Even scientists agree that there is something to the whole idea of chicken soup–as–cold remedy, but few of us battling a cold or flu have the strength to stand there, watching over a stove. Enter slow-cooker chicken soup: Toss the ingredients in, and within hours, you'll have nourishing meals for days. Of course, there's no need to be under the weather to enjoy these easy dinner recipes. So add one to your rotation this week.
If you're looking for that classic fix, look no further than blogger Jaclyn Bell's take on chicken noodle soup, which is loaded with herbs and egg noodles. It takes minimal effort, she says, yet yields tender chicken and soft veggies. She makes it as soon as she feels a scratchy throat coming on.
Leave it to a Minnesotan to figure out how to make chicken soup even more hearty: Teacher and blogger Lindsay Ostrom adds wild rice to her slow-cooker chicken soup, plus flour and milk to give it a creamy consistency. The best part, she says: "When everything else is chaotic, my steady and true Crock-Pot friend gives some stability and cooks us the most cozy, comforting dinner while I'm at work."
It's a wonder this slow-cooker chicken parm soup isn't a staple at red-sauce joints nationwide: It basically tastes like, yes, chicken parm, in soup form. Also, as recipe developer Chelsea Lords points out, it's much healthier than the original because it's loaded with tomatoes and the lean protein of the chicken and quinoa, minus the fattening breading.
Assembling enchiladas can take a big chunk of time, but this chicken soup version can be prepped in minutes in the morning. It's like tortilla soup, creator Rachel Currier, a New Hampshire-based blogger, says—except creamier.
Instead of using a canned cream of chicken base, recipe developer and photographer Tonia Larson makes a homemade version, which she marries with potatoes, chicken and vegetables to create the ultimate hybrid comfort food. Instant mashed potato flakes can make it even creamier, she says, and of course, the whole thing is made in a slow cooker.
This article was originally published on February 6, 2015.