By Amy L. Hatch
I’m so sick of this weather.
And by “so sick of this weather,” I mean “so sick of being sick thanks to this $^%$&! weather.” Ten days ago we were struck down with the dreaded norovirus, now making its way around Champaign County, and this week I have a small boy home from school two days in a row with leaky nostrils, a hacking cough and a decided lack of sleep (his and ours).
Now, we’re staring out the window at two inches of slushy snow, the kind that makes the hem of your pants wet and sloppy when you go out to drop the trash in the garage bin. It is the total suck. Ill, trapped in the house and looking out at a landscape that looks a lot more like December than March ought to, we’re cranky.
Yes, I’m bitter. Wanna fight about it?
After feeling like the walking dead for most of last week thanks to the stomach nasties, I finally felt like eating on Friday around lunch time. Foraging in the freezer, I found one small, hidden container of homemade chicken soup. I was so excited, it was kind of pathetic. But after I’d eaten that portion, our freezer was bereft of the healing goodness.
Since I’m stuck home again today, I decided to make some more soup to replenish our stock (haha, get it, stock?). My mom always makes her chicken soup from scratch, using a whole chicken, veggies and water to make a rich, nourishing broth for the base. I’ve spent most of my kitchen career following her lead, but as tasty as the results are, the process makes a huge mess.
In January when I was struck down with some kind of respiratory thing, I was too tired to face the straining and fussing that soup requires, but I was in dire need of something warm and soothing for my throat. So I turned to my slow cooker.
The soup I made was so easy, so mess-free and so delicious I may never go back to the whole-chicken method. Here’s what I came up with. Enjoy!
Easiest Crock-Pot Chicken Soup
3 frozen chicken breasts
three containers of chicken stock (I use Swanson brand)
Three peeled, whole carrots or a handful of baby carrots
Three to five stalks of celery
One small onion, peeled and quartered
Salt and pepper to taste
One package of thin egg noodles, or whatever shape pasta you prefer
Toss all ingredients in the slow cooker and set on high for five hours, or low for eight. Remove chicken and veggies when cook time is completed, and chop, shred, chunk and add to broth or discard as you like (some people don’t like carrots, natch). Cook the pasta until al dente (it will cook some more in the hot broth and you don’t want it to get gummy) and add to the soup.
Serve with warm bread, a salad or sandwiches and you have a great weeknight meal. Freeze unused soup in individual portions (I use freezer bags, so they lay flat) and used as directed for medicinal or comforting purposes.