Flu and cold season is in full swing here, and while my family has been blessed with good health this winter, I want to be prepared. One of my favorite comfort foods to help fight off these illnesses is homemade chicken noodle soup. Researchers aren’t entirely sure why chicken noodle soup helps, but it does seem to have some healing properties. Maybe it’s the steam from the hot soup or possibly some anti-inflammatory effects. They really aren’t sure. We do know, however, that it’s filled with nutrient-rich vegetables and is a good source of fluids at a time when you really need to stay hydrated.
I know I could just open a can of soup and heat it up when the time comes, but why not make a large batch of homemade chicken noodle soup and freeze it in smaller quantities? It’s quite simple to do and tastes so much better than the canned varieties. Even if you’re not sick, it can be part of a tasty meal.
For this recipe I chose to use a reduced-sodium chicken broth as the base, but if you make your own chicken stock, that’s even better. With four kids still at home and homeschooling them, I chose the least time-consuming route! For the noodles I like to use Amish style old-fashioned egg noodles.
The recipe below makes a large amount—enough for a meal with plenty left over to freeze for later. I usually freeze it as is—with the noodles. Some people, however, prefer to freeze the soup without the noodles and then add them when it’s ready to serve. You can do it either way. Sometimes freezing it with the noodles makes it a little thicker. If that happens I just add a little extra broth when I heat it up.
Whichever way you choose it still tastes great. This soup goes well with some crusty whole-grain homemade bread and sliced cheese. So try some, and when winter illnesses do hit, you’ll be prepared!
What’s your favorite comfort food when illness visits your home?
Chicken Noodle Soup
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. diced onion
3 c. diced celery
2 ½ c. sliced carrots
3 Tbsp. flour
5 qt. chicken broth
4 c. shredded, cooked chicken
2 tsp. ground sage
½ tsp. pepper
2 tsp. rosemary2 tsp. savory
1 lb. Amish style, old-fashioned egg noodles – cooked
Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add minced garlic and onion and sauté until tender. Add celery and carrots and cook 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Mix in flour and then slowly add broth, stirring continuously. Add chicken and spices. Bring to a simmer and cook for another 20 minutes until chicken is heated through and vegetables are tender. **Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions till al dente. Drain noodles, rinse, and add to soup. Cool slightly and then ladle into freezer containers. Cover, label, and place containers in freezer. Let thaw in refrigerator overnight and then reheat before serving. Makes 28 cups.
**Some people prefer to add noodles at serving time rather than freezing them with the soup.
Serving size: 1 cup (with noodles)
Nutrition information for 1 cup (with noodles): 122 calories, 13 gm carbohydrate, 10 gm protein, and 3 gm fat