What’s more healthy and hearty than chicken noodle soup? Hot broth, tender pieces of chicken, lots of fresh veggies… yum. Some of my fondest memories as a child were of coming inside after a long hard day of playing out in the snow to a big bowl of this soup. Much of the prep work can be done ahead of time, too. If you prep everything ahead, all you need to do is pop everything into a pot and let it cook!
The backbone of this soup is the chicken. You can boil up your chicken as the first step of the soup like the recipe suggests, but I usually have some ready in the freezer. I buy rotisserie chickens when they go on sale, strip off the meat and keep it bagged up in the freezer. When it’s time to make soup, I just thaw it in the microwave enough to break it apart, and toss it in the soup when it’s time. One chicken’s worth of meat is enough for one recipe of soup. Alternately you can use a whole raw chicken or 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts. If you boil your chicken, boil it 20-30 minutes for breasts. Chop up the meat and set it aside for later.
If the chicken is the backbone, the rest of the skeleton is the veggies. I use a standard mix of carrots, celery, and onions, but you could add corn, beans or whatever other veggies you like to the soup.
Next you need a big pot of water. I have a stock pot I use mainly for making this soup. Fill your pot with 5-6 quarts of water (that’s just shy of a gallon and a half). Your stock pot should be at least of 8-gallon capacity. Turn the heat on high to get it started heating up.
While the water is heating chop all your veggies to whatever size you like. I chop mine rather small. I also add a couple spoonfuls of pre-minced garlic. If I were to use fresh, I’d probably pop in 4 or 5 cloves, because I like a lot.
Pop all your chopped veggies into the pot of water.
Add in 6-8 chicken bouillon cubes. If you preferred, you could probably use chicken broth in place of the water and the cubes, but you’d need a gallon and a half or so of broth.
At this point we add what gives this soup it’s Italian flavor. I add a handful of dried basil (approx. 1-2 tablespoons), and a can of stewed tomatoes. You can also add oregano or any other herbs or spices you like. I also add in a handful of dried parsley and two bay leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Let all the veggies cook for an hour. The water should go down a bit, but not too much.
After the veggies are cooked, add in your chicken.
Next add dry pasta of your choice. I add about 6 handfuls of egg noodles, which is roughly half a pound.
Let that cook for another 30 minutes and your soup is complete.
Serve it up in bowls, accompanied maybe by a nice crusty bread.
Italian Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole chicken or 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 stalks of celery
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 large tomatoes (may substitute a can of stewed tomatoes)
Parsley, basil, salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
1/2 pound of pasta of your choice
6-8 bouillon cubes
Other veggies or herbs as desired
If using pre-cooked chicken, set aside. Otherwise, boil chicken in a pot of water for 1 hour or until done. (Boneless breasts are usually done in 30-40 minutes.) While the chicken is boiling, chop the vegetables. When the chicken is done, remove from the water, chop, and set aside. Place the vegetables into the water. Add herbs and cook the vegetables for 1 hour. Place the chicken back into the soup along with the pasta, and cook for another 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy. Makes approx. 5 quarts of soup.