I came home halfway through the day today, feeling like I was either coming down with the flu or about to barf my brains out. Thankfully, I THINK whatever was making me feel nasty seems to be subsiding. But the first thing I did when I got home was throw chicken noodle soup fixins’ in the crock pot.
I knew I was going to want something bland and easy to digest for dinner, and hubby has been fighting a cold as well – everyone knows soup is good for the body and soul (especially when it’s freezing outside). I’m trying to get in the habit of studying a few recipes and then putting my own spin on them, and that’s what I did with this soup.
-small onion, finely chopped
-a big ol’ mess of chicken thigh meat
-4 cups of chicken broth
-1 cup of wine
-seasonings of choice
When I shuffled through the grocery store on my way home, my usual bags of frozen chicken thighs were nowhere to be found. So I picked up some Tyson chicken thigh “chunks” (I’m pretty sure they called them something more appetizing, but I’m too tired to walk all the way to the freezer to look). This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because the chunks defrosted in the time it took me to get the dog pottied. Also, the beauty of soup is that you can determine your own proportions. I hate when my soups don’t have enough protein, so I put in about two handfuls of thigh meat (and USE thigh meat, because you’ll want the flavor).
I diced up the onion fairly fine (don’t be jealous of my mediocre knife skills) because I knew I wanted the finished product brothy, and nothing is worse than big chunks of onion in a delicate broth. I always add more celery and less carrots, because celery is easier to chop and softens more quickly (I used 3 ribs, and 1 1/4 cups of chopped carrots).
Next, I dumped in about a cup of wine (I’m trying to blow through the bottle of cheap white I’ve been cooking with for the last few weeks), and 4 cups of water with the equivalent amount of bouillon granules for broth. Here’s my secrets: Wyler’s granules, which I MUCH prefer to using regular chicken stock, because I can just keep it in my spice cabinet, and because I don’t have to dissolve it like bouillon cubes unless I REALLY want to. It naturally dissolves while cooking, and I think it imparts more flavor during the cooking process. And my number one cooking secret for every recipe ever? I always keep two specific things with my spices: Greek seasoning, and Cajun seasoning. I use them for everything (Greek was the word of the day for the soup). They work perfectly for everything: mixing into dredges, seasoning before grilling, sprinkling on oven fries or home fries. Seriously. Everything. These are my number one cooking staple.
So I tossed some Greek seasoning in my beloved crock pot (I forgot the salt and pepper until later, but if you don’t have addled flu-ish brains you would add some at this point). I topped off the broth with a few sprigs of rosemary (we are rosemary nuts in this house) and set it to high to cook for about 4 hours. Then I holed up on the couch in my comfies and blankets and let the dog warm my icy feet for a few hours. 15 minutes before I wanted to serve it up, I dumped in egg noodles (and took out the rosemary). Again, the proportions are up to you. I like a lot of noodles, so I probably used about 3-4 cups, which worked perfectly.
This soup was not only easy, it was a hit. At first we thought it was going to be bland, but as we ate it, it kind of became addictive. The rosemary flavor gives it some zing that seems to accumulate as you slurp, and we both had seconds. My tummy is happy once again. All I can hope is that happy tummy continues through the night and into the morning so I can power through to the weekend. Or maybe I’ll be stuck on my couch tomorrow (I hate the thought of hanging out by my bathroom, it really impedes productivity). Either way, chicken noodle soup leftovers are already earmarked for lunch. Would it be too extreme to write “Ode to Crockpot?” Yes? Ok, I’ll try to restrain myself.