The Single Dad’s E-Z Cure-All Soup

Sucks to be single when you’re sick.

When I was married and sickness started coming on, my wife would fire up a big-ass pot of her chicken soup. Man, I think that soup could cure most anything, from dropsy to cancer. I think if I called and her and told her I was sick, she’d probably make a batch for me. She’s very proud of the legendary curative powers of her soup.

I could ask my three teen-age sons to make me some soup, but you can imagine how horrifying the kitchen would look if they made the attempt.

I needed something that could be assembled quickly and with little effort. Besides, I like to be self-sufficient, so when I got sick, I figured I could reproduce that soup — and do it in a simple way, so that fellow slothful single guys like me could make it.

This is easy: Go to Trader Joe’s, spend a little money; some assembly required.

Get chicken broth. Jose the Barterer has good, thick broth. You may want to add a little water, to make it last a little longer. Start a big pot of that to boiling. Use two or three cartons.

Over in the TJ meat section, you’ll find packaged grilled chicken. That’s good stuff. I like the packages that have the chicken cut into chunks. Toss that in your big-ass pot on the stove.

Then toss in the cut-up stuff of your choice. I like purple onions, and red and green peppers. I think at Trader Joe’s, the philosophy is that people cooking dinner should enjoy every step of the way. So they just sell peppers and onions whole. If you sneak out to some other grocer — Stop & Shop, say — you can find the stuff pre-cut up. I’m lazy, so I do that.

You might also add celery at this point. Shit, celery’s got to do something. (My ex-wife always had celery and carrots in her soup. For a lazy guy like me, cutting up that stuff is too much work. Plus, there’s always leftover celery and carrots and what are you supposed to with that shit?)

So you’re on your own for that part.

Get this mess to boil. I’d go for a good catch-all seasoning. I got Soul Food Seasoning at the Dollar Store. I’ve made the soup with that and it was the perfect zesty touch — paprika, chili powder, etc., in just the right amounts. I also like Everglades Seasoning, which I have flown in once a year from Publix stores in Florida. That’s good too — but it lacks paprika.

In short, season to taste.

So you’re boiling this, right? After it’s boiled a bit, turn it on low, cooking it covered for an hour or so. When you’re just about ready to eat, toss in a box of spaghetti. Turn it back to boiling. The spaghetti will cook in the broth. Takes about 10 to 12 minutes, then serve.

The spaghetti holds in the broth and the seasoning. Yes, the broth is going to help you get better. But slurping the spaghetti is key to your recovery.

This soup is magic, even in this cheap-ass version. Keep it on the stove. This might last two or three days.

Get well soon!