It’s mid-January and it seems like everyone is sick – including myself. I’m usually very attentive to my body when I’m not feeling well, but this time around I was determined to push through – on top of the regularly scheduled craziness, I was headed to Phoenix for a business meeting last week that I didn’t want to miss plus a visit with my best friend who lives in Scottsdale. I could not, and would not, let my progressively worsening cough stop me – westward ho!
Cut to this past Monday when I was walking into the doctor’s office, tail between my legs. The official diagnosis was bronchitis (and at this juncture, I’d like to publicly apologize to my neighbors on the plane ride to and from Phoenix as well as everyone else I met along the way). I dutifully picked up my antibiotics and went home dreading the second half of my prescription: get some rest. Rest? What’s that?
The worst part about having something like bronchitis is that you don’t feel bad enough to wallow in your own sick misery, but you don’t feel good enough to operate at 100 percent. Tuesday morning I called in sick to work and tried to go back to sleep, but with my mind racing, the dog barking, and the sun up… there was no sleep on the horizon. Since I was awake, I figured I’d do what any normal PR professional would on a sick day: I answered some work emails.
A few hours later, I peeled myself away from the computer and finally set about getting some elusive rest. I watched everything on the DVR, played fetch with Cooper for a while, and straightened up the house a bit. OK, now what – watch bad daytime television and reality show reruns? I decided to put my energy to more productive use – since I was sick, I headed into the kitchen to throw together some chicken noodle soup.
Without further ado, here’s my spin on the perennial comfort food – I take a couple of liberties with the more traditional approach by using low-sodium chicken stock, olive oil instead of butter, and swapping out high calorie egg noodles with egg white noodles. This recipe is easy enough for a weeknight and hearty enough to be a stand-alone meal with plenty of leftovers. Stay warm and healthy this winter and try, if you can, to get some rest!
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 or 3 large carrots, chopped
3 or 4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tbsp. salt
pepper to taste
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 1/2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (or 2 1/2 cups of low-sodium, 2 cups regular)
1 1/2 cups of water (optional)
half of a lemon
3/4 of a package of egg white noodles
a handful of fresh parsley
whole wheat crusty bread
- Heat a medium pan over low heat, then add the olive oil.
- Add the celery, carrots, salt, fresh pepper, thyme, and bay leaf to the pan.
- Cover with a lid and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Place the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables, then pour in the broth. (At this point, I usually also add about .5 to 1 cup of water to the broth – I prefer my soup to be a little less concentrated.)
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred into small pieces using two forks; return to pan.
- Remove the bay leaf and add the noodles, simmering until noodles are tender. (I love NoYolks – my favorite!)
- Roughly chop the parsley and stir it into the soup.
- Squeeze in a little lemon juice.
- Serve soup alone or with a piece of crusty bread (I highly recommend a piece of the wheat ciabatta bread from New Haven’s Chabaso Bakery – yum!)