Smarter Than Pancakes

Monday, February 1, 2010

Minestrone with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and White Beans

Ok, I’m starting out my healthy eating posts bent with several recipes I’ve tried from the latest (February 2010) issue of Vegetarian Times.  Even though I’m not a strict vegetarian, I am a huge fan of Veg Times.  I’ve had a subscription since 1993, and this may be one of their best issues yet.  (Of course, that might be because of my newfound interest in healthy eating—who knows?)

The first on the list is a soup that we liked so much that I’ve made it twice already!  It’s delicious, takes less than half an hour to get on the table, and has only 113 calories per one-cup serving.  What’s not to like?

Minestrone with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and White Beans
Adapted from Vegetarian Times Feb 2010 issue
(Vegan & Gluten Free)
2 WW points per 1 cup serving
Yield 4 cups

1 Tbs olive oil (Oil from the jar of oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes adds a lot of flavor)

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp dried basil

1 ½ cups diced onion (That’s about one medium onion)

1 cup sliced carrots (One or two carrots?)

1 cup sliced celery (Three stalks?)

2 Tbs minced garlic (Six cloves?)

½ cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes (I used oil-packed, dry is fine.)

15-oz canned Cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup fresh or frozen green peas

2 Tbs. white wine vinegar

  1. In a three-quart saucepan, heat your oil then put your dried herbs in to sizzle for about half a minute.
  2. Add the carrots, and let them cook for a minute or two; then add the onion and celery. Cover and cook until the onion is translucent.
  3. Throw in the minced garlic and let it sizzle for less than a minute.  (In the original VT recipe, they threw the veggies in at once, but our carrots wound up being really crispy in the first batch.  I also worry about burning my garlic, so I always add it last.)
  4. Add the sliced sun-dried tomatoes and cook 5 minutes more.
  5. Add the beans, a quart of water, and a little salt and pepper.
  6. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to about medium-low, and cook in a low simmer for about 10 minutes.  (I think my stove is wonky, because it frequently doesn’t simmer on the burner settings they suggest.  Just keep an eye on it and make sure that you’re still getting small bubbles and lots of steam.  You don’t want a rolling boil, but make sure you’re simmering.)
  7. Add the peas, and simmer 3 to 5 minutes more.
  8. Stir in vinegar, then taste for seasonings.  Add salt and pepper if needed.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

White Bean Chicken Chili for a chilly day!

Filed under: crock pot,Soups,White Bean Chicken Chili,WW Points — shaye3 @ 7:15 pm

Look ma!  I’m posting!!!  Can you believe it?!  Me neither.   First my internet went out, then I got internet back and lost my camera.  I tell you what, I was not destined to post any new recipes until today.  (And today is actually the 2 year anniversary of my non-food blog that turned into a food blog on Vox.  Maybe I should make a post to it, too…)

Anyway, it’s chilly here in central Indiana.  Not as cold as it could be, and I need to lodge a complaint that we did NOT get the snow they promised us, so I’m just sitting here being cold without the snow.

Everyone knows that when you’re chilly you have to eat soup–and what better soup than chili?!  Steve and I have really been hitting the Weight Watchers, so I tried to find a recipe that was point friendly.  This one started out point friendly, but then I had a whole pound of chicken defrosted instead of the 3/4 lb. that it originally called for.  Then, when you add the “optional toppings”, it bumps up even more.  THEN, the amount they consider a serving really isn’t a serving around here, so that effectively doubled the points.  All that to say that if you can get six servings out of it, you can include the extra 1/4 lb. chicken and all of the optional toppings for a thrifty eight points per serving.


White Bean Chicken Chili

(The person I got this from said it originally came from a Prevention cookbook, but of course I tweaked at will.)

20 min prep

6 hours or 30 minutes cooking time–depending

SERVES 3 – 16 points per serving  (Or 8 points per serving if you make it serve 6.)


1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces (I used scissors.)

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry white wine or chicken broth

2 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt (Add more salt if you’re using wine instead of broth.)

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Optional Toppings

3 oz. baked tortilla chips

2 Tbs. shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese (2 tsp per bowl)

3 Tbs. reduced fat sour cream

  1. Spray a large skillet with Pam-like spray, then sauté chicken over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Remove and set aside.
  2. Lower the heat a little, add a little more spray to the pan, and cook the onions until softened.
  3. After the onions are soft, add the garlic and cook for about a minute. (Don’t let the garlic burn. Burnt garlic is nasty.)
  4. Place all of the ingredients into your crockpot and cook on low 5-6 hours. (Or, if you’re impatient like me, you can throw it in a pot on the stove and cook for half an hour or so.)
  5. Serve with optional toppings. (I used baked Scoops and ate it like bean dip.)

Yum–and warm!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Vegetarian Chik’n Noodle Soup

Poor Steve has picked up a summer cold, and this morning was rainy and almost chilly. (Ok, it was 70 when I took the dog out–but compared to the upper 80s we’ve been having it felt cool!) I have been having a hard time coming up with inspiration for lunches and dinner while Steve and Simon have been home, so inspired by poor Steve’s cold, I asked him if some old fashioned chicken soup sounded good. He said it sounded amazing, and Simon was amenable since my chicken soup is one of his favorite things. The only problem is that I’ve been avoiding meat and meat products as much as possible lately. I think I’ve had meat once in the past week or so, and it tends to sit on my stomach like a rock when I do eat it. Fortunately, the boys don’t mind being vegetarian–which is good since today I converted my normal chicken soup recipe to a vegetarian version. (Don’t worry, they both still loved it!)

Vegetarian Chik’n Noodle Soup
8 servings – 3.5 ww points per serving

As always with soup recipes, all of these measurements are approximate, feel free to use more or less.

For Bouquet Garni

10 whole black peppercorns

2 sprigs flat leaf parsley

1 sprig thyme

1 dried bay leaf

For Soup

2 Tbs butter

1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice (I frequently use more)

1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and washed well (Don’t leave this out!)

64 oz Imagine brand No-Chicken Broth (2 32-oz cartons)

12 oz Quorn Chik’n Tenders (These are optional, but we like them.)

3 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch coins

2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4 inch C-shaped slices

2 cups egg noodles (I used whole grain from Ronzoni)

  1. Make the bouquet garni by bundling peppercorns, parsley, thyme and bay leaf in cheesecloth, and tying with kitchen twine.
  2. Heat butter in a stockpot over medium high heat.
  3. Add onion and leek; cook until soft and translucent (About 5-7 min).
  4. Add broth and bouquet garni and bring to a simmer.
  5. Meanwhile add carrots and celery.
  6. The vegetables will need to cook for about 18 minutes, so check the directions on your egg noodles, and let your veggies cook by themselves until you have just enough time on your timer for the noodles to cook. (My noodles needed to cook 7 minutes, so I let the veggies cook for 11 minutes, then added the noodles and cooked the last 7 minutes.)
  7. After the veggies and noodles are finished cooking, add the Quorn Chik’n to the pot until heated through.
  8. Taste and add salt as needed.
  9. Serve with crackers or crusty bread.

You know, I still struggle with the whole non-processed foods vs. imitation meat thing. I know that most vegetarian meats are total franken-foods, but I still buy them. I guess if I’m mostly avoiding processed foods, that’s still better than nothing. Right? (I hope so.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Easy Tomato Soup

Filed under: Soups — shaye3 @ 9:26 am
Tags: ,

This soup is so easy, and once you’ve tried it you’ll NEVER want the stuff from the red and white can ever again!  I sent some in Simon’s lunch this morning along with some TLC crackers, a sliced kiwi, and some Silk Very Vanilla soy milk.  The only lunch he likes better is when he’s home for lunch and we make grilled cheese soldiers to dip into the soup!

Better-than-condensed Tomato Soup

Easy Tomato Soup (1 WW point per generous 3/4 cup serving)
Serves 3
1 29-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp. minced garlic (or 1 Tbs. roasted garlic is really good)
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
12 fresh basil leaves (or 1 Tbs. dried basil if you don’t have fresh on hand)
Salt, pepper, and cayenne or red pepper flakes to taste

  1. Combine tomatoes, garlic and basil leaves in a food processor or blender and puree to your desired texture. (I also like to start by sauteeing my garlic in the olive oil, add everything else to the pan, and use my stick blender.)
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan until the oil shimmers, add tomato mixture.
  3. Heat to simmer, and cook partially covered for 5 minutes or more.
  4. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot peppers.
  5. Serve hot.

The crackers shown in the picture are Kashi TLC Original 7 Grain snack crackers.  They are a processed food that I make allowances for, and we LOVE them!   They have no HFCS, no hydrogenated oils, zero grams trans fat, whole grains, tons of fiber, and very few ingredients I can’t pronounce.  A serving of 15 crackers is about 2.5 WW points.  (If I had a good recipe for homemade, whole-grain crackers I’d make them.  Heck, maybe that’ll be my next research project!)

Create a free website or blog at