It may be cliche, but with the new year in full swing, all of the Christmas decorations put away, and a freshly cleaned house, I am also in the mood for a fresh and healthy start to the year. I had a week off over the new year, and I got inspired by the book, The Magic Act of Tidying Up. I had heard of this book, but didn't really know what it was all about. I randomly started listening to the audiobook and got sucked into the world of "tidying". I went through my apartment and did some extensive purging, rearranging and cleaning. I brought two very large boxes to my local resale shop, and brought many bags of trash out to the trashcan. It's amazing how much stuff one person living in one small apartment can accumulate. If anyone is wanting a little motivation to really get down into the nitty gritty of cleaning and purging your house I highly recommend this book. I would never have thought that a book on cleaning would inspire me so much, but it did and now I feel so good. My apartment feels light and fresh, and amazingly, so does my mind!
One of my first meals of 2018 went along with the theme of starting the new year on a light and fresh note. This light and healthy butternut squash chicken soup was a good way to clean some things out of my fridge and freezer, as well as feel good about what I'm putting into my body. A leftover chicken thigh and roasted onions, homemade turkey stock from Thanksgiving, roasted butternut squash from earlier in the week, and some fresh greens from the farmer's market all combined to create a lovely leftover lunch. I didn't follow any recipe, or write down any measurements, just threw everything into the pot and let it simmer and it was perfect.
Homemade chicken soup does not have to be intimidating nor difficult. When making a simple soup such as this I recommend you look for the best ingredients you can find. Please don't use a cheap can of chicken stock from the grocery store to make chicken soup, you will be disappointed. Either make your own (which is what I always recommend, it's not difficult at all!), or search out some really good store-bought stock or broth. Check labels and make sure the ingredients look decent, it won't be even close to as good as homemade, but it will work in a pinch.
Other than the stock, you really only need some aromatics - onion, celery, carrot, maybe a little garlic, white wine, miso paste, white wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Whatever combo sounds good to you. Saute' all that up with a little olive oil or butter, add in your stock and chicken or turkey, maybe some white beans, butternut squash as I did here, or even pasta. Finish with some fresh greens, kale or spinach are good options. Here I used some amazingly fresh and delicious local Asian greens. I can't remember the name, but it was so good.