Since I definitely didn’t get the green thumb in the family, my husband is in charge of the yard, and I get to enjoy the shrubs, bushes, and blossoms without ever pulling a single weed. But not so long ago, inspired by packets of seeds I’d seen in the hardware store, I decided to plant some carrots. It would be great for my kids to harvest their own veggies, I reasoned, and they might even be inspired to eat them. Despite my valiant efforts at watering and weeding, though, the bountiful crop of picture-perfect carrots that I envisioned did not grow. When we finally picked the carrots, we pulled out of the ground small, misshapen ones. Not more than two inches long, they actually were so malformed it was impossible to cut them into sticks.
Of course, the kids thought they were the most amazing carrots they’d ever seen and wanted to cook up something awesome. So I decided to turn the carrots into carrot soup instead, and voilà, the result was…delicious. This soup works with homegrown or store-bought carrots; it makes a great brown-bag lunch with Muenster or Monterey Jack cheese (sliced or cubed), and whole wheat crackers—and kids can take it to school in a Thermos.
Meanwhile, while the carrot soup was a hit in our family, my gardening skills were disappointing, so I‘ve since decided to give up the turf and repopulate the area with flowers. They smell and look nice, and I don’t have to do anything personally in order for them to thrive.
Carrot and Chicken Soup
What You’ll Need
- 2 to 4 carrots
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 cup diced, cooked chicken (leftover or buy a package of precooked chicken at the store)
- ½ cup frozen peas
- Fresh parsley for garnish, optional
What to Do
- Scrape the carrots, or show your helper how to do this.
- Slice the carrots into very thin rounds.Teachable Moment #1: What Your Kids Don’t Know About Carrots
- The words carrot, carat, karat, and caret are all pronounced the same way in the English language, but they have very different meanings. (And only one is the kind you can eat.)—Grammarist
- The baby carrot was “born” in the 1980s, when the carrot business hit a slump. To make carrots more appealing, a California grower sent irregular and misshapen carrots through a green-bean cutting machine and sliced them into the uniform 2-inch pieces we still use today.—Washington Post
- Let your child measure the carrots. You’ll want about 1 cup for this soup
- Pour the broth into a large saucepan or have your sous-chef help you. Then let her add the carrots and macaroni to the saucepan. Place the saucepan on the stovetop and turn the heat to medium. When the broth boils, reduce the heat to low. Allow the carrots and macaroni to simmer in the broth for about 10 minutes or until soft.Teachable Moment #2: Super-Cool Soup Facts
- According to archaeological records, soup dates back to 6000 BC, when hippopotamus soup was all the rage.—iFood.tv
- American gangster Al Capone opened one of the first-ever soup kitchens during the Great Depression to clean up his gangster reputation. The kitchen served three meals a day to those who were out of work.—Rare Historical Photos
- Invite your helper to measure out the chicken and peas. Under your supervision, he can carefully add these to the saucepan. Continue to simmer the soup until the chicken and peas are hot.
- If you want to garnish the soup with parsley, let your child pull some parsley leaves from the stems. Then you can take over and chop the leaves finely. Let your child sprinkle the chopped parsley on the soup. Serve hot.