Friday, February 24, 2012

February Flashback Fridays: Chicken Noodle Soup

It's winter, which means soup!  Actually, we haven't had much of a winter here, so I haven't been able to make as much soup as I would have liked to.  It would start to get a bit on the cold side (and by cold, I mean in the 50's, which is cold by my wimpy standards), so I would plan soup into the menu, only to have it warm again and be in the 80's on the day I had planned on making soup.  Big menu planning fail.  I've had to learn to check the weather before planning my meals.  Anyway, we're currently enjoying spring/summer weather, but some of you may be looking for something warm to eat.  Or, some of you may just be sick and in need of some good chicken noodle soup (this has been us this week).  So, hopefully this flashback will provide some comfort.

Last week I said I would write about cookie decorating, but all three of us have been sick for the past week, so it just didn't get done.  I apologize and promise that it WILL get done in the next couple of weeks.  Since we've all been sick and flu season is upon us, I figured it would be appropriate to write about chicken noodle soup.  While I was sick, I was craving chicken noodle soup.  I'm not a big fan of the canned variety, so I headed down the street to the grocery store and bought a chicken, which just happened to be on sale.  Before I continue, let me just say something about the price of chicken.  Back when we first started our blog, Sumiko wrote about her spending parameters and said that she doesn't pay more than $2/lb for meat.  That's my spending limit as well, except when it comes to bone-in cuts.  For example, I would never pay $2/lb for a whole chicken.  Actually, I won't even pay $1/lb for bone-in chicken, whether it's a whole chicken or pieces of chicken.  I don't like to spend more than 75 cents/lb for them and even that is on the high end.

When you're sick, you probably don't want to be making soup from scratch, but it's just so much better than eating out of a can.  My 2-year-old even loved this soup (I make it hearty, so I just gave her some of it without the broth) and as she was eating it, she said, "Mommy, I like it!"  Thankfully, it's a freezable so you can make it while you're healthy and stick it in the freezer for a sick day!

Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole chicken
2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2-3 ribs celery, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 Tbsp. chicken bouillon
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
Egg noodles (see recipe below)

Place chicken in a stock pot and fill with enough water to cover the chicken.

Boil until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees.  By this time, the chicken will be tender and should come off the bones easily.  Remove the chicken from the water and set aside to cool enough to handle.  DO NOT DRAIN THE WATER IN WHICH THE CHICKEN WAS COOKED - this will be the base of your soup!

While the chicken is cooling, boil the carrots, celery, onion, and bay leaf in the broth from your cooked chicken.  Add more water if necessary (I probably added an extra 3 or 4 cups).  Add chicken bouillon, adjusting amount to suit your taste preferences.  Before the vegetables are tender, add the noodles.  Cook until noodles are done and vegetables are tender.  Meanwhile, shred the chicken.  Once the vegetables and noodles are done, add the chicken back into the pot.  Add parsley; season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Remove bay leaf.

The total cost for a large pot of soup (sorry, I didn't measure the exact amount) is around $4!

Egg Noodles
To me, chicken noodle soup just isn't the same without homemade noodles - it's the noodles that make the soup!  They really aren't too difficult to make and they call for ingredients most people probably already have on hand.

2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour, plus extra for rolling

Mix eggs and milk.  Add salt and flour.  On a well-floured surface, roll dough to desired thickness.  Some people prefer thick noodles; I prefer thin ones, so mine were probably about 1/16 inch thick.

Cut into strips about 1/2-inch thick by 1 to 1.5-inches long.  Allow to dry for 30 to 60 minutes.  I usually prepare my noodles while the chicken is boiling.  Make sure to watch your noodles closely, as fresh noodles cook faster than dried ones.

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