This pot of goodness can be made ahead, doubled and frozen, or prepared in a crock pot. Add different ingredients to fit your family’s tastes or dietary requirements. It’s a great way to use up leftover pasta, rice, or veggies too.
1/2-1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
1 small yellow or white onion, chopped
3-4 ribs celery, sliced
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced, or a big handful of baby carrots, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
2 teaspoons dried thyme (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional)
3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1/2 lb. small pasta or your favorite noodle, or 1/2 cup of quick-cooking rice
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add all vegetables and spices except garlic and cook until softened, stirring often, about 8-10 minutes. If using garlic, add at the last 2 minutes of cooking, as it burns quickly. Adjust heat and time so that vegetables cook to translucent but never brown.
Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add chicken breasts, cover, and reduce heat to low. Poach the chicken until cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Remove chicken and chop or shred, then season liberally with salt and pepper. At this point, you can continue on with the recipe or stop and finish later.
When you are ready to serve the meal, return the broth to a boil, add noodles, and cook according to the time on the package. Add chicken back in. If a lot of broth was lost in cooking the noodles, add as much water as you need to produce your desired broth ratio. Liberally salt according to taste (several tablespoons may be needed) and pepper.
Serve with a warm baguette and butter or cheese toast.