A Halloween Treat: Soup 4 Supper

Halloween is just around the corner.  That probably means a busy night filled with fun, trick-or-treating, and of course, lots of candy.  Why not fill up on a delicious bowl of soup to help warm and energize your family for the evening?

There’s something magical about a homemade pot of soup simmering over the stove or in a slow cooker, with the savory flavors melding together perfectly. From chicken matzo ball soup to a hearty beef stew, it can hit the proverbial “spot” on a cold winter’s day or night. According to a survey on Allrecipes.com, soup was selected as being in the top three favorite comfort foods by 28% of survey respondents.

4 Reasons Why Soup Can Be Satisfying As Supper

If you are accustomed to eating light at night, or if this is a change you want to make in the New Year, than a nice bowl of soup can certainly suffice as your “light” but satisfying evening meal. Here are four reasons why:
  • Soup is slow--It’s almost impossible to slam down a bowl of soup—soup forces you to eat slowly and enjoy each spoonful. 
  • Soup contributes water--The high water (liquid) content of most soups does superb job of filling your stomach, more so than drinking a glass of water with your meal. There have been several studies suggesting soup may promote satiety, delay the stomach emptying into the small intestine (so you feel full longer), and reduce the calories eaten in the meal that includes soup.
  • Soup fills you up with fiber--Soup/stew is usually high in fiber from beans and vegetables, adding bulk to your meal as it goes through the stomach and intestinal tract. 
    • COOKING TIP-- Pump up the fiber in your soups by adding beans when possible and use whole grains like barley, brown rice, wild rice, or whole-wheat blend pastas instead of refined grains. 
  • Soup is packed with protein--Soups that feature a lean protein like chicken, turkey, lean beef, and fish, can contribute an impressive amount of protein (and satiating power), about 30 grams of protein per serving. 
    • COOKING TIP-- Opt for leaner cuts whenever. If the recipe calls for sausage, substitute a less fat turkey or chicken sausage and you can usually cut the amountin half and add some beans instead. 
 Low Cal or Creamy?

You can’t get into too much trouble calorie-wise as long as the soup you are slurping is broth or tomato based. One cup of broth, by itself, is around 25 calories with one to two grams of fat and a cup of tomato juice is around 40 calories with one gram of fat.

Opt for a cream based soup, however, and all bets are off. Many creamy soup recipes call for light cream and just one cup adds about 700 calories and 74 grams of fat. Others call for half-and-half and one cup adds 315 calories and 28 grams of fat. Switching to whole milk in your creamy soup recipe will give your soup the desirable creamy taste and texture but one cup adds only 150 calories and 8 grams of fat.

  • COOKING TIP--The lower fat options to cream or half-and-half have a tendency to curdle with high heat so avoid boiling, blend a tablespoon of flour or 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch into each cup of milk, and add milk toward the end when the soup is at a simmer.
Here are 3 quick, hearty and healthful soup recipes to try this winter!

Italian Turkey Sausage Soup

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: Under 15 minutes
Total Time: Under 40 minutes

12 ounces lean polska kielbasa sausage links  (such as Open Nature Smoked Fresh Turkey Kielbasa), diced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced roasted garlic (available in jars in the produce section)
3 cups low sodium vegetable or beef broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style diced stewed tomatoes
1 cup diced carrots or sliced baby carrots
2 cups raw cauliflower florets cut into bite-size pieces
1 (14.5 ounce) can red kidney beans, undrained (great Northern beans can be substituted)
2 cups fresh spinach, packed, rinsed
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. In a large nonstick saucepan, brown sausage over medium-high heat with olive oil and minced garlic. Stir in broth, tomatoes, carrots and cauliflower. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

2. Stir in beans with liquid, spinach, and black pepper, cover and simmer another 10 minutes.

3. Spoon into soup bowls, sprinkle Parmesan shavings over the top and enjoy!

Nutrition Per Serving: 405 calories, 16 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 1359 mg sodium, 35 g carbs, 11.5 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 29 g protein

Light Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Makes: 6 servings
Prep Time: Under 15 minutes
Total Time: Under 40 minutes

4 cups frozen Potatoes O-Brien
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried parsley)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (add more to taste)
2 tablespoons unbleached white flour (1 tablespoon corn starch can be substituted)
1 1/2 cups whole milk (low fat milk can be substituted)
3/4 cup shelled edamame (available in freezer section) or frozen petite peas
2 heaping cups shredded or diced skinless and boneless roasted chicken (pulled from a rotisserie chicken)
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (reduced fat or regular)
Salt to taste (optional)

Optional Toppings:
Celery top sticks
Shredded extra sharp cheddar
Shredded rotisserie chicken (leftover from the rotisserie chicken)

1. Place potatoes, chicken broth, celery, onions, parsley and pepper in a large nonstick saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Simmer until tender (about 10 minutes).

2. Meanwhile combine the flour with 4 tablespoons of the milk and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk.

3. Add the milk mixture and the edamame to the soup mixture; stir well. Cover the saucepan and simmer until the soup thickens (about 6-8 minutes).

4. Stir in the chicken and cheddar and simmer to melt the cheese. Add salt to taste and serve with optional toppings.

Nutrition Per Serving: 330 calories, 10 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 538 mg sodium, 26 g carbs, 3.5 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 33 g protein

Easy Slow Cooker Chili (or) Beer-Lover’s Chili

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: Under 15 minutes
Total Time: From 4 to 8 hours with the slow cooker, depending on whether on LOW or HIGH (under 40 minutes if using the stove)

1 pound 93% lean grass-fed ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced roasted garlic (available in jars in the produce section)
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans (pinto or black beans can be substituted), un-drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
12 ounces beer of choice (amber, light, nonalcoholic or water can be substituted)
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (regular paprika can be substituted)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano flakes
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar (optional)
1/2 jalapeno pepper, halved, seeded and finely chopped (optional), add more to taste

Optional toppings:
Chopped onion
Shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
Plain Greek nonfat yogurt (use like sour cream)
Cornbread waffles (pour your favorite cornbread batter onto a nonstick waffle iron coated
with canola cooking spray and cook as usual)

1. In large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef, onion
and garlic, stirring often and breaking the ground beef into crumbles (about 5 minutes).

2. Spoon the beef mixture into a slow cooker and stir in the beans, tomatoes (including liquid), beer, chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, and brown sugar and jalapeno, if desired. Cover and turn the slow cooker on LOW.

3. Cook for 8 to 10 hours (or 3 to 4 hours on HIGH).  NOTE: If you want to use the stove instead, just combine the rest of the ingredients with the meat mixture in the skillet. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes.

4. Spoon into soup bowls, sprinkle toppings of choice over the top and enjoy!

Nutrition Per Serving: 343 calories, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 612 mg sodium, 37 g carbs, 8.5 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 30 g protein

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