My main household duties for the last three decades were chief grocery shopper, chef, and “magician of all things food.”  Well, that ended abruptly.  Our kids have flown the nest and it’s just my husband and me. Apparently, we don’t eat very much.

I’m relearning how to cook, shop for two, and being an empty nester. In my opinion, it’s easier cooking for an army of hungry boys. Plus, my clean-up crew is gone.

Two things stand out when cooking for two. Most recipes serve four or more and leftovers are my new reality. We can either eat leftovers as they are or create something new with them. I don’t know if you’re like me, but eating leftovers is hit or miss. 

Some things taste great reheated like lasagna or spaghetti. But then there are those things that taste weird like cooked chicken. Most cooked meats taste better combined with something else. 

This recipe is perfect with fresh ingredients or leftovers. I’ve cooked it both ways and it’s “souper” either way.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Serves 2

2 Tbsp. butter

1 small onion, chopped 

1 rib celery, sliced 

1 carrot, coarsely chopped (cooked or raw)

1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh garlic 

2 Tbsp. flour 

5-6 cups chicken broth

Pinch of smoked paprika 

3/4 cup cooked rice

1 cup deli rotisserie chicken, shredded

1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped 

Fresh lemon juice to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter until sizzling. Add onion, celery, carrots; continue cooking 3-5 minutes until onions are softened. Add garlic; cook for 30-60 seconds. Add the flour and stir to coat. Slowly add the chicken broth (about 5 cups) while whisking and bring soup to a slow simmer. Add the paprika. Continue simmering for 10 minutes until carrots are tender (skip this step if your carrots are already cooked). Stir in cooked rice, chicken, and parsley. Add more broth if the soup is too thick. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon to taste and serve. 

Lisa Erickson is a food columnist who loves adventure and food. You can find more recipes at or email her at

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