Saturday, March 15, 2014

Chicken Continued... Dinner #3: Macaroni Soup

Soup night!! What could be more soothing and soul-comforting then a hearty bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cold wintry night? The refrigerated carcass, bones, onions and lemon wedges from the chicken on the first night made it's way into a soup pot tonight.

I usually boil raw meat bones for two hours to yield soup broth, however since these bones have been cooked through already, I boil then simmer it for no more than one and a half hours. I leave the lemon in for a half hour for the citrus notes and fragrant aroma, then remove it to avoid too much bitterness from its rind.

There are so many noodle soup variety you can make out of homemade chicken broth. Tonight, I want to make it super simple as we have after dinner plans with family at the skating rink. You can take as much meat off the bones as possible but usually you'll have to add your own chopped protein. I use what I have in the fridge and freezer without too much thought or preparation- macaroni pasta, carrots, ham and frozen peas. 

A side of pan-fried dumplings cooked from frozen finished the meal off. 

Some other favourite variations I've made for the family include:

-  Orzo pasta with chicken, diced leeks and fresh dill;
-  Egg noodles with chicken, diced onions, carrots and celery;
-  Alphabet pasta with diced tomatoes, corn and broccoli/spinach;
-  Macaroni or small shells with ground pork, sliced shiitake mushrooms and diced bak choy. Serve with chopped green onions and cilantro.

Just cook your favourite pasta or noodle and use whatever meat and vegetable ingredients your family likes. Add-ins such as soft herbs- chopped basil or chives work nicely to add aroma and extra flavour.

Next time you want a no-brainer meal for two or three nights straight, buy yourself a nice, plump whole chicken!

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