Flu and cold season seems to be in full force in Erie -- my kids told me more than 10 percent of the students in their Millcreek elementary school are out sick this week and the Erie County Health Department is reporting cases of flu on the rise.
When sickness strikes home, when it seems everyone seems like they're fighting a sniffly nose or sore throat, it's time for some chicken noodle soup! Did you know it's not just an old wives' tale that chicken noodle soup can help you get over an illness?
In fact, the nutrients from chicken noodle soup can aid your immune system and ease cold symptoms. A hearty bowl of chicken soup may help you to clear nasal congestion and have a mild anti-inflammatory effect that can help ease cold symptoms, according to this story from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Not only that, but chicken noodle soup is soothing to the throat and easy to digest -- the perfect winter comfort food.
It's also delicious. Macaroni Kid publisher Sarah Boucher makes chicken noodle soup for her family in a slow cooker. Easy slow cookers meals are a staple in her house. Evenings are busy, but the slow cooker means her family can still have dinner together most nights.
This easy recipe is quick to put together and loved by her entire family -- whether they're sneezing and coughing, or not.
Slow cooker chicken noodle soup
- 1 lb. chicken (I typically use chicken breasts, but you can also use leftover chicken or turkey!)
- 1/2 bag baby carrots, cut into pieces
- 8 cups chicken broth (or chicken stock)
- 1/4 cup celery, diced (my family doesn't like celery chunks, so I substitute 1 tablespoon dried celery flakes)
- 1/4 cup onion, diced (my family also doesn't like onion, so I substitute 1 tablespoon dried minced onion)
- Salt, to taste (optional)
- Pepper, to taste
- Garlic powder, to taste (if you really like garlic, you can use fresh minced garlic)
- Parsley, to taste
- 2 cups pasta noodles, uncooked
- Scallions (optional)
- Add all ingredients, except the noodles, to your slow cooker. Cook on high 3 to 4 hours or low 6 to 7 hours. Note that spices are to taste -- add some to start, and then at the end of the cooking time you can adjust them to your liking. (Remember, you can always add more, but you can't take it out if you add too much!)
- About 30 minutes before you're ready to eat, remove the chicken and cut it into cubes or shred it. Return it to the slow cooker.
- Add the uncooked pasta and return the lid to the slow cooker for continued cooking.
- When pasta is cooked to desired tenderness, dinner is ready! Garnish with chopped scallions and serve!
I hope your family finds this slow cooker chicken soup recipe as delicious a comfort food as Sarah's does.
Feel better, Erie!
Sarah Boucher is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Muskegon, Mich. Kara Murphy is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Erie.