Easy Chicken Orzo Soup

I’m excited to share this Easy Chicken Orzo Soup recipe right after the Thanksgiving holiday. This recipe is very easy to make. Chopping the leeks, carrots and celery is the most difficult part of the entire recipe.

Serve this soup for dinner with a salad and some crusty bread or serve the leftovers for lunch. My three kids have been home all week, and they loved this recipe! We tried it with chopped kale instead of spinach, and it turned out great.

If you have leftover turkey, substitute it for the chopped rotisserie chicken. Also, instead of using a rotisserie chicken, you can use 11/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts and cook them prior to adding the carrot, celery and leeks. Remove them before adding the pasta and then place them back in the soup with the spinach and dill.

My Favorite Chicken Tortilla Soup

It’s the perfect time of year for soup making so I’m thrilled to share my favorite Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe. This recipe is so easy! For preparation, all you need to do is chop the onion, a rotisserie chicken, a tomato, cilantro and an adobo pepper. Then, mix, stir and serve. I love serving this soup with fresh avocado, tortilla chips and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. I often also dollop each bowl with a tablespoon of light sour cream or nonfat plain Greek yogurt. Serve with a salad for a healthy, light, gluten-free and low-calorie dinner!

Tips:

•If you have not purchased chipotle in adobo sauce before, you can find the cans in the international foods section where Mexican foods are. Chipotles are very spicy so start with just one chopped and add as needed for taste.

•If you have leftover grilled, roasted or baked chicken, feel free to use this instead of a rotisserie chicken.

•Double the recipe so you’ll have leftovers.

•Prepare the soup ahead of time leaving out the cilantro and lime juice. When reheating, add these ingredients right before heating and serving.

Mini Granny Smith Carmel Apples

Cheers to October for cooler weather, colorful leaves and fall recipes. Instead of indulging on an entire caramel apple, these Mini Granny Smith Caramel Apples are sure to please all of your family and friends. They are so easy to make!

Start by using a melon baller to scoop out mini apples; pat try with a paper towel. Insert a 4-inch wooden bamboo skewer in the top of each apple. Dip in caramel and top with nuts or your favorite toppings. That’s the entire recipe. These are fun to make, and cleanup is a snap. Have a fabulous October everyone!

Easy Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Bars

Are you looking for a fabulous gluten-free bar for a snack, a Halloween treat, pre or post workout, quick breakfast or dessert to put in your kids’ lunch or lunchbox?  These Easy Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Bars are my new go-to snack recipe. These bars are super simple to make. All you need is 10 minutes of preparation time and sometime in the refrigerator.

I can’t take all of the credit for this recipe. My sister, Julie, told me about a variation of this recipe from Sallys Baking Addiction. She adds, raisins, cranberries and mini chocolate chips to her bars and uses cashews instead of pecans. Sally offers a ton of great tips on the recipe so make sure to check out her site.

Some tips I specifically love include from Sally is her “freezing Instructions” on these bars. She says to layer the cut bars between sheets of parchment in a freezer-friendly bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

She also gives a great trip on about the ground flax. She says that if you don’t have ground flax, to replace with the same amount of whole oats. If you use this, you do not need to pulse them with the nuts and 1/2 cup of oats.

Regarding peanut butter, Sally says to use your favorite peanut butter, creamy or crunchy, natural or processed, or another nut butter you love. I used all-natural peanut butter (with the oil in the top), and it worked great!

Pumpkin Granola

Anything pumpkin is a favorite fall treat, so I created this delicious and wholesome Pumpkin Granola to get my pumpkin fix. This recipe is simple in that it requires just 35 minutes.

Because it’s loaded with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, this granola makes the perfect breakfast or snack. I love mine Greek Yogurt, with a little almond milk or just on its own as a snack.

This recipe makes a great fall gift for a fun token of your love, for birthdays and other special occasions. Enjoy this favorite fall recipe and have a terrific weekend!

Trail Mix Cookies

Happy Labor Day! I shared this photo on my instagram a few days ago, and so many people have requested this recipe. Enjoy them for Labor Day, weekday snacks or to sneak in your kids’ lunchboxes. They’re always a huge hit!

Tips:

•If using larger dried fruit, chose them into smaller pieces before adding to the dough.

•Be sure not to overtake these cookies, as they will continue to cook when you remove them from the oven. remove them with they are lightly browned.

•Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Lunchbox Sushi

Are you trying to get creative when it comes to school lunch? I have a fun idea: this recipe for Lunchbox Sushi. This sandwich recipe is very easy, healthy, fresh and kids love it. If your children like sushi or are interested in wrap sandwiches, try this recipe.

In honor of the popular demand for sandwiches and back to school, I am thrilled to share this recipe. If you’re looking for more sandwich recipes, I plenty in my first cookbook, “400 Best Sandwiches: From Classics & Burgers to Wraps & Condiments”.

Lunchbox Sushi

Prep: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1 teaspoon wasabi powder
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cups cooked sushi short-grain rice, cooled
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 teaspoon reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 (10-inch) white or whole wheat tortillas
6 sheets nori
11/2 pounds cooked and peeled shrimp, chopped
1 cup chopped avocado
1 cup finely chopped cucumber
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

Preparation
1. In a small bowl, combine wasbabi and 1 teaspoon water. Add 2 tablespoons sauce and mixing well.
2. In a medium bowl, combine rie, wasabi mixture, green onions, mayonnaise and red pepper flakes.
3. Line each tortilla with nori. Arrange rice mixture equally in center of each wrap. Add shrimp, avocado and cucumber. Fold both ends over filling. Roll up and serve with soy sauce.
This recipe is from my book “400 Best Sandwich Recipes: From Classics & Burgers to Wraps & Condiments” 2011 by Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission and photo credit by Colin Erricson.

Vanilla Chai Power Bars

Vanilla Chai Power Bars

I am so excited these Vanilla Chai Power Bars. I recently got my hands on a FABULOUS vegetarian cookbook: Vegan Everyday by Douglas McNish, a vegan executive chef who has a strong commitment to health and organics. Published by Robert Rose Books, this cookbook is filled with 500 recipes that are bold, innovative, fresh and wonderful for vegans and non-vegans. You’ll find recipes for every occasion and every meal of the day.

I love the Peach Cobbler, Mini Quinoa Croquettes, Singapore Summer Rolls, and these Vanilla Chai Power Bars. These energy bars are a great item to keep on hand for snacking on the go, or enjoy them as a quick breakfast with a cold glass of milk. Filled with millet, chia seeds and spices, these bars are too good!

My kids went wild over these, and they are awesome for travel too. If you’re looking for puffed quinoa and millet, you can find them in most well stocked supermarkets and natural food stores. Enjoy and be sure to check out this amazing cookbook.

Vegan Everyday

Frozen Pomegranate Margarita

We are huge fans of pomegranate juice at my house. I like to put a splash in my water bottles, but the kids will drink it by itself. I twisted up the classic margarita cocktail to create this Frozen Pomagranate Margarita recipe. It is perfect for anytime this summer, when you want a cool, frozen cocktail beverage.

I love that pomegranate juice has so many wonderful antioxidants and healthy properties helping prevent cardiovascular disease, prostate cancers, sports recovery problems and more. Polyphenols found in pomegranates may even help fuel your exercise goals. For more information and studies, see Pom Wonderful.