St. David's HealthCare - January 21, 2016

There is a chill in the air; and whether you have a cold, want to lose those extra holiday pounds or are trying to keep your resolution to eat healthier, one food fits the bill…SOUP! Grandma was right! Soup has been proven to ease the symptoms of respiratory illnesses. The warm liquid and the steam can ease congestion, thin mucus and soothe a sore throat. In addition, research has shown the chicken and spices used in soups contain anti-inflammatory properties. Soup contains a lot of water, and if you add beans or a variety of vegetables, you also increase the fiber content making you feel fuller, helping you to eat less and lose weight. Soups are also a great way to increase the nutrient content of your diet. Soup ingredient possibilities are endless making it a great way to add a variety of vegetables and lean meats. If you have a slow cooker, making soups, stews and chili couldn’t be easier…make some soon!!!

Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped carrot
  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast (~8 oz.) – cut into quarters
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ tsp. dried marjoram
  • 6 oz. baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 12 oz. can of Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • *Fresh store bought pesto, or could make from scratch
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Multigrain croutons for garnish (optional)

Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the carrot and chicken; cook turning once and stirring frequently, until the chicken begins to brown ~3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute more. Add broth and marjoram; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through ~5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces to a clean cutting board to cool. Add the spinach and bean to the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for ~5 minutes to blend the flavors. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Add the chicken, the pesto and black pepper to the soup and heat until hot. Serve and garnish with croutons if desired. Makes 5, 1 ½ cup servings.

Per serving: 204 calories, 8 g fat, 16 g carbohydrate, 18 g protein, 6 g fiber, 529 mg sodium

Black Bean Soup

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 30 oz. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup salsa
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 4 Tbsp. reduced fat sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened ~2-3 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin cook while stirring, 1 minute more. Add beans, water, salsa and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. Transfer half of soup to a blender and puree, add back to saucepan. Place in bowls and garnish with sour cream and cilantro. Makes 4, 1 ¼ cup servings.

Per serving: 191 calories, 4 g fat, 22 g carbohydrate, 9 g protein, 9 g fiber, 408 mg sodium