Quick & Easy Chicken Soup

The weather in my area is unusually extreme this fall, flipping between freezing temperatures (and snow! We had snow yesterday!) and balmy days every few weeks.  In some ways, I think this constant roller coaster weather is worse: my allergies go haywire and my sleep schedule is rattled.  It isn’t so surprising then, that I’m already craving warm, hearty dishes to ward off the winter that is fast approaching.  Unfortunately, with my crazy schedule (more on that later), I’ve had very little time to cook.  It takes all my effort to rustle up breakfast and find something pack-able for lunch as I rush blearily through the morning.  Dinner is becoming more and more reliant on fast food (a detriment to my wallet and my waist).

Despite the questionable quality of my meals, I’ve also been reminded of how therapeutic cooking became during my unemployment.  I am itching to get into the kitchen.  On my most recent evening off, what started as a quick look to find something gluten-free to eat in my friends’ fridge turned into twice-baked potatoes for the whole household.  I’m craving vegetable chopping, sizzling pans, preheating ovens, whirring mixers.  So it wasn’t so much of a surprise that the span of an expected hour at home midday resulted in homemade chicken soup.  Even when I had a can in the pantry.  Chicken broth rested coyly in my peripheral vision as I peered in the fridge.  Carrots waved desperately from the crisper.  Spices held their breath behind the cabinet door.  How could I resist?

Honestly, I was surprised at just how well this soup came out.  I didn’t pull out any measuring cups.  A spoon, a pot, and a cutting board were my only company.  I tossed in what I wanted and let it all simmer into something wonderfully, unexpectedly perfect.  Looking back on it, I’ve done my best to approximate the measurements.  Feel free to play with it.  Add what you want.  Take out what you don’t.  Make this yours.

Easy Chicken Soup

  • -4 c. (gluten-free) chicken broth or stock
  • -4 lg. carrots, peeled & chopped (about 1 c.)
  • -1/4-1/2 c. chopped onion
  • -1/4 c. chopped celery
  • -1 clove garlic, minced
  • -1 c. shredded, cooked chicken (I’ll admit, I used chicken from a can, and it turned out just fine)
  • -1/2 tsp. ground thyme
  • -1 tsp crushed rosemary
  • -1 tsp celery seed
  • -1/2 tsp pepper
  • -1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • -1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • -splash of cooking sherry
  • -salt to taste

Add ingredients to large pot in order of ingredient list.  Allow some time after adding vegetables (carrots, onions, celery) to simmer in the pot and soften vegetables.  After vegetables have cooked through, continue adding all ingredients in order.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes after final ingredient.  Serve.

Variations:

Chicken Noodle Soup: While soup is simmering, cook gluten-free pasta according to package directions in separate pot.  Drain noodles 3 minutes before cooking time listed on box.  Add noodles to hot soup, allow to simmer one more minute and serve.

Spicy Chicken Soup: (This was perfect to clear up my cold)  Add 1/2-1 teaspoon (to taste) of Franks Hot Sauce to each serving of Chicken or Chicken Noodle Soup.

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