Friday, May 21, 2010

semi-homemade alphabet soup

I guess this is not the most weather appropriate post, given it is 72 degrees here in North Kingstown and it's not even 9:00 yet!  I must have been channelling Sandra Lee on Monday when I decided to make this soup.  It's not her recipe but it is along the same lines as most of her recipes:  half store bought/half homemade.   If you don't have time to make chicken stock, this soup is perfect, no matter what the weather is!

I love to make soup on the weekend and serve it for lunch during the week.  This soup contains protein, vegetables and a carbohydrate.   It's easy to heat up and quick to serve during all the craziness mid-day brings.  My kids have been eating soup since they could chew and swallow a cheerio.  When they were babies and beginning to eat soft foods, I used to just drain the broth for them and let them have at it.  Now, I give them those sip-a-bowls with the built in straw to drink the broth.  If I need to pack their lunch, I give them soup in those wide mouth small thermoses and it stays warm for up to 4 hours.

alphabet soup
*I feel like I never measure while making this soup.  You really can't mess up this recipe.

1 all natural rotisserie chicken, cut up**
2T olive oil
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic, minced
4 carrots (or more), chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
a handful of chopped spinach or escarole (optional)
3 T fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
8 cups of chicken broth (I use Natures Promise brand)
1/2 cup alphabet pasta, orzo, or brown rice (I use Eden organics vegetable alphabets)
salt and pepper to taste
Optional Seasonings: You can also add sage and/or thyme...I just don't because my kids happen to not like the flavor!
**I have also made this using raw chicken breasts.  Just cut them up and bring them to a boil in the broth.  Be sure to boil for a few minutes even after they are cooked through!

In a large soup pot saute onion, garlic, carrots, celery, spinach, parsley and bay leaves in the olive oil stirring often until vegetables are a little tender.  Add broth and chicken and simmer on the stove for about an hour or until the vegetables are as tender as you want.  Add the alphabets (or orzo, rice, etc) and allow them to cook through until tender (about 10-15 minutes).  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Soup only gets better when left in the fridge for a couple of days.  I also freeze mine in those plastic "Gladware" containers.  Keeps for 4 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer!
She gets into her food.  I think that's a "C" on her cheek and onion in her hair.
Even Hank got to enjoy some.

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