Thursday, January 12, 2012

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

January is National Soup Month. I had no idea of it when I decided to make this recipe, but I was glad to hear that it's a good time to give soup a shout-out.  This is a really hearty soup for not a lot of calories, and I used even more veggies than the recipe calls for - it just depends on how brothy or chunky you like your soups. You can also use different kinds of pasta and veggies to shake it up. It is really delicious - way better than the canned kind, if I do say so myself!

Healthy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
modified from here
serves 6 generously

12 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
6 cups (1 quart) chicken stock
20 sliced baby carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 medium chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 oz uncooked orzo pasta (or small pasta of choice)
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Start by trimming any fat off the chicken breasts, then place in a crock pot with about a ½ cup of lightly salted water on high for about 3 hours, until just cooked through (don’t let it overcook, or it will be really tough!). When done, cut the chicken meat into bite-sized pieces or shred.

In a large stock pot, bring chicken broth to a low boil and add the carrots, celery, onion, oregano, salt, black pepper, parsley, and thyme. Reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes, until veggies are soft. Add the chicken meat and stir to combine. Simmer an additional 20 minutes. In the meantime, cook pasta to al dente.
Stir in cooked pasta and peas. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pumpkin Ravioli

There's good news and bad news about this dish. Good news: it is YUMMY. Bad news: it does not really make for good leftovers, and it's a bit tricky. More good news: it's worth it. The pumpkin is really the star - usually I'm only automatically on the bandwagon if it's made into something sweet, but this dish is really delicious with the cheese, and it's pretty low-calorie. Plus, pumpkin is on the list, remember?

Very few ingredients and good for you. What are you waiting for?

Please forgive the mediocre pictures lately. Utah winter time doesn't make it easy to shoot in natural light unless you're cooking around 4pm.

Pumpkin Ravioli
recipe from here
serves 4 (6 ravioli per serving)

1 cup pumpkin
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
24 wonton wrappers
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp butter or olive oil (will change the flavor)
Chopped or dried parsley 

Combine first 4 ingredients and mix well. Place about 2 teaspoons of pumpkin mixture in the middle of a wonton wrapper. Moisten the edges of the wrapper with water and bring the opposite sides together to form a triangle. Pinch the edges together firmly to seal.

Place ravioli in a large saucepan of boiling water with a pinch of salt, cook 7 minutes and drain in a colander. Put the chicken broth and butter in a separate saucepan and bring to a boil. Add ravioli, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I know that I usually say that all my recipes are delicious - I only post the ones I really like. But this one...this one is special. This is one of those super healthy dishes that I actually crave. Big time. It is so filling and somehow tastes better as leftovers after the flavors marinate for a day or so. Super easy, too - don't be intimidated by quinoa! It's magical!

This dish is really similar to my stuffed pepper recipe, but a bit more friendly to those with less time to cook on their hands. It's great as a side or as a vegetarian main dish.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
serves 4 (about 1 cup per serving)

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 medium Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 tsp dried parsley
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan; stir in the quinoa. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until tender and most of the water evaporates, about 12-15 minutes; drain.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the quinoa; heat through. Remove from the heat. Gently fold in the feta cheese and parsley. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mexican Rice and Chicken Bake

This recipe came out of my head. Translation: this recipe includes a bunch of flavors and ingredients that I love thrown together, so naturally I loved it. The flavors are complex - you get a tangy hit from the Greek yogurt and sour cream but a little bit of heat from the chili powder and cumin. Chock-full of really good things for your body and your taste buds. Seriously.

Mexican Rice and Chicken Bake
Serves 6

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
15 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
4 oz can green chili peppers
1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup shredded Mexican-style cheese
6 oz pre-cooked and shredded chicken breast
2 cups cooked brown rice

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat oil in a skillet and saute the onion and bell peppers a few minutes until just crisp-tender.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except 1/4 cup cheese and mix thoroughly to combine. Make sure the yogurt, sour cream, and cheese are stirred in throughout the entire bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to an oven-safe dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Enjoy!

Also...happy 2012! Hopefully my life will allow me to be better about cooking and posting recipes. Here's to another year of trying many new things!