Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating. And I love recipes that are quick and simple. Here’s one of my new favorites. It serves 2.
C’mon now, don’t wrinkle your nose until you’ve tried it. It is velvety smooth and delicious. I use the acorn squash, scientific name is Cucurbita pepo – turbinate. Originating in North and Central America. historically this squash was used by the Native Americans. It is a fruit of which the seeds were taken by European explorers and spread throughout the world.
Acorn squash is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and other B-family vitamins. It has a wealth of minerals including potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, and calcium. The raw fruit is difficult to peel and I find it easiest to slice it and then steam the slices until tender, cool, and then peel.
The other nutrient-laden ingredient in this soup is the sweet potato. This tuber is rich in flavonoid phenolic compounds, powerful natural antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and vitamin A. Also in sweet potatoes are vitamin B-5, B-6, B-1, niacin, and riboflavin in addition to iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.
Not only is this soup good eating, it is a powerhouse of nutrients.
Here are the ingredients
- 1/2 medium size acorn squash, deep green in color, sliced and steamed until tender.
- 1/2 medium size sweet potato peeled and diced
- 1 clove garlic smashed
- 1/2 tsp chopped jalapeno
- 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth or combination of both
- 4 TBSP butter
- salt to taste
- grated fresh nutmeg
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat
- Add the diced sweet potato
- Peel the cooled acorn squash and add to the saucepan
- Stir, then add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno
- Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes
- Add 2 cups of the broth
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the ingredients are fork tender
- Carefully pour the hot soup into a blender and puree
- Return the mixture to the cook pot, add the rest of the broth
- Blend well and again simmer to a smooth, velvety texture
- Serve in soup bowls and grate fresh nutmeg atop each serving.
If the soup cooks down too much to an overly thick consistency, just add more broth or water.
Kale is a member of the cabbage family Brassica oleracea. Of all the super healthy greens, kale is acclaimed as king. Some of the beneficial compounds in kale have powerful medicinal properties.
A single cup of raw kale ( 2.4 ounces) contains:
- 206% of DV of vitamin A (daily required value)
- 684% of DV of vitamin K
- 134% of vitamin C
- 9% of vitamin B-6
- 26% of manganese
- 9% of calcium
- 10% of copper
- 9% of potassium
- 6% of magnesium
This 2.4 ounces also contains 3% or more of DV for thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron, and phosphorous. This nutrient dense green contains very little fat, but that fat is mostly the healthy omega-3. And it pumps another 3 grams of protein into your diet.
Red beans, also known as Mexican red beans, are nutrition dynamos. They are rich in antioxidants and packed with protein, folate, minerals, and fiber including resistant starch. Resistant starch boosts the body’s ability to burn fat, aids the full feeling, and controls blood sugar. A 1/2 cup serving will provide 90 calories and 7 grams of protein.
Great Northern beans per 1/2 cup serving contain 104 calories, and provide 6.2 grams or 25% of fiber DV plus a little over 7 grams of protein. They are rich in vitamin B-6 and are dense in minerals and amino acids.
I love using dry beans in cooking. They have a better flavor and are much less expensive. The process of a soak is easily manageable when planned ahead of time. My favorite soak method is to place the desired amount of beans in a heavy cookpot, cover with water, bring to a boil for three minutes, turn off the heat, cover with a lid and allow to sit for at least an hour. When ready to cook, drain and rinse, and cover with plenty of water or broth (at least 2 inches over the beans). Cook on slow simmer for an hour or until tender. Then you are ready to add the other soup ingredients.
here are the ingredients
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 8 cups fresh kale center ribs removed
- 2 cups fresh carrots sliced
- 2 tbs chopped fresh basil
- 2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup dry great northern or red beans
- 1 quart chicken broth or vegetable broth
- parmesan cheese to top soup when serving
- corn chips to accompany soup (optional)
- additional hot water as needed to keep it soup
- in heavy Dutch oven or heavy cook pot heat the olive oil
- when hot add the garlic, onion, ginger, and saute about 3 minutes
- add the carrots and stir, saute another 3 minutes
- add the chopped fresh herbs and kale, cover and allow the kale to wilt about 5 minutes
- stir well to mix everything and remove from pot
- add the drained and rinsed dried beans which have soaked for at least an hour
- add the broth and bring to a boil
- gently simmer for an hour
- when nearly tender, add the reserved kale, etc.
- cook at least 1/2 hour until the beans and vegetables are tender
- salt and pepper to taste
- if you like a thicker soup use a potato masher to lightly smash some of the ingredients – don’t overdo it
Serve in bowls and top with shredded parmesan and corn chips on the side
I’m sure I could spend the rest of my life eating Grandma’s chicken and corn soup and be a completely satisfied man. She always used dark meat chicken for more flavor, but it is equally delicious using chicken breast. This main course soup is a budget stretcher which complements any shopping list. Add some chopped escarole and you’ve created a health dynamo. If escarole is not available at your grocery, curly endive, a cousin of escarole, will work just as well.
Escarole has no fat. One and one-half cups of chopped escarole has only 15 calories, 1 gram of protein and 3 grams of carbohydrates. It adds 5.2% to 8% of your recommended daily consumption of fiber which is a critical component of bowel health decreasing risk of constipation, diarrhea and diverticulitis. We all know that adequate fiber will satisfy hunger with fewer calories, but to avoid bloating and gas work up slowly to an amount of 25 to 38 grams daily.
But wait, there’s more. This one serving of 1 1/2 cups of escarole supplies 30% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 4% of your DRV of iron and calcium. A shortage of iron may cause you to feel tired, dizzy and headachy. We all know the importance of calcium, don’t we? Yeah, strong teeth and bones. healthfully.com
here are the ingredients
- 3 TBS olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 4 chicken legs and thighs or 2 breasts ( or a combination of dark and white meat, it’s up to you whether to use the skin in cooking, I believe it adds additional flavor, but also calories and fat)
- about 4 cups chopped escarole (Grandma never used greens other than fresh parsley and it was just as delicious)
- 3 ears fresh corn, kernels removed from cob or 2 cups frozen corn
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 3 hard boiled eggs sliced
- a sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 3 TBS chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- heat the olive oil in a stew pot or Dutch oven
- add the onions and garlic
- cook until translucent being careful not to scorch the garlic
- remove from the pot and reserve for later
- add the chicken legs, thighs, breast
- saute in the oil until lightly golden
- add enough broth to cover the chicken pieces and bring to boil
- immediately reduce the heat to a slow simmer, cover the pot
- cook on low heat about 30-45 minutes adding more broth if needed
- remove chicken from pot, set in bowl to cool
- add the greens, herbs, corn, and rest of the broth
- bring to a boil
- reduce heat to simmer and cover the pot
- cook about 15 minutes
- while that is cooking, skin and debone the chicken pieces
- tear meat into bite-sized pieces
- add the chicken and reserved onions and garlic to the soup
- add more broth or hot water if necessary to keep it soup
- season with salt and pepper
- ladle into bowls and top with the sliced hard-boiled eggs