17 February 2013

Baby Bites: Chicken Noodle Soup

Nerd is pretty easy to please with most of the soup recipes I make for her, but chicken noodle seems to be a favorite. I made this on the fly one dreary, cold day since I had time, vegetables, and leftover garlic roasted chicken from a previous meal. This meal was quicker to make than I anticipated. It made enough to require some of it be stored in the freezer. I'd like to think it was the addition of zucchini that made it a winner in Nerd's book, but it was probably all those noodles that made her love it.

Good for the toddler soul.
Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup roasted chicken (I used breast meat), chopped or shredded
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock (if you don't have homemade, use low-sodium chicken stock)
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked cut spaghetti
  • 1-2 cups water
  • a hearty pinch of each: black pepper, dried thyme, dried basil

Directions:
Heat the olive oil in the bottom of an enameled cast-iron pot on medium-high. Add the onion, carrot, celery, zucchini, and garlic, and allow to sauté until translucent (3-5 minutes). Carefully pour in the stock. If you feel it looks a little low in liquid (depending on how well it covers your sautéed veggies), add 1-2 cups water. Not only will this help stretch the recipe, it will also cut the already-low sodium content. Your baby doesn't need a super salty soup!

Add your roasted chicken, spaghetti, and herbs/pepper. Bring to a boil for roughly one minute, and then throw back the heat to low. Give it time to simmer until the pasta is just past al dente. Serve warm. Goes really well with crackers. We serve Nerd the Ritz Hint of Salt crackers with hers.

Alternatives:

  • For my vegetarian moms: Use low-sodium veggie stock and substitute the chicken with another protein, like tofu or a favorite legume. I can see lentils or navy beans being a tasty choice.
  • Don't have time to roast a chicken? Pick one up at your local grocery store that has already been roasted for you. Stick with the chickens that aren't marinated in lots of overpowering flavors. They will throw off the flavors in your soup and could possibly add extra sodium or MSG (check those labels!). A simple, plain roasted chicken will do.
  • Can't find cut spaghetti? Use another small pasta variety, like alphabets, ditalini, or stars. That, or buy regular spaghetti and break them into smithereens!
  • On a gluten-free diet? Swap out the spaghetti for a gluten-free pasta or sub with brown rice. Then you can change the name to chicken and rice soup. ;)

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