Sweet Potato & Oat Soup (E)

Oatmeal – It’s Not Just For Breakfast!DSC_0983

After the life threatening birth of my first child, my mom to came stay for a while.  While I was focused on caring for my fragile preemie in the NICU, she was focused on taking care of me.  And like all good moms do, she made sure I was eating well.  

One day she made oatmeal soup and assured me that it was what my body needed to heal and produce the nourishing milk that my baby desperately needed.  She must have been right because after the first bite, I craved it like nothing else in those first few days.  I am thankful for those days and her  relentless care for me, though I don’t think I fully appreciated it at the time.  

Over the years, there have been a few variations of this nourishing soup. Old fashioned oats make a wonderful thickener for savory stews while adding vitamins and fiber.  Here is my favorite way to make it.  

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Sweet Potato & Oat Soup

1 Tbls olive oil or butter

1 onion, chopped

Lightly sate onion to soften

Add:

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 celery stalks, chopped

3 cups cubed sweet potato

6 cups chicken broth

¾ cup old fashioned oats

2 tsp salt

pepper

Simmer on low for 30 min or until vegies and oatmeal are cooked.

Add:

3 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed or shredded. (recipe here)

2 cups kale, chopped

Heat another 10 min, just until kale is wilted.

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This soup offers 24 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of fat, so it fits nicely into an E meal for Trim Healthy Mamas.  Serve it with bread or fruit to bring it up the the full 45 carbs or save room for an E dessert.

If you are tired of all these “soup” recipes, be patient!  Spring is coming and with it will be lots of fun new ideas but right now we are just trying to stay warm for the rest of this long Minnesota winter.

Lentil Kale Stew (E)

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Have I mentioned that I love Kale?  It was not always so…

DSC_0230My First introduction to this thick, green, leafy vegetable was during my first pregnancy.  A friend had given me a bunch of her old Fit Pregnancy magazines to look over.  I found it to be filled with ads trying to sell me what I supposedly needed for pregnancy and beyond.  My self esteem tanked as my pregnancy continued because I looked less and less like a pregnant super model as the days went on.

But hidden in those lifeless pages I found a gem.  A little recipe tucked away where only the determined would find it.  The title was “Pregnancy Stew” because it boasted to be high in fiber, calcium, protein, iron and folic acid.

I had never bought Kale before and had to ask the produce manager to point me in the right direction but I am so glad I made that extra effort.  This stew has been a winter staple in my house for years and even my husband, who I assure you has never been pregnant, loves to fill up on it’s hardy goodness… especially if I add meat!

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2 tsp olive oil

1 large onion – chopped

3 cloves of garlic – crushed or diced

3 to 4 large carrots – diced

4 stalks  celery – chopped

1.5 tsp salt

Dash of cayenne pepper

Sate above ingredients for 5 min or until softened.

Add:

2 cups lentils (brown or green)

6 to 8 cups of chicken broth

2 (15 ounce) cans diced or stewed tomatoes

Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 min or until lentils are soft.

Add: 6 cups (or one large bunch) of Kale leaves –shredded or chopped

Heat on low for another 10 to 15 min or until kale is wilted.

Add more salt and pepper to taste and garnish with a drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar.

Options:

~For faster cooking and softer lentils, soak them in water for 1 to 6 hours before cooking.

~If you like a thicker stew, 6 cups of chicken broth will keep it thicker… more will make more of a soup consistency. I love to serve the thicker version with a dollop of cottage cheese on top for extra protein and it really does taste good that way.  I make it thinner if I am going to add some leftover chicken, beef or sausage to it… my husband likes it that way.

~Don’t have chicken broth?  Use vegetable broth or try this homemade bouillon recipe.  from Sheri Graham.

~For Trim Healthy Mama’s, this is a delicious E meal.  You will just want to be sure that you only add lean meats or low fat cottage cheese to this recipe.DSC_0463

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (E)

DSC_0648Seven years ago we moved from our home in Hawaii to a small town in Minnesota… That is a story for another day and another post!  As we were getting to know our new home and the friendly people we met, I found an odd, reoccurring event taking place.  People kept giving me bags of Minnesota Wild Rice as a welcome gift.  It seemed a strange tradition to me but after receiving 4 or 5 bags of this deep brown, nutty looking grain I decided that I better go find some recipes.  Our favorite became a lovely, creamy soup with Chicken and Wild Rice.

I have recently modified our old standby recipe to fit into some of the things I have learned about managing health and weight but it is still as delicious as ever.  The original recipe called for butter and flour with half and half to make a thickener.  I have replaced that portion of the recipe with a fantastic little trick I learned from the fun and talented sisters over at Trim Healthy Mama.  In their book, they have a creamy soup recipe called the Loaded Fotato Soup (page294). With that as my inspiration, I created this creamy, chicken goodness and when adding the wild rice, It makes a perfect Energizing meal!DSC_0211

Here is what you need:

16 oz frozen or fresh cauliflower

6 cups Chicken broth

2 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese

1 tsp glucomannan powder (I use this one)

2 cups chopped carrots

2 cups chopped celery

1 onion, diced or sliced

½ cup Wild Rice

1 tsp thyme

2 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

2 to 3 cups cooked diced chicken breast.

Directions:

1.Simmer Cauliflower in Chicken broth for 10 min or so until tender.  Remove cauliflower with a slotted spoon or strainer and put it into a blender.  Set aside.

DSC_06442.Add carrots, celery, onion and wild rice to your pot along with salt, pepper and thyme and simmer in broth for 1 hour.  You want the veggies to be tender and the wild rice to begin breaking open.

3.  Take 2 cups of your chicken broth from the pot and add it to the blender with the cauliflower.  Add cream cheese and glucomannan  and blend for one minute or until smooth.  Add cauliflower mixture back into veggies and broth.  Pour in gently while stirring constantly.

4.  Add in cooked chicken breast and return to heat to gently warm for another 20 min or so.  The rice will continue to break open and soak up all the flavor and more of the liquid.  Just don’t boil is again at this point.

I like to serve this with some of Gwen’s Bread warm and soft out of the oven.  DSC_0633

 

DSC_0672This soup should make 6 generous servings and comes out to about 25 grams of carbohydrates per serving… a warm slice of bread should put you within a nice E meal limit.