So many people are sick right now. We are deep into cold and flu season, plus the ever-nearby apocalypse. Regardless of what the illness is or whether or not you can keep anything down, homemade chicken noodle soup is one of the greatest things in the world when you are ill! I know there are good, nutritious things in it, but chicken noodle soup also heals in non-physical ways. It’s the warmth of the bowl in your hands, the fragrant steam floating into your nostrils, that soothing sensation of your entire body warming as you eat it.
Last week I talked with 2 of our closest friends and their households were sick. I had been thinking about some homemade chicken noodle soup for about a week, and since I was on Christmas break I ran to the store and got to work. I made a big huge batch of soup in the new cast iron pot my parents got me for Christmas. We had it for dinner that night, and the next morning I made a couple french baguettes and Little Man and I delivered soup and bread to our sick friends in time for lunch. Drop and dash was our delivery method that day, and we had a blast doing it! We blared the music and sang along, talked trash about the people who were driving slow, and discussed why we take food to our friends when they are sick. Little Man has a very gentle and caring heart, and he loves to talk about how we show our love to those we love. We made it home in time for a short nap, a rarity for us these days, and Little Man and I snuggled and fell asleep while Quinn joined our nap time from the floor.
As you know, I love to make soup, eat soup, talk about soup. Even with all that love, I very rarely make chicken noodle. I have no idea why that is since we love it, but I just don’t think to make it. After this batch, however, it will be finding its way into our soup rotation. I may even make it this evening and do more deliveries tomorrow after a few baguettes hit the oven. Being on Christmas break allows me to cook and bake leisurely without tomorrow’s schedule looming over my head. I so appreciate the break from an extremely exhausting school year, and am re-charging myself each day so I can make it to the next break. This chicken noodle soup may end up being very good for my soul.
Yesterday there were 2 loaves of bread in the oven to take to my endocrinologist appointment. I love my endo! She is an absolutely wonderful physician, and I always try to take a baked good with me. Her receptionist is also a cheery slice of happy, and she also received a loaf of bread. I realize it may not be normal to take food to your physician, but food is one of my love languages and I show appreciation with baked goods. So there ya go! They also got a jar of cinnamon applesauce, since we talked about it at my last visit and they were both interested.
This morning I talked with my youngest daughter, oldest son, and my parents. Sis had a cold, Bro was not feeling well, and my dad just had oral surgery. So…you guessed it- chicken noodle soup and french baguettes to the rescue! Little Guy and I made the soup and bread in between picking up the house, wrestling practice, and scheduling some appointments. Then we headed out to make deliveries. I love to drop dinner on the doorstep, ring the doorbell, and be back behind the steering wheel before the door is answered. Sometimes getting up to answer the door is a big effort when you are sick. A delicious meal that doesn’t have to be prepare is one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone you love who just so happens to be feeling under the weather. I have sort of made that drop and dash style of meal delivery my signature move over the last month. It’s fun, you should try it sometime.
I made a good 6 quarts of soup so there was enough to share and still have enough for our dinner. My new enameled cast iron pot has been used twice now for chicken noodle soup and I am super obsessed with it. If you don’t have a cast iron pot, you really should get one. They are wonderful for absolutely anything you wanna make on the stovetop or in the oven. Heavy, yes, but they truly are worth their weight in enameled gold. I have a 7 qt Cuisinart and a 6 qt Martha Stewart, and I truly love them both and use them more than any other lightweight pot I own. They just cook better. Cast iron is freaking amazing, even if it’s a pain in the butt to care for. Enter enameled cast iron- all the awesomeness of cast iron and super easy care. Seriously, it’s Heaven- GO GET ONE!
Now that you are inspired to make yourself a steaming pot of soup and maybe even share some with a loved one who isn’t feeling their best, or maybe just because you love them, let’s get cooking! You will need a good pot (see above if you need a recommendation) chicken stock, chicken breasts, celery, onion, carrots, bay leaves, thyme, salt & pepper, soup noodle of choice, and water.
Lisa’s Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1/2-3/4 finely chopped onion of your choice
- 1 lb baby carrots, each sliced into 4ths
- 1 stalk celery, chopped into 1/4 inch slices
- 2 lbs chicken breast, diced small
- 4 quarts chicken stock of your choice
- 2-3 bay leaves based on size and personal taste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Cup water
- 2 Cups dried soup pasta of choice (I like cavatelli)
Pour 1 quart of stock into pot and set to medium high heat. Add bay leaves and thyme to stock. Chop onions into a small dice, baby carrots into 4ths, and celery into 1/4 inch slices. Add to stock, stir, and cover. Cut chicken breasts into a small dice, add to pot, add 3 quarts chicken stock, stir and cover. Lower heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour. Make sure all of your veggies are tender before cooking pasta. Add 1 cup water to the mix and allow to come back to a boil, then add pasta to broth and return to good boil. Boil pasta according to package directions. Serve immediately.
**If you are not serving immediately, do not add pasta. Pasta will soak up most of your broth, leaving you with a stew consistency instead of soup. To add pasta later, refrigerate broth after fully cooked. When ready to eat, re-heat broth to a boil, add pasta, and cook according to package instructions. You may also add additional chicken stock to fully-prepared soup to re-soup it. Taste and readjust seasonings if needed.**
Taking meals to the people I love makes me so happy. As I mentioned in a previous post, my mom is to blame for this. She is the one who taught me how to show love with a meal. I spent my childhood watching her take meals to people for various reasons, and it stuck. It truly is more than food. This simple gesture feeds my soul and nourishes my heart, and wraps those I love in a hug even when I cannot. Whatever the reason, please consider doing this for someone you love. You may even find yourself on the receiving end of this “hug” one day. What a difference we can make in our little part of the world if we just reach out in love!