Soup’s On: Tips for Making Quick, Delicious and Healthy Soups

Beans are a healthy soup ingredient.

With a few basics in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer, you can make a healthy, delicious soup in no time.

When the cooler weather rolls around, my thoughts automatically turn to soup. These one-dish wonders are warm and filling, and it doesn’t take much to round out the meal – a simple green salad will usually do it.And, soups store really well – to me, most soups taste even better the day after they’re made.

There’s no question that the best soups are made from scratch – I’m the first to admit that great chicken soup starts with a whole chicken, not a can or box of broth – but when you’re pressed for time, you can put together a quick, great tasting soup as long as the kitchen is well-stocked.

You’ll want to start with a liquid, and your best bets are boxed or canned broths which come in a variety of flavors (beef, chicken, vegetable, mushroom, seafood). In general, these will provide your soup with a fresher flavor than if you use bouillon cubes (which also tend to be very salty). There are also some good paste-style concentrated soup bases in a variety of flavors. I’ve found pureed vegetable bases made from butternut squash or broccoli. Canned tomatoes in their liquid also make a good starter, too, after you treat them to a spin in the blender.

Canned beans make a great soup base, too. Start with the beans and the tasty liquid they’re packed in, and then add more liquid to get a soupy consistency. Black beans pair well with tomato puree, while white beans are great with chicken or vegetable broth.

Once you’ve chosen your liquid, you’ll want to boost the protein. You can turn your butternut squash or broccoli base into a creamy soup by stirring in milk or soy milk, or whirling in the blender with some soft tofu. Creamy soups pair well with seafood – so try adding frozen or canned shrimp, canned salmon, or minced clams with their liquid to make a quick chowder. Canned chicken and turkey breast are super-convenient for your broth-based soups; if your supermarket sells whole roasted chickens, even better – pick one up and add some diced oven-roasted chicken to give your soup a homemade flavor.

Next, think about seasonings. Want an Asian flavor? Add a dash of soy sauce, a bit of white pepper, a dash of ground ginger and a few drops of sesame oil. To add a southwestern flavor to your bean soup, try adding some chili powder, cumin, oregano and garlic powder. Give your tomato-based soup a Mediterranean vibe with basil or rosemary and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. For the chowder, you can’t go wrong with a little garlic, celery seed, paprika and thyme.

Once you’ve seasoned your soup, it’s time to add the veggies – and you can never have too many. Keep some loose-pack vegetables (like spinach, carrots, lima beans, green beans, broccoli or mixed veggies) in your freezer to add to your soup during the last few minutes of cooking. Or, drain a can or corn kernels and add to your seafood chowder. For the finishing touch, add a bit of fresh vegetable if you have it. A sprinkling of minced parsley, or some freshly grated carrot or zucchini added at the last minute adds a fresh, bright color to your soup, and it’ll look like you spent hours – rather than minutes – on your creation.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Recipe: Quick Fried Rice With Beef

A complete one-dish meal.

This quick beef fried rice is a complete one-dish meal that can also be served as a side dish.

It’s a delicious way to use leftover rice, and a healthy way to satisfy your Chinese food craving. It’s an Asian-inspired recipe that that will bring Zen to your hectic life.

 


Ingredients:

2 TBSP chicken broth
2 TBSP rice wine or other sherry (or 2 TBSP more broth)
2 TBSP soy sauce
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1 TBSP canola oil, divided
1 cup finely chopped broccoli
½ cup finely chopped carrots
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups cooked brown rice, cold
12 oz. cooked lean steak, diced
3 green onions, finely chopped
(4 scoops Simply Probiotic)

For sauce, combine broth, wine, soy sauce, pepper and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over high heat. Add asparagus, carrots and bell pepper, and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until tender-crisp. Remove vegetables from skillet and set aside.
Pour remaining 2 teaspoons of oil into skillet and pour in beaten eggs. When the eggs are set on the bottom, add the rice and steak to the skillet. Cook and stir, breaking up egg, until egg is cooked and mixture is hot.
Add vegetables to the skillet and then add sauce mixture (and Probiotic). Stir until well combined. Top with chopped green onions.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Recipe: Sweet and Sour Lettuce Cradles

A good source of protein.

The new year is the perfect time to start a healthy routine, but between work, kids and errands, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time.

These sweet and sour lettuce cradles are the answer to your busy schedule.
They’re quick to make yet healthy, and they’re a good source of protein to satisfy your hunger.

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Sauce

2 TBSP oyster-flavored sauce
2 TBSP light soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine or dry sherry
1 TBSP brown sugar
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground white pepper

Stir in a small bowl to mix well. Set aside.

Meat

1 tsp canola oil
1 lb. ground chicken breast or turkey breast

Place skillet over high heat. Add canola oil, then ground chicken. Stir and cook between 4 and 5 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink. Remove meat from skillet and set aside. Wipe pan with paper towel, return pan to heat.

Vegetables

1 tsp canola oil
1 medium carrot, grated
⅓ cup canned water chestnuts, minced
2 green onions, chopped

Add canola oil. Add vegetables and stir until they soften. Add cooked meat, then the sauce. Stir until evenly coated. Spoon mixture onto lettuce leaf.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Recipe: Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is a good source of vitamin A.

During the cold months, few things are better than a good cup of soup. This creamy and healthy butternut squash-based soup is filling, delicious and easy to make.

Butternut squash is a versatile vegetable and a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin A. When bought in season, it’s budget friendly. Plus, butternut squash soup is easy to store. So what are you waiting for?

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 lb. peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 package soft tofu, drained and diced
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

PREPARATION

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and sauté for a few minutes until tender. Add the butternut squash and sauté a few more minutes, and then add broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Add the tofu and ginger, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper to the pot, and simmer a few more minutes until the tofu is heated through.

Purée the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. Return to the pan and reheat until the soup is very hot, but not boiling. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh thyme or thin strips of lemon peel, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Eat Root to Leaf: Consume Every Part of Your Fruits and Veggies

Broccoli stalks have nutrient benefits.

Those fruit and veggie stalks, stems and peels you’re throwing away can add flavor and nutrition to your meals.

Have you heard the term “nose to tail eating”? It’s a concept that aims to reduce food waste by encouraging the use of all parts of an animal during food preparation.

Another similar trend – called “root to leaf eating” – is really the same concept applied to plants. Rather than throwing away skins, stems, stalks and peels, the aim of root-to-leaf is to make use of as many parts of the plant as possible when preparing meals.

The average American throws away about $1,600 worth of fruits and vegetables every year, and much of what we toss consists of plant parts that are perfectly usable, delicious and nutritious. Rather than tossing them in the trash or the compost heap, you can make use of some of your plant discards to increase your nutrient intake.

Beet and turnip greens take a little longer to cook than more tender greens like spinach or chard, but they’re equally delicious. If your supermarket sells your beets or turnips with the tops still on, you’re in luck – you get two veggies for the price of one. Like other leafy greens, they’re loaded with nutrients – especially vitamins C and K, beta-carotene, folic acid, copper and potassium.

Broccoli stalks are often tossed out, but they’re rich in nutrients – especially vitamin C, folate, fiber and a phytonutrient compound called sulforaphane, which acts as an antioxidant. They can be finely shredded into a salad or slaw, or added to soup during the last few minutes of cooking. You can also try slicing them into ¼-inch thick slices, adding a little olive oil and salt, and roasting them in a hot oven until tender.

Carrot and fennel tops make a nice garnish, but they’re also completely edible and can be snipped into salads, sautéed with a little olive oil and salt to make a fresh sauce for grilled chicken or fish, or made into a pesto with olive oil, nuts and garlic. Carrot tops have more vitamin C than carrots themselves, and fennel tops are a good source of B vitamins.

Celery leaves are delicious, and I’m always surprised when people throw them away. I actually look for the leafiest bunch when I buy celery because I love to add the leaves to green salads, sandwiches and soups. Like the stalks, the leaves are a good source of vitamin C.

Citrus Peel contains compounds called bioflavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Finely grate the peel (avoid the white part, which tends to be bitter), and add to salad dressings, cooked vegetables or smoothies. You can also add strips of fresh peel to enhance the flavor of water, mineral water or tea, or add some citrus zest into the water when you cook rice.

Stems from leafy greens like chard, kale and collard greens can be tough, so many people cut them out before cooking the greens. But you can chop them coarsely and add them to dishes like soups and stews – they’ll soften with the long cooking times. Or cut them finely and sauté with a little oil and garlic or onion until they begin to soften, then add the leafy tops and finish cooking. You can treat green cauliflower leaves the same way. Adding the greens and stems of these nutrition powerhouses boosts your intake of vitamins A, K, iron, potassium and fiber.

Strawberry tops are great to add to a pitcher of drinking water or to hot or cold tea. They’ll add a bit of flavor and a dash of vitamin C to your drink.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Recipe: Lean Meatballs (GF/High-Protein)

Easy to make meatballs.

These easy to make, oven-baked meatballs are high-protein, juicy and gluten-free. Made with very lean ground pork and turkey, you’ll be able to taste the difference.

Don’t settle for those frozen meatballs when you can make your own in less than 30 minutes. They’re so easy to prepare that even the kids can get involved, turning cooking time into family time.

You can add some extra spice and serve with marinara sauce for a delicious appetizer, lunch or dinner. Make a big batch and enjoy them hot or cold.

So, next time you have last minute company, don’t worry, because these meatballs will make your guests think a professional chef lives in the house.

Ingredients:

1 lb. extra lean ground pork (95% fat free)

1 lb. ground turkey

1 egg, beaten

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley

1 TBSP dried oregano

1 TBSP salt

1 tsp pepper

½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

1 ½ cups prepared marinara sauce

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with nonstick pan spray.
  2. Put meats, egg, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Combine with hands to mix well.
  3. Form mixture into about 24 meatballs (about the size of a ping-pong ball) and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20-22 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Serve with ¼ cup marinara sauce.

Makes about 24 meatballs/6 servings (1 serving = 4 meatballs)

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Recipe: Southwest Vegetarian Chili

The nutrition you need in one dish.

This vegetarian chili recipe is easy to prepare, it will keep you full and warm, and will deliver the nutrition your body needs in one dish.

It’s that time of the year when the weather turns from hot to cold and those chilly nights call for something to keep you warm. This vegetarian chili recipe is easy to prepare, it will keep you full and warm, and will deliver the nutrition your body needs in one dish.

While there’s no meat, it’s prepared with quinoa and loaded with vegetables. The corn, chili powder, cumin, garlic and onions will add that Southwest flavor you’re looking for. So grab your slow cooker, get comfy and get ready to play your favorite movie, while the smell of this recipe will make you go OLÉ.

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups vegetable broth
½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed if not pre-rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans
1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 green bell pepper, chopped
½ medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP chili powder
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
Toppings:  chopped green onion, avocado slices

Place all ingredients in a crock pot and stir to combine. Cook on high for 2 ½ to 3 hours, or on low for 5 to 6 hours; check the last hour or so and add liquid as needed. Makes 6 servings.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Recipe: Sweet Potato Toast With Avocado

Replace bread with sweet potatoes.

Try this low-carb, high-fiber and gluten-free recipe prepared with sweet potatoes and avocado.

Want a quick breakfast or a healthy appetizer for this busy time of year? Try this low-carb, high-fiber and gluten-free recipe prepared with sweet potatoes and avocado. Replace bread with sweet potatoes, and in less than 30 minutes you’ll have a dish that’ll please everybody.

Ingredients:

  1. Peel (or not) and slice sweet potatoes into pieces (like toast) about ¼ inch thick. Brush lightly with a little olive oil.
  2. Pop into the toaster – it may take two or more rounds on high to cook through. Be patient – it might take as long as 15 minutes; you want the potato to be cooked and slightly browned.
  3. Add ¼ of an avocado, and salt and pepper to taste.

 

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Recipe – Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowls with Spinach and Avocado

Start your day the right way.

Did you buy too many sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving? Use your leftovers to prepare this breakfast bowl that’ll keep you filled all morning long.

Switch the bagel and cream cheese for this dish that is full of protein and can be thrown together in less than five minutes (if you roast the sweet potatoes ahead of time). This dish makes a healthy alternative for this busy time of the year.

Remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so start your day the right way with great nutrition.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato (orange yam kind), roasted
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • ¼ cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 eggs (fried, or poached)
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • Salt and cracked pepper to taste

For Serving:

  • Sunflower seeds, chia seeds
  • Hot sauce
  • Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss sweet potato, oil, salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a large skillet, add the oil and heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant for about 1 minute. Add the spinach and stir for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Place spinach in bowl. Add cooked quinoa. Add sweet potato, avocado and eggs.

Serve with sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hot sauce and/or a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Four Ways to Declutter Your Diet

Get rid of the calorie clutter in your beverages.

Clean eating is trendy, but maybe you just need to declutter instead.

The phrase “clean eating” is pretty popular these days, but the concept isn’t really new.  In general, clean eating means eating foods that are fairly close to their natural state – that is, minimally processed – and getting rid of the excess ‘clutter’ in the form of a lot of added fats, sugars, salt and unnecessary additives.  Cooking foods at home and sourcing fresh, local ingredients is often part of the mix, too.  Overall, clean eating is meant to call more awareness to what we’re putting in our bodies.

It’s a great concept, but let’s not get carried away.  First of all, no one would argue that whole, unprocessed foods without packaging or labels are anything but good choices.  But creating a daily diet made up of only those foods might be intimidating to those who simply need to get a meal on the table at the end of a busy day.  Besides, there are plenty of healthy, wholesome – and yes, even ‘clean’ – foods that come in packages;  frozen loose pack veggies and fruits, canned tuna, salmon or beans, brown rice or whole grain pasta, just to name a few.

Some people take the concept of clean eating a little further, and decide to jump-start their regimen with a short fast.  Some say it feels like they’re giving their system a fresh start – kind of like cleaning out your closets or changing the oil in your car.  Fasting for a couple of days probably won’t do you any harm as long as you’re healthy and you keep yourself well-hydrated..

But keep in mind that our bodies naturally clean and detoxify every day.  We eliminate and neutralize not only via the digestive tract, but the liver, kidneys, lungs and skin get into the act, too.  As long as you take good care of your body and provide it with plenty of nourishing foods, it will take care of you.

So if you’re already eating plenty of fruits and veggies (even if they’ve been frozen), whole  grains (yep, even those that come packaged in a plastic bag) and lean proteins (even those that come from a can), your diet might be pretty clean already.  And even if you’re not eating this way, maybe you don’t need to do a “clean sweep” – perhaps a little “decluttering” is all it takes.

How to Declutter Your Diet

  • Read food labels to help you ditch extra sugar, salt and fat. You’ve heard it before, but it’s generally true – shorter ingredients lists usually mean fewer unwanted additives and more wholesome products.  Check labels for added fats, salt and sugar, and do your best to choose items that have minimal amounts added.  For example, choose plain yogurt rather than pre-sweetened, choose plain frozen vegetables rather than those with sauces added, look for whole grain breads or cereals with little to no added sugar.
  • Lose the refined starches and up your fruit and veggie intake. This sounds so simple, but it’s one of the best things you can do to improve the overall quality of your diet. When you make a point to include a fruit or vegetable at every meal, it “squeezes out” many of the unwanted foods and ingredients you might otherwise eat.  Swap sugary, fatty ice cream for a delicious bowl of berries, have a side salad with your sandwich instead of fries, or try snacking on baby carrots and hummus instead of chips.
  • Get rid of the calorie clutter in your beverages. When it comes to added calories, beverages are – for many people – their undoing.  Between sugary sodas, fruit juices (yes, even 100%, fresh-pressed, all-organic!), alcoholic beverages and fancy coffee drinks, it’s not hard to take in hundreds of calories a day from beverages alone.  Plain tea is a great alternative because it can be drunk hot or cold, it has no calories, and has naturally-occurring compounds that may offer some health benefits, too.
  • Clear the clutter from your fridge, freezer and pantry. A little kitchen ‘spring cleaning’ can really help you declutter your diet.  Fill your pantry with high-fiber whole grains (like 100% whole wheat pasta, bread, cereals and flour, as well as foods like quinoa, millet and brown rice) instead of the refined stuff. Stock up on beans and canned tomatoes instead of prepared spaghetti sauces or soups that are high in salt. Stock your refrigerator and freezer with plain fruits and veggies, rather than those with sugary syrups or salty, fatty sauces. And keep some canned tuna or salmon on hand in the pantry, or frozen fish filets or chicken breasts in the freezer for quick, healthy (clean!) meals, rather than frozen chicken nuggets or breaded fish sticks.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

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