Sunday, December 5, 2010

soup and sandwich

It was miserably cold the other day, and my husband requested some chicken soup for dinner. What goes better with chicken noodle soup than a grilled cheese sandwich? Nothing, I say!

My favorite grilled cheese sandwich is made with whole wheat bread and swiss cheese, which is what is pictured above. I make them in a cast-iron pan and they come out lovely and crisp on the outside, creamy and cheesy inside. Bliss!

As for the soup, I don't usually put noodles in my chicken soup but Mark asked for them this time so I put some in. I have to say - ever since I started making my own soup, I cannot bring myself to eat canned soup. It's just vastly inferior. Chicken soup is ridiculously easy to make - it takes all of 10 minutes - and the finished product is exponentially better tasting than anything you can get in a can.

Here's my super-simple recipe. You can make this even easier if you use pre-cooked chicken.

Chicken Noodle Soup

32oz lower-sodium chicken stock
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large rib of celery, peeled and chopped - I like to use the celery leaves, too.
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 bay leaf
1-2 handfuls of dried wide pasta noodles (not egg noodles)
black pepper to taste

Bring stock to a boil over medium-high heat while you chop the veggies and the chicken. Add veggies and chicken to hot stock and stir. Let cook on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Add noodles (start with one handful. If it doesn't look like enough, throw some more in. I like to err on the side of over-noodling), bay leaf and black pepper (I use kind of a lot because I like the kick it gives the soup, especially when I'm sick), and allow to cook at a medium boil until noodles are al dente. Fish out the bay leaf before serving.

NOTE: if you make this soup with the intention of freezing it (which I often do), do NOT put the noodles in...add them when you warm up the soup after it has been frozen, otherwise you end up with really mushy pasta in your soup, which is less than appetizing, generally.