It’s the first day back to ‘big kid’ (aka grad) school in our house today, and with that comes the need for more tasty, easy, healthy, and filling weeknight meals. Bonus for those that provide leftovers for lunch!
I’m sure that the first cooking method that generally comes to mind when most people think of fall back-to-school meals involves a slow cooker and I get it – it’s hard to deny the ease that comes with dumping everything into one bowl, pressing a button, and being able to go about your busy day as usual to return home to a hot prepared meal. But I’ve struggled with slow cookers in the past (as discussed here). In an attempt to get on board with the slow cooker craze, I’ve been coming up with a few recipes that you would never guess came from a slow cooker (see here, here, and here).
This slow cooker chicken noodle soup really exceeded all of my expectations and I’m so excited to share it today! My original plan was to make this, eat a bowl or two, and then freeze the rest for future dinners, but both the soup-hater and the soup-lover in this house both loved this soup too much to freeze it and devoured the entire pot over the course of a few days. And guess what? There’s another pot underway as I’m typing this! It’s just that good.
One of the things I was most surprised by was how much flavor the broth had. It seriously tasted like I had made stock in house, but really it was just a combo of chicken broth and a little bit of concentrated stock. You could make this using only chicken stock, but I generally have tons of cans of broth for general cooking purposes, so it was better for me to use that. Since I went the broth route, I decided to give Knorr’s concentrated chicken stock a go, and I definitely think it greatly contributed to the flavor.
I also sautéd my veggies prior to adding them to the slow cooker to build the flavor profile up a bit as well. This is an optional step. I know that it tacks on some prep time, but if you have a few extra minutes to spare, I totally think it’s worth it.
Feel free to use whatever type of egg noodles you’d like, just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly and keep a close eye on them so that they don’t get overcooked and mushy (not good).
One more thing – you could opt for chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts if you’d like. I had originally thought about using a mix, but only had frozen chicken breasts on hand.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped carrots (halved and sliced into ¼ inch thick slices)
- 1 cup chopped celery (sliced into ¼ inch thick slices)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tub Knorr concentrated chicken stock
- 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1½ teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 3 teaspoons salt, to taste
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (see note)
- 2 ounces pappardelle egg noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces
- Fresh flat-leaf parsley for topping
- For best results, start by sautéing the carrots, celery, and onion in 1 tsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté for approximately 3 minutes until the mixture is fragrant and onions are slightly softened. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute, until garlic is fragrant. (Alternatively, you could skip this step and add the vegetables straight to the slow cooker and omit the oil)
- Transfer carrots, celery, onion, and garlic mixture to the bowl of a 4 ½ to 6-quart slow cooker.
- Add the concentrated chicken stock to the skillet just used to sauté vegetables and heat over medium-low heat until melted. Add to the bowl of the slow cooker.
- Add chicken broth, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper to the bowl of the slow cooker and stir to combine. Add chicken breasts to the bowl of the slow cooker. Add 2 bay leaves.
- Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours (time will depend on your slow cooker – mine tends to run a little hot).
- After the chicken has cooked, transfer the chicken from the slow cooker to a cutting board. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
- Add the egg noodles to the bowl of the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low or high for approximately 20 minutes. (Alternatively, if your slow cooker had switched to the warm setting after cooking and is no longer at a low or high temperature, you could cook the noodles in water or chicken broth on the stove top and add them to the slow cooker).
- While noodles are cooking, shred the chicken breasts.
- Return shredded chicken to slow cooker. Stir contents together. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately topped with minced fresh parsley, if desired.
Note on noodles: Feel free to use whatever type of egg noodles you like, just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly and keep a close eye on them so that they don’t get overcooked and mushy (not good).