I have no shame in admitting that I am occasionally one of the thriftiest people I know. In our home you will find many DIY decorations adorning the mantle, a freezer full of partially stale bread we couldn’t finish, and extra runny soap in the soap dispensers thanks to a little trick I picked up that involves mixing liquid soap with water.
My upbringing might be partially to blame. I was raised in a home where vacations meant camping in tents, meals were crafted with generic store brand ingredients, and touching the thermostat was a crime punishable by being grounded for a day or two.
My little money saving hacks might drive anyone else crazy (say what you want, that little soap trick is going to save us a boatload in the long run), but lucky for me Jay can be equally cheap. In fact, when he asked me on our first date he prefaced the question by telling me he wanted to use a gift card he had been given to the restaurant he wanted to take me to. I know some girls who would turn up their nose at the thought, but for me that just meant if things went well he would have more money to take me out for ice cream after. Since then, many of our date nights have started with the sentence ‘I have a coupon for (restaurant name), we should go there.’
This past week found us in need of a replacement tv for our basement. After doing a little price shopping online, Jay and I walked into the store and pointed to the cheapest tv they had in the size we wanted (on sale, of course) and left without any second thought, despite the sales person’s insistence to check out other TVs or purchase an additional 5 year warranty.
My inherent thriftiness might be one of the reasons I love to cook. I get to choose what goes into my food without paying for somebody else to make it for me. I especially love recipes like this chicken noodle soup where I can use left overs from our roasted bird, including the bones.
Have you made bone broth yet? It’s such a simple concept and makes all the difference in the world when it comes to flavoring soups and stews. It’s a great way to utilize what would otherwise be discarded refuse like chicken bones, shrimp shells, mushroom stubs, and other vegetable odds-and-ends. It’s not unusual for us to have a bag in the freezer (next to all the bread) with vegetables that weren’t quite bad, but didn’t get eaten before they passed their prime and are really only good for stock.
For this broth, I pulled all the meat from our roasted chicken from yesterday and placed the carcass in a large stock pot, covering it with water. I added celery, carrots, and onions and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and a couple bay leaves. I then let it simmer for an hour until all the flavor had been pulled from my bones and vegetables. Once it cooled I strained the liquid and popped it in the fridge to use the next day, although it could also be frozen and used on a later date.
I pulled the whole grain bread for the parmesan toast right from the freezer, but fresh bread would work just as well. Sometimes Jay complains about frozen bread taking up too much space in the freezer, but melty cheese toast was a polite reminder that it’s totally worth keeping some freezer bread on hand.
This chicken noodle soup is just what we need this time of year. Chicken, vegetables and noodles enveloped by warm, rich broth is a perfect way to combat the frigid temperatures outside. I love that I was able to utilize every part of the chicken to make it, too. You can also easily use store bought stock and fresh chicken for this recipe. I promise trying it won’t let you down.
Chicken Noodle Soup with Parmesan Toast
For the Soup
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, chopped
- 4 Carrot, chopped
- 4 Celery Stalks, chopped
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Pepper
- 1 Tsp Sage
- 1 Tsp Thyme
- 2 Tsp Oregano
- Fresh Thyme Sprig
- 1 Bay leaf
- 8 Cups Chicken Stock *
- 8 Oz Orecchiette or other small pasta
- 2 Cups Shredded Rotisserie or Roasted Chicken**
For the Parmesan Toast
- 2 Tsp Olive Oil
- 6 Slices Whole Grain Bread
- 6 Tbsp Shredded Parmesan
* If you’re working with a leftover whole chicken, you can make your own stock by placing the carcass of the bird in a large stock pot and covering with water. Add an onion, 3-4 carrots, 3-4 celery stalks, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf then simmer for an hour.
** Use leftover rotisserie or roasted chicken or bake 3 chicken breasts in the oven at 425 for about 25 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 160.
Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. To the olive oil, add the onion, carrots, and celery and allow the vegetables to sweat and cook down. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, sage, thyme, oregano, thyme sprig, and bay leaf. Add the stock and turn the heat to high. Once the stock comes to a boil, add the pasta and allow to cook for 10-11 minutes until al dente. Turn down the heat and add the chicken.
Meanwhile, turn the oven on broil and brush the bread with the olive oil. Sprinkle each piece with parmesan and season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Lay the bread on a sheet pan and place in the oven until the cheese begins to melt and remove from the oven.
Once the chicken has warmed through, you’re ready to serve along with the parmesan toast.