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Quick Chicken Soup

The Man wasn’t feeling so well the other day, so my first instinct was to make him chicken soup. My version takes an extra pan because I was trying to make it quickly. Cooking the chicken, onions and celery are quicker in a pan than boiling them, but I can never seem to get carrots cooked in a pan quite the way I’d like them. That’s why I get a jump start on softening them up by boiling them while I’m cooking the chicken. Otherwise you could just toss everything in a big pot and let it boil until the chicken is cooked and the veggies were tender.

Ingredients
6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup carrot strips or grated
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced bell peppers
1/4 cup minced garlic
8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon thyme

Directions
Put the chicken broth, water and carrots in a large pot, let it start boiling.
At the same, in a large pan add the rest of the ingredients. Cook until the chicken isn’t pink and the veggies are tender.
Add the chicken mixture to the chicken broth. Let it simmer for at least ten minutes, longer if possible.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 70.3
Total Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 13.7 mg
Sodium: 520.3 mg
Total Carbs: 7.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.8 g
Protein: 9.0 g

Quick Chicken Soup-001

Veggie Ranch Cups

Sometimes it can get a little old putting out the same veggie tray at every party. But at the same time, you want to have some sort of healthy option for your guests (and sometimes yourself). Well, fillo cups to the rescue again. Although these have most of the same ingredients you would find in a regular veggie tray, these are a little easier to handle in a party setting. Instead of using bottled ranch dip, the seasonings in the ingredient list makes a ranch dressing without the extra sodium or fat.

Ingredients
15 mini fillo shells
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced red pepper
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 diced tomatoes
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Directions
Arrange the fillo shells on a plate or cookie sheet.
Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and spoon into the fillo shells.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 15
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 30.4
Total Fat: 0.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 19.8 mg
Total Carbs: 5.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 1.6 g

Veggie Ranch Cups-001

Roasted Vegetables and Sausage

I really enjoy roasted vegetables. You don’t have to do much work to make them: chop up some veggies, drizzle with oil and herbs, toss in the oven, and stir around once in a while. About the only thing easier is slow cooking. But roasting them brings out the natural sweetness and is perfect for root vegetables, which are usually cheaper this time of year. This is definitely a recipe that you can experiement with. Try some different herbs or vegetables. You could substitute chicken for the sausage, just keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Or you could leave out the meat for a vegetarian dish or for a side dish.

Ingredients
1 large potato, chopped
1 1/2 cups baby carrots
2 large red peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 medium head of cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup minced garlic
14 oz. package of smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons rosemary

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put all of the chopped vegetables and sausage in a large, shallow pan or cookie sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, onion powder, and rosemary. Give it a good stir to evenly coat everything. Bake in the oven for about an hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes. It’s done when the potatoes and carrots are easy to stick with a fork.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 5
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 365.9
Total Fat: 19.4 g
Cholesterol: 51.7 mg
Sodium: 798.1 mg
Total Carbs: 35.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.4 g
Protein: 16.5 g

Roasted Veggies and Sausage-001

Loaded Potato Salad

Potato salad is normally something that you would serve at cookouts during the summer. Well, I guess one of the fun things about Texas is that it’s pretty much cookout weather year round! The Man has a wonderful rib recipe that he uses at pretty much every cookout. He likes to say it’s world famous because he discovered the recipe while we were stationed in Germany and would win the neighborhood rib cook off contests the guys would have. (Although I’m pretty sure the other guys say they won, but that’s guys for you.) To me, nothing goes better with ribs than potato salad. My friend gave me the idea of adding bacon to it and I think all good potato salad should have hard boiled eggs. This one is also loaded with veggies. If you have a leftover veggie tray or just random salad veggies in your fridge, they would work just as well. Instead of the usual mayo and mustard based dressing, I kind of made up my own using plain greek yogurt and dry mustard (specifically this djion mustard rub from Pampered Chef). Doing so cuts down on the calories and fat, which when added to all the extra veggies, makes this potato salad not so bad for you (and the guys would never guess that it’s healthier for them).

Ingredients
5 large potatoes, chopped into 1 inch pieces
6 large eggs
2 cups fat free plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons dry ground mustard
1 teaspoon salt
10 slices center cut bacon
1/2 cup chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
2 large red peppers, chopped

Directions
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the chopped potatoes and eggs. Boil until the potatoes are tender enough to easily stick with a fork (about 20 minutes). Drain the potatoes, peel and chop the eggs.
In a bowl mix the greek yogurt, dry mustard, salt, and water. Set aside.
Dice the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Cook in a skillet with the onions and garlic until the bacon is crispy.
In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, bacon mixtures, chopped veggies, and yogurt/mustard mixture. Stir until everything is well coated with the yogurt and mustard mixture. Cover and let it sit in the fridge for at least three hours (preferrably overnight).

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 10
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 187.8
Total Fat: 4.9 g
Cholesterol: 117.0 mg
Sodium: 390.9 mg
Total Carbs: 23.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.4 g
Protein: 12.1 g

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Creamy Southwest Chicken Bites

Since Christmas is just a couple days away (where did December go?!) and New Year’s not too long after that, I’m going to take  little break from posting recipes.  As much as I love cooking and sharing my creations with everyone, I want to spend the time with my husband.  But I’ll leave you with one last recipe for the year and the promise that I have more in store for 2013, along with a couple other surprises!

With us being right in the middle of the holiday season, a lot of us are either hosting parties or need to bring something to a party. These are perfect! Filo cups make it easy to make silverware (and plate) free snacks, so less clean up. And you can get a head start on your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier because they’re only 30 calories for each one and loaded with veggies. The greek yogurt makes them creamy, without adding extra fat. You can tailor them to your taste by adding extra chili powder or a diced jalepeno.

Ingredients
30 mini filo cups (2 packages)
2 boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
1 large red pepper, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 green onions, diced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange the filo cups on a baking sheet.
In a large skillet, cook the chicken, onion, red pepper, cilantro, green onions, lime juice and zest, garlic powder, and chili powder. When the chicken starts to turn golden brown and the onions are transparent, remove from the heat and add the mozzarella cheese and greek yogurt. Stir until everything is well coated.
Spoon evenly into the filo cups.
Bake at 350 degrees for eight minutes.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 30
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 30.5
Total Fat: 0.7 g
Cholesterol: 6.3 mg
Sodium: 31.0 mg
Total Carbs: 3.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
Protein: 3.2 g

Creamy Southwest Chicken bites (1)

Balsamic Veggie and Chicken Pasta

Once in a while when you’re experiementing in the kitchen, you may have one idea for what the recipe is going to be and it turns out completely different. That’s how this recipe came about. I love the summery salad of fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. It’s one of my favorite salads, but it really is better suited for warm months. So I wanted to try creating a pasta based dish that combined those flavors. Unfortunately, this doesn’t quite make it. But it’s quite delicious in it’s own right.

Ingredients
6 oz linguini noodles, uncooked
8 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 cup chopped red peppers
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.
In a large pan, cook the chicken, garlic, onions and zucchini until the vegetables are tender and the chicken starts turning golden brown. In a measuring cup, combine the chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, basil, and corn starch (make sure the corn starch is completely dissolved into the liquids). Pour into the pan with the chicken and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down and cook for a few minutes, stirring often. When the sauce starts to thicken, add the tomatoes and cheese. Continue to cook until the sauce starts to stick to the noodles.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 325.9
Total Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 31.3 mg
Sodium: 634.5 mg
Total Carbs: 50.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.9 g
Protein: 21.5 g

Balsamic Chicken and Veggie Pasta

Sausage and Cheese Biscuits

Since my husband and his guys had to work over the weekend, I thought I’d make up something to try to make it a little more bearable.  Since they are out in the field getting Army reservists ready for deployment, it had to be something that could almost literally been eaten on the run.  Which meant nothing with silverware or plates.  I thought about making sausage biscuit sandwiches, but sometimes those can get a little messy when stuff starts falling out of them.  So I wondered what would happen if I just baked the sandwich makings into the biscuit.  It seems to have turn out pretty well, judging by how the guys responded to them.  I threw a couple in the freezer to see if these could work as a grab and go hot breakfast for the husband.  The first one was a little soggy, but that’s because I left it in the container with the lid on when I microwaved it.  The second one was just on a plate and it seems to have worked much better.  It was only in there for 30 seconds, but we also have a new, crazy powerful microwave.  You’ll have to adjust the time for your microwave.  The recipes makes a lot, which means you’ll have breakfast figured out for almost a month!

Ingredients
12 oz reduced fat sausage
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped red peppers
1/4 cup minced garlic
6 cups flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups milk

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large pan, cook the sausage, onions, peppers and garlic until the sausage is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender. In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and cream of tartar.  Add the sausage mixture and butter, mix it until a crumbly texture forms.  (You should be able to squeeze it into a ball, but it’ll fall apart when you drop it back into the bowl.)  Add the milk and cheese to the bowl and stir until when combined. Drop large spoonfuls (about 1/4 cup per biscuit) on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart from each other.  Bake for about 12 minutes, or until they start turning golden brown.

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 36
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 147.6
  • Total Fat: 4.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 15.2 mg
  • Sodium: 323.4 mg
  • Total Carbs: 19.0 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g
  • Protein: 6.6 g

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Mediterranean Pizza

Most of the time, what ingredients you chose to use in your recipes really makes a difference when it comes to the nutritional values. When you buy canned foods try to makes sure that it’s packed in water or juice, not oil or syrup. It can really rack up the calories and fat. It might take a little extra time when you’re out shopping, but compare the labels and make sure that you are getting the most nutritional ingredients you can.

This is a simple little recipe, it doesn’t really require much prep work. It’s a delicious twist on a regular pizza. The trick to keeping it lower in calories and fat is to really pay attention to what you are using to make it. I made notes in the ingredients so you know what I used, but of course you’re welcomed to make it your own!

Ingredients
1 mini flat bread (I used Flat Out Mini with Whole Grains)
2 tablespoons hummus (I used my homemade hummus)
1/4 cup chopped red peppers
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
4 pieces of canned artichoke hearts packed in water
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Spread the hummus over the flat bread, then top with the peppers, olives, artichoke hearts and cheese. Bake for about ten minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Nutritional Info
•Servings Per Recipe: 1
•Amount Per Serving
•Calories: 241.6
•Total Fat: 6.5 g
•Cholesterol: 5.0 mg
•Sodium: 889.1 mg
•Total Carbs: 19.2 g
•Dietary Fiber: 4.0 g
•Protein: 11.8 g

Med Pizza

Stuffed Pepper Bowl

The husband and I both like stuffed peppers, I just don’t like the fuss that comes with making them. So I thought I’d try to find an easier way to have the flavors from a stuffed pepper in a easier to make form. This is what I came up with. I could see this being great when you have left over rice or you could make twice the amount of rice called for and use the leftovers the next day to make fried rice. I like to add some garlic powder and onion powder to the rice while it’s cooking. It gives it just a little more flavor without extra calories or sodium.

Ingredients

2 cups cooked rice
1/2 pound extra lean ground beef
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup chopped onions
2 red peppers, diced
1 can no sodium diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon basil

Directions

In a large pan, cook the ground beef, onions and garlic. Add the red peppers and cook for three minutes or until slightly softened. Add the can of tomatoes, rice and basil. Cook for a few more minutes, until most of the liquid has been cooked off.

Nutritional Info
•Servings Per Recipe: 4
•Amount Per Serving
•Calories: 316.4
•Total Fat: 12.7 g
•Cholesterol: 40.1 mg
•Sodium: 657.9 mg
•Total Carbs: 35.9 g
•Dietary Fiber: 6.5 g
•Protein: 15.3 g

Stuffed Pepper Bowl