One of my favorite cold weather meals is homemade chicken noodle soup. Not only is it a perfect for battling chilly weather, it's simply one of the tastiest comfort foods you can make. It just so happens to be chock full of healthy ingredients as well.
It does take some time, but the process of making it is one of the best ways to get the most flavor and the most benefits from all the ingredients. Also, because you'll make a large batch, it is great to save for another day when you might be feeling a little under the weather. Store the soup in small containers, 2-3 serving sizes, and heat it up when you need a little TLC.
There are three main steps to making Chicken Noodle Soup – the stock, the noodles and the soup.
The stock comes first, and is the key to the flavor. Make the stock the day before, or start it in a slow-cooker in the early morning so it can cook down while you are at work.
- 1 whole 4 lb. baking chicken
- Vegetable "leftovers" (onion peels, garlic husks, ends of celery)
- Black peppercorns
- 12 cups of water
- Slow cooker
Rinse and clean out your chicken. Sometimes when buying a whole chicken, the neck, liver, heart and so forth will be stuffed inside. You can definitely use this if you like, but make sure to check the cavity for this before you cook.
Place the chicken in your slow cooker and cover with vegetables, water and peppercorns.
Place the lid on the slow cooker and set to Low. Let chicken cook down for 6-8 hours.
The chicken should be ready to fall off the bone by the time it's ready.
Separate the stock from the chicken. Pull the chicken out of the slow cooker and place on a large platter or plate and gently pull the meat from the bones, discarding the skin and bones once finished.
Set the chicken aside for your soup.
Pour the juice that is left through a strainer with a large pot underneath to catch your chicken stock. Discard the cooked down veggies.
Let stock cool and then place in fridge for about 20 minutes. This allows the extra fat to solidify. It will rise to the top and take on a yellowy-orange color. You can easily remove the extra fat with a spoon or fork before freezing now.
Another way to remove fat is to skim it off while cooking with your spoon.
Save some stock for your soup or freeze in 1 cup quantities for other recipes.
Whole Wheat Egg Noodles
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 eggs
- Approx. 5-6 tbs. water
Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and mix together.
Crack your eggs in a separate bowl and whisk until well blended.
Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in 2 tablespoons of water and the eggs.
Begin mixing with your fingers or a fork and gently fold, adding in the rest of the water, one tablespoon at a time, until a soft dough forms.
Here's where it gets tricky. Like most any other dough, you do not want to overmix this. Overmixing makes the dough gummy, stretchy and more difficult to roll out.
Any time the dough seems to spring back, or won't roll out, cover with a towel and let it rest for a bit – 10-20 minutes or so.
Once you have the dough formed, turn it out onto a floured surface and roll out into a large, rectangle shape. You may need to dust the dough with flour during this process to keep it from sticking.
You want it as thin as you can get it without reaching the point where it begins to tear.
Here's where you can get creative. Use a ruler and pizza cutter or a pastry cutter with a fluted edge. You can make strips for linguine, or cut rectangles with the pastry cutter and create farfalle, mostly known as bow-tie pasta.
Set the pasta aside until you are ready to add it to your chicken noodle soup. It only takes about four minutes to cook fresh pasta, so make sure you wait until your dish is almost ready to put this ingredient in.
Fresh pasta will last in the fridge about seven days in an air-tight container. You can also let the pasta dry out and store for later use in your cabinet. After cutting your desired shape, lay out each piece of pasta on parchment paper so they do not touch. You'll let it air dry overnight. Test the pasta by cutting on in half to see if it as dried all the way through. Once dry, store it in an airtight container.
- 5 cups of chicken stock (recipe above)
- 2 cups of chicken, cooked (recipe above)
- 2 cups whole-wheat egg noodles (recipe above)
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, diced
- 2 tbs. thyme
- 1 tbs. oregano
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbs. freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbs. or to taste sea salt
- 3 tbs. olive oil
Place the chicken stock and chicken in a large stockpot and turn on medium low.
Sauté the vegetables, thyme and oregano in a large skillet on medium low with olive oil until they become almost translucent in color and the carrots soften slightly.
Once cooked, pour this veggie mix into stockpot with chicken, chicken stock and bay leaves. Cover and turn on low.
After about 30 minutes of cooking on low, add the pepper and nutmeg. Replace the lid and cook for another 10 minutes.
Since most of these ingredients have already been cooked, except the noodles, your soup should be coming together nicely by now.
Toss in the noodles and the salt and cook for about 4-5 more minutes, or until the pasta becomes al dente.
Serve with Twinkle's Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits, fresh baked-sourdough bread or one of my favorites, saltines.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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