Can we pretend that I just didn’t use the word “stew?” Because half of the adults in this house turn a sickly shade of green at the very mention of the word.
I’ll admit, it’s not the most appetizing word. And maybe it doesn’t always conjure up the most appetizing images. But contrary to what my husband thinks, there is a such thing as good stew. A hearty beef stew and a glass of red wine is not a shabby way to end a cold and grey winter day.
Only we don’t call it “stew” in this house, because my husband won’t eat “Italian beef stew.” But he’ll polish off a second helping of “Italian beef in the crockpot.”
But what’s in a name anyway, right?
Crockpot Italian Beef Stew
A hearty beef stew made in your crockpot/slow cooker.
2 Tbsp cooking oil, divided
2 lb beef round roast
1 large onion, sliced into thin wedges
2 large carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces (split in half if they
8 oz red potatoes, skin-on, quartered
1 14.5 oz can reduced-fat/sodium chicken broth
6 oz tomato paste
1 cup red wine
4 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
2 sprigs each thyme, and oregano (or 1/2-1 tsp each dried)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup spinach leaves, chopped
1 cup basil leaves, chopped
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large pan over high heat until very hot.
Cut roast into 2-inch chunks and season with salt and pepper.
Add half of the meat to the pan, searing for 1-2 minutes, until nicely browned, before flipping or stirring.
Sear for another 2 minutes and use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to the crock.
Repeat for remaining meat.
Add onion, potatoes, carrots to the crock pot.
Add the chicken broth, wine, and tomato paste (I dropped it in by the spoonful and let it distribute while cooking).
Top with garlic and herbs.
Cook on low for ~8 hours.
At the end of the cooking time, remove 1/4 cup cooking liquid and whisk in cornstarch until smooth.
Stir slurry into the crockpot, cover, and let cook for ~20 minutes.
Stir in the spinach and basil and serve.
Yields: 6 servings
Adapted from Better Homes & Garden
Estimated time: 8 hours 30 minutes
Calories: 351 | Fat: 6.6g | Fiber 3.9g | Protein 47.7g | Carbs 21.1g
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 8
I was super happy to put this on the menu this week. One, our oven is broken (waaah!) and that has really messed with my mind. And our menu. Second, I’ve posted the soup before and it was in dire need of a new photo. But really, it’s because the soup is freakin’ awesome.
The Pastry Queen’s Texas Tortilla Soup has been our go-to chicken tortilla soup recipe for the last 5 years. It’s broth-based, so it’s the rare Mexican food dish that won’t kill you with fat, calories, and sodium. But what really sets it apart from your average tortilla soup is that the body of the soup is built with roasted tomatoes.
Slow-roasting (or fast… depending on how much time you have) the tomatoes removes the excess water, concentrates the flavors, and caramelizes some of the sugars in the tomatoes. The tomatoes are then pureed and added to the broth. The resulting soup has far deeper flavors than the soup from your favorite Mexican restaurant. And topped with a little avocado, chopped onions, cilantro, and jalapenos, and a dollup of fat-free Greek yogurt, it’s wonderfully filling with far fewer calories than the Mexican restaurant soup.
Um, did I mention it’s good for you?
This is one of those great meals that you can make on Sunday and not worry about making dinner again until Wednesday. And it freezes beautifully. One batch feeds us for 3 nights. We usually split a grilled cheese sandwich to go along with it, made with one of those small $.50 bakery baguettes, a couple slices of avocado, and shredded monterrey jack.
Thanks to Amanda for getting my husband so excited about going to the grocery store this week! You can check out the full recipe here and the other PPQ members’ take on the soup here.
After a wonderfully overindulgent December, we are in total detox mode over here. Okay, maybe not total detox… but as total as two beer and margarita lovers can be
As a result, we’ve been trying our hardest to eat fresh and light lately and this soup has been one of our favorites. The broth is lightly flavored with ginger, soy, and rice vinegar and is loaded with veggies and chicken. It is pretty darn healthy and plenty filling on its own but we served it with roasted broccoli.
The original recipe was actually a crockpot recipe, but I felt like it required just as much hands-on time as this converted non-crockpot version. But if the crockpot version interests you, know that you can follow the recipe below, put everything but the noodles, pea pods, green onions, and cilantro in the crockpot, and let it cook on low for 6 hours. When you get home, turn it to high and throw in the noodles and pea pods until the noodles have cooked (BHG suggests 30 minutes).
And if anyone ever figures out an effective all-beer or half-beer/half-margarita detox, let us know. I’d pay pretty decent money for it. And would probably be pretty good at it
Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
A light, yet very filling, Asian chicken noodle soup.
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup grated carrots (~2 medium)
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp dry sherry
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
4 cups water
1 14.5 oz can fat-free chicken broth
4 oz thin Asian noodles like somen or chow mein
6 oz snow pea pods (thawed, if frozen)
1/4 cup chopped green onions (dark green parts only)
Small handful of cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Spray a large pot with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.
Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
Add sesame oil and chicken to the pan.
Sear 3-4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned.
Transfer the chicken to a plate and drain excess grease from the pan (do not scrape the browned bits or grease from the pan).
Reduce heat to medium.
Add carrots, red bell pepper, garlic, sherry, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, water, and chicken broth to the pot.
Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes and add to the pot.
Simmer (don't boil) over medium heat for 40 minutes.
Add the noodles to the pan and let cook for 4-5 minutes (check the package for cooking time).
Add the snow pea pods and green onions, and let cook for 2-3 minutes, until the pea pods have turned bright green.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Turn off heat, divide between 6 bowls, and serve garnished with cilantro.
Yields: 6 servings
Adapted from Better Homes & Garden
Estimated time: 1 hour
Calories: 181.4 | Fat: 4.4g | Fiber 1.4g | Protein 22.4g
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 4
After an “exhausting” day of snorkeling, and lounging by the pool with bottomless rum punches on our honeymoon in the Caribbean, the Foodie Groom and I managed to tear ourselves away from paradise for a late lunch. In paradise.
After spending the day outside, we wanted something light and cool so we started with a strawberry soup. It hit the spot – it was cold, light, simple, and refreshing. More importantly, it wasn’t overly sweet. After I raved about the wonderful soup, the waiter graciously brought us a message from the kitchen: cooked strawberries and light cream. Easy enough!
I think we were able to at least produce a worthy rival if not a near-replication… I mean, as much as one can remember after nearly 5 years It’s smooth, refreshing, and wonderful when served very, very cold.
Cold strawberry soup is the perfect starter to any spring meal.
1lb strawberries, rinsed and hulled
1 Tbsp sugar, plus more to taste
Juice and zest of 1 small orange
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 - 2/3 cup milk
Mint, for garnish
Roughly chop strawberries and place in a small sauce pan with sugar, orange juice, zest, and water. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, squashing the strawberries into sauce with your spoon until they break down into a thick sauce.
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Taste for sweetness and add additional sugar if necessary.
Place chilled strawberries, yogurt and 1/4 cup milk in a blender. Puree. Stream in additional milk to get to the desired consistency. Chill until very cold, serve garnished with mint.