This post was supposed to be published yesterday, but we had kind of a crazy day. My husband and our 2 year old were rear-ended in a hit and run (luckily, the police caught the offender). The little one wasn't phased at all, but the 40 year old dad is a little worse for wear. He's got a bit of whiplash, and the muscle relaxers are not helping. On the bright side, he has a chiropractic treatment this morning, so healing is on the way!
Back to chicken soup... if you check the labels on most store bought chicken soup or chicken broth or stock, you'll be startled by the amount of sodium. Even the low-sodium varieties are a cause for concern. Labelling can be misleading. For istance, "reduced-sodium" doesn't mean "low-sodium". It just means that version has less sodium than the company's standard product. To make matters worse, many companies substitute MSG which works on brain cells to trick the brain into thinking the food item has more flavor.
Normally, I make my own chicken stock from a roasted chicken carcass and drippings. Being pregnant, I cannot handle extra heat- even in winter- and haven't wanted to get the oven going until late in the evening when the brownie cravings outweigh the heat aversion. This weekend, we had a defrosted chicken in the fridge slated to satisfy a chicken salad craving, so I put the bird, breast-side-down, in the crockpot on low for 7 hours.
When I took the chicken out of the slow cooker, there was a substantial amount of juice at the bottom of the crockpot. I added 6 cups of water, one quartered onion, a chopped celery stalk, a sprinkle of pepper, a pinch of dried sage, and the picked clean chicken bones to the chicken juice, and cooked in the crockpot overnight (about 6 hours for me these days).
The next morning, I strained the contents into a plastic container, let it cool on the counter, and then put it in the refrigerator. When the fat rose to the top, it was removed, and the broth put on the stove top to simmer for about 30 minutes with garlic powder, onion powder, carrots, celery, green beans, peas, and left-over chicken. I added a handful of rotini, and cooked until al dente.
The soup made about 5 servings. It wasn't fast, but it was mostly slow-cooking-and-walk-away prepping. The only thing that could have made this better would have been some warm, buttered, crusty bread. But, then we're getting back to the whole hot oven vs. pregnant woman thing.
Live better, a little every day.