There are few things that I love more than a comforting bowl of soup on a cold day, but there are few things I love to do than stand hours over the stove preparing that delicious soup. Homemade chicken noodle soup is a delicious thing, but not on a typical weeknight for me with homework and evening activities going on.
If you are looking for a soup with that tastes deliciously homemade, but can be prepared in about 30 minutes and happily feed your family for a week, then this is the soup for you. The trick with this soup is starting with a good well-seasoned base and then working from there with quicker cooking techniques and ingredients.
Of course, after I showcased the Presto Pesto Pasta Con Pollo as an easy weeknight meal that was prepared with a rotisserie chicken, I began to think about some other scenarios where that chicken would work for a busy weeknight dinner. I settled on this quick version of Chicken Noodle Soup that, dare I say it, rivals any homemade version I have tasted and could satisfy my Panera Bread soup cravings easily.
Begin by chopping your ingredients in uniform size pieces. I chopped up three carrots and two stalks of celery for this one.
In a large pot, get two tablespoons of olive oil heated up and then add your vegetables to the oil. Give them a gentle toss to get them all coated and then season with your salt and pepper. I like to get these sweating for about five minutes to get the vegetables going and start with a good base flavor. If you like a crunchier texture in your soup, you can skip this step.
Once they are good and sweating, add three boxes (or approximately 12 cups) of of low-sodium chicken broth to the pot and get this liquid simmering. From here on out, you need to go very easy with the salt because the final stage, we are adding cornstarch to thicken it and we don’t want it to be too salty.
Now it is time to add your secret weapon to your soup. I found this rotisserie chicken at our local Walmart for $4.98, or approximately the same cost as the whole fryer chickens that I would have to prepare myself. They offered a few different varieties, but I thought this Lemon Pepper one would offer an interesting flavor to the soup. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit, or just go with the traditional variety, if that is all you can find.
Very carefully slide your rotisserie chicken into the simmering broth and put a lid on your pot. Let this simmer for about fifteen minutes. Then very carefully pull the chicken out and dice for your soup. Mix together a bit of cornstarch and water to make a thickener, if you like a thick broth and add it gently while whisking frantically into your broth.
Once that is done, you can add in two to three cups of noodles. You can have these cooking in a separate pot and then add them in, so they don’t absorb all of the soup liquid, or you can add them right into your bubbling broth and make it a thicker soup. To add to the homemade taste, I used the bagged egg noodles in the frozen section of the store, but you can use any variety that you like.
After the noodles have cooked, add your chicken back in and a handful of fresh parsley. Give it a stir and ladle into your bowls for a quick weeknight dinner. A side of my Portuguese White Bread, Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins, an Artisan Loaf, or my Homemade Whole Wheat Bread all would make a delicious accompaniment.
What does the soup taste like? Soulful, satisfying, rich, delicious, comforting, and restaurant-worthy! This is definitely a lot cheaper than going out for soup and you can enjoy these leftovers all week long! Loved by all in our family, it is a recipe that I will be repeating again and again!
With the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaching, remember that this soup can easily be adapted with your yummy leftover turkey for another great way to use up those leftovers!
Quick Weeknight Chicken Noodle Soup
2-3 cups egg noodles (I like the Ream’s brand in the frozen foods section)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
12 cups low-sodium chicken broth
salt & pepper to taste
2 stalks chopped celery
3 chopped carrots
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 rotisserie chicken
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles and cook until tender. Drain, and rinse under cool running water. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or Dutch oven, saute the carrots and celery in two tablespoons of olive oil for five minutes to start your soup base or you can skip this step and proceed as directed, if you desire a crunchier vegetable. Heat up broth and bring it to a simmer. Stir in celery and carrot. Gently add your rotisserie chicken and all of the drippings from the pan and put a lid on your pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water together until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Pull out your chicken and set aside to dice. Gradually add the cornstarch to soup, stirring constantly. Stir in noodles and diced rotisserie chicken, and heat through. Toss in a handful of fresh chopped parsley and ladle into bowls.