It seems like everyone I know has experienced an exceptionally cold January! This arctic blast is making me want to stay inside with a warm blanket and my favorite comfort foods. But staying inside also means less vitamin D and more chances of catching a cold from the recycled air. One of my favorite soups to make is a savory pho in my crockpot! The herbs cook low and slow with chicken and stock to make a vitamin rich broth that tastes amazing. Bok Choy is loaded with vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene which are powerful antioxidants! It's an easy, warm dinner that can make the whole family happy on a cold winter night.
This asian chicken noodle soup really packs a punch with star anise, cinnamon, whole cloves, basil, cilantro, coriander and bok choy! Traditional Asian pho usually includes some add-ins like: sliced jalapeños, lime wedges, bean sprouts, cilantro, Sriracha, Hoisin or chili garlic sauce. This allows you to make the flavor a little milder for the kiddos to enjoy, but then spice up your own bowl to your liking! If you don’t have fish sauce on hand or simply can’t stand the smell, try mixing 1 Tbsp soy sauce + 1 Tbsp white vinegar and adding a little pinch of salt!
KEEP IT EASY
This is a great soup to set it and forget it! You could cook it on the stove top in a pot, but I like to cook it all day in a crock pot or instant pot. Then I never have to worry about little hands touching a hot burner! There's also very little dishes to clean with this meal, because you can potentially do everything in the one pot. We know parents are busy and want some tasty, easy, kid-friendly meals to make each week.
APPEAL TO THE WHOLE FAMILY
It's so simple with a broth, chicken and noodle base that can it appeal to more selective eaters. But you can also set out all the wonderful toppings so that each person in the family can add their favorites. I love meals like this because of it's simplicity, but also may help peak kids curiosity with how they can create their own special bowl of soup.
Crockpot Chicken Pho Recipe
- 2 quarts (8 cups) chicken stock
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 8 star anise
- 8 cloves, whole
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tsp coriander, whole
- 4 tsp light brown sugar
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tsp salt
- 8 oz pho rice noodles
- 3 cups bok choy, chopped
- Optional toppings:
- Sliced jalapeños
- Fresh Basil leaves
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Lime wedges
- Bean sprouts
- Chili garlic sauce
- Set your instant pot or slow cooker to the saute feature. Toast your aromatics (star anise, cinnamon stick, whole cloves, whole coriander) plus onions and ginger for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Alternatively, if you don't have a saute feature, you can toast everything in a pan.
- Add chicken stock, chicken breasts, brown sugar, fish sauce, and salt to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- After your chicken has cooked, remove from the crockpot and place in a small mixing bowl. Using your handheld mixer, shred chicken breasts for 60-90 seconds or until finely shredded.
- Using a mesh strainer, remove the star anise, cloves and coriander from the pot. Return chicken to the pot.
- Add chopped bok boy to the crockpot and set to high heat for 10-15 minutes. Replace the lid and heat until the leaves are wilted and cooked through.
- At this time, arrange the optional toppings your family will enjoy (sliced jalapeños, fresh basil, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, bean sprouts and sauces)
- When the bok choy is finished cooking, add the dried rice noodles to the pot. Submerge them and allow to cook for 5 minutes or as instructed on the package.
- Ladle the steaming soup into large bowls and add your favorite toppings!