Simple Semi-Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup – The Skinny Version

I recently discovered that my man friend really likes Broccoli Cheddar Soup.  Like to the point where if its on the menu anywhere, he’s going to order it. No questions asked.  Don’t know why it took me so long to this find out, but better late than never! That being said, I scoured the internet for recipes and was a little put off by so many of them. So many call for full-fat cream, loads of butter and even more shredded cheese! All that equals = not a happy/healthy waistline! So, I took a few recipes and honed them down to better ingredients, lower calorie and fat content, upping the serving of veggies while still tasting FANTASTIC!  How you say?  Well, you’re in luck, cause I’m willing to share!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 2 cups skim or 1% milk
  • 3 cups low-salt chicken broth (I buy Campbell’s)
  • 4 fresh broccoli crowns (washed and chopped into bit sized pieces, stems included)
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I usually buy the “less fat” cheese, and found it tastes exactly the same!)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Step-by-Step (ooh-baby…yes I’m channeling NKOTB)

  1. In a small frying pan, melt 1 tbsp butter and saute chopped onion until onion pieces are clear. Set aside.
  2. In a medium/large pot melt 1/4 c. butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir well. It’ll get clumpy, but it’ll all work out! Maybe 3-5 minutes here.
  3. With a whisk add the milk and broth to the pot and let it simmer for maybe 15-20 minutes.  Stirring quite a bit at the beginning to get the clumps of butter-flour mixed in well.  This step is quite like making a white sauce.
  4. Add in the already sauteed onion and all of the fresh broccoli and stir into the milk-broth until well covered.
  5. Continue to simmer and occasionally stir for another 25 minutes until the broccoli is tender.
  6. Take off the heat, and take an immersion blender to the soup and puree a bit. I like to leave a few chunks, but this makes for a smoother soup.
  7. Add the nutmeg and shredded cheese. Stir and let the cheese melt.  Serve and enjoy!

This made about 6 sizable servings. Two were eaten right away, two were packed up for lunches, and another two made their way to the freezer. 🙂 IMG_0602IMG_0763IMG_0604

Easy One Hour Bread Recipe

Thank you Pinterest for allowing me to find this incredibly easy bread recipe.  I love the smell of freshly baked bread in the house, there’s nothing quite like it. (ok, except maybe cookies baking…we’ll call it a tie).  Regardless, I found this online yesterday and HAD to try it!

Now because I didn’t want two huge loaves of bread in the house, and my yeast is a little older then it should be (another great excuse for me to finally use up that jar in the fridge!) I had to modify the recipe a bit. But overall, I was really impressed.

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 heaping tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 heaping tbsp quick rise active yeast
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 c. hot tap water (a few tbsp extra just in case)

Lets go!

  1. Turn the oven on to 200F
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, salt and yeast for a few seconds to make sure everything is well dispersed
  3. Add the oil and hot water and use the dough hook on your beater (or like me, I couldn’t find mine, so I used one regular beater…) Mix for a few minutes. Feel free to get your hands in there to help move it along.  Dough should be sticky, so if its too dry add a tbsp or more of the hot tap water and keep mixing (beater/hands)
  4. Take the dough out of the bowl and gently knead with your hands for a minute (a few quick folds)
  5. Separate into two mini loaves (mine were super cute)
  6. Form into loaves and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet
  7. Turn the oven off, place the loaves on their cookie sheet with a tea towel over them and leave the door slightly ajar. (I find this easier to help the dough rise, especially in our cold winter months)
  8. Leave for about 25 minutes
  9. Take out of the oven and leave to stand
  10. Pre-heat the oven again to 350F
  11. Cut slashed into the top of the loaves to help it breathe
  12. Brush loaves with melted butter for a wash finish and leaves a nice salty taste on the crust (my fav)
  13. Once heated, place the loaves back in oven without the tea towel for about 25 minutes or until a nice golden colour and when tapped they have that hollow sound. Mine ended up being two adorable little 8 inch loaves.
  14. Let cool, and then ENJOY!
(I won’t lie, I ate half a warm loaf last night by myself… I couldn’t stop. SO good! and the whole thing took me less than an hour!)
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Healthy Homemade Turkey Meatballs

Craving meatballs, but don’t want to added fat and empty calories of pasta, sauce AND the often time greasy meatballs, plus oodles of Parmesan cheese??  Well, I have an easy solution that uses lean ground turkey for a healthy option for this classic weekday supper. Its easy and fast enough to pull together and get on the table before the “hangry” side of myself comes out.

So hold on for the ride, and learn to make this easy healthy nutritious turkey meatball!

Meatball ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg lean ground turkey
  • 1 jar tomato sauce
  • 2-3 carrots (peeled and shredded)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. quick oats
  • 1/2 c. parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning/basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper

Step-by-Step:

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Quickly grease a baking sheet (I spray with a cooking spray cause its easy, and I like easy).
  • Combine ALL the ingredients in a glass bowl and smash together with your clean hands.  Really get in there and mash up all the stuff, making sure to mix thoroughly.
  • Form 24 equal sized balls and place on greased baking sheet.
  • Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes.
  • Place water on to boil for pasta (I prefer to use rice pasta or other gluten-free pastas). Cook pasta as you normally would. 🙂
  • Place tomato sauce in a mid-sized pot and place on low heat.
  • Place cooked meatballs in the tomato sauce, stir gently to cover and let simmer on low/medium heat with the lid on.  Stirring every couple of minutes just to keep everything moving.
  • When your pasta is done, and your meatballs have been in the warm sauce for at least 20 minutes, drain the pasta and serve!  Garnish with more parmesan or fresh basil.
  • Enjoy!!!

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Yummy Healthy Trailmix

Looking for a healthy trail mix to take to work that’ll help limit your sugar cravings and your daily run to the vending machine? I’ve found this to be incredibly delicious, easy to make and can last me all week (eating a spoonful at a time a few times a day).

Trail MixIngredients:

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 c. almonds (dry roasted, no salt added)
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 2 tbsp craisins (dried cranberries)
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp gluten/sugar free mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c. goji berries (wolfberries)

Trail Mix ingredientsPut the coconut oil in a 2 cup glass container (I prefer glass, but you could use plastic), place in the microwave for a couple of seconds until it softens up a bit (makes it easier for stirring/coating). Add almonds, shredded coconut, raisins, craisins, goji berries and stir until well mixed.  The coconut oil helps everything stick together and nicely coats everything. Yum!

If the glass heated up too much while softening the oil, let it sit for a bit before adding the cacao nibs and chocolate chips because you wouldn’t want them to melt!  Once everything is mixed together and looks good, go ahead and store and eat.  I usually eat a teaspoon at a time maybe 2-3 times a day to help with snack cravings. And the hint of sweetness really helps my sweet tooth!

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Healthy Carrot Muffins

Happy New Year!  Hard to believe its 2015 already…so of course I’m already baking. I’ve made these a few times now and everytime I add something or take away something else from the recipe, but I think I’ve got it down now.  So enjoy!IMG_0433

What you need to have in your kitchen:

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3 c. shredded carrots (I needed about 9-10 small skinny carrots, but keep in mind that if you have larger carrots you won’t need to shred as many!)

And now the fun begins!

Preheat oven to 350F. (this recipe comes together pretty quick – unless you forget to shred your carrots ahead of time – like I always do)

In a large bowl sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flax

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THEN, use another small bowl (or in my case a large glass measuring cup), combine eggs, oil, applesauce and brown sugar.  Give it a good stir to make sure all the wet ingredients are well mixed

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Pour the wet into the dry and mix. Making sure not to over mix as it can make the batter a little tough, mix just enough to moisten the batter.  Add in your mountain of shredded carrots

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Spoon into muffin liners and they’re good to go in the oven! (you could also lightly oil the pans with oil/butter, but I don’t like the extra oil it adds to muffin recipes. AND I somehow had Ariel muffin liners on the shelf! Special treat for me indeed!)  Fill the muffin tin about 3/4 full.  I got a full two pans out of this recipe so 24 muffins altogether.  Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350 F oven.  Keep an eye on them to prevent burning as everyone’s oven is a little different.  I chose to freeze half of them so they’d keep longer too 🙂

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Chewy Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Craisin White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wow!  That’s a mouthful! I guess it really just is my oatmeal cookie recipe with other add in’s, but still. Its more fun with longer titles.  These are easy and simply delicious (and moderately healthy because its got oatmeal in it…right??)

I really do have a problem with baking cookies.  Some weeks more than others.  And really, who doesn’t like things like chocolate, cinnamon and other yummies? Makes it a easy sale for me.  I can whip these up pretty quickly so I’d consider them really easy and not very time consuming.  You could always double the batch too 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½  tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt (I never measure salt, so this is my guess)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¾ cup butter (softened)
  • 1 heaping c. brown sugar (the more the merrier-AND chewier!)
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract (again, the more the merrier, I seriously love the smell of this stuff)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups rolled or quick oats (I used quick oats)
  • 1cup. raisins
  • ½ cup craisins
  • ½ cup (or more) white chocolate chips, but really any chocolate chips could work here.

 Recipe:

In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and set aside.

Soften the butter in a large bowl (don’t melt it, but you can soften it up with a few seconds in the microwave).  Add the brown and white sugar to the butter and mix together until well combined.

Add in the vanilla and the egg to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until creamy and light.

Slowly add in the flour mixture and keep stirring. If the dough is super sticky you can add a bit more flour.  Once there are no remnants of flour lingering around the bowl, add in the oatmeal, raisins, craisins and white chocolate chips and stir to incorporate all the ingredients.  Stir until well mixed, or just until there are little bits of the good stuff throughout the dough.

Roll in your palms a heaping tablespoon and drop onto cookie sheet. My perfect cookie comes from the Panderno sheets with the air-pocket underneath it for even cooking, worth the investment I promise. Slightly press the ball of dough to flatten just a little. The balls I make are maybe the size of a golf ball or slightly bigger (to give you a reference point)

Bake at 325F for 10-12 minutes. Until the edges of each cookie are browning, but the middle is still soft and doughy. Wait a minute to transfer the warm cookie to the cooling rack, as they might try to fall apart. Be strong, and don’t let them. Makes about 2 dozen, depending on how big you make the cookies. Remember, if you make them smaller, they won’t need as long in the oven.

Enjoy them while they last. I always find these don’t last very long in my kitchen…!