I recently asked folks on my Facebook page to let me know why types of posts they would like to see on my blog. In particular, I asked if they wanted more recipes (and if so what types) or health related topics (and what topics they would like to see). I got some great responses which got my wheels spinning and led me to this post – a make ahead chicken and veggie soup recipe!
I touched on this subject a few weeks ago in the post Healthy Lunches in Under 5 Minutes! which shared how I make salads for lunches in bulk for the week. If you haven’t already done so, check out this post for a simple, time-saving tip on how to eat a healthy lunch each day of the week (while only prepping one time!)
Because I eat seasonly, and we are on the tail end of Winter in the Northeast (hopefully… we did just get over a foot of snow last week…) I thought I would share with you my main make ahead meal that I have been preparing this Winter. It isn’t fancy, it is pretty simple to make, and the best part – this meal stays good for days – AND it freezes really well. You can make it on the weekend and eat it during the week for either lunch or dinner, which really helps when you get home from a long day at work and just don’t have the energy to cook yourself a meal. Instead of venturing into the unhealthy take-out zone, this meal is a balanced, great for your body, and jam PACKED with flavor.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 9 hours (8 hours are inactive)
Makes: One big pot of soup! (I typically get 4 meals out of this for 2 people, so a total of 8 servings – my husband and I have big appetites!)
- 1 whole, organic chicken (3-5 lbs)
- 1 cup organic brown rice
- 5 carrots
- 1 stalk of organic celery (leaves included – don’t leave these out! They have great flavor and contain a lot of nutrients.)
- 2 onions
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Variety of fresh or dried herbs of your choice – I find thyme, oregano, rosemary, and parsley work well
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 10+ cups of water
- Optional: other veggies of your choice. For this particular batch, I through in 2 rutabaga and 2 cups of baby greens that I had on hand. Put your favorite veggie in the batch, or what’s in season, and mix it up. Have fun with this recipe!
- Start off by removing the skin from the chicken, to reduce the fat content in your soup. Then, place the skinned chicken into a large pot, along with one of the onions, one of the carrots, and one of the celery stocks (all chopped into large chunks), and one clove of garlic (whole) and cover with water up to 2″ from the top of the pot. Place the pot onto the stove and bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow the chicken to cook for 8 hours.
- Place the rice into a bowl and cover with filtered water. Allow to sit on the countertop and soak while the chicken is cooking. This helps your body digest the rice more easily.
- About 30 minutes before the chicken is done, cook the rice according to the package directions using some of the stock from the chicken instead of water.
- Wash and cut your remaining veggies and set aside.
- After 8 hours, skim the fat off of the top of the stock. Take the chicken and the veggies out of the stock.
- Drain the stock into a large bowl or another pot. Discard the veggies (or feed them to your dogs like I do!).
- Take the chicken meat off of the bones. Shred the chicken (or cut it into pieces). Discard the bones.
- Put the empty pot on the stove over medium heat and add a cut of the stock. Simmer the onions and garlic until they become transparent and fragrant, 5-10 minutes.
- Then, place the remainder of the chopped veggies, cooked rice, and chicken pieces into the pot, cover with the stock, and cook over medium heat until you can easily insert a fork into the veggies, about 30-45 minutes.
- Prior to serving, garnish with fresh and dried veggies, as well as sea salt and black pepper.
- To store, allow pot to cool and store on the top shelf in your fridge. Then, just take out and season each time you want to reheat and serve for a meal. Or, you could also place into smaller containers and store that way. Whichever works best for you! Also, this soup freezes well – so if you want to eat some of the soup during the week, then freeze some of it, that works well too. I typically freeze it in gallon sized freezer Zip-Lock bags.
One of the blogs I follow, Daily Garnish, did a blog post about this a few months ago. Emily (the woman behind Daily Garnish) has a toddler and therefore has a challenging time cooking new meals each night of the week. In this post she shares some great tips on how to make food in bulk and use it throughout the week. I don’t know about you, but this post makes me want to go out and purchase a rice cooker!
What type of posts or recipes would you like to see more of on this blog? In the comments below please let me know! Thank you for reading – I appreciate each and every one of you! xo