Chicken Noodle Soup

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It’s soup season again! This soup is a family favorite and I make it often, even my 3 year old son asks me to make this soup all the time and he is hard to impress. It is the best chicken noodle soup that you will ever eat, guaranteed! I have made this soup for many  friends who were either sick, or recovering from an illness or surgery and everyone really loved it and in fact this is my go to recipe whenever I have to bring someone a hot, tasty, comfort meal. I get asked for this recipe too often and many people have been waiting for this post, so here it is. The recipe for the fastest, easiest, and most delicious chicken noodle soup!

Chicken Noodle Soup {Makes a big pot. Serves 8-10}

Ingredients:

  • 4 Chicken Thighs (Organic Chicken tastes best!)
  • 1/2 LB Rotini Pasta
  • Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base ( 5 teaspoons) OR 5 Cups Chicken Broth ( I use Better Then Bouillion though)
  • 12 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1 Onion
  • 3 Celery Sticks
  • 3 Large or 4 Small Carrots (I prefer to use all organic veggies!)
  • Olive Oil (2 Tablespoons) for saute
  • 1/2 Bunch Fresh Dill
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs.Dash Seasoning (or another salt free seasoning)
  • 1 Garlic Clove (minced)

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Directions:

1) Wash the carrots and celery sticks. Chop the onion into small pieces. Dice the celery into small pieces. Shred 1 and 1/2 carrots and the other 1 1 /2 carrots cut into thin circles. Set all the cut veggies aside.

2) In a large pot, bring 5 cups of filtered water to a boil. When it comes to a boil add 5 teaspoons of the Better Than Bouillion Base OR bring 5 cups of Chicken Broth to a boil. Then add 12 cups of filtered water to the pot and bring to a boil on high heat,and add 1 Tablespoon Salt. Meanwhile thoroughly wash the chicken thighs.

3) When it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to 7.0 and add the chicken thighs to the pot. Then cook the chicken thighs for about 25 to 35 minutes, have a cup and spoon nearby to skim off any impurities (white foam) that rises to the top. While chicken thighs cook, heat a skillet with 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil on Medium-High heat (I did 7.0). Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, then add the diced celery, and shredded carrots. Mix often so it doesn’t burn. Cook until veggies are soft and well cooked through.

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4) When the 25-35 minutes go by, using a slotted spoon, take out the chicken and set it aside on a plate to cool down.

5) Add the sauteed veggies to the pot of soup. Then add the sliced carrots and rotini pasta to the pot of soup. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the pasta is soft and cooked through.

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6) Take off and discard the chicken thigh skin. With a small knife cut out the bone and cut the chicken thigh into small strips or you can take it apart with your hands. I prefer to use a small knife. Add the cut chicken thigh pieces back into the soup pot.

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7) Wash and finely cut the dill. Add it to the pot. Mince the garlic clove and add it into the pot. Then add 1 teaspoon of Mrs.Dash seasoning. Turn the stove off and move the pot of soup off the hot burner. Mix well and the soup is done! See, Told you it was an easy recipe. 😉

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup (Panera Bread Version)

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Okay guys. I did it!!! I have FINALLY figured out the perfect recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup that tastes just like Panera Bread, the restaurant chain that made this soup such a popular hit. Actually no, I lied. This recipe tastes even better. Anyone else who has tasted it will tell you the same thing. That’s right, I said it, It tastes even better then Panera! Maybe it is because you can use your own ingredients and know exactly what’s going into the soup, and cuz you can never beat the taste of fresh home made soup. This recipe has been in the making for a few years now because I could never get it to taste just right, just like Panera. There were times that I literally made a whole pot of soup and would end up throwing out the entire pot because it tasted nothing like Panera and I was left hungry and dissapointed… Can I get a witness in the house? Lol jk. I love that I can now make this soup at home, for about $8 and it serves 4 (big bowls), and of course the taste is so much more superior. Did I mention it only takes like 45 minutes total to prepare?! That alone should be a good enough reason for you to make it for dinner this week. 😉

Broccoli Cheddar Soup (Panera Bread Version) {Serves 4}

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Butter AND 4 1/2 Tablespoons Butter (For 2 separate steps)
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 Cups Half and Half
  • 1/4 Cup Flour (All Purpose Flour)
  • .75 LB Fresh Broccoli, about 1 1/2 Cups (If the big stem is cut off, with small stem left)
  • 2 Carrots (About 1 Cup, grated)
  • 10 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Shredded. I shred my own)

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Directions:

1) Dice the onion into small pieces. Set a pan on Medium-High heat (I did a 6.5) and add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of butter. When the butter melts, add the diced onion to the pan and saute, stirring every now and until the onion is soft and translucent. Set this pan with onion aside.

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2) Set a Medium sized pot on Medium heat (I did a 5.5) with the 4 1/2 Tablespoons of butter. Once the butter melts, add in the 1/4 cup flour, a spoon at a time, and mix immediately as you incorporate the flour so it does not burn but turns into a thicker texture, for about 4 minutes.

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3) Immediately add the chicken broth to the pot and stir constantly to mix well with the flour and butter mixture (this needs to be done well, so you won’t have any flour lumps). Then add the half and half. Let it simmer on Medium-Low heat (I did a 3.5) for about 20 Minutes.

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4) Meanwhile wash and cut the broccoli into both 1/2 and 1/4 inch pieces, and shorten the stems at the bottom of the broccoli. Wash and finely shred the carrots.

5) Add the chopped broccoli, shredded carrots, and sauteed onions into the pot. Let it simmer on Medium-Low (I did a 4.0) for about 20-25 minutes. Until the broccoli and carrots are soft.

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6) Add salt and pepper to taste. Then add 1/2 the shredded cheese into the pot. Mix very well to incorporate the cheese and let it melt (which only takes a few seconds).

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7) Then add the rest of the shredded cheese into the pot and let it melt. Turn heat off. Mix very well to incorporate everything. Enjoy!

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Mama Mandola’s Sicilian Chicken Soup (Carrabba’s Italian Grill Restaurant)

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One of my favorite restaurants is Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Every time I go there I always order this soup with my entree. It is one of my most favorite soups ever. Yes, as you can probably tell by now, I LOVE soups!!! This soup does take a long time to cook ( About 2 hours total cook time, and about 1 hour prep. time) so make sure you make this soup on a day that you have time as this is definitely not one of those quick weeknight dinner recipes. But it is all worth it, and you will know what I mean once you taste this amazing soup! I always make a big pot of it and we eat it for 2 days. It tastes just as great on the 2nd day as it does on the first. I got the recipe from a cook book, but after making it several times I have adjusted some things to perfect this soup and make it taste exactly like it does at Carrabba’s. I always make this soup when someone in my family is sick, it is the most comforting soup to eat if you are sick, and according to legends, this soup has restorative powers. If you love this soup at Carrabba’s then you will enjoy it just as much at home. Actually no…you will enjoy it much more because you can eat as much of it at home as you want and not have to pay by the bowl! Lol.  😉

Mama Mandola’s Sicilian Chicken Soup {Serves 10-12}

Ingredients:

  • 1 Whole Chicken (About 3.5 to 4.5 LB)
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Can (14.5 Oz.) Diced tomatoes in juice
  • 3 Green Bell Peppers
  • 4 Medium baking Potatoes, Russet or Burbank
  • 4 Celery Ribs
  • 1 large yellow Onion
  • 3 Carrots
  • 1 small bunch (or 1/2 cup chopped) Flat Leaf Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Cup Ditalini or other “Soup Pasta” (I used little shells)

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Directions:

1) Wash the Carrots, Green bell peppers, Celery ribs, and Potatoes and put it all in a large bowl. (This just makes things faster and easier.) Get a cutting board and cut all of the veggies. Cut the Celery ribs into 1/4 – inch dice, cut off the white parts on the ends. Cut the Green bell peppers into 1/4- inch dice, make sure to wash it inside, and get all the seeds out, also cut out the white parts of the peppers inside. Peel the Carrots and cut them into 1/4- inch dice. Peel the Potatoes and cut them into 1/2- inch dice.

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2) Remove the giblets from the Chicken. To do this, put the chicken with its legs up, then take a spoon and remove the giblets from the hole in between. Throw the giblets out, you will not need them for the soup. Once the giblets are removed, thoroughly wash the chicken both outside and inside. Place it on a  pasta colander in a big bowl to drain excess water.

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3) Get a large pot. Put the chicken in the pot first, with the breasts facing down (Kinda like the Chicken is face down, back up). Then put all your cut vegetables on top of the Chicken. Add the can of diced tomatoes AND their juice on top. Then add enough cold water to cover everything by 1 inch.

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4)Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, skimming off the foam that rises to the top with a big spoon, into a small bowl. Add in the finely chopped parsley, Garlic (using a garlic press), 1 Tablespoon Salt and 1 teaspoon Pepper.

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*That’s a picture of the foam that rises to the top, and needs to be removed!!!*

5) Reduce the heat to Medium-Low ( I had it on 3.5). Partially cover the pot, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through well and almost falling off the bones, about 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours. (I did an hour and 40 minutes, and my chicken was 5 LB cuz that’s the smallest one I found in the store.)

6) In a separate small pot boil water and cook your soup pasta according to the package instructions. When it is ready, drain out the water and set it aside. Fill about half a tea kettle with water and bring it to a boil, you will need this boiling water soon.

7) Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a large bowl and let it cool for about 15 Minutes. Its okay if some parts of the chicken such as a leg or wing break off in the pot, just take out the broken pieces using a big slotted spoon. Keep the soup in the pot simmering.

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*I know, it looks beautiful doesn’t it? Lol JK! But Trust me, it tastes really good in the end.*

8) Add the boiled water from the tea kettle to the soup pot, I added between 1/4 to 1/2 a tea kettle, Until the soup was a little more then half of the pot. *You do not have to add extra water if you don’t want to. But I HIGHLY recommend it, because if you don’t the soup will be just way too thick and makes much less servings!*

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9) When the Chicken has cooled down, remove the meat, and discard the skin and bones. Be careful not to mangle the meat much, but keep it in neat pieces. Tear or pull the Chicken into large bite-sized pieces. I prefer hand -pulled chicken to chopped chunks. Put the pieces of chicken into a small bowl.

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10) Using a potato masher or large slotted spoon, mash some of the potatoes in the soup pot, to lightly thicken the broth. Add the cooked soup pasta to the pot. Then add the large bite-sized pieces of Chicken to the pot. Let it heat through on Medium heat, for about 10 Minutes. *Best when served hot!*

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* I forgot to take a picture of the pot with the end result. So this is a close up of the soup and how it looks in the pot. Sorry, I’m still new to this!*

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Zuppa Toscana Soup

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Today we have snow in Charlotte. Third day in a row. In February! It is freezing cold outside and the snow just keeps piling up. This soup is the perfect soup to warm you up on such a day as today, So I made a big pot of it for my family. This soup is famous in the chain Italian restaurant, Olive Garden. So of course I had to try to make it at home. There are many different recipes for this amazing soup, but this recipe is my own. I have been making it this way since we got married. The way I came up with this recipe is by putting together all the things that I tasted in the soup when I tried it at Olive Garden. It came out great and I have been making it that way for many years now and anyone who has ever tried it, Loved it. My grandmother from Massachusetts always requests me to make this soup when she comes to visit us. So I decided to put this yummy recipe here so that others can try it, and for those that already have tried it and loved it, to be able to make it for their own families. 🙂

Zuppa Toscana Soup {Serves 10-12}

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 LB Italian Sausage (Mild)
  • 7 Slices of Thick Cut Bacon
  • 4-5 Redskin potatoes
  • 12 Cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Oil
  • 4 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
  • 1 1/2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 Large onion
  • 1/2 OR 3/4 teaspoon, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (Depending on how spicy you like your soup. I do 3/4 teaspoon because we like it with a little spicy kick)
  • 1/2 a Bunch of Kale
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder

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Directions: 

1) Get the ground meat out of the Italian sausages. I do this by holding the sausage with one hand and with the other squeezing out the ground meat. I shape the ground meat into little round balls. Then set it aside in a plate.

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2) Cut your slices of Bacon into little pieces. (As pictured below.) Set aside in a plate.

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3) Finely chop your onion.

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4) Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a large pot on Medium-High heat. (I did a 7.5) Throw in the Italian sausage and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix the sausage every once in a while so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Add in the garlic powder.

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5) When the sausage is a little cooked through, add in the bacon pieces and chopped onion. Don’t forget to keep mixing.

6) Saute everything until the sausage and bacon is cooked through and the onion is soft and translucent.

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7) Then add the water to the pot. Bring it to a boil.

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8) Meanwhile cut your potatoes. *Leave the skin on! Note that this will not taste as well with regular potatoes, only Red Skin Potatoes. But when I had to substitute with regular potatoes I peeled off the skin.*

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9)When the water boils, add the cubes of chicken bouillon. *I Cut my cubes so that they dissolve faster.*

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10) Then add the potatoes into the pot.

11) Cook until the potatoes are soft. About 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile wash and chop the Kale. Only cut the leafy part of the kale, Into about 1 inch pieces. Cut off the stem completely because you will not need it, you can throw it out.

12) Then add the heavy whipping cream to the pot. cook until it is thoroughly heated.

13) Add in the pieces of Kale. Stir well. Once the Kale is soft and the heavy whipping cream has heated through, your soup is ready! If you have to add salt/pepper you can do so. *My soup was perfect so I did not add any. Probably because the chicken bouillon cubes have salt in them.* I serve this soup with Hot fresh bread sticks, or take and bake bread. It tastes best hot out of the oven to go with this soup.

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Meatball Soup

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Hot fresh home made soup Mmmm there is nothing more comforting to eat after a long, cold day. This soup is so easy to make and not as time consuming as most other soups. It’s a very traditional Russian/Ukrainian soup. I make it for my family at least once a month. Even my 2 year old son enjoys it, well mostly he picks out the meatballs lol but I don’t blame him because that’s my favorite part of the soup too. I usually use ground Turkey for this recipe but some people preffer pork. There won’t really be a big difference. I just preffer turkey because we don’t eat much pork. Next time you are in the mood for some yummy home made soup that is easy and fast to make, this is the recipe you are looking for.

Meatball Soup  {10-12}

Ingredients for the soup:   

  • 16 Cups filtered water
  • 1 Large onion
  • 3 Carrots
  • 8 potatoes
  • Dry or Fresh Dill (I use Trader Joe’s dry dill, 1 1/4 teaspoons or 1/2 bunch fresh dill)
  • 3 Celery ribs (1 cup), finely diced
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vegetable oil
  • 3/4 Cup of pasta (I use regular Spaghetti)
  • 1 Tablespoons of Salt                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Ingredients for the Meatballs:
  • 2 LB Ground Meat (Turkey or Pork Or mix half and half of both)
  • 1 Egg
  • Mrs.Dash Original seasoning, 1 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of Salt

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Directions:

1) Fill a large pot with 16 cups of filtered water. Put the pot on High heat and bring it  to a boil.

2) While the water is coming to a boil, peel, wash, and dice the potatoes.

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3) Add the potatoes to the pot. Then when it comes to a boil, add the 1 Tablespoon of salt in and mix.

4) Then wash, peel, and thinly cut your carrots. As soon as you are done add them to the pot. Lower the heat to Medium-High (I had it on 8.0)

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5) Finely cut your onion and divide it in half. You will need half to put into the meat mix and the other half to go into the soup. *Do NOT throw the onion in the pot just yet*

6) Put about 3/4 Cup of pasta into the pot. *I usually use regular Spaghetti, and I break it into 3 so that there wouldn’t be long strands of spaghetti but neat little pieces*

7) Put the ground meat into a big bowl. Add the egg, 1 teaspoon Mrs.Dash, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 of your chopped onion, and 2 teaspoons salt.

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8) Mix the meat mixture very well.

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9) Then make the meatballs. Take the meat mix and roll it into little balls. I make mine bouncy ball size. You can put the meatballs into the pot as you roll them or you can make them all and throw them in a few at a time. *I have always thrown them in as soon as I roll them to take less time and less dishes*

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10) Heat the 2 Tablespoons of Vegetable oil in a skillet. Add the chopped celery and onion. Cook it for about 7 minutes, Mixing continually or until the onion and celery is soft.

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11) Add the onion/celery mix to the pot of soup.

12) Lastly, add the dill to the soup.* I add Trader Joe’s dry dill, 1 and 1/4 teaspoons* … Try it. If you need to add more salt, pepper, or Mrs.Dash then do so. *I usually add 1 teaspoon of Mrs.Dash, and sprinkle a little salt and pepper in it.

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Chicken Gnocchi Soup

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If you have ever been to Olive Garden, You may have tried the Chicken Gnocchi Soup. It is my favorite soup in Olive Garden and when we go there, I always order it! As much as I love going out to eat, we try to go out once a week and the rest of the week I cook at home. One day I was really craving this delicious soup, so I decided to try and make it at home. I found the recipe on Copykat.com, However after making it many times I have modified it, because the very first time I made it, I was very dissapointed and I was determined to make it taste more like the Olive Garden soup. Now I can honestly say that this recipe tastes even BETTER then the Olive Garden one. This soup is very easy to prepare and takes about 45 mins to make(with prep. and cook time), So it’s a great option for a weeknight dinner. It has become a family favorite in our house, Even my 2 year old son loves it. Give it a try and I hope your family enjoys it just as much as mine does.  🙂

Chicken Gnocchi Soup {Serves 8-10}                                          

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/2 a stick) butter
  • 1 Large onion (or 1 cup), finely diced
  • 3 ribs (or 1 cup) of celery, finely diced, the top/white part of bottom cut off
  • 1 quart Half & Half
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, finely shredded
  • 2 (14.5 ounce)  cans chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • a little dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (17 ounce) Ready to use pack of gnocchi ( I prefer mini gnocchi for my soup)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast, diced ( I always use a cooked Rotisserie chicken, take off the skin and use the breasts)
  • * TIP: Using a Rotisserie chicken, found in the ready to eat section in most grocery stores, gives this soup an amazing taste!                                                                               IMG_0168

( This is a picture of most of the ingredients)

Directions:

1) Do all of your prep work first. This makes it a lot easier for you later on! Wash, peel and shred the carrots,Wash and coarsely cut the spinach. Peel and finely cut the onion, mince the garlic, wash and finely dice the celery. *The onion, celery, and garlic may be put into one plate

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2) Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan, on medium heat, Add the butter into the oil and let it melt a bit

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3) Add the onion, celery, and garlic into the pot. Stir it occasionally until the onion becomes soft and translucent.

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4) When the onion is soft, whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring it all around so that it does not burn and spreads out evenly.

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5) Whisk in the Half & Half, simmer it until it thickens up a bit, then add the chicken broth in. Mix it and let is simmer until it thickens again.

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6) Stir in 1/2 teaspoon Salt. Then stir in the thyme, parsley flakes and nutmeg. Mix well.

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7) Stir in the carrots, gnocchi, spinach leaves, and chicken.

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8) Simmer (Still on 5.0 heat) until soup is heated through and the gnocchi are soft. Approximately 5 to 10 mins.

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I usually serve it with hot fresh bread sticks, to make it feel more like Olive Garden at home. But fresh bread works just fine too.  This soup tastes best when it is just made and hot! ENJOY!