... when everyone is fighting the sniffles and wants to hold a hot bowl of something in front of their face, you have to go with chicken soup.
Here's the 45 minute version, from start to finish, which includes 25 minutes of simmer time where you can work on something else. I like this one because you put the chicken breasts in whole, so you don't have to worry about cross-contamination with your knives or cutting boards. Just one less thing to worry about, and one step closer to sitting down to eat.
We also like the frozen egg noodles, which are a bit gummier than dried noodles and soak up the chicken flavor.
4-5 cups of chicken stock
1 medium onion (yellow or sweet)
3 celery ribs, sliced down the middle and then cut medium-fine
3 carrots or one bag of baby carrots, cut into 1/4 inch chunks or medium-fine slices
1 bay leaf if you have it
One package chicken breasts, 3-4 breasts, 1.5-2.5 pounds or so
2 teaspoons dried sage
1-2 teaspoons salt
.5-1 teaspoon black pepper (both to your taste)
1 pound frozen egg noodles.
2 Tablespoon each butter (slightly softened) and flour. You can get these two out at the beginning, and the butter should be soft enough by the time you need it.
In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, simmer the chicken stock, onion, celery, carrots, and bay leaf for about 5-10 minutes. Add the whole chicken breasts, sage, and salt/pepper. Simmer for 25-30 minutes covered or partially covered. Flip the chicken a couple or three times to make sure it cooks evenly.
Once this is going, cook the frozen noodles according to its instructions. This usually takes about 15 minutes — 5-10 minutes to get the water boiling, then 10 minutes of cooking time.
At this point, you can opt to serve the chicken breasts whole, which means you'll need a knife, fork, and spoon. Or, you can take two forks and pull the chicken apart into bite sized pieces.
Mix the flour and butter until smooth. Push as much of the chicken and veggies as you can to the side of the pot and spoon the butter/flour into the liquid in the middle. Stir or whisk into the soup, and then add the noodles. Simmer for a couple more minutes so the noodles absorb some of the flavor and everything is evenly heated. Serve in soup bowls or shallow pasta bowls.