The other day I got a text at work from Joe: My stomach isn’t doing so hot… I hope I didn’t come down with something.
Uh oh. First of all, I don’t want a sick husband. Who does? It’s not fun, and there’s a good chance you’re going to get whatever it is he has, too. Yuck. Second of all, what am I going to make for dinner that won’t upset an already icky stomach?!
Enter emergency chicken noodle soup. There is a decent amount of “cheating” in this recipe. Where I would normally use homemade chicken stock (or turkey since I have a ton left over from Christmas), it was frozen and I needed dinner fast. I also didn’t have any chicken already made, so while I was at the store for the noodles (which I also didn’t make from scratch) and veggies, I picked up a plain rotisserie chicken.
If you can overlook all of the “cheating” aspects of this soup, it is actually a great, healthy, easy homemade dinner any night of the week. Not just when someone in the family isn’t feeling well. It’s full of noodles and fresh veggies and healthy chicken, and it just tastes good. I used an entire bag of egg noodles in this batch because I like a lot of noodles in my soup, but if you prefer a soup with more broth you can just use half a bag.
Emergency Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 quarts (8 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
- 2 celery stalks (including leaves), diced
- 1 bag egg noodles
- 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus more for serving (optional)
Place a large pot over medium heat. Add about one tablespoon of olive oil and the onion and cook the onion until it becomes translucent, about 5 minutes, but don’t let it brown. Add the garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant. Pour in the chicken broth and and an equal amount of water (or, ideally, use all broth, but I didn’t have enough on hand), raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the noodles (whole or half bag, depending on how you like your soup), carrots, celery, parsley and chicken and cook until the noodles are tender, about 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve with a sprinkling of fresh parsley on top.
When I think back to a childhood comfort meal, grilled cheese and tomato soup is always the first thing that comes to mind. Who didn’t have this combination at least once growing up? It’s been a really snowy week here in Indy and I decided that a comfort meal was definitely called for, but it needed to be “grown-up” a bit. No pre-sliced, pre-packaged cheeses or soups out of a can for me.
About a year and a half ago, a friend gave me a copy of Cook This, Not That!: Kitchen Survival Guide when I was trying to lose weight for my wedding. In it was a recipe for a healthy version of a grilled cheese sandwich that had bacon on it. And used real butter! I was flabbergasted. To eat bacon and use butter when trying to lose weight? It couldn’t be possible. Or could it? Instead of buttering every slice of bread, the butter is melted in the pan to grill the sandwiches, allowing you to use less butter overall, yet still imparting the flavor to the bread. Green apple slices are also put in the sandwiches to add another layer of flavor AND a serving of fruit to your day.
For the tomato soup, I decided to make a recipe I found on Pinterest that apparently everyone raved over. It called for crushed tomatoes and fresh basil leaves, but since it’s December in Indiana, I bought crushed tomatoes that had basil in them and figured that was good enough. I could smell the basil while the tomatoes were simmering and I couldn’t wait for everything to be ready so I could blend it and dig in!
Grilled Cheese with Apples and Bacon
- 1T butter
- 8 slices whole-grain bread (I only had white bread on hand)
- 1T Dijon Mustard
- 6 oz shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
- 8 strips cooked bacon
Heat the butter in a large skillet or nonstick sauté pan over low heat. Slather 4 slices of bread with the mustard, then divide the cheese, apples and bacon among them. Top with the other bread slices and add to the hot pan. Cook these sandwiches until each side is deep brown and crunchy, about 10-12 minutes total.
- 4 cups canned, crushed tomatoes (I used two 28 oz cans)
- 12 fresh basil leaves plus extra for garnish, if desired.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 stick (1/4 cup) butter
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Simmer tomatoes in saucepan for 30 minutes. Puree, with the basil leaves, in small batches in a blender or food processor. Alternatively, you could use crushed tomatoes with basil (I used Tuttorosso Crushed Tomatoes in Thick Puree with Basil. I also used my immersion blender to puree the tomatoes in the pan.) Return to saucepan and add cream, butter, salt and pepper while stirring over low heat. Garnish with basil leaves.