I make home made chicken soup pretty often. Johnny and I both love it, and it makes a lot so we can have leftovers and lunches. It also freezes well, so you can make 1 big pot and have half for dinner now and half for dinner in the future!
I always use:
~12 cups stock/bouillon of choice
1 deli chicken *see note
4 or 5 carrots
4 or 5 celery stalks
2 bay leaves
Depending on mood/what's on hand, the starch will be either:
1 cup orzo pasta
Begin with your big ass pot and chop and drop the onion, carrots, celery, and potato, if using. Fill with about 12 cups of stock, or water and bouillon. Throw in the bay leaves and bring up to a simmer, letting it hang out about 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, remove all the skin and bones from the deli chicken and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. (Note: I always purchase the low-sodium option. Also look to see if your store sells them after a certain hour for a discount. My store puts them in the refrigerated area so they're not shriveling under the heat lamps and marks them down half-price after a few hours. I usually get them for $3.99, which is a better deal than buying a raw one and more convenient!)
If using orzo add once the vegetables become tender along with the chicken. Put the lid on and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the orzo has softened and the chicken has come up to temperature.
This latest batch of chicken and orzo soup was actually really exciting for me! It was the first time I cooked anything using my home made vegetable stock! Because I had kept it bland I did end up adding 1 tsp. of Kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper and it was perfect!
Both Johnny and I were really impressed with the flavor. It had tons of depth and character - tasting like it'd been simmering away for hours, instead of a quick weeknight meal!