As the weather in most of the country cools, warm homestyle dishes takes precedence at the table. Summer salads are a thing of the past, and instead we switch gears to hot sandwiches and hearty soups. Although “cooler weather” in San Diego merely means a misty afternoon in the mid to high 50’s, I have always appreciated the art of being cozy and all the things it comes with… warm drinks, soft blankets, chunky sweaters.
But the most warm and fuzzy feeling comes from eating a big delicious bowl of soup. It is funny how certain soups can stir up many fond memories… ski weekends with a daily fix of chili, lunch dates at the mall with my grandma and Nordstrom’s famous tomato soup, sick days eating my mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup in between naps. Even when I was in college I would make my mom’s chicken noodle soup just to have a taste of home. But the egg noodles became the focus of the dish and I wanted it to be slightly more rustic, so I made a few adjustments to come up with a new school take on chicken noodle soup.
First of all, I’ve got something grandma didn’t when she first came up with this recipe…
A crock pot.
This lifesaver of an appliance makes all recipes – especially soup – easier than ever. All you have to do is find a basic chicken soup recipe you like, add whatever other veggies and herbs you like to it, and hit HIGH for 8 hours. And that is literally it! You come home after a long day at work and your house smells like mom’s kitchen after little to no effort. If that isn’t efficient cooking, I honestly don’t know what is.
A few other things that make soup recipes a cinch:
-boneless skinless breasts: skip all the junk in the rest of the bird, this is the leanest cut and can easily be shredded before devouring.
-Trader Joe’s Mirepoix: pre-cut celery, carrots and onion to go right into the stock without all the mundane chopping.
-other yummy veggies like white cannellini beans, roasted red potatoes, green beans, spinach, whatever you want really.
-fresh herbs: if you have em, they always add a fresh flavor unlike their dry versions in the spice cabinet.
-great grains: these days, pasta isn’t your only option… quinoa, barley, farro, brown or wild rice. I decided to use ditalini, or small bits of sliced tube pasta that is commonly used in minestrone or Italian wedding soup. If you do go this route though, make sure to save the grains until the last 30 minutes! Otherwise the pasta will overcook and get super soggy and gross.
Enjoy fresh or store in mason jars and keep in the fridge until you are ready to eat!
OH! And if you are wondering why there’s no final photo of the finished product, that’s because we devoured it all! woops 😉