Money Matters: Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

So you remember that bread bowl I talked about yesterday? Mmm…me too. Well, Mr. Prevention likes to get one of those when we go to Panera and fill it with Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. Always. He never deviates from his soup of choice. This is problematic for people like me who could consume soup daily, even if I were to say, live in Corpus Chrisi or Puerto Vallarta…or some other steamy, uber humid region of the world.

While I didn’t serve this soup in a bread bowl, I did offer it up with a generous portion of that Roasted Garlic and Herb Foccacia I raved about yesterday. Let me just say that was a great move on my part…the two made for one pretty stellar combo.

As the weather cools and soups become a staple dinner delight to keep warm, and hopefully keep things light, remember this soup as something simple, satisfying, and worthy of a “comfort food” label.

I bulked up the veggies and cut some calories and fat by using a low-fat milk. As the soup simmered away, the chicken shredded to a fine consistency so much so that the chicken was laced between every grain of wild rice and warm, tender pieces of carrot and celery. A couple of forks and several hours of meat shredding slave labor would’ve never accomplished such technique, I swear. And I know this because Mr. Prevention goes to work on this Buffalo Chicken Dip on the regular…still.

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Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup adapted from Budget Bytes

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 lb. cooked chicken (I used rotisserie)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
cracked pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup wild rice mix, dry
6 cups water
1/3 bunch fresh parsley, minced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups 2% milk

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the hot oil and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add celery and carrots to the pot and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Add the cooked chicken, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, cracked pepper, dry rice, and 6 cups of water to the pot. Bring the pot up to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 45 minutes.

After 30 minutes of simmering, melt the butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. When it is fully melted, whisk in the flour. Cook and whisk the butter and flour mixture for two minutes. Whisk in the milk and allow it to come up to a simmer, whisking occasionally.

Add the parsley and the thickened milk mixture to the soup. Season with salt (I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons) and pepper to taste. Serve. Yield: 6 generous portions (about 1 2/3 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per cup): 320 calories; 12.2 g. fat; 77 mg. cholesterol; 890 mg. sodium; 27.8 g. carbohydrate; 3 g. fiber; 26.5 g. protein

Result: Creamy, and filled with hearty wild rice, tender veggies, and savory, shredded chicken. This was a hit! Simple to make…and cheap! This meal also comes together in less than an hour, with only about 20-30 minutes of hands-on time. Perfect for fall…enjoy!

Money Matters: The chicken was $3.99. It was small, but yielded an exact 1 pound of chicken meat (skin omitted!). The wild rice was $1.60 for the 1 cup I used, and the remaining ingredients were all very cost-effective. The total cost of the recipe came to $8.37, making the cost per serving $1.40!

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For purposes of accountability I would like to make mention that I was on my best behavior yesterday after a weekend of indulgences around every corner this weekend. Literally. Turn the block…eat. Round the corner…drink.

Breakfast was a Greek yogurt and a latte. Lunch was a Tempeh BLT with carrot sticks and apple slices. And dinner…was good. But I can’t spoil the surprise (hint: it was pizza, but healthy). I also sweat my little heart out on the elliptical for an entire 4.25 miles. My body can breathe a sigh of relief. Normalcy. And fiber….ahh.

Be well,

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21 Comments

  1. November 8, 2011 / 5:32 am

    Looks wonderful :)! In Singapore, I was not down with soup at first but have grown into after adjusting to the weather. But I really miss soup weather every now and then.

  2. November 8, 2011 / 6:59 am

    I’m with ya on the indulgent weekends as of late. I swear I work hard and watch myself all week to constantly blow it on the weekends. Things need to slow down around here!

  3. November 8, 2011 / 7:10 am

    My life would be so much easier if Nick ate soup. Darnit. This sounds (and looks) awesome!
    Glad you liked the tempeh BLT 🙂

  4. November 8, 2011 / 8:32 am

    Sometimes you need a weekend of indulgence :-). This soup looks so delicious and comforting! I was going to make some Albondigas soup yesterday, but the day got away with me so we had Trader Joes Cream of Tomato soup instead, plus some amazing cheese rolls that I really need to post soon. Can’t wait to try this soup ( and Ginas tempeh BLT too!)

  5. November 8, 2011 / 8:35 am

    Ok, I HAVE to try this! Chicken wild rice is my absolute favorite!! I’m going to make a grocery list right now so I can make this either tonight or tomorrow 🙂

    • Nicole
      Author
      November 8, 2011 / 2:22 pm

      OOoo! Jenni! I hope you like it! 🙂

  6. November 8, 2011 / 8:47 am

    This looks wonderful, Nicole! I love remaking my restaurant favorites at home…it’s cheaper and healthier! Can’t wait to hear more about that pizza! 😉

  7. November 8, 2011 / 12:05 pm

    This sounds amazing. Im a firm believer that theres nothing better than homemade soup.

  8. November 8, 2011 / 4:30 pm

    This looks incredible!! I love panera soo much but there items are soo unhealthy! I was sad when I actually read the nutrition facts.
    You are much better off making your own soups. 🙂 and budget friendly too!!!

  9. November 8, 2011 / 4:41 pm

    This is my favorite soup from Panera! I’m already making soup this week, and it just isn’t hot enough around here to make soup all the time. Definitely going on my list for next week though. 🙂

  10. November 8, 2011 / 4:41 pm

    Err I mean cold. Still pretty warm here in Florida. Bleh

  11. November 8, 2011 / 5:30 pm

    Oh Nicole, I’ll have to make this one for Hannah – its one of her favorite soups! And thanks for your email today – I really do appreciate it! 😀

  12. November 8, 2011 / 6:36 pm

    I love these money matters posts! Money sure does matter. I have your chicken tortilla soup cooking away in my crockpot right now. Soup is so in right now. Can’t wait to try this one too!

  13. November 8, 2011 / 7:46 pm

    HI Nicole. That looks like FINE and soothing soup. ’tis the season for warm bowls of soup! Have a great Tuesday.

  14. November 10, 2011 / 10:01 pm

    That is too funny – my boyfriend always always always gets Panera’s chicken wild rice soup in a bread bowl too!! I always make fun of him for being so predictable. Definitely going to be trying this recipe for him!

  15. December 5, 2011 / 1:52 am

    Gimme some of this ASAP!
    I love chicken and rice soup, but every recipe I’ve ever tried has been subpar. Looking forward to trying yours!

  16. Shannon
    July 10, 2013 / 1:27 am

    Hello i’m a new reader! I was really impressed with your site. I do have a question, i’m having surgery on my back next week and i am SO concerned about gaining additional weight. I had a bad fall which injured my back causing a 22lb weight gain and this surgery. PLEASE help me…this is the heaviest i have EVER been And want to be! This surgery will have me down for 6 to 8wks. I am miserable and frustrated with the weight and not being able to be at least a little active… I have bought All Natural Whey Protein Powder to get me started. PLEASE HELP IF YOU CAN.

  17. Steph
    January 13, 2017 / 11:59 pm

    I was a little nervous to try this after adding all the spices-I thought it was going to be too much.

    I was wrong! I absolutely love this soup and have made it multiple times. Thank you for the great recipe.

    Best wishes in 2017!

    • Nicole Morrissey
      Author
      January 14, 2017 / 2:26 pm

      So glad you love the recipe, Steph! 🙂

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