Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Feel Better Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

Getting a stomach bug is never fun... but getting a stomach bug in the middle of summer just after you finish dancing onstage at the beginning of a week long extravaganza is even worse.  Unfortunately, such has been Liv's life this last week.

As a competitive dancer she prepares all year for the National Competition, and the Spotlight Dance Cup puts on a fabulous event with Nationals hosting an exciting Elite Extravaganza, which Liv qualified for at regionals.  This competition held the opportunity to compete in a pagent-like event, Title, in addition to the pure dance part, and Liv had waited all year for this experience and we'd found the perfect formal dress for the finale.

The first day held 4 hours of elite rehearsals with the incredibly talented Jaci Royal in addition to the onstage Title competition, an interpretive solo (they play music and you just dance... no prearranged choreography) and her own solo.

Liv performing her Interprative Solo... She heard the music only minutes before coming on stage and improving this dance.

The title portion went fabulously as her confidence simply glowed, and her interpretive solo was amazing.  As she began preparing for her solo though (around 9PM), she complained of her stomach feeling "off" and her extremities feeling "funny".  I brushed it off as a case of the jitters (which she usually doesn't get) and told her to focus harder.

Imagine my dismay (and guilt) when some 20 minutes after performing she found a trash can and lost her lunch.  The beginning of a long night, we chatted with the Spotlight Director who told us that missing any of the rehearsals over the next 5 days would have her out of the competition.  Changing our overnight plans and heading home, she got very little sleep that night and proceeded to spend the next 48 hours in bed, indeed missing rehearsals - the competition was over for her.

With heavy hearts we began the process of healing, and Liv's first food request was Chicken Noodle Soup.  Always a favorite when she feels the need for a health boost, the soup also does a little healing for the heart as it warms the body and brings life back into balance.

Her simple version includes the traditional ingredients, broth, chicken, noodles, and vegetables, but she proclaims the chicken must be shredded, not chopped, for the proper effect.  The vegetables also must but cut in very small shapes, the carrots preferably in little squares.

The pasta also becomes an issue if it is too big, and thankfully we had just the right pasta on hand thanks again to Hodgson Mill (they keep coming to our rescue!).  Weeks ago Hodgson Mill sent us a care package including some of their new Ultragrain with Quinoa pastas, and I hadn't had a chance to do much else other than look at it.  Liv had commented on the "cute little elbow noodles", and when talking about her soup, those cute little noodles made the perfect addition.

Made with whole wheat durhum as well as quinoa flours, the Ultragrain noodles bring a slightly nutty flavor and an amazing texture to the bowl (they don't get mushy).  Doing my best to pack this Feel Better Soup with as many nutrients as possible, the quinoa made a nice addition without the actual quinoa texture (which was not allowed in the soup).

Bringing needed fiber as well as a nice dose of protein, the "cute little elbow noodles" combined with perfectly cut square carrots, little moon shaped celery, not too big shredded chicken and a steamy chicken broth enhanced with a bit of garlic and thyme for the perfect feel better meal.

Whether you are healing a head cold, getting the stomach slowly working again or fixing a heavy heart, this Feel Better Chicken Noodle Soup is sure to do the trick.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Feel Better Chicken Noodle Soup
Grandma may have been right when she served Chicken Noodle Soup at the first sign of a sniffle...  Studies show that something in the concoction does indeed ease stuffed noses, and once eating again after a stomach bug the soup brings restorative nutrients to the body.  Our own personal study shows the soup to also have incredible warming effects on chilly days.

Work with your favorite vegetables or what you have on hand to make a concoction all your own.  Liv also loves to add potato... cut in squares of course.
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1 Tbs oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely diced
1-2 carrots, chopped (Liv says in square shapes)
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water (or more if desired - or may use all chicken broth)
1/8 - 1/4 tsp dried thyme (Liv likes it light... )
pinch dried rosemary
1/3 cup small pasta (we like Hodgson Mill's Ultragrain with Quinoa Elbows)
1 handful shredded chicken (more or less, as you like)
1 small handful baby spinach, torn

Add the oil to a medium sized pot over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, carrots and celery and sautee a few minutes until vegetable begin to soften.  Add the chicken broth, thyme and rosemary.

Simmer about 10 minutes, then add the pasta.  Simmer another 4 minutes, then add the spinach.  Simmer another 4-6 minutes or until pasta is al dente.

Serve in large mugs... enjoy!


  1. The only dancing I do ... Well, it's not good. I hope you feel better and kick some dancing butt.

    1. Thanks Adam!! She's back on the healthy track now and dancing up a storm!!

  2. this chicken soup looks wonderful!!! But..... did you mean to leave out the chicken from the recipe?
    Would love to know how much you recommend. Thank you

    1. Please insert embarrassed emoticon here!!! No... didn't mean to leave it out. Many times how much I add simply depends on how much I have on hand, but if I get to choose, I use about a really good sized handful of shredded chicken (about 3/4 of a cup or so?) Sometimes my daughter likes more, but usually about that much. Thanks for pointing my missing chicken out! I would never have caught it. Appreciate it.

  3. So sorry that illness hit! It sounds absolutely awful. :-( So glad you had this deliciousness to nurse back to health. XO

  4. So sorry you're sick! Hope that soup did the trick.

  5. Yum! Definitely saving this one for when it cools down!


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