Studies show that your grandmother was right…chicken noodle soup really does help when you have a cold! The days are getting shorter and there’s a chill in the air, there’s no denying that the seasons are changing. Fall and winter mean soups, stews, and savory meals simmering in the oven all day…and also cold and flu season.
Nothing is cozier than a bowl of savory homemade chicken noodle soup, especially when you’re feeling a bit under the weather! Making your own chicken noodle soup from scratch ensures that you get all the health benefits that chicken noodle soup is famous for, without any of the excess sodium, additives, preservatives, BPA and other less-than-wholesome things you find in soup from a can. This recipe even includes homemade noodles, so you can make yours gluten or grain free if you’d like!
What is it about chicken noodle soup that helps when you’re sick?
When you are sick, certain types of white blood cells are released into your system to fight the infection. This process can cause inflammation and the release of mucus, which is what causes your miserable stuffy nose. The theory is, compounds found in chicken soup inhibit the chemicals that cause the inflammation…which makes you feel better!
Start your pot of soup early in the day, and let it simmer. The nutrients from the chicken, vegetables, and herbs will infuse into the broth for a rich, savory taste that can’t be beat. I used my pasta maker for the noodles here, but you can easily roll them out with a rolling pin and cut them (a pastry cutter works great for this). My kids enjoy making the noodles by hand and cutting out different shapes using small fondant cutters…it’s not unusual to find stars, hearts, and little snowflakes in your soup at our house!
If you’re using a pasta maker for the first time, you’ll find that after a little bit of practice it’s easy to make great noodles at home, with the all-natural, organic flour of your choice and a couple of organic, free range eggs. Just mix up the dough…
Run it through the roller a few times…
and then through the pasta cutter.
There you have it! Natural, healthy noodles in a flash.
Chicken Noodle Soup from Scratch
3 organic, free range chicken breasts (skin and bones are OK…whatever you have)
2 quarts water
2 quarts organic, free range chicken stock. Use this recipe, or an organic prepared stock from the store.
3 stalks organic celery, chopped (leaves, too! They add flavor and nutrients.)
3 organic carrots, chopped
1 small organic onion, chopped
4 cloves fresh, organic garlic
2 teaspoons dried organic rubbed sage, or 6 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 organic bay leaf
all natural sea salt, to taste
2 cups organic flour, or gluten-free flour substitute. Or use 1 cup coconut flour and 1 cup garbanzo bean or almond flour for grain free.
2 organic, free range eggs
2-4 tablespoons water
1. In a large stock pot, boil the chicken breasts in 2 quarts of water. When the chicken is done, remove it and allow it to cool enough to remove the skin and bones (if using bone-in) and chop the chicken into very small cubes. Keep the water in the pot boiling.
2. Allow the water to reduce by half as you chop the vegetables and chicken.
3. When the water has reduced, add the chopped vegetables, crushed garlic, and seasonings as well as the chopped chicken. Pour in the chicken stock and bring back to a boil.
4. Simmer the soup on low for as long as you can, adding water if the level falls below about 3 quarts.
5. Make the noodles (plan to have them ready to add to the soup about 20 minutes before serving):
- Pour 2 cups of flour (whichever type you are using) into a bowl. Beat the eggs and drop them onto the flour, mix with a fork until the mixture is combined but dry and crumbly.
- Add water, a tablespoon at a time, and stir well. You may use anywhere from one to 4 tablespoons of water, depending on the size of your eggs!
- Knead the noodle dough with your hands until it feels elastic enough to roll, but not sticky.
- If you are using a noodle maker, roll the dough through one small ball at a time. Fold the dough into a square and then roll it back through the roller, repeat several times until you have a nice, smooth, wide sheet of dough. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Pass the sheets of dough through the wide noodle cutter, we used a fettuccine cutter.
- If you are rolling out the noodles by hand, sprinkle flour onto a clean surface. Roll the dough 1/4 inch thick, and use a pastry cutter to cut wide noodles. Or, use very small cookie cutters (fondant cutters work great) to cut shapes from your dough…or use a pizza wheel to cut noodles the size and shape you’d like!
6. About 20 minutes before dinner, bring the soup to a rolling boil. Drop the finished noodles into the soup a small handful at a time, and cook for 12-15 minutes. If you have extra flour or noodle crumbs left, go ahead and add these too…it thickens the soup a bit and adds flavor!
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Do you find that chicken noodle soup makes you feel better when you’re sick?