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Healthy Variations on Old Favorites

As winter settles in around most of us, the temperatures drop, the days get shorter and the snow falls.  This is a great time to use soups as a healthy part of your diet.  Many traditional favorites are high in sodium or fats but here are some healthy alternatives. 

CHNUCKY CHICKEN NOODLE  (OR RICE) SOUP

  • 4 skinless boneless organic chicken breasts
  • 4 cups purified water
  • 3/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 celery tops
  • 2 cups purified water
  • 2 ounces uncooked medium egg noodles
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoonsminced fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium chicken-flavored bouillon granules
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Additional coarsely ground black pepper (optional)
  • If avoiding gluten add 2 cups cooked brown rice instead of noodles

Combine first 5 ingredients in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken from broth, discarding celery but reserving the broth. Skim fat from broth. Add 2 cups water and next 8 ingredients to broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and ladle into bowls.  Then enjoy! SPLIT PEA (WITH CHICKEN OR NOT) In last weeks post I talked about how healthy legumes are for us.  Well here is a recipe that uses the healthy legume and also the nutrious olive oil mentioned in the post. 2 cups green split peas 6 cups vegetable broth (organic and check sodium content) 2 yellow onions, chopped 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1/2 tsp sea salt 1 tsp paprika 1/2 tsp cumin 1/4–1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 3 large carrots,chopped 3 boneless skinless organic chicken breasts cooked and chopped. (if desired)  This is added after the puree process of the soup. (I like to make sure I'm getting an extra serving of protein in my dishes.  Helps build strong muscles.) 1. Heat the olive oil over medium/low heat in a large saucepot. Add the onions and cook on low for about 20 minutes, or until the onions have started to turn a golden brown color—just be careful not to burn them! Your goal is to caramelize the onions for maximum flavor. Be patient; it can take a while. 2. Once the onions have turned golden, add the split peas, carrots, broth, and spices, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 35 minutes, until the peas and carrots are tender. 3. Carefully pour soup into a food processor or blender and whirl on high for a few seconds so everything is smooth and pureed. Pour soup back into the saucepot and add the chopped chicken.  Reheat then ladle into bowls for serving. BROCOLI AND CHEDDAR SOUP Again in last weeks post Heart Healthy - Body Healthy Foods, I mentioned the healing properties of broccoli.  So let's look at a lighter version of one of my favorite soups. 2 tablespoons cocunut oil                                                                                             1 medium bunch broccoli, chopped into 12 oz. florets 1 russet potato 1 yellow onion, diced 1 garlic clove, minced 1/4 teaspoon cayenne 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 1 teaspoon course ground sea salt 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese (about 4 oz.) 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (if avoiding gluten add another potatoe or use corn starch for thickening,) 3/4 cup 2% organic milk or if you prefer use unflavored almond milk 3 cups organic vegetable or chicken broth (look at sodium content) 2 cooked skinless boneless chicken breasts chopped (if desired) Blanch broccoli by placing it in purified boiling water for 30 seconds. Immediately drain and rinse with clean cold water. Set aside. In a large Dutch oven, melt coconut oil. Peel and chop potato (s) into small 1-inch dice. Sauté both the potato and onion in butter for about 6 minutes, or until the onion starts to become translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Then mix in the dry mustard, cayenne, and salt. Toss to coat. Add flour or corn starch paste and stir well. Pour in the broth and add back the broccoli florets. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the potato is tender. Slowly pour in the milk and add the cheese, stirring to melt.  I prefer to add only half the cheese now and then garnish each bowl with a little when served. Carefully pour the hot soup into a blender and process for 10 seconds, or until slightly smooth with just a few chunks remaining. Pour soup back into the pot and keep warm until ready to serve. The healthier choice twist I use is to add a serving of diced chicken breast and a sprinkle of the grated cheese on top of the soup when I serve it. Hopefully you can see how using these recipes you can easily add the healthy foods mentioned last week into your regular routine of cooking this winter.  I suggest you double the recipe and save the leftovers to take to the office with you for a healthy lunch. Heat up, lighten up and enjoy!

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