November 21, 2013

Spicy Cajun Chicken Noodle Soup

The other day I was craving soup, but I wasn't in the mood to go the completely homemade route (which includes cooking a whole chicken in the crock pot over night, reserving the broth, etc ...)  so when I found this recipe on a blog I like to read I made sure to pick up the ingredients next time I was at the store.  The recipe came together in no time and was pretty simple for a week night.  To make the prep even faster I used a rotisserie chicken and shredded it a couple days before, put the chicken in a container and froze it until I was ready to use it.  I also used the spicy jalapeño chicken sausage from Trader Joe's (TJs chicken sausage is fast becoming my favorite).
Clean & Healthy Spicy Cajun Chicken Noodle Soup
(Adapted from Taylor Made)
 1 rotisserie chicken (fully cooked & shredded)
8 - 10 oz pasta (of your choice)
 6 oz. spicy chicken sausage (I used Trader Joe's)
1 white onion, chopped in half
 4 - 5 cloves garlic, chopped in half
3 - 4 bay leaves
 4 large carrots, peeled
 4 stalks celery
 12 cups (3 cartons) organic/free range, low sodium chicken broth
 1/4 - 1/2 TSP cayenne (depending on your desired level of spice)
 1/2 TSP paprika
 1/2 TSP salt
 1/2 TSP garlic powder
 1/2 TSP dried thyme
 1/2 TSP pepper
 1 TBSP olive oil

 Remove all the meat from the rotisserie chicken and set aside (you can even do this days before and freeze) ~ using a large stock pot or Dutch oven bring the 12 cups of chicken broth to a boil ~ add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, celery and one of the carrots ~ return to a boil and then cover and allow to simmer for about an hour (I didn't have that much time so I let the whole thing boil (covered) for about 30 minutes) ~ once time has elapsed remove the veggies and bay leaves and discard them (there flavors will remain which will make the broth taste even better) ~ once all the veggies have been removed and only the broth remains turn on low heat ~ next slice the remaining carrots and celery and slice the sausage ~ heat a sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil then add the veggies/sausage and spices (cayenne, salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic powder) and cook/sauté the sausage and veggies (you can also cook the sausage separately if you like) ~ once they are cooked add the carrots/celery/sausage to the broth ~ added the shredded chicken and bring to a boil ~ once boiling add the pasta and cook until al dente ~ serve immediately and enjoy!
(Note - if the broth is not as flavorful as you would like it to be, add a couple chicken bouillon cubes.)
This soup was REALLY good - we both enjoyed it immensely, however since I cooked the pasta in the broth (instead of cooking the pasta separately and adding it to the broth later) the noodles continued to expand and any leftovers turned into more of a casserole than a soup.  The soup also definitely had a kick to it so it you like spice, it'll be right up your alley! 

Almost finished!
Ready to eat!

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