Parsnip-Potato Chowder

It’s the perfect time of year for soups, and why not try something a little different such as this Parsnip-Potato Chowder? When I taught a cooking class recently, very few people in the class had ever cooked or tried parsnips.  Parsnips are root vegetables, and they are related to the carrot family. Parsnips resemble carrots but are paler in color and have a slightly sweeter taste. Parsnips provide an excellent source of vitamin C, folic acid, B vitamins and fiber. Combine parsnips and potatoes with a touch of fresh dill, milk and vegetable broth to create a comforting and flavorful chowder. This soup tastes so rich without using any cream, and my kids even enjoyed it. For added flavor, sprinkle with crumbled bacon and fresh chopped dill.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Did you know butternut squash is technically a fruit? It’s a member of the gourd family along with pumpkin, cucumber and melon as they all have seeds. Its orange color adds to its power of nutrients known as carotenoids shown to protect against heart disease. Butternut Squash also has significant amounts of potassium and vitamin B6 and folate. It’s low in fat and is a good source of fiber. I love using it in soups and this Curried Butternut Squash Soup is so easy, flavorful and heart-warming. Serve with a salad and crusty bread, and that’s all you need.

Lightened-Up Seafood Gumbo

Happy New Year to everyone! We spent the past few days down at the beach, and yesterday we watched a lot of football and enjoyed this Seafood Gumbo recipe adapted from Cooking Light. With only 254 calories and 2 grams of fat, this hearty soup will fit into your New Years resolution plan to eat healthy and get lean. It’s so flavorful and comforting this time of year. Just serve with a salad and some crusty bread, and that is all you need. I hope everyone had a great holiday season, and I look forward to a fantastic 2011 on Ingredients, Inc.

Seafood Gumbo

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup  chopped green bell pepper

1/2  cup chopped celery

2  garlic cloves, minced

11/2 cups sliced okra

1 cup chopped tomato

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

4  (8-ounce) bottles clam juice

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 pound skinned scamp or other firm white fish fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces

11/4  pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2  teaspoon hot sauce

4 1/2  cups hot cooked long-grain rice

Directions

1. Place flour in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet; cook over medium heat 20 minutes or until browned, stirring constantly with a whisk. (If flour browns too fast, remove it from heat, and stir until it cools down.) Remove from heat; set aside.

2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add okra, tomato and oregano; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 11/2 cups chicken broth, Cajun  Seasoning, clam juice, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Gradually add browned flour, stirring with a whisk. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add scamp; cook 5 minutes. Add shrimp; cook 10 minutes or until seafood is done. Stir in hot sauce. Serve gumbo over rice.

Note: One (8-ounce) container select oysters, undrained, may be added.

Under 30 Minutes to Low-Fat Beef Chili

It has been so cool outside in Birmingham the past few days, so I made one of my kid’s favorites-Basic Low-Fat Chili recipes. With 260 calories and 4.4 grams of fat per serving, you can feel good about eating this heart-warming, simple chili, which my kids love.


My 10 Chili-Making Tips:

1. If your chili is too thick, use broth to dilute it.

2. If the chili is too thin, add tomato paste.

3. Use the best beef you can buy, and add it first.

4. Use fresh vegetables.

5. Cook the chili a day before you plan to eat it.

5. Use dried spices that are fresh.

6. Make a double batch for future meals.

7. Serve leftover chili in tacos, spaghetti, burritos or as a filling in omelets or quesadillas.

8. A touch of unsweetened cocoa powder or coffee give chili an earthy flavor.

9. Freeze leftover chili in an airtight container in individual servings for easy, quick heat-up.

10. Serve as a “Chili Bar” with accompaniments such as sour cream, Greek yogurt, shredded cheeses, onions, crushed blue corn tortilla chips, chopped cilantro and chopped tomatoes.

Note: If you don’t have time to make this recipe. Here’s an awesome shortcut. Purchase the Publix Brand Chili Seasoning Mix and combine with beef, tomato sauce and red kidney beans (as directed on the package), and it tastes like homemade.

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.