Here in Houston, we have this place called Zoes Kitchen. It is one of my favorite little places to go for some healthy eats, and there are a few of them scattered around town, 1 really close to where I live.
I generally get a craving for the same thing: Hummus plate and a bowl of their Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup.
Additionally, its been kind of a tradition for me (if possible) to have a bowl of it the night before a marathon. If there is no Zoes, then I will typically find someplace where I can at least get a good chicken noodle/broth kind of soup. It helps with digestion, so that the next morning I (typically) never have any GI issues when I get up! Plus its light on my stomach. I hate eating heavy the night before any distance to be honest, especially the marathon.
I decided that I wanted to try and make it at home so I went online to find a recipe that could get me started. I settled on this one, but definitely altered it. Definitely omitting the celery (hate celery). I also did it mainly in one setting instead of 2 as the recipe calls for; and I used packaged chicken broth (about 1.5 containers). I had 1/2 container left over in the fridge, added another one, and then followed up for the amounts with added water. You need 9 cups of liquid.
On Saturday, I roasted a whole chicken (5lbs) using garlic, EVOO and spices. Then I covered it and let it 'rest' for probably 6 hours or so. This cools it off and is much easier to debone, AND you don't burn your fingers!
|Doesn't look like a whole chicken but believe me it is and there was a ton of meat. So much so that I didn't even use it all in the soup, but also kept about a cup of it out to use in another meal.|
On Sunday evening after returning from the fam's abode for Easter, I got to making the actual soup. Again I used packaged broth (see above); approximately 1.5 containers plus added water to come up with the required 9 cups. Honestly I probably ended up with 10 cups.
I also used more like 1.5 cups of orzo as well. I had bought a package of baby carrots and just chopped them in half and added about 1/2 the bag.
|Silver wrapped item = onion (I used the half that I had and finely chopped)|
Not pictured is packaged lemon juice ( I didnt want to buy enough lemons to get enough liquid from them for the recipe)
As you can see in the photo below, I also added probably 2 cups of fresh spinach. I had some in the fridge that needed to be used before it went wilty/bad on me, so dumped that in there too!
I dumped in all the ingredients, including my 2 bay leaves (I keep these in the fridge at all times!).
Grated the rind off the fresh lemon and added 1/2 cup lemon juice instead of the called for 1/4 cup. I like it to taste a bit more lemon-y. I tasted it before adding :)
Brought it all to a boil for 15 min, reduced the heat to medium, and then simmered for about 30 minutes before I added the chicken.
Stir, cover and simmer for an hour. Really you could get away with 30 min if you wanted to eat right away, but I wasn't having it for dinner and opted to let it simmer for longer period of time.
I am really happy with the way this turned out! I brought some to work yesterday for lunch and it was sooooooooooo good!
And since it makes a buttload of soup, I packaged some up last night and put in the freezer for future quick grab, thaw, reheat and eat lunches or dinners!
Its pretty close to Paleo, sans the orzo, but since the orzo is so tiny :), I figure its hardly worth mentioning!