Vegetable Beef Soup

3 Feb

Here is a quick and easy soup that’s filling and delicious.  I’ve listed several substitutes for the ingredients, so this can be a good for a pantry/fridge/freezer cleanout.


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can(8 oz) tomato sauce (or 1-6 oz can tomato paste + 1 cup water)
  • 2 cups beef broth (or 2 cups water + bullion cubes/paste)
  • 10 oz frozen vegetables
  • 1/4 t onion powder
  • 1/4 t parsley flakes
  • 1/4 t paprika
  • 1/4 black pepper


  1. Brown meat, garlic, and onion in a stock pot until meat is no longer pink.  Drain, if necessary.  You may add a small bit of oil, if meat is extra lean.
  2. Add spices to the browned meat and stir.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  4. Turn down heat to low, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Serves 6

Take advantage of whatever you have in the freezer or fridge.  I had several bags of opened frozen veggies, which I mixed up to make up the 10 ounces called for in the recipe.  It included lima beans, okra, and mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, green beans, corn).  I often end up with one random potato or a few carrots in the crisper, which are a perfect fit for a catch-all soup like this.  I am looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow, since it is supposed to be as cold and rainy again.


Indian Inspired Dinner

1 Feb

While I won’t go so far as to say this is Indian food, it is certainly inspired by the flavors of India.  Since I am trying to avoid bread, rice, and other similar carbs for a couple of weeks, this meal is chicken and vegetable heavy.  The addition of a grain like quinoa or brown rice would keep the health factor high and add some heartiness to the plate.

Tandoori Chicken

adapted from The F-Factor Diet

Serves 4

  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped (I use my Pampered Chef garlic press)
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 t tumeric
  • 1 T chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 8 oz Fage 0% yogurt (the small 6 0z container is plenty)
  • 16 oz chicken breast, boneless & skinless
  1. Mix all the ingredients except for the chicken in a gallon-size baggie
  2. Add chicken to the yogurt marinade.  I chop the chicken into bite-size pieces first.  You could also leave the breasts whole.
  3. Marinate the chicken overnight.  Remove the chicken and discard any leftover marinade.
  4. If leaving the chicken breasts whole, you can broil or grill the chicken.  Since I cut it into small pieces, I cook it in a saute pan or a wok on the stove.

This chicken comes out so amazingly tender!  The yogurt in the marinade makes that happen.  After the spices have marinated with the chicken overnight, you get this gorgeous saffron-yellow color that is begging to be cooked.  I cannot sing it’s praises enough.

Roasted Curry Vegetables

Serves 6-8

I tried the roasted curry cauliflower recipe in the F-Factor book and found it to be too dry and bland.  Instead, I use Kari Chellouf’s roasted vegetables recipe with greater success.  It’s easy and adaptable for whatever veggies you have around.  When I made it, I did not have any garam masala in the house.  I substituted with ingredients I had on hand using this recipe as a guide.  I know we have several Indian groceries in town that have garam masala, and I imagine it can be found in most grocery stores in major metropolitan areas.

Nigella’s Carrot Salad

Serves 2, as printed

  • 4-8 carrots cut into matchsticks (I grate them instead of cut them)
  • 1/3 cup peanuts
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 T peanut oil
  • splash of sesame oil
  1. Um, mix it up.  That’s about all the directions you need on this one.

This isn’t even remotely Indian, but I love the fresh carrot salad with the spicy chicken and vegetables.  It’s cool and refreshing, which is lovely even in the dead of winter.  To make it a bit more figure friendly, you can easily cut down the amount of oil.

For the Love of Lentils

6 Jan

In the last week, I have gotten two lentil recipes either emailed to me or in my blog feed.  Since I don’t really know much about the lentil, I did a little research to find out more about what I only know as a soup staple.


Lentils, often found in vegetarian dishes, get a quarter of their calories come from protein.  According to Alton Brown, that’s as much as a steak. Except a 4 oz. tenderloin nets you about 250 calories and 12 grams of fat compared to the 115 calories and negligible fat from the same amount of lentils.  If mixed with rice, you get a complete protein (all nine essential amino acids needed by animals…thank you college health class!).  Lentils are also excellent sources for iron, fiber, folate, magnesium, and thiamine.

So they’re good for you…what can you do with them?  Here are the two recipes that floated my way recently as well as a few others that are not soups. Because seriously, three posts in on the blog and only soups?!!?

Lentil & Vegetable Stew from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

Lentil & Root Vegetable Soup from Cannelle et Vanille

Lentil Quinoa Salad from Melissa d’Arabian

Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes from Smitten Kitchen

A Lentil Roundup of Recipes from the kitchn

Soups from Picky Palate

4 Jan

Jenny from Picky Palate has five brothy chicken soup recipes up right now. They all sound delicious and easy.  I often use a rotisserie chicken for soups to make them quick.  These are on sale on Sundays at our local Harris Teeter grocery.  Alternately, if I plan ahead, we cook an extra chicken breast or two when making chicken during the week.  Heating the oven once to make several meals…how energy-efficient of me!

Since there are just two of us at my house, I like to make a big batch of soup. Half of it gets frozen and the other half gets eaten, usually for dinner one night and lunch the next day. From my experience, I recommend freezing soup separate from the rice or pasta. The starchy ingredients tend to soak up all the liquid leaving a mushy brothless mess. Also, I double bag my soup and lay it flat to freeze. It makes it easy to stack in the freezer that way.

Turkey & White Bean Chili

3 Jan

We tried this last night and it was awesome!

Turkey & White Bean Chili  (adapted from Cooking Light)
1 cup choppped red onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/4 pound lean ground turkey
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt & pepper
1 can rinsed cannellini beans
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel
1 cup fat free chicken broth
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until soft.  Add the garlic and turkey and cook for 6 minutes or until turkey is done.  Add chili powder, tomato paste, oregano, cumin, salt & pepper and stir.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until flavors are incoprorated.  Add beans, tomatoes, Rotel and chicken broth.  Simmer on low until chili cooks down. 
Serving size:  1 cup chili
Calories:  211
Fat:  6.5 grams