Chicken soup; my favorite four recipes

Add tablespoons of biscuit dough to the traditional soup for chicken and dumplings

It is cold and flu season, and there is nothing better than a bowl of chicken soup when you are sneezing and sniffling; or just coming inside after some chilly weather.  Scientific studies actually show that eating chicken soup can help cure a cold faster too!

If you have never made chicken soup from scratch, it is surprisingly easy.  Yes, it takes a few hours to cook, but very little hands-on time and oh so easy on the budget.  It is very worth the little effort!  I like to make a big batch of the “basic soup” and then add fixings for a variety of ethnic flavors, depending on what I’m craving that day.

Basic Broth

I like to make my own broth because of the cost-savings, the great flavor, and the quality ingredients.  Really, does my one year-old need extra sodium and MSG?  Neither do the rest of us.  The broths and stocks in the grocery store that don’t have these unnecessary extras come with a high price tag, and since I’m buying the meat anyway, why not use those bones to make a delicious broth?

3lbs* chicken bone-in breasts

3lbs* chicken thighs with the bone

1 stalk celery, chopped

½ onion, chopped

½ cup carrot, chopped

2 quarts water

Place all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Allow to cool enough to handle without burning.  Use tongs to put meat pieces in a bowl, then strain broth and save it.  I put it in quart jars, about 2 cups each.  Shred the chicken meat and place in jars with the broth, and throw out the bones and cooked veggies.  If the jars are only filled 2/3 of the way up, you can freeze them like this without cracking.

* organic meat is the best, regular meat without additives or preservatives is next best, but even the meat with “up to 15% saline solution added” will work


Traditional Chicken Soup

1 quart basic broth

1 tbsp herbs de provence

1 tsp minced garlic

1 10oz bag mixed vegetables, whatever you like

2 cups rice or noodles (I use leftovers)

Salt and pepper

Mix in a pot and simmer for 20 minutes.  For chicken and dumplings (pictured above) I added tablespoonfuls of biscuit dough and baby spinach as the soup was simmering.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 quart basic broth

1 can (or 2 cups) black beans

½ cup salsa

1-2 tsps cumin

1 can corn

2-3 tbsps cilantro

1-2 tsps minced garlic

Mix and simmer for 20 minutes.  Serve with shredded cheese, yogurt/sour cream, fresh cilantro, and tortilla chips.

Fake Pho

1 quart basic broth

Cooked noodles; rice noodles are the most authentic, but I often use leftover whole-wheat thin spaghetti

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp each minced ginger and garlic

2 tbsps cilantro

2 tbsps fresh basil

Jalepeno, salt, and Sriracha hot chili sauce to taste

If you haven’t tried pho for a cold, I highly recommend it!  For this recipe, combine the first four ingredients and bring to a simmer, then serve with the herbs, salt and “spicy stuff” on the side.  This is also delicious with baby spinach or bok choy simmered in it.


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