Friday, January 30, 2009

Light Italian Wedding Soup

It has been cold here in the midwest - I mean really, really friggin' cold. I don't like it one bit, but I'm coping. One of the ways I try to cope is by eating and drinking lots of hot liquids - lots of tea, lots of soups. I found this recipe in the latest issue of Everyday Food, which actually had 4 soup recipes this month - and was intrigued. First, I'd never made Italian Wedding Soup before and second, it calls for escarole, a vegetable with which I was completely unaware. It looks a lot like lettuce and is actually a part of the endive family - slightly bitter when raw, cooked it mellows out and is pretty darn tasty. Thankfully, my kids are pretty adventuresome when it comes to new veggies. They've tried kale, swiss chard, broccoli rabe, and others - most of which were a hit. They really liked this soup a lot, but if your kids might balk at the escarole, you could easily substitute spinach.
I think the idea of little meatballs in the soup appealed to my kids too, so it wasn't hard to get them to try it.
This recipe was really easy and came together in about a half an hour. I only slightly deviated from the recipe, adding some oregano and additional water and it turned out to be really delicious.

Light Italian Wedding Soup
from the Everyday Food January/February 09 issue
makes 6 servings

1 pound ground dark-meat turkey (93 percent lean) I used a 1.25 lb tray of Jenny-O Turkey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes in juice
2 heads escarole (2 pounds total), cored, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 cups water

In a bowl, combine turkey, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Using 1 tablespoon for each, roll mixture into balls. The ideal tool for this is a small scoop - I used a teaspoon sized scoop and kind of mounded the meatball mix on the end.

In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add broth and tomatoes (with juice) and oregano; bring to a simmer. Add meatballs; cook, without stirring, until meatballs float to surface, about 5 minutes.

Add as much escarole to pot as will fit. Cook, gradually adding remaining escarole, until wilted and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Thin soup with water if desired (I used 2 cups); season with salt and pepper. Serve soup sprinkled with more Parmesan.

Nutritional Info per serving
250 calories
9.8 grams fat (3g Saturated)
23.6 grams protein
19.3 grams carbs
4.8 grams fiber
WeightWatchers Point Value per serving: 5

I hope you try this soup at your house and please, let me know how you and your family liked it!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I'm Baaaack!

Hello Internet world, I'm back. I really need a new New Year's Resolution to stay on top of blogging! I'd like to say that I've been incredibly busy doing good works and just simply didn't have the time to blog. Alas, no good excuse like that for me - just lazy :-)

We had an absolutely, perfectly terrific Disney vacation. There really is no other word to describe that place but "Magical" (well, maybe "expensive" might be one too if you ask my husband). I just love Walt Disney World and have decided that the hubby and I are going to retire down there and work at Disney part time (saw lots of retirees working, especially on the transportation stuff - boats, buses and monorails). I could do that - I mean how hard could it be to deal with millions of people from all over the world trying to placate their tired and cranky kids day in and day out. He's not nearly as excited at that prospect as I am, but luckily I've got 20 years or more to convince him!

The 1/2 Marathon was a great experience (except for maybe miles 11.5 through 13 - those were pretty brutal) and I am so thankful that my Sister-in-law ran with me at my turtle speed. Thank you so much Karen - you kept me motivated and going when I so wanted to stop! She and her husband also went to the parks with us and were not only a huge help, but the kids adore them and had a wonderful time riding rides and even standing in line with them. Which reminds me - January is a great time to visit Disney, our longest wait was maybe 20 minutes or so and most were less than 5. We had to use fast pass only twice - once for Toy Story Mania and once for Soarin' (both are highly recommended and always had at least a 45minute wait). It did get pretty cool however, with highs in the low sixties and even 50's on our last day. This of course was infinitely better than the temps the folks back in the home town were experiencing - 0's and worse - yuck! So glad I missed that!

I could go on and on about how wonderful Disney World is, but I'm sure either you already know because a. you've been there before or b. you've heard from people you know who've been. I'll sum it up and say it's worth every penny!

Back to food blogging tomorrow with a great soup recipe I found in my Everyday Food magazine.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Lighter Chicken Parmesan

After I get back form Walt Disney World, I plan on really starting to watch what I eat (there's really no point while you're on vacation, right?). I've decided to use and see how it works out. WW doesn't have any meeting places close to where I live (I'm spoiled now, living in a small town and think 25 minutes is just too far to go for a meeting, or anything else for that matter) so I'm going to track my points online. I'll try to include the points values for the recipes I post, but I can't promise I can get to every one. I'll also be tracking my weekly workouts which will hopefully be 4 runs and 2 cross trains. I've got the best of intentions don't I?!

Anyway, here's a recipe that's really easy and is a kid-pleaser too. Sorry, I don't have the points value for this dish yet, but the nutritional data is at the bottom of the recipe.

Baked Chicken Parmesan

1.5 pounds boneless chicken breasts (about 6)
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
1.5 cups prepared tomato sauce (for a time-saver, I like to use Bertolli or Newman's Own)
1/2 cup egg substitute (or two eggs, beaten)

Preheat oven to 375°. Spread olive oil in the bottom of a 13x9 pan. Pat chicken breasts dry and season with salt and pepper. In a shallow bowl, mix bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Put eggs in another shallow bowl and set the bowls side by side.

Here's my assembly line:

Dredge each chicken breast in eggs, letting excess drip off, and then dredge in bread crumb mixture. Set each breast in the prepared 13x9 pan.

Bake for appx. 20 minutes until the chicken starts to get lightly browned.

Remove pan from oven. Cover the chicken with the tomato sauce and top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is starting to brown.

Nutritional Information (by
6 Servings

219 Calories
8g Total fat
4g Saturated Fat
26mg Cholesterol
369mg Sodium
18g Total Carbs
2g Dietary Fiber
17g Protein

I like to serve this with a side of pasta and I really like the Barilla Plus line (extra fiber and protein) - but if you're watching carbs, just serve it with loads of veggies!