I woke up from one of those soul-deadening early-evening naps that always leave one feeling more wrung out and exhausted than if one had never bothered napping.
"Self," I thought, "you need to haul your ass out of bed and go make soup."
This idea did not fill me with joy. I lay there in the darkness, contemplating the sparse contents of my refrigerator.
"Self," I thought, "you probably have the ingredients for chicken noodle soup."
A slight stir--not yet strong enough to propel me out of bed, but enough to open my eyes.
"Self," I thought, "chicken noodle soup would probably be pretty amazing with homemade egg noodles."
My feet hit the floor. I was up.
I researched (a fancy old-school word for "Googled") "homemade egg noodles."
I discovered that it would take about half an hour to make and roll out the noodles, and that then they would need to air-dry for two hours before cooking.
"Self," I thought, "screw that."
So here we have a chicken noodle soup, made without the noodles, but with a corresponding increase in the number of vegetables used. Still totally worth getting up from a nap for.
Chicken Noodle Soup, Sans Noodles
Serves six to eight
3 Tbsp olive oil or butter
1 medium to large onion, finely diced
2 medium to large carrots, finely diced
2 standard-ish celery ribs, finely diced
1 large red bell pepper, likewise finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken stock or broth
1/2 tsp hot sauce (optional, but recommended)
1 bouquet garni, or if you can't find the mangy-looking bay leaves your husband brought home from WinCo a few days ago (as I couldn't), just a bunch of flat-leaf parsley stems tied together with a piece of ribbon (because you can't find the cheesecloth either)
2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Heat olive oil or butter in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and bell pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until everything is tender and glistening, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, one minute more.
Add chicken stock, bouquet garni, chicken and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or thereabouts. (If you want to simmer it longer, that would be lovely, but don't add the chicken until half an hour or so before you're done or it will just fall apart and taste disappointing.)
Correct seasoning; stir in chopped parsley. Get fancy as we are tonight and serve it with Triscuits alongside. Classy as all get-out.
And the nutritional breakdown, 'cause why not?: Based on 6 servings, each serving has 260 calories, 12 grams fat, 16 grams carbohydrate (2 g fiber, 6 g sugars), 20 g protein, 114% Vitamin A, 100% Vitamin C, 27% Vitamin B6. Not too shabby for something that goes from refrigerator to table in under an hour.