While attending a homeschool meeting this past week, I discovered that everyone who walked in the door either just had the flu or was taking care of someone in their family who has it. Flu season has arrived with brute force, it seems. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports widespread flu activity in 36 states.
The CDC recommends a few simple steps for those coming down with the flu or in the throes of it. The first one seems like a no-brainer, but many people don’t do it: Stay home and rest. Stay home not just for yourself to get some rest, but to avoid coming into contact with others and spreading the flu.
In addition to treating symptoms like fever, congestion and cough with over-the-counter medications, the CDC recommends getting plenty of fluids. Dehydration and fluid loss are common when dealing with the flu. Clear fluids include water, broths, herbal teas, and sports drinks.
While most folks don’t have much of an appetite when sick, they can get their daily intake of fluids in the form of a meal: soup. Ah, soup! A comforting, sinus-clearing, throat-bathing hot bowl of soup.
Granted, opening a can of Campbell’s and heating it in the microwave is the easiest option available if you are ill. But, if you are able to cook, this soup comes together in less than 30 minutes and tastes so much better than anything from a can.
Speaking of minutes, I’ve decided that 2018 is the year of 30 Minute Meals. Each year, I like to have a culinary goal. In the past, those goals have included things like eating more whole grains, incorporating healthy fats and trying alternative proteins. I’ve found these goals expand my, and my family’s, palate and gastronomic horizons.
This year, I am looking forward to putting together meals that are delicious, nutritious and reasonably fast. It seems I’m not the only one. Rachel Ray devotes a whole show to 30-minute meals on Food Network, Real Simple magazine has a trove of 30-minute meals on their website, and my favorite food blog, Natasha’s Kitchen, devotes a section on her blog to 30-minute meals.
While I enjoy chopping, prepping, sautéing, assembling and cooking a meal, some weeknights I just haven’t got a lot of time to get dinner on the table. So, I am looking forward to discovering meals that can be made in half an hour or less.
The flu bug hit our home a couple of weeks ago, so fast and easy meals have been my friend of late. This week’s recipe comes from The Cook’s Country website and is ready in, you guessed it, under 30 minutes.
Containing comforting broth and pillow-y dumplings, this soup also has fresh ginger and fresh lime juice that add a zip of flavor and Vitamin C. Stay well and stay hydrated.
Quick Asian-style Dumpling Soup
Yield: Serves 4
- 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 green onions, white and green parts separated, sliced thin diagonally
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 (8-ounce) bags frozen Asian-style dumplings or potstickers
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about six to eight minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer bacon pieces to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb fat. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the saucepan and return pan to medium heat. If there isn’t enough fat from the bacon, add vegetable oil until you have about 2 tablespoons. Add white part of chopped green onions, ginger and pepper flakes and cook until onions have softened, about two minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until beginning to brown, about five minutes. Next, add broth and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Add frozen dumplings and simmer over medium heat until dumplings are cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the fish sauce and lime juice. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with chopped green onions and bacon.