Work Day Chicken Noodle Soup


It’s November. Soup’s on!

I love a brothy soup and you can’t go wrong with Classic Chicken Noodle Soup. Whether it’s cold outside or you’re fighting a cold inside, it hits the spot. As I have looked for good Chicken Noodle Soup recipes through the years, some are quite complex and intimidatingly time consuming.  This one I have developed over time is tasty and straightforward. I call this “Work Day Chicken Noodle Soup” because I can prep it in the morning and cook it when I get home.  On days that I need to take short cuts,  I can skip the broth making and chicken cooking steps altogether to make it speedier. Then I can assemble it when I get home from work. (The other night, my dear husband put it together when he got home before me!)

Chicken Noodle Soup

Stage 1 (for the “from scratch” version)
Making the broth and cooking the chicken:
In a large pot:
Pour 1 Tbsp. (or 2) of olive oil in a large pot. Place over medium heat.
Add 1 onion- cut in large chunks, a couple of stalks of celery- cut in half and a couple of whole carrots-  cut in half. 
Stir around with wooden spoon for a few minutes.  Add 2 pounds of raw chicken tenderloins (or sliced hunks of chicken breasts). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let the chicken brown for a few minutes.  Then add 8-10 cups of water- or whatever fits in your pot. 
Simmer until chicken is cooked through (about 10 minutes).  Take off stove.  Remove and discard vegetables and pull out chicken.  
Stage 2 (for the shortcut version)

If you are using pre-cooked chicken and bought broth, start HERE:

In the pot, drizzle a little olive oil- over medium heat.


1 large chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

2 cups thinly sliced carrots

2 cloves of garlic

Sauté in olive oil for 5 minutes

Add 2 lbs of cooked torn (or diced) chicken (if you are tearing immediately after cooking be careful it’s hot!) You can use rotisserie chicken if you want.

4 cups of dry egg noodlesDSC_0036

1 bay leaf

1 sprig of rosemary (or a tsp. of dried rosemary)

1 sprig of thyme (or a 1/ 2 tsp. of dried thyme)

Stir and incorporate all ingredients together.

Add the broth (10 cups of broth)   If you make your own and it doesn’t make enough- add a can of chicken broth or more water.

Let it cook for 10 minutes or until veggies and noodles are soft.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley or other herbs if you like.

If you are making this in two stages, like I do, I do Stage 1 ahead of time (like before work or the night before) and chop the carrots, onions and celery while the broth and chicken are cooking.  I put them in the refrigerator, along with the cooked chicken and broth for after work. I pull everything out and do Stage 2 when I get home. Then the soup is fresh (noodles not soggy) but half the work is done.

Serve immediately with a hunk of crusty bread.

Many of the soups that I make start with sautéd onions and garlic.  This, my friends, is called a mirepoix.
**The food word of the day is mirepoix (pronounced “meer-pwah”). It is the chopped carrot, onion, celery combination sautéed to start the soup. It is commonly used as a base in soups, stews and other dishes. These three ingredients are commonly referred to as aromatics.

Other ethnicities have variations on this: Cajun and Creole have “holy trinity” which includes onion, celery and bell pepper; there is Italian “soffritto” which includes onions, garlic, tomato; and French “duxelles” is made of onions, shallots, and mushrooms.

If you enjoy linguistics and learning new words like I do, I have a couple of resources to recommend:

One is The BIG Book of Words you Should Know (by Olsen, Bevilacqua, and Cord Hayes).  It is chock full of words categorized for fun-filled word learning.

And you might want to take a listen to this NPR piece about the proper turn of phrase in an interview with the author of The Elements of Eloquence

Also, a fun podcast that my friend,  Elaine, turned me onto about words and language is  “A Way With Words”



This classic chicken noodle soup hits the spot when you want a simple, savory, warm meal.  As always, tweak as you like- add more vegetables, use rice instead of noodles, try different spices. Just don’t skip the mirepoix!


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