Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

This crock pot meal takes bout 10 minutes of prep time and the incredible smell all day will drive you crazy! It’s easy, nutritious, and makes at least 8 servings at less than 300 calories per bowl…of course, that depends on what you like to put on top – some ideas are, diced avocado, raw onions, shredded cheese, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), tortilla strips, or crushed corn chips…..

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

Enchilada Soup

 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 /14 cups red enchilada sauce (store bought – or even better try the recipe below – very easy, healthy, and less expensive!)
1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 – 14 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 – 15 oz can creamed corn, no salt added
1 – 4 oz can diced green chilies
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Add all ingredients – except chicken breasts – to a your crock pot; mix well. Submerge chicken breasts into the soup. Cover and cook for 6 – 8 hours on low. About a half hour or so before you are ready to eat, remove the chicken from the crock pot and use two forks to shred it; add it back to the soup, stir to combine, and let it cook for another half hour.

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

1 chipotle pepper, plus 1 Tablespoon of the adobo sauce (the stuff the chipotle come packed in)
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, low sodium
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 – 8 oz can tomato sauce, no salt added
4 Tablespoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Combine the chipolte pepper, adobo sauce, and 1/2 cup of chicken stock in a blender or food processor. Blend until completely smooth, with no solids remaining.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the four and whisk for 1 minute (being careful no to let it stick to the bottom). Add the tomato sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and onion powder. Continue to whisk and add in the chipolte pepper mixture. Once the everything is totally combined and smooth; add in the chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time; whisking continuously to make sure you don’t get any lumps. Keep whisking until the sauce is just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. You can use this immediately or let it cool and refrigerate it or freeze it.

This recipe makes almost exactly enough for 3 batches of the Enchilada Soup recipe above. I usually make this and use one serving for the soup and then freeze the rest in two equal portions – so the next time I want to make this soup, I just grab one from the freezer and I’m good to go!

 

 

Turkey Bar-B-Q – Slow Cooker

1 – 1/2 lb. turkey tenderloin
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt-free lemon pepper seasoning
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth (you can substitute water, if desired)

Spray the insert of the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place the tenderloin in the bottom in a single layer. Combine the remaining ingredients together in a small box and mix well; pour sauce over turkey. Cover and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours. About a half hour before it is ready, remove the cover and shred the turkey with a large spoon or 2 forks; replace the cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

This is great on toasted whole wheat buns or even served over whole wheat noodles!

 

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
2 cups potatoes, cubed (I use either red or Yukon gold and do not peel them)
2 cups carrots, sliced (I use baby carrots and quarter them)

½ Tablespoon olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons butter (I use Smart Balance Light with Flax)
2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 cups skim milk
1 ¼ teaspoons poultry seasoning – divided (I use Bell Seasoning)

1 cup frozen peas

Spray a slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken, potatoes, and carrots into the slow cooker; sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the poultry seasoning. In a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and onions; saute for about 5 miinutes and then add the garlic and saute for another 1 – 2 minutes. Add the onion mixutre to the chicken and veggies. Turn up the heat under the pan to medium and add the butter. When the butter is mostly melted sprinkle in the flour and 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning; using a wire whisk, mix well. You will have what looks like crumbs in the pan. Let this cook for about 2 minutes, keeping everything moving and letting the pan get fairly hot. Start adding the milk a little at a time, whisking well after each addition and making sure everything is smooth; letting the pan heat back up again before adding the next milk addition (this will help the sauce stay smooth and lump free). Pour this sauce over the chicken and veggies and mix well.

Cover, and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours. At approximately 7 ½ hours add the frozen peas, replace the lid and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

 

 

Mexican Shepherd’s Pie

This is a really easy and yummy variation of traditional Shepherd’s Pie using ground turkey, jalapenos, Mexican spices, beans, and corn; topped off with cheesy cornbread instead of mashed potatoes! When I serve it, I like to top it with plain Greek yogurt and avocado slices  😉

Mexican Shepherd’s Pie

Mexican Shepherds Pie
Mexican Shepherds Pie

1-1/2 lbs. ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small jalapenos, minced
1 Tablespoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1 – 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 – 15 oz. can black beans, drained
1 – 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, no salt added
1 – 13 oz. can creamed corn, no salt added
1 cup frozen corn
1 – 8 oz. can tomato sauce, no salt added

Cheesy Corn Bread:

1 cup whole grain cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup skim milk
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup of egg substitute)
1/2 cup canola oil
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450° Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Brown ground turkey over medium heat, when it’s about 3/4 done; add onion and continue cooking until the turkey is cooked through and the onions are soft. Add garlic and jalapenos to the pan and saute for a few minutes; until the garlic is slightly soft (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add the spices and mix well. Add the beans, corn (both types), tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Mix well.

Combine all cornbread ingredients in a bowl and stir until mostly smooth ( a few lumps are ok).

Pour turkey mixture into prepared pan, top with cornbread. Spread the cornbread evenly over the turkey mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cornbread is golden brown.

 

Section 1. ****VARIATION — Using Leftover Tacos!! ****

My “Healthy Tacos” recipe makes a TON of food; if you don’t have an army to feed, you probably have a big pan of left overs after this meal. What to do…. “Taco Pie” is a great option – but so is Mexican Shepard’s Pie. Here are the super simple instructions:

Ingredients:

Leftover Taco Mixture
1 – 15 oz. can black beans, drained (you can also use chick peas as a substitute)
1 – 13 oz. can creamed corn, no salt added
1/3 cup Salsa (any Salsa you have on hand)

Cheesy Corn Bread (recipe above)


If you don’t like corn bread or can’t eat corn, make Cheesy Drop Biscuits:

Ingredients:

2 Cups Whole Wheat Baking Mix (I use Hodgson Mill Insta-Bake Mix – click here)
1 Tablespoon Butter
2/3 Cup Shredded Cheese (any kind you like, I use sharp cheddar)
2 Tablespoons diced jalepenos
1 Cup Skim Milk
Oven temperature should be at 425° and the baking time will be approximately 14 – 18 minutes with this variation.

Place baking mix in large bowl, cut in butter using a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add cheese, jalepenos, and milk; mix well. Drop by large tablespoons over the taco mixture – do not spread, but make them somewhat close together to cover as much of the top as possible.

 

Preheat oven to 450°; spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Place taco mixture into a large frying pan, add beans, creamed corn, and salsa; mix well over medium heat until heated through. Meanwhile make Cheesy Corn Bread; set aside. Pour heated taco mixture into prepared pan; spread evenly. Top with Cornbread and spread evenly over taco mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cornbread is golden brown.

 

 

 

Taco Pie

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted! Life and work just keep getting in my way! A few weeks ago it was one of those nights when I’d stayed too late in my office and I had very little time to make a yummy, healthy dinner. I peered into the frig hoping for some inspiration and it hit me! I had a bunch of leftover taco mixture (check out his delicious and healthy recipes for tacos) 🙂 Taco Pie! So simple – so tasty – so quick! Just what I needed!

 

Taco Pie

1 – 100% whole wheat pie crust (I use Wholly Wholesome from Whole Foods
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 – 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 – 8 oz. can tomato sauce, no salt added
3 -4 cups left over taco mixture (recipe here – trust me, unless you fed an army, you will have left overs from this recipe!)
2/3 cup low fat Mexican cheese blend- divided (I use Trader Joe’s Shredded Lite Mexican Blend)
3 -4 left over taco shells, coarsely crushed (I use Trader Joe’s Shells – only 3 ingredients!)

Preheat oven to 375°

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add black beans saute for 3 – 4 minutes; as they start to get warm you want to mush them up a bit. Add the tomato sauce, taco mixture, and 1/3 cup of cheese. Blend well and heat through. Pour everything into your pie crust. Spread crushed taco shells over the top and then sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 cup of cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Serve with your favorite salsa and plain fat free yogurt (or sour cream). 🙂

Chicken Pot Pie

I am finally getting back to cooking after my accident and I’m just realizing how much I missed it! Don’t get me wrong I don’t mean that we’ve been eating restaurant food or pre-packaged crap, I just haven’t been up to trying new recipes 😉

Last week I cooked a delicious roasted chicken with veggies. To make it simple, yummy and quick clean up, I place the chicken in a roasting pan, give it a through massage with olive oil, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, and rosemary; then place chopped up veggies (potatoes, carrots, onions, celery and garlic) all around it, spray with a little olive oil, sprinkle with more of the same spices. Pop it in a 350° oven for 15 per pound and you have a heavenly meal 🙂

The best part is that we had a ton of leftovers….what to do, what to do! An amazing lunch the next day used up the remaining veggies, but we still had a ton of chicken. How about a chicken pot pie??

Chicken Pot Pie


2 whole wheat pie crusts (I use Wholly Wholesome from Whole Foods)

2 teaspoon olive oil
3 large potatoes, diced
1 – 1/2 cups baby carrots, cut into quarters
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1  -1/2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
2-3 cups leftover roasted chicken, diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tablespoon Smart Balance
1 Tablespoon whole wheat flour
2 cups skim milk

Preheat oven to 400°

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic; season with the herbs and spices. Saute until the onion and garlic are soft. Add the chicken broth (you want just enough to cover the veggies – you might need a little less or a little more depending on the size of your skillet), turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Turn the heat back to medium-high and simmer until the carrots are just soft and most of liquid is absorbed. Add the cooked chicken and frozen peas; mix well. Remove all to a platter and keep warm. Add the Smart Balance to the skillet and get it melting. Add the flour and get it well incorporated into the melted butter. Using a whisk, slowly add the milk and keep whisking, over medium-high heat, until you have a smooth, thickened gravy. Add the veggies and chicken back to the pan with the gravy and mix well. Pour all into the pie crust, top with second crust; crimp the edges together and spray lightly with olive oil. Bake in pre-heated oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Stuffed Turkey Burgers – 140

Last night was one of those  “I can’t decide what I want for dinner” nights. My son, Josh, was visiting so I asked him to decide (this way I don’t have to 😉 ). He said “How about burgers, maybe stuffed with some kind of cheese”? Well…that sounded pretty good.

Of course, if you read my blogs very often, you’ll know that I don’t eat red meat so these burgers would be turkey burgers. I always use 99% fat free ground turkey which can be dry when fully cooked (who wants a rare turkey burger 🙁 ), so I’m always trying out ideas to “kick them up a notch”. I looked in the fridge and found that I had fat-free feta, mozzarella, and cream cheese – a good start; then I noticed that I also had some roasted red peppers from our most recent trip to Whole Foods – that will do it! When the burgers were almost done, I realized that I was out of my favorite sandwich rounds that I usually use in place of buns; but I did have some Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat Thin Sliced Bagels – that works!

My son loved them and my husband says they are the best turkey burgers he’s ever tasted….let me know what you all think!

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Stuffed Turkey Burgers

 

4 -100% whole wheat thin sliced bagels
1/2 cup fat-free feta cheese crumbles
1/4 cup low-fat mozzarella, shredded
2 Tablespoons fat-free cream cheese
1 medium roasted red pepper, cut into pieces
1 Tablespoon plain fat-free yogurt
1 – 1/4 lbs. 99% fat-free ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Place the feta, mozzarella, cream cheese, red pepper pieces and the yogurt into a food processor and process until well blended (you might need to add a little more yogurt to get it to all process smoothly). You want to end up with a thick mixture that holds together. Set aside in a small bowl. (This amount made more than I needed for the four burgers, so I set aside the rest of it and spread it on top of the cooked burgers.)

Place the ground turkey in a large bowl, add the garlic powder, onion flakes, basil and vinegar; blend well. Press the mixture into an even ball in the bottom of the bowl; score into four even sections. Take one section at a time and break that into two even pieces, form each piece into a flat patty and place onto a plate. Take a couple of spoons of the cheese filling and spread onto one patty; top with another patty and press the edges together well.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add the stuffed burgers and cook 4 – 6 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Top with some of the extra cheese mixture and serve on toasted bagel thins.

 

 


Quick ‘n Easy Chicken Parm – 144

My son came over the other night to watch the Celtics play off game against the Nicks. Just like during football season, we like to DVR the game and watch it without commercials (who wants to watch commercials?). While we were waiting for the recording to get to a point where we wouldn’t “catch up” to it by fast forwarding; we had time to listen to some albums (yes, actual vinyl) and cook a great dinner. I was still recovering from my cold and I was going to just make a quick Chinese stir-fry, but my son suggested “how about chicken parm?”. What a great idea! I hadn’t made it in a long time and my blog is in dire need of some new recipes- perfect! It came together super fast and before you know it we were enjoying an awesome meal and a great Celtics play off win 🙂

 

Quick ‘n Easy Chicken Parm

1 – lb. 99% fat-free chicken breast, cut into “finger” like strips
1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 Tablespoon grated, low-fat Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped
1 – 12 oz. package sliced Portobello mushrooms
2 – 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
3 – 8 oz. cans tomato sauce, no salt added
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 Tablespoons grated, low-fat Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup fat-free Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 – 16 oz. package of any 100% whole wheat pasta (I used Rotini), cooked according to package directions – no salt)

 

Preheat oven to 425°. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the garlic, onion and mushrooms until soft and lightly browned. (**note** my awesome sous chef is very particular about prepping our chicken, he makes sure that only the best pieces are cut for the recipes and any yucky fat or unpleasant looking veins and tendons are cut out. Sometimes this means that along with these perfect “finger” size strips, I also get some small pieces that don’t really work for breading and baking. This happened with this meal, so I jut took all of the small pieces and sauteed them with the veggies – problem solved!) Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil and oregano. Cook for several more minutes, until hot and bubbly. Add 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese and stir until well combined.

While the sauce is simmering, place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Combine break crumbs and 2 Tablespoons Parmesan on a plate. Dip chicken pieces in egg and then dredge in bread crumb mixture. Place chicken on the rack. Bake in oven for approximately 10 – 14 minutes. When done; top with shredded Mozzarella and cook for a couple of more minutes, just until the cheese melts.

Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta (reserving some sauce for the chicken) and mix well. Serve with chicken strips on the side top each piece with some reserved tomato sauce.


Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Burgers – 145

First I have to apologize for being so behind in my postings! The Tuesday after the Rhett show in Darien, GA I woke up with a terrible cold. This was the first cold I’ve had in almost 3 years and it really kicked my butt. That, coupled with helping Eric launch his new book AND keeping up with website work – I haven’t been cooking many new meals 🙁 On a happy note – Eric’s book was officially published last week – click here to read all about it and get your own copy 🙂

Enough with the excuses – let’s get to the food! I love buffalo anything (think buffalo hot wings, not the big hairy animal that roams 😉 ) – so I came up with this variation of a ground chicken (or turkey) burger, hot buffalo sauce on the outside, stuffed with a creamy blue cheese filling….Amazing!!

Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Burgers

1 lb. 99% fat-free ground chicken (or turkey)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup fat-free bleu cheese
4 Tablespoons fat-free cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 cup hot buffalo sauce (I use Frank’s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Combine the ground chicken, cayenne, chili powder, and garlic powder in a bowl; mix well. Form into 8 very thin burgers; place onto a plate. Combine the bleu cheese, cream cheese, and onion powder in a food processor and blend well. Divide the bleu cheese mixture into 4 equal portions and place onto each of the 4 chicken burgers, place an additional burger on top and squish together well. Heat a skillet to medium-high and spray with butter flavor cooking spray. Place your stuffed burgers into the hot pan and brown well on each side, lower the heat to medium and continue cooking until cooked through (nobody wants a rare chicken burger!). When the burgers are done, pour the hot sauce over the burgers and flip them a couple of times, really coating them well with the sauce. Place onto 100% whole wheat buns (I really like Arnold’s Sandwich Thins). Serve them with some delicious oven roasted “fries” and you’ll be thanking me later!!

Pasta Sauce – 147

Last week a friend of mine posted a comment on facebook that she was cooking a big “gravy” (apparently that is Italian for “sauce”) complete with meatballs and sausage. This sounded pretty good to me, not too healthy ( 🙄 ), but good. Also, since I don’t eat beef or pork I would be leaving that out. I love all types of pasta (again as my friend pointed out – all pasta is actually “macaroni”) and a fresh homemade sauce sounded like dinner! Since I’m Irish/French and Eric is Italian/French and we’re both into eating healthy; this sauce was going to be a combo of Italian/French/Mediterranean/P90X. I prefer my sauce to be more “chuncky-saucy” and less “gravy” so my first step was to enlist my favorite prep cook to chop up some veggies. I also don’t add salt or products containing salt (whenever I can avoid it) to anything, so I am forced to use small cans of tomato sauce. It’s a pain and very wasteful. If anyone knows where I can get no-salt added tomato sauce in cans larger than 8 oz. I will give you a free copy of this cookbook when it’s finished!

Pasta Sauce

 

1 – 1/4 lbs. 99% fat-free ground turkey
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground savory
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon oregano
3/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
4 – 8 oz. cans no-salt added tomato sauce
5 cans no-salt added diced tomatoes

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the ground turkey, season with next 9 ingredients and saute until cooked through and nicely browned. In the meantime, in a very large skillet or dutch oven; heat the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil and add the garlic, onion, mushrooms, and peppers; season with the next 4 ingredients. Saute until the peppers are tender crisp. Add the 4 cans of tomato sauce and 2 cans of the diced tomateos. Place the remaining 3 cans of tomatoes into a blender or food processor and puree them (if I could buy tomato puree with no salt I could eliminate this step). Add the tomato puree to the veggie mixture and blend. Once the turkey is done, add that to the tomato/veggie mixure and mix well. Turn heat to very low and simmer for as long as you can stand it (the smell will be making you crazy 🙂 ). Cook up some whole wheat “macaroni” (pasta) of your choice and enjoy! This makes a TON of sauce, so for the next week or so I’m making Pizza’s, Lasagne, more pasta….yummy!