Easy dinner recipes: Terrific chicken soups to warm up your evenings fast

Simple chicken soup recipes perfect for weeknight dinners

Sometimes you can't do better than a simple bowl of chicken soup. These basic recipes -- chunky vegetable chicken soup, tom kha gai and Moroccan chicken soup -- come together easily (one even cooks up in the microwave), and you can't beat the flavors.

Moroccan chicken soup: This isn't your ordinary chicken soup; each bite is flavored with bits of carrot and celery, garbanzo beans and cracked wheat. It's rich, yet delicately spiced with notes of cinnamon and curry. Best of all? The whole thing comes together in about 45 minutes.

Chunky vegetable chicken soup: Short on time but looking for a rich soup with slow-simmered flavor? Chop some vegetables, open a few cans and toss with chopped chicken in a casserole dish. Then pop it in the microwave -- yes, the microwave. From start to finish the soup comes together in only 40 minutes.

Coconut chicken soup (Tom Kha Gai): This immensely popular soup can be found on practically every Thai restaurant menu, the flavorful mix of coconut milk, fresh lime juice, fish sauce and lemongrass complementing the straw mushrooms, Thai peppers and chunks of chicken. This recipe from Jet Tila (a former L.A. Times Test Kitchen intern!) comes together in only 15 minutes. Yes, you read that right. The recipe follows.


Active work and total preparation time: 15 minutes | Serves 4 to 6

    4 cups chicken stock or broth
    2 (3-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
    1 (15-ounce) can straw mushrooms, drained
    1 to 3 roasted Thai chiles
    5 tablespoons fish sauce
    3 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
    1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (not light)
    1 1/2 cups chopped cabbage
    Kaffir (Thai) lime leaves, for garnish
    Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Bring Thai chicken stock to simmer over medium-high heat in large pot. Add chicken, mushrooms and chiles and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Stir in fish sauce, lime juice and coconut milk. Add chopped cabbage and cook until just tender, about 1 minute. Divide among serving bowls and garnish each with 1 to 2 lime leaves and cilantro.

Each of 6 serving: 216 calories; 1,270 mg sodium; 12 mg cholesterol; 16 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams protein; 2.18 grams fiber.

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