Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

meal ideas ~ burrr, it's soup time

It’s cold outside and you know me, that means hot soup or stews are on my table. However, if you're juggling a thousand responsibilities each day; the last thing you want to do when you come home is make dinner. With a little help from your slow cooker, you can throw together a few ingredients in the morning and sit down later to a steaming bowl of goodness. And the best part about dinner in one pot: fewer plates to spin on the way to the sink.

Hot-and-Sour Soup
This Asian-inspired recipe mixes the best of both worlds -- spicy and sour! With only 11 grams of carb and 108 calories per serving, this is a healthy choice everyone will love.

2 14 1/2 - ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 medium carrots, bias-sliced (1 cup)
1 8oz can bamboo shoots, drained
1 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/2 cup water
6 shataki mushrooms - or canned 4oz.
3 tablespoons rice vinegar or white vinegar
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
8 oz frozen or fresh peeled and deveined shrimp*
4 oz refrigerated water-packed firm tofu (fresh bean curd), drained and cubed
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley or cilantro (optional)

 In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker combine broth, carrots, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, the 1/2 cup water, the mushrooms, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and crushed red pepper.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours.

 If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. In a small bowl stir together cornstarch and the 2 tablespoons cold water; stir into chicken broth mixture in slow cooker. Add frozen shrimp and the tofu. Cover and cook for 30 minutes more. Sprinkle each serving with parsley. If desired, leave tails on shrimp.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 108 cal., 2 g total fat 57 mg chol., 558 mg sodium, 11 g carb. (2 g fiber, 3 g sugars), 12 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Lean Meat (d.e): 1.5; Vegetables (d.e): 1; Other Carb (d.e): 0.5
Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Lentil Stew
Common Middle Eastern ingredients, such as dried apricots and squash, are surprising treats in this high-fiber dish.

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/4 cups dry brown lentils, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
2 14 oz can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 large yellow summer squash, cut into 1-inch-thick pieces
1/2 cup golden raisins
Sliced green onions (optional)

In a large bowl, combine chicken, garlic, cumin, coriander, pepper, and cinnamon; toss to coat. Coat an unheated very large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat over medium heat. Add chicken to hot skillet; cook until browned, turning to brown all sides.

 Transfer chicken to a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker. Add lentils and onion to slow cooker. Pour chicken broth and the water over all.

 Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4 hours. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Add squash and apricots to slow cooker. Cover and cook about 15 minutes more or just until squash is tender. If desired, garnish individual servings with sliced green onion.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:274 cal., 5 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 94 mg chol., 318 mg sodium, 26 g carb. (10 g fiber, 6 g sugars), 32 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Fruit (d.e): 0.5; Starch (d.e): 1; Lean Meat (d.e): 4

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