Jennifer Tyler Lee, Bay Area mom and author of The 52 New Foods Challenge, shared with us one of her favorite healthy lunch ideas: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. She tells us, “My kids love a hot lunch, and this recipe is an easy way for me to send a cozy meal that I know they’ll enjoy.” Her pro tip? When packing soup, only fill the thermos part way to the top with liquid to avoid spills.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves 6

Ingredients for homemade chicken noodle soup:

1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup onions, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry pasta (macaroni or rotini work best)


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together 3 tablespoons of olive oil, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Toss the chicken in the mixture until well coated. Spread out on the lined baking sheet as flat as possible and roast 23-25 minutes, until cooked through. When done, remove from the oven and let rest for 2 minutes. Then chop into 1-inch pieces and set aside. Reserve any cooking juices.

Tip: If you’re in a pinch, use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and skip to Step 3. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and then the onions and cook gently for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots and celery and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until the vegetables begin to soften.

4. Add the broth, 1 cup water, and the bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 8 minutes, or until the pasta is almost cooked.

5. Add the chicken to the pot and simmer for 2 minutes more.

6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Reprinted from THE 52 NEW FOODS CHALLENGE: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 recipes. Reprinted by arrangement with Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2014 by Jennifer Tyler Lee.

Featured image: iStock 

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