For the past few weeks, every last one of us has been fighting something ranging from the common cold to full on bronchitis. I thought I’d finally turned the corner a week ago, just as Mr W started coming down with it. Then Sunday rolled around and we both ended up so sick it took everything we had to get out of bed and make it to church.
Of course then we returned home to a house devoid of the things you want to eat in the middle of cold season…like soup. Oh what I would have given for a steaming bowl of Panera’s broccoli cheese soup or some of the amazing steak and potato chowder we’d had last week at The Upper Crust in Washington, Pa.
Mr W, on the other hand was craving chicken noodle. (I’ve personally never understood why ANYONE would crave chicken noodle…but that’s because I have zero use for broth based soups. If I’m eating something from a bowl, it needs to be thick and hearty.)
Thankfully, I had at least a bit of energy left. I also had a vague recollection of seeing a Rachel Ray chicken noodle soup recipe somewhere that involved sauteing the vegetables first so the soup didn’t take as long to cook. Of course this recipe was nowhere to be found in the four Rachel Ray cookbooks I own. There was the added problem that the only chicken in the house was frozen rock solid in the deep freeze.
They say necessity is the mother of invention. I say a mostly empty fridge and a hungry stomach is the mother of new recipe creation. Besides, we didn’t have any chicken noodle soup now, if I experimented and it came out poorly, it’s not like we’d end up any worse off.
So I pulled out two flash frozen chicken breasts from the freezer and set them on the counter. Then I scoured the veggie drawer and found half an onion, two stalks of celery, about a half a pound of baby carrots and an aging bag of fresh parsley. Of course I was out of chicken stock, so I tossed a few bouillon cubes in about 3 cups of water and tossed it in the microwave while I diced up the veggies. The pantry turned up a few cloves of garlic, a bay leave and some dried oregano.
After I sauteed the veggies, I added enough broth to cover them, set the two chicken breasts on top, put the lid on and walked away for about 5-7 minutes, hoping that would be enough to get the chicken to where I could dice it up. Sure enough, it worked perfectly. A few minutes to dice up the chicken breast, add more broth and toss in egg noodles and we were good to go.
The entire thing took me about 35 minutes from start to finish and the chicken soup honestly tasted like it had sat on the stove slow cooking for a few hours. The killer ingredient? Romano cheese. As I was spooning it into mugs for us to eat while we watched the Steeler’s game, Mr W started spooning grated romano cheese into his. When I asked what he was doing, he told me he always ate it that way. Now I’m never one to turn down cheese, so why not…
Holy smokes. Who knew? Absolutely delicious!
Last night, I served up leftovers to Thing One and Two who immediately began to protest because “we don’t like chicken soup!”
Until they took their first bite and I started hearing things like “Yum!” and “Holy cow mom!”
The kicker was when Thing Two declared “this soup must taste so good because mom made it!”
Man do I love that kid.
So whether you’ve never been a fan of chicken noodle soup or you simply want to try out a faster recipe, this becomes a great option for those nights when you’ve forgotten to take meat out of the freezer.
And don’t forget the romano cheese!
35 Minute Awesomely Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
- 2 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 12-16 oz egg noodles
- 10-12 baby carrots, thinly sliced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 T butter
- 1 T olive oil
- 6 bouillon cubes
- 7 cups of water
- 1/2 t dried oregano or rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Fresh Parsley
- Grated Romano Cheese
Melt butter and oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium high heat while dicing vegetables. Add carrots, onion and garlic to pot once butter is melted and saute over medium high heat until fragrant and onions are translucent, about 2-4 minutes. Add celery, stir and allow to cook for another minute. While vegetables are cooking, place bouillon cubes in 3 cups of water and microwave for 3 minutes to dissolve.
Add 2-3 cups of water to pan to cover vegetables, place frozen chicken breasts on top of vegetables, add lid. Reduce heat to medium and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes. (If chicken is not frozen, allow it to poach for 2-3 minutes.) Once chicken has started to cook, remove and dice into one inch pieces. (The inside will still be raw, don’t worry about it.)
Add chicken, another 4 cups of water and egg noodles back into pot. Add dried herbs and bay leaf, plus salt and pepper to taste. Replace lid and allow to simmer over medium-low to medium heat for another 15 minutes. Check to make sure chicken and egg noodles are fully cooked. If so, serve immediately or reduce heat to simmer and allow to simmer for up to 30 minutes more if you’re waiting on your kids to get home. 😉
When serving, add a heaping tablespoon of grated Romano cheese and a sprinkle of fresh parsley to each bowl.