It’s a soup kind of day

The sore throat and cough I’ve had with this cold, have necessitated a lot of soup consumption. Luckily, I’m a big fan of soup. Right now, I’m eating cream of potato with bacon. My lunch, a Santa Fe salad from Chop’t, was a total bust. The dressing had way too much vinegar and made the whole thing pretty much inedible. Note to self: Never get the Spa Dijon again. A bad lunch is one reason for having soup. I also was having a coughing fit and needed something hot to help soothe my throat. I couldn’t bear another cup of tea. Even though I’m sick and need all the energy I can get, I’m trying to be mindful of my calorie intake. I’ve been very sedentary and I’m not exercising. Soups, much like salads are an item that most people taken for granted as healthy. While many soups do have a great deal of nutritional value, many are fatty, salty and highly caloric. As with anything else, you should evaluate nutrition information on a case-by-case basis. Some versions are healthier than others. Ingredients make all the difference. Cream-based soups raise an obvious red flag (cream of potato, I love you!), but can still be enjoyed in moderation. Broth-based soups are often the more waistline-friendly choice, but not always. High levels of sodium can cause bloat and dehydration. Chili often has a good deal of protein (both vegetarian and meat varieties), but can get bogged down with cheese. Oh and watch those Oyster crackers! Like croutons, don’t go overboard. Three take-aways: hearty= healthy (meaning the more veggies, beans and lean meats the better), homemade is always better than canned and read labels. Your taste buds and your thighs will thank you. Below are soup recipes that are so healthy and delicious, you might just want to have two servings (and that’s ok!). I’ve included the ingredients list. Click on the link to see the full recipe and nutrition analysis. Enjoy!

Tuscan White Bean Stew (I have a thing for cannellini beans)

Ingredients

For the croutons
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, quartered
1 slice whole-grain bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 cups dried cannellini or other white beans, picked over and rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus 6 sprigs
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or broth

Three-Bean Chili

Ingredients

3/4 cup each dried cannellini or red kidney beans, black beans and Anasazi beans, picked over and rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 large green bell peppers, roasted and seeded
2 large red or yellow bell peppers, roasted and seeded
3 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 tomatoes, peeled and seeded, then diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)
6 tablespoons shredded queso asadero or Monterey Jack cheese
2 green (spring) onions, including tender green tops, thinly sliced

Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Herb Toasts

Ingredients

8 slices whole-grain baguette, 1/2-inch thick

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
4 tomatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups 1 percent low-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Minestrone

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
1 carrot, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups fat-free, unsalted chicken broth
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1 can (16 ounces) canned chickpeas or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup uncooked small shell pasta
1 small zucchini, diced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

This recipe for chickpea and sausage soup looks great too!

Check out these sites for additional soup recipes:

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_soup_recipes

http://allrecipes.com//Recipes/soups-stews-and-chili/Main.aspx

http://www.drgourmet.com/recipes/soup/index.shtml

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