I've been making this soup for years. It's one of those stand-by, comfort food meals in our family. Perfect on a cold fall or winter day. With only 182 calories per serving, it's loaded with healthy ingredients: veggies, whole wheat pasta (or brown rice), lean chicken breast. A can of skim evaporated milk gives it a light creaminess without added fat. I've got an easy gluten-free adaptation, too.
I started making this soup when my kids were young, so I diced the veggies in the food processor to make them teensy, indistinguishable, and impossible for picky eaters to fish out. The veggies just added invisible flavor and nutrition. The chicken and noodles were the only ingredients they could easily recognize, and those were something they liked.
Now that King-Man and I are empty nesters and I'm usually cooking for 2, I've continued to make the soup with finely chopped veggies. But now it's for a different reason. (We're grown ups, after all, and don't need our veggies hidden.) After making the soup this way through all these years, I realized that a benefit of finely dicing the veggies is that they get more evening distributed throughout the soup. Every spoonful of soup is packed with the flavors of every ingredient. If you prefer a chunkier soup, you can chop the veggies by hand into bigger pieces.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per serving): 182 calories, 3.4g fat, 20.3g carbs, 1.2g fiber, 6.5g sugar, 17.0g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 5
Step-by-step photos for making Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients: olive oil, onion, mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic, flour (all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour), oregano, thyme, black pepper, poultry seasoning, chicken broth, salt, evaporated skim milk (or evaporated whole milk, if preferred), whole grain pasta (or brown rice), shredded chicken.
Step 2. In a food processor, pulse the garlic until finely minced.
view on Amazon: Monica's food processor
Step 3. Pulse and dice the onion. Transfer the chopped the garlic and onion to a separate bowl.
Step 4. Pulse and dice the mushrooms and transfer to the bowl with the onions.
Step 5. Pulse and dice the carrots and transfer to bowl with other veggies.
Step 6. Pulse and dice the celery and transfer to bowl with other veggies.
You should now have in the neighborhood of 4 cups of diced veggies.
Step 7. Heat oil in large pan or Dutch oven.
Step 8. Add veggies to pan.
Step 9. Stir veggies and cook them until they're soft.
Step 10. Add flour and seasonings. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
Step 11. Add chicken broth, heat to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.*
Step 12. Add chicken.
Step 13. Add pasta--use whatever shape you like.
Step 14. Add evaporated milk.
Step 15. Cook for 10 minutes, until pasta is tender.
*Substitute brown rice for the pasta, if you prefer. Add uncooked brown rice along with the broth and increase the simmer time to approx. 45 minutes until the rice is done. Then proceed with the remainder of the recipe. One advantage of using rice is that it doesn't overcook as easily as the pasta. Rice also holds up better for reheating and freezing leftovers.
Look at that warm bowl of comfort. It tastes too creamy to be healthy; but it is!
Make it a yummy day!