So…it’s been a while since I’ve had a new post on the blog. Unfortunately, it’s cold and flu season and our house has been plagued by both. I’ve literally been making gallons of homemade chicken broth in an attempt to get everyone feeling well again. And while my kids are pretty good about sipping broth straight up, I was getting pretty sick of it. There is only so much chicken noodle soup one can take without getting bored! Thankfully, I received some much need inspiration at Panera the other day when I tried their Thai Chicken Broth Bowl. Here is my new and improved Simple Chicken Broth Bowl recipe.
Bone Broth Versus Chicken Stock
I always make my own chicken stock, and technically speaking it’s “bone broth”. That is a term that started gaining popularity recently that I definitely had to look up. What is this magic “bone broth” that is trending all over right now? YOu can watch this quick video about bone broth to help you understand it a little more.
Don’t worry if the name weirds you out, it did at first for me too. I mean, I know most broths are made from bones but just the word ‘bone’ being in there make it a little unappetizing. But what makes “bone broth” different from chicken stock? Turns out it’s all about how long you cook it.
Bone Broth Recipe
Bone broth is cooked for a minimum of 24 hours, often longer, which ensures that the minerals and vitamins from the chicken bones are fully extracted into the broth. This process is helped along by the addition of apple cider vinegar to the cooking water. This is something I definitely never put in my chicken broth when I was making it by hand. In fact, I never cooked my chicken broth for 24 hours either.
Basic chicken broth is usually made just by giving the bones a quick simmer and calling it a day. This is exactly how I have been making chicken broth for years and I’m guessing it is how most people would opt to make a homemade broth or stock. It is just so easy! However, I can definitely see the benefits of cooking the broth for longer and after doing a lot of research, bone broth seems like the way to go!
It may seem like bone broth is more complex than a standard chicken broth but it really is quite easy. I now make mine in the crockpot and it seriously takes less than 5 minutes to prepare. I toss in:
- Meaty Chicken Bones
- Apple cider vinegar
- Some herbs
Then, you just let it go for 24 hours, strain, refrigerate and enjoy endless health benefits when it is done! Not too hard, right?!
Why is Bone Broth Good For You?
Homemade bone broth is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and numerous other trace minerals. Bone broth even contains glucosamine, which can help ease joint pain, and chondroitin which can naturally ease pain and inflammation. Reading about all the benefits of bone broth made me want to make a lot of broth- I wanted all those nutritional benefits! This was a plan I stuck to for sure and now, anytime I make bone broth, I make the biggest recipe my crockpot can handle. I always have some in the freezer for when sickness strikes, which this winter seems to be often!
Bone broth has also been shown to help promote sleep, help with gut health and also support weight loss. Could this stuff get any better? So while it can help you in the short term feel better when you are fighting a cold (thanks to all those vitamins and minerals in the broth), it is also beneficial to eat it on a long term basis.
Easy and Healthy Chicken Vegetable Soup
Now that you are likely sold on the bone broth, back to my inspirational lunch at Panera and the soup I created thanks to their menu. They have this delicious “broth bowl” that is so simple and understated, but incredibly satisfying and hearty at the same time. This recipe is an attempt to reproduce their dish and it really couldn’t be have been easier.
First, throw a few fresh veggies in a bowl then add some shredded rotisserie chicken and some cooked tortellini (cooked rice or quinoa would be equally as delicious). Next, ladle steaming broth flavored with ginger and soy sauce over the top. That’s it!
This recipe couldn’t get any easier, especially when you have bone broth on hand. That is the key to the whole thing! Sure the veggies are great, the chicken is important (in my mind at least, you can totally skip it if you want something more simple!) and the tortellini is filling but the broth is what makes this meal!
Chicken Soup For Kids
Now, I am such a huge fan of letting the kids make their own plates, and this recipe really is great for the kids to do just that. Kids, making a hot soup? Yes! It can be done, with help of course!
When I want my kids to participate in making this simple chicken broth bowl, I put everything on a huge platter in the middle of the table (the veggies, the tortellini or grains, the meats etc) and encourage the kids to add whatever they like to their bowl. All the options are great, so you really can’t go wrong. When the veggie options I lay out are already healthy, they can add as much as they want!
My daughter chose a heaping pile of spinach and chicken. Great!! My son chose the pasta, carrots, spinach, and chicken. Super!! The point is, they each had a hand in making dinner and were pleased that I gave them the freedom to pick what they wanted. It also ensured that they actually ate every last drop of the soup!
Helping with the meal also keeps them entertained and gets them to ask questions too. “Where do mushrooms come from?” or “why is spinach so green?” or “are carrots healthy?” – kids will wonder about the food as they touch it, play with it and eat it. Making this meal is not just about making a dinner but is also a learning experience waiting to happen!
The vegetables I use in this recipe are raw and do retain their crunchy texture, which my family enjoys. If you want softer veggies, simply through them in the boiling broth for a few minutes before you serve. You can also quickly microwave them after your kids have put them in the bowl, keeping the meal interactive but getting the cooked texture you want.
Chicken Soup to Feel Better
As you can see, this soup is super easy and super satisfying. If your house is struggling with winter colds, a great alternative to plain old chicken noodle soup. Just chop up those veggies, get out that bone broth and consider dinner done! Everyone will be eating a healthy meal in no time and one that will help you feel better as you recover from a cold and give you all those lasting benefits of bone broth. I hope you enjoy and stay healthy!
More Simple Soup RecipesPrint
A perfect soup for when you are feeling under the weather or when you just need a warm, delicious soup for your soul.
- 1 quart homemade chicken bone broth (or good quality store bought broth)
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup broccoli pieces
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup shredded cabbage
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/4 cup raw baby spinach
- 1 package (10 to 12 ounces) cooked tortellini, quinoa, or rice
- 1 rotisserie chicken, cut into shredded pieces
- Cook pasta, rice or quinoa according to package directions
- Slice vegetables (relatively small) and arrange on platter.
- Heat broth in saucepan with ginger and soy sauce until boiling. Turn heat off and add lemon juice.
- Add meat, pasta, and veggies to bowl and top with hot broth.
- I didn’t originally include measurements for the veggies or chicken, as I just cut up enough to throw on a huge platter. I’ve updated the ingredients with the measurements. But, have no fear, if you have leftovers, it all makes an amazing salad for lunch the next day! 🙂
- Use coconut aminos rather than soy sauce which have much less sodium, is gluten free and also soy free
- Try different add in’s to this soup such as avocado, hard boiled egg, chopped kale or even sliced bell peppers- feel free to make it your own!
- Keep a few quarts of bone broth in your freezer so you can take it out, heat it up and enjoy this soup within a matter of minutes
- While you can keep this soup in the fridge for up to a week, it is much better when served fresh so that the veggies are at their optimal textures.
- If you are storing the soup, leave the tortellini, rice or quinoa out of the soup. Add the pasta or grains right before you eat it- when stored in the soup, they will soak up all the broth leaving you with just broth flavored pasta!