your preference, too.
– 2 chicken bouillon cubes
– 1 tbsp of fresh-chopped dill (optional)
– Kosher salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt 1 tbsp. butter over medium-high heat in a soup pot or – as always, a trusty Le Creuset Dutch Oven. Slice the carrots and celery, and add them to the pot when the butter is melted, stirring occasionally (don’t let them brown.  A little kosher salt added to the veggies will help them “sweat” instead of brown).

2. When veggies have sweated a little, add the broth and the onions. Sweating the carrots and celery before adding the rest of the ingredients gives them a little head start, since they’re firmer than anything else that will be added to the soup.

3. Raise temperature to high and get the soup to boil, then cover and lower to a simmer.  Simmer soup for approx. 20 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle, then add the bouillon cubes. Stir well to break up the cubes and allow the flavors to release.  Add the dill, stir to combine.

4. Raise soup to medium heat again, and add the chopped chicken.  You’re basically poaching the chicken in the soup broth, so it will cook pretty quickly, approx. 6 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer again.

5.  Add the noodles to the broth, stir, and allow to cook.

6. Season to taste, help yourself to a bowl, and feel better.
Soup the next day – you can see how the noodles really soak up the broth!

My Mom’s Minestrone Soup

I love soup. It’s hearty, healthy, and comforting. With the Farmers’ Markets packed with produce, this is a great way to use up some veggies and kind of ease your way into fall. My mom’s minestrone is at the top of my list of favorite things. It’s delicious the day of, for days afterwards, and even pureed. We’ve always added some thinly sliced provolone cheese to the soup to give it a little more richness, but that’s up to you.  This minestrone just makes me feel better every time I have it.

MINESTRONE SOUP (makes an enormous pot of soup which you can freeze – if there’s any left after a couple of days)
– 1 cabbage, sliced into long strips. I usually take out the “ribs” of the cabbage and just use the majority of the leaves.
– 4 stalks celery, cut
– 1 large vidalia onion, sliced into long strips
– 2 32 oz. containers of chicken stock (or vegetable, if you want to make this completely vegetarian)
– 2 cans chick peas, rinsed and drained
– 1 large can plum tomatoes, roughly cut (don’t get diced tomatoes – the plum ones work so much better)
– 1 16. oz can chopped spinach leaves
– 3 tablespoons butter

1. In a large stockpot, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. 
2. Get your veggies ready, and then add them to the pot with the melted butter. Cook down until wilted.

3. When the veggies are soft, add the chicken or veggie stock, and stir.  
4. Add tomatoes and juice from the can, spinach, and chick peas.  Stir, cover, and turn heat down to low. Simmer for 1 hour or up to 4. Add kosher salt/pepper to taste, but be careful not to overseason – the flavors will continue to come together overnight.

5. When soup has simmered enough (I usually can’t wait the 4 hours), pour yourself a bowl, shred some provolone cheese into it, and dig in. This is good today, but it will be great tomorrow. 

Mom’s minestrone soup = love

I generally think Valentine’s Day is totally overdone, but I’ve had two that were really terrific. One was when I was a little girl, and it was just me and my mom at the house – I’m not sure where my dad and Colly were. There was a huge snowstorm, and my mom and I bundled up and walked over to Januzzi’s, because I’d heard on the radio that they were making heart shaped pizzas for Valentine’s Day. We got our pizza and our rose and I had a nice snowy Valentine’s Day with my mom. So this year, I was telling her that story about a week before Valentine’s Day, and she tracked down a heart shaped pizza for me. Sweetest. Mom. Ever.