Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 10. Recipe adapted by Judy Walker from "Taste of Home."

"The flavoring is perfection. I think black pepper is one of the secrets of good chicken noodle soup. I used no-yolk egg noodles and substituted cilantro for the parsley, because that’s what I had," J.W.

2½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs

1¼ teaspoons black pepper, divided

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 large onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

10 cups chicken broth

4 celery ribs, chopped

4 medium carrots, peeled, chopped

2 bay leaves

¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves

3 or 4 cups uncooked egg noodles

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in a six-quart stockpot over medium-high heat.

2. Add chicken skin-side down, in batches if needed. Cook until dark golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan. Discard skin. Discard all but 2 tablespoons drippings.

3. Over medium-high heat, cook onion in drippings until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.

4. Add broth and stir to loosen browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil. Return chicken to pan with celery, carrots, bay leaves and thyme. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chicken is tender, 20-30 minutes.

5. Transfer chicken to a plate. Remove soup from heat. Add noodles, cover and let stand 20-22 minutes, until noodles are tender.

6. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Shred into bite-sized pieces, feeling for and discarding all fat and gristle. Return meat to stockpot with parsley and lemon juice. Add remaining ¾ teaspoon black pepper and taste. Add more salt if needed. Remove bay leaves. Serve hot.


My Grandmother’s Chicken Spaghetti

Serves 10-12. Recipe by Judy Walker's Granny Trower.

"I like to poach the chicken the day before and refrigerate the broth to skim off the fat, using it to make the sauce. Serve this with lots of Parmesan," J.W.

1 large chicken

2 onions, 1 quartered, 1 chopped

1 rib celery, halved (chop half)

1 carrot, scrubbed

Salt and pepper

1 pound thin spaghetti


3 tablespoons chicken fat or butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes and their juice

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

1 can (10.75 ounces) condensed tomato soup

1 jar (4 ounces) diced pimientos, drained

1 can (7 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained

1 can (3.8 ounces) sliced black olives, drained

Cayenne and/or Creole seasoning

Parmesan for serving

1. In a very large stock pot, cover chicken with water. Add 1 quartered onion, ½ celery stalk and the carrot, cut in thirds. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower to simmer. Cook until a fork will easily enter the meat. Let chicken cool in the broth.

2. Remove chicken from the broth. Discard bones, skin and fat. Remove vegetables; discard. Shred chicken into bite-size pieces. At this point, broth and chicken can be refrigerated, separately, one day. To cook immediately, skim fat from broth.

3. Heat broth to boiling. Add spaghetti and cook for time indicated on package. Do not drain.

4. For the sauce: Heat chicken fat or butter in a deep skillet. Add chopped onion, chopped celery and garlic; cook 4-5 minutes, until tender.

5. Add all tomato products; stir well. Cook 15-20 minutes. Add pimientos, mushrooms and black olives. Stir well. Sauce will be quite thick. Simmer 10-15 minutes.

6. If necessary, drain off a ladle full of broth at a time until broth level is just below the surface of the cooked pasta. Save the broth in case you need to adjust the sauce. Add tomato sauce and chicken to broth and pasta and combine well. If necessary, add some broth back into the tomato sauce to adjust consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and let sit about an hour before serving.

One-Pot Chicken Parmesan

Makes 6 servings. Recipe adapted by Judy Walker from The Chunky Chef (

The noodles cook in the sauce. For best results, grate your own cheese and use quality marinara and garlic powder. Don’t forget the fresh parsley or basil.

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, plus more if needed

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 medium yellow onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

16 ounces dried short-cut pasta, such as rigatoni or penne

24 ounces favorite jarred marinara sauce

24 ounces water (use the jar to measure)

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Minced fresh parsley or basil for garnish

1. In a six-quart Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high.

2. Add chicken, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Cook 4-5 minutes, until chicken is almost cooked through. Remove to a plate.

3. Add onion and garlic to the pot. Cook 2-3 minutes, until softened.

4. Pour in marinara sauce and enough water to fill the sauce jar. Over high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Add pasta and cook 10 minutes.

5. Add chicken and cook another 5 minutes, or until pasta is cooked to your liking. Stir in ¼ cup mozzarella and Parmesan.

6. Sprinkle remaining ¾ cup mozzarella over the top and cook 2-3 minutes, just until cheese is melted and gooey.

7. Sprinkle with additional Italian seasoning, if desired, and parsley or basil. Serve immediately.

Send "the best" recipes and correspondence to Judy Walker at with “Roux Believer” in the subject line. Please include a phone number.