Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup - A THM Fuel Pull

I'm excited to bring a new series to our blog. On the fourth Tuesday of each month we will be sharing a favorite recipe. On today's menu is homemade slow cooker chicken noodle soup. Mmmm! It's a favorite at our house and so very good for you; it's packed with protein and lots of veggies.

I'm not the world's best cook. I don't even particularly like to cook. I'm all about convenience and simplicity. I'm a busy mom. Aren't we all? But just because I'm busy doesn't mean I can't feed delicious and nutritious foods to my large family of 8. This recipe is simple and quick to make. It's a staple in our house.

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Here is what you will need to make a large batch of soup that feeds 8+ people. If you have less to feed, by all means, cut this recipe down.

• 2-3 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped carrots
1 large onion chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried thyme 
• 2-4 bay leaves 
• 1 tsp ground black pepper 
• 4 tsp salt (or to taste)
12 cups chicken stock  
• dried pasta of your choice (I use low carb Dreamfields)
• a large slow cooker 

1.  Rinse the chicken breasts. Place them in the bottom of the slow cooker. If your chicken breasts are frozen, let them first thaw before rinsing and using. This will keep your soup broth clear.

I normally use Zaycon chicken. I adore Zaycon chicken and the price is very hard to beat. Unfortunately, we ran out. Our next pick up date is March 11th and it can't get here fast enough. I have 120 lbs of boneless skinless breasts ordered this time around, so hopefully we won't run out early again. 

If you don't know about Zaycon click through the name and check them out. They offer amazing meats at awesome prices. For example, boneless skinless chicken breasts are only $1.69/lb. Super lean 93/7 ground beef is only $3.99/lb. We order all of our chicken, ground beef, sausage, ham, and now even shrimp through Zaycon

2. Clean and chop the celery. Add 2 cups to the slow cooker.
3. Clean and chop the carrots. Add 2 cups to the slow cooker. I cheat and buy the matchstick carrots at the store.  Remember, I'm all about simplicity and speed in the kitchen.

4. Dice a large onion and add it to the slow cooker.

5. Clean and mince 4 cloves of garlic. Again, I go for convenience and buy the already minced garlic at the store. If you do also, add 2 tablespoons of minced garlic.

6. Add 1 teaspoon of dried thyme.

7. Throw two or more whole bay leaves on top.

8Add fresh ground black pepper. I just add it by sight, but you can measure it if you desire. I add about 1 teaspoon.

9. Add about 4 teaspoons of salt.

10. Poor in 12 cups of chicken stock. I use stock instead of broth because it has more protein. You can also use homemade stock, which is even better. But again, this busy mom takes shortcuts. You will notice in the first picture above that I show 4 containers of chicken stock. I sometimes will add some from a fourth container just to fill up my slow cooker, but not always. You only really need 12 cups, or three containers.

11. Stir it all together, cover, and set the slow cooker to low, and let it cook for about 8 hours.

12. Once your onions are translucent and you know your chicken is fully cooked, pull the chicken and bay leaves out. Throw the bay leaves away and let your chicken cool for a few minutes. 

13. While you are letting the chicken cool, put on a large pot of water to boil and cook your pasta according to the package directions. I use Dreamfields Rotini pasta. It's a low carb alternative pasta that tastes just like regular pasta. If you are doing the THM plan, using Dreamfields makes this meal a Fuel Pull.*

14. Shred the chicken and add it back to the slow cooker, letting warm back through.

15. Drain and rinse your pasta. Place some pasta in the bottom of your bowl and top with the soup. Salt and pepper to taste

 A perfect high protein meal full of veggies for this hungry girl after basketball practice.

*A Side Note: Our family recently (25 weeks ago to be exact) committed to eating a specific way called THM (Trim Healthy Mama). Three of us needed to lose weight and the THM lifestyle has been life changing for us. Together the three of us have lost well over 100 lbs. 

This recipe is an old recipe that we ate before THM. But, like many recipes, I made one simple little tweak and it became THM compliant. I simply switched out regular pasta for Dreamfields pasta.

Dreamfields has gotten a lot of bad press in the past year or so. Dreamfields originally claimed that their pasta had only 5 net digestible carbs. They were sued and forced to change their packaging. But as you might know, just because someone is sued and settles, or even loses a case, doesn't necessarily mean they were wrong.

I'm no expert, but I am diabetic, and I've done my own little experiments. Twice. Both times I ate a serving of Dreamfields pasta with a my meal. I then checked my blood sugar every hour for the next 8-10 hours. For my second experiment I ate the pasta in the evening. I don't usually do well with carbs late in the day. I set my alarm every hour and continued to check my blood sugars throughout the night. I saw no spikes at all from the Dreamfields. So for me, Dreamfields is a good option for a low carb pasta. If you are thinking about using Dreamfields and are diabetic or insulin resistant, I encourage you to do your own test and see how your body handles the pasta.

If you would like more information on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, please check out the book. There is also have an awesome cookbook with more than 350 recipes.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this recipe. 

Happy Cooking!
Danielle Storm