chicken noodle soup with grated parmesan on the side

Cooking together as a family doesn’t always happen under ideal circumstances. In a perfect household everyone would be healthy and well rested with hands scrubbed clean. But we’re all real people, with busy lives, and unfortunately, susceptible to getting sick, especially in the winter months.

So what happens when the family core falls under the weather? I’m speaking from experience when I say that we just feel like huddling under a quilt until it passes. But we need nourishment and it doesn’t come from a box or a package.

Home cooking can still happen when we’re feeling unwell, but recipes need to be absurdly simple, like today’s homemade chicken noodle soup.

We made this recipe three times last week when we were hit hard with the flu. Chicken broth is one of the best things to consume when you are sick – but just try getting children to sip it. Impossible. Nope, there must be noodles involved, plus a few flavour enhancers like parsley and Parmesan.

This simple soup comes together almost as easily as boiling water. Kids can participate by breaking the long pasta into pieces (great fun, apparently) and shredding the Parmesan cheese.

If you have homemade chicken stock, use it now, and if not, check if your local butcher or deli sells frozen stock. If you have to buy it from a supermarket, look for organic, low sodium chicken broth.

The recipe is very basic, but it is meant to be prepared and enjoyed when you have little energy to spare. Jamie’s Chicken garden soup is another great recipe for when you are feeling a little more ambitious.

Cooking with my boys when they are laid up home helps takes their mind off of their sore throat or what they are missing at school. It’s comforting to be together; it’s therapeutic to cook. My hope is that you will bookmark this recipe for a day when you need a warm hug in a mug.

breaking pasta into a bowl 


Simple Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 4

  • 3 cups chicken stock, ideally organic or homemade
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 125 g capellini pasta
  • ¼ tsp each sea salt & black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan 

In a medium pot, combine the chicken stock and bay leaf with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.

Working with small bunches at a time, break the capellini into 1-inch pieces, letting them fall into a small bowl. Once they are all broken, use the bottom of a wine bottle or a jar to crush them a step further.

Add the pasta to the boiling stock long with the seasoning and the chopped parsley. Remember when cooking with kids you may not need the extra seasoning. Stir well to ensure the pasta does not stick together. Cook soup for 4 minutes and then remove from heat. Remove the bay leaf and discard.

Ladle chicken noodle soup into bowls or mugs and top with a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.

About the author

Aimée Wimbush-Bourque

Aimée Wimbush-Bourque is a former chef, food writer and Montreal urban homesteader. She writes the award-winning food blog Simple Bites, named “Best Kids’ Cooking Blog” by Saveur Magazine, where she chronicles her kitchen adventures with simple recipes, savvy cooking tips, vibrant photography and lively stories. She is also the author of the new cookbook "Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Family recipes from the kitchen of Simple Bites" (Penguin, 2015). Aimée is wife to Danny, mama to Noah, Mateo & Clara, boss of two cats, and farmer of six brown hens. For more whole foods inspiration and everyday delicious chit-chat, follow Aimée on Twitter and Instagram.

Aimée Wimbush-Bourque