Yep. Cold and flu season is in full swing here in NC, and guess who got hit with a nasty case of it?…
Last week, I was knocked off my bad-ass and into bed with the whole array of fun flu symptoms. This week, it’s a cough that won’t seem to go away, and now my voice has given up on me and gone on vacation to parts unknown. Now, for those of you who know me, you are probably wondering how I’m managing without two of my favorite activities-food and talking. Well, I’m happy to say that after a week of eating nothing but crackers, rice and chicken broth, I’m able to eat food with actual flavor again, and I couldn’t be happier about that. And I actually cooked last night!! Joy! Rapture! Yes, I am still not feeling great but after the horrifying realization yesterday that the chicken bullion cubes that the Hubs bought while I was in and out of conciousness last week had (you might want to sit down for this one folks) 1100 mg of sodium per cube, well, I just had to do something.
Now usually I don’t use bullion cubes. I’m all about making stock from scratch so I can control what goes in. But I was in no shape to shop and when the Hubs went out on a grocery expedition for crackers, ginger ale and dry soup mix, all the soup mixes he found contained MSG (a four letter word in my book). When he called for advice, I thought back to my childhood and suggested bullion cubes. Jackpot! No MSG!! Hubs was thrilled at his find and proudly made his way home.
Flash forward to yesterday, when I got out of bed in the thought of making a steaming cup of bullion to warm up my aching chest (this cough is sucking the life outta me). While I waited for the water to heat in the microwave, I thought I’d do a little light reading (yeah, I read nutritional information labels for fun) and took a gander at the jar of bullion cubes. For a second, I thought that my illness was now affecting my eyesight. That could not be 1100 mg of sodium!!! I did not just read that! I took off my glasses, rubbed my eyes and took another look. Yep. It was true. A whopping 1100 mg of sodium!! In ONE CUBE!!! Suddenly it all made a bit more sense…The headaches, the spike in my blood pressure at the doctor’s office…I was appalled! Gary was equally shocked. Poor thing. He was so happy about the lack of MSG, he didn’t look at the rest of the label. Needless to say, the remaining cubes went in the trash.
So when Gary picked up the doctor’s current recommendation for the cough (nope, this one doesn’t seem to be working either-I spent another sleepless night hacking away) I also requested a whole chicken, orzo pasta and some celery, so I could make some real, healthy chicken soup, the way my Grandma did. Do I still have the cough? Yep. But that hot soup last night did make both of us feel better, in more ways than one. So for all you folks out there suffering right along with me, here’s my Grandma’s chicken soup recipe. Continue to fight the good fight, continue to be fearless in the face of phlegm, and for heaven’s sakes, stay away from those freakin’ bullion cubes!
Start with a package of cut up chicken (the packs that contain breasts, thighs and backs are great) in a large stock pot (6-8 quarts). Add 2 tbs kosher salt and cover with water till about 1.5 inch from the top of the pot.
Slice up 4 large carrots, 3-4 stalks of celery and one large onion (or 4 shallots), 5 cloves of chopped garlic, fresh ground black pepper to taste, 2 TBS of Italian seasoning and add them to the pot. Bring to a gentle boil on high heat, then cover slightly and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2 hours. Carefully remove chicken from pot, de-bone and shred. Put the shredded chicken back in the pot, raise heat and bring to a boil. Add 3/4 pound of Orzo pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes. Taste broth and add salt/pepper if needed.
Super easy, right? And waaaay less sodium than those darn bullion cubes, with a lot more natural flavor. Plus, it’s really inexpensive, too 🙂
Well, I’m off to nap land, since I haven’t slept much in the past few nights. Here’s to hoping you are all healthy, happy and having a excellent 2012 so far!
Until next time, have fun and be fearless!