Have you been living through the cold lately? Not the bone-chilling, frigid winter temps (which around here actually haven't been all that bone-chilling as of late), I mean THE COLD--that nasty, almost flu-like sickness to which my entire family succumbed this past weekend? If so, then you absolutely need food like this Chicken Soup with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Macaroni. Other than a large box of Puffs Plus, it's the only thing that soothes this savage beast of a virus!
It's been several years since I've been really sick--sure, I've had the sniffles and an occasional headache but not the "I'm-so-stuffed-up-that-I-can't-taste-or-smell-a-thing" that seems to have invaded me from the shoulders up. Yuck!! What a bummer!! My have I griped my way through the last 72 hours or so. Enough!! Thank goodness it's not really serious and we are all on the mend, in part due to the magical healing powers of this wonderful soup!!
"Cause folks, what grandmas have known for centuries is now proven fact--chicken soup definitely helps heal the common cold (please excuse me if I don't cite the studies, guys--I'm sick!!) and this one is filled to the brim with good stuff like white meat chicken, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots and broth. So soothing!
We're coming to the end of what my husband affectionately calls "The Season of Soup" (though we love it so much you'll find me cooking up a pot in the middle of July) so try this asap, whether you're suffering from the dreaded cold or not, and enjoy spoonful after spoonful of liquid gold. And don't forget to wash your hands--there are SO many germs out there!!
Chicken Soup with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Macaroni
Makes about 6 servings
Prep Time: About 1 hour (most of this is hands-free time)
- 1 1/2-2 pounds bone-in chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper to season
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- 64 ounces chicken broth (store-bought or homemade)
- 2-3 zucchini, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup macaroni (or any other small pasta)
- 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat and add the chicken in skin-side down. Brown the chicken for about 7-8 minutes and then flip over and let brown on the other side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
2. Lower the heat to medium-low and into the same pot, add the onion, carrots and a pinch or two of salt and cook for about 7-8 minutes, until the veggies have softened a bit. Stir in the broth and use a large spoon to scrape up any browned bits that have stuck to the pot. Add the chicken back in and bring the liquid to a simmer. Then lower the heat, cover the pot and let cook for at least 20 minutes, or until the chicken in entirely cooked through.
3. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate and let sit until cool enough to handle. Throw away skin and bones and shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add back into the pot. Turn the heat to medium and add in the zucchini, macaroni and tomatoes and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until the pasta is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
4. Leftovers reheat well and can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
Note: Recipe adapted from The Best Chicken Recipes by Cooks Illustrated. I left out the celery, thyme and basil and upped the proportions of carrots, zucchini and tomatoes and changed the shells to macaroni.