Badass Roasted Chicken Soup with Noodles

Raw chicken disgusts me. That I ever manage to cook anything with it is, in itself, an amazing achievement. That I manage to cook anything delicious with it is, quite simply, a fucking miracle.

Behold: A Fucking Miracle. (quality phone pic)

Until about a year and a half ago, I was predominantly vegetarian, and had been for nearly 30 years. I grew up in a family of a bunch of savage (perhaps an exaggeration) hunting carnivores, and although I tried my damnedest to raise my offspring to embrace vegetarianism, it turned out to be an utter, disappointing fail. And although it was my personal choice to eat a primarily vegetarian diet for the better part of my adult life, I didn’t force it on anyone else and I didn’t (mostly) preach about why that was my choice. Bambi, Chicken Little, Babe

I eat turkey on occasion (here’s a jaunty little rhyme for Thanksgiving), and chicken on less occasion. And even less occasionally, I’ll prepare it.

One of the things I make with chicken is chicken noodle soup, and usually only when someone is sick. Well, yesterday was the day. The result of yesterday’s kitchen feat was some truly badass chicken noodle soup. Give it a go and perhaps you, too, will bypass the Campbell’s aisle forevermore.

I’ll tell you up front that this is a rather labor-intensive process for chicken noodle soup, but the sicklies loved it, so it was worth it… chicken fat (ohh, the chicken fat), bones, weird grisly parts, skin, and all.

Let’s move on before I gross myself out all over again.

Serves: 4-6, depending on your idea of a serving and how much everyone likes it.

Prep Time: I have no idea how long this took. It only occurred to me after-the-fact to write down the recipe, so I wasn’t paying attention to the clock much. Let’s just say it took what seemed like a long damn time considering I had to deal with the chicken twice. In reality, it probably took 2 ½ hours from start to finish, including roasting and simmering times.

Ingredients

1 large voluptuous chicken boob with bone, skin, and all that glorious, disgusting chicken fat attached. Don’t worry, we won’t eat the chicken fat.
1 quart chicken stock (you can use broth but I prefer stock because it’s heartier)
2 carrots, scraped (vs. peeled) and rinsed, ends removed, cut into 2” pieces
2 celery stalks (personally, I like the little tender ones with leaves on the inside of the bunch – partially because they’re so cute), cut into 2” pieces
½ onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, peeled, mashed and chopped
2 more large garlic cloves, peeled, mashed and chopped, because… garlic
2 T butter
1 T olive oil
½ t fresh thyme, divided (yes, it is possible to divide ½ teaspoon, and I realize it hardly seems worth the effort. You can use more, but this is how much I used.) (If using dried, about ¼ t. Good luck dividing that. And in that case, you might as well double the amount anyway.)
1 T fresh rosemary, divided (if using dried, about 1 t, divided)
2 T fresh parsley, undivided (if using dried, about 2 t, divided)
2 bay leaves
2 more bay leaves
Salt
Pepper
1 C egg noodles, preferably homemade… but I don’t make my own, so… (My egg noodles were homemade, but by my mom. So much better than store-bought. It’s that time of year for church bazaars, though, so maybe you can find one where the church ladies are selling homemade noodles. My grandma always made them and the recipe has been passed down. No comparison to what you buy in the store, but I have been known to buy them from the store. Not judging.)

Method

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Put the vegetables and 2 bay leaves into an oven-safe dish (a clay roaster is perfect, if you happen to have one, or an enameled cast iron pot).

Rinse the boob and pat it dry. Leave all of the grossness attached. I did this partially because I wanted to avoid fondling it as much as possible. The fat and skin add flavor, though, so there is some cooking logic behind my wienie ways. But mostly it was to avoid dealing with it any more than necessary.

Smear 1 tablespoon of the butter all over the chicken. Shove some of the first 2 smashed garlic cloves and some of the divided rosemary and thyme under the skin in various parts, then press some of the garlic down on top of the buttered boob. Plop the other tablespoon of butter and any remaining garlic from the first two cloves in with the vegetables. (Reserve the other 2 cloves of garlic, 2 bay leaves, ½ the rosemary, ½ the thyme, and all of the parsley for later.)

Lay the boob skin side up on top of the vegetables and drizzle the olive oil over it. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt* and ½ teaspoon pepper*.

*Not all salt is created equal. I often use Kosher or sea salt, but for another flavor dimension, my personal favorite is pink Himalayan salt. It does have a different taste, and it’s pink. Pink. Salt. Of course you can use regular table salt, or whatever you have. But… pink… salt. It also makes you look like Culinary Coolness when your friends come over and see that you use salt from the Himalayas.

*Same goes for pepper. Any pepper will do. I wasn’t going to mention it, but did you know there are pink peppercorns? Yeah, I know. I don’t have any, but I do have tri-color peppercorns, which is what I used for this recipe. It also tastes different than your run-of-the-(pepper)mill black pepper, but obviously use what you have.

Back to the dish. Cover your boob with the lid (or aluminum foil, if you must. I never – and I mean never – use aluminum foil to cook or bake with. Ever. Aluminum particles do lodge into your food, which you then digest. That shit accumulates in your body and screws you up. But do what you like.) Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid/foil and turn the temperature up to 425. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. (Don’t ask me why I did this. I had no particular reason. Probably because the skin looked weird and rubbery and I wanted a tan boob when I took it out of the oven. It turned out to be a good idea because it was easier to take the skin off when it was crispy, thereby making it a less squeamish process for me.)

Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the bone and discard skin, bones, fat and any other gross parts. (Or you could transfer it all to a pot, add chicken stock, broth, or water and cook it down (on simmer) to make bone broth.) Reserve the cooked vegetables and liquid. Cube, shred or do whatever you want with the chicken so that it’s in bite-size’ish pieces (unless, of course, you prefer big chunks; go for it) and put in a large pot.

Cut carrots and celery into bite-size pieces and add to pot. (Or you can discard the cooked vegetables and use fresh carrots and celery for the soup. If opting for this, I personally wouldn’t add onion, but do it if it’s your preference.) Discard bay leaves and any dried up herbs. Pour liquid from the roaster into the soup pot. Add stock and remaining garlic, fresh bay leaves, herbs, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Do not add noodles yet.

With the lid cracked, bring soup to a boil on medium heat. Stir, taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking, then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, or 15 if you’re starving, stirring occasionally. (If you added fresh carrots and celery, you’ll obviously want to simmer until the veggies are tender.) Adjust salt and pepper, adding a cup or more of water or stock for a thinner soup or if it’s too salty. (I often add a teaspoon or two of Better than Bouillon to enhance the flavor.)

Turn heat up to medium to bring the soup back to a low boil. Add noodles by sprinkling a few at a time, stirring gently. Cook according to package directions or until noodles are al dente (cooked, but firm, not mushy). Tip: keep the soup from coming to a hard boil to prevent noodles from becoming tough, especially if using homemade noodles.

Dinner! Serve with crusty French bread, crackers, or just your spoon.

For a truly amazing bowl of joy, ladle into oven-safe individual dishes and top with a piece of Gouda, provolone, or other favorite cheese and put on the top rack of the oven on a cookie sheet. Broil for a few minutes until the cheese turns golden brown, bubbly, and crusty. Carefully remove from the oven and serve with a warning. I wouldn’t do this for little ones, of course, but for you… And with that crusty bread? Wow. Serve with a glass of wine, or beer if that’s your thing. Yum it up.

After dinner, have someone else clean up the kitchen because the chicken remains are repulsive and you shouldn’t have to deal with them a third time.

Meanwhile, have yourself a piece of dark chocolate and a cup of coffee with real cream and call it a night.

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Care for a side of monkey kidney with your vaccine?

‘Tis the season. Flu season, that is. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?  That is the question. Let’s have a little chat about it.

Those who know me know that I am mostly opposed to vaccinating. This isn’t to say that I am against all vaccines. It’s a much bigger conversation than simply “for or against” them. But that can-o-worms conversation is for another time.

Because our state “mandates” certain vaccines for children, I had to basically jump through hoops to have my high school daughter exempted from the mandatory meningitis vaccine. When looking up the vaccine, I found a list of ingredients for many common vaccines.

Do you know what is in the vaccines you get for yourself and your children? Do you know what the culture media is? Do you even know what a culture media is?

There are several different flu vaccines, so the culture media depends on which vaccine you opt for. Most are chicken embryo. Yeah. A whole different kind of scrambled eggs. What about chicken kidney or canine kidney? Lots of you have dogs. Or you just plain love animals. Maybe you’re vegetarian or even vegan. How does that strike you? Are you excited to learn that some vaccines contain tissues from aborted fetuses?

Other potential ingredients:

  • formaldehyde (yes, embalming fluid)
  • hydrolyzed porcine gelatin (know what porcine is? Pig.)
  • thimerosal (mercury) (although methylmercury is toxic to the central and peripheral nervous systems, the toxicity of ethylmercury derived from thimerosal (which is what is in vaccines) is not well studied… So if it hasn’t been well-studied, why would I agree to have it injected into my body? And if it really isn’t harmful, then why is there a thimerosal-free version?? Why aren’t all versions free of mercury?? Oh, wait. None really are mercury-free:

“The FDA changed the rules so vaccine manufacturers do not have to include thimerosal on the label as an ingredient unless it is used as a preservative. According to the FDA, if thimerosal is used in the manufacturing process but it is not used as a preservative, the vaccine can be labeled “thimerosal-free” when that is not the case. You can read more about this semantic trickery and what it really means for your child here.” (http://vaxtruth.org/2014/09/dr-oz-flu-shots/)

And no, I don’t get any kickbacks or affiliate incentives for sending you to that link. It’s just important stuff.

  • aluminum hydroxide. Manufacturers of certain deodorants and baking powders proudly advertise their ingredients as aluminum-free because there is a known and scientifically proven correlation between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease. So why would I have myself injected with it? It doesn’t easily leave the body. It can accumulate and stay there, wreaking havoc for years, possibly forever. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and fucks with your brain. Ask me. I know.
  • monosodium glutamate – Yes, MSG. The additive you probably try to avoid at restaurants and in processed packaged foods (like ramen). Would you give your “informed consent” to be injected with it? Not me.

Guess what’s in the Japanese encephalitis vaccine? Mouse brain. Another vaccine has monkey kidney. Think I’m kidding or just using scare tactics? Look it up on the manufacturer’s websites. You’ll have to dig because they don’t make it easy for you to find the information. For good reason.

I urge you to educate yourself about vaccines in general. Don’t take your doctor’s word that it’s “perfectly safe.” Most doctors don’t know the true risks, which are alarming. Doctors are brainwashed trained during medical school and are led to believe that all  vaccines are the best action against the diseases for which they are manufactured. But what they are not taught is that for many people, vaccines can cause great harm, including death.

Ask for the package insert BEFORE you get any vaccine and go home to do your own research so that you have plenty of time to read and absorb what you’re about to give your “informed consent” for. Because if you do proceed with a vaccine and, heaven forbid, suffer injury as a result, guess what? You can’t sue. Nope. Congress passed a law to protect manufacturers from lawsuit. No lie.

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986 (42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to 300aa-34) was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan as part of a larger health bill on Nov 14, 1986, in the United States, to reduce the potential financial liability of vaccine makers due to vaccine injury claims. The legislation was aimed at ensuring a stable market supply, and to provide cost-effective arbitration for vaccine injury claims. Under the NCVIA, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) was created to provide a federal no-fault system for compensating vaccine-related injuries or death by establishing a claim procedure involving the United States Court of Federal Claims and special masters.

Pretty special, isn’t it? After reading more, maybe you won’t actually go back for the vaccine.

Personally, I would rather have the flu than be injected with known toxins, poisons, chemicals, human and animal tissue, and other cancer-causing agents. If you have a healthy diet, a strong immune system, and stealth avoidance techniques, it’s possible that you don’t need to worry about contracting the flu. And even if you do get the flu, it’s a hell of a lot better than the potential consequence.

Think about it logically and investigate. Don’t take my word for it. Don’t take anyone’s word for it. But by the same token, don’t just disregard what I’m telling you because you think I’m a crackpot. Yes, I am a crackpot. But this is a critical subject and the information I learned has been truly life-changing.

Consider watching the first episode of the video series The Truth About Vaccines. Nope again. I don’t get any kickbacks or affiliate incentives for that link either. This was just a huge eye-opener and I think it contains important information for everyone to learn from – particularly parents. And particularly particularly parents with children who were perfectly healthy before they were vaccinated.

You may or may not believe or want to read or hear more about this. Even so, I ask that you share the information with loved ones and friends because many people have no idea what lurks behind that needle and may like to learn more. This was my case two years ago when I got the Tdap booster that caused an avalanche of health issues. I would have welcomed information about the possible side-effects and the negative long-term consequences of that vaccination.

Please don’t make the choice for someone else whether they get the information. Everyone makes their own decision to read, watch, or listen, but they can’t make any choice at all if they aren’t even offered the information.

Okay, I’m stepping down off the soap box now.

And in case you’re wondering? The Tdap vaccine I received contained aluminum and was manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, the company that is currently under fire for its dengue vaccine.

Trick-or-Eat!

Yes, I know, I’m a little slow on the draw. Halloween has come and gone, and in fact Thanksgiving has now come and gone as well. Christmas is just three weeks away. (Eek!) I’ve been a slacker about dumping my Halloween story out of my brain and finally got around to it. Better late than never, as they say.

I didn’t plan to be at home this Halloween, so I didn’t bother buying candy for the neighborhood munchkins. Besides, we don’t typically get a lot of trick-or-treaters, so even when I have purchased candy in the past, all that sugar and fat usually ends up getting eaten by me. I’m sure you’ve been there… We usually don’t get (m)any trick-or-treaters, but I’d better get some candy *just in case.*

Well, this year my brain didn’t ever have a “just in case” moment because I was “certain” I wouldn’t be at home. So of course I found myself at home “by accident” right at the time of trick-or-treating. But still, I was sure we wouldn’t have any chilluns knocking at our door. It was cold, windy, and a bit rainy, so I didn’t run out to the local Walgreen’s to grab up armfuls of Snickers, Kit Kats, and peanut M&Ms (cuz, you know, if they didn’t come, I’d wanna have my favorites within arm’s reach) like I did last year.

Just about the time I finished my fist-pump, thinking I was in the clear and had made it almost to the end of the designated trick-or-treating fanfare of the year, there came a loud knock. Crap. Maybe if I’m quiet they’ll go away. Yeah, I know. That’s rude. But I didn’t have any candy, so. Louder knock. Lights were on, so somebody’s home, right? I slid into the kitchen and flung open the cabinet door to see what I could come up with. Jackpot. I grabbed the bin and quickly made my way to the door.

An adorable little fairy and her slightly older brother, Luke Skywalker, stood before me, eyes fixed on the box of treasure I clutched to my chest. They repeated for the umpteenth time the catch-phrase of the day. I heard “Trick-or-Eat!!” It was crystal clear and I obliged. I put a would-be hot, hearty meal in a cello-sealed bag into each of their grubby little paws: ramen. Luke was off his game and didn’t pay attention. He said his “thank you,” turned on his boot heel and marched down the steps to his parents, who stood shivering in the cold. Tinkerbell, on the other hand, sassy even at a mere 3’ish years old, best I could guess anyway, inspected the package, turning it over in her hand. The only resemblance to a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup was that the package was orange. Her eyes lifted without moving her head, looking up at me from under her brow. Clearly unimpressed, her expression said it all: Are you fucking kidding me, lady? “You’re welcome,” I said, and closed the door. Of course she didn’t actually say that, but she obviously didn’t fully appreciate this random act of kindness.

I thought it was genius. Never mind that it wasn’t a premeditated “treat” – this was probably the best idea I ever had for Halloween. (Except for that time in high school when two friends and I went to school dressed as prostitutes. Or the time in college that my roommate and I thought it would awesome to carve out a watermelon and fill it with Everclear.)

Think about it. Kids get pounds of candy every year. It’s disgusting, really. Loads of sugar and fat, and for the sake of argument, I’m gonna say that most kids never eat all of the candy they collect. Oh sure, they hoard it and keep it from their siblings and parents because “it’s mine!!” But I don’t think any kid ever eats all of their Halloween candy. Let’s face it. No one wants to eat all of those Tootsie Rolls.

And at the end of the two-hour stint, what parent wants to go home and make dinner? Bam! Dinner is literally in the bag. But what about all the sodium and MSG?! you ask? Yes, well there’s that. While MSG is also disgusting, let’s weigh the pros and cons. Here’s this 10-pound bag of sugar, corn syrup, fat, and god knows what else, then there’s this 3 ounce package of dried noodle food(ish) with a small serving of chemical-laden monosodium glutamate in a foil-sealed pouch. The reality is that that stuff is so potent, there’s probably less than a teaspoon of it. But still, it’s one lousy meal. (Granted, the emphasis is on “lousy.”) Now you tell me: which is more disgusting at that point in time when the parents are “done” with Halloween?

You may be wondering why I even have (had, actually, at this point, because I haven’t replenished the meager supply) ramen in my cabinet, because I am the very first to admit that it is a disgusting food-ish product and is laden with chemicals, grossness, and poor nutrition. Here is why: 1) For the very reason I described above – it’s an emergency provision. 2) It’s one godawful meal in a sea of many, many good, nutritious meals and ain’t nobody gonna die from one package of ramen. 3) That shit is cheap! 4) When all else fails and there’s nothing in the fridge and nothing else in Mama Hubbard’s cupboard, dinner can be had in 3 minutes. Three minutes, people. Hot ‘n ready. Besides, it’s some weird stand-by comfort food my daughter likes on occasion. Don’t ask me why, because I really do think it’s an unhealthy bag of dehydrated sponge with a side of sodium, and I don’t want (or let) her eat it on a regular basis, but once in a great while? Who cares? It’s one less meal I have to cook. Just like the night of Tom & Jerry, I just look the other way when she makes it.

Of course, there is no escaping that aroma…

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