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Taste test: Chicken noodle soups

White Chicken Chili. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]

White Chicken Chili. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]

With holiday stress, busy schedules and changing weather patterns, it's always a good idea to be ready to heat up chicken noodle soup for a family member feeling exhausted or under the weather. We went looking for ready-made soups that have a small shelf life in the pantry or the refrigerator. All can be warmed on the stove or in a microwave oven. We didn't include canned soups that usually require additional liquid, although one familiar canned soup maker did well with some of the company's newer offerings.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent


(out of 100)
My Goodness Soup Chicken and Orzo


Campbell's Homestyle Chicken Noodle


Campbell's Slow Kettle Style Roasted Chicken Noodle



This soup had orzo pasta that impressed our judges. They also liked the flecks of herbs and vegetables. "This is the most homemade looking," said one judge who detected Greek flavors in the blend. "It's got a pleasant Greek vibe to it with a bit of tartness and a salty-tangy balance." She especially liked the taste of artichoke in the soup. "I love the orzo," said another panelist. "I feel like I'm on the isle of Santorini just before sunset at the Caldera and everything is fine with the world." Another had a similar take. "This tastes like Greek Avgolemono soup with lemon tartness and orzo," she said. "I love this because it's warming and rich with a bit of a dancer's kick."Judges said the Campbell's Homestyle offering would be a good base for a more substantial soup. It had thin noodles and a tasty broth with good bits of chicken. But it needed a little spicing up. "This would be a good travel soup that can be enjoyed while driving the Blue Ridge Parkway," said one judge. Others said they would add vegetables and some fresh herbs. "This is a little simple, with not much going on," said one. Still, panelists said it was a good option. "It's tasty in a Saturday afternoon sort of way," said one."Wholesome" was the word judges used most to describe this Campbell's soup. "It would be a good warmup during a midday white out at Snowmass," said one panelist who does a lot of winter skiing. Another said the chicken was a bit chewy and the noodles were kind of thick for her taste. One said it would be good for children because of the chunkiness of the pieces and the fun, corkscrew pasta. "It's a nice, rich broth," she added.

they buy?
All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$4.99 for a 15-ounce container from Target.$2 for a 15.4-ounce container from Publix.$2.99 for a 15.5-ounce container from Target.

Also Sampled: Healthy Choice ($1.99 for a 14-ounce container from Publix, 40 points) and the Fresh Market ($4.99 for a 16-ounce container, 20 points).

Panelists: Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Mary Jane Park, executive director of the St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District Association; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving sizeOne cupOne cupOne cup
Fat/Fiber0.5g / 1g3g / 1g3g / 1g
Sugars/Sodium2g / 600mg1g / 890mg2g / 790mg
Carbs/Protein17g / 7g10g / 3g10g / 8g

Taste test: Chicken noodle soups 12/07/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 9, 2015 9:41am]
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