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

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.

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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 Low-Fat Rustic Tomato Basil Soup

Hello readers! I’ve been slacking I know, but that’s kind of good in my mind because it means I have been really busy!

This week is a soup week. The chilly AZ mornings and nights called for something a little warm and special. For all my northern readers….. I’m sorry for complaining about 60 degrees.

Wherever you’re located, soup is always a staple in my book. Soup can be extremely versatile, light, or extremely filling. Not to mention, soup is a number 1 comfort food in my book.

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Tomato soup is one of my favorites. The problem with most store-bought or restaurant-style tomato soups is they are extremely salty and often time cream-based, which obviously packs a little too many calories into my tiny bow of soup. My Rustic Tomato Basil Soup is hearty, warm, but won’t bust the button on your jeans! Topped with homemade garlic parmesan croutons  coated in olive oil and thyme, this delicious soup is easy, with very few ingredients, and can be made in small or large quantities. I hope you enjoy my Rustic Tomato Basil Soup!

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Ingredients: (makes 3-4 servings)

  • 6 medium-large regular tomatoes (not beefsteak; a little lager than plum)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 8 oz no sodium added chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp dried basil (or 4-5 large fresh basil leaves)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 medium red onion
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Croutons:

  • 1-2 cups cubed bakery bread of your choice (1 used basic sourdough)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • grated parmesan cheese (use however much you prefer)

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Toss your cubes of bread in olive oil, seasonings, and herbs and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Be careful not to burn!

Slice all your tomatoes in half. In a large pot, add the chicken stock, tomatoes, 1 tbsp basil, the garlic cloves, and black pepper and bring to a boil. Once to a boil, lower to a simmer and allow tomatoes to cook for 35-40 minutes you may leave the lid partially on but make sure some steam can be released so chicken stock can reduce.

In a small skillet, slice you onions into think strips and saute on med-low until soft and caramelized. Set aside.

Once your tomatoes have cooked down, put all contents of the pot into a blender and pulse until the mixture has turned semi-smooth, but still slightly chunky (if you’d like a smoother soup, go ahead and blend until you achieve the smoothness you’d like). Pour contents back into the same pot, add almond milk, additional tbsp of basil, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt. Let simmer for an addition 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sautéed onions to tomato mixture and finish out cooking for an additional 5-10 minutes. Serve hot and top with croutons and a little sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Enjoy!