I always make this easy chicken gnocchi soup when we have a cold and busy day ahead of us - it cooks all day in the slow cooker, then you'll finish it with a few ingredients just before dinnertime rolls around. This is just as good as going out to Olive Garden for dinner (but if you ask my kids, they'll tell you this homemade one is even better!).
Slow cook: Place onion, carrots and celery at the bottom of the crock. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and sit on top of vegetables. Combine broth, garlic powder, thyme, rosemary and minced garlic in measuring jug, then pour over chicken and vegetables in crock. Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours, or on LOW for 7-8 hours.
Shred chicken: Open lid of slow cooker and remove chicken to a wooden board, then shred chicken with two forks. Whisk cornstarch into evaporated milk, then stir into soup together with gnocchi and shredded chicken. Cover and cook for another 45 minutes on HIGH.
Finish soup: Stir spinach into soup until wilted. Check for seasoning and serve immediately.
Chicken: You can also make this with boneless, skinless chicken thighs for a more economical dinner. The cooking time stays the same.Gnocchi: I you can't find any gnocchi, it's just as good with cheese tortellini or with wide egg noodles!Spinach: Feel free to leave out the spinach if your family isn't a fan of leaves in their dinner (my kids were very opposed a couple of years ago, but now that I've convinced them it's what Rebecca Rabbit eats, they find it fun, ha!).Evaporated milk: You can also use cream or half-and-half in place of the evaporated milk.
Make sure the chicken sits on top of the vegetables so it doesn't burn to the bottom of the crock. Some of the veggies will float up when you pour the broth on top, that doesn't matter! As long as you place the vegetables in the crock first, then the chicken second and finally the broth.If you like a very thick soup, try cooking it without the lid for the final 45 minutes. Just make sure no pets or kids can get to it!
This is a nice and hearty soup all by itself, but if you want to serve something on the side, we LOVE my Garlic Parmesan Mini Monkey Breads with this recipe. You can also use canned biscuits in place of the homemade dough the recipe asks for. Plain biscuits are also delicious, and so is a hearty No Knead Bread!