Friday, November 11, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup~ to Cure What Ails You

It's that time of year again. No, I am not talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am talking about cold and flu season. It is upon us again. Blech. Anyone who has kids, especially more than one, knows that the sick season takes on a whole new meaning when you are a Mom. I read somewhere that the average child get between 5-6 colds per year! That's amazingly awful news. Luckily, my kids don't get that many, but we still get a couple a year. Since becoming a mom 8 years ago I have dealt with my fair share of sick kids: colds, ear infections, RSV (that was NOT a fun one), Strep, bronchial spasms, Pneumonia, the Flu, the dreaded stomach bug, Roseola, and various other mysterious undiagnosable illnesses that all kids get. Looking at that list it would seem my kids are sickly. They aren't! Spread those out between 3 kids and 8 years- it's not too bad of a track record.

My go-to food whenever I am sick has always been chicken noodle soup. It tastes so good when your throat is raw, your nose is stuffy, and your head is pounding. But the canned stuff isn't the real thing, and can be pretty gross (at least in my opinion). Yes, it's easy and ok in a pinch, but it can be oily, high in sodium, and lower in nutrition. I prefer to make my own and my kids ask for it whenever they are feeling under the weather- they call it Mommy's Magic Soup. This week we had our first cold of the season. The Middle One brought it home from preschool and shared it with the Little One, and then the Big One. Luckily it's been a fast mover and pretty mild. But the girls still wanted Mommy's Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup to help them get better faster.

This is a super simple recipe. It is not a gourmet soup, it's a comfort food. Oh, and there actually isn't any chicken in it:-) It's veggies, broth, noodles, and a few spices and that's it. But it does the trick. It is intended to be as easy as possible, and to be made quickly.

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Onion- half of a small one, diced
4 large carrots-sliced
4 celery stalks-sliced
2 32 oz boxes of Organic chicken broth, or if Vegan, vegetable broth
2 cups Water (or more if needed)
Ground gingers- start with a teaspoon and add more to your taste
Thyme- again, a teaspoon then add more as needed
salt and pepper to taste.
noodles of your choice

Or for vegetarian or vegan:

1. Heat the oil in a pot on medium high heat. Add your chopped veggies. Let cook until the onions are translucent, stirring often. Be careful not to burn the carrots.

2.Add 1 box of broth, 1 cup of water, ginger, Thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the carrots start to soften.

3. Add your noodles- last night I used the rest of a bag of Fusilli I had in the cabinet. Use roughly 1-2 cups of noodles. As they cook, you may find you need to adjust your liquids. You can either add more water for a blander soup, or more stock for more flavor. I usually add half of another box of broth and 1/2 cup of broth. Adjust your seasoning as you go, to your taste preferences. Every time I make this soup it's a little different. I don't measure my spices anymore, I just eyeball them and go by taste.

This, along with a glass of orange juice, helped my girls feel better last night.

The soup does not last well overnight because of the noodles, they tend to soak up all the liquid. It is best eaten fresh. What I will sometimes do is make the broth, and reheat portions and add noodles so we can keep it around for a day or two. Or, what I am going to do this week, is make up a few batches of the broth and freeze it. That way I will have it already made when I need it.

*This is also good to make if you are recovering from the dreaded stomach bug. I use rice instead of noodles ( to go along with the BRAT diet: Bread, Rice, Applesauce, Toast). Either cook the rice separate, or use 5 minute boil-in-a-bag rice, otherwise you will lose all your liquid. I don't use onion, since that can be hard to digest. I also cut the veggies up much smaller and let them cook down. Carrots and ginger are good for calming the stomach.*

What's your go-to sick food?

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