Sunday, October 31, 2010

Almost Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup

My mother believed in the benefits of chicken soup...what mother or grandmother doesn't!  Her chicken noodle soup had a hefty measurement of red pepper flakes; an ingredient she said, "it opens up your head and warms your stomach."

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.
You can find them, of course, in Whole Foods, but several supermarkets also carry them in their "Natural Cases" in the frozen food section.  Everything else is pretty much how Mom made the soup, although I add noodles or as I did today, Orzo and she ladled the soup over a bowl of rice. I know my Dad swore by her soup when he started with a cold and this version is so quick to make that you can have a satisfying dinner in less than an hour.

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!


  1. Oh boy!!! Another great soup recipe! Today I made your Mushroom/Barley soup and it was sooooo good! Can't wait to try this one with the Quorn tenders. (We love the Quorn chik'n patties.) I love the idea of the spinach and orzo and, of course, the red pepper flakes. I have never seen the "Not Chick'n Bouillon cubes"---but will look for them next time at the store. I like "Nature's Promise Organic Vegetable Broth" and use it for just about everything from soup to gravies and sauces and cooking veggies, etc. Soup is comforting and definitely good for whatever ails you!! As I recall, Mom's "cold remedy chicken soup" also had garlic, fresh ginger, cumin, tomato puree, and the red pepper flakes served over rice. I have the recipe somewhere in my not-so-organized conglamoration of 50+ years of collecting recipes!! I am sure the Quorn chik'n tenders would work just as good so we (you) need to redo the recipe and make it all vegetarian!

  2. You're right about the recipe...and the amount of red pepper flakes was double what I put in. It really did warm you up, or rather,send steam out of your ears! I have the exact recipe if you want it; I just wanted to make this one more "kid friendly."

  3. Thank you Susan

    This soup is a regular around here. Its the one soup I can get Aaron to eat. There is something so good about making soup from scratch..

    Love you