Friday, June 27, 2014

Homemade Chicken + Veggie Noodle Soup

Hello Blogger-world… it's been quite a while.
What have I been up to in my [blogging] absence…?
I had decided to go back to school full-time, taking on five hefty classes, while concurrently working full-time… needless to say, I barely had time for sleeping and showers with my crazy schedule.
It was hard.
Then June came…
June is one of my absolute favorite, anticipatory months ever, not for the weather as most would think, but because it is the month that we go to Vajta, Hungary.
If you don't know me personally, and maybe even if you do know me somewhat, you very well might not know the love I have for Vajta. Although I have prevented myself from going to Vajta a few times for heart reasons, it is a place I hold very dear… it is a piece of my heart.
Every June, the ministry that I am a part of, that I work in, goes to Vajta for the Foundations conference - a conference where missionaries (specifically the leaders and their families) from eastern Europe come to be refreshed and renewed, and we (the children's ministry, where I work) get the amazing opportunity to watch their children while they go to study.
This year was very exciting for me personally since I hadn't seen some of my missionary friends since 2012, and getting to see how big some of the littles had gotten, and how fun their personalities were. I also was able to finally meet a sweet little baby I had been wanting to meet but had only seen in Facebook pictures... and instantly fell in love with her. 
The biggest downside to this missions trip for me (although it never once ruined this trip) was the cold I caught. Health overall, actually, was my biggest hardship this trip. On the second leg of the flight there, I ended up getting "air-sick" according to the flight attendant. Then by Wednesday night, I had a painful bug bite on the back of my head and a very raw, sore throat. In the morning, the bite had calmed down, but the sore throat became very painful. By the end of the day, I knew a cold was forming. I ended the last night (on Friday) with a fever and full blown cold.
Regardless, I was so thankful for the time I was able to spend with all my friends around me, and connecting with older acquaintances and seeing Jesus answer prayers.
After the conference, the team and I went to Vienna… which a stunningly beautiful, and culturally rich city… but it is a little hard to fully soak in when you are quite sick. But I am thankful for every moment I spent on this trip, with people who inspire and encourage me - sick or not, this trip was so amazing and eye- and heart-opening. I'll add photos of Vajta in a separate post...
Budapest - Parliament at night

So, how does this post relate to the title, you ask? 
(sorry for rambling… my mom says I've always been a chatter-box since I was a child)
Flying home was pretty harsh with the cold, and not eating to prevent air-sickness… after landing and eventually getting home, I stayed awake for a few hours, but then was able to really sleep for quite a while. Yesterday was the first full day home, and I ended up waking up with a stomach bug (this post makes me sound like I have no immune system, but I promise, this is not common at all)…
I knew I wanted a comforting soup to eat for dinner… the only problem, we didn't have any soup in the cupboards. So I started scouring the kitchen for ingredients to make a soup from scratch and was so excited when I found chicken thighs in the freezer, and some yummy veg in the fridge. 
The pasta was not much of a concern since we always have pasta available in our house…
I didn't follow a recipe, just my instinct and past experience when I use to make the sickies soup in bible college in York. So, you can follow my "recipe" or tweak it to meet your preferences… have fun with it, and enjoy this delicious soup.

Homemade Chicken + Veggie Noodle Soup

First, fill your pot almost 3/4 full with water, then add the chicken and some olive oil
Bring to a boil, and lower temp so it maintains a simmer (low boil). Chop and add your onion. Add your seasonings. Add the lid, but don't put the lid on completely, leave just a sliver of the lid off so the soup can "breathe"… you can't really tell in my low-quality photo, but it is slightly tilted so it's not on completely...

Allow the broth to simmer for an hour. Then pull out the chicken, and de-skin and de-bone the meat, making sure to clean it as you go - my thighs (chicken, that is) had some grody bits I discarded. Shred the clean meat and set aside in a clean bowl, and cover. Some people agree and disagree on this part, but I put the large leg bone back in the broth to simmer for another 30 minutes. Add more seasonings according to taste, and keep tasting the broth as the soup progresses, adding (or not adding) seasonings according to your taste preference.

After 30 minutes, add all the chopped veggies and let simmer again for about another 30-40 minutes
Add seasonings according to taste.
I added a little lemon juice and tapatio at this point (emphasis on "little" since flavors, especially spice, bloom as food cooks and marinates… gage it according to your spice preference). Spice can oddly be really good for an upset stomach and clearing out a cold.

Since I wasn't sure when my uncle would be home for dinner, I took the soup off the heat, placed the lid on, and waited till I knew he was close to add the noodles and place the soup back on the heat.

Once noodles are soft, or according to your taste/preference, serve it up piping hot with some garlic toast and lemon water (that's how I like it at least, but enjoy it any way that fits your fancy :) ).
And enjoy the deliciousness you just created!

"Recipe" (quotations since it wasn't really specific):
5 chicken thighs
1 green bell pepper
1 onion
1 head broccoli
3 carrots
1 box pasta
Olive Oil
Sea salt
[Hungarian] Paprika 
Lemon Juice
Garlic powder
21 Season Salute (from Trader Joe's)
And any other seasoning you may want/like

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