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01/10/2011

~ Grandma Ann's Easy Chicken Vegetable Soup ~

IMG_7848On November 13th, 2007, at 6:30 PM, Joe's 83-year-old mother Ann walked through the door of her new home here in State College.  It had been a busy and exciting Summer for the entire family.  Joe and his brother Tom did all of her packing.  I was in charge of the decisions/choices regarding the building of her new home, the move-in and all of the decorating (I got the fun part).  After the closing (2:00 PM on November 1st), I had twelve short days to pull an entire household together, including stocking the pantry shelves and refrigerator.  It was like one of those reality TV shows.  When "Ma" entered her front door that evening, she had no idea what anything would look like.  Every last thing was done and in place, the lights were dimmed, the candles were lit and a celebratory dinner was on the dining room table waiting for her!

IMG_7860When Tom and Joe were encouraging  Ann to make the decision to sell her home in Jessup, PA, to move closer to either one of them, my husband Joe made her an offer she could not refuse: "Ma, if you move to State College, I promise you, you will never have to cook another meal for yourself again."  There are only two things you really need to know about my mother-in-law:  #1)  she hates to cook, and, #2) she loves to eat.  Nine months later she was living in State College and I am proud to report that aside from an occasional take out pizza, burger or dinner at a restaurant, I do cook each and every one of her meals for her.

When it comes to food, Ann is very easy to please.  Aside from croutons on any salad and any form of pecan pie,  Ann has a great appetite and a pretty sophisticated palate for good food of any cuisine.  One thing she loves to eat, Summer and Winter, is a hearty bowl of soup, and I try to keep some in both her refrigerator and freezer at all times, so she can eat it whenever she wants.  As much as I love to cook, I'd be lying if I said I never take a short cut once in a while, but this "short cut" chicken soup recipe was born out of necessity.  Ann wasn't feeling well and was asking for chicken soup.  My homemade soup stock was on hand in my freezer as well as all of the vegetables and a package of chicken breasts in my refrigerator.  But, on that day, I decided to skip the thawing, slicing, dicing and chopping and get her some soup ASAP.  The result was Ann enjoying an absolutely delicious bowl of soup a mere 2 hours later!

IMG_7853The following recipe is now one of a family favorite and I'll bet it becomes one of yours too:

Ann's Chicken Vegetable Soup #5 (Chicken)To start, you'll need 6, large, meaty, boneless, skinless chicken breast halves.  This package weighed in at a little over 5 pounds.  Any package weighing between 4 1/2-5 1/2 pounds will work just fine.

So much for the chicken!

Ann's Chicken Vegetable Soup #4 (Ingredients) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6  large, meaty, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 4 1/2-5 1/2 pounds

2 1/2  quarts water (or, if your mother-in-law likes mushrooms, use 2 quarts of water and 2, 4 1/2-ounce jars of sliced mushrooms along with all of their liquid)

1  14 1/2-ounce can chicken broth

1  14 1/2-ounce can beef broth

2  14 1/2-ounce cans stewed tomatoes

4  tablespoons dried parsley flakes

1/2  teaspoon garlic powder

1/2  teaspoon red pepper flakes

1  tablespoon sea salt

1 1/2  teaspoons white pepper

2  cups diced yellow or sweet onion

1-2  cups diced celery

2  16-ounce bags frozen "classic" mixed vegetables, unthawed, containing:  peas, corn, carrots, green beans and lima beans

1  14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, for stirring into finished soup

a drizzle of olive oil, about 1 tablespoon, for stirring into finished soup

Ann's Chicken Vegetable Soup #6 (Adding Stuff & Salt to the Pot) ~ Step 1.  In an 8-quart stockpot, place the chicken, water, broths,  and stewed tomatoes.  Add 2 tablespoons of the parsley flakes, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, sea salt and white pepper.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Adjust heat to a gentle, steady, simmer and continue to cook, uncovered, 45 minutes.  Easy enough so far? 

~ Step 2.  While the soup is gently simmering on the stovetop, dice the onion and celery as directed and set aside.  Next:

Ann's Chicken Vegetable Soup #7 (Chopping Chicken) ~ Step 3.  Turn the heat off.  Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken from the broth and place on a cutting board.  Using a chef's knife, chop the chicken into large, bite-sized pieces and return them to the broth.  Note:  Remove all of the chicken at once, placing it on a large cutting board to chop it, or remove it one piece at a time, returning the chopped chicken to the stockpot as you work, which is what I like to do).

Ann's Chicken Vegetable Soup #8 (Adding Celery & Onions) ~ Step 4.  Return the chopped chicken along with the celery, onion and remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley flakes to the pot.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and...

 

 

 

Ann's Chicken Vegetable Soup #10 (Adding Frozen Vegetables) ... add the frozen vegetables.  When the soup returns to a rapid simmer, adjust the heat to simmer gently, partially cover and simmer gently, an additional 45 minutes.

If you would like to serve your soup with noodles, while the soup is simmering is the time to cook, drain and rinse them according to the package directions:

Ann's Chicken Vegetable Soup (Noodles #1)

After the soup has simmered for 45 minutes, stir in the last can of diced tomatoes and a drizzle (about 1 tablespoon) of olive oil.  Continue to simmer about 5 more minutes.  Ladle soup in to warmed bowls and serve immediately:

IMG_7850Grandma Ann's Easy Chicken Vegetable Soup:  Recipe yields about 6 1/2-7 quarts.

Special Equipment List:  8-quart stockpot w/lid; large slotted spoon; cutting board; chef's knife; soup ladle

Ann's Chicken Vegetable Soup #15 (Frozen) Cook's Note:  If you have the time, when the soup is done (after you've added the can of diced tomatoes and drizzle of olive oil), remove it from the heat, cover the pot, and allow it to steep for 1-2 hours.

Briefly reheat it at serving time.  Also, this soup freezes great.  I like to portion mine into one- or two-quart size containers for quick weekday lunches or dinners

Extra Cook's Note:  Here is a peek into the top two shelves of my freezer.  Top shelf:  homemade soup stocks (Asian, beef, chicken, duck, lobster, veal and vegetable).  Second shelf:  homemade soups on hand (beef barley, shittake mushroom and Grandma Ann's chicken vegetable).

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2011)

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Comments

Cheap Kitchens! I'm glad you liked my time-saving recipe and found it easy to understand!

Yes, this is a very good recipe. After reading your recipe, I think it does not make more time. To make this with the Soup method is very easy to understand as Chicken Vegetable anyone.

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