Chicken, Pasta, and Chickpea Stew

It's more than a little bit dreary outside today.

In fact, it's pretty much the exact opposite of the weather this time last week in sunny Mexico, where I got cooked to a crisp in the shade.  Yes, the shade.

Sigh.  What a difference a week (and 40 margaritas) can make on one's state of mind. 

But alas, here we are.  Back to fall, back to half-marathon training, back to all of the comforts of home, including TV's fall lineup, crisp and cozy sleeping weather, and hearty Chicken, Pasta, and Chickpea Stew.

This time last week, you can safely bet I was not eating this healthy.  I was enjoying meals just as comforting, sure, but one cannot subsist on guacamole alone (although I would sign up to try).  So tonight, I threw together this satisfying, comforting, easy chicken stew/soup recipe, hoping to trick my brain out of vacation mode. 

It worked!  I haven't yet had one wistful flashback to the afternoon we spent sipping Dirty Bananas down the lazy river (before now. Darn.). 

Chicken, Pasta, and Chickpea Stew
adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
Yields 6 servings

1 c celery, thinly sliced
3/4 c carrot, diced
1/2 c onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 c fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
3 c marinara (bottled or homemade)
1 c canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3/4 c uncooked ditalini pasta
2 tsp oregano
1 lb uncooked chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat a dutch oven or large heavy pot over medium heat, coated with cooking spray.  Add celery, carrot, and onion to the pot, and cook approximately 10 minutes (or until veggies are just tender), stirring occasionally.  Add your garlic, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly so as not to burn it. 

Leaves and all!

Add your chicken broth and the next 5 ingredients (through oregano), and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 12 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. 

We call 'em Deets.

Add the chicken to the pot, stirring occasionally to cook until done, approximately 5 minutes.

Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese as desired.

Really, who needs an all-you-can-eat Mexican buffet anyway?

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