Another busy time of year is here again. That hectic time leading up to the holidays that can overwhelm even the most organized, Zen parent. School parties, work parties, family parties. Shopping, decorating, wrapping. Helping the less fortunate by participating in clothing, gift, or food drives. All of this, on top of the regular daily responsibilities of being a parent and an adult. About now, I find myself craving ease in the kitchen, as well as something comforting, but healthy. I have a love affair with my crockpot, as do so many busy parents. This baby allows me to make dinner in the morning when I’m cozy in my pajamas, and feed my family at night when I’m frazzled and tired from a busy day.
Chicken and Rice Soup
Chicken and Rice ranks among my favorite soups. My family loves it, it tastes pure and simple, and it’s super-duper easy to make. In fact, it offers yet another opportunity for kids to help with chopping and measuring. This recipe from crockpot goddess Stephanie O’Dea is an oldie but a goodie, and customizable as your own. She encourages any vegetable combination that tickles your fancy. I typically stick to the very traditional chicken soup veggies (carrots and celery) but this time I also had three zucchinis needing to be used, so in they went. My kids aren’t zucchini fans (unless it’s inside of bread) so they ate around it, but gobbled up the rest. It made enough for dinner and two days of lunches, which rocked!
I make a few changes to the recipe. I skip pureeing the vegetables, leaving them in chunks since we enjoy them as they are. I cook the rice separately, scoop it into individual bowls before serving, and store leftovers separately, so that the rice doesn’t get mushy. Rather than cooked chicken, I put in two raw chicken breasts (often frozen) and shred them before serving. After 8-10 hours of cooking, the chicken is perfectly tender and shreds easily, as I find that precooked chicken gets rubbery.
No matter how you make this simple soup, I can almost promise your family will enjoy it. Naturally gluten-free, filled with your favorite veggies, warm and relaxing, delicious… the list goes on and on! Give it a go, share your results with our readers, below, and keep warm. Chicken and rice soup is perfect for a chilly Fall day. Before you know it, you’ll be baking holiday cookies!