October 26, 2014

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

There's no way to avoid it, as it gets colder outside, people begin getting sick. And when people get sick, you need some good chicken noodle soup. Well this isn't your ordinary chicken noodle soup. The noodles have been swapped out for orzo, which is basically just pasta shaped like a large grain of rice. This soup is full of veggies and hearty chicken, and is finished off with a refreshing squeeze of lemon that makes this the perfect soup for any time! Its quick, easy, and you'll definitely be making it again and again. 

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast $5.11
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion $1.11
  • 4 Large Carrots $0.71
  • 4 Stalks Celery $0.74
  • 6 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth $1.93
  • 3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Orzo $0.51
  • 1 1/2 Cups Peas $0.64
  • 1 Lemon $0.99
  • 1 tsp Thyme $0.12

Serving Size: 2 Cups
Total Servings: 7
Price Per Serving: $1.69
Nutrition (per serving):
      Calories: 222
      Carbs: 3 g
      Fat: 10 g
      Protein: 18 g

Start off by chopping up your celery, carrots, and onion into small pieces, if you need help with this, refer to my Turkey Chili recipe. 

Next, take your chicken breasts and cut it up into 1 inch cubes. This doesn't have to be exact or anything, its just an approximate size. Then heat a large pot over medium high heat and add in your chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4-5 minutes until chicken is almost cooked though. It will finish cooking later when we add it back to the soup. Once done, set aside.

Next, put your carrots, onion, and celery in the pot and cook over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes until they begin to soften. Then add in the thyme and cook for an additional minute. To take the thyme leaves off of the stem, just run your fingers from the front of the stem to the back, and they should come right off.

Then, add in the chicken stock and 1 cup of water, then bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the chicken and orzo. Cook for about 7 minutes then add in the peas and cook for another 5 minutes.

 Finally squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon and you're done!

Happy Cooking!

October 22, 2014

Spaghetti Squash and Red Pepper Sauce

It's time for Spaghetti Squash!! Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite vegetables, and its the perfect noodle replacement for this red pepper tomato sauce. This dish is so hearty, you wont even realize its completely meat free. I could probably live happily eating this for lunch every day. Its easy, cheap, and good for you too! 

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 Spaghetti Squash $3.76
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers $1.34
  • 1 Small Yellow Onion $1.06
  • 2 Cloves Garlic $0.08
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes $0.10 (optional)
  • 1 15oz Can Diced Tomatoes $0.69
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil $1.00
  • 1/4 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt $0.38

Serving Size: 1/5 Spaghetti Squash and 1/2 cup sauce
Total Servings: 5
Price Per Serving: $1.67
Nutrition (per serving):
      Calories: 96
      Carbs: 20 g
      Fat: 1 g
      Protein: 4 g

 First make the sauce. Preheat your oven to 500. Spray a baking sheet with non stick cooking spray and place your peppers on it. roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes turning 2 or 3 times during the roasting.

The skins should char and turn black. When you take them out of the oven, cover with foil and let sit for 20 minutes or until they are cool enough to handle. Then remove the charred peel from the outside and cut the peppers in half, then remove the stems and seeds. You should get something that looks like the middle picture below. Chop the peppers into small pieces.

While the peppers are roasting go ahead and chop your onion, basil, and garlic.

Heat a pan over medium high heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes until they have softened. Then add in the tomatoes, peppers, basil, and red pepper flakes. 

Cook for about 10 minutes until everything has stewed together. Then transfer the mixture to a blender and add in the greek yogurt. Pulse the mixture a few times until the sauce is smooth, then set is aside.

To cook the spaghetti squash, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take your spaghetti squash and cut off the top stem. then slice in half lengthwise. 

Scoops out the seeds using a spoon. Then place face down on a baking sheet and add about a cup of water to keep the squash from burning.

Bake for 40 minutes until tender, then let cool for another 20 minutes. When the squash is warm enough to handle, take a fork and begin to scrape down the sides. the squash should break up into pieces that look like spaghetti. Scrape out all of the squash and set it aside. I probably shouldn't have used a yellow bowl..

Divide the spaghetti squash into 5 servings, then top with about a half a cup of sauce. Top with some more fresh basil and enjoy! 

Happy Cooking!

Tilapia Tacos

Tilapia tacos are one of my favorite things to make. They're super simple, don't take much time, and its easy to thaw a frozen tilapia fillet overnight to be ready for lunch the next day! They're really light because they're not covered in cheese and sour cream like most tacos, but they're still incredibly delicious! 

Here's what you'll need:
  • 8 Tilapia Fillets $7.99
  • 2 Tomatoes $0.45
  • 8 Radishes $0.40
  • 2 Limes $0.50
  • 1/2 Red Onion $0.56
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro $0.25
  • 8 Low Carb Tortillas $3.29
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin $0.60

Serving Size: 1 Taco
Total Servings: 8
Price Per Serving: $1.75
Nutrition (per serving):
      Calories: 200
      Carbs: 18 g
      Fat: 3 g
      Protein: 25 g

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and place your tilapia in the dish. Then sprinkle the cumin on top. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the fish is fully cooked. 

I'm only making one taco, but feel free to make all of them at once, you're just going to have more food than I do in my pictures. 

While your fish is cooking, cut up your vegetables. Slice the ends off of the radishes and then cut into thin rounds. Then dice your red onion and tomato. Cut your limes in half and roughly chop your cilantro. Easy! 

 Once your fish is done cooking, let it cool for 5 minutes, then cut it in half and place inside your tortilla. Top with radish, tomato, red onion, and cilantro. Then squeeze some lime juice over the top.

Happy Cooking!

October 12, 2014

Lighter Zuppa Toscana

If you've never tried Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana, you really should, its fantastic. Spicy sausage, hearty potatoes, and kale all in a wonderfully creamy broth. Its definitely my favorite soup. You have to be careful though, its easy to gulp down 3 or 4 bowls, but with all the bacon, potatoes, and cream, your waistline might not be so happy later. So here's my guilt-free version! I cut out the bacon, substituted nonfat milk for the cream, and swapped half of the potatoes for cauliflower.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 4 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Stock $1.49
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion $1.49
  • 1 1/2 Cups Nonfat Milk $0.48
  • 3 Cups Kale $0.99
  • 1 1/2 Cups Cauliflower $1.74
  • 1 Medium Russet Potato $0.94
  • 1 Package Jennie-o Italian Turkey Sausages $5.00

Serving Size: ~2 Cups
Total Servings: 6
Price Per Serving: $1.99
Nutrition (per serving):
      Calories: 225
      Carbs: 17 g
      Fat: 9 g
      Protein: 20 g

If you bought italian sausage that comes in links like I did, then the first thing you need to do is remove the casing. Don't worry, this is really easy. All you need to do it squeeze in the center and then slide your fingers to one side so the meat comes out, then repeat for the other side.

Do this for all of your sausage, and you should be left with something like this. 

Heat your pot over medium high heat and then add in your sausage. As the sausage cooks, break it up into bite sized pieces using a fork or spoon. 

While the sausage is cooking, go ahead and dice up your onion. If you need help with this, refer to my Turkey Chili recipe.

Once your sausage is done cooking (no more pink) go ahead and drain out most of the grease from the pot. Leave about a tablespoon in the bottom of the pot. Set aside the sausage and move the pot back on the heat, then add in the onions. Continue cooking the onions until they have softened, about 10 minutes. 

While the onions are cooking, go ahead and cut up your potatoes and cauliflower. Feel free to peel the potatoes if you want, either way, make sure you give them a good wash. 

To cut up your cauliflower, turn it upside down and remover all of the big green leaf things.

Now you can see the cauliflower stems. With you knife, cut through the stem and then pull of the cauliflower. Do this until you have enough for 1 1/2 cups (about half of a medium cauliflower) and cut the florets into bit sized pieces. 

Once the onions are done cooking, add in the potatoes, cauliflower, and chicken stock. Bring this to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes and cauliflower have softened. 

While the potatoes and cauliflower are cooking, go ahead and cut up your kale. To cut kale, lay it on its side with the stem facing out, then run your knife down the back to remove the stem. From there, just chop the leaves up into bite sized pieces. You could also just tear the leaves off of the stems with your hands if you want. 

 Once the potatoes and cauliflower are cooked, add the sausage back in along with the kale and milk. Then let simmer for about 10 more minutes. and you're done!

Happy Cooking!