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Sunday Soup

         So, it’s Sunday.  And if you’re anything like me, chances are, you may have indulged a little too much in the “finer” things in life this weekend and you need to repent.  Maybe you had a few adult drinks or a rich dessert and now you think that your weekend is going to undo all of your hard work from the week.  This doesn’t have to be!  Sunday can be a lazy day, but can also be redeeming if you make a batch of Sunday Soup.  There is a little preplanning involved, but once you try it, you will find yourself consistently making sure you always have the staples on hand. 

Sunday Soup
My husband considers himself somewhat of an expert in the area of meat-- both grilling and smoking.  On any given weekend, our family is usually spoiled with some type of perfectly prepared protein, but our favorite is Beer Can Chicken.  My husband has gotten the execution down to a science and it never disappoints.  AND… we always have meat left over, along with bones, to make some tasty soup. 
Beer Can Chicken
Smoked Turkey
The Stock
The first staple of Sunday Soup is chicken stock.  I use the beautiful bones provided by my hubby from the Beer Can Chicken, but you could use bones from any prepared chicken (even a rotisserie chicken from your favorite grocery store-the easiest of all)!  I place a crock pot liner in my 6 quart slow cooker then add the bones/skin/any other scraps left over from the meal and fill with water to about an inch from the top.  I then set it on low and let it cook for as long as I want (usually overnight, but really any time is fine—the longer the better).  After my stock has come together I put a metal sieve over a large Tupperware type bowl and ladle the soup into the bowl, removing any bones etc., and then cover it.  Once I get one “batch” of stock, I usually fill up the slow cooker with water an additional time to get a second batch of stock.  I add a splash of white wine vinegar to help draw out all the residual nutrients in the bones during the second run.  After the stock has cooled, I refrigerate the stock so that I can scoop off most of the fat once it hardens, making the stock both more appealing and healthier.  I then measure the broth out into 2 and 4 cup portions and freeze them in freezer storage bags marked with the date and amount.  If I’m using the stock for soup within a couple days, I do not freeze it.  About one batch of stock is needed to make a large pot of soup.
Crock pot with bones and water filled almost to the top

Chicken stock after it's been cooking for 5-8 hours

Straining the bones/skin/etc. from the stock
Let the stock chill so the fat can separate and be removed from the stock

Visible fat removed from the stock
The Protein
The second staple of Sunday Soup is chicken.  We usually have leftover meat from Beer Can Chicken and just chop that up into small chunks.  If not being used in the next couple days, I freeze and label that as well.  Note: I do use chicken and turkey interchangeably.   I have not noticed any issues mixing and matching my poultry, and nobody in my family seems to mind. 
Chopped smoked chicken
The Starch 
The third staple for Sunday Soup is some type of carbohydrate.  I usually prefer either egg noodles or rice.  Since I am a frugal gal, I love to use up leftover rice (ex: plain white rice from Chinese takeout or leftover brown rice from weeknight dinners).  If you are “low carbing” it, you could totally skip the rice/pasta and just make a chicken and veggie soup. 
I try to have complex carbs on hand for soup
The Veggies
The fourth staple is vegetables.  I personally always have mirepoix, the fancy name for carrots/celery/onions, on hand.  I have also been known to add in any vegetables I have in the fridge, including but not limited to: peppers, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and corn. 
Chopped veggies ready for the soup
The Process
Ok, so whether you have all the ingredients fresh or frozen, the process is very similar.  First, I boil the stock, and here is where the lazy Sunday part comes in.  If I have all day to cook the soup, I start it in the slow cooker in the morning.  If I start the soup closer to dinner time, I use a large pot on the stove.  I usually make a batch that will last at least two meals, requiring at least 16 cups of liquid.  That can come from either fresh or frozen stock.  While the stock is coming to a boil, I start to chop up the veggies to add into the soup.  Vegetables take some time to cook, so you’ll want to add them near the beginning of the soup process.  Let the vegetables boil for at least 20 minutes (if using a pot), or about 4-5 hours on low (if using the slow cooker) checking them to see once they have softened.  If you have a good liquid to “stuff” ratio, meaning a lot of liquid verses veggies/meat, you can cook the noodles/uncooked rice in the soup.  I just cook it according to the cook time on the box/bag, but be aware that the noodles/rice will soak up some of the liquid, so if you are worried you won’t have enough liquid in your soup you can cook the noodles/rice separately and then add them in to the soup at the end.  The chicken and leftover cooked rice (if using in place of noodles) can be added in at the end, just to be warmed through.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and I have been known to add some chicken flavoring to add a little punch of “chicken-y” flavor, if needed.  When serving up the soup, I usually throw a couple ice cubes into my kids’ bowls and they always request some crackers to dip in their soup.  Hubby and I eat ours piping hot without crackers.  Soup is a very forgiving meal.  I find that every time I make it, it turns out a little different, which keeps it from becoming too boring.  I have entered several of my soup recipes into My Fitness Pal, and one bowl of Sunday Soup (around 1.5-2 cups) usually has around 250-350 calories depending on what all you put in it.  It has roughly 15-20 grams of protein,  20-30 grams of carbs, and 2-10 grams of fat.  All in all, a satisfying meal that you can feel good about eating.  
Finished soup, ready to eat!
Here is the list of ingredients from my most recent batch of soup

My Fitness Pal's nutritional breakdown from this batch for a 1 cup serving

Meet Annie

Me, January 2018

I’m Annie, a Reading Specialist and Reading Recovery teacher at a charter school in Pontiac, Michigan.  I am a 35 year old wife to Nathan and mommy to two beautiful children, Brennon (8) and Quinn (4).  I enjoy reading, drinking wine, cooking/baking, spending time with my friends, and dark chocolate.  I have battled with my weight for most of my life and decided to make a change in April 2016.  I have changed the way that I eat and made getting active a priority.  I have lost a lot of weight, but still have some work to do to hit my end goal. I have good days and bad, but I never give up because tomorrow is always a new day. I am a new(ish) runner and am so glad I gave it a try!  I am always looking for ways to challenge myself physically and mentally.

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  1. Absolutely fabulous ! Great job on keeping my attention and making me drool ! Since Bob is our soup maker, I will sit him down to read this and take notes. Thanks, Annie ! Hugs

  2. I love how this dish is low in calories and it looks yummy as well!

  3. Stop I'm drooling! I love soup, I'm sad its getting warm outside because soup is a winter food in our house!

  4. Yum!!!! I love making homemade chicken soup and I sometimes cheat with the stock, but this detailed post has me motivated to do it right. Thanks for the fantastic recipe and process!

  5. I've been trying to work myself up to make my own stock, and haven't done it yet. After looking through your instructions I think I'm going to have to give it a try!

  6. I’ve never made my own stock because I’m afraid of the work. Yet, I’m wondering if i should give it a go because that soup looks good!

  7. That beer can chicken looks amazing! I need to practice on the grill and smoker


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