Chicken Corn Chowder

Standard

There is nothing like a hearty soup to warm you up on a cold, blustery day. Since it is currently -15 with windchill, today is the perfect day to make this corn chowder! The nice thing about this recipe is that it is made in the crock pot. SO, just throw everything together in the morning or afternoon and you have a nice warm meal for supper! Plus, it makes a large batch so there will be some nice leftovers. It also freezes well if you want to save some for a convenient meal later.

Chicken Corn Chowder
Ingredients:
2 cans low-fat, low-sodium condensed soup (my favorites for this are celery or mushroom)
2 C of chicken broth
1 can fat-free evaporated milk
2 cans whole kernel corn or approx. 2 1/2 C frozen corn
2 cans creamed corn
1-2 lbs cooked chicken
2-3 medium-sized potatoes chopped (skin on)
1 1/2 C shredded carrots
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp dried parsley
Pepper to taste
Shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese

Directions:
1. Stir together soups, broth, and milk in the slow cooker until thoroughly blended.
2. Add the corns, carrots, potatoes, and chicken.
3. Stir in the seasonings.

Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours (or high for 3-4 hours) or until vegetables are tender.
During the last 10 minutes stir in the evaporated milk.

Sprinkle the chowder with shredded cheddar cheese and serve.

Healthy Habits: Blotting and Straining Browned Ground Beef

Standard

When searching the internet for tips on simple ways to reduce calories in cooking, I came across an interesting article from the Beef Checkoff Program, which is overseen by the USDA, that I thought I would share with you. The full article can be found here, but I will attempt to summarize it for you. It is really a very simple process that can save you from consuming unwanted (or needed) fat and calories!!

  • After browning your ground beef, drain the fat from the skillet.
  • Take a slotted a spoon, remove the beef from the pan, and place it on paper towels. This will allow the towels to soak up some of the grease. Make sure to blot the top of the beef as well.
  • While the beef is sitting on the paper towels, heat up 4 cups of water in a glass measuring cup in the microwave for 5 to 6 minutes. You want the water very hot but not boiling.
  • Place beef in a mesh strainer or colander and place it on top of a larger, sturdy bowl.
  • Pour the water over the beef and let drain for a few minutes.
  • That’s all! You just saved upwards of 10 grams of fat and 100 calories by taking those few extra minutes during preparation!*

*When using 80/20 ground beef.

The article says that minimal flavor from seasonings will be lost, but I am sure that you can always sprinkle on a little more if necessary before continuing on with your recipe.

There you have it! The article contains charts that let you know just how much fat you are removing according to the different processes and cuts of beef.  Of course, another way to cut calories and fat when cooking with ground beef is to make sure that you are using a leaner beef such as 90%.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Standard

YUM! I love hot chocolate! Especially after a run on a cold day. I know that probably sounds kind of odd. . .but hey, non-fat milk and no sugar added mix, it has carbs and protein, a perfect post-run refuel, right??! 😉 Though this is not something I would recommend eating to refuel your body after a workout, it is actually reasonably healthy. I tried making it with as little sugar and fat as possible. If you don’t pile on the frosting on top, you’re good to go! Since it is supposed to only be in the single digits this weekend with windchill, I think it is a perfect time to make something warm and chocolaty!

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes 

Yield: 12

Ingredients:
2 C Pillsbury Sugar-Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix
2 packets no sugar added hot chocolate
1/2 C water
2 TBSP canola oil
1 egg
1 C vanilla frosting (whipped or regular)
1/2 C marshmallow creme
1/4 tsp baking cocoa
6 miniature pretzels broken in half

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F for shiny metal pan or 325 F for dark or non-stick. Place paper baking cups in 12 regular size muffin cups.
2. Mix together the cake mix and hot chocolate packets in a large bowl.
3. Add water, oil, and egg. Beat with an electric mixer for 30 seconds on low. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
4. Divide the batter evenly among muffin cups. **One way to make these extra gooey is to place a couple of miniature marshmallows into the center of the batter. The marshmallows will melt and make the center extra moist. 🙂
5. Bake 17-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, or about 30 minutes.
6. In a small bowl, mix frosting and marshmallow creme. Spoon into small resealable food storage plastic bag. Seal bag. Cut tip off one corner of bag.
7. Pipe 3 small dollops of frosting mixture on top of each cupcake to resemble melted marshmallows. (You can spoon mixture onto cupcakes instead of piping, if needed.)
8. Sprinkle with cocoa. Press pretzel half into side of each cupcake for cup handle.

*Now get a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, a warm blanket, and enjoy!

What are some of your favorite ways to stay warm during cold weather?

Southwestern Pork Burritos

Standard

I love my slow cooker! It is such a time saver, especially during the week when schedules get chaotic. Knowing that there is a meal waiting for us when we get home is a relief. No rushing to figure out what to make with the food that is in the cupboard! Along with saving time, using a slow cooker in this recipe allows for nice tender, juicy meat in your burrito. Add whatever condiments sound good to you, and you have a delicious pork burrito with little preparation!

Ingredients:
1 pork roast with fat trimmed (2-2 1/2 lbs)
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (any intensity)
3 tbsp tomato paste or ketchup
1 1/2 tbsp honey
3 small garlic cloves or 3 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp chili powder
8 whole wheat or white tortilla shells
Condiments

Directions:
1. Place pork roast in slow cooker.
2. Pour diced tomatoes, paste/ketchup, and honey into a blender or food processor.
3. Add the garlic and chili powder and blend for 10-15 seconds. Be sure to scrape the sides to get everything evenly blended.
4. Pour the tomato mixture over the pork roast making sure to cover it completely.
5. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high 3-5 hours.
6. Remove pork roast from slow cooker but leave the juices in the crock. Shred the roast and place the meat back into the cooker until ready to serve.

Condiment Suggestions:
lettuce
shredded cheese
corn
black beans
peppers
salsa
sour cream