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Monthly Archives: March 2013
Tomatoes. If you’re not incorporating them into your diet, you should consider adding them in somewhere. Grape (or cherry) tomatoes are an excellent addition in a salad, sliced tomato is an easy addition in a sandwich or burger, or you can try making tomato soup to really get a heavy dose of lycopene.
Do you know what lycopene can do for you?
Lycopene is well known specifically to help prevent many forms of cancer. It also aids in the prevention of many diseases and illnesses.
Check it out!
- Lycopene stops LDL cholesterol from being oxidized by free radicals and in turn from being deposited as a plaque (a fatty deposit inside an arterial wall) which narrows and hardens the arteries.
- Aids in the prevention of diabetes, osteoporosis, age related macular degeneration, and cataracts
- Helps keep skin looking younger by slowing down signs of aging
- Acts as an internal sunscreen and protects your skin from sunburn
One of my favorite ways to incorporate lycopene into my life is through an easy and healthy tomato soup recipe. It’s so delicious and full of flavor, I think you’re going to have a difficult time believing that it’s simply tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, broth, and a few spices. You also won’t believe that all you gotta do is roast the veggies and basil with the spices dashed on top and then puree with some broth. But, it’s true!
Here are the ingredients and the directions. Go on, make it. Discover this lycopene gem for yourself.
Makes 6-8 servings.
2 lbs plum (roma) tomatoes 8-10 garlic cloves, peeled and whole 1/2 medium red onion 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 2 teaspoons oregano (I use dried oregano, you can also use 2 sprigs oregano, remove leaves from stem) 6 basil leaves 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 2 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated (optional)
1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut your tomatoes in half and place them in a shallow baking dish cut side down.
3. Add onion pieces, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper to the dish.
4. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
5. Bake for 45 minutes.
6. Place roasted vegetables in food processor or blender and puree. **Add all the leftovers that are in the dish (the juices and spices) into your food processor or blender as well. Slowly add broth until soup has desired consistency. Continue blending until smooth.
7. Garnish with parmesan cheese if desired.
My go to product for this recipe is my wonderful little food processor, for without him this recipe would not be possible. Thank you parsley colored little buddy. I kinda sorta love you thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much!! *opens arms as wide as possible*
Step by step photos:
Place your roasted veggies into a food processor or blender and begin to puree. Slowly add the chicken broth until you get the desired consistency. I add the full 2 cups. Puree it all until it’s smooth.
It’s that simple for such a luxurious result. Go on now, try it!
As you can see, this turkey chili (that goes in the crock pot! woo hoo!!) has pretty simple ingredients. You’ve got your spices, beans, tomato sauce, veggies, and ground turkey. The very first time I made this, I actually used ground beef. While that was yummy, as soon as I ate the first spoonful, I wondered why the hell didn’t I use ground turkey? It’s just as yummy and if you buy lean ground turkey, there are benefits to eating it versus ground beef.
When I visited Save Mart to buy my ingredients, they only had 85% lean 15% fat left, so that’s what’cha see in the photo above. I have made it with 99% lean and 1% fat, which is what I highly recommend. The spices and flavors that are absorbed into the turkey while it’s in the crock pot adds so much flavor, you just simply will not regret using ground turkey versus ground beef.
Here is the nutritional information on the 99/1 ground turkey:
- Serving size 112g (4oz)
- Calorie 120
- Calories from fat 15
- Total fat 1.5g
- Saturated fat 0.5g
- Cholesterol 65mg
- Sodium 60 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 0g
- Protein 27g
Excellent source of protein with only 1.5g of fat and only 0.5g of saturated fat. If you watch Dr. Oz at all, he advises to look for foods that have 4g of saturated fat or less. We’ve got a winner!
So, now that you’re convinced to use ground turkey when making your chili (yeeahhh, you’re convinced *squints eyes, nods head*), onto the easy steps you’re gonna take to make this healthy and simple dinner for you and your loved ones.
Makes 12 servings.
2 lbs lean ground turkey 1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce 1 (29 ounce) can kidney beans (with liquid) 1 (29 ounce) can pinto beans (with liquid) 1 cup diced onion (1 medium onion) 1/2 cup diced jalapeno (2 jalapenos) 1/4 cup diced celery (1-2 stalks) 5 Roma tomatoes, chopped 3 teaspoons cumin powder 3 tablespoons chili powder 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper 1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups water
1. Brown the ground turkey in a large pan.
2. Chop the onion, jalapeno, celery, and tomatoes. ***Important note*** Make damn sure you use gloves when chopping jalapeno! Unless you thoroughly enjoy a burning sensation all over your hands for a day.
3. Add the chopped veggies, browned ground turkey, canned items, spices, and water into the crock pot.
4. Cook on high for 3 hours, stirring at least once every hour.
That’s it I love that this is healthy and filling. Plus! Between my boyfriend and I, this lasts us about 3 days. Pluuuus, it tastes just as good on that third day as it does the first day.
Step by step photos:
Chop your veggies. Make sure you use gloves when chopping jalapeno!! It is not fun dealing with the burning sensation that accompanies chopping hot schtuff with your bare hands. You can use the link I’ve provided to buy yourself a box of a bunch of gloves. It’s cheap and worth it!
Add your chopped veggies, browned ground turkey, canned items, spices, and water into the crock pot. In absolutely no particular order Turn your crock pot on high for 3 hours and stir every half hour to every hour.
Ahhh, Spanish rice. Or rice, as a “Mexican food enthusiast” would call it. Hah. Check out what wikipedia says about “Spanish” rice:
“Although called “Spanish rice”, this dish is unknown in Spain.The term “Spanish rice” is not used by Mexicans or Mexican food enthusiasts, and its use probably stems from the fact that the Spanish language is spoken in Mexico; the dish is usually simply referred to as arroz (“rice”) in Mexico.”
My head is spinning from too many quotation marks. Wooo! Okay, you’ll only need nine (ten if you count squeezing some limes onto your rice) ingredients to make this tasty treat. Gather your blender or food processor and let’s do this!
Makes 8-10 servings.
12 ounces canned tomatoes 1 medium white onion (chopped into several chunks) 3 medium jalapenos (minced) 2 cups long grain white rice 1/3 cup canola oil 4 minced garlic cloves 2 cups chicken broth 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced 1 lime (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a blender or a food processor, add your canned tomatoes and your onion. Process until pureed. Transfer mixture to measuring cup and reserve exactly 2 cups (discard any excess).
3. Mince your garlic and set aside in a bowl.
4. Using gloves, mince your jalapeno and remove the seeds. Set aside in the same bowl as the garlic.
5. Mince the cilantro and set aside in its own bowl.
6. ***EXTREMELY IMPORTANT STEP – Rinse your rice in a fine mesh strainer!*** Rinsing your rice will remove the starch so that it is fluffy and not sticky. Place rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water for about 3 minutes. Shake rice vigorously to remove excess water.
7. Heat oil in a large pan or Dutch oven with tight fitting lid over medium-high heat about 2 minutes. Drop a few rice grains in – if they sizzle then you’re ready to start. Add the rest of your rice and fry, stirring until rice is light golden and translucent (about 7 minutes).
8. Reduce heat to medium and add your garlic and minced jalapenos. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes.
9. Stir in broth, the pureed mixture, and salt. Bring to a boil.
10. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 35 minutes – until the liquid is fully absorbed. At 15 minutes, make sure to stir well.
11. Stir in the minced cilantro and squeeze some lime juice to taste (optional).
Step by step photos:
In a blender or food processor, add your tomatoes and chopped onion. Note: You can use fresh tomatoes for this recipe of course, but you just have to make sure that they are verrry ripe! Normally where I shop, the tomatoes are mostly relatively firm. Your rice simply will not taste its best if you use a more firm tomato. For this reason, I go with canned.
Also, I absolutely love my little Cuisinart food processor that you see above. You’re probably going to hear me talk about this fellow a lot. I live in an apartment and my kitchen space is pretty small. I simply do not have room for the average person’s appliances.. I need compact items! This fellow does the job perfectly. Two settings, 3 pieces to clean, fits perfectly in my little pantry. Here’s a link to him if you wanna check him out for yourself.
Next, chop your garlic, jalapeno, and cilantro. I put my garlic and jalapeno in the same bowl because I’ll be adding them at the same time.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, USE GLOVES when chopping hot stuff! I can say from personal experience that not using gloves and chopping chiles and peppers is a baaaad move, yo. My hands were in a world of hurt and no olive oil, rubbing alcohol, or any other remedy really truly took the pain away. That was not a fun evening for removing my contacts, either. Wearing gloves is all you’ll need to do to avoid this world of hurt and you can buy a bunch of them for super cheap. Here’s a link to some:
This next step may seem pointless, but it is not. Rinsing your rice with cold water in a fine mesh strainer for a few minutes (until it runs mostly clear) will remove the starch from it. Removing the starch will allow the rice to become fluffy when you cook it, instead of sticky. Sticky rice is great for some recipes, but not for this one.
Next, heat some of the vegetable oil up in a large pan on medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add in a few grains of rice to see if they sizzle.. If they do, then you’re ready to go. Add in the rest of your rice and fry it for about 7 minutes. It should become light golden in color (the last picture above).
Next, lower your heat to medium and add in your minced garlic and jalapeno and stir that for a couple of minutes. Then, add your broth, pureed mixture, and salt. Bring that baby to a boil.
Cover up your pan of just boiled delicious mixture with a tight fitting lid and put it in youroven (set at 350 degrees). It should be in there for approximately 35 minutes, but make sure that at about 15 minutes you take the lid off, stir it up, and put it right back in there.
Once that half hour is up, remove that bad boy from the oven and longingly gaze at the beautiful rice you just made. Yes, you made this! Aren’t you amazing?? Then scarf it down with some chicken enchiladas. Then do a jig because there’s a delicious party is in your tummy.
Are you a fan of chicken enchiladas? Yeahhh, I know you are. And you are because you’re smart and have great taste in food! Have you ever made these chicken enchiladas before? You haven’t? You’re missing out on the best chicken enchiladas, everrr. I’m not kidding.
Make these now and make them with this Spanish rice. My boyfriend is dangerously in love with this meal and swears up and down and sideways and backwards that they’re the best enchiladas he’s ever had. Coming from a guy whose close friends are taquerias, it means a lot.
Makes 12 enchiladas.
Enchilada Sauce ingredients: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons chili powder 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 (14 oz) can chicken broth 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Filling ingredients: 2 cups shredded cooked chicken 1/2 cup thinly-sliced green onion 3/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1/4 cup sour cream 1 (4 oz) can dice green chilies vegetable oil 1/4 cup chopped cilantro salt (to taste) pepper (to taste) corn tortillas
Enchilada sauce directions:
1. Heat vegetable oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Stir in flour and chili power, cooking for one minute.
2. Add in the remaining sauce ingredients, bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix together cooked shredded chicken, 1/2 cup chedder, 1/2 cup monterey jack, sour cream, chiles, green onions, and cilantro.
3. Add 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, season with a dash of salt and pepper, and stir well.
4. Heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large pan to fry the tortillas. Fry one at a time for about 10 seconds on each side. Drain them on paper towels to soak excess oil.
5. Spread a small amount of enchilada sauce in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
6. Spread about 2 or 3 heaping tablespoons of chicken mixture into each tortilla and roll it up. Place each enchilada seam side down into the dish.
7. Pour what’s left of the sauce over the enchiladas and top with remaining cheeses.
8. Place in the oven for about 18 minutes.
Step by step photos:
Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and chili powder and cook for one minute. Add in the rest of the sauce ingredients, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and let that goodness simmer. Taste it while it simmers, it’s delicious! I can’t keep my boyfriend away from this sauce. He eats too many spoonfuls while this sits!
Next, put together your filling. I boil my chicken right before I start making the sauce. I do not season the chicken, I just add two large chicken breasts into boiling water and then shred ’em. All of the flavors of the mixture and the sauce and cheeses are enough for the chicken, you simply won’t need to season it.
Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheeses and pop it in the oven for about 18 minutes at 350 degrees.
Serve with some Spanish rice and you’ll be in heaven. I hope you love these as much as my man and I do!
This broccoli cheese soup calls for only ten ingredients, most of which you will most likely already have on hand. I only needed to buy broccoli and cheese (go figure) to get started on this soul-warming, inexpensive recipe.
Makes 4 servings.
1 tablespoon butter 1/2 medium chopped onion 1/4 cup butter 1/4 cup flour 2 cups half & half cream 2 cups chicken stock 1/2 lb fresh broccoli 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese salt and pepper to taste (I personally don't add any salt at all)
— Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium pot. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Set that aside in a separate bowl.
— Using the same pot, melt 1/4 cup of butter. Add the flour and with a whisk or large spoon, stir the mixture constantly for about 4 minutes.
— Add the half & half and chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
— Add the broccoli and onions. Cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
— Add salt and pepper to taste (I just add pepper). Return to heat and add cheese. Stir in nutmeg.
You’re finished! Cut up some crusty bread, sourdough bread, whatever you prefer. Dip it. Enjoy!
Step by Step Photos:
Melt butter and add flour, stir constantly for about 4 minutes.
Add half & half and chicken stock, let it simmer for 20 minutes.
Add those florets in along with those onions and let the mixture sit over low heat for 20-25 minutes.
Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Add in the cheese and nutmeg and stir.
You are now finished, my dear. Cut yourself some bread, pour this into a lovely little bowl, and eat your heart out.