Stuffed Pepper Soup. (GF, DF, Paleo)

A deconstructed version of traditional stuffed bell peppers–all the flavors of the original dish, but in soup form!

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I think I speak for, oh, half of the country when I say: brrrrrrr.

Snow, ice, and sub-zero wind chills? Pretty sure I’m going to turn into a human popsicle.
What better way to warm up than with this cozy bowl of stuffed pepper soup?
I grew up eating stuffed bell peppers (a lot), and I really love them.
But, did you know you can take all of the ingredients and flavors of stuffed peppers, and put them in a soup?

I was a little hesitant the first time I made this because I was skeptical that this soup could actually taste like traditional stuffed peppers. Thankfully, it did, and I’ve made it many, many times since!

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In a way, the soup version is easier because you don’t have to actually stuff the peppers and bake them. Just let the soup do it’s thing, boil some rice seperately (if you want it), and it’s ready to go!

A note on the rice: traditional peppers have rice in them. Add it if you’d like, or don’t! If you are trying to keep it paleo-friendly, you’ll want to skip the rice.

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Growing up, we always topped our stuffed peppers with sour cream, so you can do that if you’d like. Again, for dairy-free/paleo, skip the topping.

Make a big pot of this soup tonight and stay warm!!

Stuffed Pepper Soup
Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean grass-fed ground beef (or turkey, if you’d prefer)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 3/4 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: cooked rice

1). Heat a large pot to medium-high heat. Brown the ground meat until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and add onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened.

2). Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, marjoram, and more salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.

3). Serve in bowls, over rice, if desired. Top with sour cream if you’d like!

Servings: 6. Serving size: 1 1/2 cups soup, 1/2 cup rice. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 261 Fat: 5g Carbs: 37.5g Fiber: 5g Protein: 17.6g Sugar: 6g Points+: 7 Recipe adapted from here. Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

Butternut Squash Soup (GF, DF, Paleo) — Guest Post

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Today I’m posting a delicious, healthy butternut squash soup recipe over on Vylette. I met Julie, the author behind the blog, at the Maiedae mixer a couple months ago and have stayed in touch ever since! Julie has such a warm, inviting personality and I’m so glad we started chatting at the mixer. She’s one of those people you can instantly connect with. I am honored she asked me to post on her blog. Her posts are always beautiful and inspiring!

Since we’re still in Thanksgiving-countdown mode, I wanted to share an easy recipe you just might not have thought of yet that would be perfect for the holiday: butternut squash soup! I make it several times each fall and it is naturally gluten free, and can easily be made dairy free, paleo, vegetarian, and vegan! Hooray for addressing everyone’s dietary concerns!

Click here to check out the full recipe and see all of the wonderful posts Julie has on her lifestyle blog!

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Questions? Comments? Let me know!

Crock Pot Pumpkin Chili. (GF)

A cozy fall chili recipe made in the crock pot that your whole family will love!

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Oh October.

I love you.

You’re the month of bonfires, football, plaid, boots, and scarves.

And ever-changing brightly colored leaves.

And, of course, #pumpkinallthethings! Yes, even chili!

You know what’s awesome about putting pumpkin in chili? You can’t taste it, but it thickens the chili up (yay texture!) and you get all kinds of important vitamins and nutrients (yay health!).

Did you know pumpkins have a large amount of vitamin A, fiber, beta-carotene (an anti-oxidant), potassium, vitamin C, and more? Now we can all feel good about our pumpkin-obsessions because they’re so good for us! Yes yes yes.

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If you have non-pumpkin loving friends and family, you should definitely still make this chili. I promise you really can’t taste the pumpkin! Pumpkin alone does not have a very strong flavor; it’s all of those strong fall spices that are usually added to pumpkin baked goods that make it stand out. Since this is a savory recipe, none of those spices are present. What does that mean for us? Nice, even flavored chili.

This recipe comes together very quickly. After you cook your meat (ground beef or turkey, whatever you prefer!), add all the other ingredients together in the crock pot. Let it cook all day, and when you come home you’ll be greeted with piping hot chili and a wonderful aroma.

Sound perfect? It pretty much is.

Then all that’s left to do is light a pumpkin candle (tell me I’m not alone), cozy up on the couch with a big bowl of this hearty stuff, and revel in autumn’s arrival!

Crock Pot Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 large can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tbsp cumin

1). Cook the ground meat and chopped onion in a large skillet until the meat is cooked through and the onion is soft.

2). Spray the crock pot with cooking spray. Add the cooked meat and all the other ingredients. Stir to combine.

3). Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Servings: 6. Serving size: 1 1/2 cups. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 434 Carbs: 57g Fat: 8g Protein: 37g Fiber: 14g Points+: 11 Recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

 

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

If you are feeling under the weather or just trying to keep warm in this crazy winter we’re having, this crock pot chicken noodle soup is for you! It is hearty, chunky, and so much better than the canned version. I’ve made chicken noodle soup on the stove before, but this recipe came together one day when I was feeling sick, about to run out the door, AND had only a few hours before we needed to eat dinner. Enter the wonderful invention of the crock pot!

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For your convenience, I’ve included 2 ways to cook this soup. If you don’t have 6-7 hours to let the crock pot cook everything for you, you can speed up the process by sauteing the onions, carrots, and garlic in a small pan and then adding them to the crock pot along with the other ingredients. This will reduce your cook time to 3 hours on high. If time is not an issue, you can just throw it all in the crock pot and everything will be perfectly cooked and ready by the time you get home!

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I used brown rice pasta (which, surprisingly, my husband and I BOTH loved!), but you can use egg noodles or regular pasta. If you are gluten-free, you’ll obviously need to use some sort of gluten free noodle. The particular brand we enjoyed was De Boles Rice Plus with Golden Flax Spirals. They were awesome!

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Also, I should let you know…I really dislike celery in soups, so I didn’t include any. If you like it, feel free to chop some up and add it in!

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 lb carrots, chopped (I used half a bag of baby carrots)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (if sauteing vegetables first)
  • 3 – 15 oz cans low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed, finely crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice pasta for GF (or regular egg noodles)
  • 4 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional-I didn’t have any)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional-I didn’t have any)

1). Spray crock pot with cooking spray.

2). To speed up cooking: in a medium skillet, heat the 1/2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic  and cook until soft. Otherwise, add to slow cooker (do not add oil).

3). Add the chicken, carrots, onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, celery seed, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Set on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

4). Once chicken is cooked, remove from crock pot and shred with two forks or with my kitchen-aid mixer method. Return the chicken to the crock pot.

5). Increase crock pot temperature to high. Add the pasta of your choosing to the crock pot and cook for about 10 minutes. Add parsley and lemon juice, if using.

Servings: about 6. Nutritional information per serving (this will vary depending on your brand of noodles): Calories: 242 Carbs: 30g Fat: 3g Protein: 23g Fiber: 1g WWPoints+:6

Recipe adapted from: http://www.cookingclassy.com/2013/11/slow-cooker-chicken-noodle-soup/

Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

I haven’t posted a crock pot recipe in a while, and this one is perfect for the chilly temperatures we’re having! I love this recipe because it is easy, healthy, and filling (24g of protein per cup!). Plus, it makes enough to feed a small army–11 1-cup servings, to be exact. It would be a great freezer-friendly meal, too.

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This chili is not too spicy, so feel free to add some extra cayenne pepper to kick it up a notch if you’d like. Personally, I thought it had just the right amount of spice, but you could even add an extra half can of green chiles, which is where the heat comes from in this recipe. My husband added light sour cream and cheese to his bowl, but I found it perfect as is. I love how cooking this all day resulted in incredibly tender chicken. It literally falls apart when you shred it!

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Other than the one additional step of sauteing the onions and garlic together (which I don’t think you should skip!), this meal involves very little prep/clean up. Always an added bonus!

Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, raw
  • 1 (16 ounce) can diced no salt added tomatoes, fire roasted or regular, OR 1 lbs. fresh, chopped
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans Great Northern beans (or whatever you have on hand), low sodium and/or organic
  • 1 (4 ounce) can fire roasted green chiles
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ cups reduced sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking spray

1). Heat the 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
2). Spray the crock pot with cooking spray. Place the tomatoes in the bottom of the crock pot. Add the chicken, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, beans, chiles, and cooked onion/garlic mixture. Stir to combine.
3). Cook for 6-8 hours on low (or 4-5 hours on high…but I like letting the flavors meld together longer so I suggest cooking on low!)
4). Taste and add additional salt, pepper, or other spices. Serve as is or with light sour cream/cheese (optional). Enjoy!

Servings: 11 1-cup servings. Nutritional Information per 1 cup: Calories: 191 Carbs: 14g Fat: 3g Protein: 24g Fiber: 4g WW Points+: 4

Recipe adapted from: http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-slow-cooker-white-chicken-chili/

Simple Summer Chili

Chili is traditionally a cold weather favorite, but I love that this recipe incorporates in-season zucchini! This summer has been so rainy that a cozy meal like this one has been a welcomed change to grilling outside.

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I originally found this recipe from a health and fitness blog I love to read, and this may be my new favorite chili recipe (thanks, Julie!!). The best part is the spice blend–it is PERFECT. It tastes just like the chili seasoning you can purchase in packets at the grocery store, but it is so simple and easy to make yourself! And so much better for you,  too. Ground beef or ground turkey both work well in this recipe–it is completely up to you! You can also use your favorite kind of bean…I like to switch it up between black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans based on what I have in the pantry.

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Whip this up for your family tonight! It will certainly be a hit!

Simple Summer Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 can low sodium beans (kidney/pinto/black–whichever!), drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added (do not drain!)
  • 1 cup beef broth, reduced-sodium and fat free
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic salt

1). In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and zucchini, stirring until tender and opaque. Add ground beef/turkey and stir until meat is browned.

2). Drain any excess fat from pan before adding remaining ingredients. Add as much/little beef broth as necessary to reach the desired consistency. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until flavors are well blended.

3). Enjoy topped with low-fat cheese, light sour cream, non-fat greek yogurt, or simply as is!

Servings: about 6. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 219 Carbs: 20g Fat: 7g Protein: 22g Sugar: 4g Fiber: 6g

WW PointsPlus: 6

Recipe adapted from: http://www.pbfingers.com/2012/07/23/simple-summer-chili/

Crock Pot Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Soup

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This soup is easy to make, very filling, and SPICY! You can easily tone down the heat by using only half the amount of diced green chiles. The original recipe called for a whole 4 oz can, but I can only handle half!

The weather is starting to warm up but it’s still chilly enough to have soup at night. This soup is sure to warm you up and keep you satisfied for a long time!

If you have a large/hungry family, you should try this Latin-inspired soup. It makes a LOT! Look how full my crock pot was:

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Crock Pot Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (10 oz) cans Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1/2 of a 4 oz can diced green chiles
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 16 oz (2) skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
  • 2 medium scallions, diced
  • cut limes, for serving
  • 1 medium haas avocado, sliced
  • light sour cream, for serving (optional)

Instructions:
1) Take one can of beans and place in the blender (I used a food processor) along with 2 cups of the chicken broth; puree then add to your slow cooker. Add the remainder of the beans and chicken broth into the slow cooker along with tomatoes, diced green chiles, cumin, chile powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, chicken breast, and 1/4 cup of the cilantro. Set slow cooker to HIGH 4 hours or LOW 6 to 8 hours.

2) After it’s done, remove chicken and shred with 2 forks. Place back into the slow cooker and add fresh scallions, remainder cilantro and adjust salt and cumin, to taste.

3) Serve hot with avocado and light sour cream.

Makes: 10 1/2 cups. Serving size: 1 1/2 cups. Calories: 306 Fat: 6g Carbs: 37.5g Fiber: 13.5 Sugar: 3g Sodium: 698.4mg without salt

Recipe adapted from: skinnytaste.com

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Enjoy!

Crock Pot Lasagna Soup

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I love lasagna but hate taking the time to assemble it. This soup entails all the traditional flavors of lasagna in a less traditional way. I tried a similar recipe last year but I think I prefer this crock pot version. It is easy to throw together, very nutritious, and it can feed a small army!

That is a huge crock pot and it is FULL! Be ready for leftovers! :)

I learned something INCREDIBLE via experimenting with this soup: you do NOT have to brown the ground turkey before you add it to your soup!

“What?!” “No way.” “This girl must be crazy.” “How is that possible?”

I bet all of those phrases just went through your mind. I know that was my initial reaction! But yes, it is true…to save yourself an extra 10 minutes and dirty pan to wash, all you have to do is crumble the ground meat directly into the crock pot. It cooked perfectly!! I will definitely be doing this from now on.

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This soup seems to be very versatile and you can easily adapt it to what you have in your pantry. For example, I was out of tomato paste so I used tomato sauce. I didn’t have beef broth so I used chicken broth. The original recipe called for V8 (who has that in their pantry? I never do!), so I used my favorite marinara sauce. The end result was fantastic!

Crock Pot Lasagna Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lb 99% fat free ground turkey (or you can use ground beef if you’d prefer!)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with basil (I love tuttorosso!)
  • 1 cup prepared pasta sauce
  • 1 8 oz can no salt added tomato sauce
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp salt and pepper
  • 2 cups uncooked small pasta (like elbow or shell…I used whole wheat)
  • Optional: 2 bay leaves and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes for added flavor!
  • For (not so optional) topping: 1 Tbsp part-skim ricotta, 1-2 Tbsp part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

1). Mix together the tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, broth, garlic, onion, basil, parsley, and pasta sauce in the crock pot.

2). Crumble ground turkey into the soup (or you can cook it before you add it, but it will turn out perfectly fine this way too!)

3). Cover and cook on LOW 7-8 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours.

4). About 20-30 minutes before ready to serve, add the 2 cups of uncooked pasta and 1 cup of water. Stir to combine. Place lid back on and let the pasta cook for about 30 minutes.

*If you let the soup go too long with the pasta in it the pasta will get over cooked. Just keep an eye on it!*

5) Ladle 1 cup portions in to bowls and top with ricotta and mozzarella cheese, if desired.

This soup was high in protein and low in fat, which will keep you full for a long time. My husband usually doesn’t consider soup a “meal” but that wasn’t the case with this soup! Try it and let me know what you think!

Servings: 13. Serving size: 1 cup.
Nutritional Information Per 1 Cup Serving: Calories: 178 Carbs: 22 g Fat: 3 g Protein: 15 g Sugar: 7 g Sodium: 362. 

Recipe adapted from http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2012/11/slow-cooker-crockpot-lasagna-soup.html.

Healthy Crock Pot Minestrone Soup

It is February.

It is cold.

You are probably very busy.

Wouldn’t you like to come home from work today and find dinner ready for you on the counter?

I thought so.

That’s where this soup comes in. I find it comforting, flavorful, and filling. It is friendly to your waistline if you are still going strong on a New Year’s Resolution, as there are only 215 calories in a generous 1 1/2 cup serving.

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I think the key to this soup is using fresh herbs. I tried it once with dried basil and parsley, but it wasn’t nearly as good. The parmesan rind also helps a LOT. It is a sneaky way to infuse the entire soup with nutty parmesan flavor while it cooks without actually adding a ton of cheese. If you go to the grocery store and buy a real chunk of parmesan (or pecorino romano) cheese, cut the hard rind off the end and add it to the soup. You wouldn’t be able to eat the hard rind anyway, so this provides a nice way to get more out of your money. Just be sure to remove it before you serve.

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Grate the rest of the parmesan and add a spoonful to your soup. Enjoy!

Healthy Crock Pot Minestrone Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can white beans, drained, rinsed (cannellini or navy)
  • 6 cups fat free chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarians)
  • 1 oz chunk of good Parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 spring of fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta like ditalini or elbows (al dente)
  • extra parmesan cheese to top

1. Rinse and drain beans. Chop onion, carrots, garlic, and herbs.

2. In the crock pot, combine the beans, onion, carrots, garlic, herbs, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, parmesan rind, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

3. Forty minutes before the soup is done cooking, add zucchini. Cover and cook 30 more minutes. Add cooked pasta, cook 10 minutes more. Remove bay leaves and parmesan rind and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and top with extra parmesan cheese.

Servings:6. Nutritional information per serving: Calories- 215 Fat- 0.7 g Protein-8.7 g Carbs 42.0 g Fiber 6.7 g

Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste.com