Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, don’t come near our house for at least another week. We’ve been sick. Really sick. Like coughing-your-lungs-up sneezing-your-eyeballs-out kinda sick. I shouldn’t complain because it’s been a long time since we’ve all been down with illness, which is a huge miracle with a family the size of ours. Unfortunately, we can’t all get sick at the same time and just get it over with. It hits us one at a time with a day or two overlap of victims. Do the math. If the average sickness lasts 5 to 7 days, with a family of 7 that works out to roughly one full month of grumpy, miserable Aarons. Somehow, I seem to have had it worse than the rest of the family. Maybe kids are just more resilient and don’t let it get them down. Not gonna lie, I don’t mind a good excuse to stay in bed for a couple of days every now and then. It’s like a mini-vacation where Netflix replaces white sand beaches, and NyQuil replaces room service.
After a few days of no relief, my dad brought me a Neti Pot. Who on earth decided that pouring water up your nostrils is a good idea? I thought I was gonna drown standing over my bathroom sink. For those of you unfamiliar with the Neti Pot, it’s a cute little blue plastic pot that you fill with warm water mixed with a saline solution. You put the spout of the pot in one nostril and pour it in until the water runs out of the other nostril. The lady on the box looks so cute and smiley as the water runs freely out of her nostrils. SO opposite of what I looked like. My eyes were burning. Water was coming out of every facial cavity except for the one it was supposed to be coming out of. I was spitting and coughing frantically and my nostrils were on fire. I reread all of the instructions until I was sure I was doing everything right. I tried again. Finally there was a breakthrough and I was able to breath for the first time in days. I’m still not completely sold on the Neti Pot. There has got to be a better way! But, it did work. It just took me awhile to figure it out.
In the midst of my sickness and misery, I craved only one thing: chicken soup. Several years ago I found an amazing chicken soup recipe on one of my favorite food blogs. This soup is the ultimate comfort food whether you‘re sick or just having a rough day. It’s actually great even if you’re having a great day. The original recipe is for chicken & dumplings, but I have a slight aversion to biscuit-y dumplings, so I prefer to serve it with noodles or rice. Enjoy!
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Recipe by Our Best Bites
6 cups chicken broth
1 lb. cooked chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup sliced carrots
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 handful of chopped fresh parsley or 1 Tbsp. dried parsley)
½ teaspoon basil
1 14-oz can evaporated milk
In a large pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat and add onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes then add chicken broth, chicken, bay leaf, and basil. Bring to a boil. Add carrots and celery then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until carrots and celery are tender. When carrots and celery are almost done, add chopped parsley. Add evaporated milk. Increase heat to boiling and add noodles, rice, or dumplings. Cook until noodles or rice are tender or dumplings are cooked through.
Tiffany Aaron of Quitman writes her "Secret Life of a Betty Crocker Wannabe" column each Wednesday. Aaron is a recent finalist in the national Pillsbury Bake-Off competition and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.