Chicken Soup for The Sick

Simple, Delicious and Nutritious

One of the great things about my new situation in Vegas is my husband and I work for the same show. That means we have the same schedule (for the first time in years!) and we can carpool. It’s been wonderful so far. But last week I found out there’s a big drawback to working in the same building: when there’s a cold or flu circulating, we have twice as many opportunities to catch it. And catch it we did. Within 24 hours of us both waking up and saying, “man, my allergies are terrible,” we descended into the cold-haze, that netherworld between the cold and cold medicine keeping us functional. We’ve wisely avoided the discussion of which of us might have been Patient Zero and focused on hand-washing (to avoid contaminating anything else), keeping the symptoms in check and getting as much rest as possible. Unfortunately October has been one commitment after another for both of us, and this week was no different. He had long rehearsal days for a PR event, and I had multiple rehearsals and a performance for a band I sing with (somehow my voice remained intact). Today was the first full day we’d been able to spend resting and recuperating, and we took full advantage of it: We slept, we read in bed and on the couch, and we drank tea.

You can imagine how thrilled I was to realize around mid-afternoon, in between a sneeze and a cough, that it was my turn to cook dinner. We honor our respective meal responsibilities pretty consistently, and I knew takeout wasn’t going to cut it after the crazy week we’d had. I needed to come up with something nutritious and comforting, preferably without making a trip to the grocery store. Enter the humble Whatever Soup. We had just enough fresh and leftover vegetables, along with our omnipresent stash of chicken stock, to make a convincing base. I sautéed some garlic and fresh pork sausage in the bottom of the pot for flavor and texture, then added a can of diced tomatoes, the stock, the veggies and spices, and let it simmer until the veggies were soft but not mushy. The result was delicious and comforting, and I didn’t even have expose the local grocers to my gross germs. (Bonus points for NOT being Patient Zero to an unsuspecting stranger)

Below is a loose recipe for Whatever (AKA Sick & Tired) Soup. As with most of my recipes, nearly everything is optional and/or interchangeable. Don’t sweat the details. The point is this: meals don’t have to be complex or time-consuming to be nutritious and comforting.

Colleen’s Whatever (Sick & Tired) Soup
Prep Time: 5-15 min, depending on ingredients
Cook Time: 25 min
Serves: 6-8

1-2 tbsp        Olive Oil
4-6 cloves     Garlic, chopped OR 1 small Onion, chopped
1 lb               Ground Pork, Beef, Turkey, etc (if desired)
48-64 oz       Chicken or Vegetable Stock (low-sodium if possible)
15 oz can      Diced tomatoes
Salt and Pepper, to taste
4-6 cups        Chopped vegetables, any kind
2 cups           Greens or Fresh Herbs, any kind

To Make:
Heat olive oil in stock or soup pot. Sautee garlic or onion until slightly browned, then add meat if desired. When meat is done, drain if necessary, then add chicken stock, diced tomatoes, vegetables, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are at desired texture, stirring occasionally. Add greens and fresh herbs last, stirring until slightly wilted. Top with crackers, grated cheese and/or fresh herbs and serve immediately.

Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2014 5:54