As a kid, ramen noodles were my go-to soup of choice when I was sick. (I cringe looking back at how much of that stuff I ate, knowing now how terrible it is for you.) I couldn’t stand canned chicken noodle, and home made wasn’t something we did. A big bowl of brothy ramen just hit the spot, you know? So full of flavor (which I now recognize as way too much salt and preservatives), so easy on a sore throat and light on an upset stomach – it was a universal good.
Now? Not so much. I can barely stomach the thought of ramen, probably because I chowed down on so much of it as a kid and a penny-pinching college student. My freshman roommate had a Costco-sized box of the stuff in her closet, and once we discovered you could cook it in the microwave for three minutes… Dark days, dark days. To my roomie and to-this-day-bff, I’m sorry it took me another 5 years to learn how to cook!
I can’t stand being sick, and I really can’t stand not having anything to eat while I’m sick. When I do get sick, nothing sounds good, and anything that does sound good takes too much effort to cook (or it can’t be delivered, and I’m too tired/lazy/gross to do a take out run). Luckily I don’t get sick that often.
But I do have terrible allergies, especially when I head back to Texas. (Curse that cedar!) Yay me, I came home from my trip with some sort of allergies/cold combo. Ugh. Time to break out the soup recipes!
At some point in the last year, I realized I do like chicken noodle soup – when it’s made from scratch. And I love that it can be made with just a few ingredients. Keep it simple – that’s my kind of cooking! After looking through a million recipes, ranging from relatively easy to insanely complex, I decided to just go for it on my own, with what I had. That’s the beauty of this soup – you can modify it a hundred ways based on your taste preferences or what’s in your pantry. It took me a few tries, but I’ve found the blend of flavors and textures (pick your pasta wisely) that I like best in my chicken noodle soup.
Just 6 Ingredients
My chicken noodle soup has just 6 main ingredients, and a few (optional) seasonings. Carrots, celery, onion, chicken, broth and a pasta of your choice. These are all ingredients I usually have in my arsenal at any given time, so it’s easy to whip up a pot of soup in no time!
I prefer “chunky” or thick pastas, like rotini or radiatore. Broken up angel hair, or long pieces of linguine will work just as well. Rice is another option, if that’s your thing. Be sure to adjust the cooking time for your pasta. I’ve set my recipe based on the cooking time for radiatore, but angel hair cooks in about half the time so you’ll want to add it later if that’s the pasta route you choose.
Getting Your Chicken Noodle Soup Right
I mentioned above that it’s taken me a few tries to find what I like in my soup. Don’t be afraid to experiment yourself! Hate celery? Cut it and replace with something else. Who knows how delicious a leek-based chicken noodle soup could taste!
Don’t over cook the chicken. This is honestly the most difficult part to get right, and I almost always over do it on my chicken if I stop paying attention (read: don’t use a timer). I use a boneless/skinless chicken breast that’s pretty thick, so it needs a full 7-8 minutes to cook on each side before simmering in the broth. If you use a thinner chicken breast, or chunks, adjust your cook time accordingly. Most likely, a thinner chicken will cook fully as it simmers in the broth for 10-15 minutes.
Hand-shred your chicken. Chicken is gross, I know. I recommend hand shredding for consistent pieces though. Also, it gives an extra “home style” look to the dish when served, for those of you concerned with plating. 🙂 This isn’t a crucial step, however.