Healthy Harvest Chicken Soup.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.


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Healthy Harvest Chicken Soup

Yield: serves 4-6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1.25 hours

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

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?