Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup
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Most families have a favorite soup they enjoy eating together and Brendon Ayanbadejo’s family is no different. Brendon, a former NFL linebacker, shared his mom's chicken soup recipe as a way to honor her on Mother's Day. One of the many things that make this recipe special is the homemade chicken broth. ADA registered dietitian, Shamera Robinson, agrees this is a smart approach. "Making your own broth helps to control how much salt you eat," she says. "But don’t worry! If you’re in a hurry, then you can skip a few steps by using a low-sodium chicken broth from the store."

Ayanbedejo says certain ingredients make the soup sing: the whole chicken (with skin and bones); cilantro; and lime (added right before serving). “The way that all the flavors blend together—it tastes so good. Sometimes, I’ll make tortillas to have on the side with the soup,” he adds.

  • Prep time
    20 min
  • Cook time
    2 hr
  • Servings
    8 Servings
  • Serving size
    1 cup of soup
Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts

8 Servings

  • Serving Size
    1 cup of soup
  • Amount per serving Calories 310

  • Total Fat 14g
    • Saturated Fat 3.5g
    • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 90mg
  • Sodium 410mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 11g
    • Dietary Fiber 2g
    • Total Sugars 4g
  • Protein 36g
  • Potassium 570mg
  • Phosphorus 285mg

Choices/Exchanges: 1 Nonstarchy vegetable, 1 1/2 Fat, 1/2 Starch, 4 Lean protein



  • whole chicken (fresh or thawed)
  • celery
    4 stalks
  • onion(s)
    1 whole
  • garlic
    4 clove
  • carrot(s)
  • zucchini or yellow summer squash
  • jalapeño pepper
  • ears corn
  • water
    8 cup
  • bay leaves
  • lime (juiced)
  • cilantro (chopped)
    1 bunch


  1. Make the broth first: In a large stock pot, add 8 cups of water, whole chicken, 2 of the celery sticks, ½ of the onion, 2 of the garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste.

  2. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 1 hour.

  3. While the broth is simmering, dice the remaining celery sticks, the other half of the onion, the carrots, and the squash. Finely mince the remaining garlic cloves and jalapeño. Chop the ears of corn into 3-inch pieces.

  4. When the broth is done simmering, remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Strain broth and reserve the liquid in a bowl or other container (discard strained ingredients). Skim the fat off the top of the broth.

  5. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and discard. Remove meat from the bones and roughly chop.

  6. In the same pot, add all of the chopped vegetables, the chopped chicken, salt and pepper to taste, and bay leaves.

  7. Add the broth. The broth should cover everything in the pot by 2 inches. If not, add water and more salt.

  8. Cover and cook for 1 hour on low heat.

  9. Remove bay leaves before serving.

  10. Serve and top with cilantro

  • Recommended

    I enjoyed this recipe and plan to use it again. This is a very nice alternative to your more traditional chicken noodle soup. The jalapeño gives the soup a nice zip. I loved the corn and cilantro. I thought 4 zucchini sounded like too much and used only two of the squash, not four. I thought this was perfect. Note: I also like more carrots and celery so the next time I make this recipe I will +1 on each of those ingredients. Note: I didn’t have jalapeños so I substituted with chili powder and cayenne pepper. One curiosity: the recipe does not mention when to add the squeezed lime juice. This resulted in me forgetting about it until after I had sampled the soup. As I was cleaning up in the kitchen, I found the two limes and hastily added the juice. It seemed to soften the heat of the jalapeño/cayenne. All in all, a great recipe, which I recommend to others.