When it comes to the prep, keep it simple and remember that you’re just trying to have the fresh ingredients on hand for when you or someone in your house needs comfort food.
VEGETABLES – dice and freeze
- Wash and dice carrots. I prefer to peel mine if they’re not organic. Tip: Small pieces make for faster cooking.
- Wash and dice celery.
- Peel the skin off an onion and dice.
- Throw all these ingredients in a Ziploc Freezer bag with either equal ratios or to your preference. I like more carrots than anything else so I include roughly half carrots and half celery/onion. A full quart sized bag work well for 1 pot of soup.
- Don’t like chopping??? Use matchstick carrots or check your grocery store for pre-chopped carrot, celery, onion mixes that are packaged and ready to go in the produce section.
CHICKEN – cook, dice and freeze
I tend to have bone-in chicken which is a lot more labor intensive. Since I know most people cook with boneless cuts like chicken breasts or tenderloins, I’ll share my easiest way to have chicken ready to throw in a pot of soup (or any other dish for that matter).
- Place 2 large chicken breasts in a crockpot and let it go until they’re cooked thoroughly or registering internally at a temp of 165 degrees. 2 is all you’ll need for a single pot of soup but while you’re at it, toss a few extras in the crockpot to make an additional bag of chicken to freeze for another meal-made-easy.
- Place the chicken on a cutting board and dice into cubes. Pulling the chicken instead of cutting makes for a more homemade feel for chicken soup but takes a little longer. I just use two forks to shred it.
- If the chicken is still hot, place in a dish to cool in the refrigerator before putting into a Ziploc Freezer bag. A quart size bag will be about half full in comparison to your full quart bag of veggies.
PANTRY ITEMS TO HAVE ON HAND
- 1 bag of your preferred noodles. I always keep one bag of egg noodles around for this reason.
- Chicken Stock or broth or bullion. Better than Bullion is my favorite but I mix in some homemade stock if I have it.
- Saltine or Soup Crackers – if you’re into accoutrements.
When you’re feeling under the weather or taking care of someone who is, we know that eating nutritiously is important. Having prepped ahead, this feel-good soup is full of nutrition and can be made on short notice or when energy is hard to come by.
- Make 8-12 cups of broth based on your preference for liquid vs. solids in your soup.
- Add the bag of frozen carrots, celery and onion and low-boil 10 minutes.
- Add the bag of frozen chicken pieces and return to boil.
- Add your pasta and boil based on package directions. You can boil the pasta separately if you prefer and add it to the soup. I like the way the starch thickens the broth a little when the pasta is cooked right in the soup.
- VOILA – homemade chicken soup in under thirty minutes.
THE ULTIMATE EASY SOUP ASSEMBLY
- Boil the freezer veggies and chicken in a small amount of water until carrots are tender.
- Cook Lipton’s Noodle Soup or preferred dry soup mix to package directions (minus about half the water if possible).
- Using a slotted spoon, add the veggies/chicken to the noodle soup and then enough of the leftover boiling water to reach your preferred soup consistency.
Want to discover how freezer meal planning can help you eat healthy on a consistent basis? Schedule a free consultation or call 651-895-0774.
Addie Kelzer is a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. She believes that by making fitness and good food practical, her clients will hold the power to positively change their health and the health of those closest to them.