Day 335–Turkey Noodle Soup

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I stand by the anecdotal findings of Jewish mothers everywhere that chicken soup has healing properties. Same goes for turkey soup, but that is a little more unusual to find unless it’s shortly after Thanksgiving. There is something so satisfying about a bowl of homemade chicken/turkey noodle soup that even if you’re still sick, there is a little warm spot in your soul that feels better. I don’t get the same feeling from canned soup and I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because homemade soup, especially if you’re using homemade stock, has a richness and complexity that canned soup just doesn’t have. Or maybe it’s because when I make soup I can add as much of the good stuff (in my case turkey and noodles) as I want, so my soup is just the way I like it.

Last turkey post. Promise. We used up every bit of our Thanksgiving turkey and finished up with making stock from the carcass using THIS basic recipe for chicken stock. I had to break out my canning pot to make the stock because our turkey was so large. Now we have a few gallons of stock for the freezer and enough left over to make this turkey noodle soup. We’re eating a good bit of the soup this weekend and will freeze some for a day when the weather is brutal or someone is sick and we need a quick comfort fix.

This recipe is entirely flexible. You can vary the ingredients to suit your taste and what happens to be fresh at your market. You can also cut this recipe in 1/2 or by 1/4 to suit your household size and what you feel up to cooking. In our case, we made a ton (well, 2 gallons) of soup and used up our leftover Thanksgiving vegetables plus some of the summer green beans and corn from our stash in the freezer. Totally worth it.

A note about amounts. I like my soup very thick with lots of noodles and enough stock to keep everything moist. If you like a very broth-y soup, you can just cut back on some of the vegetable and noodle amounts or add more stock at the end.

Turkey Noodle Soup (makes about 2 gallons)

  • 16 c. chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 4 c. green beans
  • 2 heads of baby bok choi, washed well, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 c. corn
  • 2-4 cups leftover, cooked turkey or chicken (I didn’t measure, I just used whatever we had left)
  • 8 oz. ribbon or egg noodles
  • Fresh sage leaves
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the stock.
  2. While stock is warming, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook about 2-3 minutes, until soft.
  3. Add the carrots and celery to the pan and continue cooking another 4-5 minutes until carrots begin to soften.
  4. Add the chopped bok choi, stir and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Add cooked vegetables to the stock along with any other vegetables, herbs and seasonings. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  7. Add turkey/chicken and continue simmering for another 15 minutes or so.
  8. Add noodles and simmer until noodles are done. They will swell up and absorb a good deal of the stock. If you need more stock, add water or (if you have it) more poultry stock to suit your taste.
  9. Remove the bay leaves and any other large pieces of herbs you may have in the pot.
  10. Serve immediately or cool and refrigerate to reheat the next day (this is always better).

Congratulations! You are now a healer 🙂

Day 73–National Chicken Noodle Soup Day

A homemade chicken noodle soup with bread

In honor of the March 13 holiday, National Chicken Noodle Soup Day, I will be making a nice pot of soup for my family. Nothing uses a bounty of fresh, local vegetables like soup (well, a good stir fry will use some veggies, too, but it’s not stir fry day). Did you know that a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup has only 8% chicken? I don’t know about you, but I like more than that in my soup, so I’ll be making my own.

The first component to good chicken soup is having homemade chicken stock. I love making my own chicken stock because it makes use of something (the chicken carcass) that would otherwise be tossed away and turns it into something that is far superior to anything you can buy in a can or box at the grocery. I also love making stock because I can do it while I do a half-dozen other things like cleaning, doing laundry or (my favorite) watching football. Football is sadly over for another six months, but I’ll be spring cleaning the house and working on some volunteer projects instead. If you finish a roast chicken, but don’t have time to make stock, wrap up the chicken bones and freeze them until you are ready. It’s totally worth it.

Making soup is a forgiving process. With few exceptions, you can make substitutions and use whatever you have on hand and it will be good. My favorite soup to make is an Italian Ribolita–I’ll post that recipe at some point–because it uses up a lot of leftover fresh vegetables and is incredibly satisfying in the fall and winter. But today is chicken noodle soup day, so let’s get started…

Chicken Stock

  • 1 chicken carcass or leftover chicken bones
  • 1 organic onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves organic garlic, peeled and smashed with the back of a knife
  • 2-3 organic celery stalks or leftover tops, cleaned and cut into large pieces
  • 3 organic carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Put all ingredients into a large stock pot and fill pot with water to cover all.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Skim any foam off the surface and reduce heat to low.
  4. Simmer on stove for 1-2 hours.
  5. Take pot from heat and allow to cool about 30 minutes.
  6. Strain contents of pot through a colander into another large pot or bowl. Discard chicken bones and vegetables.
  7. Cover strained stock and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  8. Skim fat from the top and either use or store in freezer.
  9. You can freeze this stock for up to 6 months.

NOTE: I don’t add salt to my stock because I’m never sure how I will use it. You can add it if you like, but I prefer to add salt to the finished dish.

Chicken Noodle Soup

This is my basic chicken soup recipe, but by all means feel free to add, substitute or eliminate as you wish. I tend to like my soup very thick, so you can add more stock, water, wine or whatever makes you happy so you have the right consistency for you.

  • 12 cups of homemade chicken stock
  • 2-3 cups of cooked chicken (usually whatever I have left over), cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 4 organic carrots, peeled and cut into roughly 1/4″ slices
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh organic peas
  • 1 organic onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 organic celery stalks, cleaned and sliced thin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 oz. pasta (fettuccine noodles broken into pieces, orzo or any pasta you like)
  1. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil at medium/high heat.
  2. Add vegetables and cook until slightly tender, about 5 minutes or so.
  3. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add chicken and chicken stock, stir well and simmer.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Simmer on medium/low heat for about 1 hour.
  7. Add pasta and cook another 10-15 minutes until pasta is done.
  8. Serve with a salad or with a good bread.
  9. Soup can be frozen for up to 6 months.

Happy chicken noodle soup day!

Day 29–Starting Week 5–Budget and Menu

It is hard to believe we are already beginning the second month of our family sustainability challenge. While we have made some adjustments in our lives, the overall process has not been as hard as I thought it would be. We are finding new resources all the time, eating better quality food and meeting new people. All good things! We’re also doing pretty well at not wasting food. We did have to compost a bunch of dino kale, but we’ve been pretty good about eating everything we buy during the week!

In week 4, we did pretty well with our meals, eating all meals except breakfast from locally produced sources. This puts us right at 75%. I’m not sure if we’ll always make that target, but it worked well this week! So, how is our budget for next week? Here is what we spent:

Week 5 expenses:

  • Farmhand Foods meat box (3.5 lb. mini boneless ham): $15.00
  • Water Oaks Farm (eggs): $4.00
  • Coon Rock Farm (carrots and tatsoi): $7.00
  • Locals Seafood (NC shrimp): $10.00
  • Hillsborough Cheese Company (Eno Sharp and mozzarella): $10.00
  • Heaven on Earth Organics (sweet potatoes, tomato, broccoli): $13.00
  • Bushy Farm (apples): $5.00
  • Trader Joes (Ezekiel bread, organic butter, organic tomato soup, free range chicken broth, frozen fruit, organic soy milk): $26.11
  • Great Harvest Bread Co. (honey whole wheat): FREE with coupon

Total for week 5: $90.11!! We are under our goal of $100 for the first week! Some of this is due to carryover we have (frozen ragu sauce, carryover local grits, carryover whole grain rolls) plus a coupon for free bread (!), but I still think that’s great. What are we getting for our budget?

Week 5 Menu

  • Sunday–Roast Duplin County ham from AD Jones, oven roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli with pine nuts, apple cake
  • Monday–Grilled cheese (Great Harvest bread and local Eno Sharp cheese), organic tomato soup [Meatless Monday!]
  • Tuesday–Ham and bean soup with kale, whole grain rolls
  • Wednesday–All NC shrimp and grits
  • Thursday–leftover soup
  • Friday–ham, cheese and leftover veggie fritatta
  • Saturday–whole wheat pasta with leftover ragu from freezer

Here’s to another fun and adventurous week! Next week, we’ll be planning our Super Bowl menu!