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Home-made can be tasier, healtheir than canned
Chicky soup
Even if there is no medicinal value in chicken soup, it's a comfort food for many. - photo by Stock photo

Ingredients for stock base
• 1 All-natural or organic whole or cut-up chicken
• 8 cups water
• 2 large onions, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 4 ribs celery, diced
• 6 large carrots, peeled and sliced
• 2 large bay leaves
• 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons sea salt
Place all ingredients
in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer stock for the next several hours, at least three but preferably up to six.
Check stock every 10 minutes or so and skim off any of the “scum” that comes to the surface and discard. Wait another hour and skim the stock a couple times after that.
When done, allow the stock to cool completely.  When cooled, refrigerate overnight. Skim the layer of congealed fat off of the surface before using.  
Stock can be stored in the refrigerator up to a week or, to extend it’s life, you can freeze it in bags or containers for later use.

Ingredients for soup
• 1 cup elbow pasta
• 1 cup orzo pasta
• 1/2 cup mined green onions
• 1 tablespoon sea salt

When stock has finished simmering, remove the chicken from the pot. RemainingA stock may need to be strained to remove small bones, unwanted particles and bay leaves. Return vegetables and stock to the pot.
Allow chicken to cool enough so that the meat can be picked from the bone. While picking chicken, return pot to heat and bring to a boil.
Add the pasta to the pot and stir, reduce heat to a simmer. Return chicken to the pot and stir, making sure no pasta is sticking to the bottom of the pot. When pasta is almost cooked through remove pot from heat.  
Add green onion and salt to the pot and stir. Soup tastes best if you cool it completely, refrigerate it overnight and strain the fat before eating it.
Soup can be reheated in small batches as needed and will last up to a week in the refrigerator.

The cold and flu season is upon us. In our house, we have already battled a bout of pneumonia with our youngest child and a slew of miscellaneous fevers and coughing fits throughout the family.  Any time anyone is sick in our house there is only one thing they turn to for comfort — chicken
Although I always have emergency cans of chicken noodle stocked in my pantry for unexpected illnesses, there really is no substitute for homemade chicken-noodle soup. I grew up in a French-Canadian household where soup and salad were eaten with lunch and dinner everyday, even in the summer months. Chicken noodle was my grandmother’s speciality and I couldn’t get enough of it. I could eat it every day of the week for the foreseeable future and never tire of it.
As an adult, I now make my grandmother’s recipe for my family, especially during the winter months. I have been reading a lot about the health benefits of chicken-bone broth on various health blogs and websites.
Aside from the fact that warm chicken broth or soup is very soothing — especially when sick — it has many health benefits that get us back on the road to recovery. The minerals and gelatin that will leach out of the chicken bones while cooking are easily absorbed by the body, especially calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and other trace minerals. The salt in the broth also helps to replenish the body with electrolytes.
I am sharing a recipe here for both stock and soup to have on hand during this cold and flu season. Keep the key ingredients on hand so that you can whip up a batch in a pinch. Note that the best broth is made with multiple chicken carcasses and not whole chickens, but either one will do the trick. I save the bones from any chicken that we eat for dinner and freeze them until I have enough to make a large batch of
The best part about making this broth or soup from scratch is that you can control the ingredients that you include. I try to keep my ingredients as natural as possible, using all-natural or organic chicken and vegetables when possible. Homemade soup also will keep your family free of the many preservatives and additives in the canned variety.

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