Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sick Days and Chicken Noodle Soup

Inevitably the fever and sore throat that is being passed around at school has been shared with one of my kids. When she woke up with a sore throat, she was not thrilled about missing school. She insisted that she was just fine. Telling her that she was staying home for a day of pampering and special attention helped a bit. We started off with breakfast in bed...sort of. We made a nice little nest for her on the love seat in the family room.

As a child, I loved sick days at home. LOVED them. My kids feel that being sick is a punishment that comes with the stiff consequence of massive amounts of make up homework. They have to be really sick to take a day off and even then they still will work on homework so they are not too far behind.

So while they stay home worrying about the load of homework waiting for them, sneezing and napping, I try to make them feel a little special with some TLC. For Alyssa pampering means a bowl of poached eggs and toast.

I always set them up in the family room. I drape the love seat or couch with a clean cotton sheet. Then I add pillows and blankets so they can snuggle in and get as comfortable as possible. Then I start gathering up lots of goodies like stacks of books, lots of liquids, the remote control, crayons and a coloring book, tissues, a few games, a puzzle and anything else I can think of to keep them happy.

There are also a few other things that the kids have automatically come to expect when the get sick. Alyssa must have poached eggs and toast every time she gets sick. It is her comfort food. She also likes a hot mug of chicken soup when she is feeling a bit low.

There are few things as satisfying as a thick, rich mug of soup. These are the humble ingredients that turn into one of our favorite comfort foods.

Start with a large hot pan and add a bit of olive oil.

Add your chopped veggies to the pan.

Add salt, pepper, and dried thyme to the veggies.

Stir everything together.

Put the cover on the pan and let the veggies cook down. Stirring them up occasionally.

Add the wine. I am using a rose. A white wine would also work well.

Then add the chicken breast to the pan.

Add just enough water to cover the chicken breasts. Cover the pan. Bring everything to a boil. When the liquids have reached the boiling point, turn the burner down to a simmer. Simmer the chicken breasts for 25 minutes.

When the breasts are finished cooking, remove the chicken from the pan. Let the chicken rest and cool on a cutting board for a few minutes.

Skim as much fat off the top of the soup as possible. This is what you should have left.

I am adding fancy noodles to my soup. My daughter happened to pick these out when we had been grocery shopping so this is what I am using today. This pasta shape is called fusilli lunghi, but you can use any shape you would like.

Add the noodles to the soup pan. Stir the noodles every few minutes as they cook so they do not stick. This also releases the starch from the noodles which helps to thicken the soup.

As the noodles cook, we need to take the chicken off the bone.

Step one, peel the skin off the chicken.

Step two, starting at the edge, peel the chicken meat off the bones. Check for little bones along the edges.

When the bones are all peeled off, you have a beautifully poached piece of meat left. I am going to put three breasts in to a container for another meal. The other three are going back into the soup.

Chop the chicken into bite size pieces. My family loves BIG bites. I prefer tiny bites. You can do what ever you want. I promise to back you up whether you go with big bites or little.

When the noodles are cooked, you are starting to get very close to eating time.

Add the chicken.

Stir everything together. So yummy. Enjoy!

Chicken Noodle Soup


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cups Diced Carrots
1 1/2 Cups Diced Celery
1 1/2 Cups Diced Onion
3 Leeks, Cleaned and Diced
1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Cup Wine - Any Wine That You Enjoy Drinking
6 Split Breast Halves with Rib Meat
1/2 Pound Pasta


1. In a large pan over medium high heat add olive oil, carrots, celery, onions, leek, salt, pepper and thyme. Stir and cover. Cook until vegetables are soft and tender stirring occasionally.

2. Add red wine. Turn heat up to high.

3. Add chicken breasts to pot. Cover chicken with water and cover. Bring everything to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes.

4. Remove chicken from pan. Add pasta to the soup. Stir occasionally as pasta cooks. Cook pasta for the length of time recommended on package.

5. Remove chicken from the bones and dice. Add three halves to the soup. Reserve the other three halves for another use.

6. When pasta is cooked, add chicken to the soup and stir. Garnish soup with fresh parsley if desired. Enjoy.

Serves 8 as an entree.

For a printer friendly version of this recipe click here.

I am linking this to CSI Project's Soup and Comfort Foods Project.



  1. Hi Heather,
    It sure makes being under the weather more fun to have a good Mama looking after you - Alyssa looks pretty comfortable and the chicken soup looks so good!

    Take care,

  2. Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa ( may be another choice. i know alot of people use it, its also non alcoholic, though it's effectiveness is not as good as alcohol based cough medicine, but it's still good to use on not so serious sore throat.

  3. Thank you for your very kind words Carolyn.

    Thanks for the idea Rachel. It seems like every winter one of the kids has a cold and it is nice to get new ideas on how to get them better asap. :-)