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This spring has been awful for colds and flu. Everyone here is still getting over a nasty bought with the flu and we all have coughs hanging on that simply won't go away. I thought I'd talk about Mom's old stand by for the yuck .... chicken noodle soup. It has been said that chicken soup has properties in it that relieve congestion, help clear chest congestion, and fix clogged sinuses. Okay, I know that sounds like an advertisement for a newfangled cold medicine, but it really works!
Just imagine the smell of chicken cooking in a pot and spices simmering in the broth. MMMM I can almost taste it now. Once the chicken is cooked, you'll want to let it cool a bit before de-boning it. Add a bit of chopped onion, celery, carrots, and any other vegetables you like to the stock. Once the chicken is off the bone, add it back into the pot with the stock and vegetables. Cook the vegetables until they're tender. Then you can add in some egg noodles. Once the noodles are cooked, you can add a tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken the soup if you want. Some mashed potato flakes would also thicken the soup.
You can serve the soup over mashed potatoes, or with some warm cornbread. This soup also works well in a bread bowl. Sprinkle a little grated cheese over the top, or crush some crackers into it. Seasoned oyster crackers - see the recipe below -- are also a fun side to this dish.
I like to make up a huge batch of this soup and can it for when it's needed. That way, all you have to do is open a jar and heat it on the stove or in the microwave. It also freezes well. I suggest cooling the broth and skimming the fat off before you freeze this dish since the fat will rise to the top as the broth cools. Do you have a child away at college? This would work well in a care package to send with them when they leave for school. Always remember, any recipe can be made your own by experimenting with spices and different vegetables.
Cook the chicken in water to make a broth and de-bone the cooked chicken. Cool the broth and skim off the fat. Bring the broth to a boil, add the vegetables and cook until tender. Add the noodles and cook. You can thicken with cornstarch or mashed potato flakes, if desired, and top with grated cheese.
Mix the oyster crackers and the olive oil, making sure that the crackers are evenly coated. Place the ranch dressing in a resealable plastic bag. Add the crackers and coat them well by shaking. Bake the crackers in an oven preheated to 250 degrees for about 30 minutes.