Thursday, August 22, 2013

Food: Chicken Soup Minsky Style

Fall time is closely approaching and with that comes the unfortunate cold and flu season. I like to prep my family for this season by taking vitamins and also eating lots of nutrient rich fruits and vegetables. Chicken noodle soup is a great combination of both. This soup is loaded with yummy veggies that even my picky three year old son, Tristan, loves.
When I started writing this blog I was going to use my mom's chicken soup recipe (no noodles in her soup) that I grew up on and have made many times. However, it just so happened that as I was starting to write this blog one of my favorite cooking shows came on, Barefoot Contessa with Ina Garten, and she was making chicken noodle soup. I immediately got inspired. I had just made my recipe and while it was fresh in my mind I decided to make Ina's and compare our recipes. I wrote a new recipe which incorporates the best of both and wrote my new chicken noodle soup recipe for you guys.  
Ina’s recipe suggested for the stock to be made from scratch or boxed stock. I was and am very disappointed by the fact that you have to throw away all the veggies when you make stock from scratch. I felt like it was a waste. This is the reason I have never made my own stock. However, the stock adds a great flavor to the soup so I decided to use a boxed stock, and thus my first change. Adding the noodles is also a new thing. I did not grow up with noodle soup, my mom instead loaded our soup with veggies but I think the noodles or pasta are a must. My son loves pasta and having it with his veggies makes him happy. I prefer the flavor of semolina pasta to egg noodles but both work great. I decided to keep all the veggies from my recipe and I think the more veggies the better plus it fills the house with a yummy aroma. I also added cauliflower because my husband really likes it. I was surprised to see that Ina did not have onions or garlic in her recipe. It must be because she uses stock for her base and I use water. I will use all three in my recipe. I also did something different that was not included in either recipe before, I added celery leaves to the bowl and I really like the bright flavor it adds.
One of the fun things about cooking is that no one recipe is right. You can cook with what ingredients you have at hand or can find and then modify to your preference. It is nice to create a meal you and your family love and is a winner at the dinner table every time. My husband and son both loved the rich taste of veggies in this recipe and I love that its easy to make and a great healthy meal for them. I hope that you and your family will also enjoy.
2 chicken breasts bone-in, skinless
1 quart boxed chicken stock
1 onion cut in half
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of salt
2 ears of corn, cut in half
1 cup carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups of medium potatoes, cut in fourths
1 cup of zucchini squash, cut in 1/2 inch rounds
2 cups of cauliflower
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups of pasta
2 tablespoons of cilantro or parsley based on preference
1 lemon cut in fourths for flavor
2 tablespoons of celery leaves or parsley
Put the chicken, stock, onion, garlic and salt in a large stock pot with 4 quarts of water. Bring to boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add corn, carrots, potatoes, squash, cauliflower and celery. Reduce to a low simmer as pot may simmer over. Cook for 15 minutes with the lid partially on. Add pasta and cilantro. Cook until pasta is done 10-13 minutes, varies by box. Taste for seasoning. You may need to add more salt. Serve with a lemon wedge and top with celery leaves or parsley.
Side Notes:
**Using chicken breasts with the bone-in is the preferred method because the meat will stay soft and flavorful.
**Before you serve, you can remove 3 cups of the liquid and save it to use as a stock. It is basically a stock because it has been cooked with all of the flavor from the vegetables and chicken. You can freeze it or keep in the fridge for up to a week.