I have not been at this food blog thing long, but I already adore the Pioneer Woman. Her pictures are gorgeous and her Food Network show has been on for a few weeks now. When I saw this recipe on her site I knew I had to make it and waited all weekend until I had a chance. I make a lot of soup on the weekend and then take it for lunch all week. It works for me. However, when I sat down and really went over the recipe, I realized I needed to lighten it up a bit for my tastes. Matt and I have been working somewhat hard to watch what we eat and to maintain healthy weights.
When Matt tasted this soup he said “Ok, I guess you can like the Pioneer Woman a little longer, as long as you keep making this soup!” I learned a lot that evening about what Matt thought about my Food Network watching habits… We had our soup with a toasted roll, but crusty bread or a salad would also be nice. I stored the leftover pasta separate from the leftover soup. That way, when you reheat the pasta and soup together, the pasta is not overcooked.
I had a couple ideas to further lighten the soup up next time I make it (and there will be a next time) where I don’t think it would compromise the flavor or texture. I might use a lighter version of heavy cream or a smaller amount to still get a creamy texture, and I think you could cut back a bit on the pasta if you are watching your carbs. I would use 1/3 to 1/4 lb of pasta instead of ½ lb next time; especially if you use a short cut pasta you will still feel like you are getting a lot of pasta!
Lightened Up Italian Chicken Soup (Adapted from the Pioneer Woman)
Note: I made the pasta in a separate pot and stored it separate until ready to eat to avoid soggy pasta with leftovers.
- ½ lb small shaped pasta
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper small dice
- ½ cup diced celery
- ½ cup carrot diced
- ½ cup corn kernels (you could use frozen)
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp dried oregano (yes tablespoonfuls, this is NOT a typo)
- 1 cup heavy cream (here I would also consider the milk we usually drink, but I had some heavy cream on hand)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
Place chicken in the bottom of a dutch oven or heavy soup pot and add chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and cover and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes turn off the heat and leave the top on for 30 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, boil some water and cook pasta according to the directions. When done cooking, drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from becoming soggy. Set aside until later.
While the chicken and pasta were cooking, I chopped all the vegetables. Once the Pasta was done I used that pot, I added the olive oil over med-med high heat and put all the veggies except the corn since it was already cooked. Cook the veggies for 10-20 minutes until softened to your liking. Add the corn and oregano during the last couple minutes.
Once the chicken is done cooking remove it from the stock and cut into bite sized pieces. Add the diced chicken, veggie mixture, tomatoes with their liquid, and cream to the chicken stock in the dutch oven. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn the stove back on and heat/stir to combine flavors.
I put the pasta into the bottom of the bowl and spooned the soup over the pasta, sprinkled the Parmesan cheese over the soup, and enjoyed!