Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cream Cheese Chicken Soup

I spaced dinner the other night and needed something quick and cheap at the last minute. This soup met all my criteria and even though I didn't have carrots (who doesn't have carrots?!), I still pulled it off and it was delish. (Don't let the horrific pictures fool you... food pictures with flash are awful! Eventhough I had this soup ready at 5:30, it was still pitch black outside...) Even Jared commented on how much he liked it... you KNOW that's a big deal. He even ate the leftovers the next day. The cream cheese gave it a fabulous tang and you could make it healthier by using Neuchtafel cheese instead of fatty regular cream cheese. I really liked that this didn't taste like your typical cream soup, but was still extremely creamy and rich. This is going into my "staples" file. I found the recipe here (quickly becoming one of my new favorite sites...)
A couple of notes: Like I said, I didn't have any carrots, so I used red peppers instead and thought they were great. I also think celery, mushrooms, and peas would be good in this soup. Feel free to add whatever veggies you have on hand.

I also didn't have a ton of chicken on hand, so I upped the potatoes and veggies to make my soup go farther. I just added a bit more broth to completely cover them.

I threw my chicken breasts into the oven right before I started my soup. They ended up being done at almost the exact same time the veggies were tender. It made meal prep easy and quick.

Finally, the recipe calls for softened cream cheese. I find that no matter how "soft" my cream cheese is, when I add it to a sauce or soup, it gets slightly lumpy and doesn't look very appetizing. I almost always put the cream cheese in the microwave for 30 or so seconds, and stir it until it's smooth before I add it to a sauce or soup. That way it doesn't go lumpy and looks more appetizing.

1 lb. chicken, cooked and diced (I used 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
3 cups chicken broth (either canned or use bouillon or chicken base--I used water with chicken base)
1 onion, finely diced
1-2 T butter
2 handfuls baby carrots (4-5 regular carrots) (think about 2 cups chopped vegetables)
4-5 potatoes, diced
1 cup milk
4 Tablespoons flour
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cayenne (I like my soup with a teensy kick... this is optional)

1. Saute onion in butter. Add 3 cups chicken broth, carrots or other vegetables, and potatoes. Add more broth to completely cover vegetables if necessary. Bring to a boil, then simmer until veggies are tender.

2. Mix the flour with the cold milk. Once veggies are tender (about 10 minutes), add milk mixture to pot of veggies, stirring well.

3. Add cream cheese to soup, little pieces at a time and stir until melted. Add cooked chicken and heat through. Season well with salt and pepper and cayenne, if desired.

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