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Posts Tagged ‘soup’

Does that just say, “no matter what kind of day you faced, this will make it all better?!”

The weather here has turned cold overnight.  Literally.  On Wednesday it was warm (77 degrees) and on Thursday the wind blew, the rain sprinkled, and the temperatures dropped.  Same today and for the rest of this weekend, only with even more rain. The perfect weather for making warm, comforting bowls of yummy goodness.

I went to Trader Joe’s today and totally stocked up.  I bought every thing and then some to make some of my favorite cold-weather foods:

Hungry Girl 10-Alarm CrockPot Chili

Italian Single Girl Soup

Michigan Rainstorm-Inspired Soup***

I’m also thinking of making a new soup with a bit of an Asian flare that I’ll post more about after I make it, so look for that new recipe later this weekend.

***Since I’m trying to keep things as low carb as possible, I’m going to make this weekend’s version with kale instead of rice.  I know that sounds like a strange substitute, but I think a “stewoup” of butternut squash soup, turkey kielbasa, and sauteed onions and kale just sounds so good.  I’ll let you know for sure afterward.

The best part of stocking up on all of these ingredients is that I can easily make these “big batch” foods and then freeze them for quick weeknight dinners.  I haven’t done any marathon cooking sessions in a while, so it will be fun to give it a go on Sunday. Especially because the weather outside is supposed to be pretty wet and ugly, so staying in will be perfect.

I love one-pot meals that are hearty, healthy, and easy to heat up and eat.  When I’ve had a long day and all I want to do is sit down and relax, chili, soup, and stewoups are the perfect way for me to take care of myself and make sure I stay on track with my diet.

What are some of your favorite healthy, cold-weather foods?  If you have the recipes, I’d love for you to put the links in the comments.

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I just ate the best lunch I’ve had all week, and it was completely SBD-friendly.  This lunch was so good that I didn’t even miss the bagel.  🙂 I can’t really take credit for the recipe, though, because it appeared in SBD Supercharged, and then my mom suggested how to really doctor it up.  If you love smoked salmon as much as I do, read on for a terrific lunch or appetizer.

Smoked Salmon on Cucumber “Crackers”

Nutritional Info: (per serving) 268 calories, 10.9g fat, 9.1g carb, 30.2g protein

Ingredients: (for 1 serving)
1/2-3/4 of an English cucumber, cut in thick rounds
3 Laughing Cow Light, French onion flavor wedges (this was my mom’s idea, and it adds so much to the recipe)
4 oz smoked salmon

Directions: It’s so simple; it doesn’t get much easier than this recipe.  Just slice the cucumbers, spread the Laughing Cow wedges on each “cucumber cracker” and add the small pieces of smoked salmon.

It looks beautiful, tastes decadent yet fresh and light, all at the same time.  When I finished my lunch today I felt satisfied but not overly full.  I can’t wait to make this again, maybe for an appetizer for friends.  It looks impressive but is oh so easy.

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I have been waiting to make this recipe for about a month.  Waiting for the weather to cool down enough so that a nice, warm bowl of soup would be satisfying.  And finally the weather has turned to our normal autumn temps (mid 60s) and I knew it was time to make it.  Since I took an extra day off, I wanted to make at least 2 “big pot” dinners this weekend.  This was one of them.  (Not sure yet what the other will be).

My sister was the one who first told me about this soup, hence the name.  She found pre-cooked, steamed lentils at Trader Joe’s and said that this was one of the heartiest, flavorful soups that she’d made in a long time.  She said her kids even liked it, which is really saying something when we’re talking about lentils.  LC made hers very basic – just lentils, carrots, onions, and vegetable broth.  I knew I wanted to add the chicken sausage just to give it a bit more substance.  Then yesterday on the phone with my mom, she suggested that I add pasta, and when I told her I didn’t have any on hand, I thought about adding the brown rice.  So, this really is a family collaboration.

Ingredients:

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Trader Joe’s steamed lentils (about 2 cups of lentils)
1 pkg spicy Italian chicken sausage (4 links)
2-3 cups baby carrots, cut in half
1 cup brown rice
2 32-oz containers vegetable broth (I used low sodium)
1 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves minced garlic (or as much as you like)
1 TBSP olive oil
salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Nutrition info: When I pulled these ingredients into the WW Recipe Builder, it came out to 7 points for 6  large servings.

Directions:

Cook the brown rice according to package directions.  Mine took 30 minutes.  1 cup rice to 2 cups water.

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After rice is finished, chop the onion and begin sauteing it in 1 TBSP olive oil.  Add minced garlic, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.

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While the onions are cooking, cut each baby carrot in half.  You can obviously cut them as small as you like, but since I don’t like my cooked carrots to be too mushy, I wanted them a bit larger.

download-3 Add carrots to pot.

Next I cut each pre-cooked chicken sausage link into 7 pieces.  I did this so that I’d know how much to include in each serving.  (About 4-5 pieces).

download-4 I like these sausages because they’re quick, and each one is only 3 points. In general, though, I like the taste of the Jenny-O Italian turkey sausage better.  These are what I had on hand and they’re also really convenient, because they’re already cooked.  I added them to the pot so that they could get some of the flavors of the veggies and garlic and brown up a bit.

Next, add the brown rice and vegetable broth.  Stir well.

Keep on high until the pot comes to a boil – about 10-15 minutes.

At that point, lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.

download-6 This slightly tilted cover is the way my mom always simmers sugo (pasta sauce) and soups, so it’s the way I do it, too.  It allows a bit of air to escape, letting whatever is in the pot get a bit thicker.  Or something like that.  I do it because Mom does it, ok?  😉

The house smelled so good while this was simmering away on the stove. This is really one of the easiest soup recipes I’ve made, and I love that it has so much protein and fiber in it.  Although it does take some time, it is a great thing to make on the weekends and eat all week.  You can get a lot of other household chores done while the rice is cooking at the beginning and while the soup is simmering at the end.

download-7 Yum!  This bowl not only satisfied me for hours, it warmed me inside and out. I’ll definitely make this again and again throughout the fall and winter months.

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This weekend was really busy for me because grades are due on Monday at 8am and I had 2 sets of research papers, 1 set of essays, and 2 sets of tests to grade.  I’m not done yet, but I decided to take a break from all the grading and get ready for the week ahead. In an earlier post, I asked all of you for some lunch ideas that I could make ahead on the weekend and enjoy all week.  I got so many terrific ideas, but while I was at Trader Joe’s, I was hit with a great inspiration to prepare a delicious and easy soup.

This soup is one that I’m sure you seen before, as many cooks have made it.  I think I may have seen one version of this on 30 Minute Meals, but I’ve adapted it a bit.

3 “C” Soup (with cannellini beans, collard greens, and spicy Italian chicken sausage)

Ingredients (I’m sorry I don’t have the usual photo of all of the compiled ingredients because I didn’t think of posting this until I was halfway through cooking it).

4 links spicy Italian chicken sausage, fully cooked (I cut each link into 8 pieces to make portion control easier)
2 cans cannellini beans, drained
collard greens (I used one HUGE bag of cut & cleaned greens that I bought at Trader Joe’s)
8 cups chicken broth (I used free-range, fat free, low sodium chicken broth from TJ’s)
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (I used about 4-5 cloves, but I love garlic)
2 TBSP olive oil
red pepper flakes, to taste
salt, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste

Makes 8 4-point servings

Directions:

This soup is so easy that you really don’t need many directions.  This is one of those “dump it” soups that I love making.

In a large pot, sauté onion, garlic, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes in olive oil until transparent.

Add sausage to pot and brown to taste.

Turn flame to high and add collard greens.  These wilt down by at least half by the time they cook, so don’t worry that they won’t all fit.  They will.  At this point I added more red pepper flakes (I like spice!) and some salt.

Add chicken broth.

Add cannellini beans. I don’t rinse the beans for this soup because I like the thickness the starch adds to the final product.

download-41 Bring to a boil

download-31 Once the pot comes to a boil, lower flame and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

The finished soup is delicious, hearty, and plenty of veggie servings!  All for only 4 points per serving!

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I can’t tell you how organized and ready for the week I feel after preparing this easy soup!  I have plenty for several lunches this week and lots of leftovers:

download-1 Soup’s On!

Still need other lunch ideas

Since I don’t like eating the same thing for lunch (or dinner, for that matter) everyday, I’m also planning on making chicken salad wraps (thanks Scale Junkie for the good idea!).  If any of you have any other lunch ideas, please leave them in the comments.

What about Breakfast?

With all of my emphasis on lunch, I didn’t mention that breakfast is really difficult for me on weekdays.  Since I have to be to school so early, I never have time to eat breakfast at home, so I’m always throwing a little something into my lunch bag.  Sometimes it’s little more than a banana and a yogurt. (I’m not a huge egg eater, and although I’m liking them a lot more than I used to, I can’t see myself eating eggs (or an egg casserole) all week).

Then I started thinking about something I could make for a make-ahead breakfast, and I thought of Crockpot Oatmeal! Many of you have mentioned that you make Irish Steel Cut Oats in the crockpot.  I’ve never done this before, but I’m planning on making it tonight overnight.

I looked up the directions online, and it seems like it couldn’t be simpler: spray a crockpot with Pam, add 4 1/2 cups of water, 2 TBSP butter (if desired), then 1 cup of dry oats. Turn on low and cook for 6-8 hours, overnight.  It makes 4 servings.  I have lots of fruit that I can add in the morning – blueberries, bananas, and strawberries.  I’m planning on having a bit of Fage greek yogurt on the side because 1 cup is only 2 points, and it’s such a good source of protein.

OK, how about dinner?

After all of this cooking, I decided to keep dinner fairly simple:

download I made one of TJ’s cornmeal pizzas. The one I chose had kalamata olives, red bell peppers, feta, mozzarella, and spinach.  Half a pizza is 7.5 points, which isn’t bad for dinner.  I paired it with a spinach salad with grape tomatoes and sliced mushrooms with balsamic vinaigrette.  It was filling and tasted so good.

Ok, enough of this cooking stuff, I need to get back to grading, ’cause those essays aren’t going to correct themselves!

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