The Easiest Roasted Chickpea Veggie Soup

Ok everyone, get ready for the most delicious, easy, and hearty soup of your new year! Luckily, most of you should still have a few cool months left to stay in soup mode and give this one a try. I’m not taking full credit for this soup; I do use a little help from a boxed soup base, but who cares! When it comes to meal prepping for my lunches, I think simple, healthy, and delicious. Adding a few special touches to a store bought soup base is a great way to take a long cooking process and shorten it up significantly while still packing a lot of flavor.

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For this soup, I use Pacific Organic Red Pepper and Tomato as my base. I always buy the low sodium version so I can control the saltiness of my soup (I’m not big into salty) and add lots and lots of other herbs and spices. This soup takes about an hour from start to finish, and that includes time to cool and portion out! I hope you give this delicious dish a try and enjoy the rest of this beautiful winter!!

—- For those of you who don’t live in Arizona, this is our most beautiful time of the year! We love for winter with cool crisp nights and blue sky afternoons with chill in the air! For those of you digging through biles of snow and negative temperatures, at least this soup will help you warm up!

Roasted Chickpea Veggie Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas – no salt added – rinsed
  • about 3-4 cups of raw green kale – chopped
  • 1/3 yellow onion
  • 2 large carrots – peeled and diced
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • seasonings: black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, basil, salt, onion powder
  • feta cheese (for garnish)
  • 1 box low sodium roasted red pepper and tomato soup (about 4c)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. On a greased baking sheet, spread out your chikpeas and spray with a little olive or canola oil spray. Be sure to rinse and dry your chickpeas first! Top with a little sprinkling of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are a light golden brown.

In a large pot, saute onion and diced carrot in a 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-low to medium heat. If your onions start to brown or cook too quickly, add a little water to the bottle of your pot (just a splash, remember oil and water won’t mix well and can splatter, so be careful!). Once your onions have become slightly translucent, roughly chop your kale and add it to the oil and onions. I typically remove the stems of kale, as they can be tough and chewy. Add a little splash of water to your pot with a little garlic powder, pinch of salt, and pinch of pepper. Cook until kale has become slightly soft (doesn’t need to be cooked all the way).

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After about 7-10 minutes of cooking your veggies, add your boxed soup base to the pot and reduce the heat to a light simmer. Add about 1/4 tsp black pepper and a 1 tsp of dried basil (can sub dried thyme for a more savory flavor). Let your soup simmer for 20-30 minutes before adding your cooled, roasted chickpeas. Allow your soup to simmer for an addition 20-30 minutes to allow all flavors to mesh together. When finished, serve with a sprinkle of feta cheese. Can remain good in sealed containers in the refrigerator for 5-6 days. Enjoy and happy new year!

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Black Bean Chicken Soup w/ Cilantro

I know, I literally haven’t posted in FOREVER. I’m so sorry! Here are my excuses:

  1. The holidays.
  2. WEDDINGS!
  3. I started grad school.

That is pretty much it. All of my spare times seems to revolve around exercise and/or studying now a days, BUT this recipe needs to be shared! This has been my savior the past couple of weekends because it is so easy, so delicious, and very filling. It is packed with protein, so one bowl and I am typically set for the evening. Add a side of veggies and you have a well balanced meal for lunch or for dinner (I have some packed today for lunch at work!).

I am a big black bean person (as you all know!). I really find them to be a necessary staple in my diet. They are easy, versatile, filling, and so yummy! My husband absolutely loves this recipe, so for the past 3 weeks it has been my Sunday “sit on the stove while I study” meal. It also lasts me a few days so I am able to use it for lunches or leftover dinner the next day or 2!


I will say, don’t skip the cilantro. It adds a fresh element to this soup and really brightens something that can be very heavy. It is perfect to feed a small crowed and really utilizes a lot off foods that we typically have in our pantry or refrigerator. I hope you try this delicious, yummy Black Bean Chicken Soup!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper
  • 1, 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, no added-salt or low-sodium
  • 2, 15 oz cans of black beans, rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1-1 1/2 lbs chicken breast (about 2 large breasts should work)
  • Fresh cilantro to taste (about 2 Tbsp for the actual soup, and some left over for garnish)
  • Canola or olive oil spray
  • Seasonings: cumin (~1-1 1/2 Tbsp), chili powder (~1 Tbsp), black pepper (~1/2 Tbsp), garlic powder (~1/2 Tbsp), paprika (~1 Tbsp), sea salt (~1/2 tsp)
  • Other optional garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado

Black Bean Chicken Soup: serves 4-6

In a large soup pot, saute your onions and red pepper in a little cooking spray until your onions start to become translucent (about 5-8 minutes). Season with a pinch of your seasonings (black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika) just to start the seasoning process.

Add your rinsed black beans, chicken stock and diced tomatoes with your remaining seasonings (I don’t really measure, I more season to taste. Estimations of measurements found in ingredients!). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer for at least 1 hour uncovered. At your 1 hour mark, if liquid has reduced significantly, you may add a lid and turn to low for another half hour to an hour. Once your soup has cooked and reduced down by at least 1/3, turn off the heat and let cool.

In the mean time, cook your chicken breasts in the oven for 30 minutes. If using extra thick breasts, put heat on 375 degrees. If the breasts are a little thinner or you are using multiple tenderloins instead, your heat can be on 350 degrees. Season breasts with a little black pepper and a pinch of sea salt. Once cooked, let sit until fully cooled before shredding (you can even do this the day before to speed up your process!).

Once your soup has cooled, put about 2/3 into a blender or food processor. Blend the soup until it is fairly smooth with a few little chunks. Add your blended mixture back into the pot with the remaining soup and bring back to a simmer. Add in your shredded chicken into the pot and allow it to simmer for ~20-30 minutes. Finish your soup with a little cilantro mixed in at the very end.

Serve with whatever garnishes you may desire and a little extra fresh cilantro! Enjoy!



Another Sunday, another chili recipe!

You know I love my chili! Nothing sounds better to me then a big bowl of chili once football season rolls around and Arizona evenings start to catch a little chill. The crockpot becomes my best friend once the fall weather starts to trickle in and helps my meal planning and preparation get a bit easier!  This chili is easy, filling, and packed with protein. Pour yourself a bowl and top with some of your favorite chili toppings (my favorites are sharp cheddar cheese, avocado, or a dollop of Greek yogurt!). Make for a tailgate or just to feed your families hungry mouths during a relaxing weekend. For a little extra spice, add a squirt of tabasco or a pinch of red pepper. Enjoy!

Football Sunday Crockpot Lentil Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans Hunts no salt added petite diced tomatoes (15oz cans)
  • 1 can dark kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 medium sweet yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup sweet corn
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup lentils
  • 1lb 93% lean ground turkey (extra seasonings for turkey)

In a crockpot, add all ingredients except the ground turkey and lentils. Let your chili cook on high for about 2-3 hours; then add in your lentils. Allow your chili to continue cooking for about an hour or so.


 In a large skillet, brown your turkey using the same seasonings (garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, chili powder) using a little cooking spray and some water. Add your cooked turkey to the rest of your chili. Reduce your heat to low and allow your chili to simmer for at least another hour (it can go longer) to allow the flavors of the turkey and base to mix and mesh. Keep the lid on unless you feel it is a bit too watery, then you can prop it to the side to allow some steam to exit.

Serve your chili warm with various toppings of your choice. Save any extras in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or in the freezer for 2-3 weeks. Happy football watching! 


Summertime Soups: White Bean & Kale

Who says soups are just for winter? Current temperatures where I live have been averaging between 100-110 degrees every day, yet some how I’m still craving a little bowl of warm, comforting goodness. To satisfy my craving, I made a fairly light soup last night that I could portion out and bring for lunch a few days this week. Even though it wasn’t necessarily a heavy, thick meaty soup, it still gave me that warm, comforting feeling I was looking for. With plenty of fresh Kale and a slightly spicy bite from the nutmeg, my White Bean & Kale soup turned out to be the perfect light, summery soup.

The good thing about most soups is you usually have a lot of room for error. Throw a bunch of ingredients into a pot with a flavorful base and at least 80% of the time it will come out pretty tasty! I like to prepare soups when I’m trying to get  rid of a few things or have a bunch of veggies that are close to going bad. Make your soups in bulk, portion them out, and freeze them for quick lunches or dinners at a later time!

I hope you enjoy this soup, and please feel free to add or delete ingredients and make it your own! Let me know how it goes!

White Bean & Kale Summer Soup: 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 3-4 cups raw kale ( I left mind as fairly large leaves, but feel free to chop or tear as small as you’d like! )
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 can northern white beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Handful of grated parm cheese

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In a large bowl, bring to a simmer the vegetable broth, water, and carrots. Once the broth is simmering, add your chopped kale, garlic powder, black pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. I typically don’t measure my spices or herbs when cooking, I just do what I like and tastes best to me. My only precaution would be with the nutmeg. Nutmeg has a very distinct flavor and can be quite spicy and earthy if you add to much, so when I say a pinch, I mean a pinch!!

Let your broth and veggies simmer with the lid off for about 30 minutes. After 30-40 minutes or about 1/4 of your liquid has evaporated. Add your rinsed bean, quinoa, and place your lid halfway on so that a little steam is still able to escape. Allow quinoa to cook for about 20-25 minutes.

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After your quinoa is fairly cooked through, add any additional spices or seasonings if desired and finish off with a small handful of grated parmesan cheese. Stir in your cheese and turn your broth down to low. Allow your soup to simmer for another 15 minutes to a half hour. The longer it cooks, the thicker the soup will become and the less liquid will remain in the pot. If you want your soup a littler thicker, allow it to simmer for the full extra 30 minutes. I  f you don’t mind it more brothy, turn off whenever you please. Top will a little extra sprinkle of cheese, a piece of chunky bread, a few croutons and enjoy!


Easy Peasy Crockpot Chicken Stew

Oh my goodness it feels like ages since I have written anything. I wish I had a more exciting excuse, but nothing has really changed! Just let time slip away from me I guess!

I figured I would leave a simple, easy recipe that can be made with common household ingredients for todays post. This 1 pot meal is perfectly simple, yet delicious and flavorful. Throw all the ingredients into a crockpot and let simmer on low for 7-8 hours. Don’t forget a little cooking spray on the bottom of the pot to assure your meal end up in your belly and not stuck in the crockpot! Enjoy this Easy Peasy Crockpot Chicken Stew and also… happy Mother’s Day to any fabulous mom’s reading!

Ingredients: (feeds 3-4)

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 2 purple carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 medium sized white onion, chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, coarsely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • paprika
  • garlic powder
  • black pepper
  • chili powder
  • topping of your choice

Cook time: ~7-8hrs

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Lightly spray your crockpot with a little olive oil spray before adding chicken, carrot, sweet potato, beans, onion, garlic, and seasonings. Add 1 cup of water and seal with lid. Allow ingredients to simmer for ~6 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally.

At the 6 1/2 hour mark, add 1/2 cup quinoa and allow to simmer with the lid on for another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add remaining 1/2 cup water and more seasoning if desired. Allow to cook for another 15-30 minutes or until quinoa is fully cooked. Top with various toppings of your choice such as salsa, avocado, cheddar cheese, cilantro, etc. Enjoy!