Tuesday evening Beloved was in the living room watching something on television (probably either Cops or America’s Dumbest Criminals Trying to Flee the Authorities and Failing Miserably), The Young One was in the kitchen looking for something to eat (30 minutes after dinner) and I was sitting in front of my laptop, playing a game (and using my earphones so I didn’t have to listen to the drivel on the television), when Beloved said, “What’s that sound?”
“What sound?” The Young One and I both chimed in. I didn’t notice anything, what with the earphones and all, and I doubt The Young One could hear anything at all over the sound of all that chewing.
“Well, it’s stopped now,” he said. But after awhile, he was asking again, “What’s that sound?”
This time we heard it too – sort of a soft humming, clicking sound. We wandered dutifully around the house, but couldn’t locate it; then it stopped again. So, we went to bed. Around 4 a.m., I woke up to a very loud, steady humming sound coming from the heating grate in the baseboards, located next to my side of the bed.
It stopped, and I tried to go back to sleep, but it wasn’t to be – the sound happened again a little bit later, then stopped all together. I finally dragged my butt out of bed around 5:15 and realized I was freezing – I should have been, it was all of 55 degrees in the main part of the house, which was warmer by far than our bedroom. When Beloved got up at about an hour later, he wandered over to the thermostat and asked, “Why is it so damn cold in here?”
“The furnace went out last night,” I said.
To make a long story a little shorter (like Jen, I don’t tell short stories, something that charms Beloved but drove The Ex bugshit) our furnace, which is as old as our house (which is 30 years old), up and died on us. What’s more, our hot water heater, also on its last legs, had developed a leak (the things you find when you go poking around in the dark corners of your basement, something I try never to do). So, we called the furnace people who sent a service guy to our house who told us that our furnace had gone to The Big Boiler Room in the Sky and our hot water heater wasn’t far behind it.
Oh. The joys of home ownership.
You don’t even want to know how much this is costing us – let’s just suffice to say we’re spending so much money on one of those ultra-super-duper energy efficient furnaces (with a humidifier! Can you gimme a hallelujah????) and a new water heater that they are going to throw in a new air-conditioning unit (which is apparently as old as the furnace) FOR FREE .
Anyhoo, the new furnace won’t be here until today, so we were still stoking the fire in the fireplace last night, as well as keeping the oven running non-stop come dinner time last night (whose bright idea was it to buy such a damn big house in the first place? Oh, yeah…mine)(Hey, we needed it at the time). To top everything else off, we had an extremely busy and stressful workday and Beloved still had to get ready to go out of town on business today, so our plans to go out to dinner went out the window and I ended up making this very good, very comforting and very warming soup.
I used half a batch of homemade egg noodles (about 6 ounces) in it, but if you wish to substitute some cubed Yukon Gold potatoes, this would make a dynamite chicken corn chowder. Ideally, you should boil a cut-up whole chicken for the broth, but I didn’t have the time so I used canned, low-sodium chicken broth and cubed boneless, skinless chicken breasts. And it was absolutely delicious, but make sure you don’t over-cook the chicken or it will get rubbery.
Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
6 generous servings
4 tablespoons butter
2 large stalks celery, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, shredded (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
6 cups chicken stock or 3 cans low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed into 1-inch pieces
6 ounces egg noodles, either fresh or dried
Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot (I used my smaller stockpot) over medium heat. Add the celery, onion and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, then stir to combine well; cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Slowly add the chicken stock, stirring constantly, and bring the soup to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes and add the corn. After another 5 minutes, stir in the half and half and add the chicken; simmer until cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
While the chicken is cooking, cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente (just tender, but still firm to the bite). Drain the noodles and add to the soup; simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.