Friday, February 3, 2017

Healthy Friday

Melt Winter's Chill with a Bowl of Soup 
101 Soup Cooking Tips:
information from BHG Soups and Stews 2016
Flavor Boosters
  • Sauce Aromatics-Cooking chopped aromatics such as celery, onions, carrots and garlic in hot oil for about 10 minutes for a deep well-rounded flavor. 
  • Add Dried Herbs-Crush dried herbs between your fingers before adding them to the soup help release more of their flavor. 
  • Reduction-When simmering soup, leave the lid off so natural process of evaporation occurs. This will reduce the final amount of liquid, so you can adjust by adding more broth before reducing. It's an easy way to concentrate flavors.
  • Add Fresh Herbs-They are more delicate than dried herbs. Stir them into soup or sprinkle on top just before serving. 
Thickeners (you might have overlooked besides traditional thickeners flour and potatoes) 
  • White Beans-When pureed nutritious beans (use blender or food processor) add thickness while enriching soups with protein and fiber. Try in robust soups such as minestrone or barley vegetable.  
  • Cauliflower-It is a mild flavor like potatoes but fewer calories. Simmer cauliflower florets covered in water or chicken broth until tender. Drain and cool slightly. Puree in blender or food processor. Stir in simmering soups. 
  • Partial Puree-This method of thickening uses an immersion blender though a blender can work too. Blend the soup in short bursts to puree a portion of the ingredients and then add back to soup in the pot.
  • Silken Tofu-It is protein rich way to add creamy thickness. Buzz silken tofu in blender or food processor until smooth. Try it in single vegetable cream soups such as tomato or broccoli.  
Slow Cooker Italian Wild Rice Soup
Cook's Notes: Recipe adapted from BHG Soups and Stews 2016

  • 1 lb. ground pork, chicken or turkey sausage (casings removed) 
  • 4 cups water
  • 2- 14.5 oz. can lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1- 14.5 oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained
  • 1-6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup each carrots, celery, green beans cut into 2 inch pieces  
  • 1 TB. Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • dash crushed dried red pepper
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 small package fresh spinach, chopped, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
  • In a large skillet cook meat over medium heat until no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break up meat as it cooks; drain off fat.
  • In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker combine cooked meat, water, broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, carrots, celery, green beans,uncooked wild rice, garlic, Italian seasoning, paprika, fennel seeds, black pepper, salt, sugar and crushed red pepper.
  • Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6-7 hours or on high-heat setting for 4-5 hours until veggies are al dente and rice is cooked. Stir spinach into soup last 10 minutes of cooking time and serve topped with cheese.
Calories, fat, sodium levels vary between brands. Pork sausage has between 290-455 calories and 23-38 grams of fat per link. Turkey and chicken sausage have 140-160 calories and 7-10 grams of fat for the same amount. That’s hundreds of calories and fat grams dodged per link. You can avoid loads of sodium too  and you don’t lose in the taste department either. Chicken and turkey sausages are brimming with flavor thanks to herbs, spices and other ingredients added. 
RAK Idea: For those living in wintry places-shovel or snow blow a neighbor's driveway and sidewalk. For those in warmer climates bring neighbors' trash cans on recycling/garbage days  to the curb and back up to the house.  

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