vegetable soup
food, health

Chicken Soup Home Remedy

With Australia in the midst of winter colds and what seems now the ever-present spectre of Covid threatening us, it seems fitting I re-visit an old recipe post from pre-Covid times.

It has been some time since I cooked Chicken soup for a sick teenager, but I remember it like it is yesterday.

Chicken Soup Makes you Feel Better

Setting: Pre – Covid days when teenage boys roamed my house

“Ahhhh, I feel sick, I think I’m coming down with a cold,” wailed my teenage son as he came home from school, one day.

Oh dear, you do look a bit pale, I’ll make some Chicken soup for you to…” I begin, before I am abruptly cut off with a, Talk to the Hand,’ kind of gesture, frequently observed in male adolescents.

2013-06-20 18.32.44

“Fine,” I then respond, trying not to feel rejected and putting on a nonchalant face. “But it helps me feel better, when I feel ill,” I plead, as the teen, now making a hasty exit from the kitchen, heads straight for the lounge.

In one swift movement, he has grabbed the remote control and launched himself into the air, landing lengthwise on the Ektorp lounge like some ‘lounge lizard‘, flaked out on sedatives.

During this pseudo-aerial display of slothfulness, Number #1 Son and older brother to the Teen and self-confessed germophobe seated on the floor in front of the TV, [apparently, there are no suitable chairs in the house], looks at his brother in horror.

It is clear he is nearly beside himself with the knowledge that something as infectious as a common cold, has entered his personal space and so abruptly leaves the room, mumbling something about establishing a quarantine zone, and swearing not to touch the TV remote, for at least two weeks!

Unsurprisingly, I know his father will hold no issue with that comment, detected by the sudden throat clearing and smirk I see building across his face.

Amidst the sniffles and sneezes, now reaching somewhat of a crescendo from the lounge lizard, I begin to assemble the ingredients for Grandma’s Chicken soup – lots of parsley, garlic, all manner of vegetables and a bit of extra salt.

Salty Foods are Helpful

Believe it or not, salt can actually be good for you when you are sick, (just make sure to drink plenty of water/fluids with it to prevent dehydration). This is basically the only time eating something as salty as potato crisps, could be seen to do any modicum of good, so make the most of it, I say.

Believe it or not, there is now proof that Grandma was right, after all, in serving up Chicken soup when someone in the family is sick, so there is a method in my madness, (if you’ll excuse the cooking pun).

The Science of Eating Chicken Soup When you are Sick

Researchers have found

“…chicken soup does have a mild anti-inflammatory effect and can reduce the impact of a cold. The American journal of Therapeutics says carnosine in chicken is the ingredient that most likely helps our immune system.”

Fitwise Magazine 2014

Furthermore, Lisa Renn of the Dietitians Association of Australia says,

“there are studies that say chicken soup is beneficial in improving symptoms such as a runny nose, coughs, sneezing, sore throats and chills.”

Dietitians AA

So what, you might ask, does the ailing teen do when I place a tray of hot, steamy, freshly-made chicken soup on his lap?

He gobbles it up so fast, it is practically inhaled!!! And yes, despite the glazed looks teens often give you when the TV is on, I did hear a nasal, “Thanks Mum,” somewhere amidst the slurping noises,  which like Grandma’s Chicken soup, warms my spirit!

Grandma’s Chicken Soup Recipe

  • 1 Chicken Breast, sliced thinly or cooked leftover chicken
  • 400 mls good quality chicken broth (either make your own from boiling a whole chicken or use a stock cube/good prepared broth – I use Campbells)
  • 2 medium onions sliced/diced
  • 2 sticks celery, finely diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • Shallots – 1/4 bunch, finely sliced
  • I large handful of Parsley, diced
  • 1/4 cup frozen beans or peas
  • Creamed corn – I medium can, drained
  • Sweetcorn kernels – I small can, drained
  • Lemon juice ( 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional Extras:

2 Handfuls of any other vegetable, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sweet potato, that you may wish to use, diced, shredded or broken into small florets.

Method

  1. Sauté onion, garlic and celery in a large saucepan
  2. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add carrots and optional veges and cook for around 6 minutes
  4. Add the chicken strips and stir till they change colour and cook through completely
  5. Add the shallots, parsley, frozen beans/peas, and cook a further 2-3 minutes
  6. Add corn, lemon juice and finally add the egg, whilst stirring
  7. Add seasoning to taste.

Serve with bread or alone, it is oh, so good!

Serves 4 people (or 2 teens!)

Variant:

Throw in 1/4 cup Arborio rice and stir – cooking the dish, for another 8 minutes or until rice is completely cooked through. This turns it into a thick casserole type of dish.

Slow Cooker Chicken Soup Option

Throw all the ingredients in the Slow Cooker adding water to cover and return home at the end of the day with the house smelling like Grandma – in a good way, of course!!

Sunrise
food

And a Dash of Magnesium

Mineral Deficiency

Minerals in our diet. Not something we give much thought too, is it? But should we? What does it matter if we are deficient in a little, say, magnesium?

It turns out to be pretty important for our bodies! Without enough magnesium, one could suffer:

  • foot pain
  • muscle cramps
  • migraines
  • high blood pressure
  • anxiety disorders
  • asthma
  • chronic fatigue
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • in severe cases: cardiovascular disease in the form of cardiac arrhythmia, or angina.
  • low magnesium has been implicated in diabetes.
  • Magnesium can help control premenstrual syndrome or  (PMS), especially where it concern breast tenderness, headache and irritability.
  • Magnesium can also be useful in relaxing muscles and preventing muscular cramps, during exercise.

It is generally recommended that women with severe PMS symptoms take 300 to 500 milligrams a day for the two weeks before and during menstruation. The RDA for magnesium is about 300 milligrams, but at least twice as much is needed to see preventive and therapeutic benefits. Supplements are definitely needed to prevent osteoporosis. Women over 50 that are not taking Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) probably need about 750 milligrams of magnesium every day, an amount that is hard to get through the diet alone,” according to

Vitaminstuff.com

Oral supplements are readily available, but it is best to include as many magnesium-rich foods, into the diet, as you can, especially if you fall in to the post menopausal age group.

  • Dairy products, like non-fat yoghurt
  • Fish particularly tuna and halibut
  • Dark leafy greens, such as kale, mustard greens, collards, chard (silverbeet), dandelion greens, sorrel, watercress.

Foods very high in magnesium include:

  • Brazil Nuts,
  • Pumpkin and Squash seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Molasses
  • Brown rice
  • Cantaloupe
  • Figs
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruit
  • Peaches
  • Tofu and soybeans
  • Wheat, and whole grains
  • Dark chocolate (Eating magnesium can be tasty too!!)
  • Several herbs, such as chamomile, cayenne, fenugreek, lemongrass, licorice, paprika, parsley, peppermint, and sage also contain magnesium.

Worth noting also is, “The consumption of alcohol, diuretics, anticonvulsants, antibiotics, digitalis, and lithium can interfere with magnesium absorption. People taking these medications should speak with their doctor about supplementing. Other factors that can decrease magnesium absorption are elevated levels of fluoride, zinc, and vitamin D; diarrhea; high-fat and high-protein diets; consumption of large amounts of cod liver oil; and frequent consumption of foods high in oxalic acid, such as cocoa, rhubarb, spinach, and tea,” 

Vitaminstuff.com

One menu giving you some ideas about boosting Magnesium in your diet might look something like this:

Entree:

Broccoli and Spinach Soup with Whole wheat bread

Mains:

Stir fry Veges such as broccoli, spring onions, carrot

Served with Fish or Scallops and almonds/cashews and lemongrass atop a bed of brown rice

Sides:

Tabouli and Asian side salads garnished with slices of avocado

Dessert:

Dried figs and Bananas drizzled with dark chocolate

You can find a recipe for delicious Broccoli and Spinach soup over at my main blog.