I have yet to read Rachel Hollis’ exceptionally popular book, Girl, Wash Your Face. I can’t speak to how life-changing it actually is, but I do like what I assume is her no-nonsense approach to telling people what to do. I also like calling people Girl when I can’t remember their name. It doesn’t matter your gender, or even if you are a dog, I will call you Girl.
I also like to tell people what to do. So, Girl, listen up!
Make yourself some 45-minute chicken soup.
My family has been under the weather more times in the past four months with our most recent move than in the previous six years combined. I am a true believer in babying my family when they don’t feel well. My mom did it for me, and I feel like there is no medicine like having your mom at your beck and call when you don’t feel well. That, and a combination of Ibuprofen and Tylenol. Unfortunately for everyone in my home, I also have been sick. And, Girl, as you have inevitably found out by now, nobody cares. Read into that what you will. Not only do they not care, I am also expected to care for everyone else who probably feels better than I do. Don’t forget washing puke filled sheets when you yourself are both nauseous and a sympathetic puker.
When I was young, my mom used to get me comfy, turn on some amazing game show, and bring me grilled cheese and chicken soup with oyster crackers. Sprite was included, and when we were lucky, ginger ale. I cannot recall which type of soup was the norm, but I do remember being delighted when she surprised me with the Lipton Noodle Soup, EXTRA noodle option. It just made me feel better. To this day I still make it for myself each time I go home to visit.
Under normal circumstances, I love to cook. At least twice a week, I will put significant effort into making a meal for my family. That’s not to say that anyone other than my husband or I eat it, but it’s there in the fridge if either of my girls ever has the inclination to move away from yogurt and berries.
When I am sick, however, it takes everything in my being not to be annoyed at my family when they have the nerve to be hungry three times a day. It reminds me of the first few weeks of a PCS when my children are lucky to get a still wrapped and frozen Uncrustable thrown into the moving box they are living.
But, I still like to eat good, healthyish food when I am sick, so therein lies the predicament. It is well known that I am a certified cookbook junkie, and throughout my journey paging through my mountain of literature, I have found my go-to recipe for such an occasion. It is adapted from the genius, Alton Brown. I modify his suggestion because I am vain enough to believe a recipe is a mere jumping off point to make my own, by adding or taking away what is available. If you are more of a Rothko than a Pollock, please, by all means, refer to this recipe.
This soup should take you no longer than 45 minutes from washing veggies to wiping down your counter. I timed myself, and it was 43 minutes. Even with a conversation as to which color dragon was more appropriate to keep in our house and a poop break for my Little, it was quick.
The ingredient amounts I propose are all general guidelines. Use more garlic if you love it, none if you are a vampire. I try to jack mine up with as many veggies as possible because this is the one healthy meal both of my girls will eat without complaint each and every time I make it. If you have herbs you love other than the ones listed, throw ’em in. I have made this soup every which way and even added ginger, cilantro and green chiles. It’s always good!
45-Minute Chicken Soup
- Yellow Onion (1 Medium)
- Carrots (A handful or two of baby carrots, or 2-4 medium carrots)
- Celery (2-4 stalks)
- Garlic (1-3 cloves)
- Olive Oil (A glug, ~2TBSP)
- Chicken Broth or Stock (Whatever fills up your pot. I generally go through about three big boxes of the low-sodium Swansons boxes)
- Noodles or White Rice (8 oz of noodles or 1 cup rice)
- Rotisserie Chicken (I use about 1/3 of a chicken and save the rest for meals later in the week)
- Fresh Parsley, Thyme and/or Tarragon (A handful of parsley, about 2 TBSP of thyme and just throw the tarragon away because it’s gross)
- Lemon (2-4 TBSP)
- Salt and Pepper
Dice the onion. Dice or thinly slice the carrots and celery. You can throw them all into the same prep bowl. I like to use the lid of the Rotisserie chicken container as my waste bowl for the onion skin and celery ends. One less thing to wash.
Mince the garlic (amazing tip- use a Microplane to grate it rather than mince it. I now refuse to chop garlic since I have learned this technique. It’s easier and the garlic is incorporated into the recipe more evenly).
Pour a glug of the olive oil into a Dutch oven or medium-large pot and crank up the heat to medium-high. Saute the veggies until softened (eight or so minutes). Add in the garlic and a generous pinch of salt and cook for about a minute more.
Add the chicken broth or stock (or soup juice as my 3-year-old calls it) and bring to a boil. When it reaches a boil, add noodles or rice. Let simmer (small bubbles, Girl) for as long as it takes to soften the veggies and the noodles or rice. I let mine go about 20 minutes for thick noodles and white rice.
While the liquid is coming to a boil, chop up the herbs, cut the lemon in half and chop the chicken. Juice the lemon and add all the remaining ingredients to the pot.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
An added bonus is that this soup tastes OK when it is cooled by an ice cube. I know that is something which is of paramount importance when you are three. I love this recipe because everyone eats it happily. I also love this recipe because it’s quick and easy. Most of all, Girl, I love this recipe because it’s darn good!