January is always a month of confusion for me– How long will it take me to remember to write “/16” when I’m jotting down the date? When did it get so cold? When did my jeans get so snug? And on that note, will I flood the blog with healthy recipes? Or should I focus on fattier (and far more tempting) Super Bowl foods?
While I wait for some sort of mystical answer to those New Year-induced crisis questions, I’m happily slurping down some leftover Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Noodle Soup. Combining the flavor of a deep-fried, sauce-drenched chicken wing with one of the healthiest comfort foods out there is gaming the system in the best way possible, don’t you think?
The veggies in chicken noodle soup tend to go pretty well with buffalo sauce– carrots and celery are served right along with wings most of the time, after all— so I start by adding them to the slow cooker along with raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts; garlic; onion; and dry ranch dressing mix. Then I pour in the buffalo sauce and chicken stock to make the broth, and cook for 6 hours on low.
Instead of finely shredding the chicken as I usually would after slow cooking, I shred the chicken into large chunks and then cut them into bite-sized pieces. In-between chopping up the chicken, I finish off the rest of the soup.
Because I wanted this recipe to be low in fat and calories, I decided not to add in any cream, cream cheese, or butter to give the soup a velvety consistency. However, by itself, hot sauce tends to separate from the broth. To prevent that from happening and to thicken the soup just slightly, I stir a slurry of cornstarch and cold water in at the end along with the egg noodles and parsley, and let it all cook together for about 10 minutes or until the egg noodles are tender. The cornstarch along with the starches from the noodles will absorb some of the liquid and swell, forming a network of touching starch molecules that make the base of the soup more comforting, heartier, and resistant to separation. Not to mention, I don’t have to boil my noodles separately!
This chicken noodle soup truly tastes like buffalo chicken, and you can add more sauce to top if you’re feeling spicy. It clocks in at 242 calories per bowl, and is high in vitamins A and B6, as well as selenium. Plus, did I mention, it’s BUFFALO CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP? I like to add a few blue cheese crumbles on top of mine, and sometimes even sliced scallions, if I have them laying around. James prefers to eat his without any extra add-ins, and I’m not sure how Mike (our new roommate, did I mention that we moved?) eats his, but judging by how quickly this soup is disappearing from the fridge, I’d say he likes it a lot.Print
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix
- 1/2 cup Frank’s buffalo sauce, plus more to taste
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 1/2 cups uncooked wide egg noodles
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
- Blue cheese crumbles, for serving (optional)
- In a slow cooker, combine the uncooked chicken breasts, carrots, celery, yellow onion, garlic, ranch mix, buffalo sauce, and chicken broth. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours, or until the chicken is easily shredded with a fork.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the slow cooker, roughly shred so that large pieces still remain, and then chop into bite-sized chunks. Set aside.
- Taste and season the broth accordingly with salt, pepper, and additional buffalo sauce, if desired.
- Combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water to make a slurry. Stir the slurry into the slow cooker, and then add in the egg noodles and parsley. Cook for 10 additional minutes, or until the noodles are softened. (Note: if not serving the soup immediately, boil the noodles separately and add upon serving. The noodles will disintegrate if left in the slow cooker too long.)
- Stir the chicken back into the soup and serve. Top with blue cheese crumbles, if desired.