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!

 

 

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.

 

 

Curried Lentil Soup

This is a delicious – meatless soup full of protein, fiber, and flavor! Just throw it together into a slow cooker and at the end of the day you have an amazing meal…fair warning….if you are going to be home all day, the smell is going to drive you crazy!!

Curried Lentil Soup

2 cups lentils rinsed
1 can – 15 1/2 oz. diced tomatoes, no salt added
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
3 bay leaves

Place all ingredients into a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Stir really well to combine. Cover. Cook on low 8 to 10 hours or high for 4 to 5 hours or until lentils are tender. Yum 🙂

 

 

Chicken Curry Soup – 142

Last weekend Eric and I went to our favorite book store in Nashville, McKay’s Used Books. It is the best place to spend a few hours, spend very little money and come home with a ton of fun. They have used DVDs, books, audio books, video games, and (Eric’s favorite) vinyl albums. He usually spends the entire time browsing through the albums and I divide my time between DVDs and books.

This particular outing we totally scored. Eric got the Beatles 1962-1966 double album for $9.95 (the most he’s ever spent for an album there), a Bad Company for .50¢, Queen for .68¢, Simon & Garfunkel live in Central Park for $4.95 and several others, . I got a 5 DVD set of a World War II documentary and a 4 DVD set of Elvis movies for less than $10. My best value was two giant, full-color cookbooks from the early 90’s for .25¢ each.

When we got home I immediately started looking for some new recipe ideas (with the Beatles playing in the background, of course). I found so many! I kept turning the pages and finding really interesting ideas. I marked all the pages where I found things I wanted to try and then I went back and looked for something I could make for dinner based on the ingredients I had on hand. I settled on a Curried Soup. As usual, I liked elements of the recipe, but I wanted to “make it my own”. I already had some chicken breast in the fridge and some great fresh organic broccoli from our last trip to Whole Foods. I ended up with a delicious Chicken Curry Soup. I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think!

Chicken Curry Soup

 

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 – lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onion, sliced
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 medium head broccoli florets
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
5 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
2 cups cooked brown rice (I use Success brown rice, in a bag – 1 bag = 2 cups)

In a medium skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat; add the diced chicken and season with black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of curry powder. Saute until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Add carrots, garlic, onion, red pepper, and broccoli to skillet; season with 2 teaspoons curry powder, the coriander and cumin. Saute for  5 – 6 minutes until onion is soft. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes (until veggies are done to your liking – you don’t want them mushy). Stir in the cooked chicken and rice; simmer for an additional few minutes to mingle the flavors. YUM 🙂

Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Soup – 154

It seems like everyone I talk to lately says a variation of  “I’m sick of this snow and cold weather!”. I know that those of you in the northeast have gotten more than your share so far this year. For me, living in Tennessee but having grown up in the northeast, I’m loving it 🙂 We have had six snow “storms” since winter officially began, none of which produced more than a few inches at a time. Our most recent “storm” was Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and although it was beautiful; it did result in my having to postpone the appointment I had scheduled with the surgeon. I will have to wait one more week to find out what’s up. Those of you who have grown up with real snowstorms will laugh at the photos below and the fact that our town (actually our state) basically shuts down over anything more than a half inch or so.

Anyway, all of this cold, snowy weather makes me want to cook hot soup! So here is – a really yummy, creamy, good-for-you, easy to make soup 😉

Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Soup

 

1 Tablespoon olive oil
12 oz. boneless, skinless, chicken breast, cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cups broccoli florets
3 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups skim milk
1/3 cup low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup low-fat blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup low-fat Swiss cheese, shredded

Heat olive oil in large dutch oven. Add chicken, season with pepper, garlic powder, basil, sage and saute until the golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken and keep warm.  Spray the same pan with fat free butter flavor cooking spray; add garlic and onion to the pan and cook until the onions are just slightly soft. Add broccoli and saute for 2 – 3  more minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 7 – 8 minutes (until broccoli is done). Remove 2 cups of broccoli mixture and place in a bowl to cool (I like to pop the bowl into the freezer to speed up this process). Add the milk to the pan; when the milk is hot (do not boil) whisk in the cheeses and continue stirring until melted. Take the reserved  broccoli mixture from the freezer and place into a blender or food processor; process until smooth and then add back into soup. Mix in the cooked chicken and cook for a few minutes to heat everything and blend the flavors. That’s it!

Chicken Corn Chowder – 162

What is better than a delicious, creamy, hot chowder on a cold night? How about a delicious, creamy, hot, healthy chowder on a very cold night? Coming right up….. 🙂

Chicken Corn Chowder

2 teaspoons margarine (I use Smart Balance Light)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, cut into cubes
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 – 5 red potatoes, diced
3 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
2 – 1/2 cups skim milk
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 – 14 oz. can no-salt added creamed corn
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn

Heat margarine and olive oil in large dutch oven over medium-high heat, add chicken, onion, and garlic; saute until chicken starts to brown. Season with sage, basil, thyme, rosemary and black pepper. Add potatoes, mix well. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Add most of the milk; reserve about 1/4 cup, increase heat and bring to a fast simmer. Mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup of reserved milk and stir into chowder. Mix well and stir until thickened. Add corn and heat for an additional 1 – 2 minutes.