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Cozy Chicken Soup

It looks like the first major snow storm of the winter is going to hit the east coast over the next few days. In preparation for a cozy weekend inside, I’ve decided to cook (and share) my Cure-all Chicken Soup.

I make this soup all winter long…at the slightest cough or sniffle my family knows there will be a steady diet of mom’s chicken soup and orange juice.

Years ago I started with Ina’s Chicken Noodle Soup recipe and over time I’ve made changes because I needed a higher caloric, nutrient-rich version for my two very active girls. With school, sports, gymnastics, friends – they literally don’t stop moving from morning to bedtime. (Side note – gymnastics is a sport but my girls are so dedicated that it warrants it’s own call out.)

Confession: I don’t always use Ina’s chicken stock recipe. With that said, I ONLY use Trader Joe’s Chicken Broth. I’ve tried all the others and Trader Joe’s is the best store-bought option.

I always add cubes of Parmesan cheese to the soup as it simmers. The flavor isn’t really detectable but it adds a warmth that I love and it just makes the soup taste better! 

Instead of noodles, I make brown rice on the side and add the rice to each bowl as I serve. This allows me to save the soup for another day or freeze leftovers. Once the soup is cool, I store the leftovers in plastic containers to either freeze or refrigerate. Usually a big pot of soup will last us a couple of days, but I always have some frozen in case a cold sneaks up on us!

I’m always looking for new ways to change up the recipe and up the health factor – I welcome your suggestions and advice!




1 whole (or 2 split) chicken breast – bone in, skin on

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 quarts chicken stock (click here for Ina’s recipe)

2 cup diced celery – approximately 2 stalks

1 cup diced carrots – approximately 3 carrots

4 cups leeks - thinly sliced

3 cups diced butternut squash

5 cups chopped spinach

2 1-inch cubes of Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 cups cooked brown rice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chicken on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. When cool enough to handle, discard the skin, remove meat from the bones, and dice into small pieces.

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot and add celery, carrots, leeks, butternut squash, spinach, and Parmesan cubes. Simmer covered for 1-2 hours (the longer it simmers, the better is tastes). Next add parsley and diced chicken and continue to simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Serve each bowl with a scoop of brown rice and season to taste. I also add a sprinkle of grated Parmesan to each bowl. 

Comments on this post (11)

  • Apr 14, 2016

    Try the Imagine brand of chicken broth. I love it. Can be found at most groceries and WholeFoods.

    — Carol Boos

  • Feb 10, 2016

    Is there a substitute for the cheese? Does it really alter the taste if it’s eliminated?
    Asking because I have a family member who does not eat cheese but loves chicken soup. Thanks!

    — JoAnn

  • Jan 26, 2016

    Sandy D, I realized, after I responded, that you may not have seen the link above where we talk about Trader Joe’s Chicken Broth. If you click on that link, you’ll see that we referenced They tried 5 brands of chicken broth, and came up with a winner. An interesting read and they list their top 5 brands. Cheers!

    — cassandra's Kitchen

  • Jan 24, 2016

    Sandy D, you are right, we are lucky to have a Trader Joe’s near us. Try the recipe with your favorite chicken broth and let us know how it turns out!

    — Cassandra's Kitchen

  • Jan 24, 2016

    Tina, Judy F is absolutely right. If you order 1 set of the 32 oz containers, for example, you will receive 5 32 oz containers. Same thing with the 2 other sizes. Best part is that all sizes use the same lid so you don’t have to go looking for the lid to any of the containers. Enjoy!

    — Cassandra's Kitchen

  • Jan 24, 2016

    Tina… do not have to buy the three sizes. You purchase 5 of whichever size you need. I have been buying these for several years and always bought the quart size. Last time I bought 5 of the 16 oz size. They are great.

    — Judy F

  • Jan 24, 2016

    Chicken soup sounds delicious but to me it sounds more like a veggie chicken soup
    We do not have a Trader Joe’s where we live, the closet we come to a store like that is Wegmans, so if we do not have a TJ or have time to make our own stock, then we have to rely on the chicken stock that we can get. I think when giving these recipes to the general public, I think chefs/cooks need to either list other brands or just say “use a good quality chicken broth”
    I will definitely try this soup but it will be with a store bought organic boxed broth.

    — Sandy D

  • Jan 24, 2016

    Sounds delicious. Will be making this soon. I love all the ingredients you are putting in.

    — Barbara Dixon

  • Jan 24, 2016

    Love your recipe for chicken soup! Tomorrow is Monday and I am going to make it. Love the tip about Trader Joe’s chicken stock….I will get some.

    — Jeanne Cree

  • Jan 24, 2016

    I am definitely going to try your recipe in the next two weeks. It is perfect for my family and I love the brown rice substitution!
    Also, I would love it if I could buy just one size of your clear containers instead of having to purchase the three size assortment. Thank you!!! -Tina Lewis

    — Tina

  • Jan 24, 2016

    Thanks for the recipe. It looks really good. I am going to try it next week. Stay warm and safe!

    — Marcella Snyder

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