Loving the BITE: Homemade Hearty Soup With a Kick

If you could have a homemade hearty soup on the table in less than 30 minutes, would you ditch the canned high-sodium low-nutrition watery option?  It’s easier than you might think to make a flavorful soup with real, fresh vegetables, herbs, and meat.  What’s more, when you make it at home, you can give it a little kick with some spice, and rev up the nutrition benefits along with your metabolism.

It’s this week’s Loving the Bite Recipe: Best-Ever Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup (vegetarian options included).  An ultimate comfort food.  And unlike most other comfort foods, it’s actually good for you.  It makes for a great dinner, leftover lunch, and perfect recovery after a lunch-time or early evening ride (combination of fluids, electrolytes, protein, carbs, and antioxidants).  After following Stevie’s advice to get out there and ride in the cold, a warm bowl of super-nutrition recovery sounds just about right.

Recipe of the week: Best-Ever Spicy Chicken Soup 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock (use boxed liquid or organic paste)
  • Small cubes of: 2 free-range chicken breasts of 4 free-range chicken thighs (boneless, skinless) OR for a  vegetarian soup, use 16 oz. firm tofu or 2 cups garbanzo beans
  • 8 ounces 100% whole wheat noodles or cooked brown rice (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh deli salsa or salsa verde
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 8-106 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add diced chicken and noodles/rice; simmer for 5-8 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Stir in parsley.  Add salt/pepper to taste.

Spicy Soup Option:  Prepare Chipotle Cumin “Cream” by mixing Greek yogurt, chili powder, and cumin.  Set aside.  When serving soup, place ¼ cup salsa in the bottom of your bowl.  Add soup.  Top with 2 Tbsp Chipotle Cumin Sour Cream and stir to mix.  Bring on the heat!

Comments: 

Sure, you can find chicken noodle soup in a can, nuke it in the microwave, and sit down for dinner within 5 minutes.  But, as you look down at the bowl, you might notice that even the heartiest of canned soups looks a little watery.  The chicken pieces are the size of a your pinky tip.  The vegetables hardly resemble vegetables.  And the sodium content may not even be from salt.

If there’s one thing you I inspire you to do for yourself during this month and this next year, I urge you to skip the convenience foods when possible and eat more homemade fresh, real, whole foods.  Yes, for any purists out there I realize that portions of this recipe still rely on boxed broth and prepared salsa.  I have time constraints and I assume you do as well.  So, in trying to be realistic with myself and with my recommendations to you, this is a compromise.  Even with these short cuts, you’ll still reap the rewards of all the other whole foods you’ll add.  Here’s what’s in the pot for you:

Garlic: Hugely anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral, garlic can lower cholesterol, triglycerides, and plaques while combating oxidative stress with high amounts of antioxidants.

Onions: Onions are high in polyphenols and flavonoids, nutrients that are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.  They promote heart health, bone and tissue health, healthy blood sugars and cancer protection.

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