The Sick Husband
We've all been there. You go to bed, exhausted from work and the gym, expecting a completely restful night's sleep. You close your eyes and blissfully think how tired you are, how soft and comfortable the blankets are, and you just know the next time you're conscience it will be 2 minutes before the alarm goes off, with the soft sound of birds chirping outside the bedroom window, and you will be awake, rested, and ready for the day. Instead, after what seems like just a few minutes of the most perfect night's sleep, the Hubs comes to bed, and is soon tossing, turning, moaning and groaning. If you're like me, and a light sleeper, This. Is. Torture. After what seems like hours, the Hubs finally gets up, and starts to wander the house, making more sick noises and complaining about how he could be dying and I wouldn't even care. Meanwhile, I lay in bed, eyes tightly clinched shut, making apologetic noises when appropriate so that I can get back to sleep as fast as possible. Morning does eventually come, although in a slightly less poetic fashion than I had envisioned the night before.
The flu does suck, and I did feel sorry for my husband for having it. As someone who was blessed with an impeccable immune system and hardly ever feels sick, Steele just isn't too graceful in the throws of the full on flu. After getting my minimum 8 hours of sleep, albeit interrupted, I felt like I could tackle the monumental task which is taking care of a sick Steele. I knew I was really going to have to hit a home run as Steele's temporary nurse after ignoring, ahem, I mean accidentally sleeping through, all of his pleas for attention and trips to the bathroom the night before. So, after administering some ibuprofen, lovingly placing a cold cloth on his forehead, and wrapping him up in 3 layers of blankets like a burrito, the lightbulb came on.
Homemade. Chicken. Noodle. Soup.
What follows is my recipe for chicken noodle soup, after combining ideas from a couple different recipes, and looking in my fridge and freezer to see what we had on hand. I'm not big on following recipes, especially for soups. You can follow this recipe to a T, or you can wing it and your soup may be just as good, or better. The point is, that it's not out of a can, and wasn't picked up from the nearest restaurant (although, that would be a whole lot faster and easier). If you need to score some extra points, maybe after enjoying your sleep a little too much, or if you just really want to say I Love You and I Care About You, this recipe might be worth a try.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Here's a tip: If you want to make the entire recipe from scratch using ingredients on hand, you will need to get started the night before, and follow each step in the order it is listed. You can also make a really good soup the day of, just using what you already have on hand. If the latter is the case, you can complete your soup in just a couple hours.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: Up to 1 hr, depending on size of bird
1 whole chicken
2 Cornish hens
I like to use a whole roasted chicken for my chicken noodle soup. Most recipes will call for dark meat from the thighs, but Steele likes white meat, so we get the best of both worlds by using a whole chicken. This time I actually used 2 Cornish hens, because hey, that's what we had, and this lady didn't have time to drive 20 minutes to the nearest grocery store.
If frozen, allow your chicken or Cornish hens to thaw.
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Place your chicken in a chicken roaster or baking pan. Add 1 inch of water to the pan. This water will keep your meat from drying out while baking. You can add 1 or 2 tbsp of butter to the water to form a broth, if you're so inclined.
Even though you won't be using the skin of the chicken in your chicken noodle soup, I still like to season it. Add salt, pepper, and rub with olive oil.
Bake your chicken, covered, for 10 minutes, and then decrease oven temperature to 375 F. Continue to bake until the internal temperature reaches 165 F. Use your thermometer in the thigh, without touching the bone, for the most accurate result. I like to watch for meat pulling away from the bone on the legs as an indicator that the meat is getting close to finished. You can also remove the lid of the roaster the final 10-15 minutes that the chicken is in the oven to crisp up the skin.
Once your chicken is finished, you will need to carve the meat. I always start by inserting a knife next to the breast plate, and pulling the breast meat away from the bone. The chicken breasts are going to give you most of your white meat. You can then remove the legs, thighs and wings to pull as much meat as possible. Don't forget to flip the bird over and pull off the oysters, which are at the base of the back. The oysters are tender dark meat morsels that usually just go immediately into my mouth and never make it past the cutting board.
Chop your meat into smaller bites if you have littles, or leave it as is for nice big bites in your soup. Place all your meat aside in a bowl for now, or in the fridge if you started a night early.
Waste Not, Want Not: Save any leftover chicken bones, skin, fat... literally all the leftovers, including the carcass. You can throw this in the crockpot to make broth for either this batch of soup (see next section on Broth), or save and freeze for later use.
The broth is what makes chicken noodle soup so freaking special and delicious. Make yours the night before your soup using your leftover chicken carcass and scraps, or just use broth that you already have on hand. Helpful Hint: If you're making broth for your chicken noodle soup, you can prep your veggies for your soup the night before and save the scraps to add flavor to your broth as it simmers overnight.
For complete instructions on making broth, visit our blog post here.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 8-24 hours
Waste Not, Want Not: This will make 3-4 quarts of broth. Use some in your chicken noodle soup, and save the rest for later by throwing it in the freezer. Freezer tip: Leave at least 1 inch of head space to allow your broth room to expand as it freezes- otherwise you'll be tossing both the broth and your glass jar when it breaks!
Who doesn't love Grandma's homemade noodles?! Just 3 simple ingredients make up our most wholesome family recipe, enjoyed at all the major holidays. I like using Grandma's noodles in our homemade chicken noodle soup because, well... why not?
Prep Time: 15 mins
Dry Time: 8 hours
1/2 eggshell of water
In a bowl, add 3 to 4 cups of flour. As Grandma always says, make a "nest" with the flour for the eggs. Crack 2 eggs into the middle of the of the flour nest. Using a eggshell from one of the eggs, fill the half eggshell with water, and add it on top of your eggs. For simplicity, a half eggshell of water is roughly 1 tbsp, if you'd rather skip Granny's country style of measuring. Optional: dash of salt.
Using a fork, begin combining your eggs and flour. Start in the middle, and allow flour from the edges of the nest to fall into the center as you whisk your eggs. Continue until you've combined most of your eggs and flour into a dough ball.
Lightly dust a clean, dry surface with flour. Transfer your dough onto the floured surface, and begin turning the dough and incorporating more flour until the dough is no loner sticky.
Using a rolling pin, begin rolling out the dough. Be sure to turn and flip the dough after stretched. Your dough should be about as wide and tall as the rolling pin (see picture below). Helpful Hint: Add additional flour to the surface between flips to keep the dough from sticking.
Although not entirely necessary, you will need to allow your dough to dry overnight, or about 8 hours. I like to add another dusting of flour to the top, and then cover with a kitchen towel to keep the dough nice and clean, and let's face it, safe from our furry family members, while it dries.
If you aren't able to give your noodles the full 8 hours to dry, just remember that they will be sticky and will want to clump together once they're cut. I think for this recipe I gave my noodles about 1.5 to 2 hours to dry, and I felt like they worked really well in the soup.
Once the dough has dried, you can use a pizza cutter to cut your noodles into whatever shape and size you'd like. Even though my family usually enjoys long noodles for Easter Sunday, I tend to prefer shorter, fatter noodles for chicken noodle soup.
Waste Not, Want Not: Did you know that you can freeze your homemade noodles? It's a great way to save yourself some time when you're making a million other dishes during the holidays. I suggest allowing your noodles to dry for a full 8 hours, then tossing the noodles in some flour so the they don't stick to one another. Gravity is not your friend. Laying the noodles flat in a thin layer in a gallon freezer bag will both give you more freezer space and keep your noodles from sticking together before the freezing process is complete. To cook, just plop them directly into some broth, still frozen. Thaw the noodles out first and you will be sad.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
Meat from 1 whole chicken -or- 2 Cornish hens
2 quarts homemade chicken broth -or- 4 quarts store-bought broth
4-6 carrots, chopped
6-8 celery stems, chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms
In a Dutch oven, add 2 tbsp of olive oil and allow it to heat up over medium heat. Add garlic and onions, and cook for a few minutes until soft. Add your chicken, and allow to cook and meld with onions for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Ok, now add your broth. If you're using homemade soup, use 2 quarts of broth and 2 quarts water. Store-bought broth is not quite as concentrated and you will need to use 4 quarts.
For chicken noodle soup, this recipe is not quite the same with any other kind of broth. But. As I mentioned earlier, I used what I had on hand, the day of, which meant using some beef broth that I had in the freezer. You'll notice the color to my soup is a little darker because of this. My soup was still awesome, but once I got done simmering my chicken broth in the crock pot the following morning, I realized we had missed out on that classic chicken broth flavor.
Add your veggies and herbs. I suggest using at least one bay leaf, maybe one and a half. I love the flavor bay leaves give to soup. Now is also the time to add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Don't go too crazy on your salt, but you'll also probably want more than a couple dashes. Remember, you have 4 quarts of liquid to flavor. If using store-bought broth, you won't need to add as much salt.
Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add your noodles. Toss them into the soup in small handfuls so they don't clump together once they hit the liquid. Allow your noodles to cook another 15 to 20 minutes, before serving your soup.
Waste Not, Want Not: Save your veggie scraps from prep, including your onion skins, to use to flavor your next homemade batch of broth.
Make too much soup? Guess what! You can put your extra soup in mason jars in the freezer, so long as you leave at least 1 inch of headspace for expansion while freezing.
Too good to freeze? Share with friends and family! My parents love when I show up with some fresh soup to share.