Needing a warming bowl of chicken soup and having the time you need to make it too often don't coincide.
Which is why I came up with this quick and easy way to get a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup on the table in under 30 minutes.
The trick is to use mostly prepped ingredients, such as rotisserie chicken, frozen peas, carrots and corn, and prepared broth. You can even buy the onion already diced if that helps. With little effort you'll be curled up on the couch slurping your soup in no time.
This soup also can be partly prepped ahead in batches to make your weeknight soup needs even easier to handle. Simply buy several rotisserie chickens and double or triple the veggies needed. Fill zip-close freezer bags with some of each ingredient, add your seasonings, then freeze.
When you need a soup fix, just toss the frozen prepped soup in a saucepan with broth, bring to a simmer and add the pasta.
For an especially nice touch, serve this soup with crusty sourdough bread topped with fresh mozzarella and popped under the broiler for a minute. It's great for dunking.
SPEEDY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
Start to finish: 30 minutes
2-pound rotisserie chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 pound frozen blend of peas, carrots and corn kernels
2 quarts chicken broth
1 cup elbow pasta
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Remove the meat from the chicken, then use your fingers to pull any large pieces into bite-size chunks. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the garlic powder, cumin, paprika and thyme. Heat the seasonings for 30 seconds, then add the onion. Saute for 5 minutes, then add the frozen vegetables. Saute for another 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer.
Add the pasta and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, then add the chicken meat and return to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the parsley.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 490 calories; 150 calories from fat (33 percent of total calories); 17 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 140 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 50 g protein; 4 g fiber; 910 mg sodium.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him to great eats on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch or email him at jhirsch(at)ap.org.