After announcing in this column that my 365th blog would end my daily postings, with others still to be added but not quite so frequently, Hubby and I both got laid low by upper respiratory maladies. Since Thanksgiving we’ve been swimming upstream trying to recover. One of the doctor's remedies (yes, she even wrote it on her list of instructions she sent home with me) was chicken soup!
We’ve always known that chicken soup was a legendary remedy for what ails you, but never have I seen it actually a part of a physician’s written orders! In looking up information online I found the actual health benefits listed—including carrots (fight off infections), celery (good for lung disorders), pepper (said to reduce infections), onions (anti-inflammatory effects), and garlic (boosts immune system). Chicken soup is said to break up congestion and ease the flow of nasal secretions.
Unfortunately I didn’t have any chicken on hand, but I did round up a lot of these same ingredients to make something that I believe was indeed soothing—Heart-Warming Minestrone Soup. This terrific concoction not only warmed the heart (as in comfort), it warmed all the way down and seemed to pour a balm around the irritated passageways to help with breathing.
A beauty of this recipe is that it’s absolutely quick as everything to prepare. When you’re under the weather—or facing a busy December with no time to cook—you’re grateful for time not having to be spent over the stovetop. I could feel health returning to my bones as I downed this food item (thanks to the Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services, which provided the recipe). It made a big batch, too (9 1-cup servings), which will keep me away from the stovetop for several days—just what the doctor ordered!
Heart-Warming Minestrone Soup
5 cups beef broth (fat-free, reduced sodium)
3 carrots, medium, diced
3 celery stalks, sliced
1/2 cup onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon basil, dried
1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (my addition)
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-oune) can tomatoes, diced, drained and rinsed
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced (to make about 2 cups)
1/2 cup whole-wheat macaroni
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, optional
In a large saucepan boil broth, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, parsley, and pepper. Stir in beans, tomatoes, zucchini, and macaroni. Return to a boil; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Serve and top with Parmesan cheese if you desire.