Winter Warmer: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup


I do all the meal planning, shopping, and cooking for our family, which most days is just fine with me. But sometimes, trying to come up with ANOTHER meal everyone will eat is more than I’m up for. And don’t even get me started on the dishes.

That’s when I bring on the rotisserie chicken. I can get two (or more) meals out of one $5 pre-cooked chicken.

Mmmm…I love me a good roasted chicken (Costco’s chicken kicks tailfeather, btw). Cut it up, throw it on the plate with frozen veggies and [instant] mashed potatoes, and you have a no-brainer, healthy meal.

But that’s not the only meal you’ll get from this bird. Reuse those leftovers!

Rotisserie chicken is just the first meal.

When you’re done with meal number one, get in touch with your inner butcher and tear off every bit of meat you can get to.

Set the leftover meat aside, then throw the remaining carcass into a stock pot with 6-8 cups of water, and simmer, covered, for two hours. Allow to cool slightly and remove the carcass.

It will probably fall apart, so use a slotted spoon to lift it from the bottom and to scoop out as many “floaties” as you can.

If you’re picky or want a really smooth chicken stock, you’ll want to strain the stock after it cools a bit more.

I don’t do this, mostly because I’m lazy, but also because most of my stock goes into homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, so it doesn’t really matter if there are bits of meat floating in it. (Definitely get all the bones out, though).

Once your stock is cleaned up, allow it to cool completely before putting it in the fridge overnight, or for up to five days. After it’s chilled, your stock will be kind of gelatinous (kinda yucky, to be honest) and may need to have any extra fat skimmed off the top. At this point, you can divvy it up into pre-measured portions and freeze it for future use.

I’ve put mine in soups and sauces, but my favorite recipe is as follows:

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (All measurements are wild estimates. Sorry, that’s the way I cook)

Getting ready to make homemade chicken stock.

  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4-6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup chopped, cooked chicken (leftovers do nicely)
  • 1 pound pasta (preferably egg noodles)

In a large pan, sauté carrots, celery and onion in butter until softened. (For thicker broth, you can add a tablespoon of flour to the melted butter).

Add 2 cups of stock and 1 cup water; stir til stock liquefies. Add remaining stock and more water if needed.

Bring to a boil and add noodles. Cook until noodles are done, stirring in chicken a few minutes before noodles are ready.

Serve with biscuits or bread.

I’d love to hear about any delicious meals you come up with from your own stock—share them here!


Like this ‘Reuse It’ blog post by Lisa Hensley? Reuse some of her excellent stories, like the Going Green Missoula Recycling pageHow to Turn Tin Cans into Decorative Lanterns, or Repurposed Lighting.

   Visit Lisa Hensley’s Reuse It archive.


Lisa Henley, as photographed by her son.Lisa Hensley is a mostly-native Montanan, living in Missoula with her husband, two young boys, and various pets. She spent more than 10 years in the marketing and creative field, but is now Director of Household Operations for the Hensley group. When she’s not herding kids or doing laundry, she’s shooting photos, gardening, baking, reading, or taking classes—sometimes all at once. She also volunteers for Home ReSource, which fits in nicely with her tendency to repurpose pretty much anything.

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