Simple Weeknight Meal: Chicken Noodle Soup

I've frequently found myself gravitating to various versions of this soup recently. With either a box or a frozen tupperware of broth in the freezer, a few veggies and some noodles - that's all it takes for a simple and warming meal on a weeknight. Especially for all you frozen nuggets on the east coast.

I don't always use chicken because I don't always have it in the fridge. So go ahead and make this without meat if it's easier. As for the noodles, I love orzo, but you could make it with any noodle in the pantry. So for this particular version (which turned out so delicious), I timed it. I started at 7:53 and I was spooning it into my bowl at 8:35. Yes, late dinner.

Chicken Noodle Soup
makes 4-5 bowls, takes 45 minutes

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast (small cubes)
1 yellow onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
3 ribs celery (trimmed and chopped)
3 medium carrots (sliced into coins)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups homemade or low sodium broth (veggie or chicken)
4 cups water
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 bay leaf
6 leaves lacinato kale (stem removed, rough chop)
1/2 cup orzo
salt and pepper
olive oil

Start by cooking the chicken. In a saute pan, heat olive over medium to medium-high heat. Add cubed chicken breast to pan with salt and pepper. Saute until chicken is browned on all sides and mostly cooked through, about 8 minutes.

As chicken is cooking (yes, multi-task), heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, salt and pepper. Let cook and soften for 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and white wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Let wine simmer and thicken for 3 minutes. Add cooked chicken pieces to the pot.

Add broth, water, cilantro, bay leaf and a good amount of salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes.

Add orzo and kale. Re-cover the pot and let the orzo cook in the soup for 8 minutes.

There you have it folks. Time to dish up a homemade bowl of chicken noodle soup for the kiddos. Or if you're like me, serve a bowl to myself and put the rest in the fridge/freezer for Brian when he journeys back to San Fran looking for some home cooking.

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