Feeding my Soul

Last week Aaron found a great deal on Living Social that we couldn’t pass up.  So we decided to head to Mt. Hood for a little spring skiing.  I don’t know about you, but whenever going on a road trip, no matter how long, I always make sure to pack plenty of snacks.  I do not like to find myself hungry somewhere where the only thing in sight is a McDonald’s or Taco Bell.  However I think my sweet tooth was calling too strongly when I was shopping for snacks because all the things I bought just didn’t seem so satisfy.

So when you spend all day munching on things like this (though they are so delicious that I seriously inhaled them)…

all it let me craving was something that could satisfy true, real hunger, and not keep me looking for more to snack on.

CHILI.  Yum.  Soul filling, for sure.  Probably all that fiber that does the trick!!  Though technically the recipe below is NOT chili, so please do like Paula and call it Taco Soup around true Southerners like my father that have strict requirements on what constitutes real chili.  For me, it is simply taste and this one tastes GOOD!

And with chili, even the leftovers are good.  What I did with my leftovers this time was even better.  As it sat in the fridge, the beans slowly soak up the soup part, leaving it very thick and the PERFECT topping for nachos.  I like to make my own chips by cutting up my favorite tortillas and just dry roasting them in the oven at 400 for about 10 minutes or until you feel good about their crispness level.  So easy and so much healthier!

Then I add just a bit of cheese underneath (to keep the chips from getting too soggy from the juices) and on top of the chili.  And of course a little avocado is always welcome on my plate.  What is your favorite chili recipe?

Paula Deen’s Taco Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef (we always use turkey for a healthier option)
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
  • 2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
  • 1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
  • 1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional
  • 1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
  • Corn chips, for serving (I always go with cornbread instead)
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Grated cheese, for garnish
  • Chopped green onions, for garnish
  • Pickled jalapenos, for garnish

Directions

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

NUTRITION: Calories 388 / Fat 14 g / Carbs 42 g / Protein 26 g / Fiber 11 g

Happy Chinese New Year

That’s right…today we embark upon the Year of the Dragon, so to commemorate that I thought it best to highlight some Asian cuisine this week.  Of course, today’s recipe comes from Rachael Ray, so I will not call it authentic, but I WILL call it delicious.  It seems that most foodies have strong opinions about Rachael Ray, so I apologize if you hate me sharing her stuff!  Personally I will probably never understand how she got her own talk show, as I prefer watching her cooking show on mute, but she does have a lot of good go-to recipes.

Anyway, as a general rule the Chinese are a very superstitious people with many traditions upheld to bring good luck, and others to avoid bringing bad luck.  The New Year has many such traditions, and one way to bring yourself good luck throughout the coming year is to eat noodles.  Noodles are actually a symbol of longevity, so I felt it double appropriate to highlight noodles this week since longevity is what this blog is all about (not to mention the meaning of the character up there on the right!)

Spicy Shrimp and Bok Choy Noodle Bowl

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 inches ginger root, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks or grated
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushroom caps (a couple of cups), sliced
  • 1 medium bok choy, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces, then cut into sticks lengthwise
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 cup seafood stock, available on soup aisle or 1 cup clam juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 pound vermicelli (thin spaghetti)
  • 4 scallions, cut into 3-inch pieces, then shredded lengthwise into thin sticks

Directions

Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil, 3 turns of the pan, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, and bok choy, then season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and seafood stock or clam juice. Put a lid on the pot and bring soup to a boil.

Add shrimp and noodles and cook 3 minutes. Add in scallions and cook 2 minutes, then turn off soup and let it sit 2 to 3 minutes more. Adjust salt and serve.

**Rachael says this serves four, but I’m scaling this nutrition info to six portions, as we eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of her monster portions.**

Also, to make this a little healthier, just use 1 tablespoon of oil while cooking the vegetables, you definitely don’t need 3 in my opinion!

NUTRITION: Calories 301 / Fat 11 / Carbs 28.5 / Protein 37.5 g / Fiber 2 g

If you are in need of a little more luck for this year than you feel noodles can provide, eat some tangerines, dumplings, whole fish (yes, head and tail included!!), and spring rolls.

Gongxi Facai!

Great Green Chili

As promised, I am back with more soup to keep you warm and happy on these January nights.  It comes from Eating for Life, the companion cookbook to Bill Phillips’ Body for Life, which was the first regimented program I ever tried to consciously eat healthier.  For those who don’t really love cooking, I would definitely recommend it as the recipes in it are quite simple.  This one is a favorite.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups fat free reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 lbs chicken breast
  • 2 packages Knorr Roasted Chicken Gravy Mix
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 jalapenoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz) white hominy, drained

I won’t tell you the instructions in the cookbook because that’s not what I do…I’ll give you my lazy instructions.   Dump all but the last two ingredients into your slow cooker in the morning and put on low for 8 hours.  If you forget, you can also do it at lunch and just cook it on high.  No worries.  Then an hour before you want to eat throw in the cilantro and the hominy so the flavor of the cilantro pops and the hominy is not soggy. 

If you love hominy as much as I do, please put in two cans instead of one.  If you aren’t a fan at all, like my sister, you can subsitute corn very easily.  Also if you have a gluten intolerance or you just like a thinner, broth-type soup you can also leave out the gravy altogether.  They suggest serving with warm flour tortillas, but I always prefer some yummy cornbread.  Up to you.

Makes 8 1.5-cup servings.

NUTRITION: Calories: 167/Fat 3.5 g/Protein 11.6 g/Carbohydrate: 21.6 g/Fiber 3.5 g

Quick Chicken Corn Chowder

Yes, it is winter here in the Northwest.  That being the case, it is damp.  And by damp I mean soggy to the n-th degree.  It is by personal standards cold, though those in places like the Midwest or Alaska might disagree with me, but hey I am a Texan at heart so I have every right to complain about cold whenever it gets below sixty.

Anyway I am sure all can agree that few things bring warmth to the soul during whatever your decold and the yuck like a nice bowl of soup.  Wasn’t there a ridiculously long book series attesting to that fact?  So it is quite possible that I will be making quite a few posts about soup in the hopes that I can regain my inner chi until the sun returns.

Today’s soup is one from Cooking Light, one of my favorite places to look for healthier recipes.  They aren’t kidding when they say quick, especially if you already have some leftover chicken that you are looking to put to good use.

Quick Chicken Corn Chowder

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breast halves)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 3 ears)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn

Preparation

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and jalapeño; cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook until thick (about 5 minutes).

Makes 6 1-cup Servings

NUTRITION: Calories: 257/Fat: 8.1g/Protein: 19.1g/Carbohydrate: 28.6g/Fiber: 1.9g