Tag Archives: healthy

Chicken Tortilla Soup

10 Jul

A couple years ago, I had the best chicken tortilla soup ever at Iguana Cantina in Aruba. I’ve been trying to imitate that recipe ever since. I’ve tried many recipes, sampled other tortilla soups stateside, and nothing has ever come close. There have been soups that were too thin, too brothy, too tomatoey… but alas, I have finally got something as delicious as Iguana’s version!! Here’s a super healthy, thick, flavorful, chicken tortilla soup that’s gluten-free and made without cream! (Insert happy dance here).

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs), cut into large pieces
  • 7 cups chicken stock
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped  
  • 2 red or orange bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 30 oz cannelini beans (two 15 oz cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • Optional toppings: corn, avocado, sour cream, tortilla strips

Directions

  1. Sautée carrots, celery, bell peppers, onion, and garlic until fragrant and soft. Put into slow cooker.DSC05839
  2. Sautée chicken pieces until brown on all side, about 3-4 minutes. Add to slow cooker.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker (except those marked “Optional toppings”)
  4. Cook in the slow cooker 8 – 9 hours on LOW or 4 – 5 hours on HIGH.
  5. Remove chicken and place in a separate bowl. Shred the chicken.
  6. Puree the rest of the soup using an immersion blender, or in a blender.
  7. Return chicken to the soup. Add corn if desired.
  8. Ladle into bowls, and serve with diced avocado, sour cream, or tortilla strips if desired.DSC05842

Royal (Beet) Hummus

9 Aug

It’s picnic season! This pink hummus is a little detour from ordinary hummus. Its colour comes from red beets; the light beet flavour puts a nice twist on your typical, everyday hummus. You can make this hummus in just a few minutes using canned beets and garlic powder – makes for a fast and simple picnic treat. Or, turn this into a fancy appetizer component by roasting fresh beets and garlic.

Royal beet hummus

Royal beet hummus

 

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained; reserve some of the liquid
  • 1 can (15 oz.) sliced beets OR 1 lb fresh beets
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp liquid from garbanzo beans
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 ¼ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic powder OR 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • salt, pepper to taste

Directions

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  1. Fancy Method: Roast garlic and beets in oven. Then peel beets. 
    Easy Method:
    Open can of sliced beets and drain liquid. Find the garlic powder in your pantry.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
  3. Serve with bread, crackers, vegetable sticks, or as part of a salad….this list goes on!

Spiced Quinoa Pilaf made in a Rice Cooker

6 Jul

I love the pallow rice at The Helmand. At the same time, I’ve been on sort of a quinoa kick lately. I liked quinoa even before it became a trendy “superfood” – yes, it’s a complete protein (with all nine essential amino acids), full of fiber, rich in magnesium and manganese (an antioxidant), among other things. But it’s also deliciously crunchy, has a nice nutty flavour, and combines well with many different ingredients to make creative alternatives to rice dishes. I used some of the spices that The Helmand uses in its pallow rice – cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, to make this quinoa. I also added raisins that plump up when steamed  to add some sweetness to the pilaf (inspired by Moroccan couscous).

IMG_0581

I make quinoa in my rice cooker because it’s easy – no need to supervise or stir the quinoa as it cooks. My boyfriend teases me because I don’t know how to cook rice on a stovetop… and I guess I don’t know how to cook quinoa on a stovetop either. But I’m Asian. No Asian cooks rice on a stovetop – that’s why we invented rice cookers! It guarantees perfectly steamed food and no kitchen fires. If you don’t own a rice cooker, I suggest that you buy one. You can get a basic, 4-cup model for around $10. It’s great for making rice, steamed vegetables, and now, quinoa pilaf too.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ¼ tsp + 1 dash cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • 1 dash (⅛ tsp) ginger powder
  • 1 dash (⅛ tsp) nutmeg
  • ½ cup raisins

This recipe calls for 1 cup of raw quinoa. This is about the maximum amount of quinoa that you can cook comfortably in a 4-cup rice cooker.

Using a colander with a fine mesh, rinse the raw quinoa well under cold running water until the water runs clear and isn’t frothy. This carries away the saponin in the quinoa, to ensure that your quinoa won’t come out tasting bitter. Even if your box of quinoa claims that rinsing is not required, I would still do it anyway.

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon, pepper, cumin, ginger powder, and nutmeg.
  2. Put all ingredients except raisins in the rice cooker and stir.
  3. Start the rice cooker.
  4. When the quinoa has just finished cooking (about 25 minutes), add the raisins and toss together. Mix the pilaf well, as some of the spices may have settled to the bottom of the rice cooker.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

28 Jun

Bright Angel Lodge - black bean soup

During a visit to the Grand Canyon, I stopped by the Bright Angel Restaurant at the Bright Angel trailhead for a snack. I ordered their house made black bean soup – it came with sour cream swirled into an intricate flower pattern and it tasted so delicious.

At that moment, I decided that I would try making my own black bean soup when I got home. A search for black bean soup recipes turned up several, with comments that the soup tasted rather bland. That’s not going to happen with this recipe, guaranteed!

Just in time for summer, this black bean soup will help cool you down. My boyfriend tells me this is one of his favourite soups that I make (another favorite is my carrot ginger soup) but this one is incredibly nutritious – high in protein and fiber, and low fat.

Ingredients for black bean soupIngredients

  • 4 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin rounds
  • 2 celery ribs, finely diced
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ½ tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp chili flakes (or more, for spicier soup)
  • cilantro, for garnish

Of course, you could use one pound of dry black beans instead of canned beans, and soak them overnight. Don’t be ridiculous – you’d run the risk of having undercooked beans.

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients except lime juice and cilantro in slow cooker. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can cook this on a stovetop instead.IMG_0607
  2. In a slow cooker, cook on HIGH for 4 hours. Continue cooking on LOW until ready to serve. If you’re making this soup on a stovetop, simmer for about 50 minutes.
  3. Add lime juice.
  4. Puree ½ to ⅔ of the soup using an immersion blender (or regular blender) depending on how chunky or smooth you want the soup to be.
  5. Garnish with cilantro, sour cream, Greek yogurt, diced tomatoes, tortilla chips, or diced avocado.
  6. Makes 2 quarts (8 servings)

 

Monkey and black bean soupNutritional Info
(per 1 cup serving)

Calories: 257
Total Fat: 2 g
Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
Sodium: 57 mg
Sugars: 2 g
Protein: 17.5 g
Fiber: 15.2 g

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