Slow Cooker Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

Another week without an oven, and for right now, I’m still – for the most part – okay with it (despite my inability to make coffee).  If you’ve ever seen the show Cutthroat Kitchen, where they give you all the ingredients and tools you need then take away one very important thing…like you can’t use your hands, or no knives, or no oven…it kind of feels like that. At the end of the day, I feel like the fact that my diet has not consisted solely of microwave popcorn and hot pockets, I’m not doing TOO bad prepping food without it.

That being said, I am really REALLY looking forward to the delivery of my new gas range next week (WITH A GRIDDLE ON TOP!!!) so I can really have fun with all my Pinterest recipe searches!  Now, without an oven, I have two ways to heat/cook food.  Microwave, and crock pot.  So this week I turned to my lovely crock pot to make some soup, and made enough to throw several Tupperware containers of it in the freezer for later.

This soup is hearty, and filling, I mean, it’s base is sweet potato.  The chipotle chili seasoning mix brings a little kick to it, just enough to amp up the flavor, top it off with some sour cream and a squeeze of lime and you have a bowl full of deliciousness.

As with most recipes I try out and post here, I found this online.  I wish I was creative enough in the kitchen to be able to make this stuff up, buuuut I’m not, so I obsess over Pinterest and will try just about anything!  I’m a pretty decent cook…just not great at creating recipes, and I feel like that is okay.  I found this recipe on Carlsbad Cravings (https://carlsbadcravings.com) – check out their site (they just posted a bunch of Game Day treats for this weekend!)

INGREDIENTS:
I cooked this in two batches because my crock pot wasn’t big enough, but it made a TON of soup – definitely could have halved the recipe, but now I have a bunch of soup saved for another day!

3lbs sweet potato – peeled, chopped into small cubes
3 granny smith apples – peeled, choppedIMG_33091 medium yellow onion – chopped
4-6 cloves garlic – minced
1 32oz container of low sodium chicken stock
2t ground cumin
1 1/2t salt
1t chili powder
1/2t chipotle chili powder
1/2t smoked paprika
1/2t dried oregano
1/2t ground cinnamon

ADD LATER:
2-4T lime juice (I added the lime juice to just the serving I was eating – all my stored soup is without – wanted a zesty fresh lime taste to my bowl)

GARNISH:
sour cream
cilantro
pumpkin seeds
(I forgot these when I went to the market, so I just used sour cream and ground toasted almonds – but WISH I had that cilantro!)

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Add ingredients to slow cooker (except lime juice 7 garnishes – obviously). Cook on ow for 6-8 hours on low or 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 hours on high – until potatoes are very tender.

IMG_33522. In batches, add soup to your blender.  Blend until very smooth, MAKE SURE TO LET SMOKE ESCAPE OR IT WILL EXPLODE (caps for dramatic effect…but really – leave a corner open and cover with a towel).  Return pureed soup to large pot, repeat until all soup as been pureed.  I have been traumatized by an exploding blender before…so I used my immersion blender instead – there was soup literally everywhere

3. Stir in salt & pepper to taste, add extra chipotle powder if you want it to have more of a kick.  This is where the original recipe calls to add the lime, so you can add it here or hold off – up to you!

4. Garnish each serving with the topping you have chosen and a spritz of lime and you’re good to go!

ENJOY!!

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Crunchy Veggie Quinoa Salad

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This week, I found myself in an interesting situation.  I prepped for a completely different meal to post about (and it WILL be posted someday), cooked it, and something seemed a bit off with the oven.  So…after my friendly Eversource guy came through, I am currently not able to use my stove, and will hopefully be back to cooking soon once I have a new oven!!

But, as I brought up to my nutrition group, these are the kind of situations that can sometimes throw people off their healthy eating/diet/nutrition plans.  What happens when you all of a sudden cannot cook? When the pans you had for your meals this week are now not possible? When the microwave is your only source of heating up food?  Well, you scrap the plans you had, and figure out something else.

So, we are in for another vegetarian meal this week, and I am not complaining at all!! I first found this recipe on a site called AvocadoPesto.com, made just a couple modifications to it, and here we have an amazing quinoa salad (never cooked quinoa in the microwave before…who really needs a stove anyway?)

Can you please for a moment appreciate all gorgeous color???  Okay.  Moving on.  One of the modifications I made to the recipe on AvocadoPesto, is I doubled it…because after just looking at it online I already knew I would want more than a couple servings.

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This can be used as a meat-free dish, but to be honest, I would love some grilled chicken mixed in here!  While this does take a bit more prep time (lots of chopping), I don’t mind, because the end result is fresh and crunchy and absolutely delicious. PLUS…it’s basically a two bowl dish – one for the quinoa, one for the dressing, so my only clean-was the two bowls, a knife and the cutting board.  Doesn’t get easier than that!

INGREDIENTS:
yields about 4-5c. quinoa salad…so a lot.  
1c. Broccoli finely chopped
2c. Quinoa cooked according to package instructions
3/4 small red onion, diced (raw or very lightly sautéed – use your personal preference)
1/2c. Carrots, grated
1.5 Handful Cilantro, chopped
1/2c. Chopped Green Onions
1/4c. Slivered Almonds (original recipe called for peanuts which would be yummy too!)

DRESSING:
1 Lime – juice & zest (+ more juice to taste)
2t Sesame Seeds
2T Guten Free Tamari
2T Sesame Oil
2T Rice Vinegar
3 cloves garlic. minced, and very lightly sautéed
1 inch piece of Ginger, minced – add this bit by bit to taste – a little bit goes a long way.
1T honey (optional: I added this because I only had a little ginger – sweetened it up a bit)

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Directions:
1. In large mixing bowl, combine quinoa, raw broccoli, red onion, carrots, cilantro, green onion, almonds, and gently mix it up until it’s all combined.

2. In small bowl whisk together all ingredients for dressing

3.  Pour dressing over quinoa salad, and serve warm!  (I’m pretty sure it will also be delicious cold!)

4. Store any leftovers in an airtight container, or even better, divide it up into small containers to bring to work with you for lunch!

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Enjoy!

 

 

Breakfast made simple

We are back at it – posting weekly recipes, partially fueled by Hannah’s most recent ProCoach nutrition cohort that started this past week, but also because we have admittedly been less than consistent here. So, we are starting by posting a recipe up each week, and building from there. The goal with these recipes is not to give you the most extravagant meals you have ever seen, but to bring to you simple, healthy recipes that will set you up to succeed with your daily meal planning. Some will be “meal prep” style foods, some will be side dishes, crock pot dishes, soups, some will be veggie prep ideas, breakfasts, desserts, you name it, anything goes. So here goes entry #1, and we look forward to many delicious meals in the months ahead!

When clients reach out  to us about their nutrition, one common theme has to do with breakfast. Either they don’t know what to eat in the morning, or they feel that for some reason breakfast takes SO LONG to make that they just don’t have time in the morning.  There is always something that keeps them from starting the day out with some food in their belly.

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The truth is, breakfast is probably the fastest and easiest meal of the day, and you will hear us say this over and over…keep it simple, and set yourself up for success! If you google “quick healthy breakfast”, this will probably be one of the first things that pops up, which is one of the reasons why we wanted to start here. Egg muffin cups LITERALLY take about 5-10 minutes to prep, pop them in the oven, and you have breakfast for the week.

I did three different flavors since I get bored easily from eating the same thing every day, but have fun with it, mix it up with colorful veggies, add a little cheese, throw some meat in there with the veggies if that’s your style. I chose the following three:

Spinach & Pepper
Mushroom & Scallion
Tomato & Basil


INGREDIENTS:
(yields about 8 egg muffin cups)
6 eggs
milk (I used unsweetened almond milk as an alternative to regular milk)
your choice of vegetables, meat or cheese
salt & pepper (to taste)

RECIPE: 

  • Preheat oven to 375 & spray muffin tin with cooking spray then set aside – only spray 8 cups unless you add more egg to fill the rest of the spots
  • Chop up all veggies/meat you intend to use into small pieces, including greens.
  • Combine eggs & milk (as if you were making scrambled eggs), salt & pepper into bowl, and whisk it up.
  • Pour egg mixture evenly into muffin tin to about the half way mark
  • Sprinkle ingredients into each egg cup, I like to go a bit heavy on the veggies, but if you like an eggy muffin, then do it up! The muffin tins should be about 3/4 full once ingredients are added.
  • Bake the egg cups in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they are solid.

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Store in an airtight container, or divide them up into ziplock bags for an easy grab-n-go breakfast! I will usually warm them up a bit in the morning. These are a savior on many  rushed mornings. The pictures don’t do them justice, they are absolutely delicious!

I hope you enjoy them!  Comment here with different ingredients you have tried!

 

-TCU