Monday, January 28, 2013

Creamy Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Mmm-Mmm Good!
This weekend it was rainy and colder than usual here in Southern California. I know, I know…our idea of a “storm” is laughable to most of you in other parts of the country. But for us, when the temps start dropping into the 60s it’s clearly time to build a fire and bust out our winter coats.

There’s nothing better on a chilly day than a steaming, delicious bowl of soup. And this time of year, a hearty chicken noodle just may be the perfect meal. What could make this recipe even better? It’s made with a Crock Pot—the best kitchen gadget EVER.
I based my recipe on the one I found here. My healthy “swap”tions included omitting the extra salt and the corn, changing the egg noodles to whole wheat rotini, increasing the amount of vegetables and chicken broth, and adding minced garlic.
Here’s what I came up with.
Creamy Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves 8-10
9-10 cups chicken broth, divided use
1 (10.75-ounce) can cream of chicken condensed soup
1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup white onion, diced
1 cup green onions, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded (I used meat from a whole rotisserie chicken)
1 (10-13.25-ounce) package whole wheat rotini or other whole wheat noodles *
*Be sure to check the labels on your pasta products. Real, unprocessed whole wheat noodles should have only one ingredient: durum whole wheat flour. (For an excellent overview of healthy grains—and 1,000 other awesome posts about eating healthy, unprocessed foods—visit this blog post. Lisa Leake is my idol…seriously.)

Place 6 cups broth, condensed soup, carrots, celery, onion, garlic and pepper in the Crock Pot. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours.
Add cooked chicken and uncooked pasta, cover, and cook on low an additional 2-3 hours.

Add remaining 3-4 cups chicken broth (less broth for a thicker soup), cover, and cook on low until soup simmers.  Reduce heat to warm until ready to serve.
I used more noodles than the original recipe called for and they soaked up A LOT of the broth. That’s why I added so much additional broth once the noodles were cooked through. If you aren’t serving a crowd or don’t feel like having lots of leftovers, you could cut the amount of noodles in half and possibly eliminate the need to add extra liquid.

That being said, I wouldn’t change the way this soup turned out. It was savory, creamy, and the perfect meal for a chilly winter night. The hubs said it reminded him of the inside of a chicken pot pie. I’ll take that!
We’ve been trying to cut a few carbs around here but that all went out the window when I served this soup with the Cheddar and Green Chili Drop Biscuits I posted last month. It was totally worth the cheat.  

On a side note, we all know that when we are sick, chicken noodle soup always makes us feel better. TLC factor aside, there’s actual scientific studies out there (Chest, 2000) that suggest chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties and may well help alleviate upper respiratory tract symptoms.
So, whether you need a little piping hot soup to clear your stuffy head or you’re just craving a little old-fashioned comfort food, this delectable chicken noodle awesomeness may be just what the doctor ordered.

Until next time,

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