To make the gnocchi from scratch, in a large bowl with a wire whisk, stir together the water, egg, butter, garlic powder, salt, and parsley. Mix it well.
With a large wooden spoon stir in the potato flakes and the flour. This should make a large dough ball.
If it’s still really sticky, add a spoonful or two of extra flour to absorb the extra moisture.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Shape the dough into a large oval, and divide the oval into four equal pieces.
Roll each piece into a snake that is about a half-inch in diameter.
Using a sharp knife, cut the snake into one inch long bits.
Take each bit of the dough and gently form it into an oval or football shape.
Using a fork, gently make a set of indentations on each piece of gnocchi.
Repeat this process with the remainder of the dough and set the gnocchi aside until you are ready to use them.
About half of the gnocchi can be put in a zip-top freezer bag and frozen for future use.
To create the soup, first, cook the chicken breasts by poaching them in hot water on the stovetop.
Place the chicken breasts in a pot on the stove and cover them with water. Bring the water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.
Turn off the heat, put the lid on the pot, and let it sit on the warm stove eye for about twenty minutes.
After the time is up, remove the chicken from the pot and put it on a plate to cool.
When it’s cool enough to manage, shred the chicken with your fingers into bite-sized pieces. Set the chicken aside.
In a large dutch oven, heat the cooking oil over medium-high heat.
Add the celery and carrots, cooking and stirring until the veggies are soft, about five to ten minutes.
Add the garlic and saute until the garlic is a light golden brown.
Add the chicken, the chicken broth, thyme, and salt, bringing the soup to a boil.
Gently stir in the gnocchi.
Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook the gnocchi for about ten minutes.
Stir in the half and a half and the frozen spinach and heat the soup through.
Taste, adding salt and pepper as needed.