Monday, June 25, 2007

Food for a Summer Cold

Out of the blue yesterday afternoon, my throat started to hurt. I knew what was coming - the most fun of all the different kind of colds, the summer cold. It's that cold you get when the air conditioners first get turned on strong, and it's that cold that is impossible to ameliorate with tea and soup because it's so friggin' hot outside.

So I stayed home from work, and all I could think about was diet Sprite and soup. Yes, steaming hot soup. I scoured my cookbooks and the internet for a while, but all I could find were recipes involving whole chickens and hours and hours of simmering time. Finally, I found something in Cooking Light magazine that looked doable.

This recipe probably took me longer than it would have if I hadn't been sick. Shredding the chicken was an especially difficult task that took more coordination than I actually had at the time, and I wasn't coherent enough to notice that the burner the soup was on wasn't actually heating up. The results were good; this is tasty soup, and I can feel myself getting better already (ah, placebo effect). I really don't think you need the 3 pounds of chicken in the recipe, though; 1 pound of chicken breasts and 1 pound of thighs would have been plenty. The recipe also suggested using the same pot to cook the noodles, then the soup, to save clean up time, hence the noodles cooked well ahead of time. I now have enough soup to last me roughly three weeks.

Cooking Light Rosemary Chicken Noodle Soup

4 cups cooked wide egg noodles
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp dried rosemary
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 10 ounce package petite-cut carrots (or 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots)
1 6 ounce package fresh baby spinach
juice of 1 lemon
black pepper and salt to taste

After cooking noodles, toss with olive oil and set aside.

Combine water, broth, onion, celery, rosemary, and chicken pieces in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove chicken, cool slightly, and shred with 2 forks. Add carrot to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until carrot is tender. Add shredded chicken and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Stir in noodles, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Since I was so with it while I made the soup, I cooked all my noodles instead of the 4 cups I would need for the soup. What to do with the leftovers? Cover them in cheese! (In my head, that sounded like "I'm covered in bees!!" ) There's nothing better than egg noodles covered in mozzarella, dotted with butter, and baked to form a wonderful crunchy, gooey, oily mess.

Think I was done there? No way. I needed some more comfort food, and while I was at the market, the baking section spoke to me. Quite literally, I think, since I wasn't completely with it after walking to the store. Lemon cake mix and lemon pudding mix combine to the tastiest, moistest cake. Even my roommate approved.

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