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Chicken Soup: Jewish Penicillin for the Flu Season

December 31, 2017 | by Gitta Bixenspanner

A variety of chicken soups to combat the cold.

Chicken soup has long been touted as a form of folk medicine to treat symptoms of the common cold and related conditions. It’s been dubbed the Jewish penicillin.

Studies have shown that a hearty bowl of chicken soup may help you to clear nasal congestion and have a mild anti-inflammatory effect that can help ease cold symptoms. With the freezing winter and snow in the Northern Hemisphere upon us, there is nothing more comforting than a bowl of hot chicken soup. By the way, you don’t have to have a cold to enjoy any of these variations.

Chicken stock

Many of these recipes call for chicken stock. Making homemade chicken stock is easy!

Not only do you save money because you don’t have to buy canned stock, the stock itself is so much healthier for you because of all the iron, collagen, and vitamin-rich marrow from the bones.

Nothing like your own chicken stock. Make a large batch and freeze in 2-4 lb containers so you have it handy when needed. You know what ingredients went in and there are no preservatives or additives.


  • 4 lb. Chicken carcasses including necks and wings (they are sold in the butcher)
  • 2 onions, quartered.
  • 4 celery ribs, chopped.
  • 2 large carrots, chopped.
  • 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise.
  • 2 leeks chopped
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns.
  • 2 thyme sprigs.
  • 8 parsley sprigs including long stems.
  • 2 gallons cold water or as desired


Place the chicken carcasses, garlic, vegetables, herbs and peppercorns in a large, deep- pan.

Add the cold water and bring to the boil, skim, and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Continue to simmer gently for 3-4 hours, skimming as necessary, then pass the stock through a fine sieve.

A good idea is to place the chicken carcasses in a BOIL in BAG and the vegetables in another one. That will give you a very clear stock for easy fuss free storage.

Flu Fighter Chicken Noodle Soup

Got a cold? Then you need to try this Flu Fighter Chicken Noodle Soup! It's packed with healthy ingredients and it's absolutely delicious!


For the chicken:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast (tenders)
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder OR 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt

For the soup:

  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • Salt to taste
  • 32 ounces of chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups noodles of your choice (I suggest using a smaller noodle like rice elbows or thin egg noodles)
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped


Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Place chicken (tenders) in a large baking dish lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and sprinkle with spices. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, flipping the chicken at the half way point. Once cooked, pull into small chunks using two forks.

While the chicken is roasting, prepare the soup.

Heat olive oil in a large soup pan over a medium flame. Add carrots, celery, and onion, and cook stirring occasionally – for 8-9 minutes. Add garlic and salt and cook for another minute before adding the bay leaf, water and chicken stock. Increase heat to high, bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, stir in noodles, and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and the pasta al dente. Stir in cooked chicken, dill, and lemon juice. Taste soup to adjust seasonings, then serve at once.

Prep 30 mins
Serves 8

Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup

Lemon in chicken soup? Some cultures add a bit of lemon to their soup Lemons are chock full of vitamin C that can also help fight infections and boost immunity, as well as helping ward off a cold or flu..

Snuggle up to a warm bowl of chicken soup and watch your cold dissipate.


  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. chicken, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • 1 c. cooked white rice
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add chicken to pot and season with salt, pepper, and half the lemon zest. Brown chicken on all sides, 5 minutes. Add garlic and onion and sauté, scraping bottom of the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt. Add carrots and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add chicken stock, lemon juice, and cooked rice and simmer for 5 minutes. Add green onions just before serving. Garnish with remaining lemon zest and serve.

Chicken and White Bean Soup

A healthy and hearty, comforting soup – chock full of white beans and orzo pasta – made in less than 30 min! This is a very cozy and filling soup to warm you up on a cold winter night.


  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 slices chicken breast
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in basil until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Whisk in chicken breast and allow to sweat a few minutes add vegetable stock, bay leaves and 2 cup water; bring to a boil. Stir in orzo; reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Stir in spinach and cannellini beans until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve immediately.

Preparation 10 minutes
Serves 6

Slow Cooker Chicken Meatball Soup

This soup is so delicious that it is a full meal that the kids really love. I served it on many special occasions to the delight of my guests.


For the Meat balls

  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 2 slices bread
  • 1 pound lean ground chicken
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbs Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the soup

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth (64 ounces)
  • 2 cups white Northern beans or other small white bean, drained and rinsed
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cups kale (about 1 pound optional)


Add Almond milk to a large mixing bowl then tear the bread into chunks and add to the milk to soak. Add the chicken, shallot, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, parsley and egg and gently mix with your fingers until the mixture is combined. Use a small scoop or melon baller to form ½ inch balls.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and lightly sear the meatballs for 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the broth, beans, carrots, onion and kale to the insert of a 5- to 7-quart slow cooker.

Drop the meatballs onto the kale, cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until the meatballs float to the surface.

Serve the soup garnished with, red pepper flakes and fresh parsley leaves.

Preparation 10 minutes
Serves 4

Super Nourishing and Cleansing Soup


  • 1/4 cup water (or vegetable broth)
  • 1/2 of a red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, florets
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp turmeric (I used powdered)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
  • Fine-grain sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 8 cups water (or 6 cups vegetable broth + 2 cups water)
  • 1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
  • Juice from 1/2 of a small lemon (or a whole lemon, depending how much lemon flavor you prefer)


In a large pot, add the water and turn on the heat to medium-high. After it's hot, add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the celery, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes and fresh ginger. Stir and cook for 3 minutes, adding in extra water or broth as needed (another 1/4 cup). Stir in the turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper plus salt and pepper to taste.

Allow to cook for a couple hours adding water as necessary


This cleansing recipe is oil-free because avoiding the use of oil during a cleansing meal is important for the detoxification process (and you won't miss the oil at all due to all the flavor!) but if you feel like cooking with oil, use a minimal amount – 1 tablespoon or less.

Leftovers stay well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Preparation 10 minutes
Serves 6

Sweet and Sour Zucchini Garbanzo Bean Soup

This soup happened by accident. There were too many zucchinis in my fridge and a container of garbanzo beans left over from Shabbos, as well as half a can of tomato sauce. I combined everything with some onions and spices and then it needed some more taste so I found a jar of sauerkraut and added a couple of tablespoons along with some of the brine to the mixture. I added a container of chicken stock for good measure. It was so delicious that my family asked for doubles. It is definitely a keeper.


  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 6 medium Zucchini chopped
  • 1 cup cooked Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup sauerkraut with brine to taste
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin (optional)


Heat oil in a large pot add chopped onions and garlic allow to cook until translucent about 5 minutes mixing constantly. Add all other ingredients and cook on low for 1 hour. Add water if necessary.

Garnish with chopped scallions.

Preparation 10 minutes
Serves 4

Wishing all our readers a Healthy Winter !

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