This soothing chicken noodle soup is more than just the ultimate comfort food–it contains a secret ingredient that puts it over the top in taste as well as in immune-boosting power!Wintertime with kids = never-ending runny noses. And as the momma of those sick kids, I want to do everything in my power to help them feel better fast! The past month has been especially rough around our house in the “cold & cough” department, so last week I broke out the big guns…
Chicken noodle soup.
Yep, this long-time classic is the ultimate comfort food. But this particular chicken soup is more than a placebo to soothe my kiddos’ sniffles. It’s got real sickness-fighting power.
And it’s got a secret ingredient!
Now, I’m no newbie to chicken soup. I have been making soup with my great grandmother’s homemade noodle recipe for years, and these simple chicken and dumplings have been a staple in my cooking repertoire since college.
But this recipe introduced me to a whole new world of chicken soup power!
It’s carefully crafted with ingredients that support your body in fighting off yucky winter germs. I’m not saying you’ll wake up the next morning cured (wouldn’t that be nice?!), but this nutrient-dense concoction is a great way to soothe your symptoms and give your body’s immune system a boost.
This chicken noodle soup has the classic cast of characters…hearty chicken, soothing broth, vitamin-rich veggies…all the good-for-you stuff that has been touted for years as being the best remedy for a cold or flu.
But this version is also spiked with a few powerhouse ingredients to really fight off whatever bug has you down for the count. For starters, it has garlic and cayenne pepper to support immune health and fight inflammation.
And the super-secret ingredient you’ve been waiting for…
Ready for it?
Yep. Just before serving the soup, squeeze a whole lemon right into the pot (make sure you strain out any seeds. Why lemon? Well, it’s immune boosting (vitamin c) and aids in digestion (helps with absorption of minerals like iron), plus it just adds an amazing brightness of flavor to the soup.
So, we’re clear now that this soup is good for you, right? But did the kids like it? (Because we all know there’s no point in making a super-charged healthy meal if the children completely refuse to touch it.)
My kids are kind of lukewarm on soup in general, and–to be honest–I wasn’t sure how it would go over. So I was genuinely SHOCKED by their overwhelming praise of the meal. Everyone ate at least one full serving without any complaint (amazing!) and I kept hearing phrases like, “Mom, this is SO, SO good. You have to make it again.”
Done and done, son. (Cue the internal dance of joy in this momma’s heart that her hard work to make a home-cooked meal was actually successful!)
My oldest son even declared this his favorite soup ever, and his second favorite food of all time (his first fave is these BBQ Sloppy Joes)! WHAT? I had no idea I was creating such a legendary meal with this humble soup. But apparently, it’s going into the tried-and-true pile of recipes to be repeated regularly.
So, if you’ve got little sickies at home like me, or if you just want a super healthy, warm, simple dinner for a cold winter night, read on for the full details!
Secret-ingredient Flu Fighter Chicken Noodle Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into small pieces (or pre-cooked chicken, like leftover rotisserie chicken)
- 1/2 onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 32 ounces of chicken broth (or chicken bone broth)
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups uncooked pasta (I recommend egg noodles, or these fabulous from-scratch noodles)
- 1 lemon, juice
- Heat oil over medium high heat in a large pot. Add onion and saute 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add uncooked chicken and spices. Cook 3-5 minutes, until chicken is mostly cooked.
- Add carrots and celery. Saute for another 2-3 minutes. If you’re using precooked chicken, add it now.
- Add chicken broth and water. Increase heat to high, and bring soup to a boil. Add pasta.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are soft and pasta is al dente.
- Squeeze juice from one lemon into the pot (be careful to strain out seeds), and stir. Taste, adjust seasonings, and serve!
Source: Inspired by a recipe from Baker By Nature. I adjusted seasonings and cooking method, but I totally credit her with the brilliant secret ingredient!