January 07, 2020



Sautéing the chicken first makes this chicken and rice soup extra flavorful. Packed with vegetables, it's a nutritious and hearty chicken soup that I can eat year long.

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Happy New Year!! I hope you had a great start to 2020! I'll have to get used to seeing and writing that number. It seems so futuristic, don't you think?

My first blog recipe of the year is this Chicken Vegetable and Rice Soup. When there is a need for a simple, healthy, and comforting meal, chicken soup always satisfies. 

This particular recipe came to me one day by happenstance. There was a container of leftover sautéed chicken pieces that I did not want to waste. As I was craving chicken soup that day, I decided to incorporate the chicken into the soup. After sampling the first spoonful, I knew I had a winner! The flavor of the preseasoned, pan-seared chicken permeated my mouth and was a standout. It was so flavorful and so good!!

For optimal flavor and searing, don't crowd the chicken while sautéing. Doing so will cause too much liquid to release, which would hinder a good sear and browning. Sauté the chicken in a realllly  large pan or in two batches for best results. 

Looking at these pictures, it is not evident that the chicken pieces were pan-seared. I got impatient, overloaded the pan and did not obtain great caramelization. This blog sometimes seems to be as much about what not to do as it is about what to do ;) So, do as I say and not as I do. Avoid overcrowding the chicken! Don't get me wrong, the soup was delicious. However, take my word for it, better caramelization would have bumped up the flavor even more!

After the photoshoot for this post, I sent my daughter home with some of the soup. Although she couldn't eat it since she turned vegetarian on me (sigh), her boyfriend thoroughly enjoyed it. He loved how hearty and satisfying it was and appreciated the extra veggies.

Who doesn't love a recipe that allows the use of leftovers? This one does just that. I find this soup is most flavorful using leftover sautéd chicken. It has had time to absorb the seasoning and seal in the flavor. The next time you pan-sear chicken for a recipe, make extra to use for chicken soup. But, if precooked chicken is not available, freshly sautéed chicken makes a huge difference in intensifying the flavor of the soup.

I love the versatility of this soup. The vegetables can easily be swapped out. Feel free to use whatever combination of vegetables you have on hand. It's great for emptying out the vegetable bin. Adjust cooking times according to the firmness or softness of the veggies. In a pinch, frozen vegetables are fine. I prefer fresh.

See you back here next time!!

Soups to keep you warm and cozy:



1 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green beans
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup corn kernels
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3/4 rounded teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 rounded teaspoon black pepper, divided
3/4 rounded teaspoon onion powder, divided
3/4 rounded teaspoon garlic powder, divided
1 heaping teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 1/2 teaspoons sodium free chicken bouillon 
7 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup uncooked rice
olive or canola oil for sautéing 


Cut chicken into 1/2-inch bite size pieces. Season with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of a preheated large saucepan on medium high heat. Add chicken in a single layer. Don't over crowd. Cook in two batches if necessary. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to evenly brown. Reduce heat slightly if chicken chars while cooking.

Transfer chicken to a plate. Add enough oil to cover the bottom pan. Repeat cooking the remaining chicken, if any. Transfer to a plate. Set aside

Return pan to stovetop and reduce heat to medium. Add carrots. Cover and cook 4 minutes, stirring a couple times. Add celery, green beans, and onions. Cover and cook 2 minutes. Add garlic, spices and Italian seasoning. Cover and cook 2 minutes. 

Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in rice. Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes or until rice is tender. Adjust seasoning to taste. 

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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Healthy Turkey Meatball
and Kale Soup

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  1. What a perfect comfort food to start the new year with. And love the tip that crowding the chicken impairs browning. Logical, but I'd never thought of it.

  2. Thank you Inger. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a great start to the new year! I'm a repeat offender of overcrowding and not getting the result I want :)

  3. Give me allll the soup, Thao!! It has been SO cold here. We could eat this every day! Full of hearty goodness! I hope you are having a wonderful start to your 2020 :)

    1. I would love make you a batch, Katherine!! I hope it warms up for you! It was crazy warm here on Sunday. We had reading of 68°F! On Monday, it was in the low 30's and we had some flurries. Go figure! :)