Fall in Love with Soup

For some reason, making soup is not one of my culinary gifts. I find that my soups always end up bland, so I end up throwing out the majority of the batch. After this cool autumn weekend, I thought I’d give soup-making another try. I came across this recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, Danielle Walker at www.againstallgrain.com. This soup combines the savory flavors of roasted chicken with the richness of seasonal vegetables. When I make it again, I plan on increasing the vegetables by 50% so I can create a larger serving of vegetable puree, to give the soup a thicker texture. Of course, I always add extra garlic too! This soup was so delicious, my husband and I found ourselves fighting over the leftovers!

Fall Soup

 

Rotisserie Chicken Soup with Roasted Vegetables

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • ½ yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups of organic chicken broth
  • 3 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken (at least ½ the chicken)
  • ¾ tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  1. Preheat oven to 425o. Toss cut vegetables (except spinach) in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, bring chicken stock in large pot to a simmer. Add the chicken, herbs, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add half the roasted vegetables to soup and place other half in a blender or food processor. Add water and blend until pureed.
  4. Add pureed vegetables and fresh spinach to soup and continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  5. Serve warm and enjoy!

Simple Skillet Italian Chicken

Sometimes the best tasting meals are the ones made with the simplest ingredients. I had leftover basil and tomatoes from some veggie kabobs I had made and decided to make an Italian-style chicken dinner. My husband asked if I could make the chicken a different way since I typically bake our chicken. Many times, people avoid cooking their chicken in the skillet because it can add more fat and thus more calories to the dish. However, a new study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that when individuals followed a low-carb/high-fat diet that was still rich in fruits and vegetables, they had greater improvements in reducing cardiac risk factors and weight loss compared to participants who followed the standard low-fat diet. This information doesn’t give you a free pass to eat truckloads of bacon and cheese, but it does give us some wiggle room to enjoy some higher fat cooking methods guilt-free from time to time.

Skillet Italian Chicken

Skillet Italian Chicken

• 4 chicken breasts

• 2 Tbsp olive oil

• Salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning

• 2 pints of cherry tomatoes, halved

• ½ cup fresh basil, chopped

• 1 can of organic Italian herbed tomatoes, drained of liquid

• 6 large garlic cloves, minced

• 2-4 Tbsp butter

1. Pre-heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Let the oil heat up for a couple of minutes before adding your chicken. As the pan heats, season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning.

2. Lay chicken breasts in pan. You should hear the pan sizzle. If it didn’t, then your oil is not hot enough and this will leave you with greasy chicken. Cook on one side for 4-8 minutes and then turn over. Depending on your thickness of the chicken breasts, you may need to increase your cooking time.

3. After the chicken has been turned over once and continues to cook, add tomatoes, basil, garlic and butter. Stir gently to mix ingredients. Continue to cook on low heat until chicken is white all the way through and the juices run clear. (I always use my meat thermometer to help with this).

4. Serve with your favorite green veggies, a kiss from your hubby and a hungry belly!

Skillet Italian Chicken

Lime It Up!

Nothing screams summer better than a flavorful lime-infused dish! Using lime juice or even lemon juice in recipes instantly adds a burst of zest to any meal. These citrus fruits pair well with proteins and veggies. For years, lemons and limes have been used in home remedies as natural cleansers in the body. In fact, many physicians recommend patients consume ½ of lemon/lime juice daily to help raise the level of citrate in the body to help fight against kidney stones. Here are two recipes (one borrowed and one my own) that I recently paired together for a flavorful Monday night dinner. Anytime my husband’s first words are “this is delicious” after taking his first bite, I know it’s a keeper in our household (and worthy of a blog post!).

Bacon Lime Sweet Potato Salad (adapted from paleomg.com)photo 1

  • ½ pound bacon
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch (12-mm) cubes
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • handful of fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375oF. Put foil down on baking pan and lay bacon flat across the pan. Cook for 15-20 minutes turning once halfway through cooking until bacon is crispy. Set aside to cool and then roughly chop.
  2. In another pan, combine chopped sweet potatoes, garlic and coconut oil. Roast at 375oF for about 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are slightly tender.
  3. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss in green onions, dill, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper and mix well.
  4. Once sweet potatoes are done cooking, toss them together with the dressing and baconphoto 2

Smokey Lime Chicken

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • Juice of 1 lime (2-3 Tbsp lime juice)
  • ½ tbsp pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375oF. Meanwhile; pulse garlic, shallot, lime and spices in food processor.

2. Slowly add in olive oil while blending and mix until smooth.

3. Line a baking sheet with foil and lay chicken breasts on top. Evenly cover each chicken breast with marinade. (The flavors really set in if you refrigerate the chicken with the marinade on it for a couple of hours)

4. Place in oven and cook for 35 minutes or until done.

 

You can find more delicious and healthy recipes just like these two in our health library!

Think Healthy for the Holidays!

Looking to make something healthy and creative for your friends and family this holiday season? Watch this video  to learn about healthy choices plus see how easy it is to whip up this fun holiday treat.

7-Layer Lemon Hummus & Pesto Yogurt Dip

Ingredients
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 T tahini (sesame seed paste found in the ethnic food section, or use unsweetened almond butter)
1 lemon separated into 1 tsp grated zest, 3 T juice
3 T organic or reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup basil pesto
1 cup shredded (not grated) Parmesan cheese (or use crumbled feta for a stronger taste)
1 large tomato, seeded, diced 1/4 inch (1 cup)
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded with a spoon, and diced (about 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced

For dipping
Serve grilled or toasted whole-grain pita chips or flatbread torn into pieces
Romaine hearts

Directions
1. To make the hummus: Purée chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, broth, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a food processor until smooth. Drizzle in olive oil. Spread hummus evenly in the bottom of a 9- X 9-inch glass dish.

2. Stir together yogurt and pesto and spoon over hummus. Evenly sprinkle the cheese, followed by single layers of tomato, cucumber, scallions, and olives. Enjoy this dish on the same or the next day for optimal freshness.

*Note: For a more festive look, use a trifle-style glass bowl rather than a square baking dish. It makes for a great-looking potluck contribution.

Nutrient Analysis per 1/4-cup serving
Calories: 77; Total fat: 5 g; Sat fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 4 mg; Sodium: 243 mg; Total carbohydrate: 5 g; Dietary fiber: 1 g; Protein: 4 g

— Recipe reprinted with permission from Clean Eating for Busy Families: Get Meals on the Table in Minutes With Simple and Satisfying Whole-Foods Recipes You and Your Kids Will Love by Michelle Dudash, RDN (Fair Winds Press, December 2012) 

The Perfect I’m Sorry Dish

We’ve all been there. That moment when you need to swallow your pride and admit that you were wrong. My most recent episode occurred a few days ago. I had brought home a cat assuring my husband that he was already

Portrait of a male tabby catproperly trained and would get along great with our Australian shepherd, Bamboo. To get the cat accustomed to his new environment, I shut him in one of the guest bedrooms with food, water and a litter box for the night. To my horror the next morning, the cat had shredded up a good chunk of the carpet next to the door in attempts to free himself from the locked bedroom. The cat ended up going back to his original owner and I was left with the silent treatment from my husband.

If there’s a way to get to back on my husband’s good side, its bacon. Since bacon is a higher fat meat, it is not consumed on a regular basis in our household. That means when it is served, it is a real treat. This bacon stuffed chicken recipe not only cheered him up, it was also loaded with healthy vegetables.

Bacon-Vegetable Stuffed Chickenphoto 1

  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5-8 oz fresh spinach leaves
  • 10 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5-8 strips of bacon
  • 3 chicken breasts, pounded thin or butterfly

1. In a medium-large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and spinach and continue stirring until spinach is wilted. Add just a pinch of salt and pepper, for taste. Once cooked, remove pan from heat.

2. Meanwhile lay bacon strips on baking sheet and cook at 375oF for 10 minutes. Flip bacon and cook an additional 10-12 minutes until crisp.

3. Chop cooked bacon and mix evenly into vegetables.

photo 4

4. Spoon mixture evenly onto thin chicken breasts. Fold one half of the chicken breast over mixture and secure with a toothpick. Bake chicken at 375oF for 25-30 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165 F is achieved. Serve with your favorite vegetable dish.

Holiday Edition Part Two

Have you ever wondered what to do with your leftover turkey from Thanksgiving? Amanda Figge, Springfield Clinic registered dietitian, shows us around County Market on how to make a delicious recipe with leftover turkey.  Plus she delivers some excellent healthy eating tips. Enjoy!

Roasted Turkey Goat Cheese Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

RoastedTurkeyGoatCheeseSalad

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp honey

1 tsp Dijon mustard

¼ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the Salad:

3-4 oz leftover white meat Thanksgiving turkey

1 ½ cups Salad Greens (50/50 mix of Spring Mix and Spinach recommended)

1 oz of goat cheese, crumbles or freshly sliced

2 Tbsp dried cranberries

2 Tbsp walnuts

1. Whisk together salad dressing ingredients in small bowl and set aside. Combine all salad ingredients in bowl. Drizzle 1-2 Tbsp of dressing over salad and serve immediately.

 

In case you missed Part One : http://somethingtochew.com/2013/11/18/holiday-edition-part-one/