Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cold Front Chicken Veggie Soup

We have a cold front coming into Southeast Texas today.  It will be dropping into the 30s and probably below freezing at some point over the next few days.  It's not our first freeze of the season, but it's still pretty exciting for us.  It has even brought our drought-ridden selves some rain!  The occasion seemed like a good time to make a crock pot full of chicken veggie soup.

The primary ingredients are boneless, skinless chicken thighs, onion, baby carrots, celery, yellow squash, and baby spinach.  Also salt and pepper, Wyler's Chicken Bouillon Granules, parsley flakes, and garlic powder.

Oh, and chicken broth.  (I almost forgot to take poor Swanson's picture!)

First, I put two pounds of raw, frozen chicken in the crock pot.  (This will cook until it falls to pieces.)  Then I got to work chopping the vegetables.

I started with the onion.  After rinsing it, I left the faucet running for a minute, while I cut it up.  Years ago, I read that running water while you cut onions helps with getting teary-eyed.  I don't know if it really does any good or not, but I do it.

Cutting onion, not crying.
   I chopped one onion and added it to the crock.

 The carrots were already cut and ready to go, so I just opened the bag and tossed them in.

Next are the four squash; I washed them off and cut off their ends.

 I cut up them up.

   Then added them to the crock.

The celery was prettier in person.  Really.

I choose four or five nice, leafy stalks of celery.

 After rinsing them well, I cut up the stalks first.   

 Then chopped up the leafy part.

All chopped up.

And added in.

Last up for the veggies is the spinach.  I took "several inches" worth of leaves at a time.

I don't like the stems.
   I cut off the stems.

 I chopped them up.

Then I added them in.  (I chopped up three "stacks.")  Now the veggies are prepped!

I wait until it is almost done to do most of the seasoning, but I did add some parsley flakes, garlic powder, and pepper, just to get things started.

I poured in two 32 ounce cartons of chicken broth, then stirred it a bit.  I left the chicken towards the bottom of the crock, to help make sure it cooks well.

The crock went back in the pot.

 I set it to cook on low, for 10 hours.

11:55 PM

At that point, it was almost midnight, so it will cook all night.  During the last few hours of cooking, I'll stir it a few times, and taste it and add spices accordingly.

I won't add any salt until I decide if it needs bouillon or not.  Sometimes it seems to need some to make it a bit more chickeny, other times it doesn't.  The bouillon is plenty salty itself, so if I use it, I probably won't add any other salt.

During that time I will also judge whether it needs more or less time before it's ready to kick the temp over to warm.

It should be ready in time for lunch, but will likely stay in the crock pot on warm all day, with people grabbing a bowl whenever they want.

Update: I ended up adding several spices to it.  As I said before, I added parsley flakes, garlic powder, and black pepper before I started cooking it.  After it cooked enough that I could taste it, I played with the spices a bit more.  I did add a good amount of chicken bouillon granules, so I did not use any salt at all.  I also put in about a teaspoon of beef bouillon granules, just to add a but of richness to it.  I also added a generous amount of minced garlic and minced onion, a few shakes of paprika, and some more black pepper.  All of it was just fine tuned to my taste, your spice amounts would probably vary.

It did end up being ready just about at the 10 hour mark.  Here it is, all yum and ready to eat.

So, to summarize:

2 pounds raw boneless skinless chicken thighs, it's fine if it's still frozen
1 onion chopped
1 small bag of baby carrots
4 yellow squash, cut up
4 or 5 stalks of celery, including leaves, chopped
1 to 1 1/2 cups of chopped baby spinach
64 ounces of chicken broth
A couple of tablespoons of parsley flakes
A few generous shakes of garlic powder (I like garlic.)
A generous amount of black pepper

Put all of this in a 6 quart crock pot.  Turn crock pot to low and cook for 10 hours.

During the last few hours of cooking, stir several times.  Break up chicken pieces; by this point they should shred easily with your stirring spoon.  Taste and add more spices, as needed.

A generous amount of chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
A generous amount of minced onion
A generous amount of minced garlic (I really like garlic.)
A few shakes of paprika
Some more black pepper

Just adjust amounts to suit your family's tastes.

My soup and I are partying with
Type A's Anything Goes Party.
A Round Tuit
Nifty Thrifty Sunday
2805's Potpourri Party
Creative Bloggers' Party and Hop
Join us!

Note: The verdict is in from the rest of the family; it's a win all the way around!


  1. What an easy soup to make! There are days where I need that with my little son running around everywhere. Thanks for your recipe.

  2. Wonderful comfort food! Thank you for linking your recipe to Potpourri Friday! Hope you will make it a weekly party stop! The Christmas Tree party is Friday!

  3. Oh that soup does look scrummy! Stay warm.

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  4. Thanks Jen, Honey, and Jill. The soup did turn out really well. The leftovers are almost gone. A big pot usually lasts several days and a lot of times I am able to put a serving or two in the freezer. Not this time, lol!