The Perfect Diabetes Comfort Food Collection: 9 Essential Recipes You Need To Create 90 Amazing Complete Meals

Chapter 7: Soups

Old-Fashioned Chicken and Rice Soup

Tuscan Bean Soup

Indian Lentil Soup

Moroccan Bean and Vegetable Soup with Farro

Zuppa di Ceci (Chickpea Soup)

Classic Beef Stew

Braised Beef Stew

Thai Shrimp Soup

Lemon Asparagus Soup

Walnut Cream Soup Topping

Cashew Cream Soup Topping

The Principles of Soup Making

For me, a bowl of soup makes everything right in the world. There isn’t another dish on the planet that creates all its magic by simmering quietly as you sit patiently in anticipation of its goodness. That’s why I believe soup can be part of the perfect meal; the effort is small compared to the enormous payoff of bold, satisfying flavor. Preparing soup is a like building a house; it needs a solid foundation and detailed finishes. So let’s start at the beginning with the root of all soup—the stock.

Stock Making

I didn’t grow up using canned stock; in fact when I was 12, making stock from scratch was the first cooking lesson my mother taught me. I remember thinking how easy it was to start with some basic ingredients that we always had in our refrigerator. Put some carrots, celery, onions, or whatever else was in the fridge into a large pot with water; walk away and return later to a golden-hued vat of homemade stock that smelled heavenly. At the time, canned stocks were just making their debut, but I’m grateful that I learned how to make it the old-fashioned way. Is homemade stock absolutely necessary for soup? No, in fact there are several low-sodium and organic stock brands in the supermarket that are quite good.

The Solid Foundations

Stock

1. Start with a good amount of chicken parts (about 4 pounds). Don’t skimp on this! Even if you don’t consume dark meat chicken on a regular basis, you must add it in order to produce a rich, flavorful stock. Never remove the skin from the chicken. You’ll be removing the excess fat from the stock later. You can also use 4 pounds of necks and backs; your store’s butcher often has them available even if they are not packaged and on display. Just ask. I often see people trying to prepare chicken broth with the leftover bones from consuming a chicken dinner. Broth made with mostly bones and very little meat will sadly just taste like bones. It won’t be rich and your soup will not have that rounded, full-bodied taste.

2. Three simple vegetables are all you need to add to produce perfect chicken broth—an onion, carrots, and celery. Leave the onion unpeeled as it will impart a richer flavor. The carrots too can remained unpeeled, just be sure to thoroughly wash them. Coarsely chop the vegetables; no need to be precise with size of the cuts. If you are inclined, add some garlic as well. I use it sometimes in stock, but only when I know my soup will be able to handle the garlic’s pungency.

3. Finally, add a few sprigs of fresh parsley, a few peppercorns, and a bay leaf. This trio helps provide a fresh, clean stock with a slight spicy taste from the peppercorns and is essential to creating a flavorful stock.

4. Once all the ingredients are in the pot, bring to a boil, remove any surface scum with a flat ladle, and turn the heat down to a simmer. It’s really important to keep the heat low. If your stock remains at a temperature higher than a simmer, the fat can become so thoroughly dispersed in the liquid and will be difficult to remove. Keeping the stock above a simmer can cause a greasy, cloudy stock.

5. When it’s time to strain the stock, the best piece of equipment for this is a chinois, or a conical shaped strainer. It’s not necessary to have one, but it makes straining stock a snap. Whatever strainer you use, strain it through a piece of cheesecloth so that your stock will be clear. Pressing down on the vegetables helps extract more flavor.

6. Make stock well ahead of the time. This way you can refrigerate overnight and skim off all the visible fat the next day. There are quicker methods of removing the fat so you don’t have to wait through the overnight chilling process, but I still find this is the best method to obtain clean, clear stock.

The Seasoning Vegetables

Once the stock is made, you will start building the soup. All soups and stews should begin with at least these two seasoning vegetables; onion and garlic. Most of the recipes in this chapter include them both. The other two seasoning vegetables I recommend are carrots and celery. I use all-purpose yellow onions, but feel free to try a red onion. Always sauté the onion at least 3 minutes. I typically sauté the onions with the garlic, celery, or carrots to save some time. You can sauté the onions alone at first, then add the other seasoning vegetables. Just don’t sauté garlic by itself as it will burn and turn bitter.

The Details

Great stock and a few seasoning vegetables are all you need to form the base of all soups and stews. Your choice of adding beans, meats, poultry, seafood, canned tomatoes, rice, pasta, more vegetables, milk, herbs, or more spices is what makes the soup or stew creative and uniquely yours. Keep all these ingredients on hand and you will be ready and able to whip up something special for your friends and family.

Broth Soups

The first three recipes in this chapter build on how to prepare fresh chicken stock. The Old-Fashioned Chicken and Rice Soup is actually two recipes in one. I give you the master plan to make chicken stock and then the full chicken and rice soup recipe. Once you’ve mastered this soup, you can create many variations by adding beans, pasta, other grains such as quinoa and couscous, or adding different fresh herbs or fresh chilies. This is a staple soup that should have a permanent place in your repertoire. The Thai Shrimp Soup is a simple brothy soup that relies heavily on the stock base to carry a few bold herbs, shrimp, and rice noodles. The variations are endless: substitute scallops, cubed chicken, cubed tofu, or try brown rice instead of rice noodles. Use the Lemon Asparagus Soup as a blueprint to prepare any “cream” based soup, such as broccoli or mushroom.

Bean Soups

Once you master the simple Tuscan Bean Soup, you’ll be able to master the rest. They all start out with great broth and a sauté of seasoning vegetables. Then beans, tomatoes, additional vegetables, and herbs and spices are used. One soup is puréed, one adds in a grain, and one relies on using Indian spices, but they all stem from the same method as the Tuscan Bean Soup. Here are a few pointers:

1. Use BPA-free canned beans and drain and rinse the beans. You are certainly welcome to cook your own beans from scratch. I still buy dried lentils because they cook quickly, as you will see in the Indian Lentil Soup.

2. Use whole canned or diced tomatoes but never crushed tomatoes in these soups. Crushed tomatoes will not give you the delightful rough texture that makes soups so deliciously hearty. Crushing your own canned whole tomatoes is actually fun and easy and, trust me, they will taste infinitely better than pre-crushed tomatoes.

3. Use fresh herbs in the soup as I call for them. The fresh herbs will provide a spring-like flavor and help bring together all the neutral ingredients such as the stock and beans. You can use dried if you wish, but the flavor will not be as intense.

Stews

I included only two recipes for stew. Once you learn these two basic methods, you are well on your way to making substitutions to create many different types of stews. In the Classic Beef Stew, you will start out browning the beef so it creates a flavorful base. Once the meat is removed, mushrooms will be sautéed in this delicious leftover flavor. The mushrooms are removed and will be added back later. Onions and garlic get a chance to sauté in both meat and mushroom juices. The meat is added back, along with some liquid, and all is left to develop a rich stew. It’s important to keep the heat very low during this first simmer. The classic carrots and potatoes are added next. The mushrooms are added back later along with peas so they retain their shape and texture. Use this same blueprint to prepare a pork, chicken, or turkey stew.

The second recipe, Braised Beef Stew, is a quicker version of the classic. It starts out the same way as the classic, but it’s more like a long-simmering stir fry than the more involved Classic Beef Stew. This is a great way to get beef stew flavor, without all the additional effort to add more ingredients. So, when you don’t have time for the full-fledged version, this is an excellent alternative.

Old-Fashioned Chicken and Rice Soup

Serves: 12 | Serving size: 1 cup | Prep time: 15 minutes for the stock + 15 minutes for the soup

Cook time: 2 1/2 hours for the stock + 20 minutes for the soup | Chill time: 8 hours or overnight

Honestly, if all you tackle is this recipe, you’ll be a master soup maker in no time! This recipe includes two techniques in one: a basic chicken stock, and an all-purpose chicken and rice soup. Master the stock and you’ll always have a rich broth that is perfect for so many soups and stews. Resist grabbing canned and boxed broth in favor of this step-by-step guide to making perfect broth.

Chicken Stock

1 (4-pound) chicken, cut into parts, washed

2 large onions, quartered, unpeeled

4 medium carrots, unpeeled, cut into chunks

4 large celery stalks, coarsely chopped

6 sprigs fresh parsley

6 black peppercorns

3 bay leaves

All-purpose seasoning

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons dried oregano 

2 teaspoons dried basil

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Soup

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces

1 large celery stalk, sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces

1 tablespoon all-purpose seasoning

1 cup long-grain brown Basmati rice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1. Prepare the stock. Put the chicken parts into a heavy stockpot. Add the onions, carrots, and celery stalks. Add in 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Skim the surface and remove any gray residue.

2. Add the parsley, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Partially cover the pan and simmer on low heat for 2–2 1/2 hours. Remove the chicken parts and set aside to cool.

3. Line a large colander with cheesecloth and strain the broth, pressing on the solids. Discard the vegetables and reserve all of the stock. Add the stock to a large container and refrigerate overnight.

4. Remove the stock from the refrigerator. Spoon off any accumulated solidified fat and discard the fat. Your stock should be clear.

5. Prepare the all-purpose seasoning. Combine all the ingredients for the all-purpose seasoning. Transfer to a small coffee or spice grinder until well blended. You’ll need 1 tablespoon for this recipe.

6. Prepare the soup. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in the carrots, celery, and all-purpose seasoning and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the rice and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add in the reserved stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6–7 minutes.

7. While the rice is cooking, remove and discard all the bones from the chicken parts. Cut about 1 pound of the chicken meat into small pieces for the soup. Save any remaining chicken for another use. Wrap the leftover chicken in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2–3 days.

8. Stir the cooked chicken into the soup and cook for 3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle the soup with the parsley and thyme.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 2 Protein, lean

Calories 170; Calories from Fat 50; Total Fat 6.0 g; Saturated Fat 1.4 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 30 mg; Sodium 140 mg; Potassium 310 mg; Total Carbohydrate 15 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 2 g; Protein 14 g; Phosphorus 165 mg

Sides

Fresh Spinach Salad

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

5 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup sliced red onion 

1 teaspoon olive oil 

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Combine spinach, tomatoes, and red onion to a small bowl. Drizzle olive oil over salad and top with lemon juice.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Fat

Calories 70; Calories from Fat 45; Total Fat 5.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.7 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 25 mg; Potassium 360 mg; Total Carbohydrate 7 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 2 g; Phosphorus 40 mg

Whole-Grain Crackers

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1 ounce

1 ounce whole-grain crackers

1. Serve crackers alongside soup and salad.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 1 Fat

Calories 130; Calories from Fat 45; Total Fat 5.0 g; Saturated Fat 1.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 50 mg; Potassium 85 mg; Total Carbohydrate 19 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Sugars 0 g; Protein 3 g; Phosphorus 85 mg

Tuscan Bean Soup

Tuscan Bean Soup

Serves: 9 | Serving size: 1 cup | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 28 minutes

This Tuscan Bean Soup was one of the first soups I learned in a cooking class on a farm in Italy. I simplified it by using canned beans (the original recipe calls for using dried beans), which I think are perfectly fine. This is similar to minestrone soup, minus the pasta. Be sure to add the balsamic vinegar, it really draws out the flavor of the vegetables and makes the chickpeas taste even richer.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

5 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes 

2 (16-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons minced basil

1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1. In a saucepot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and sauté 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients, except the fresh basil and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for 20 minutes.

2. Add the vinegar and basil and cook for 2 minutes. Top each bowl with fresh grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Protein, lean

Calories 140; Calories from Fat 25; Total Fat 3.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.4 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 210 mg; Potassium 460 mg; Total Carbohydrate 22 g; Dietary Fiber 6 g; Sugars 6 g; Protein 7 g; Phosphorus 145 mg

Side

Garden Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serves: 8 | Serving size: 1 cup | Prep time: 7 minutes | Cook time: 4 minutes

3/4 cup walnuts 

2 tablespoons sugar

Dressing

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon coarse Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey or sugar

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad 

5 cups mixed greens

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

2 large carrots, peeled and grated

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1. In a small sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat, toss the walnuts with the sugar for 3 to 4 minutes or until the sugar melts and caramelizes. Watch that the nuts do not burn. Remove the nuts from the pan and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine dressing ingredients and whisk well.

3. Add the salad ingredients to the dressing and quickly toss together. Serve on individual plates, top with the nuts.

Exchanges / Choices: 1/2 Carbohydrate;

1 Nonstarchy

Vegetable; 2 1/2 Fat

Calories 160; Calories from Fat 120; Total Fat 13.0 g; Saturated Fat 1.4 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 105 mg; Potassium 250 mg; Total Carbohydrate 11 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 7 g; Protein 3 g; Phosphorus 65 mg

Indian Lentil Soup

Serves: 4 | Serving size: 1 1/4 cups | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 40 minutes

Through the years, I’ve experimented with all kinds of flavoring for lentil soup, and finally decided that I like this Indian version best. While the soup base is quite tasty, my favorite part is the topping! Ginger-tinged yogurt provides the perfect topper for this hearty soup. Serve a spoonful on top for presentation, but then swirl it right into the soup to create even more flavor.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons salt-free Tandoori seasoning (Salt-free Tandoori seasoning is available at www.penzeys.com. Also look for it in your grocer’s spice aisle.)

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed

Topping

1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt

1 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for about 6–8 minutes until the onion is golden. Add in the Tandoori seasoning and sauté for 1 minute.

2. Add in the tomatoes with their juice, water, and lentils. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes until lentils are tender.

3. For the topping, combine the yogurt, ginger, lemon juice, and sugar. Add a dollop of the ginger yogurt mixture to each bowl of soup.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 2 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Protein, lean

Calories 170; Calories from Fat 35; Total Fat 4.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.6 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 65 mg; Potassium 620 mg; Total Carbohydrate 27 g; Dietary Fiber 8 g; Sugars 9 g; Protein 9 g; Phosphorus 210 mg

Side

Fresh Spinach Salad

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

5 cherry tomatoes, halved 

1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced 

1 teaspoon olive oil 

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Combine spinach, tomatoes, and onion slices in a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and top with lemon juice.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Fat

Calories 70; Calories from Fat 45; Total Fat 5.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.7 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 25 mg; Potassium 360 mg; Total Carbohydrate 7 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 2 g; Phosphorus 40 mg

Moroccan Bean and Vegetable Soup with Farro

Serves: 20 | Serving size: 1 cup | Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

The beauty of this recipe is that it makes a lot! Farro is an ancient Roman grain that has been cultivated for over 400 years. Fortunately, it’s become very popular in the U.S. and it’s easier to find in major supermarkets. Just follow the package directions for cooking. If you want to use brown rice or another whole grain instead, feel free to substitute.

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups sliced onions (2 large onions)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander 

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 quarts low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth

3 cups peeled and thinly sliced carrots (about 5 large carrots)

2 cups sliced zucchini (about 1 large or 2 medium)

2 cups sliced yellow squash (about 1 large and 2 medium)

4 cups thinly sliced peeled russet potatoes (4 medium potatoes)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced no-salt-added canned tomatoes

1 cup uncooked farro, cooked (makes approximately 2 cups cooked farro)

1. Heat the oil in large 5-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Add in the cumin, coriander, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute. Add in the broth, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to simmer and cover for 1 hour.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice and cilantro. Transfer in batches to a food processor, blender, or use a hand-held immersion blender and puree until smooth. Return the pureed soup to a saucepan and add in the chickpeas, tomatoes, and cooked farro. Simmer for 2 minutes.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1/2 Fat

Calories 140; Calories from Fat 25; Total Fat 3.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.4 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 80 mg; Potassium 530 mg; Total Carbohydrate 23 g; Dietary Fiber 4 g; Sugars 4 g; Protein 6 g; Phosphorus 135 mg

Sides

Seasoned Broiled Fish

Serves: 4 | Serving size: 4 ounces

2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound fish filets, about 1-inch thick

1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to broil. Line a broiler pan with nonstick foil. In a small ramekin, combine the chili powder, oregano, paprika, cumin, pepper, and salt.

2. Coat both sides of the fish lightly with the seasoning. Drizzle the fish with the olive oil.

3. Broil the fish about 5 minutes per side or until cooked through.

Exchanges / Choices: 3 Protein, lean;

1 1/2 Fat

Calories 210; Calories from Fat 110; Total Fat 12.0 g; Saturated Fat 2.4 g;

Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 60 mg; Sodium 230 mg; Potassium 440 mg;

Total Carbohydrate 1 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 0 g; Protein 22 g; Phosphorus 295 mg

Cantaloupe

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup cantaloupe

1. Serve cantaloupe alongside soup and broiled fish.

Exchanges / Choices: 1/2 Fruit

Calories 20; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 10 mg; Potassium 135 mg; Total Carbohydrate 4 g; Dietary Fiber 0 g; Sugars 4 g; Protein 0 g; Phosphorus 10 mg

Zuppa di Ceci (Chickpea Soup)

Serves: 6 | Serving size: 1 cup | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes

Garlic, beans, herbs, and onions shine and become amazing in this classic soup. This recipe relies heavily on lots of garlic, fresh sage, and basil—accept no substitutes, as the herbs are what make this a winner. The soup also freezes very well.

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use

1 large celery stalk, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 small sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped

6 sage leaves, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added whole tomatoes

2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 1/4 cups water, divided use

4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, rosemary, and sage and sauté for about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.

2. Add the can of tomatoes to a large bowl. With your hands, crush the tomatoes, leaving the tomatoes slightly coarse. Add the tomatoes with the juices to the pan.

3. Puree one can of the chickpeas in a food processor or blender with 1/4 cup of the water until smooth, but still thick. Add the pureed chickpeas and the other can of whole chickpeas to the soup. Add in the remaining water, the basil and black pepper and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Add in the lemon juice and remove the soup from the heat and serve with a drizzle of olive oil over each individual bowl.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 2 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Fat

Calories 180; Calories from Fat 45; Total Fat 5.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.7 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 25 mg; Potassium 470 mg; Total Carbohydrate 27 g; Dietary Fiber 7 g; Sugars 7 g; Protein 8 g; Phosphorus 150 mg

Sides

Fresh Spinach Salad

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

5 cherry tomatoes, halved 

1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced 

1 teaspoon olive oil 

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Combine spinach, tomatoes, and onion slices in a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and top with lemon juice.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Fat

Calories 70; Calories from Fat 45; Total Fat 5.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.7 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 25 mg; Potassium 360 mg; Total Carbohydrate 7 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 2 g; Phosphorus 40 mg

Zucchini

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup zucchini

1. Steam zucchini and serve alongside soup and salad.

Exchanges / Choices: Free food

Calories 15; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 0.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.1 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 240 mg; Total Carbohydrate 2 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 2 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 35 mg

Classic Beef Stew

Classic Beef Stew

Serves: 6 | Serving size: 1 cup | Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 2 hours

You don’t need cold weather to enjoy a great beef stew. There are so many new renditions of beef stew, but if you can make this classic version really well, that’s all you’ll need. Although button mushrooms can be used, try and seek out cremini mushrooms as the stew will taste more full-bodied.

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds top round, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, and quartered

4 cups reduced-sodium, low-fat chicken broth, divided use

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 large russet potatoes 

3 medium carrots, peeled 

1 cup frozen peas

1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine the all-purpose flour with the Italian seasoning. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Dredge the beef cubes lightly in the flour mixture and add the beef, in batches to keep the beef in one layer, until well browned on each side.

2. Remove the beef from the pan and deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup chicken broth. Add in the mushrooms and sauté for about 4 minutes until well browned. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and deglaze with another 1/4 cup of the broth. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 4 minutes. Return the beef to the pot, add the remaining chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Partially cover, lower the heat to simmer, and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Peel and cut the potatoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Cut the carrots into 1/2-inch pieces. Add the potatoes and carrots to the stew and continue to cook for another 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add in the reserved mushrooms, peas, and thyme. Season with red wine vinegar and black pepper.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 2 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 3 Protein, lean

Calories 250; Calories from Fat 60; Total Fat 7.0 g; Saturated Fat 1.5 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 45 mg; Sodium 290 mg; Potassium 980 mg; Total Carbohydrate 24 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Sugars 5 g; Protein 25 g; Phosphorus 285 mg

Side

Whole-Wheat Roll

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1 roll

1 whole-wheat roll

1. Serve roll alongside stew.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch

Calories 90; Calories from Fat 15; Total Fat 1.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.3 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 170 mg; Potassium 70 mg; Total Carbohydrate 16 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 2 g; Protein 2 g; Phosphorus 60 mg

Braised Beef Stew

Serves: 3 | Serving size: 1 cup | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 55 minutes

This Braised Beef Stew is Classic Beef Stew’s little cousin. With just beef and onion as the main ingredients, you’d think something was missing, but behold the magic of simplicity. When you don’t have the pantry stocked with ingredients, or the time to spare, this braised version comes in handy. Try preparing this with pork as well.

2 tablespoons all-purpose or whole-wheat pastry flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound top round, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 cup sliced onion

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes 

2 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth

Juice of 1 lime

1. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a plate, in a bowl, or plastic bag. Add the beef and coat the beef. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Dredge the beef cubes lightly in the flour mixture and add the beef, in batches to keep the beef in one layer, until well browned on each side. Remove the beef from the pan with a slotted spoon and add the onion. Sauté the onion on medium heat for about 7–8 minutes until very soft. Add in the garlic and chili flakes and sauté for 1 minute. Add in the broth and lower the heat to simmer. Simmer for 25–30 minutes or until the meat is very tender. Add in the lime juice.

Exchanges / Choices: 1/2 Starch; 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 4 Protein, lean; 1 Fat

Calories 310; Calories from Fat 130; Total Fat 14.0 g; Saturated Fat 3.1 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 80 mg; Sodium 290 mg; Potassium 530 mg; Total Carbohydrate 10 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 2 g; Protein 35 g; Phosphorus 280 mg

Sides

Broccolini

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup broccolini

1. Steam broccolini and serve alongside stew and noodles.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

Calories 30; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 20 mg; Potassium 220 mg; Total Carbohydrate 5 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 2 g; Phosphorus 45 mg

Whole-Wheat Noodles

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup whole-wheat noodles

1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Pour stew over noodles and serve along with the broccolini.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 1/2 Starch

Calories 100; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 0.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.1 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 5 mg; Potassium 35 mg; Total Carbohydrate 21 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 4 g; Phosphorus 70 mg

Thai Shrimp Soup

Serves: 6 | Serving size: 1 cup | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 25 minutes

This soup is typically served in Thailand. Every ingredient in this soup has a strong purpose that forms a massive explosion of flavor. You’ll get heat, citrus, and herb flavors in every bite. You shouldn’t have trouble finding lemongrass, but if you can’t obtain it, just use the grated zest of one lemon in its place.

6 cups low-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth (use the Chicken Stock recipe in Old Fashioned Chicken and Rice Soup, page 160)

3 stalks fresh lemongrass, lower part only, sliced diagonally into 3 pieces and slightly crushed

Zest of 1 lime

1 small serrano pepper, seeded and diced

4 ounces rice noodles 

1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

4 scallions, white part only, minced

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

1 small red Thai chili pepper, minced

1. Add the broth, lemongrass, lime zest, and diced serrano pepper to a large saucepot over high heat. Bring to a boil, add the rice noodles, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Strain the broth and return the broth the saucepot. Add in the shrimp and simmer on low heat for 3-5 minutes until shrimp are just cooked through. Stir in the lime juice.

3. Garnish each bowl with scallions, cilantro, and chili pepper.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Protein, lean

Calories 150; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 0.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.1 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 90 mg; Sodium 135 mg; Potassium 450 mg; Total Carbohydrate 20 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 15 g; Phosphorus 200 mg

Sides

Fresh Spinach Salad

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

5 cherry tomatoes, halved 

1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced 

1 teaspoon olive oil 

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Combine spinach, tomatoes, and onion slices in a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and top with lemon juice.

Exchanges / Choices: 2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

Calories 50; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 0.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.1 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 75 mg; Potassium 410 mg; Total Carbohydrate 12 g; Dietary Fiber 5 g; Sugars 4 g; Protein 2 g; Phosphorus 75 mg

Mandarin Oranges

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup mandarin oranges

1. Serve mandarin oranges alongside soup and salad.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Fruit

Calories 45; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 5 mg; Potassium 170 mg; Total Carbohydrate 12 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 11 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 10 mg

Lemon Asparagus Soup

Serves: 12 | Serving size: 1 cup | Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes

Asparagus has an assertive flavor, but it’s nicely tempered in a soup. Potatoes and asparagus work well together and they make a perfect pair. When buying asparagus, settle on stalks that are medium in width. If the stalks are a little too thick-stemmed, peel them. Otherwise, the stems are quite tasty, so leave them in the soup. Although you can find asparagus year round, I’d wait until spring to make this, when asparagus are young and sweet.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small leek, bottom portion only, washed and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 pounds asparagus, stems trimmed, sliced into 2-inch pieces

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

6 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning

1/2 cup half and half 

grated zest of 1 fresh lemon

1/4 cup toasted chopped pistachio nuts

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek, onion, and garlic and sauté for about 7–9 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add in the asparagus, potatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium and cook, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 15–17 minutes.

2. Ladle the soup into a food processor or blender and process until the soup is smooth, working in batches if necessary. Return the soup to the saucepan and add in the lemon pepper seasoning and half and half. Heat through for 1 minute.

3. Garnish each bowl with lemon zest and pistachio nuts.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1/2 Fat

Calories 110; Calories from Fat 30; Total Fat 3.5 g; Saturated Fat 1.1 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 170 mg; Potassium 510 mg; Total Carbohydrate 17 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 5 g; Phosphorus 120 mg

Sides

Seasoned Broiled Fish

Serves: 4 | Serving size: 4 ounces

2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound fish filets, about 1 inch thick

1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to broil. Line a broiler pan with nonstick foil. In a small ramekin, combine the chili powder, oregano, paprika, cumin, pepper, and salt.

2. Coat both sides of the fish lightly with the seasoning. Drizzle the fish with the olive oil.

3. Broil the fish about 5 minutes per side or until cooked through.

Exchanges / Choices: 3 Protein, lean;

1 1/2 Fat

Calories 210; Calories from Fat 110; Total Fat 12.0 g; Saturated Fat 2.4 g;

Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 60 mg; Sodium 230 mg; Potassium 440 mg;

Total Carbohydrate 1 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 0 g; Protein 22 g; Phosphorus 295 mg

Green Beans

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup green beans

1. Steam green beans and serve alongside soup and fish.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

Calories 20; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 90 mg; Total Carbohydrate 5 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 20 mg

Walnut Cream Soup Topping

Serves: 4 | Serving size: 1 tablespoon

Prep time: 5 minutes

To make any of the soups in this chapter extra special, a little dollop of this cream will do the trick. Substitute hazelnut or almond oil for the walnut and switch up the nuts to any of your favorite varieties.

2 tablespoons nonfat cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon walnut oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts

Dash nutmeg

1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Fat

Calories 50; Calories from Fat 40; Total Fat 4.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.4 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 55 mg; Potassium 30 mg; Total Carbohydrate 1 g; Dietary Fiber 0 g; Sugars 0 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 50 mg

Cashew Cream Soup Topping

Serves: 16 | Serving size: 1 tablespoon

Prep time: 5 minutes

Here’s a dairy-free topping for your soup that tastes like rich cream. The method is super simple, as the cashews just need to soak overnight and then be puréed the next day. Cashews are the best nuts for this, but almonds work as well. Make sure your nuts are raw, not roasted or salted.

1 cup raw cashews

Cold water to cover

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1. Place the cashews in a bowl. Pour cold water over the cashews and set aside to soak overnight. Drain the cashews.

2. Add the cashews to a blender or food processor. Add fresh water just to cover the cashews by one inch. Add the lemon juice and salt. Purée until very smooth.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Fat

Calories 50; Calories from Fat 35; Total Fat 4.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.8 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 35 mg; Potassium 60 mg; Total Carbohydrate 3 g; Dietary Fiber 0 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 2 g; Phosphorus 55 mg