Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Paprika Chicken and Tortellini Soup

I've said this before,  but I truly am the queen of soup.  I'd eat soup for 3 meals a day,  granted if the soup choice was homemade and changed every meal.  Like good soup.  I don't like canned soup.  I'm a soup snob.  I just love the stuff.  One thing I specifically like is that it's a one pot wonder,  and it's always quick and easy.  Soup can simply be anything you have in the house,  or just a couple things from the store.  It's no fuss,  no muss.  

This version of tortellini soup is light in calories,  but very hardy. I have been tracking my macros (carbs, fat,  protein) for a couple weeks now in an order to lose this 25 pound love weight (GROSS).    So,  I did this soup with a ground chicken, but you could certainly use a ground beef or shredded chicken instead.  The ground chicken has less fat then the ground beef,  and my fat content is always a little too high from drinking milk and eating cheese.   I do recommend that you use a name brand ground chicken like Purdue.  For some reason the store brands smell funny when cooking.  Almost like a wet dog.  It's extremely unappetizing.    Maybe that's just me.

I also really enjoy cabbage in my soup because it adds more umph,  but if you are not a cabbage fan you could certainly omit it.    Add spinach or kale or whatever.  I am just partial to cabbage in my soups.

Lastly,  the not so secret punch here is smoked paprika.  Are you thinking I've gone off my rocker? Surely she is lying,  paprika does not have a place in soup.  No,  your wrong.  I ain't lying.  The smoked paprika is not spicy and does not add any heat,  but adds a nice color and earthiness to the soup.  I think the earthiness plays really well off of the vegetables,  ya dig?

I am also really partial to a fresh grated cheese on my soups.    You may be thinking that's way too expensive but let me break it down for you:  the flavor from fresh grated soup is out of this world.  Also,  a good block of fresh Romano cheese may cost between $10-$20,  but it will last for a long time.  I have been working off the same block of Romano cheese for over a month.  When I am done grating it over soup or pasta I simply put it back in a resealable zip lock bag and put it in the fridge.  When I am totally done with it,  I'll save the rind and throw it in the freezer.  Next time I make a soup I will take it out and throw it in the stock pot for the soup.   It adds a nice nutty cheese flavor to chicken stock.  Discard when done.  See there... $10-$20 for several months of use and every ounce of it can be used for something.

Paprika Chicken and Tortellini Soup
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook Time:  60 minutes
Serves: 5 (big servings--about 300 calories a serving)

1 lb ground chicken
1 lb baby carrots
1 small head green cabbage
2 small white onions
2 small garlic cloves
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp olive oil, divided
2 14.5 ounce cans of chicken broth
28 ounce can diced tomato
1 16 ounce fresh spinach tortellini 
Fresh grated Romano cheese for serving


1. In a large stock pot (with a lid you will need for later) heat 1 tsp of olive oil over medium high heat.

2.  Add ground chicken and begin to brown.

3. While the chicken is browning dice all of your vegetables--- garlic, onions, cabbage,  and carrots--- but keep them all separate.

4. Once the chicken is almost browned add the onions and garlic.  Add last tsp of olive oil to cook vegetables.

5. Season liberally with salt and pepper and add all seasonings-- except for sugar.

Allow the garlic and onions to soften, about 2 minutes. Once translucent add carrots and cabbage. Stir around and season again with salt and pepper.

6. Add in chicken stock and tomatoes.

7. Add 1 tsp of sugar and stir all ingredients together well.

8. Cover and allow to come to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to simmer.

9.  Allow to simmer together roughly 60 minutes.

10.  About 50 minutes into the hour add in tortellini making sure they are tucked down in the soup Cover with lid again and allow to cook for the last ten minutes.

11. Remove from heat and serve with a sprinkle of fresh grated cheese.  If it's for a group have your guests or kids grate the cheese over the soup themselves!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Roasted Lemon Parmesan Broccoli

Every time I don't blog for awhile,  I apologize.  Let me cut the bullshit here. I just need to get my act together.  I promise to do better.

I love grab and go snacks I don't have to heat up. Because of my job I drive all day long practically,  from one school to the next.  I love that about my job,  but the downside is definitely eating enough throughout the day.   I would go 5 or 6 hours without eating,  and end up binging either when I got home or something from a drive through on the way home.  In the last 8 months I've gained A LOT of weight, which is whole different blog post entirely.  
In the last couple of weeks I've definitely gotten it together with meal prep.  I was asking Talia last week for some high protein low fat snack suggestions,  because according to my Macro's my fat was too high everyday.  I was eating a lot of cheese and whole milk,  because they could be eaten on the go at a red light.  Then,  a light bulb went off,  this broccoli is killer hot or cold.  It's an easy pack and go as a cold snack,  added to a salad, or heated up as a side to a meat.  Calorie and fat content are low,  while flavor is high.  

It's an easy grab and go with your fingers,  or  sit and enjoy with a fork.  It's less then 5 ingredients, and its simple.  Also,  it's made up of almost entirely the things you have in your home!

Lemon Parmesan Broccoli
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 40-45 minutes
Serves: 4


Cooking spray or grease for the pan
3-4 pounds of broccoli
2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 1/2 lemons
The zest of 2 lemons (zest before you juice)
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (this makes all the difference)
liberal (big) pinches of salt and pepper


1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2.  While the oven is heating spray a large cast iron skillet or baking sheet with cooking spray.

3.  Remove the long stems of the broccoli,  but leave just enough stem where you can still pick each floret up by a small stem (in case you eat it with your fingers from the fridge...it's that good!!)

4.   Place broccoli on pan or in skillet and toss with oil,  and large pinches of salt and pepper.  Spread out evenly so the none of the broccoli is on top of each other.

5.  Place in heated oven and allow to cook for about 30 minutes,  then flip over and allow to cook an additional 10.  When totally done the broccoli should be brown, crispy, and roasted.

6.   While the broccoli is roasting finely grate pecorino romano cheese and lemon zest.   I zest the lemon right into the pile of cheese using the same grater for easy clean up.

7.  Once the broccoli is done remove from the oven,  and immediately mix in cheese, lemon zest, and juice.

SERVE.  OR EAT IT ALL PIPPING HOT WITH YOUR FINGERS.  And regret it later when your fingers are burnt and you have no broccoli snacks.