Well, the Holiday Season is upon us with all its sparkling fun. Last week, Gloria hosted her seasonal pot-luck dinner, and her guests ate and drank and laughed until the wee hours. Around the world, people are doing similar things: getting together with friends, eating delicious food, and staying up late.
We’re among the first to enjoy a good soiree and all its indulgences, but we also look after our basic nutrition at this time of year because we know sugary treats and late nights can depress the immune system. Eating healthfully, taking our supplements, and getting proper rest (well, at least most of the time) helps to keep our immune systems robust, so we don’t succumb to the colds and flu that often arrive about the same time as poinsettias arrive at the local florists’.
One nutritional trick that can be helpful at this time of year is to eat healthfully, but lightly, before heading out to a party. One of our favorite light meals is good, old-fashioned, homemade soup. A bowl of hot soup before a dinner party can help you eat less at the buffet table or warm your chilled bones after a skating party.
While soup is one of our favorite light meals, homemade chicken noodle soup is one of our favorite soups. Let’s face it, there isn’t much that can squelch your cravings or warm your bones better than a steaming bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup. Right?
Here’s a story for you: When Jerre was a boy, most things were homemade. In those years, however, homemade sometimes seemed dull, while packaged seemed new and exciting—which is why his mother sometimes bought packaged chicken noodle soup. On those occasions, Jerre often stole into the cupboard late at night, picked out a package, and ate the dry noodles and the tablespoon of salt and spices that, when boiled in water, constituted instant chicken noodle soup. Yuck!
Now that Jerre’s developed a more grown up palate, he much prefers tasty homemade chicken noodle soup—which is far more nutritious and tasty than a package of salt and white flour.
Here’s our recipe:
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 litre (4 cups) of homemade soup stock (see our previous blogs on Shopping for the recipe)
- Salt to taste
- 100 gm (3.5 oz) of uncooked whole wheat or spelt spaghetti, broken into short pieces about 2.5 cm (one inch) long
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 100 gm (3.5 oz) of cooked chicken, finely cut or shredded
- 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
Directions: Bring the soup stock to a boil. Add salt to taste. Add the broken spaghetti and the chopped carrot to the soup stock. Cook for the time specified on the spaghetti package directions.
While the pasta is cooking in the soup stock, wash the spinach and place it in the bottom of two bowls. Note: Spinach often is on the Dirty Dozen list detailed in our book Eat To Save Your Life, so choose certified organic whenever possible.
When the pasta is cooked, stir the cooked chicken into the broth. Heat through until the chicken is hot. Pour the steaming soup over the fresh spinach leaves. The spinach will wilt in the hot soup, but remain flavorful.
Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, if desired. Serve hot.
For an Asian twist on this soup, add some minced garlic and ground ginger to the soup broth. Then, substitute rice noodles in place of the spaghetti noodles, and fresh bean sprouts in place of the spinach. Garnish with finely snipped chives or green onion tops and/or fresh cilantro.
So there you have it: In the midst of rich and decadent Holiday fare, this yummy chicken noodle soup will give you a nutritious and satisfying light lunch, après-ski snack, or first course at dinner. And when the Holidays are over and January grips the northern hemisphere in its icy fist, this soup is nothing short of satisfying then, too. Keep the recipe handy.
Here’s to souping up for the Holidays,
Gloria and Jerre