Recipe-- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

DSC_0048This week I have basically the perfect schedule at work.  I spend the early mornings working and then have the entire rest of the day to do whatever I want. I decided to spend today in the kitchen making one of my favorite comfort foods– Homemade chicken noodle soup. The recipe is pretty simple and the ingredients are mostly lined up in the picture, but here’s the rundown on how it is made:

First you need some chicken stock.  You can buy it from the store, but I would highly recommend making your own.  It is easy, healthier, and saves you money if you use leftovers to make it.  I like to make a whole chicken in the oven the night before (maybe I’ll do a post on that another time) and then use the leftovers for soup the next day.

All I do is take the leftover carcass (after picking as much meat off as I can) and throw it in a  stock pot and cover it with water.  Then I add whatever veggies I can find in my fridge (usually celery, carrots, a slice of onion, garlic) along with some herbs (usually just a bay leaf or two) and simmer it for a few hours (4-6).  The longer the simmer the more concentrated it gets, so the amount of time all depends on how strong of a flavor you want.  I add a little salt at then end of cooking time, to taste. During cooking the salt gets more concentrated, so adding at the end gives me a little more control of the flavor.  During the simmer sometimes I cover the pot and sometimes I don’t.  It doesn’t seem to change anything too much.

For making the stock, that is it! Talk about easy.  And if you don’t have a whole chicken to use, just roast some drumsticks and thighs in the oven and use them the same way.  I wouldn’t recommend using breast meat because you will come up with some very bland broth.

So once the broth is done I just strain out all of the bones and veggies and put the liquid back in the pot.  The steps for making the soup are basically the same as making the broth.  Cut up some carrots and celery and whatever other veggies in the fridge look good and throw them in.  Let the whole thing simmer for another hour or so (until the veggies are tender). When it’s done, add the leftover chicken meat back in along with some already cooked noodles, and there you have it– Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup!

Once you try this, I can almost guarantee you will never want to eat the stuff out of the can again. It’s got no creepy mystery meat, no chemicals and preservatives, just pure flavor. And there’s something about making a meal completely from scratch that just feels great.

When I make this recipe I usually make a lot.  It freezes very well (just leave out the noodles when you freeze) and makes for a quick easy dinner on those nights that I don’t have all this motivation to cook.

So that’s that.  I’m not going to post a cut and dry recipe of this, because this isn’t that kind of cooking.  Recipes are great, but it’s good to be flexible with the ingredients sometimes.  This isn’t an exact science, so put what you think sounds good into the pot and give it a try, you’ll most likely end up with something wonderful.