One of my favorite soups to improvise is simple chicken soup. It was extremely easy to make low in calories, and it’s packed full of veggies and protein. Perfect for the beginning of fall! This recipe makes enough for 2 people to have about 4 ladlefuls each at about 500 calories total. It’s a soup, yes, but super filling when you get to eat half the pot for only 500 calories. It can easily be doubled or spread among 4 or more people, though, and supplemented with grilled cheese or veggies and ranch (my personal favorite sides for chicken soup). And you can add whatever vegetables you like to customize it!
Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice and Veggies
by Anne Charlton
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
4 cups chicken broth (any brand)
1/2 cup long grain brown rice
10 oz chicken
1 medium zucchini
2 cups spinach
First, small-dice the carrot and onion. Mince the garlic, and add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a medium-sized stock pot (or other soup pot).
In the meantime, prepare the chicken to bake. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the chicken, distributing over both sides, and season with salt, pepper, and anything else you’d like (I used the Savory Spice Shop Colorado Citrus Pepper blend). Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. At 10 minutes, flip the chicken and finish baking for 15 minutes.
Boil rice and 1 cup water with a dash of salt. When water boils, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for at least a half hour. If the rice is still al dente at this point, it’ll finish cooking in the soup, so it doesn’t need to be fully cooked.
Add onion, carrots, and garlic to the pot with olive oil (after you get the chicken and rice going). Add salt, pepper, and any additional seasonings you’d like. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent and carrots begin to soften (the small dice helps this happen quickly).
Add stock, rice (partially cooked at this point). Bring to a slow boil. When this happens, lower heat to simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for at least 20 minutes.
While soup is simmering, shred chicken, then toss in. Use vegetable peeler to make long strands of zucchini. Include the skin portions for great green color! Prepare 2 cups of spinach.
After the soup has simmered, add zucchini and spinach. Let them warm and cook for just a couple minutes. Add the juice of half a lemon (or more, to taste). Test for seasonings and add salt/pepper as needed. When seasoned well, serve!