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

soup 1

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.

soup 2soup 3

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!


Lean Turkey Bean Chili

Sometimes even a summertime rainy day calls for something a little warm and a little comforting. My Lean Turkey Bean Chili did just the trick last night! Filled with protein, but still light and lean, this is the perfect comforting dish to cozy up with on the couch during summertime thunderstorms. I hope you try it out!

 Turkey Bean ChiliTurkey Bean Chili

Lean Turkey Bean Chili

Ingredients: Serves 5-6

  • 32oz (4 cups) fat free, low sodium free range chicken broth
  • 8oz (1cup) warm water
  • 2 cans no added salt crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 can red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1lb lean (I used 99% lean) ground turkey
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp tabasco sauce

Total cooking time: 1hr 10min

In a large pot, add all of your liquids (chicken broth, water, crushed tomatoes), pinto beans, and kidney beans. Season with 2 Tbsp cumin, 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp black pepper, 1 Tbsp paprika, 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for 1/2 hour. In the mean time, brown your ground turkey in a skillet over medium heat. Season with remaining 1/2 Tbsp cumin, 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1/2 Tbsp black pepper, 1/2 Tbsp paprika, and 1/2 Tbsp chili powder. I browned my turkey in a little olive oil spray to prevent sticking. once your meat is fully cooked, drain any excess fat and add to your chili base along with 1 cup of frozen sweet corn. Place a lid partially onto your pot and let simmer for another 20 minutes on medium. Remove the lid completely after 20 minutes, add 1 tsp of tabasco, and allow another final 20 minutes of cooking. Reduce your heat to low, or turn off completely if serving the entire bowl, and serve with toppings of your choice such as tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, diced avocado, or a fresh baguette!

250-320 calories/serving


Taunting Tummy Grumbles

Ever feel like you’re constantly hungry? Do you eat a big lunch, feel full, but then an hour later find yourself craving a snack or hear a little grumble sneak out? This use to be a huge problem of mine for quite sometime, and even through my years of school and preparation for becoming a dietitian I was always concerned that I was doing something wrong (or just had an overly active appetite). Of course, eventually, I figured it out. I was not getting nearly enough protein during times when I really needed it, such as at breakfast or lunch. It is one thing to incorporate a piece of chicken or half a cup of black beans into your dinner, but for me, making sure I had an adequate protein source early in the day just never really registered. Noon would hit, I would eat my salad, piece of fruit, and maybe a few crackers, but sure enough about an hour later the grumbles would surface.

If you find yourself having a similar problem, take a look at what you are typically eating at lunch or for breakfast each day. We are all creatures of habit, so typically we fall into the same patterns of eating the same meal each day at the same time (ex. salad every day for lunch, oatmeal each morning for breakfast). This is ok! You may just need to make some additions or do some tweaking to stop the tummy grumbling and feel truly satisfied throughout the day.

Take a look at your daily eating habits and see where improvements can be made. Remember foods that are considered adequate sources of protein are those such as meat, beans, some dairy such as milk or yogurt, eggs, and nuts or nut butters. If you don’t feel like doing some extra planning, a simple low-calorie, low-sugar version of a protein shake or a protein bar are also good options. Here are some simple ways to add protein in throughout the day, without  completely changing your meal habits:

  1. Add a small spoonful of nut butter to your morning oatmeal or sprinkle a few extra nuts on top such as almonds, walnuts, or cashews.
  2. Add a spoonful of Greek yogurt to your morning oatmeal.
  3. Instead of crackers, pretzels, or chips at lunch, pack a small single serving of Greek yogurt with a few fun toppings such as dried fruit, granola, or nuts (this is also great for those of you with a sweet tooth at lunch!).
  4. Put a few slices of lean deli turkey on top of your salad at lunch.
  5. Add 1/4 cup beans to a wrap. Easy Mexican inspired wrap: Whole-wheat tortilla, 1/4 cup black beans, 1 small Roma tomato, a little romaine lettuce, 1 tbsp. of your favorite salsa, and a sprinkle of low-fat cheddar cheese. Greek wrap: Whole-wheat or spinach tortilla, 1 tbsp. hummus, 1/4 cup chickpeas or white beans, handful of spinach, 4 cucumber slices, sprinkle of reduced-fat feta cheese. Italian-style wrap: Whole-wheat tortilla, 1 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, a few basil leaves, a few spinach leaves, 2 slices of tomato, 1/4 cup cannellini beans, 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar.
  6. Add 1/4 cup black beans or chickpeas to your lunch salad.
  7. Make your breakfast smoothie with 1/2 Greek yogurt, 1/2 low-fat milk for double the protein!
  8. Use a hard-boiled egg has a salad topper. Slice or crumble it on top!

However you choose to add in that extra protein, do what works for you and what is easy. As I have said in the past, carbs + protein equal the greatest and longest satisfaction.


Simple Soups

Sorry I don’t have a picture for this one, but I promise it is very tastey! When I am having a busy week, I love to pull out the crockpot. Sometimes, the last thing we want to do is think of and cook a full dinner at the end of a busy day. There are so many things you can do in a crockpot, the possibilities are endless! I made this crockpot Spinach Cannellini Bean Soup a few weeks ago and meant to post it but got wrapped up on the couch with a big bowl of warm soup and it slipped my mind 🙂 It is so simple, flavorful, and comforting. I really hope you try it out!

Crockpot Spinach Cannellini Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 container vegetable broth (I believe it is a total of 4 cups)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots (I used large carrots, peeled, and cut them)
  • 1/2 bag frozen chopped spinach (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • dried thyme, basil, black pepper, and garlic powder (season to your liking, just remember dried herbs are much more potent then fresh!)
  • 1 cup whole-wheat rotini

Add all ingredients (except the pasta) to your crockpot and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours. During the last 1/2 hour, keep your crockpot on low and add in your pasta. Serve after your pasta is tender, and make sure to turn your crockpot off or the pasta will eventually overcook and become soggy! I finished off my bowl of soup with a sprinkle of low-fat mozzarella cheese. This recipe makes a total of about 4-5 servings. I froze half of mine to use at a later date! Enjoy 🙂


Squash & Lentil Vegetarian Chili

Cold, wintery days are typically the perfect time for chili! When your mood is sour, your toes are chilled, and the weather is gloomy and dull, the perfect treatment for my diagnosed “winter blues” is making something warm, comforting, and yummy! Here is my recipe for my squash and lentil vegetarian chili (non-vegetarians, you won’t even miss the meat!)

What you will need:

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 cups diced squash
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes, diced (keep all the liquid!)
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed (removes excess salt!)
  • 1 can of pinto beans, rinsed
  • dried oregano, dried basil, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn

Directions:

  1. Add 4 cups of vegetable broth to a large pot. Bring to a boil.
  2. Rinse off your lentils and dice your squash, skin can be left on! Add the rinsed lentils and squash to the boiling vegetable broth.
  3. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the 2 cups of water, and all of your spices. I don’t give measurements for the spices, because I just add what sounds good to me. You can be generous with the basil and paprika. Dried oregano is very flavorful and potent, so be careful how much you add of this unless you REALLY like the flavor of oregano. Same goes with the garlic powder.
  4. After about 20 minutes, add the diced tomato, juices and all.
  5.  Add the remainder of your ingredients, the beans and corn. Turn down your heat to low or medium-low (it should not have an intense bubble), put a lid on and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. Taste your chili to see if it needs any further herbs or spices. If not, turn off the heat and make yourself a bowl! Enjoy!

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