Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Ok I must confess, this isn’t really a recipe per-say, but I thought it would be fun to share regardless. I had a request last weekend for grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner… I thought about getting creative with the sandwich (adding meat, veggies, fancy cheese etc.) but then remembered a pin I had seen on Pinterest referencing “Grilled Cheese Croutons” and thought I’d give it a go. It certainly made the soup more interesting for sure.

To make the croutons, just make your grilled cheese the way you normally would, and cut it up into bite size pieces and plop them into the soup (I used Trader Joes roasted red pepper/tomato soup). I just used regular sandwich bread and got 12 croutons out of each sandwich. The best part is that the cheese oozes out into the soup… just sayin’.

Grilled Cheese Croutons

 

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Bubble Up Enchiladas

I know a lot of you have seen this recipe floating around the web and it has been sitting on my “recipes to try” Pinterest board for far too long. Shockingly enough, it is originally a weight watchers recipe, all though I pretty much stripped it of being one. I took the basic recipe and added quite a few things to it, which is the best part about it! You can change/add/detract any of the ingredients or keep it basic and it will still taste amazing. This meal took about 15 minutes to prepare, which makes it a great addition to your weeknight recipe arsenal.

Bubble Up Enchiladas (Serves 6)

Ingredients
1 1/4 lb lean ground turkey
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 19 oz can red enchilada sauce
1 7.5 oz can reduced fat refrigerator biscuits, ripped into small pieces
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
1/2 cup diced white onion
one packet taco seasoning
1 Tbs. olive oil
1-2 cups reduced fat shredded mexican blend cheese
1/4 diced green onion (optional)
avocado (for garnish)
sour cream (for garnish)

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a large cast iron skillet*, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat
3. Brown the meat and add the taco seasoning while browning
4. Add the beans, veggies and enchilada sauce to the skillet
5. Tear the biscuits into small pieces and cut into the enchilada mixture in your skillet
6. Place the skillet in the oven for 30 minutes
7. Remove, sprinkle on desired amount of cheese (more is better obviously) and green onions if you choose. Put back in the oven for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is melty
8. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving, it will be really hot
9. Garnish with sour cream, avocado or any of your other favorite toppings
*if you don’t have a large enough cast iron skillet, simply prepare the mixture in a regular skillet and then put it in a greased 9×13 baking dish

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

It’s been freezing in Seattle the past few weeks (mostly days below 39) and something about the cold weather had me craving pot roast. I’d never actually made on in a slow cooker before, but decided that the ingredients can’t be much different than your standard pot roast as I usually put it in the oven for 3 or so hours in a dutch oven. I don’t make mine with a gravy, but it’s easy enough to make with the fatty pieces left in the liquid. (If you don’t have enough fat, just add some butter). Simply Recipes has a great recipe for gravy so check it out if you want some on your pot roast! And as a bonus, this makes great leftovers, especially if you enjoy a pot roast sandwich.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Ingredients:
3 lbs. chuck roast, brisket, top round, bottom round or rump roast (I usually opt for chuck)*
1/2 lb. boiling potatoes (such as yukon gold, or small red potatoes) quartered
3 carrots – cut into 1 inch long pieces
1 medium onion – sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup water
1 package dried onion soup mix
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
*if you can’t find it in 3lb. increments, just use two smaller roasts

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat
2. Generously salt and pepper the roast and add to pan, making sure to brown each side evenly
3. Add the roast to the crock pot, sprinkle with dried onion soup
4. Pour the water over the roast, set on low for 8-10 hours.
5. About half way through the cooking process, add the vegetables to the crock pot – stirring to make sure they are covered with the liquid. (If there is not enough liquid, add a bit more water or beef broth if you have it)
6. Remove the vegetables and beef from the crock pot, shred beef and serve with veggies

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Growing up there was always that one thing my mom made that was the ultimate comfort food – stuffed peppers. I don’t know if I loved them because they were cheesy, colorful or warm and hearty, but I always got excited when I saw her pull out the peppers and the boxed spanish rice. I’ve adapted her recipe a bit (I don’t use the boxed rice, I substitute brown rice for white and I use ground turkey instead of ground beef.) Don’t get me wrong mom’s way was great, but I wanted to make it a bit healthier.

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s super versatile. Want to go meatless? Add crumbled tofu seasoned with taco seasoning, squash or potatoes. Don’t want the carbs? Add some leafy greens to the seasoned turkey. Want something different? Try quinoa instead of rice. Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy it!

Stuffed Bell Peppers (Serves 4)

Ingredients
4 bell peppers (any combo of colors, green are less sweet)
1 lb. ground turkey
2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup chopped white onion
3 small cloves garlic, minced
15 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
3/4 cup frozen corn
1/2 packet taco seasoning
3 Tbs. tomato paste
2 cups shredded cheese (I use a mexican blend)
2 Tbs. olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
1. Wash the bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise. Remove the stems, seeds and as much of the white parts of the peppers as you can.
2. In a large skillet, add the olive oil and heat to a medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic, stirring frequently, until they are translucent.
3. Add the turkey and crumble with a large spoon. Sprinkle the turkey with the taco seasoning and a pinch of salt and pepper. Brown turkey.
4. Add the canned tomatoes,corn and rice stir until combined.
5. Add the tomato paste, stir until combined. Mix 1 cup of the cheese into the mixture.
6. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
7. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the peppers and blanch. Boil the peppers for 1-2 minutes depending on the thickness of the pepper. Remove and rinse with cold water. Let the peppers dry (or pat with a paper towel.)
8. Place the peppers on a baking sheet, sprayed with baking spray.9. Using a spoon, scoop the meat and rice mixture into each pepper. Make sure you press the mixture into the corners of the peppers. (You will make a mess!)
10. Place the peppers into the pre heated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
11. Remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese and return to the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Oops – I made something low calorie by mistake!

So I hadn’t intended this dinner to be healthy (and by healthy I mean low-calorie)… but I was craving a casserole and Mexican food, so I decided to make a chicken enchilada casserole. I started making this awhile back when I was too lazy to make enchiladas (hey there is a lot of rolling involved) but was  curious to see how others were making theirs. Most of the recipes I found had cream of chicken soup or sour cream in them, which didn’t sound appealing to me, so I just decided to move ahead as planned. It appears I created more of a Mexican lasagna rather that a casserole.
If you need a quick, and apparently healthy weeknight meal – check this out. Calorie count is included below the recipe. I would have taken more pictures, but I was starving and couldn’t wait to eat… ooops 🙂

Chicken Enchilada Lasagna (makes 12 servings)

Ingredients:

2 cups 2% reduced fat mexican blend shredded cheese
18 6 in. corn tortillas
1 1/4 lbs. chicken breasts
1 medium white onion, chopped
3 TBS. taco seasoning
4 oz. diced green chilies in a can*
7 oz. can salsa verde*
28 oz. can green enchilada sauce*
14.5 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil spray
(Optional: sour cream, avocado)

(*images of ingredients)

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and spray the bottom of an 11×9 pan with a bit of olive oil.
2. Place chicken breasts in a large pot and cover with water (you can use chicken broth as well – just be aware it will add some calories). Salt and pepper the water, and add a Tablespoon of the taco seasoning.
3. Bring water to boil and gently poach the chicken breasts until cooked through (usually about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken).
4. Shred the chicken with a fork into a separate bowl and  mix with the remaining taco seasoning.
5. Heat a large skillet and spray with a bit of olive oil. Saute the onions until translucent. Add the green chilies and salsa verde. Simmer together for about 3 minutes (or until just heated).
6. Add the chicken and black beans to the skillet and heat through.
7. In the 9×11 pan, coat the bottom with enchilada sauce and cover the service of the pan with 6 tortillas (they will overlap a bit).
8. Top the first layer of tortillas with half of the chicken/bean mixture and sprinkle with cheese and a bit more enchilada sauce.
9. Repeat step 8. Top with remaining tortillas, sauce and cheese.
10. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes (or until the cheese and sauce starts bubbling). Make sure to keep an eye on it, lower fat cheese tends to burn a bit easier. If it starts looking a tad brown, just cover with foil.
11. Cut into 12 pieces and garnish with optional sour cream or avocado. The salsas from the “mexican hash” post would be a good topper as well – with minimum caloric gain.

Calories per slice: 250 (does not count the optional items listed above)