- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Although there’s no scientific evidence that chicken soup contains cold-curing chemicals, people suffering from aches and runny noses testify to its restorative power.

Chicken soup has a number of things going for it. The steam of the hot liquid may alleviate a stuffy nose, the warmth of the soup takes the edge off chills, and the soup is easy to swallow. Chicken soup is also relatively light, an advantage for anyone too miserable to eat a full meal.

If you’re looking for fortification against winter’s blast, you can find a blanket of warmth and nourishment in a bowl of chicken soup. The hot liquid is a soothing end to a miserable day fighting snow and frigid temperatures.

For an entree, you’ll want more than a simple broth. Fortunately, chicken soup is very adaptable. Add any number of vegetables, protein foods and starches for a substantial dish. In fact, you can cook enough variations to warm you until spring.

Start with the classic chicken soup with egg noodles and chicken breast. For an almost instant version, combine canned chicken soup with leftover chicken, diced frozen carrots and cooked egg noodles. Let the ingredients simmer together for five minutes, then serve.

When you want chicken soup you can sink your teeth into, prepare a hot and zesty shrimp-and-spinach soup using chicken broth as a starting point.

Shrimp-and-spinach soup

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 fresno or jalapeno chili, cored, seeded and minced

2 cups coarsely chopped fresh baby spinach

1 cups chicken broth

1 8-ounce package cooked, peeled baby shrimp

1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, optional

1/4 cup finely chopped scallion, green parts only

2 ounces cooked and drained soba noodles

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Heat oil in a medium pot. Add ginger root, garlic and chili. Saute for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add spinach and cook for 1 minute or until limp. Add chicken broth, baby shrimp, red pepper flakes and scallion. Simmer 5 minutes. Add soba noodles and lime juice; heat through. Makes 2 servings.

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