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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Frugal Kitchens 101 - What's in Your Chicken Noodle Soup

Frugal Kitchens 101I was recently rather ill at our permanent home looking forward to going to our vacation home.  Now, seriously avoiding contact with folk even if doing a bit of shopping is a prudent thing to do at least a week before traveling.  I have both allergies and asthma which really means I can catch a cold if you are a mile away and it can develop complications quicker than a blink of an eye!  My serious go to dish for colds and flu is homemade chicken noodle soup.  It is a family tradition but why?

My homemade chicken noodle soup is always made from scratch right from the chicken and raw ingredients.  Everyone has heard of chicken soup being called Jewish penicillin.  The thing is, this soup cures right from the start of cooking.  It is chuck full of nutrition, antioxidants, and everything to help your body heal AND it is just good comfort food!  Even the cooking processes adds moisture and antibacterial properties into the air that get into your respiratory tract to start the healing process before you even eat the soup.  The hot, moist air opens your sinuses helping them to drain.  All the way around, homemade chicken soup lives up to it's reputation as a healing, comfort food when feeling under the weather.  So, have you ever wondered what is in homemade chicken soup that earns it such a wonder reputation?   Here is a breakdown of the ingredients and how they help you get back on your feet quickly:

  • fluids - Water is necessary for proper hydration.  When you are sick it is very easy to become dehydrated which can lead to complications.  The problem is excessive sweating when you have a fever or fluid loss through a gastrointestinal infection can cause dehydration and electrolyte loss quite quickly.  Drinking plain water is always a must when sick as it helps flush the body of toxins but plain water does not replace the electrolytes lost like the liquid in chicken soup.  The broth in chicken soup is rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants that support the immune system, the liver, the kidneys and respiratory tract.  The warmth of the broth is soothing as well helping to keep you well hydrated and nourished so your body can heal.
  • onions - Any soup destined for the sick bed should be rich in onions.  Onions are ideal for getting your mucous running.  Onions are rich in Vitamin C, have anti-bacterial properties and strengthen your immune system.  Onions are also rich in sulfur which is good for the liver which is in overdrive when you are sick ridding  your body of toxins.  When I make homemade chicken noodle soup there is onions in the initial stock followed by onions in the actual soup.
  • carrots - Carrots contain Vitamin A plus they give a rich flavour to stocks.  This is a must ingredient when making the initial stock for making the soup.  Carrots have antiseptic properties that prevent infection and support the liver in ridding the body of toxins while reducing bile and fat in the liver.
  • celery -  Celery when eaten raw is a diuretic but when added to soups gives a wonderful flavour while adding a lot of nutrients.  It is high in Vitamin C, calcium, sodium and Vitamins B2, B6 and B1.  In soups, celery adds a subtle flavour element that is only noticeable if it is missing.  Celery also has anti-fungal properties and anti-oxidants to help ward off complications from the cold and flu.
  • chicken - Chicken is what the soup is all about but aside of that it adds protein in an easily digestible form.  The proteins in chicken help prevent bone loss.  Chicken is rich in the trace element selenium that supports the thyroid and immune system. In the soup you get the actual chicken pieces that by the time it is soup literally fall apart in your mouth without any effort AND you get the essence of the chicken in the stock so if you aren't up to solids, you can strain them out for just the soup stock.  It adds fat that increases the absorption of carotenoids in carrots by 1,000 percent.  Chicken is rich in Vitamin B6 and niacin that support metabolic actions in the body along with phosphorous that supports the healthy functioning of the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.  
  • chicken fat - Chicken fat adds flavour to the soup.  It is contains monosaturated fat that is high in the antioxident Vitamin E which helps to reduce cholesterol levels and fight cellular damage.  It contains polysaturated fat rich in essential fatty acids, Omega-3 and Omega-5 that helps with brain function and tissue growth.
  • bay leaf - I add bay leaf when making certain stocks and soups including chicken noodle soup for flavour but it does have health benefits as well.  Bay leaves have antimicrobial properties against many common pathogens like Streptococcus  pyogenes, Staphlococcus aureus, Aspergillus fumigatus and Canadida albicans that could arise due to complications with a cold or the influenza.
  • black pepper - I add black peppercorns to most stocks and soups including chicken noodle soup.  They are further seasoned with fresh ground black pepper to taste on serving.  Black pepper adds flavour as well as health benefits.  It aids in digestion and has antibacterial properties.  More importantly, black pepper helps your body absorb vitamins and minerals
  • salt -  I don't add much in the way of salt when cooking anything.  Rather salt is added to taste when serving.  Salt (sodium chloride) is very important in the human body because sodium is needed for the proper functioning of the sodium-potassium channel which pumps out 2 potassium ions for every 3 sodium ions pumped into the nerve cells (neurons).  Simplified, sodium triggers action potentials in neurons which is how your body feels pain.  If you step on a pin, an action potential travels along your nerve cells to send the message of pain to your brain.  When your run a fever or sweat a lot as would happen with influenza, you lose valuable salt in your system which needs to be replaced.   
  • noodles - I use broad egg noodles in my homemade chicken noodle soup.  

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