For some folks, the winter season is just an excuse to crank up the heater and indulge in an endless supply of homemade pumpkin spice lattes – but for those of us who live in a house full of dirtbag climbers, the winter months are all about survival.
You see, we don’t run the heat, so at this very moment, it’s about 55º in my kitchen – which means everything is cold. So cold, in fact, that when my housemate poured fresh coffee into his tall cup, the glass was so cold that it shattered upon contact with the hot liquid. In a world where everything is cold, hot food becomes a dietary staple.
My favorite way of warming up with edibles? Homemade soup! Stew a giant pot of hearty liquid warmth, and you’ve got instant heat to last up to a week. And while I love a fancy soup just as much as the next gal, there’s nothing better than an easy, simple soup. Plus, the entire house seems to warm up with the smells of stewing veggies and simmering broth.
This homemade chicken noodle soup recipe yields 10 mason jars worth of goodness – plenty to last you at least a week – and this may just be one of the easiest soup recipes, ever. The most difficult part of making this soup is merely the effort that it requires to patiently wait for your soup to reach optimal soup-age – but there’s no shame in sneaking a spoonful or two during the cooking process.
- 50 ounces (6 ¼ cups) of 100% natural chicken broth | Since I’m on a dirtbag budget I used the 99% fat free canned version from Swanson.
- 3 cups carrots *
- 2 cups celery *
- 1 yellow onion *
- 12 ounces of wide egg noodles
- 1.25 lbs of chicken breast * | We get ours from Earth Fare; it’s ‘local’ chicken from Springer Mountain in Georgia!
- 2 cubes of bouillon/seasoning of your choice
- 4 cups of water | Purely to add to the soup as it cooks; additional water will be used to boil the noodles.
* Bonus Points if you get these items from a local farm or market!
How to make the easiest homemade chicken noodle soup (ever):
1. In the biggest pot you’ve got, start boiling some water. Chop your chicken breast into smaller pieces (think about 8 per breast), and toss ‘em into the water to boil.
2. While the chicken is cooking, begin preparing your vegetables. Dice the onion; slice each celery stick in half, and chop; slice and halve the carrots. The size and thickness is up to you – I prefer to make my veggies in a variety of sizes to make each bite a surprise.
3. After about 10 minutes, check the chicken – if there is no pink left in the middle, drain it and set it aside to cool for a few minutes.
4. While you’re working on the chicken, toss your vegetables and two cups of water into the pot. I added a small amount of chicken broth, to soak up some flavor while the veggies softened. Add celery and carrots first, then onions later. Now is a good time to add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the pot.
- At this time, you should also set a separate pot to boil, and cook your package of egg noodles.
NOTE: I do not cook my egg noodles all the way; I leave them al dente because they will continue to absorb the broth in the soup (this is a great way to avoid getting them too mushy during storage).
5. Once you can handle the meat, begin to pull the chicken apart with your fingers (or a fork). You’ll quickly find that what began as a small pile of chicken chunks will grow into a rather large heap of shredded meat.
6. Add the chicken, remaining broth, noodles and any other leftover ingredients, to the pot (I didn’t drain the noodles, I added the water along with ‘em). Once the soup reaches a bubbly brew, toss in the bouillon/seasoning cubes. Continue to season to taste, if necessary.
7. Begin the waiting game. Set the soup to a simmer, and occasionally stir and taste for at least two hours. The longer, the better – but it may be hard to resist the temptation of pouring yourself a bowl.8. Ladle your soup into mason jars, and set some aside in the freezer (not completely full), and some in the fridge to be eaten quickly.
After an afternoon spent tending to my vat of homemade chicken noodle soup, I was left feeling almost eager for all the mason jar rations to be devoured so I could cook up another big batch of soul-warming soup. I’m thinking loaded baked potato soup may be next up on the schedule…