Our college-age son lives about 7 minutes away. He has a huge test this Friday and felt like he was coming down with the flu yesterday. What’s a mom to do? That’s right, make soup!
Here’s a little pot o’healthy something I was able to whip up with ingredients on hand…
I always keep a variety of stock and broth on hand, so I started with about 32 ounces of shelf-stable chicken broth, 4 cups of water, one diced Vidalia onion, three minced garlic cloves, a can of diced tomatoes with it’s juice, several dashes Hungarian paprika, dried parsley, a couple little shakes of red pepper flakes, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and brought it all to a simmer while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.
The day before was busier than usual and precipitated a store-bought rotisserie chicken for dinner, so the leftover chicken was an obvious add-in. Beyond that I just looked for anything healthy that might nourish an ailing and pressured student.
I also keep a variety of quality canned beans on hand for meal prep when time for soaking beans isn’t available. I used Progresso’s Great Northern Beans for this soup, but any bean you have on hand is good. I usually have pearl barley on hand too. It goes with just about any soup, adds good nutritional value, and it thickens the broth a bit, providing a richer texture that holds all the wonderful flavors you’ve added to the pot. The barley takes about 45 minutes to cook, so I added it with the carrots and celery. Once they were tender, I rinsed and added one can of beans, some fresh chopped spinach, the 2-3 cups of leftover chicken, and continued simmering until they were heated through.
I packed up the soup with a sleeve of saltines and a freezer bag so he can freeze his leftovers for the next time he’s under the weather and my darling husband served as delivery person. We’re going to miss these opportunities when he leaves town for grad school, but the upside is that, amongst other things, he is a good cook in his own right. He’ll be just fine. My husband and I, on the other hand, might need a little TLC of our own when he heads out. I’m feeling a little verklempt already!
Chicken Barley Soup
- 32 ounces chicken stock
- 4 cups water
- 1 Vidalia onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
- Hungarian paprika
- dried parsley
- red pepper flakes
- sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 4 stalks celery, sliced
- a couple handfuls of pearl barley
- 16 ounce can beans, rinsed
- several handfuls fresh spinach, slightly chopped
- cooked chicken, chopped into bite-size pieces
I’m happy to report my son is feeling “much better” today… Mission accomplished! What do you prepare when you have someone needing a little extra tender, loving care?