Even though I love Mexican food, it can be hard to find healthy options when we go to a Mexican restaurant. I love munching on the heaping basket of salty, crunchy chips and homemade salsa. I love the melted, gooey queso that blankets a taco. I love a homemade sangria and I don't even get me started on fresh guacamole. Seriously - once I start eating guac, I can't stop. I love all of that but let's face it - it doesn't love me back.
My inner child wants me to order a cheesy, chicken wrapped burrito but the healthy me searches the menu for something healthier. My favorite Mexican restaurant actually offers more healthy options than most Mexican restaurants. They have salads with grilled shrimp, chicken and vegetables. They offer fish tacos and they make the most delicious chicken tortilla soup. Their simple tortilla soup is loaded with chicken and avocado and with a squeeze of fresh lime - it's soup perfection.
My chicken tortilla soup is quite a bit different than the clear, broth based soup that I enjoy at the restaurant but I decided to create a tortilla soup loaded with rich, earthy spices like cumin, coriander, chili powder, paprika and oregano. I tossed in a few vegetables, some black beans for added protein and a diced jalapeno for heat and voila - a perfect Chicken Tortilla Soup.
Top this beautiful bowl of deliciousness with whatever you like. Sliced jalapeno, sour cream, green onions, cheese, avocado, lime wedges, tortilla strips and cilantro are all good options. Serve toppings on the side so everyone can customize their own bowl and you will have a table full of happy soup eaters.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped white onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon chopped jalapeno
1/2 cup tomato paste
3/4 cup red bell pepper
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup black beans
14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
6 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4" strips
1 Tablespoon lime juice
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in lime juice. Spoon into bowls.
Serve with additional tortilla strips.
I am definitely in the soup groove lately. In the last two weeks, I've made roasted butternut squash soup, homemade ramen soup, chicken noodle soup and now chicken tortilla soup. A warm bowl of delicious this soup is so satisfying on a cool winter evening and I love warming up a bowl of hearty and nutritious soup for a quick and easy lunch.
It's January and like many of you - I'm trying to eat just a little healthier in 2019. In order to help me make better food choices, I started counting my macros. It's basically a way of counting the grams of fat, protein and carbohydrates that I consume in a day. It's a little more involved that just counting calories but I feel like it gives a more accurate picture of my daily nutrition.
Everyones macro needs are a little different and as far as I can tell, the calculations that are used to estimate macros, vary quite a bit as well. It took me a little time but I finally managed to calculate my macros and based on my dietary needs. I'm shooting for 18% fat, 37% protein and 45% carbohydrates in my diet.
I don't have aspirations of eating every single meal according to my macros but I do think it will be interesting to see where I'm falling short as a whole. Am I getting too many of my calories from carbohydrates like sugar or am I falling behind on my protein consumption?
As part of my healthier eating plan for 2019, I made a giant pot of homemade ramen soup. What could be easier than warming up a bowl of this delicious soup for lunch when I'm in a hurry? It's warm and hearty and super satisfying on cold January days.
One bowl of this delicious soup has 110 calories, 4 grams of fat, 18.8 grams of carbohydrates and 7.8 grams of protein. I used the recipe calculator on the My Fitness Pal app to calculate the exact nutritional components of my homemade ramen soup. This soup is made up of 13% fat, 27% protein and 60% carbohydrates. I've got to say, this soup is pretty darn close to my macro goals.
No man or woman in the world has the time to calculate the fat, protein and carbs for every single thing that goes into their mouth throughout the day. As much as I'd like the idea of being able to track all of my macros on a daily basis, let's face it - that's not going to happen. I rely on My Fitness Pal to help me estimate my calories and my macros and as long as I take the time to enter the food that I eat into the app, it does an excellent job of calculating my daily nutrition. I'm not sure what is more challenging - sticking to my macro plan or remembering to enter my food into the fitness app.
Serve with a half of a boiled egg.
I need to hear from my readers who are experienced macro counters. What are your tips for making it easier? Which apps do you use to help you keep track? I'm new to this whole macro counting world and I need all the help and support that I can get.
The only reason that I didn't add the kale to my ramen soup is that I didn't have any. (And I didn't want to make another trip to the store.) I do think that it would boost the nutritional content even more without adding additional calories so I am already looking forward to making another pot of ramen - WITH kale next time.
Throw on your favorite sweater, light the fire and grab a latte - it's Fall!!! Woohoo. Crisp leaves, chilly temperatures and salty pumpkin seeds - these are a few of my fav-or-ite things.
Spring is my favorite season but there are a lot of things that I love about Fall too. Trips to the north Georgia mountains to pick apples, long afternoon hikes through the woods, spending way too long choosing the perfect pumpkin from the patch, wandering aimlessly through a corn maze with my family, sitting around a campfire with good friends - I could go on and on.
I got my closet ready for Fall last week. Locating all of my sweaters, jeans and boots that I strategically stored throughout the house for the summer was not an easy task. Seriously, why in the world did I think that I stashing my sweaters under my sons bed was a good idea?
Now that I've rediscovered my Fall wardrobe, it's time to get my kitchen - Fall ready. I'm stocking up on crunchy apples, cans of pumpkin and loading my freezer with hearty Fall soups. It just doesn't seem like Fall until I've got a giant pot of creamy soup loaded with delicious vegetables and lean protein simmering on the stove. I have a designated pot that I use almost exclusively for soup and it is HUGE. We eat it for dinner and lunch for a few days until we tire of it and then I put the rest in small containers in the freezer. There's something strangely comforting about having soups in the freezer that are ready to heat and eat at a moments notice.
This Greek Chicken Soup is one of my new favorites. It is super creamy and delicious but it has no milk or cream. It gets that unique consistency from eggs! It may seem like an unusual way to thicken soup but it is really delicious and as an added bonus - it ups the protein content.
Greek Chicken Soup
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup cubed carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup whole wheat orzo pasta
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
3 cups baby spinach
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 Tablespoons chopped dill
Fill 6 bowls with soup and garnish with parsley.
I want to know what's on yourFall bucket list? Send me your favorite Fall activities or recipes that you like to make.
When Cooking Light magazine publishes a recipe for a vegetable skillet lasagna - I feel compelled to try it. I love lasagna - I'm obsessed with vegetables and EVERYONE loves dinners that you can make in a single pan. I made a few modifications to the original recipe but I definitely have to give a shout out to Cooking Light for the inspiration behind this amazing meal.
I'm not sure that I would give this meal "guilt free eating" status but I do love the 21 grams of protein in this lasagna. I also love the nutritional boost and from all the vegetables.
Just in case your curious ... this is the nutritional information on this recipe.
Calories 384 Fiber 7g
Fat 15g Sugars 5 g
Satfat 5g Added Sugars 0g
Unsatfat 9g Sodium 548 mg
Protein 21g Calcium 39% DV
Carbohydrate 44g Potassium 17% DV
Skillet Vegetable Lasagna
2 Tablespoons oil
1 zucchini, cut into 1/4" thick slices
1 1/2 cups onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
4 cups baby spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 1/2 no boil lasagna noodles
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
Cover and simmer 20 minutes.
Sprinkle mozzarella over lasagna and broil until lightly browned.
You probably noticed from the pictures that I didn't follow my own recipe exactly. I didn't have a can on crushed tomatoes on hand but I did have an opened jar of marinara that I had to use up soooo I decided to substitute. I poured the marinara over the zucchini and then I opened a can of diced tomatoes to pour over the noodles. I really should have drained my tomatoes though because it added a little too much liquid to my lasagna. I ended up simmering it - with the lid OFF - for an additional 15 minutes to get some of the liquid to evaporate.
I would say that this recipe was a success. Ben had 3 helpings!!! In the world of me - that is a big compliment. This one is definitely going to be on our short list of quick and easy dinners. I'll just have to keep a can of crushed tomatoes on hand!
I felt like I was channelling my mom last week when I made this Turkey Barley Soup recipe. My mom is the MASTER of using every ingredient to it's fullest. She doesn't waste ANYTHING in the kitchen. We actually tease her quite a bit about her extreme resourcefulness but the truth is - she can squeeze more meals out of one bag of groceries than anyone I know.
I think we would all be better off if we took a lesson from mom and reduced the amount of waste coming out of our kitchens. Since Thanksgiving is around the corner, consider making a batch of homemade turkey stock instead of just tossing that turkey carsass into the garbage after dinner. I know that it takes more time to make stock from scratch but it's easy to make, it tastes better and in my opinion - it's better for you than store bought turkey stock. Not to mention the fact that it's cheaper than buying it in the grocery store and it's reusing something that I would otherwise toss into the trash.
I love that this Turkey Barley Soup is truly homemade - none of the ingredients came from a box or a can. I used the leftover turkey and carcass from the Apple Cider Turkey that I made last week to make this yummy soup. I also love the barley but if you're not a fan - swap it out for noodles or rice.
carcass from 12-14 pound turkey
10 cups water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
pinch of red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups turkey stock
3/4 cup pearled barley
1 bay leaf
2 celery rib, cut into 1/4" pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cups shredded turkey
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper
To make turkey stock, place turkey carcass in dutch oven. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 4-5 hours. Pour stock through strainer to remove bones.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Inevitably, at some point this winter, we will all end up with a cold or a cough - or both - and this soup is going to be my go-to meal. I still believe that homemade turkey soup is the best medicine. My mom gave it to me when I was a kid and I still feed it to my family when they're feeling under the weather.
Thanks mom for sharing your love of cooking and for the endless bowls of homemade soup. Love you.
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