Jennifer Tyler Lee, Bay Area mom and author of The 52 New Foods Challenge, shared with us one of her favorite healthy lunch ideas: Homemade Chicken Soup. She tells us, “My kids love a hot lunch, and this recipe is an easy way for me to send a cozy meal that I know they’ll enjoy.” Her pro tip? When packing soup, only fill the thermos part way to the top with liquid to avoid spills.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup onions, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry pasta (macaroni or rotini work best)
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Toss the chicken in the mixture until well coated. Spread out on the lined baking sheet as flat as possible and roast 23-25 minutes, until cooked through. When done, remove from the oven and let rest 2 minutes. Then chop into 1-inch pieces and set aside. Reserve any cooking juices.
Tip: If you’re in a pinch, use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and skip to Step 3. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and then the onions and cook gently for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots and celery and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until the vegetables begin to soften.
4. Add the broth, 1 cup water, and the bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 8 minutes, or until the pasta is almost cooked.
5. Add the chicken to the pot and simmer for 2 minutes more.
6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Do your kids love Chicken Noodle Soup? Share your thoughts on this recipe in the comments below!
Reprinted from THE 52 NEW FOODS CHALLENGE: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 recipes. Reprinted by arrangement with Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2014 by Jennifer Tyler Lee.