With a pandemic raging, daily life has taken on some sudden changes. For my family, with an nonagenarian dad upstairs to care for, and my husband’s company travel on hold, we are largely sequestered here in home offices, doing what we normally do, with restrictions. Added to the normal good-hygiene practices of frequent and now even more thorough hand washing, we’re adhering to the six-foot distancing rule when out in public, eliminating large-group interactions, and, like many of you, are doing a lot more cooking at home. The big question: “Is it safe to eat fresh vegetables and produce?” is YES. According to international food safety authorities, coronavirus needs a host—either an animal or human—to grow, so it’s impossible for it to grow in food. Carefully washing fresh vegetables in cool water, removing and discarding any bruises or imperfections, and then cooking them is best the way to go. Here at our home, our focus on nourishing, immune-boosting meals has meant plenty of oatmeal at breakfast, loads of citrus, garlicky stews, cruciferous veg, and of course SOUPS!
Soups are a great way to make the most of what you’ve got in the fridge or on the kitchen counter. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. The tomatoes from last week’s photo shoot? I washed those well, cut them up with a half-stick of butter and a chopped onion, simmered until cooked through, stuck an immersion blender in the pot to puree and voila! Fresh, homemade, tomato soup. Got a leftover veggie-tray from a recent party? Make it into soup–here’s my recipe for After-the-Party Veggie Soup.
Or, for a tasty, easy chicken and veggie noodle soup, try this recipe. It will use up some of those carrot and celery sticks you’ve got hanging around, plus a few yellow squash, an onion, some chicken broth, a pound and a half of ground chicken and–keeping it gluten free: a 1/4 package of banh pho rice noodles.
For more soup ideas–some easy, some a bit more gourmet, here are links to more for you to try. Be well! Sunchoke Soup, Beef, Mushroom, Barley Soup, Borscht (Beet & Beef Soup), Sauerkraut Soup (DELICIOUS!), New England Clam Chowder, Chicken Consomme with Marrow Dumplings, Leek & Potato Soup, Cream of Celery Soup.
- 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
- 2 cups diced celery
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 1 large onion, medium dice
- 2 small yellow squash, washed and any imperfections removed, cut into julienne strips with the skin on
- 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
- 1 1/2 quarts good quality chicken broth
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3 to 4 ounces (about a 1/4 package) Banh Pho rice noodles (dried)
- Combine diced and julienned vegetables in a heavy-bottomed soup pot with 1 Tbsp of the oil.
- Cook vegetables over medium heat until al dente, stirring occasionally. Cover the pot between stirrings.
- Add small amount of the chicken broth, stir, cover and continue to cook until fork tender. Turn off heat.
- In a heavy-bottomed skillet, add the remaining cooking oil and saute the ground chicken over medium heat until cooked through.
- Add the cooked chicken to the cooked vegetables. Add the chicken broth. Stir. Heat soup over low heat until gently simmering. Add the raw dried rice noodles. Stir and continue to simmer until noodles are soft.
- Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Serve at once.
- Ensuring your produce is germ-free is a simple process: 1.) Wash your hands a good 20 seconds before your prep the vegetables. 2.) Remove and discard outer leaves on leafy plants 3.)Rinse the vegetables well under cool running water, using a small brush or paper towels to remove any particles 4.) cut off and discard any discolorations, bruises, or breaks in vegetable skin. 5.) gently dry the cleaned produce with a paper towel before discarding the towel. That's it!