A Chicken Soup Recipe for the Broke College Soul

As a fellow "broke" college student, I have dreams of meal prepping, but often find myself reaching for the frozen stir-fries and instant meals instead.

I've meal prepped before, but I always get sick of the dried out chicken, beans, and corn by the third day. One recipe that I always keep up my sleeve is home made chicken and rice soup. Soup is something I'd could eat every day, and at this point in my life, I don't think I'll ever get sick of it.

Buying all the ingredients at once, I spent exactly 20 dollars. If you love soup as much as I do, you'll have something to eat for lunch every day of the week, and you'll even have enough left over to share with friends!

There's only 9 simple ingredients you need:

1. Boneless, skinless chicken breast 

2. Garlic (fresh or minced)

3. Spices (garlic powder, salt, pepper)

4. Chicken soup base

5. Chicken bouillon

6. Large carrots (1 bag)

7. Celery (1 stalk AKA the whole bunch)

8. Large white onions (1 or 2 your preference)

9. 5-Minute Instant Rice

Step 1: Fill a large pot with water (roughly halfway). I always eyeball it. I think guesstimating amounts per ingredient makes it "made with love." Throw in about 4 cubes of chicken bouillon, and 3 tablespoons of chicken soup base.

The internet says these are the same thing, but I find that the bouillon has a much more salty taste than the base. I use both because I love the saltiness of the bouillon, but the oils from the base. It makes it almost unnecessary to season the soup any more while cooking. 

Let this heat up on low while we prep our ingredients.

Step 2: Oil up a pan and crush some fresh garlic. Salt, pepper, or season your chicken breasts before placing them in the pan with garlic. Turn it up to medium heat and wait for the sizzle. I wait until the bottom side is white before I flip them over, and then repeat the flipping process until they're nice and golden.

Step 3: While the chicken is cooking, wash your celery and peel your carrots. Then, cut them up and throw away the bad ends.

I like to throw my diced veggies in a large bowl so they're out of the way while we move on.

Step 4: Once golden brown, remove the chicken from heat and allow it to cool.

I place mine on a plate and finish cutting my veggies before I dice up the chicken.

Personal tip: Pour some of the excess oils and garlic from the chicken pan right into the soup for more flavor and less cleaning.

Step 5: Cut up your onions and set them aside. I like to dice all my ingredients relatively large so it's a chunky chicken soup. Now, your cooled chicken can be diced up on the same cutting board.

Step 6: Once all ingredients are diced up, add them all to the mix! By now the water should be getting warm, and all you have left to do is cover the pot and let it cook for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat.

Personal tip: I leave the lid slightly off so some heat can escape. I learned this at home and don't really have a reason for it other than "to let it breathe."

Step 7: Remove lid when the pot is simmering. Once it's about to boil, throw 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups of instant rice in the pot. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and voila! You're ready to enjoy my favorite home-made chicken soup recipe!

Last tip: Tasting too salty? Add more water. Nothing but happy accidents here!

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