Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

Everytime I make soup, I make it different. Customize it to suit your tastes or what you have on hand. We have been gone for a week so I was able to make this with what I had on hand. If you keep good foods in your house, you will always be able to make something good! Watch this video for some of Drea’s Staples .

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 whole garlic bulb, minced (use less if you prefer)
  • 8 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with jalapeños
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can corn or frozen
  • 2 cups chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • I (14.5-ounce) can or box black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Juice of one lime (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Himilayan Pink Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (more for garnish)
  • Ezekial, Brown rice, or corn tortillas cut into strips
  • avocado for topping
  • chopped jalapeños for topping

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes,  and seasonings into the pot and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, lower heat to simmer and add your shredded chicken, beans and corn. Simmer 20 minutes or longer.  Add fresh squeezed lime juice and fresh cilantro to the pot. Taste and add more seasonings and lime juice if needed. Add a serving of tortillas strips into bowl (this is optional and is great without as well). Ladle soup over tortillas strips. The strips will absorb the broth.  Serve with fresh lime wedges, chopped jalapeños, diced avocado and more cilantro.

*If you eat dairy, top the tortillas with shredded cheese, then ladle your soup over that.

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If your family is like mine, some like beans and some do not, cook them on the side. Add on top of the tortilla strips.

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Garnish with chopped jalapeños, diced avocado, fresh cilantro, and a lime wedge

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Souper Squash Soup

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Souper Squash Soup

Ingredients
8 – 12 servings

1 large butternut squash
1 small sweet potato
1 small onion
½ head of cauliflower, chopped
8 cups of vegetable stock
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Sea salt – a pinch/ or to taste
Cinnamon – a pinch/ or to taste
Maple syrup – a “swirl” / or to taste

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2. Peel butternut squash and sweet potato. Cut into 2” slices. (Deseed squash)
3. Place in baking dish with olive oil, salt, and cinnamon.
4. Roast in oven for about 20-25 minutes, turn slices over and continue cooking for about 20 more minutes until soft. (Also a great dish as is)
OR EASY VERSION: Pierce whole sweet potato and butternut squash with fork, so the steam will escape, and bake about 45 minutes or until tender. Scoop out contents, deseed squash and set aside.
5. Sauté onions, cauliflower and sea salt in oil on medium heat until soft.
6. Add chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil.
7. Add cooked butternut squash and sweet potato.
8. Cook at medium heat for 10 minutes, lower heat and continue to simmer for 10 more minutes.
9. Puree soup with immersion (hand held stick) blender.
10. Add sea salt, and cinnamon to taste
11. Swirl maple syrup into puree
12. Mix again briefly with immersion blender or Vitamix
13. Serve and Enjoy!
14. For fancy serving, top with a swirl of maple syrup and sprinkle of cinnamon into each bowl

 

Hearty Chicken and White Bean Chili for a Crowd

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HEARTY CHICKEN AND WHITE BEAN CHILI

  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 64 ounces organic chicken broth (reduced sodium)
  • 1 jar salsa verde
  • 1 can (16 ounces), fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 can mild diced green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, off the bone, and shredded
  • 3 cans organic white beans, rinsed and drained (I like the simply balanced organic boxed ones from Target)
  • 1 bag organic frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Sea salt or Himilayan Pink Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • *optional (crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne, or hot sauce)

DIRECTIONS
Heat the oil in a large soup kettle. Sauté the onion and garlic until tender over medium heat.. Add the broth, salsa verde, tomatoes and juice, chiles, and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for at least 15 minutes. Add the shredded chicken, beans, and corn. Simmer for 15 minutes or longer. Season with salt, pepper and optional spices.

*This makes a really big batch so feel free to cut in half. I like to make extra to eat during the week and to have a few servings to freeze.

Top with toppings of your choice:

  • crushed tortillas
  • greek yogurt (squeeze lime and fresh cilantro in for a tasty greek yogurt topping)
  • shredded cheese
  • avocados
  • tomatoes
  • scallions
  • red onion
  • cilantro
  • olives
  • fresh lime wedges
  • jalapeños, seeded and chopped

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So filling, healthy, and DELISH!

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4 Tasty Watermelon Recipes

This Month’s Superfood: Watermelon!

Watermelon is one of my favorite summer fruits because it hydrates, packs some powerful nutrients AND detoxifies our bodies! What makes watermelon a Superfood?

• It’s rich in vitamins A and C

• Provides an excellent source of beta-carotene and lycopene. Lycopene is what gives watermelon its deep red coloring; but the nutrient is also well-known as a cancer-fighting agent. It helps keep cell membranes strong, which in turn helps keep toxins from entering cells.

• Safeguards our eyes/vision. Watermelon contains lutein and zeaxanthin, potent antioxidants that are found naturally in our eyes. Researchers believe that the combination of these two antioxidants protects against several types of ultraviolet rays and many age-related eye diseases, including cataracts.

• Protects against a variety of cancers, including breast, prostate, colon, and lung, among others.

• Reduces inflammation and water retention; is a natural anti-depressant; boosts the immune system, and aids in weight loss.

• But wait, there’s more! You can even use the rind and the black seeds in your juicing! The rind is an excellent source of chlorophyll and the seeds are known to help relax the body, lower blood pressure and provide immune-boosting zinc and iron! (Make sure you rinse the rind very well before using.) This is truly a holistic, healing fruit!

That’s just about everything you ever wanted to know about watermelons … except: how do you determine from the outside how to pick out a watermelon that’s sweet and ripe on the inside? It’s easy if you know what to look for!

• First, choose a watermelon that feels heavy for its size. The water content of the melon increases as it ripens, and water adds weight.

• Next, examine the rind carefully, both top and bottom. The rind should be smooth and the top should be sort of dull compared to the rest of the rind. The bottom, which is where the watermelon rested on the ground as it was growing, should be a creamy yellow. If it is white or green, it’s probably not ripe yet.

• You can thump the watermelon if you like, but not everyone agrees that this helps determine ripeness. Those who do thump say to listen for a deep, hollow, bass sound rather than a shallow, higher sound.

Watermelon & Feta Salad with Serrano Chile Vinaigrette

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From Athens, Georgia chef, Hugh Acheson

Serves 6

Ingredients
½ to 1 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 small shallot, minced
1 Serrano chili pepper, stemmed and sliced or chopped
Salt to taste
1 small seedless watermelon
1/3 lb block of feta cheese, sliced into 1/8″ slices (about 12 slices) *optional
1 bunch arugula, washed and drained

Directions
In a jar or salad bottle with a tight-fitting lid, combine olive oil, lime juice, champagne vinegar, thyme, shallot, and Serrano pepper. Shake well. Season dressing with salt to taste; chill in refrigerator. Meanwhile, slice watermelon into 3″ squares, about ¼-inch thick. On small salad plates, begin to assemble each serving of the salad. To assemble, place one slice of watermelon on the plate; next, layer one slice of feta on top of the first watermelon slice. Repeat, layering another watermelon slice and then one more feta slice. End with a final watermelon slice on top. Place about one handful of arugula on the plate, encircling the stacked watermelon/feta. Drizzle the stack and the arugula with the vinaigrette and garnish with a few slices of Serrano pepper. Chill for 15 minutes or serve immediately.

*For those of you who don’t eat dairy, the salad is also delicious without the feta.

Watermelon Gazpacho
From Eating Well Magazine Serves 6

watermelon_gazpacho

Ingredients

8 cups finely diced seedless watermelon, (about 6 pounds)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 Tbsp minced shallot
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp sea salt or to taste

Directions
Mix watermelon, cucumber, bell pepper, basil, parsley, vinegar, shallot, oil and salt in a large bowl. Puree 3 cups of the mixture in a blender or food processor to the desired smoothness; transfer to another large bowl. Puree another 3 cups and add to the bowl. Stir in the remaining diced mixture. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Watermelon-Kiwi Popsicles
From Island Jane Magazine andNourishingMeals.com
Try these healthy popsicles and feel like a kid again!

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Ingredients

3 cups watermelon puree (about 1/4 to 1/2 a watermelon)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 peach or nectarine, diced small
1 handful of fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

Directions
Cut the watermelon into chunks and then puree it in a blender until smooth. Set aside. Set out a dozen popsicle molds and make sure they are sturdy (you may need additional or fewer molds, depending on their size). Fill each mold with the chopped fresh fruit. Add a slice of kiwi and a few blueberries to each mold. Then pour in the watermelon puree until each mold is full to the top. Place a popsicle stick into each filled mold. Place the molds in your freezer (again ensuring that they are sturdy) and freeze for 6 to 8 hours. To release popsicle, run the mold under warm water for a few seconds and pull each one out.

Watermelon Refresher

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Ingredients

1 cup watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 peeled and sliced cucumber
5 mint leaves
½ cup ice

Directions
Mix all ingredients in a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix ). Blend on low 30 seconds, then on high until smooth, about 30 seconds more. Pour into individual glasses and garnish each glass with a mint leaf. Serve cold.

 

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Creamy Broccoli and Gouda Cheese Soup

I just went to my local farmers market, Alexandria’s Farmers Market, this weekend and scored some delicious treasures. I bought this beautiful broccoli and this aged raw gouda cheese from grass fed cows from a local farm Fruitful Seasons Dairy . Check them out, you will not be disappointed. I typically eat dairy free but if I choose dairy (because my body gets angry at me when I eat it),  I like raw and aged cheese that comes from grass fed cows so this is perfect, plus it is local!!!!  Raw milk cheese is a complete food, containing proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, cholesterol, and probiotics. It  contains all of the 8 essential amino acids (the building blocks for protein and we need to get this from our diet). When traditional dairy is heated, some of these benefits are destroyed. This soup is gluten free and can be made dairy free by leaving the gouda out and was done in about 30 minutes.

The Broccoli (I used two of these)

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The star of the show, the Cheese!

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The seasonings

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Mashed sweet potatoes add nutrients and creaminess without the added cream, flour, and butter.

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This soup tastes delicious dairy and cheese free too so If you are dairy free, just leave the gouda out.

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But if you want to add a creamy amazing goodness to it, add it in! You will not be disappointed.

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Broccoli and Gouda Cheese Soup

2 cups of fresh broccoli, chopped into tiny florets (set 1/3 aside to steam for topping)
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup of raw milk aged gouda cheese made from grass fed cows, freshly grated, rind removed (extra for garnish)
1 cup of shredded or finely chopped carrots
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup precooked and mashed sweet potato
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Himalayan pink salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring the onion, carrots, 2/3 of the broccoli, bay leaf and the garlic to a simmer with the stock. Simmer for 15 minutes or so.  Remove the bay leaf and add in the mashed sweet potato. Blend a little with immersion blender or add half into your Vitamix and blend to desired texture. I like to leave a little texture in my soup. Add in your seasonings. If you want it dairy free, stop here , top with a serving of remaining steamed broccoli and crushed red pepper flakes, and enjoy. If you want the creamy smokey goodness of the gouda, add in the cheese. Melt over low heat until blended.  Top with more grated cheese. steamed florets, and crushed red pepper flakes.

My belly is really happy!

I cannot wait until the next Farmers Market! If you have a local farmers market or access to a CSA share, check them out. It is a great way to try new things.

MUCH LOVE,

Drea 

 

“Souper” Warm and “souper” easy Soups

It has been below zero for the past 3 days in Minnesota with no warm up in sight.  Instead of making the usual smoothies and juices in my new Vitamix, I decided to try some easy comforting soups.  When I watched the Vita-mix infomercial, I had a hard time believing you could create a hot home made soup in a blender in five minutes.  I had to try it to believe it and boy was I amazed with the results.  The first soup I tried was Chicken Black Bean Soup and the second was a Cream of asparagus (minus the cream). Both soups are adaptations of versions of recipes that come with the Vita-mix but I changed them quite a bit. Both “souper” healthy and full of nutrients. Remember that recipes are just the technique and you can personalize them to what ingredients you have on hand or with what you like.  They also both are gluten free and dairy free and could be made vegetarian.

Chicken and Black Bean Soup

1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 roma tomato, halved

1 medium carrot, halved

1 stalk celery, halved

1 thin slice onion

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 thin slice yellow squash

1 thin slice red bell pepper

1 tin slice cabbage or handful of chopped

1 white mushroom

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp taco seasoning (I prefer Trader Joes but any will do)

dash cumin

 

Add all ingredients in a high speed blender and make sure to secure the lid (I use the Vitamix blender for this).  Starting on level one and slowly increase to level 10.  Blend at level ten for five minutes until it is hot and steamy.

Reduce back down to level one and add in optional ingredients through lid plug and blend for additional 10 seconds.

Optional ingredients

1/2 cup cooked chicken breast, chunked

1/4 cup rinsed black beans

1/4 cup corn

1/4 cup black olives

1/4 cup corn

fresh cilantro

jalapeno to desired heat

 

Enjoy!

 

I thought this soup was so good so I brought my sister Anje a sample and she really enjoyed it too.  It is hard to believe it is this easy to make and this quick.  If you aren’t gluten free or dairy free, you can top it with tortilla chips, sour cream, and shredded cheese.

Cream of Asparagus Soup (Dairy Free)


Base

1 1/2 pounds of asparagus spears steamed or cooked until tender (I use Trader Joes frozen grilled spears for this) Save 1/2 cup of the tips for garnishing the soup

1 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth

1/8 tsp pepper

1/8 tsp salt

1 garlic clove

1 stalk of celery, cut

1 slice onion

Add ins

1 cup cooked lobster or crab, thawed ( I used Trader Joe’s Langostino Tails)

1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (if you eat dairy, you can add cream instead)

1/2 cup reserved asparagus tips

Mix soup base in the Vitamix starting with level 1 and slowly increasing to level 10. Blend on 10 for 5 minutes.  Turn down to level and add in the almond milk though the lid plug.  Put 1/2 cup of lobster and 1/4 cup asparagus tips in 2 bowls.  Top with hot soup.  If you eat dairy, top with fresh parmesan cheese.  I used shredded almond cheese for mine.  It is a healthy alternative to cheese.

 


The Trader Joe’s Langostino Tails (70 calories, 16 grams protein,  and 0.5 grams of fat) and Asparagus

 

The Almond Cheese (only 50 calories per ounce, 7 gram protein, and 1 gram of fat)

 

I warmed myself up with these soups but now I need the MN weather to warm up also.  I can only take these temps for so long.

Tuscan Lentil Soup

We are in the middle of a snow storm in Minnesota so I thought it would be great day to make soup.  Since it is a blizzard out there and they have taken the plows off the road, I had to create a soup with what I had on hand.  The final result was so tasty!  I will make this again for sure.  As with most recipes, use what you have on like, it doesn’t have to be exact.

Tuscan Lentil Soup


2 1/2 cups of steamed lentils  (you can make your own or I used ready to eat Trader Joes Steamed lentils)

1 TBSP olive oil (I used a tuscan olive oil)

1/2 red pepper, chopped

1/2 to 1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup to 1 cup celery

1/2 cup  to one cup carrots

6 cups chicken stock or broth

1 14.5 oz can of organic diced tomatoes

1/4 cup spaghetti sauce

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp garlic pepper ( I used Tastefully Simple)

red pepper flakes to taste (I used a few sprinkles)

2 garlic cloves chopped

2 gluten free chicken sausages cooked and chopped (leave out if you want it vegetarian)

fresh shaved parmesan to top

fresh basil or parsley to garnish

 

Saute the celery, red bell pepper, carrots, and onions until tender in olive oil.

Add the lentils, broth, chicken sausage, tomatoes, sauce, seasonings, and garlic cloves.  Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer for 30 minutes.  I think the longer soup sits, the better it tastes. Top with parmesan and fresh basil or parsley and serve.

 

 

So tasty!

I was so so excited to find this great time saver at Trader Joes.  Steamed Lentils that are ready to eat.  They are in the produce section at the store and contain just lentils and seasonings.  So easy and a great source of Fiber, protein, and iron.

Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup

Before I left on my trip, I was so excited to find this almond cashew cream at The Grain Bin in Alexandria.  I didn’t get a chance to use it before I left so I wanted to try it today. I didn’t make it to the store yet, so I had to create something with what we had.  Using store bought broth, canned tomatoes, and the vegetables I had left in the crisper, I created this easy creamy soup.  I made the soup dairy free and gluten free but you can always use real cream in place of the almond and cashew cream if you want dairy in it and top it with parmesan.

Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup


2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 organic carrot, chopped

1 organic celery stalk, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

28 ounces of diced or crushed tomatoes (I used one fire roasted and one plain)

4 cups good quality vegetable broth

Pink Himalayan Salt

Black Pepper

3/4 cup to 1 cup almond-cashew cream (I used 3/4 cup but if you want it creamier, add more)

1/4 cup basil, torn

 

Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a soup pot.  Once the oil is hot, add onions, carrots, and celery and season with the Himalayan pink salt.  Cook the veggies, stirring occasionally, until soft and onions turn golden, about 15 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook about another minute more.

Add the broth and tomatoes.  Season with pink salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower to a simmer for another 15 minutes.

Reserve one cup of the soup if you want some texture (I did) and add the rest to your Vitamix,  high speed blender, or use immersion blender to puree the mixture.  Return the soup to the pot and add the almond cashew cream and basil and simmer it another 15 minutes or so.  Simmer longer for thicker consistency.

 

 

Top it with more basil and Italian Seasoning Grinder. If you consume dairy, top it with fresh parmesan.

 

Serve hot and enjoy!

If you want to kick it up a notch, serve it over turkey meatballs.  They were a great addition but are not gluten free.  If you are like the guys in my house and love bread, make a nice crusty bread or grilled cheese to dunk in it.  I loved it plain.

 

The vitamix makes soup nice and creamy even before adding the cream.  If you are interested in a vitamix, visit http://www.vitamix.com and enter my affiliate code 06-008336 to get free shipping ($25 value).  Let me know if you have questions.  If you use this code, your name will also go into a drawing for a gift basket of some of my favorite things that I will be drawing for May 1st. You have to be sure to enter the code to get in the drawing.

– See more at: http://archive.leanbydrea.com/blog/2013/03/dairy-free-and-gluten-free-creamy-tomato-basil-soup#sthash.gpECRpkj.dpuf

Chicken Cilantro Soup

I have made versions of this soup for years. When I have time, I make my own stock and roast my own chicken to make it.  If you don’t have time for that you can use store bought broth or stock and a rotisserie chicken.  It fits with most diet plans because it is dairy free, gluten free and grain free, low in fat and low in calories.  Am I missing anything?

If you don’t have time to do the celery, onions, and carrots skip it.  I add these to every soup I make for flavor.  If you would like you can add black beans, corn, or pasta if you want it heartier.  We like it just the way it is.  If your diet allows for it, top it with freshly grated parmesan and serve with hot crusty whole grain bread.

Chicken Cilantro Soup
Ingredients
1/2 cup each; diced onion, carrots, and celery
2 clove garlic, minced
4 cups cooked chicken, chopped
8 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade or organic, low sodium)
1 can (14 ounces) Italian diced tomatoes, with juice
2 teaspoons dried italian seasonings or any combo of what you like.  I sometimes use Tastefully Simple garlic Garlic too.
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Pink salt and pepper to taste
Saute carrots, onions, and celery until tender.  About 5 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and cook for about a minute while stirring.  Add the remaining ingredients except the cilantro. Simmer for 20 or more minutes. Add cilantro and simmer for another 10.
Eat and enjoy!

So good as leftovers the next day too.  Cook once, eat twice!

If you can have dairy, top with fresh parmesan. Serve with a crust whole grain bread if you have grains in your diet. It is great just on it’s own.