Firstly, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your well-wishes. I couldn't stay away from the computer for long, although it's feels fussy to write with all the cold meds in my head.
Dear Judy of Grandma Stories was right about kids getting sick easily when exposed to an array of germs in the classroom at the beginning of school. I'm glad that this will help build up their immune systems. Was also glad I'm building mine up too, although I hadn't anticipated that.
Had a great weekend with my in-laws while they were here. Then came Monday morning when one of the kids had a runny nose dripping like a out-of-sync faucet all day. As with most kids in a family, it wasn't long before the other one followed. And follow she did today. Now with a duo of runny noses, raspy voices and a constant chanting of "MOMMY", I gathered whatever I had in the fridge, freezer and pantry to make some chicken soup for all of us. And yes, I was sneezing too!
Homemade Chicken Broth
This is something I always try to have on hand for those days that I need a little boost to a stir fry or a day like today. I needed broth in a hurry before the next kid hollered for her mommy. Here's a great tip: before you make your broth, freeze several used big bottled water containers in the freezer that's filled with tap water. This will make the cooling of the chicken broth much faster and help decrease the growth of bacteria in your broth. This was taught to me by a chef neighbor ions ago. I learned that when the broth is cooked and left out for more than a couple of hours at room temperature, bacteria will begin to multiply so quickly you won't be able to see the smoke from the dust. Since most bacteria do not give out a bad odor or change the color or texture of the broth, it can go unnoticed. Putting the broth in the fridge as soon as possible will help slow down the growth of some bacteria, and freezing can also slow and stop most bacteria. Reheating the frozen broth to a rolling boil for a few minutes will thoroughly destroy the bacteria. So now it make sense to me why my mom used to say "eat it while it's hot!".
1 4 lb chicken, inlets removed and rinsed
5 quarts of water
3 leeks white part only cleaned thoroughly and quartered
3 ribs of celery with leaves halved
10 parsley stems
2 thumb size ginger, smashed with the side of a cleaver (optional)
3 large carrots quartered
3 large onions quartered
10 whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Rub kosher salt all over chicken (inside too) and let sit for 30 mins. Rinse well and place in a large pot. Add everything to pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 hours. Remove chicken and save the meat in a bowl for other uses. Return carcass to pot and simmer for another hour. Turn off the heat. Plunge the frozen bottled-water containers into the soup. I normally use three big frozen bottles. In a few mins, the broth will be cool enough to go into the fridge. When it's cool, fill up some ice cube trays with broth, and you will always have homemade broth on hand. Recipe adapted from about.com
Note and tip: I usually like my chicken stock a hint of smokiness, so I add 2 tbs soy sauce in the cooking process.
Homemade Chicken Soup
Homemade chicken broth
2 Chicken Breasts
3 stalks celery
2 large carrots, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbs chopped fresh dill
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves, minces
1 med onion, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
egg noodles or rice
That is what a good, healthy mom would do for her sick kids. But I am a sick kid too. Since we were tired of chicken noodle soup by now, I made a slight variation with this my short-cut version with homemade chicken broth.Made a braised pork roast with soy sauce, hoisin sauce, homemade chicken broth and seasonings in the crockpot, cooked some bow-tie pasta and steamed vegetables in chicken broth and combined everything together. My taste buds were shot at that moment, but the kids consumed all of it and asked for seconds, so it must not have been that bad.
Tip #3: With all that chicken stock that you made, freeze them in ice-cube trays so that you can easily use them in stir-frys, soups, or sauces when you need them. Pour into ice-cube trays and place in freezer til frozen. Then remove from trays and place in ziplock bag. That way when you need to use it, just drop the desired amount of ice cubes into your cooking when you need it. This works especially well for my stir-frys.