Category Archives: work

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos + Homemade Taco Seasoning

Good morning! 😀

I hadn’t planned to blog this morning, but I couldn’t sleep in any. I was going to try sleeping in until…get this…6:30am! I know, what an exciting life I lead. Yesterday’s commutes were much better than expected and I was in the car just under 3 hours all day. That sounds insane, but considering the mileage and the snow, that’s not bad at all!! When I expect the worst, I end up early…go figure 😉

Last night was another successful class. We talked about carbohydrates and the dangers of low-carb diets. I think I have them all convinced that carbs are good…especially the ones that contain fiber and are healthiest! 😀 I feel like they are so engaged and interested in the topics we talk about, it really makes for a fun, engaging class. I hope they feel the same way, ha!

So yes, I couldn’t sleep in but maybe that’s because I was so anxious to share a new crock pot recipe with you all! As I had planned, the old crock has been getting some use and the results have been scrumptious! Not always pretty, but healthy and good! 😉 Oh, and time-efficient, too!!

[source]

Homemade Taco Seasoning from Sweet Life Kitchen as seen on Bean Town Baker

3 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried onion flakes
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp black pepper

Directions:

Mix it all together! The mix can be stored in an airtight container for up to a year! 2 1/2 tablespoons = 1 store-bought packet.

 

Crockpot Chicken Tacos from Sweet Life Kitchen as seen on Bean Town Baker

2 1/2 Tbsp taco seasoning mix (recipe above) or 1 packet of store-bought
15 oz low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes and liquid
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 5 ounces each)
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce + 2 Tbsp adobo sauce
Your favorite taco fixins (lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, etc.)*

Directions:

In a large bowl or measuring cup pour the chicken broth in, and use a fork to whisk in the taco seasoning mixture.

Spray the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Open the diced tomato can and pour all contents over the bottom of the slow cooker. Lay the chicken breasts on top of the tomatoes and pour the broth, seasoning, and adobo peppers and sauce over that. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-10 hours. The chicken should fork apart easily in the crock pot. Serve. Yield: 5 servings (4-ounces each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 146 calories; 2.8 g. fat; 65 mg. sodium; 460 mg. sodium; 5.8 g. carbohydrate; 1.6 g. fiber; 24.2 g. protein

Result: Ohhh my goodness! These were OUT of this world! Personally, I think the chipotle peppers in the adobo sauce are what made this taco meat so flavorful, but I’m probably a little biased since I made that addition to the original recipe. There is plenty of liquid to let this cook as long as you need to without drying out, and the meat just flakes apart with the touch of a fork. Reheats beautifully, too! *Nutrition information is for the meat only – tortilla and taco fixin’s are not accounted for. Enjoy!

Question: Hard shell or soft shell tacos?

I always do soft corn shells…so much flavor and healthier, too!

I’m off to work and then leaving for Chicago! My 15-hour work day yesterday more than makes up for a 3-day relaxing weekend with my family!! 😀 Cannot wait!! I also can’t wait to get in a good workout…my last workout was shoveling on Tuesday. My parent’s gym will be seeing plenty of me!

“See” you in the Windy City!

29 Comments

Filed under carb-controlled, carbohydrates, crock pot, dinner, exercise, guilt-free, healthy cooking, low-carb, protein, recipe, teaching, travel, work

Creamy Parmesan Spinach Dip

Happy Wednesday!

It’s snowing just about everywhere in the US it seems! When I walked out of work yesterday (in ballet flats!) a good 4″ of snow had fallen. Needless to say, the 20 steps to my car lead to near frost bite. Brrrrr!!! But despite this weather, the show must go on. I have lab rounds at a clinic that’s 50 miles north of home and then I will double back to go teach tonight. It’s probably fair to say I’ll be commuting most of the day. Fabulous.

Though, sitting in the car sounds okay right about now. I decided to shovel for my workout last night. I went out with intentions of just just do the sidewalks, but that only took about 10 minutes. So I decided to shovel the DRIVEWAY! Yep, you read that correctly. And the best part: we have a brand new snow blower! I’m walking like a hunch-back today, and sore is the understatement of the century, but it was a KILLER workout! I wonder what the neighbors are saying… 😉

On to a lightened up classic! This recipe contains light mayonnaise, which I must admit, I love. I know a lot of people don’t like mayonnaise, but I love the stuff (Hellmann’s mayonnaise, please! And no Miracle Whip! Ew!). It’s not like I use it often, but I love it in recipes where it belongs: chicken salad, tuna salad, dips, etc. I recall several years ago brainstorming summer job options with my sister-in-law — one of her requirements for a job was that it didn’t involve mayonnaise!! We had a good laugh over that one. I have a terrible memory, but I’ll never forget it! 😉

Creamy Parmesan Spinach Dip from Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess liquid squeezed out
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp light mayonnaise
1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup scallion, chopped
fresh pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Can be made one day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Yield: 2 cups (8 servings, 1/4 cup each).

Nutrition Information (per 1/4 cup): 84 calories; 6.1 g. fat; 16 mg. cholesterol; 172 mg. sodium; 2.4 g. carbohydrate; 0.3 g. fiber; 4.4 g. protein

Result: DELICIOUS! I ate this cold with crackers and veggies, Mr. P heated it up and ate it on chips. It is versatile and scrumptious! It’s perfect to take in lunches to doll-up raw veggies, or as an appetizer at a dinner party. And the portion size is generous for the nutrition stats! Enjoy! 😀

Off for a crazy day! Why do I have a feeling dinner is going to be a Larabar and clementines? Going prepared!

Question: Is it snowing where you are? Do you like mayonnaise?

Drive safe! Stay warm!


20 Comments

Filed under condiments, fruits and vegetables, Gina's WW Recipes, hors d'oeuvres, low-carb, physical activity, recipe, reduced-calorie, teaching, travel, Uncategorized, vegetarian, work

treat yourself…to breakfast! + new year’s resolution results

Registered Dietitians and moms most certainly agree on one thing: breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

Lately, I’ve been climbing into my car in the morning, with half of my belongings in tow, and I am realizing something very important…I have been forgetting breakfast. Whether it be eating breakfast at home in the morning, or grabbing something on the go, breakfast has simply vanished from my routine. (And because I am notoriously running late, I don’t go back inside to grab something and rough it through the morning hours.)

As a breakfast lover and someone who wakes up with a grumbling tummy, I had to ponder how and why this was happening. Day after day after day. My co-workers and patients appreciate my soul-searching, too. Hungry me = mean me!

I came to the conclusion that my breakfast options were boring and so breakfast no longer interested me. I took a few moments to peruse my plethora of “to try” recipes and found this one. Glad I did!

Pancake Truffles slightly adapted from Healthy Tipping Point

1/2 cup raw oatmeal
1/3 cup whole wheat pancake mix (I used an omega-3 mix)
1 egg white
1/4 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup almond milk (I used skim)
4 1/2 inches of banana (cut into three 1.5 inch pieces)
1/4 cup whole pecans, crushed
3 Tbsp sugar-free maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or tin foil. Place crushed pecans in a small bowl.

Combine first five ingredients in small bowl. Separate mix into three piles. Take one segment of banana and coat in the pancake mix. Form ball around the banana segment, and then roll in the crushed pecans. Place on the cookie sheet. Repeat with other banana segments. Bake for 15 minutes. Drizzle with maple syrup and sever immediately. Serves 1.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 599 calories; 24 g. fat; 1 mg. cholesterol; 492 mg. sodium; 86 g. carbohydrate; 15 g. fiber; 17 g. sugar; 19 g. protein

Result: These were excellent! And they sound more difficult than they are — I was able to whip these together in 5-6 minutes after a morning workout and I baked them while I showered. I gobbled them down while my hair dried and it was perfect! You could also make these the evening before or even whip up a few batches for the busy work week and simply store them in the fridge until ready to bake. They are higher in carbohydrate than I usually go for, especially for the morning, but following a workout, I think they are perfectly appropriate. The high fiber (15 grams!) content also makes the glycemic load less on the body, which is all the better. If you want to reduce the calories some, reduce the amount of pecans as they account for nearly 1/3rd of the calories. While I think they add a lot of taste, texture, and nutrition to the truffles, you could get by with less. Enjoy!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

And in honor of it being the last day of 2010 (crazy!), I should take a moment to review how my 2010 resolutions turned out.

2010 New Year’s Resolution Results

  • fit in exercise AT LEAST 4 days a week, every week — Almost a check. There were TWO weeks in 2010 I only worked out 3 days. So close! I still consider this a great accomplishment and I want to continue to work towards this always and forever! I really do love exercise and for that I am VERY grateful!
  • continue trying new, healthy recipes (one recipe a week!) — Check, check, check!
  • run a half marathon — Barely, but check. I finished. It wasn’t pretty, but it got done. Very humbling.
  • obtain a weight that I feel energized at — Errr no. I am the exact same weight as the start of 2010. I guess that’s not a BAD thing, but this is my focus in 2011.
  • continue blogging about nutrition — Hi! I’m here! Check!
  • earn 500 hours towards the CDE credential — Check. This is no longer surging ahead at the speed I was going in my last job, but I am still completing diabetic education and I still love it just as much as I did in 2009! 😀

    In 2011 my new year’s resolution is simply to obtain a weight I feel energized at. I would love to lose my “PCOS weight” and get back down to my “happy weight”. Here goes nothing! 😉

    Question: What’s been your favorite breakfast lately? Is it heaviest in carbohydrate, protein, or fat? And, what are YOUR new year’s resolutions?

    Happy 2011 to all of my lovely readers! Thank you for your loyal readership, it means so much to me! It’s hard to believe I started this blog in June of 2009!!! Time flies when you’re having fun! Keep your eyes peeled for a giveaway coming up here shortly!! 😉

    Have a safe and WONDERFUL New Year’s celebration!! I hope I am the only one stuck at work today! 😦

    21 Comments

    Filed under blog, breakfast, carbohydrates, diabetes, dietitians, exercise, fiber, fish oil/omega-3's, holiday, PCOS, physical activity, recipe, reduced-calorie, vegetarian, weight loss, work

    Sweet Potato Rice Pudding

    It’s not like I didn’t already know that 15 hour work days were no fun, but I can confirm that after yesterday. I had orientation for adjunct faculty last night and *yawn*. Necessary, but *yawn*. Just one of those things.

    Last night, Mr. P helped me throw dinner in the crock pot for tonight. Crock pot meals that can be made at 10pm for the following day are my kind of meals…assuming it’s good. TBD. More on that tomorrow 🙂

    When I went to take my shower last night, I was faced with another hairy decision: wash my hair and don’t working in the morning, or don’t wash my hair and force myself to workout in the morning. I went with the later, so this post will be brief. When time is hard to come by, and stress levels rise, I figure THAT is the perfect time to MAKE time for a workout. So I have 45 minutes on the elliptical planned for…now! Wee!

    But quickly, a recipe. I made this Sweet Potato Rice Pudding before Christmas and froze individual portions. It defrosted really well and it was the perfect “chill out” treat before bed last night. YUM!

    Sweet Potato Rice Pudding seen at The Novice Chef, adapted from Healthy Food for Living

    1 cup water
    1/2 cup brown rice
    pinch of salt
    2 cups 2% milk
    1 Tbsp honey
    1 Tbsp maple syrup
    1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
    1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
    a pinch of nutmeg
    a pinch of ginger
    a pinch of garam masala
    1/2 1/4 cup golden raisins
    1 cup sweet potato puree (or mashed sweet potatoes)

    Directions:

    Combine water, rice, and salt in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, stir once, and cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. The rice will be slightly undercooked, but will continue to cook in the next step. Remove rice from pot and place in a bowl, set aside.

    Combine milk, honey, maple syrup, vanilla bean paste, and spices to the same pot. Bring to a very low boil over medium heat, whisking often so the milk doesn’t scorch. Lower heat to medium-low.

    Whisk in the cooked rice, sweet potato puree, and raisins. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Simmer and occasionally stir until milk cooks down and the rice is creamy, about 20 minutes. DO NOT over-cook.

    Transfer rice pudding to a large bowl and allow to cool, pudding will thicken during this step. To speed up the process you can refrigerate utnil well-chilled.

    Serve warm or cold, with an extra dollop of sweet potato puree and a dusting of cinnamon if desired. Serves 6.

    Nutrition Information (per serving): 172 calories; 2.3 g. fat; 7 mg. cholesterol; 96 mg. sodium; 29 g. carbohydrate; 15.8 g. sugar; 2.5 g. fiber; 4.3 g. protein

    Result: Very good! This isn’t an overly sweet dessert, and the portion is plentiful. I love that it’s low in fat and sodium, with a moderate amount of carbohydrate, along with some fiber. It can be prepared ahead of time, which is great for entertaining. Mr. P refused to even try this dessert, so I ended up freezing a good portion of it for later dates, and it defrosted perfectly! Mmmm!

    Question: Have you ever cooked with homemade vanilla beans?

    …delicious!

    Off to run and then to work! Illinois plays in both basketball (Big 10 season starts!) AND the Texas Bowl tonight!

    Go Illini!!!


    13 Comments

    Filed under crock pot, dessert, exercise, fiber, fruits and vegetables, guilt-free, recipe, sodium, Uncategorized, vegetarian, work

    Back at’em

    Whew! Christmas Drive-By 2010 (Columbus to Chicago to Champaign and back in 3 1/2 days) has come to a close, and I start back to work as of this morning. At least I can say that my brief time away was well-spent with family and friends, and decompressing from the stress that was last week. I am feeling energized and ready to take on a crazy, but fulfilling schedule. I have even toyed around with the idea of moving my workouts to the morning as to allow a bit more flexibility in the evening, and to keep up with regular workouts while teaching 2 nights a week…we will see. The added bonus to morning workouts is my hair and its stubborn cow’s lick do appreciate  a morning wash and blow-dry, but that hasn’t motivated my morning sweat sessions as of yet. 😉 Stay tuned.

    So after getting nailed by a state trooper going 73 mph in a 55, my trip picked up from there. Santa, family, and friends were all too generous. Guess I’ve been on my best behavior in 2010. I’d say so 🙂

    Mr. P and I pulled in the drive-way right around 6:30pm last night. We unloaded and extremely packed car (packed in like sardines, I tell you!) and a very tired Lily Monster. I started on dinner right away — I needed balance, green, and something relatively quick.

    I loved the lunch I had at Northstar Cafe with Gina. I’ve been wanting it ever since! It was called the Buddah Bowl and was described like so:

    Pan seared organic tofu or chicken, long-grain organic brown rice with peanut sauce and bright veggies.

    Yum, right? I went with the tofu and it was fabulous.

    However, I am a tofu novice. I know that I love a slightly crunchy tofu with a soft center, and I’ve been told “sauteing” in oil is the best/only way to get that texture. Wrong! Baking worked beautifully in this dish that I re-created at home.

    Tofu Buddah Bowl Re-Make inspired by Northstar Cafe and Eats Well with Others (sauce)

    1 cup brown rice, dry
    1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
    6 cups broccoli florets
    2 cups carrots, peeled, and sliced into thin, 4″ long pieces
    1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut, etc.)
    1″ piece ginger, peeled and diced
    6 cloves garlic, chopped
    3 Tbsp cup low-sodium soy sauce
    2 Tbsp sugar
    1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
    2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
    3 Tbsp water

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 475° F.

    Cook 1 cup of brown rice according to directions.

    Meanwhile, cube tofu. Spray a ceramic or glass 9×13 dish with non-stick spray. Arrange tofu in a single layer in the dish. Spray tofu with non-stick spray. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

    Bake tofu for 30 minutes, stirring and rotating tofu every 10 minutes.

    In a food processor, mix together nut butter, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, oil, vinegar, and water. Set aside.

    With 5 minutes left to cook on the rice and tofu, steam vegetables in a steamer bag, or place into a large dish and cover. Microwave for 4-4 1/2 minutes or until cooked al dente.

    When rice is cooked, stir in half of the nut sauce. Plate rice and top with tofu and veggies. Drizzle with an additional 1-2 tablespoons of nut sauce. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

    Nutrition Information (per serving): 565 calories; 25 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 642 mg. sodium; 52.5 g. carbohydrate; 10 g. fiber; 16 g. sugar; 24.8 g. protein

    Result: This was VERY close to the Northstar Cafe version – delicious! Mr. P really liked it, too. The portion is generous and very high in fiber with a great balance between carbohydrate, protein, and fat. As much as I love baked tofu, this dish would be just as good with shrimp, chicken, pork, or beef…it’s very versatile. You can add more veggies to bulk it up, too! Enjoy!

    I am working today and tonight have orientation for new adjunct instructors until nearly my bedtime!! It’s going to be a long one, but the week looks up from here! 😀

    Question: What are your NYE plans?

    Be well,

    18 Comments

    Filed under dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, recipe, restaurant, stress, travel, vegan, vegetarian, work

    Digging deep for the jolly

    It seems like the closer we get to Christmas the less jolly I feel. Quite frankly, I am beat. I haven’t been sleeping well with the anxiety I’m feeling towards my new teaching job. Obviously I am well-versed in nutrition, but I have never lectured 5 hours a week…while balancing a nearly full-time job and a growing private practice. I feel like my to-do list leaves me feeling like nothing ever gets accomplished and there’s always so much on my plate yet to get done. Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited about my new teaching gig…I just hope I do well and give my students the best dose of nutrition ever!

    My schedule come January is going to be…insane. I work 34 hours a week in dialysis, teach 5 hours + prep and grading, spend time in private practice and meetings with my partners as much as possible, and love to spend time cooking, exercising, playing ice-hockey, and blogging. I feel like there’s about 8 million balls in the air and I’m trying to keep them all from colliding or crashing to the ground. I thrive in busy environments, but this impending schedule is simply stressing me out.

    In order to keep blogging a hobby that brings me enjoyment, I will have to see what my schedule allows as far as posting. While I hope to continue blogging most every day, that may no longer be realistic. As much as that saddens me, I hope you understand…a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do!

    Today I am working a short day before picking up Lily at doggy daycare and we make the trip together to Chicago. Mr. Prevention is off on a “Poker Run” today in Illinois with his high school friends. Imagine 30-year-old men in 80’s workout clothes, running around the University of Illinois campus collecting poker cards from various bars for drinking certain beers, shots, and cocktails. As imature as this sounds, it’s a blast….and I will be stuck working. Bitter much? You betcha! The excessive alcohol doesn’t interest me, but not being able to witness this event this year is a shame! But really, I just miss having an actual “Christmas Vacation”…or any substantial amount of time off for the holidays. Oh well. I am very thankful for being employed, there is no doubt.

    On a completely unrelated note, several of you have asked me about the new PointsPlus plan from Weight Watchers. As familiar as I am with Weight Watchers, I am not familiar with the new plan. I did, however, find out that my company reimburses 100% for Weight Watchers and so I have plans to attend a meeting very soon to get the skinny (pun intended). With my company, however, you sign-up for either a 13 or 18-week package and are then reimbursed if you attend all the meetings (you can miss up to 3). Several coworkers are taking the plunge to join and I figured it would be a great opportunity to learn about the new program (and give my honest feeback to you all, of course!) and to possibly take off some weight that I have commonly referred to as my “PCOS weight”. Being the go-getter that I am, in addition to feeling as heavy as a boulder with all the Christmas eats, I went all out for the 18-weeks of Weight Watchers. Sure, it will be a challenge to take that time out for meetings, but it is a part of my “me” time that I require for sanity.

    It will certainly be interesting, as a dietitian, to sit in on a Weight Watchers meeting. It’s been a long time since I attended Weight Watchers AND lead Weight Watchers meetings. I have heard bits and pieces of the new program — good and bad…from media and members alike. The information regarding PointsPlus found online is very vague and I hope to bring you all information on the new program from my perspective.

    Well, that’s a wrap for the most whiny and random post…ever (?) on Prevention RD. I will be glad to pull into Chicago this evening and spend some time with the family, and hopefully a good night’s rest!

    I’ll leave you with a recipe for some tasty Pumpkin French Toast with Light Pumpkin Butter, inspired by our hosts in Albuquerque. Their pumpkin french toast was delicious!!


    Pumpkin French Toast with Light Pumpkin Butter

    1-16 ounce loaf challah, cut into 8 slices, about 3/4 to 1-inch thick
    1 cup of Egg Beaters or egg substitute
    1 cup + 3 Tbsp pumpkin puree, divided
    1 cup of skim milk
    1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
    3 Tbsp Smart Balance Light or Earth Balance
    1 Tbsp brown sugar
    non-stick spray

    Directions:

    For the butter, combine 3 tablespoons of pumpkin puree with the Smart Balance Light and brown sugar. Combine well.

    Cut bread into 3/4 to 1-inch thick slices. In a large bowl, whick together Egg Beaters, 1 cup pumpkin puree, milk, and pumpkin pie spice. Soak bread in milk-egg mixture for 1-2 minutes.

    Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place the soaked bread in the skillet or on the griddle, flipping after the bottom has browned. Cook the opposite side until browned. Serve immediately. Serves 8 with ~1 tablespoons of pumpkin butter.

    Nutrition Information (per slice with 1 Tbsp pumpkin butter): 221 calories; 6.6 g. fat; 17 mg. cholesterol; 340 mg. sodium; 35 g. carbohydrate; 3.4 g. fiber; 8.2 g. sugar; 8.2 g. protein

    Result: Carb-o-licious! It’s hard to limit to just 1 piece, but they are rather large. I splurged and had 2 one morning and I ate the leftover pieces one at a time with an over-medium egg. Delicious! Pumpkin is never out of season in my kitchen or belly!!!

    I may not be 100% jolly (just yet!), but our neighborhood is sure all decked out! Our block all decorates our trees the same and it really does look festive and beautiful!

    Question: Does the hustle and bustle of the holiday season make you giddy with glee, or do you get a bit overwhelmed and stressed?

    I think working adults need sanctioned holiday vacations like kids in school. I remember the days of a full MONTH with nothing but sleeping in was of concern! College, I miss you!

    Tis the season,

    15 Comments

    Filed under breakfast, butter, carbohydrates, coffee, condiments, diet, dietitians, holiday, PCOS, recipe, stress, weight loss, Weight Watchers, work

    Beer Cheese Soup (Lightened Up)

    Thanks for the accountability, folks. I pounded out a quick 5K before pouring a glass of Pinot Grigio last night. It was just one of those weeks, and the only thing getting me through Thursday and Friday was the thought of a happy hour drink come Friday. It’s the little things in life.

    Mr. Prevention and I did a whole lot of NOTHING last night other than catching up with the DVR, and it was glorious. We were planning to go out to eat, but Mr. P has had some really early hours this week (hello, 4:30am…ew), and staying it just seemed like the right things to do 🙂 Of course, Mr. Prevention insisted on leftover pizza for dinner and I would have nothing of it. I had my mind set on bigger, better, and cheesier things. 😉

    I had never heard of Beer Cheese Soup until a week ago. And since then, it’s all I’ve wanted. Beer? Please. Always. Cheese? Please. Always. I know I’m not alone here. Well, I wanted the soup, not the calories and fat. So, I remedied that and the result was glooorious.

    I don’t know about you, but when my love for nutrition and great-tasting food can come together, it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. Of course this soup isn’t the most nutritious thing ever, but it sure as heck is way lower in calories and fat than the original version or a dinner out, so there! I justify my guiltless indulgence in this most decadent soup!

    Beer Cheese Soup adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

    4 Tbsp butter Smart Balance Light
    1 medium onion, chopped fine
    2 carrots, peeled & chopped fine
    2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
    1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    1 12-ounce bottle beer (I used Great Lakes Pale Ale)
    2 cups 2% milk
    12 oz 75% reduced-fat Cabot cheddar cheese, shredded
    4 oz American Gruyere cheese, shredded
    2 tsp cornstarch
    Table salt & ground black pepper

    Directions:

    Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and carrots until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth, beer, and milk. Bring mixture to simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently (do not boil) until carrots are very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.

    Toss shredded cheeses and cornstarch in large bowl until well combined. Puree soup in blender in 2 batches until completely smooth, return to saucepan, and simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in cheese mixture, 1 cup at a time, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6.

    Nutrition Information: 344 calories; 16 g. fat; 43 mg. cholesteorl; 652 mg. sodium; 19.3 g. carbohydrate; 1.2 g. fiber; 6.2 g. sugar; 28.2 g. protein

    Result: Oh la la, this is AMAZING! 75% reduced fat, what? Doesn’t matter. Delicious, and way less guilt involved. Enjoy!

    Question: What’s one word you always spell wrong?

    I have trouble with “occasion” (don’t know why..) and “Hanukkah” — I always spell that wrong.

    Happy weekend! Gift wrapping, hair cut, workout, Illinois basketball, and date night are on my calendar! 😀

    Be well,

    16 Comments

    Filed under beer, dining out, dinner, exercise, garlic, pizza, recipe, reduced-calorie, saturated fat, vegetarian, wine, work