The Best Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s the new year and my desire to live a more healthy and mindful life has hit a snag.  More specifically, we’ve been hit with the flu.  So far it’s only claimed one of us (here’s to hoping our flu shots do their job!) but I’ve seen this movie before . . . it’s only a matter of time before it starts picking us off one by one.  And with three kids, that’s a whole lotta sickness waiting in the wings.

In the meantime, I will remain positive, keep exercising, disinfect the house to levels of surgical integrity and have a pot of chicken noodle soup at the ready.

Baba’s Chicken Noodle Soup

1 Chicken 2 to 3 lb. or about 2 lbs. deboned and skinless chicken (this is easier and Baba swears by Costco’s chicken).

Wash and place chicken in large pot (about 8 litres) and cover with cold water.

IMG_3875Bring to boil, remove scum, add a tablespoon salt, and boil for about 5 to 8 minutes.
Remove chicken from pot and remove bones and skin if chicken is whole.

Put aside.

Into the water used to boil the chicken, put aromatics:
a large handful of parsley with stems, a few stalks of celery with leaves, large onion peeled and quartered, green leaves of a few leeks, a few cabbage leaves or broccoli stalks or cauliflower stalks.

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Side note: If Baba knows that she is planning to make soup, she saves these in a baggie in the fridge.
Boil these aromatics in the soup for 20 minutes then remove and drain them. Taste soup for salt and adjust seasoning.

If you want, add 2 packets or 1 cube of chicken bouillon. Add
additional water if necessary.

Bring soup to boil and add spaghetti or fine noodles or any shaped pasta. The amount is contingent on the amount of soup there is and how much pasta you want in it.

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My boys like it both noodley and with spaghetti – all the better for slurping!
Boil for about 2 to 3 minutes, taste for salt and adjust if necessary, then add the chicken and more water if necessary, and boil until pasta is done.

Remove from heat immediately and serve.

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Souper Douper!

Photo by cogdogblog on Flickr. Used under a creative commons licence.

Name a food that is (a) easy to prepare (b) healthy and (c) inexpensive to make?

My husband reminded us of one last week.

Soup.

But not any old soup. Homemade chicken rice soup. From scratch.

I know! It sounds like a no-brainer, right? Soup is soup. It has sustained people for generations. Yet, how many of us regularly make our own chicken broth? There was a time when I made chicken soup all the time, but I fell out of the habit of it, given that there are so many easy (read: canned) alternatives that can be ready in slightly less time than it takes to press a couple of buttons on a microwave. So why make your own? You just have to eat one bowl of freshly made soup, and the reasons become obvious. Homemade chicken soup is one of those foods that is easy and cheap to make, and infinitely better from scratch than anything that comes out of a can. It’s just nicer. And it’s better for you, too. As someone who avoids gluten, I know what’s exactly in my soup when it’s made at home. And it makes me happy. We should all eat what makes us happy.

Peter’s become the designated chicken rice soup maker around our place. Here’s how he does it:

At the grocery store I decided to buy the pack of 4 chicken breasts on the bone (around $11 vs $20+ for boneless). Boning the meat isn’t hard; however not being an expert I didn’t fret getting every last bit off the bones. However, I’d paid for the things so I didn’t want to throw them out. So I made soup. To the bones-with-meat I added 1 finely chopped onion, 2 biggish carrots, 2 stalks celery (with leaves even!), peppercorns, 1 large bay leaf, some thyme and 2 whole cloves of garlic plus water to cover, and simmered for 2 hours. After a night in the fridge, I skimmed the fat, took the meat off the bones, and added a cup or so of rice (and cooked for 20 min) and salt to taste. Awesome and simple. Boning the meat-5 min; chopping onions, carrots and celery-5 min; picking meat from bones and skimming-5 min; everything else-5 min. We had enough for 6 good sized bowls that blew away any store-bought soup, plus 4 good sized breasts that we cooked up the first night.

Four chicken breasts. Two meals, and one of them is soup. Of course, chicken soup freezes really well, but only if you have leftovers to freeze in the first place!