I thought of this recipe today to share with all of you who have little ones heading out to Trick or Treat tonight. A lot of the country's weather is going to be cool, including here in the Pacific Northwest, although the rain is holding off until later, and having warm little bellies might keep the chill off. I guess it's no secret I'm a vegetarian, but I know there are a lot of families who do at least one or two meatless meals per week and this soup will certainly satisfy and maybe keep a few cold bugs away.
One product I discovered is by a company called Quorn (pronounce corn) and the "Chicken Tenders" I used in this soup would be hard to tell they weren't the real thing.
Almost Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced (about 3/4-1 cup)
2 ribs of celery, diced (about 1 cup)
1 12 oz. pkg. Quorn Tenders
1/4-1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
8 cups vegetable broth (or I used 4 "Not Chick'n" Bouillon Cubes and water)
1 cup (uncooked) noodles, Orzo, or other small pasta
1/2 pkg frozen spinach
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
In a large sauce pan, heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onion, carrots, and celery on Medium heat. Turn heat down and place a lid on to "sweat" the trilogy of vegetables. Meanwhile, in a medium saute pan over Medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the contents of one 12 ounce bag of Tenders. Saute 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently to lightly brown the "meatless" chicken. Add to the vegetables along with the broth or water and bouillon cubes. Place lid back on and cook while you prepare the noodles or Orzo.
I pre-boil my pasta so it doesn't absorb the broth and one of the best things I came across to cook pasta is called a Fasta Pasta maker.
I placed 1-cup of pasta in the container, added water up to the "4th level" and placed it in the microwave while my soup was cooking. In 15 minutes (or less, depending on your microwave) the pasta is cooked perfectly to al dente. It comes with a lid for draining, then, I added the pasta to the soup. At this time I added the spinach and parsley and tasted for seasonings.
Cook another 15-20 minutes and serve. I bought some mini crackers that I knew the kids would like, but this soup could be a complete meal with a salad and a hearty bread.
Like Mom said, "...warms the stomach" and like I add, "...and the heart." Enjoy!