Californsky’s Kitchen: Chicken Soup for Stress

Over the past week or so, I’ve had some congestion. Fortunately, I tested negative for COVID-19, but was feeling a bit out of the weather, and my kind and thoughtful partner decided to make us chicken noodle soup.

It’s something to make when one of us gets sick, which hasn’t been in more than a year. I’m pretty sure the bouts of congestion and sneezing are stress related. I’ve noticed a pattern in my body when I’m under tremendous stress that I’ll eventually make myself feel somewhat sick, eventually forcing myself to rest.

Maybe you’re feeling stressed out, and just looking for something relaxing and nutritious. I think most Americans can find that in a bowl of chicken noodle soup, whether it’s chicken and stars in a box or made entirely from scratch.

In the past, my partner Nate would make chicken soup from scratch, tending it in a large pot on the stove. But lately, cooking seems like a chore. Instead of a pot simmering over the stovetop, we pulled an Instant Pot from our hallway cabinet. They cooked chicken and soup very quickly and with less effort than the normal method.

This recipe will be for people with a pressure cooker, but if you don’t, you can still make great chicken noodle soup without it, and you should.

Nate’s tips to make chicken noodle soup more special and tasty are to use fresh thyme, use chicken broth instead of water, and use enough salt.

“People don’t use enough salt,” he said. “Your body needs sodium when you are sick.”

Pepper “obviously” is also important, he said.

He likes to use egg noodles – the kind you might find in the small jewish food section of the store, which is probably used more in kugel. And he adds the noodles last because they don’t need much time to cook.

When all is said and done, and the soup is in the bowl, adding crushed crackers on top is a good finishing touch, he said.

This recipe was inspired by a recipe my friend found while googling chicken noodle soup recipes. He said he used a recipe on the Jo Cooks blog as a guide. However, he encourages people to go free-swimming using their favorite ingredients and herbs, such as fresh parsley or thyme.


2 tablespoons butter

1 large onion diced

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 stalks chopped celery

3 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tablespoon of thyme

4 cups chicken broth

2 pounds of chicken, we used bones in the skin on the thighs

3 cups of water

3 cups of egg noodles, or more or less depending on your preference


1. Turn the Instant Pot to the frying setting (refer to the pressure cooker manual), then add the butter. After it melts, add the onions, carrots and celery and stir until the onions are soft and translucent. Season with salt, pepper, thyme and oregano.

2. Pour the chicken broth and add the chicken pieces. add the water. Close the pressure cooker lid and set the time to 7 minutes.

3. Once the timer rings, allow the pressure cooker to release the pressure naturally, which takes about 10 minutes. Open the lid and remove the chicken pieces from the pot. Chop the meat on a cutting board with two forks.

4, Adjust the pressure cooker to the frying setting again, and add the noodles. Cook, uncovered, for 6 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Add the shredded chicken to the pot and add salt and pepper to taste and more fresh thyme if that’s what you like. Close the pressure cooker, serve and enjoy.

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