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Soothing Recipes for Colds

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We still have a lot to learn about the healing powers of food. But this much we know: Chicken soup can help clear your stuffy nose, and ginger seems to settle an upset stomach.

That's not all. Dark greens such as spinach are loaded with vitamins A and C. And salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have an anti-inflammatory effect.

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Quite simply, a well-nourished immune system, your body's defense against germs, is better able to ward off infections.

So eat healthy this cold season and throughout the year. Enjoy these recipes from the kitchen of Charlotte Mathis, MD.

Charlotte's Chicken Soup

1 chicken, cut into 8-10 pieces (remove skin, leave bone in)

8 cups of chicken broth (homemade is preferable, but unsalted, low-fat boxed or canned is fine**)

3 large cloves of garlic, chopped

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced

8 ounces dried wide egg noodles or 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme

Pat chicken parts dry. Season pieces with salt and pepper. Brown chicken parts in a heavy Dutch oven with 1 teaspoon of canola oil over medium-high heat for about 6-8 minutes, turning once.

Add chicken broth to the pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Cover partially and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer chicken to a large bowl. Cool chicken and broth slightly. Discard bones from chicken. Cut or pull apart chicken meat into bite-sized pieces and reserve.

Spoon fat off top of chicken broth. Return broth to simmer. Add onion, carrots, celery, and thyme. Simmer until vegetables soften, about 8 minutes. (You can prepare 1 day ahead, but be sure to store broth and meat separately in the fridge.)

Stir in noodles, parsley, and reserved chicken. Simmer until noodles are tender, about 5 minutes. If you use rice, simmer until the rice is done. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into soup bowls, and garnish it with parsley if you want.

** You can make canned soup taste more like homemade if you simmer it for about 45 minutes with a couple of celery stalks, carrots, half a chopped onion, a bit of garlic, some peppercorns, and a bay leaf. Strain before using.

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