It’s Soup Season!

Mushroom Barley Soup

This soup is a winter favorite of mine! The barley adds a hearty taste and texture to the warming vegetable soup, plus it’s packed with nutrients like fiber from the barley and vegetables, beta-carotene (which our body converts to vitamin A) from the carrots and B-complex vitamins from mushrooms. I usually make a large pot of this soup early in the week and eat a bowl every day with lunch or dinner (or sometimes both)! Perfectly portable for work and perfectly nutritious, this homemade soup is a must-try for cold winter days!

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Ingredients (serves 10):

8 C low sodium vegetable broth

8 C water

1 C barley, uncooked

5 C mushrooms, sliced

1 sweet onion, small, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1 C carrots, chopped

1/2 C celery, chopped

1 Tbsp butter or margarine

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

Directions:

1. Melt butter in a large pot. Add onions and mushrooms and sauté until slightly browned and softened, stirring occasionally (approximately 10 minutes).

2. Add carrots and celery. Add liquid (water and vegetable broth). Add spices. Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 15 minutes, until vegetables are softened.

3.Add barley and boil for another 10 minutes. Cover and reduce to a simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve and enjoy!

*I love to make this soup for the entire week. If you still have leftovers at the end of the week, just store in single or double serving, airtight containers in the freezer!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Calories 91 calories, Total Fat 1 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 18 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 3 g, Sodium 312 mg, Calcium 32 mg

May require serious stove clean-up, but so worth it! My pot wasn't large enough and some boiled over...live and learn!

May require serious stove clean-up, but so worth it! My pot wasn’t large enough and some boiled over…live and learn!

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Southwestern Salad

Spinach Salad with Black Beans, Grilled Chicken and Avocado

This simple salad is a must-try for summer. I am always trying to make my salads interesting by using different textures and flavors. Black beans and chicken add protein and flavor to this bed of veggies, while avocado adds satisfying texture. Also, this Southwestern-style salad has a kick to it – perfect for the summer heat!

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Ingredients (serves 1):

3 oz grilled chicken breast, grilled with spices (chili powder, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper) *This is a great use of leftovers. No leftovers and don’t feel like cooking a chicken breast for lunch? I like Applegate Farms Fully Cooked Southwestern Style Grilled Chicken Breast  strips

2 Tbsp cooked black beans (*If canned, look for Low-Sodium or No Salt Added varieties and rinse in a colander)

1/4 avocado, chopped

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 C cucumber slices

2 C spinach, raw

2 Tbsp sweet corn kernels (*I like to use frozen sweet corn kernels and simply microwave them or thaw them before use)

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

2 Tbsp roasted red pepper dressing (I like Greenway’s Organic Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette)

Directions:

1. Place spinach in medium-sized bowl. Add avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, corn and red bell pepper.

2. Warm black beans in microwave (about 25 seconds). Add to salad.

3. Warm chicken in microwave (about 1 minute) and chop. Add to salad.

4. Drizzle dressing over salad and enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 342 calories, Total Fat 15 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 56 mg, Carbohydrates 30 g, Fiber 11 g, Protein 29 g, Sodium 362 mg, Calcium 114 mg

Salmon and Cabbage Salad With Grated Ginger

Salmon and Cabbage Salad with Grated Ginger

This salmon salad will shake up your salad routine and get you excited for a plate full of veggies – and hearty salmon! Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable and can grow in cool temperatures, so this salad is perfect for the fall and winter months, when vegetables can seem scarce. Plus, consuming at least two 6 oz portions of salmon per week supplies your weekly recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in reducing inflammation. Fresh ginger and a light drizzle of dressing spice up this salad and give it a distinct flavor that is anything but boring!

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Ingredients (serves 1):

6 oz salmon fillet

1/4 small head cabbage (doesn’t matter which color- whichever you prefer!)

1 large carrot

2 Tbsp ginger or miso dressing (I recommend 365 Ginger Soy Vinaigrette)

Non-stick vegetable oil cooking spray

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/8 tsp fresh ginger, grated (I use a cheese grater)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Spray casserole dish with cooking spray. Place salmon fillet in casserole dish.

3. Season salmon with spices (garlic powder, onion powder, ground black pepper and grated ginger).

4. Place salmon in oven. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through (reaching an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit).

5. While salmon is in oven, chop cabbage. Place cabbage in strainer and rise. Dry thoroughly. Transfer cabbage to plate.

6. Skin, wash and dry carrot. Shred carrot over cabbage using a cheese grater.

7. Remove salmon from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes.

8. Place salmon on top of salad. Drizzle dressing over salad. Serve.

The Goods: What‘s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 371 calories, Total Fat 11 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 114 mg, Carbohydrates 21 g, Fiber 6 g, Protein 47 g, Calcium 139 mg, Sodium 511 mg

*note: If you are concerned about your sodium intake, try to look for a low-sodium salad dressing. Also, you can make your own dressing using low-sodium soy sauce and mustard!

Warm Kale, Beet and Feta Salad

Warm Kale, Beet and Feta Salad

This seasonal salad is packed with vitamins and minerals and will keep you warm in these chilly temperatures. Beets and kale are both vegetables that can be grown through the winter and bought at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores during this time when vegetables can seem scarce. The hearty, crisp taste of kale is balanced by the sweet taste of beets and creamy feta cheese in this warm salad, which is a cinch to make. As tasty as it is pretty, this winter-y salad will become your new favorite for entertaining – or just eating on your own!

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Ingredients (serves 4):

6 C kale, raw, chopped (wash thoroughly and remove large stems)

8 oz. baby beets (I like Melissa’s Ready-To-Eat Baby Beets, which are steamed, peeled and ready to eat. 1 package is 8 oz, which is about 5 baby beets. You can also roast your own beets! If you roast your own, you should do so before preparing this dish, as they should be ready to eat in this recipe).

1/4 C reduced- fat feta cheese, crumbledIMG_0567

1.5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon, freshly squeezed

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 C water

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat (I recommend using a pan with large sides, or a pot, as the kale starts out piled high in the pan before it cooks down).IMG_0566

2. Add kale to pan. Add water and cover. Allow kale to cook covered for approximately 5 minutes. The kale should be a bright green color and there should be some excess liquid when the cover is removed.

3. Remove cover and stir kale until it begins to wilt, about 3 minutes. The liquid should be mostly evaporated by now. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Cut beets into wedges and add to kale. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer from pan to serving dish. Top with feta cheese and serve warm. Enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 149 calories, Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 6 mg, Carbohydrates 18 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 6 g, Sodium 235 mg, Calcium 176 mg

I served it with butternut squash ravioli!

I served it with butternut squash ravioli!

Get Excited About Your Lunchtime Salad!

Beet and Goat Cheese Spinach Salad

Salad can sometimes sound like a snooze – shake things up with this plate of greens! Using spinach instead of lettuce pumps up the nutrient content of this salad, since spinach supplies vitamins A,K,C,E and many of the B vitamins, including folate. Also, spinach is a great source of iron and calcium! The sweet taste of beets with goat cheese and the filling protein in the soybeans make this salad extra satisfying! Also, walnuts offer way more than a satisfying crunch to this salad – walnuts are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation. Eat this salad to fuel your body with tons of nutritional goodness!

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Ingredients (serves 1):

2 C spinach

2 medium ready-to-serve beets (skinned, pre-cooked, refrigerated)

1 Tbsp walnuts

2 Tbsp edamame (out of pods, unsalted)

.5 oz chevre (goat cheese), crumbled

1 small cucumber, sliced

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Directions:

1. Place spinach on plate. Add edamame, cucumber slices, walnuts and goat cheese.

2. Dice beets. Add to salad.

3. Combine olive oil and vinegar in small cup. Pour over salad. Serve.

*Bringing this salad to work? No problem! Prevent soggyness by investing in a container that has a separate compartment for salad dressing. Just remember to store your lunch in the fridge!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 259 calories, Fat 16 g, Saturated Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 10 mg, Sodium 155 mg, Carbohydrates 21 g, Fiber 6 g, Sugar 11 g, Protein 12 g, Calcium 189 mg. 

Warm Kale And Butternut Squash Salad

This warm salad will make you feel like you’re eating comfort food in these dropping temperatures! This dish, which can be a snack, a side dish, or a perfectly adequate meal if you add some protein, makes use of some of fall’s best treasures. Butternut squash is a winter squash that supplies a ton of beta-carotene (A precursor form of vitamin A), along with vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and fiber. Also, kale is a nutritionally power-packed leafy green that offers up even more vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin K, along with iron, calcium and a ton of other vitamins and minerals. The acidity from the lemon juice helps to break down the nutrients in kale in order to increase bioavailability, and also helps to counteract the bitter taste of this green.

Ingredients (serves 2):

4 C kale, chopped (with stems removed)

1.5 C cubed butternut squash

1/2 lemon

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

dash salt

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2.Place cubed squash on baking sheet and drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil over squash. Add dash salt and dash ground black pepper. Bake in oven once preheated approximately 45 minutes, mixing every 15-20 minutes.

3. Chop kale and remove large stems.

4. Add remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil to skillet and warm over medium heat.

5. Add kale to skillet. Cook approximately 5 minutes, stirring often.

6. Squeeze juice from 1/2 lemon over kale and mix well. Add remaining black pepper to kale. Allow to cook another 5 minutes, stirring often.

7. Combine kale and squash and mix. Serve warm.

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 252 cals, Fat 15 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 31 g, Fiber 5 g, Sugars 4 g, Protein 6 g, Calcium 246 mg, Sodium 142 mg