winner winner chicken dinner

I guess my mom and I are on the same page recipe wise this week as I just made  roasted chicken on Monday!  I went to Costco on Monday and found 2 whole chickens for only 7 dollars; a deal I couldn’t pass up.  Well I find that there is not much I can’t pass up at Costco since I keep going on my lunch hour and salivating over the randomest things ever while fighting all the old people for free samples–I never learn apparently.  But anyways,  I roasted one and froze the other.

I used a new recipe and ‘dry-roasted’ this one.  I read a little bit about roasting chickens and a lot of people said that dry roasting gave the best flavor and a very crispy skin.   Plus, it is very easy!  Instead of coating the outside of the chicken in olive oil, butter, whatever else, you just wash and thoroughly dry the chicken and salt/pepper it (heavily if you are like me).  Then roast for about an hour—easy!  I also put some thyme on the top and I roasted it half the time with the lid on and the last half with it off.   I brushed some of the juice over the top for the last 10 minutes or so of cooking (that way it had already dry roasted but I could give it a little more flavor).

It turned out really well.  I might even have preferred this one to the last—I don’t think I could tell you for sure unless I did a side by side taste test   Anyways, I still have one chicken in the freezer so if you have any recipe ideas, send them my way!

Not being one to waste, I thought maybe I should make some chicken broth.  I have had trouble buying chicken broth lately as a lot of broth/bouillon cubes contain MSG and I am on a no-MSG diet as yet another attempt at migraine prevention.

I put some carrots, celery, garlic, salt, the chicken carcass and 8 cups of water into the slow cooker and turned it on low for 8 hours.   When I came home from work, I strained the broth to get rid of all the grossness, bones, etc and just had the broth left.  I actually ended up having to add a tiny bit of bouillon for more flavor.   I’m not sure if maybe I added too much water so the broth wasn’t flavorful enough on its own?  Do you guys know what else I could add for more flavor besides bouillon?  I also added some salt and then let the broth sit in the pot overnight in the fridge.  The reason that I try to do this extra step (when I have time), is because the fat hardens and forms a layer on top of the broth.  When I went back yesterday, I just took the pot out of the fridge and scooped the layer of fat off and threw it away!  Contrary to popular opinion, fat on its own does not have a taste so it is not necessary to making a delicious soup!

I kind of just gave it away that I was going to post a soup recipe, huh?  Oh well.  I am a huge fan of chicken noodle soup and I always have been.  But, some are much better than others.  I have had chicken noodle soup that is bland and lacking.  And others try to get too crazy—I don’t want a billion different vegetables in chicken noodle soup, I just want carrots and celery.  If I wanted other vegetables, I would eat another kind of soup.

One of the very best I have ever had is actually from a mix—Bear Creek Chicken Noodle Soup. Yesterday I looked online to see what ingredients were in Bear Creek and it was some pretty questionable stuff (probably contained MSG for sure).   Sad, because that means I probably can’t eat it anymore.  But that will just push me to develop my own recipe into the very best I have ever had!

I knew I didn’t want to share the recipe until it was right, but luckily, it turned out really well on my first try (although I have made chicken noodle soup a ton, so I guess technically it is not my first try).  I know some people are intimidated by making homemade soup—but I never have been because I think soup is one of the easiest things to make.   Throw a bunch of things in a pot and call it a day, right?  Plus if something tastes off, you can almost always correct it by adding more of another ingredient–generally salt, in my opinion.  So if you have avoided making soup in the past, give this one a try…it is pretty foolproof, I promise.

‘Classic’ Chicken Noodle Soup

8 cups chicken broth (store bought or homemade)

1.5 cups of noodles (I used a combo of orzo-ish noodles found in the ‘Italian’ section of the grocery store and penne–I didn’t mean to use a combo but ran out of the first kind–still worked fine)

1.5-2 cups shredded or diced chicken

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

2 t dried oregano

2+ t dried parsley

1 t poultry seasoning

1 clove garlic (you can chop it, I just left it whole and will find it eventually)

¼ t turmeric

1 t sugar (don’t skip this!)

1 T light corn syrup

2 T water

Salt to taste (omit if using store bought broth)

Pepper to taste

To start, pour broth, carrots and celery into a big pot and turn heat to medium.  Add all seasonings + sugar+ garlic and let this come to a boil.  At this point, add pasta (a lot of recipes say to cook pasta separately and add but I think it works out just fine in the same pot).  Combine the cornstarch and water and stir to mix the two together, and then add to soup.  Turn to low and simmer for 20 minutes or so.  Lastly, add the chicken and cook for about 5 more minutes until soup is hot.  At this point, taste and see if you think you need to add any more salt.  You can also change the amounts of any herbs to your liking.

The sugar does not give a sweet taste, but I think it does help make the soup have a teeny tiny hint of sweet which ultimately just makes it more flavorful.  I also used to be scared of corn syrup (so thick, which makes me think of it being in solid fat form)—but light cornstarch actually is okay to use in moderation, only about 80 calories for a tablespoon and since the soup makes 8 servings, that adds up to only 10 extra calories.  Corn syrup is used as a thickener and also sometimes a sweetener, which is why you only need minimal of both the syrup and sugar.

I love that with one (really cheap!) chicken I was able to make a bunch of meals—I ate the chicken just plain on night one, as a BBQ chicken salad on day 2 and now I have 8 (well more like 4 for me) servings of soup to eat/freeze.  Winner winner tons of chicken dinners.

Another thing I bought at Costco and have been inhaling all week are these:

Bad news!  I can’t stop eating them!  I put a huge bowl of them out at work which got rid of more than half, but still…this is a huge bag!  All the easier to hide the number of servings I am eating…very dangerous but very very good.

Alright, off to yoga!  I have a yoga/fitness related post coming on Saturday.

Have a great night!


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