There is something about that cup of chicken noodle soup that can lift even the most ailing right into a place of absolute euphoria. It is almost as if this cup of chicken noodle soup has magical qualities far beyond that of any doctor or mother on this planet. Could it be that chicken soup gives your body the nutritional "hug" you have been over looking in your busy schedule and eratic eating patterns, or is it better yet, a psychological hug? In any case, I don't think you are going to wrong at all by stocking up on your favorite soups for this flu season.
If you or someone in your household have yet to catch this season's flu or one of the many colds going around, you know it's coming. While we all just want to crawl into bed and cover up until it goes away, it's seriously important to get your vitamins and keep up your strength when fighting off these nasty bugs.
Unfortunately cookies and chocolate bars won't do the trick, so instead you're going to have to plan ahead. Soup is always a great warm-up in the winter weather, and many of them contain cold and flu elixirs that will make you feel better in no time. So either stock up at your grocery store or have a soup-making weekend and freeze enough to thaw out when you find yourself sniffling and coughing.
Here are the best soups for your health the next time you're knocked down with a cold or, worse, the flu. Pick it up, whip it up, or ask a kind soul to deliver these 7 soups to your door.
- Chicken Soup -- It's a cliche because it works. Chicken soup has been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties as well as acting as an immune booster. Plus, it's yummy.
- Matzo Ball Soup -- It's not called "The Jewish Penicillin" for nothing. Matzo ball soup is also from chicken stock and is similar in effect to your basic chicken coup. What makes it rock is that it comes with that delicious ball of goodness as a bonus.
- Cream of Tomato Soup -- Chock-full of vitamin C, tomato soup is also a winter warmer-upper. You can whip up a delicious dairy-free recipe to keep your mucus factor down. If you're feeling really ambitious, pair it with a grilled cheese sandwich for the full comfort food effect.
- Oxtail Stew -- More common in other cultures than the U.S., this rich flavorful soup is a winter favorite and a unique way to warm up while getting the antibiotic effect of the onions and garlic. You'll definitely fill up on this substantial meal.
- Hot and Sour Soup - Call up your local Chinese restaurant or make up a batch of this perfect blend of your favorite chicken soup Chinese style that includes chili and ginger to really clear out those sinuses.
- Butternut Squash Soup -- Vitamin-rich and seriously delicious, this soup will make you happy, even at your snottiest. Again, consider a on-ndairy version for the best effect on your sinuses.
- Garlic and Kale Soup -- Get the powerhouse of vitamins from kale and add the antibiotics of garlic and you might have the perfect healthy soup for the season. In fact, you might want to consider this as a daily preventative until the spring thaw.
What's your favorite soup when you have a cold or the flu?
EASIEST CHICKEN SOUP
6 cups chicken broth
1 carrot, sliced thinly
1 celery stalk, sliced thinly
½ cup white rice (optional)
1 cup (or more) raw or cooked boneless, skinless chicken, cut into small cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup white rice
1 cup extra vegetables, into ¼-inch cubes
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) minced ginger
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) minced garlic
Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish
1. Pour the chicken broth in a large, deep pot and heat it over medium-high heat. When the broth is just beginning to boil, turn it down so that it bubbles gently. Stir in the carrot, celery and extra vegetables or white rice (if using). Cook until tender (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in the cubed chicken. If using raw chicken, cook until it is cooked through (about 5 to 8 minutes). Also add the garlic and ginger (if using). If using cooked chicken, cook just until heated through (about 2 to 3 minutes). Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with the fresh herbs (if using) and serve.
Note: In addition to their great flavor, garlic and ginger are great for you. Both have antiviral and antimicrobial properties, along with numerous other healthful qualities. If you are a garlic lover, indulging when you have a cold could have some benefit. Another popular comfort measure is a simple cup of hot ginger tea with some honey and lemon.
Chicken Soup: Matzo Ball Soup
- 1 (5 or 6 pound) hen
- 2 large celery stalks with leaves, chopped
- 2 large carrots, sliced in big chunks
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 3 sprigs fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 tablespoons chicken fat (from the above soup)
- 1 cup matzoh meal
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 12 cups salted water
Wash the chicken with water and place in pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off bubbling foam as it forms. Add celery, carrots, onion, herbs, salt and pepper and simmer, half-covered at lower heat, for at least 45 minutes, until the chicken seems done. The chicken will come away easily from the bone. Pour soup through strainer to get a clear broth. Let cool. When broth has completely cooled, skim off the fat and save for the matzoh balls.
In a mixing bowl, mix together 4 eggs and 4 tablespoons chicken fat. Stir in the matzoh meal and salt. Add 1/4 hot water. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Form the matzoh dough into balls the size of walnuts. Bring the salted water to a boil. Add the matzoh balls, cover, and cook for 20 minutes (don't even peek!). Bring thechicken broth to a simmer. Remove matzoh balls from hot water with a slotted spoon and add to the simmering chicken broth just a few minutes before serving.
Note: If you are concerned if the oils or other ingredients in these recipes are suitable for Passover, seek non-dairy substitutes or ingredients that are certified kosher for Passover.
Quick Creamy Tomato Soup
- 2 (15-ounce) containers, chicken or vegetable stock/broth (preferred brand: Kitchen Basics)
- 1 (28-ounce) can concentrated crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Coarse salt and black pepper
- 20 leaves fresh basil, cut into chiffonade, for garnish
- Soup toppers, for garnish, recipe follows
Combine broth and tomatoes in a medium sauce pan over moderate heat. When soup bubbles, stir in heavy cream and reduce heat to low. Season with a little salt and pepper and simmer gently 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. With an immersion blender, puree soup. Serve bowls of soup with basil chifffonade and floating soup toppers.
- 4 slices crusty bread, 4 inches across, 1/4-inch thick-slice artisan breads at counter in market
- 2 cloves cracked fresh garlic, optional
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound shredded cheese to compliment your soup: provolone, Asiago, cheddar, Gruyere, Swiss, etc.
Toast bread slices in your toaster until golden. Rub the toasted bread rounds with crushed garlic, if using. Arrange bread on cookie or baking sheet. Drizzle each slice with extra-virgin oil and top with a grind of black pepper and a layer of shredded cheese. Place under hot broiler to melt cheese until toppers are golden brown in color.
Yield: 4 servings Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 1 minute
Easy Hot And Sour Soup
IngredientsEASY HOT AND SOUR SOUP
4 cups chicken stock or broth (or 4 cups water and 4 chicken bouillon cubes)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup cooked shredded chicken or pork
1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
1/2 tablespoon garlic chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup canned bamboo shoots, julienned
3 oz block of tofu, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water
1 egg, beaten
2 green onion stalks, diced (including tops)
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1. Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a 2-quart saucepan.
2. Add soy sauce, shredded meat, mushrooms and garlic red chili paste.
3. Simmer for five minutes.
4. Add white pepper, white vinegar, bamboo shoots, tofu.
5. Simmer for five minutes.
6. Combine two tablespoons of cornstarch with two tablespoons of cold water in a cup. Stir until mixture is smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to soup and stir well.
7. Simmer for five minutes until soup is thickened.
8. Beat egg in a cup until yolk and white are combined. Pour beaten egg slowly, in a fine stream into soup. Stir soup several times.
9. Wait 30 seconds.
10. Add green onions and sesame oil to soup. Stir well. Remove from heat.
11. Serve hot.
Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
3 pounds unpeeled butternut squash, halved and seeded
2 large unpeeled onions
1 small garlic bulb
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 to 3-1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Sprigs fresh thyme, optional
- Cut squash into eight large pieces. Place cut side up in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Cut 1/4 in. off tops of onion and garlic bulbs (the end that comes to a closed point).
- Place cut side up in baking pans. Brush with oil; sprinkle with thyme. Cover tightly and bake at 350° for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until vegetables are very tender. Uncover and let stand until lukewarm.
- Remove peel from squash and onions; remove soft garlic from skins. In a large bowl, combine the vegetables, broth and cream. Puree in small batches in a blender until smooth; transfer to a large saucepan. Add the parsley, salt and pepper; heat through (do not boil). Garnish with thyme if desired. Yield: 8 servings (2 quarts).
Garlic, Kale and Sweet Potato Soup
This Garlic Kale Sweet Potato Soup Recipe was developed by the nutrition staff at Nutricare - St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI.
2 1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 1/2 tsp. dried Italian herb seasoning
6 cups vegetable broth
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 lb sweet potatoes, scrubbed and diced
4 oz. kale, tough stems removed, chopped coursely (about 4 cups)
12 garlic cloves (I've added a few more but it's up to your taste)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and Italia herb seasoning; saute until
onions are soft and golden, about 6 minutes
2. Stir in broth, beans, sweet potatoes, and kale; bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low
and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add garlic to simmer soup base. Simmer until sweet potatoes and greens are tender.
About 15 - 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: 6 servings (1 1/2 cup each)
It is scrumptious with these ingredients just as written. I know I'll be making this soup over and over and over again. In addition, this soup recipe is very adaptable so many other ingredients could be added, such as canned tomatoes, left-over rice, tofu, other vegetables, etc.
This recipe freezes well, so make up a double batch to have some delicious and healthy food ready for your own home-made and inexpensive "fast food".
I hope that you will be able to use some of these wonderful recipes during this nasty flu season. The recipes I listed here are the easiest I could find to prepare and of course, they are tried and true... some of my family's favorites!
*** I did not include the oxtail stew recipe. If you would like that recipe, just drop me a note in the message box on this page and I will send it to you.