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Healthy Home Cooking

Hi! Thanks for joining Healthy Exchanges in the kitchen again, where we are giving you food for thought, as well as food recipes that are easy, healthy and tasty! Enjoy!

Soup is the queen of foods. Everyone loves soup—from thick chowders to delicate broths, soothing purees to spicy blends so chunky you ought to call them stews!  Hot or cold, mild or tangy, rich with meat or brimming with all your favorite vegetables, soup is the stuff of childhood memories.  Oh, how those comforting aromas wafted through the entire house and made me wish it were time to eat! 

Soup is as wonderfully comforting as a balm and it fortifies the body. It can soothe sore throats, clear clogged airways, fight off colds, and build strong bones. Soup is good for digestion and helps control appetite.  If you want to lose weight, try eating a small serving of soup before meals; it takes the edge off hunger and will help you eat less of other, less healthy foods. 

The foundation of all good soups is the stock. Stock is made by the slow simmering of extracts from meats and vegetables and is extremely nutritious. Gelatin, an important component of stock, is highly digestible and increases the amino acid composition of other protein sources, like meat and eggs. This helps the growth of muscle and builds and maintains cartilage, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue, as well as promoting healthy skin and hair. It can also boost your metabolism.

Then, there is the healing factor of soup. For centuries stock has been used as broth for the ill because of its high nutrition and easy digestibility. There are many soup recipes around the world that have been renowned for their healing ability. The most famous has got to be chicken soup—the “Jewish penicillin!” It does have anti-inflammatory properties that help sore throats and stop the flow of mucus which accumulates in your lungs and nose when you have a cold.  So you may really feel better having a nice hot bowl!

Soup is nourishing for many reasons. First, if anyone at your house is having trouble getting those five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, soup is a perfect solution. You can cook vegetables and then puree them in your blender to thicken a pot of soup. This is a way to get your family to eat a variety of vegetables without them knowing they may be eating some they don’t care for! 

Soup is thrifty, cozy, comforting and great served just about any way you can think of.  It’s the ideal appetizer or, when made in a large batch for a party, a crowd pleaser. If you stir it up sweet and fruity, you can even serve it for dessert!  Now, let’s move into the kitchen and check the recipe box for a soup recipe or two that can be used for a main dish or a quick healthy snack when hunger strikes.
 
CHICKEN BURRITO SOUP

2 cups (one 14-ounce can) chicken broth
1 cup water
2 teaspoons taco seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup (5-ounces) diced cooked chicken breast
1(8-ounce can) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup (one 8-ounce can) stewed tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juice from can
Scant 1 cup (1 1/2 ounces) uncooked noodles

In a large saucepan, combine chicken broth, water, taco seasoning, garlic, and parsley flakes.  Add corn, red and green peppers, onion, chicken, kidney beans, and undrained tomatoes.  Mix well to combine.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in uncooked noodles.  Lower heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until vegetables and noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.  Hint:  If you don’t have leftovers, purchase a chunk of cooked chicken breast from your local deli.

Serves 4 (1 1/2 cups) – Each serving equals:  262 Calories, 2gm Fat, 20gm Protein, 41gm Carbs, 452mg Sodium, 60mg Calcium, 5gm Fiber
Diabetic Exchanges: 2 Meat, 1 1/2 Starch, 1 Vegetable
Carb Choices: 2 ½

Vegetable soupBASIC VEGETABLE SOUP

4 cups (two 14.5-ounce cans) canned tomatoes with juice
3 1/2 cups (two 14-ounce cans) canned beef, chicken or vegetable broth
4 cups coarsely chopped cabbage
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Splenda
Blend tomatoes in a blender on CHOP for 10 seconds.  In a large saucepan, combine blended tomatoes and beef broth.  Add cabbage, celery, carrots, onion, lemon juice, and Splenda.  Lower heat. Cover and simmer 2 hours. 

Hint:  The lemon juice helps your system digest all those nutritious vegetables and the Splenda helps cut the acid in the tomatoes.  You can use your own homemade broth also.

Serves 8 (1 1/2 cups) – Each serving equals:  61 Calories, 1gm Fat, 3gm Protein, 11gm Carbs,
613mg Sodium, 2gm Fiber
Diabetic Exchanges: 2 Vegetable
Carb Choices:  1

We hope you enjoyed our time together in the kitchen.  Remember, if you’d like us to revise one of your family favorites so it’s healthier, send your request to: Healthy Exchanges, PO Box 80, DeWitt, IA 52742.  Also, be sure to visit our Web site at www.healthyexchanges.com for more information on how you too can receive the only national food newsletter for diabetics, heart/cholesterol concerns, and healthy weight loss.  Until next time . . .