NBC Television “Daytime Alabama: Alison Lewis, Brooke Smith and Kale-Lentil Soup

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So many ask people ask me about my television work. I love to do food television, and have been fortunate enough to do so many shows in the past year. I thought I would show a glimpse of us in action from yesterdays tapings for NBC 13 “Daytime Alabama” in Birmingham, Alabama. On one of the shows I featured “kale”. Everyone loved the recipes and was so excited to learn about kale and ways to use it in quick and healthy recipes. I made an awesome Kale-Lentil Soup filled with kale, lentils, garbanzo beans , andouille sausage and farro. I also made a Kale Saute with dried cranberries, walnuts and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar that I developed for Clean Eating Magazine. It was so much fun, and I thank Brooke Smith, Wes, Nicole and Alatia for all their great work and so much fun!

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Low Calorie, Low-Fat: Quick and Easy Chipotle Chili

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My boys love chili, and we make it often at my house, especially this time of year. With only 248 calories and 4.8 grams of fat, this chili is low in fat and calories. I developed this recipe for Laura’s Lean Beef, but the original recipe has black beans instead of kidney beans and no chipotle seasoning. Both versions are wonderful. If you are really short on time and only have about 10 minutes, I love the Publix seasoning packet. Just add beef, tomatoes and beans, and it comes out great.

Heartwarming Comfort Food: Matzoh Ball Soup

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I have been sick for the past few days which is rare for me. My sweet friend, Heidi, offered to make me some Matzoh Ball Soup. Of course, I turned her down, but made every effort to make it on my own (with tons of help from my daughter, thank you Leigh). It’s three days later, and it still tastes great. It’s perfect for the cold weather we’re having and warms the soul. If you’re short on time, use the Manischewitz Matzo Ball and Soup Mix and add the vegetables above. It’s really great too.

Last Minute Food Christmas Gifts: Curried Soup Mix

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Everyone loves homemade food gifts so if you’re in a pinch with only a few more days, here’s a easy, healthy and pretty food gift. Curried Soup Mix is a great combination of lentils and spices. It makes a pretty presentation perfect for this time of year. It’s a true comforting soup ideal for this cold weather.

Healthy Soup for Supper: Lentil-Farro Soup

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After my trip to Wisconsin (and my intake of cheese), I came back to Alabama to more rain and cooler temperatures. I thought a healthy dose of farro, lentils, chickpeas and Swiss chard would be the perfect mix to create this healthy soup: Lentil-Farro Soup. If you’re not familiar with Swiss Chard, it’s a leafy green full of vitamins. I added a southern hint of Cajun sausage to jazz it up just a bit.

Love This Lasagna Soup

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If you love lasagna, you will love this soup. All of my favorite ingredients, spinach, sausage and tomatoes and cheese, fill this soup, and it is so quick and easy. Using the mini farfalle noodles works perfect in this recipe as they truly look like mini lasagna noodles. My family was wowed by the soup. Serve with a salad and some fresh crusty bread, and dinner is on the table in no time.

 

Lasagna Soup

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Yield: 8 cups

Ingredients

1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced carrots

1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups low-salt, fat-free chicken broth

1 (141/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil and oregano

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1 cup mini farfalle pasta (piccolini) “Barilla” makes it

2 cups fresh spinach

2 cups freshly grated Asiago cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh basil, (optional)

Preparation

1. Brown sausage in a large Dutch over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and garlic; saute 3 minutes more.

2. Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and Italian seasoning; bring to a boil. Add pasta and simmer until cooked, about 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. 

3. Place 1/4 cup Asiago cheese into each bowl; pour soup on top garnish with Parmesan cheese. Garnish with basil, if desired.

Easy and Delicious White Chili

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My friend and loyal fan, Dawn, asked me a while back for a recipe for White Chili. I promised her I would work on one, and this recipe came out great. It’s simple to prepare-just requiring some chopping, vegetables and grating cheese, and that’s the only work involved. Feel free to use already-shredded cheese if your short on time, and I used a rotisserie chicken to speed up the process. This chili has just the right consistency and spice. Even my 8-year-old was asking for seconds.


White Bean Chili

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1 medium onion, diced

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained

2 cloves garlic, minced

11/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed

31/2 cups low-salt, fat-free chicken broth

2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)

1 cup freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup freshly grated Colby cheese

Toppings: crushed corn chips, light sour cream, chopped green onions, olives, chopped tomatoes, oyster crackers, bacon

Preparation

1. Cook onion in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring until tender. Add green chiles and next 4 ingredients; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add beans and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce
heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Add chicken, 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack and 1/2 cup Colby cheese; simmer 10 minutes more. Ladle chili into individual bowls. Top each serving evenly with cheese and desired toppings.

Easy and Healthy Bean-Vegetable Soup

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How about a simple and healthy bean soup recipe while the weather is still cold? I found this plain bean mixture at Fresh Market, but you can find bean mixes at all local grocery stores. I don’t use the seasoning packets that come with them, just the recipe below. Just look for a 1-pound bag, and this recipe will be a breeze. It’s so hearty, easy and flavorful. The hardest part is that you have to soak the beans overnight. Stay warm and enjoy!

 

Bean Vegetable Soup

1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage can be added to this.

Prep: 20 minutes

Stand: overnight

Cook: 2 hours

Yield: 8 cups

Ingredients

1 pound bean soup mix

6 cups water

4 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup diced carrot

3/4 cup diced celery

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Chopped fresh parsley and grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preparation

1. Soak the bean mix overnight in plenty of water; rinse and drain.

2 Add beans to water and bring to a boil; simmer 1 hour. 

3. If adding sausage,  saute sausage in a large saute pan until browned. Add sausage and remaining ingredients; simmer 2 hours. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and Parmesan before serving, if desired.

Healthy and Quick Chicken-Rice Soup

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After I posted my chowder recipe yesterday, my friend, Kevin, (who is a well known physical therapist for professional athletes) asked me for a recipe for Chicken and Rice Soup without cream. Kevin eats healthier than most people I know. He eats salmon at least three times a week and has an incredible palate for food. So, when I decided to develop this Chicken and Rice Soup recipe, I really had to think it out carefully with the healthiest ingredients. This soup is filled with fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, low-fat and low-sodium chicken broth, lean chicken, and a mixture of brown, wild and white rice. It takes less than 45 minutes to prepare, and it’s the ultimate way to feed the soul whether you’re under the weather or not.

 

Healthy Chicken Rice Soup

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

11/2 cups diced carrots

11/2 cups diced celery

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced leeks

1 tablespoon olive oil

Vegetable cooking spray

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

8 cups organic low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth

1 cup rice blend mix of white, brown and wild rice, uncooked

21/2 cups cooked chopped chicken (I used white meat only from rotisserie chicken)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

Preparation

1. Saute first 4 ingredients in a hot oil in a large lightly greased Dutch oven over medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add garlic, mushrooms and pepper; saute 1 more minute. Add chicken broth; bring to a boil. Add rice, stirring well. Cover, reduce heat and cook 15 to 20 minutes. Add chicken and cook 5 to 10 minutes more or until heated through. Stir in parsley and thyme before serving.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup (without any cream)

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I was at the grocery store yesterday (imagine that), and Campari tomatoes were buy one, get one free (run to Publix now). It inspired me to share with you my favorite Roasted Tomato Basil Soup recipe. This is so easy to prepare and bursting with flavors. And for those of you watching your weight or don’t like creamy soups, this soup has no cream, milk or half-and-half.

 

Roasted Campari Tomato-Basil Soup

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

2 (16-ounce) containers compari tomatoes, cut in half

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 cups chopped yellow onions 

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, undrained

1 cup finely chopped fresh basil

4 cups chicken broth

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Toss together the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, butter and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil and chicken broth. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

If you’re wondering what Campari tomatoes are, here is what they look like: 

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