Chicken Zoodle Soup

I had been feeling slightly under the weather this past week. Getting over a cold is no fun! No fun at all! Who has time for a cold? I know I don't. They are just horrible inconveniences that I NEED to get rid of quickly!

Luckily, no one else in my family has caught this yucky cold. I absolutely hate seeing my 4 year old and 3 month old boys get sick. It just breaks my heart. As for my husband? Well... if he gets sick, he can fend for himself. Just kidding! He definitely can act like a big kid when he gets sick, but I guess he would say the same about me. We all like to be pampered, spoiled and taken care of when we aren't feeling so well.  Thankfully, my family hasn't gotten sick too often (knock on wood!).


So what is the best thing to help a cold? Mama always said chicken noodle soup and I agree! It helps clear nasal congestion and has a mild anti-inflammatory effect that can ease some cold symptoms. It also provides hydration from the broth. I love chicken noodle soup even when I am not sick. It is just one of those soups that will always remain a classic.


"Noodles" made from zucchini and/or yellow squash, aka zoodles are a wonderful low-carb alternatives to pasta and they taste wonderful in soup! They are also a good sources of potassium, manganese, vitamin A and C.


The easiest way to make noodles from zucchini or yellow squash is by using a spiralizer. This is the spiralizer I have. It is the Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade, but I think they have a 5 blade one for almost the same price which is under $30! If you don't have one already, I highly recommend them! Making "noodles" is so much easier with this gadget and I use mine often. Click HERE, if you are interested in purchasing one. 


Once you have your "noodles" set aside, dice up your cooked chicken breasts. I like to use a whole rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to save time, plus if you are sick like me, you just do not feel like cooking!


When making the soup, add the chicken and spices to the chicken broth. Then bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add your squash "noodles". Simmer for about 5 more minutes or until the squash is soft or to desired tenderness. That's it! Quick and easy chicken "noodle" soup! Keep it simple with just a few ingredients. Enjoy this soup! Hopefully, not when you are fighting a cold like me!


Chicken Zoodle Soup

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups or 162.5 g spiralized zucchini or yellow squash (2 1/2 Greens)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic (1/2 Condiment)
1/4 cup celery or 25 g, chopped (1/2 Green)
6 oz rotisserie chicken breast, skin removed,cut into 1 inch pieces (1 Leaner)
2 cups chicken broth (2 Condiments)
1/2 tsp dried basil (1/4 Condiment)
1/4 tsp dried oregano (1/4 Condiment)
1/8 tsp black pepper (1/4 Condiment)

Directions:
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add garlic and celery and saute until tender. Add chicken broth, basil, oregano, black pepper and chicken. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add squash and simmer for 5 more minutes or until squash is soft or to desired tenderness.

Makes 1 Serving
Each serving provides 
1 Lean, 3 Greens, 3 Condiments, and 1 Healthy Fat


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Slow Cooker Beef and Kabocha Stew

Nothing is better on a very cold day than a hot, comforting, homemade bowl of soup or stew! It isn't quite cold here in Vegas yet, but trust me... it does get cold here! Maybe not as cold as the Northern states, but coming from a girl who has only lived in the South most of her life (well... except for the few years I lived in Colorado), it gets pretty darn cold in my opinion. Now... you don't have to have soup only on cold days, but it sure does help keep your body warm and toasty all the way down to your toesies!


One of my favorite soups is a rich, hearty beef stew that is full of flavor. I love making my beef stew with lots of white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Those ingredients have a lot of carbs in large quantities so I decided to try kabocha squash instead of the starchier white and sweet potatoes.


Kabocha squash is a winter squash, also commonly known as Japanese pumpkin. It has a deep, rich, sweet flavor with a fluffy chestnut texture . It is a cross between a pumpkin and sweet potato but it can also be compared to an acorn or butternut squash.


I will not lie. Cutting into one of these suckers is not easy. It has hard thick skin that can be difficult to cut. I actually dread cutting these up because yes... I would like to keep my fingers. All 10 of them!

Cut the kabocha squash in half with a large sharp knife. I stick the knife in the middle of the squash and work my way around until I have two parts.


Once I have them cut in half, I scoop out the goop and seeds.


I cut each half into 4 or 5 wedges. It really depends on how big your squash is and how big you want the wedges. Then laying each piece flat, I cut the skin off with a knife.


Cut the peeled wedges into chunks.


Add the beef stew meat and kabocha squash to a slow cooker.


Then add marinara sauce. My favorite sauce to use is Rao's and it is Medifast friendly! I found it at Target and at my local military commissary, but I am sure you can find it at other places. This sauce is delicious and only 4 grams of carbs per 1/2 cup! Although approved, this does provide more calories and sodium than other vegetable servings (lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, etc.), so it may be beneficial to use this pasta sauce occasionally.


Add your beef broth to the mixture. I chose to use 3 cups of broth and it was plenty of liquid for me. Some like more liquid in their stews. If that is the case, add 4 cups instead of 3 cups of beef broth.


Add Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper if desired. As you can tell, the marinara sauce and Italian seasoning will give this stew an Italian spin. 


Another great spice to use in place of  the Italian seasoning is Stacey Hawkins Viva Italiano Blend. It tastes delicious in tomato based soups such as this one! You can purchase this spice on Stacey's website, www.StaceyHawkinsShop.com. I need to order more because I am all out! 


Give it a good stir!


Cook 7 hours on Low or 4 to 5 hours on High. That's it!


When you serve this beef stew to your family, they will think you slaved all day in the kitchen! That is why I love slow cooker recipes! You can have delicious meals without spending all day cooking! Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Beef and Kabocha Stew

Ingredients:
29 oz raw Beef Stew Meat (4 Leans)
4 cups Kabocha Squash (8 Greens)
3 cups low sodium Beef Broth (3 Condiments)
1 cup Rao's Marinara Sauce (4 Greens)
1 tsp Garlic Powder (2 Condiments)
1 tsp Italian Seasoning (2 Condiments)
Salt and Pepper to taste, but don't forget to count them as Condiments!

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.
Cook on Low for 7 hours or High for 4 to 5 hours.

4 Servings with 1 Lean, 3 Greens, and 1.75 Condiments per Serving


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EASY NO KNEAD ENGLISH MUFFINS

This recipe is SO easy that it would make a great weekend cooking project for that kid in the family that is a "wanna-be" chef. There are several steps, but they are all EASY.


You will need:
2 cups all purpose flour (divided)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup milk 
2 teaspoons KOSHER salt(kosher measures different than table salt)
1 envelope of yeast
yellow corn meal
6  large mason jar rings

In a large bowl, mix:

1 cup all purpose flour (you'll use other cup later)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt (not regular salt)
1 envelope yeast (I buy it in bulk, so I use 1 tablespoon)

In a smaller, microwave safe bowl, mix:

1 1/3 cups milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Microwave the milk-oil for 1 minute. Take it out of the microwave and stir it, then test it with your finger. It should feel nice and warm, but  NOT hot (I call it baby bottle warm).

Stir the milk-oil into the dry  mixture, until everything is very well mixed, then add ONE MORE cup of flour and stir until WELL mixed. Cover the bowl and set it in a warm part of your kitchen for 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes, it will look puffy like this:


Stir the air out of the dough (it will be very sticky). 

Preheat your dry (no grease) electric fry pan to 250°. Now here is a hint: everyone's fry pans cook at different rates, so cook ONE "test muffin" to see if you need to turn your heat up a little or down  a little. You want the muffin to look nice and golden when you flip it over after 5 minutes, like this:

 My electric fry pan is perfect at 250°.

Now you are ready to make the rest of the muffins. Spray the inside of the jar rings with vegetable spray (these are going to be your English muffin molds). Set them on your PRE-HEATED dry electric fry pan and sprinkle a little corn meal in the circle before you put the dough in.

Spoon batter into ring molds (it's pretty thick and sticky at this stage). I used about 1 1/4 large ice cream scoops of dough for each muffin.

When all 6 rings have dough in in them, put a lid on the fry pan, but cock it sideways so that it doesn't cover the whole pan. If your fry pan doesn't have a lid, you can cover it with a cookie sheet, but make sure the cookie sheet doesn't touch the muffins.

Cook at 250° for five minutes, then (before you flip it over) sprinkle a little corn meal onto the top of the muffin and then GENTLY flip it over (ring and all).

NOTE: It isn't absolutely necessary, but a Teflon pan works great for these muffins.


Put the lid back on the pan (leaving it open a little) and cook for another five minutes.  Remove from rings (they slide right out) and put the muffin on a baking rack to cool.


Cool completely, then split them open with a fork. To do this, insert the fork into the side of the muffin, half way between top and bottom. Twist the fork JUST A LITTLE, then remove it. Repeat this all the way around the muffin. When you get back to the place where you started, the muffin should just come apart.  Just make sure you do this AFTER the muffin is completely cooled.

To serve, toast in toaster or under broiler until light golden.

If you don't have mason jar lids, you can use anything (that can withstand heat) that is about the same size.


ENJOY !!!
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CHILI and CORNBREAD WAFFLES

This idea came to me years ago when I was trying to think up something "new" for dinner. It is one of those recipes that you can customize any way you like. Lots of fresh avocado? sour cream? fresh tomatoes? lettuce? Whatever "go withs" your heart desires.

Picky-picky husband hates spicy food, so this recipe (using 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper) is quite mild. If you like more "heat" you can add your "heat of choice" during the simmering stage.


CHILI
1 pound lean ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic minced
14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tomato cans of water
6 ounce can tomato paste

3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp. good for younger kids)
1 tablespoon sugar
4 ounce can mild green chiles (I use Ortega brand)
2 15 ounce cans red kidney beans
Brown the ground beef and drain off all but a tablespoon or so of fat. Sautee the onions (in the fat) for a few minutes or until they smell sweet. Add the garlic and sautee another minute or so.

Add everything else and stir well. Simmer slowly (without a cover)for about an hour. You can also put it in the Crockpot at this stage and cook on low all afternoon if that suits your schedule better.


NOTE: If you simmer it all afternoon in the Crockpot, make sure you crack the lid open just a little by inserting a spoon just under the edge of the lid. This helps the chili thicken as it simmers.

CORNBREAD WAFFLES
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg

Whisk the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine the bowels and stir till well blended.

Preheat your waffle iron and spray it with vegetable spray. Put between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup of batter in waffle iron and cook it for 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat.

If you like crispy waffles under your chili, you can pop the baked waffles in the oven for a few minutes at about 250° and they will crisp up nicely.

To serve, top the warm waffle with hot chili and then go to town with whatever toppings you like. We like it simple with shredded cheddar and sour cream.

ENJOY !!!



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