Guess what? I had no idea there was a national homemade soup day, but I’m really happy that there is. Not only is the best comfort food in the world, but there are also proven health benefits to eating it. Personally, I think there are also health benefits to making it! I love the tradition of it, the feeling of comfort that is attached to it, and the memories associated with it.
I love a bowl of chicken soup, whether I’m sick or not. It’s easy to freeze into individual portions; just the right size for a great light lunch or dinner. It’s nutritious and good for you, too! No matter whether or not you believe the old folk remedy of healing a cold with hot chicken soup, there are actually several proven facts to support it. Moms and grandmothers have, for years, touted the health benefits of homemade chicken soup while the medical field took longer to get on board. Now, however, after several studies to test the theory, it’s widely agreed that the benefits are genuine. Studies have shown some of the following benefits:
Many soup ingredients contain anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve congestion.
- It is believed that soup slows the white blood cells from gathering in the lungs, which helps ease the side effects like stuffy and runny noses, coughing, and sneezing.
- The soup broth provides much-needed hydration to keep those viruses moving along.
- The liquid and soft vegetables are easily absorbed by your body which is important when your body is fighting off an illness.
- Many of the key ingredients, including the broth, the spices, and the vegetables contain nutrients which are crucial to help your immune system fight off the illness!
- The steam and the warmth from the soup will soothe your nose and throat while helping to thin the mucus and keep it moving…right on out!
- Chicken soup is a more natural solution rather than taking medicine.
Remember the feeling of being a child and tucked into bed while your mom or your grandma brings you a nice hot bowl of chicken soup to make you feel better? THAT feeling can also make you feel better!
If you can’t talk someone into making you homemade soup and can’t get out of bed to do it yourself, take comfort in the fact that canned soup will also do the trick! Grab yourself a bowl of warm soup, some hot tea, and tuck yourself in bed. You’ll feel better soon!
If you don’t have a homemade recipe to rely on, here are a few ideas to make your own. Basically, you use a large pot; fill approx. ½ to ¾ full with liquid (broth, etc.), cooked chicken, seasonings, vegetables, and pasta. Add whatever foods you like or have on hand.
Broth – you can either make your own (w/whole chicken, see below), or boil water and add chicken bouillon cubes/granules to make broth, or use ready-made chicken broth in a can/carton.
Chicken – again, either cook/roast your own or pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store.
Veggies – anything you have on hand (carrots, celery, onion, potatoes, turnip, corn, peas, etc.). I tend to use whatever I have hanging out in the refrigerator or freezer. I figure ALL veggies are good for you.
Seasonings – salt, pepper, garlic powder (of course), basil, parsley, etc. Season to your own taste.
Noodles or any type of pasta as desired.
If cooking chicken: add water, onions, and celery to a large pot. Add a roasting chicken (cut into pieces), bring the water to a boil, and skim off the fat. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for a couple of hours. Remove the chicken and let it cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones and put the meat back into the pot.
If you’re using pre-cooked chicken, just go ahead & add it to prepared broth; no need to cook for a couple hours; just bring to a boil and then proceed.
Add your seasonings and hardier vegetables (potatoes, carrots) and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add your more tender vegetables (peas, broccoli) and pasta and simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
I cook the pasta separately and run under cold water to stop the cooking so it doesn’t soak up all of your soup water when adding! Go ahead and add with the tender veggies.
Season to taste & enjoy!