This is what I make when I’m fresh out of snacks.

Healthy Harvest Chicken Soup I

I know, it’s quite odd that somehow the lack thereof snacks could equal soup, but because I write a blog on the internet that consists of many of the exact same pictures taken from different angles on a wrinkly placemat… this somehow seems perfectly normal.

Healthy Harvest Chicken Soup I

All I really wanted to eat were rice krispie treats. Actually, that’s all I sort of want to eat right now. They sound so freaking good. Can we just collectively agree that they are one of the best snacks on the planet? And they are most definitely a snack and NOT a dessert because they are made with cereal. Cereal that even says it has whole grains or something on the box so that makes it like, even ten times better. And if you’re using brown rice krispies, well ha! You’re basically the picture of health. AND there’s no chocolate, so again – not dessert. Unless you’re dipping your rice krispie treats in chocolate in which case I’m dying to know – why aren’t you hanging out with me right now? Because I’m pretty sure we are soul mates.

Want to know a little (totally unrelated to this post) secret? When I make rice krispie treats, I don’t even bother putting them in a pan. They are one of my husband’s favorite things in the world and spending the time to press them into a dish just seems… wasteful. So in our excessive and millennial gluttony, we often eat the concoction straight from the pot. So much easier.

But anyway.

Healthy Harvest Chicken Soup I

This past weekend I wanted snacks. All snacks all the time.

That’s actually how I prefer to eat on weekends… lots of snacks here and there with maybe a big Sunday meal thrown in. Cheese and crackers and fruit and some pieces of chocolate and maybe some avocado toast and a little smoothie and other homemade bites and then wine. And I was fresh out of snackage (okay I had a ton of cheese but no real bread or crackers, sad day) but had things to make soup – awkwardly. Really I was also just craaaaaving another way to make something with all of the chicken I found myself with (easy to tell that someone isn’t traveling) and somehow combine it with the butternut squash I started hoarding two weeks ago. It’s true. I’ve bought like six already. Help.

Healthy Harvest Chicken Soup I

And what I also did, because let’s be honest – there are a LOT of vegetables in this soup for me – is brown some butter and stir it in at the end. Ugh! The flavor. So, so good. I stole that straight from the green lentil soup recipe I’ve been living on for the last few weeks. Here, the combination of the squash and sweet potatoes and a little sprinkle of nutmeg is just so… warming. And the brown butter… psssh. Definitely autumn in a bowl. So perfect for fall and for this chilly weather we’ve been having. Which is totally awesome but I’m afraid to get my hopes up too high because I’m sure in two weeks it will be about 85 degrees and I’ll have a full blown meltdown.

I’ll make sure to tell you all about it when I do. You can count on me.

Healthy Harvest Chicken Soup I


Healthy Harvest Chicken Soup

Yield: serves 4-6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1.25 hours


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cups 1/2-inch cubed butternut squash
1 cup 1/2-inch cubed sweet potato
1 bunch of kale, torn from stems (about 4-5 cups)
64 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
extra shaved parm for topping


To clean leeks: chop off ends and peel any rough layers from the outside. Slice and place in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with water and using your hands, continually toss leeks to loosen any dirt. Do this for about 5 minutes. Remove and place on a towel to dry.

Toss chopped chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper, paprika and nutmeg. Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add in chicken in one layer and cook until golden brown on each side - about 2-3 minutes per side. Once finished, remove with a large slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Reduce heat to low, adding remaining olive oil and toss in leeks with remaining salt and pepper. Stir to coat, then let cook for 5-6 minutes until soft.

Add in garlic and stir, cooking for 1 minute, then toss in carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, torn kale and cooked chicken. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes and squash are soft but nut mushy.

While the soup is cooking, heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly. Stir until brown bits appear on the bottom and then immediately remove from heat, stirring for another 30 seconds or so.

Before serving soup, add in grated parmesan cheese and stir well. It is your choice if you'd like to stir in all of the brown butter at once or drop a few teaspoons in each bowl as it is served. I like to stir it in all at once - such great flavor. Top with a few extra shavings of parmesan.

Healthy Harvest Chicken Soup I

P.S. In other news, I just watched Justin Bieber perform on Dancing with the Stars and it made me feel dirty and old. What is going on?

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78 Responses to “Healthy Harvest Chicken Soup.”

  1. #
    Rachel Cooks — September 26, 2012 @ 7:01 am

    This looks so good! Love the leeks, sweet potatoes and squash. And really love the photo of the leeks! Beautiful!


  2. #
    Simply Life — September 26, 2012 @ 7:13 am

    oh I love that this soup has squash in it – looks so good!


  3. #
    Robyn | add a pinch — September 26, 2012 @ 7:14 am

    Looks so comforting and delicious, Jessica!


  4. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — September 26, 2012 @ 7:15 am

    This soup is gorgeous and perfect for the fall! I love everything about it!!


  5. #
    Kim in MD — September 26, 2012 @ 7:20 am

    YUM! I love the name of this soup! It’s raining here in MD today, and boy… what I wouldn’t give for a bowl of this soup!


  6. #
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — September 26, 2012 @ 7:27 am

    This soup is perfect for Fall! And Rice Krispie Treats? Only the best SNACK ever. Totally agree with you and your hubs on that one.


  7. #
    Stephanie — September 26, 2012 @ 7:29 am

    ahhh i love the picture of the steaming bowl of chicken!! the little vortex near the top is just perfect.

    sorry, i’m a nerd.

    you’re amazing.

    can we be friends?


    • Jessica — September 26th, 2012 @ 9:49 am



  8. #
    j3nn — September 26, 2012 @ 7:32 am

    I love seeing the shaved parm on this. I was led to believe that my family was the only bunch crazy enough to put it on chicken soup, but let’s face it: Parmesan cheese enhances everything!


  9. #
    Sara — September 26, 2012 @ 7:54 am

    You are my Rice Krispie Treats soul mate. I do the exact same thing. AND, when my mom makes them, after placing them in the pan, she divides the entire pan into three sections. One for me, mom, and dad. That’s a serving size for you. The entire pan last … eh.. maybe 20 minutes.


  10. #
    Aggie — September 26, 2012 @ 7:59 am

    I love the sweet potato & butternut in this soup!! A bowl of goodness.


  11. #
    Anele @ Success Along the Weigh — September 26, 2012 @ 7:59 am

    I am so making this. Soup season is here! YAY!


  12. #
    Villy @ For the love of Feeding — September 26, 2012 @ 8:00 am

    I love that it has enough cheese to hide the top view :)


  13. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — September 26, 2012 @ 8:06 am

    MMmmmm the butternut squash and chicken combo is making me crave this soup HARD right now! It’s getting chilly here and even though I can’t stand that, I DO love making soups and stews in the fall… especially when butternut squash is involved!


  14. #
    Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking — September 26, 2012 @ 8:24 am

    The brown butter addition!!! I die! PS I have been craving a rice Krispy treat bar except made out of fruit loops. Weird right?


    • Jessica — September 26th, 2012 @ 9:32 am



  15. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — September 26, 2012 @ 8:25 am

    I could not stop laughing at the “same picture from different angles” part. It is so true. I just moved in with a new roommate, and I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m insane when I start styling my food and snapping pictures.


  16. #
    Diane, A Broad — September 26, 2012 @ 8:25 am

    That is exactly how I like to eat — nibbles here and there. People at work used to make fun of me because I always had a plate of a random assortment of: fruit, crackers, cheese, charcuterie.


  17. #
    jessicaA — September 26, 2012 @ 9:06 am

    ooo I watched DWTS too….I totally get the dirty old feeling but I was kind of ok with it…? What is wrong with me!? I’m sure it has something to do with my obsessive nostalgia around the late 90s boy band craze…


  18. #
    Joelle (on a pink typewriter) — September 26, 2012 @ 9:17 am

    Looks delicious as always! Saving this one!


  19. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — September 26, 2012 @ 9:20 am

    ugh, i cannot wait to make soup – it’s my life!


  20. #
    Anne Weber-Falk — September 26, 2012 @ 9:36 am

    Ohhh, look at that steam curl over the bowl of chicken. Yum. I’m making this soup for Saturday dinner.

    I couldn’t help but wonder how the Biebs can walk about in those funky pants he wears. Kinda reminds me of a woman trying to run while wearing a pencil skirt. What evs


    • Jessica — September 26th, 2012 @ 9:48 am

      I just feel dirty seeing him in those pants to begin with because he’s like 5 years old.


  21. #
    Maria — September 26, 2012 @ 9:38 am

    Yay for soup season!


  22. #
    Emily — September 26, 2012 @ 10:26 am

    I mix mini chocolate chips into my Rice Krispy treats. Yum! This soup looks yummy too :)


  23. #
    Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen — September 26, 2012 @ 10:42 am

    Talking about soup is like music to my ears. I’m SO pumped for soup weather. And it’s sorta the only way I eat vegetables too…..

    Also, I consider myself to be a big Rice Krispie aficionado and you may want to consider making them with brown butter if you haven’t already. Just sayin’. Seems right up your alley.


  24. #
    Julie — September 26, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    Ok this is fall perfection in a bowl. I picked up almost all these ingredients at the farmer’s market this week so it is a must-make. Cannot wait. :)


  25. #
    Jenna — September 26, 2012 @ 11:03 am

    Perfect for cozy fall nights. Love this


  26. #
    lisa — September 26, 2012 @ 11:12 am

    your photo of the chicken steaming in the bowl is awesome! the steam, the lighting…great job!
    i love your blog, and read it every day! stay just the way you are, because you’re awesome! :)


  27. #
    allie@sweetpotatobites — September 26, 2012 @ 11:16 am

    i love fall soups! and this recipe looks perfect.


  28. #
    Abby@ Totes Delish Blog — September 26, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    I’m going to need this for lunch, do you do delivery?? Ha.

    That crusty bread is calling my name, bakery after work..check.


  29. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 26, 2012 @ 11:43 am

    The soup looks so good and I love the shaved parm slices on top at the end…what a great touch!


  30. #
    Adriana @ FoodCocktail — September 26, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

    I can almost smell it… mmm, and it looks great!


  31. #
    Melanie — September 26, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

    Oh yum … this looks so wonderful! I made Rice Krispie treats last night. And I made the same thing only with Frosted Flakes. Oh my, that’s fun. After sampling, I barely had enough of those left to fill an 8×8 pan!


  32. #
    Lauren — September 26, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

    Wow, this looks like the perfect cold weather day meal. Consider yourself pinned my dear! :)


  33. #
    Katie — September 26, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

    That steaming chicken?! It almost made me wish for cold weather. Okay, it totally did.


  34. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — September 26, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

    Love soup season! I wish my hubby felt the same way :) This looks amazing – and glad I’m not the only one who was eaten rice krispie treats right out of the pot. haha!


  35. #
    Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen — September 26, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

    This looks delicious! I’m so excited that it’s soup season finally!


  36. #
    Ashley@BakerbyNature — September 26, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

    I want a bowl! The man and I are both down with the sniffles and coughs and all those other gross symptoms a cold brings on, so this is the snack I’m craving right now!


  37. #
    Byrdie — September 26, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

    I have not had a chance to read your comentary, however you really out did yourself on the photography work on this. IMPRESIVE!

    I have only followed your blog for a short while now, but in that time I feel like your technique is always improving!



    • Jessica — September 26th, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

      Thank you!


  38. #
    Colette @ JFF! — September 26, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

    Leeks are gorgeous. Lovely pic w the steam.


  39. #
    Katriel — September 26, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

    My mom brought me a bowl of homemade minestrone today, cause even though i’m moved out and married now, after a rough day at work, my soul needs some soup!! I’ve been saving as many of your soup recipes as possible and am super excited to try this one. You’re awesome!


  40. #
    Katie @ Blonde Ambition — September 26, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

    Healthy? Check. Fresh ingredients? Check. BROWN BUTTER??? Check.

    I am super excited to make this and to use the leftover parmesan rind in my freezer to take it to flavor town. So. Excited.


  41. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — September 26, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

    good lord jessica… your pictures are BEAUTIFUL here! And I feel like it’s hard to make chicken noodle soup look beautiful but you managed to do it. I want to dive right in! It’s been chilly recently in baltimore and this is obviously the remedy I need. I love the shaved parm topping!


    • Jessica — September 26th, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

      So kind! Thank you.


  42. #
    master chef — September 26, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

    WOW, looks amazing :)


  43. #
    Emily @ Life on Food — September 26, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

    Love soup! I would almost agree to be sick to steal some of this away.


  44. #
    Jolene ( — September 26, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

    Soup is an awesome snack!


  45. #
    Kiran @ — September 26, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

    Oh wow, that soup looks absolutely scrumptious :)


  46. #
    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — September 27, 2012 @ 12:50 am

    Shaved parm–is there anything better in the world? Especially when it tops the most ridiculous bowl of delicious soup ever known to man? Methinks not. Um, loooove that brown butter and nutmeg is in this soup. Totally necessary. And I also think it’s necessary to ixnay that baking dish and eat the Rice Krispy guts right outta the pot. It’s THE BEST PART. Totally, unrelentingly gooey. Why waste a dish?


  47. #
    Sophie — September 27, 2012 @ 6:27 am

    I’m with Hayley, there is little better than shaved parm! This recipe is exciting me immensely. Going to give this a go asap :-) Thank you!


  48. #
    Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings — September 27, 2012 @ 8:15 am

    The pictures are gorgeous, and your soup makes me want to stay home sick and have someone make me this :)


  49. #
    Alyssa — September 27, 2012 @ 9:27 am

    That soup looks unreal! I love chicken soup this time of year and I always make it from scratch. This is going in my recipe book!


  50. #
    Shaunna@mamas13minutemile — September 27, 2012 @ 9:50 am

    This snack looks incredible and loving The Beibs is totally normal. I am 30 and have a little crush :)



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