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

 

Advertisements

Philly Cheesesteak Peppers

Not much to say about this recipe. Found it on pinterest, looked quick and easy so I decided to give it a try. I LOVE philly cheesesteaks, but have been trying to be a bit more conscious about what I’m eating these days. This looked like a good compromise as it totally eliminates carbs.

Philly Cheesesteak Peppers (Serves 2, serving size 2 pepper halves) Adapted from Peace Love and Low Carb

Ingredients:

2 large green bell peppers
1/2 pound deli sliced roast beef
1 medium onion, sliced into rings
2 cups sliced mushrooms
4 thin slices provalone cheese
salt
pepper
olive oil

Directions:

1. Cut each pepper in half. Remove seeds and white skin (It’s a good idea to blanch the peppers in boiling water for a 2-3 minutes prior to cooking)
2. Pre-heat oven t0 400 degrees
3. Slice meat into thin strips
4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add about 1 Tbs. olive oil
5. Add onions to skillet. Lower heat to medium and saute (stirring frequently) for about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms have shrank up a bit
6. Add meat to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes
7. Place peppers, cut sides up on a baking sheet lined with foil. Press one slice of cheese into the bottom of the pepper. Fill each pepper with enoufh of the meat mixture to completely fill the pepper. Top with the other slice of cheese
8. Bake peppers for 20 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on them as the cheese tends to brown
9. Remove and cool for 5 minutes before eating

*Notes for next time: I would add some sweet and hot peppers into the meat mixture. Also, I would blanch the peppers first, they didn’t get cooked all the way through in 2o minutes.

Caprese Bites

Not much to write about this one, the picture pretty much sums it up! I’ve done the caprese salad and the larger caprese skewers, but I wanted something more bit size for an appetizer. These were quick, easy and compact.

Caprese Bites

Ingredients:
One small container cherry tomatoes
One container small fresh mozzarella balls (called Ciliegine), halved
One large bunch basil leaves (the larger the better)
Salt/Pepper
Balsamic Vinegar (optional)

Directions:
1. Poke a small hole through the bottom of the basil leaf and thread the toothpick through so that the majority of the toothpick is resting on top of the basil leaf
2. Thread the cherry tomato and the mozzarella onto the toothpick
3. Bring the top of the basil leaf up and thread through the toothpick to create a “boat”
4. Arrange on a large platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and balsamic vinegar (optional)

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

Bruschetta Chicken

A particularly warm and sunny April evening last night called for a more summery type of meal. Nothing says summer and warm weather to me like tomatoes especially when combined with something off the grill. Warmer weather also has me craving something lighter, and this recipe was just what I needed. You could also make a bruschetta chicken sandwich if you feel like getting your carb on 🙂

Bruschetta Chicken (Serves 4, Weight Watchers Points+ 9 points – includes the cheese)

Ingredients:
4 – 6oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lb. tomatoes (I used mini heirlooms for this particular recipe), roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
15-20 basil leaves, chopped
1 1/2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
Salt
Pepper
1/2 cup shredded parmesan (I shaved mine into ribbons)

Directions:
1. Combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, balsamic vinegar and a shake of salt/pepper. Let this mixture sit for up to an hour
2. Heat a gas grill to medium high heat
3. Sprinkle each chicken breast liberally with salt and pepper
4. Grill chicken 4-6 minutes on each side
5. Top each chicken breast with 1/4 of the tomato mixture and add 2-3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese on top


Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Wraps

*WARNING*: This recipe is very, VERY spicy. Like eyes watering, lips burning spicy. You can decrease the amount of jalapenos (depending on their actual spiciness level, it might not even help) or you could substitute jalapenos for poblanos, which have a slightly spicy aftertaste, but not the bite a jalapeno would have. I also served this dish with some brown rice on the side (rice not included in points value).

Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Wraps (Adapted from Aggie’s Kitchen, 6 WW Points +/serving – serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 head butter lettuce, rinsed with leaves separated (I used green lettuce, but would recommend finding butter lettuce if you can)
4 jalapeno peppers (or 2 poblanos if you are using)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tsp.
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
1 medium avocado, diced
1 lime

Directions:
1. Set your oven to broil
2. Place the jalapeno or poblano peppers on a sheet of foil, directly under and as close to the broiler as possible. Make sure to keep your eye on them and turn them every few minutes to get an equal char/blister on each side of the pepper
3. Remove, and let cool until you are able to handle them, and give them a rough chop
4. Using a mortar and pestle, (if you don’t have one – you could use a small food processor) combine the garlic, cumin and coriander. Add a pinch of salt and grind until it becomes a paste
5. Add the jalapenos, or poblanos, to the mortar and pestle and grind. Then slowly add the cilantro and 1 tsp. olive oil, grinding until you have a paste again
6. Combine the paste with the shrimp and let it sit for about 15 minutes
7. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sear the shrimp (1 1/2 minutes on one side, 30 seconds on the other). Remove and set aside.
8. Saute the bell peppers until soft (you can add a bit more olive oil if needed)
9. Combine shrimp and bell peppers.
10. Add this mixture to a lettuce cup, top with diced avocado, more cilantro and a squirt of of lime

Tomato Basil Bruschetta

If you are in need of a quick and easy appetizer recipe, here it is! It’s best made in the summer when you have access to fresher/more in season ingredients but making this in the winter did transport me back to summer (for a second anyway). This recipe is adapted from Simply Recipes and the original can be found here.
Ingredients:
1 french or sourdough baguette, sliced into half-inch size pieces
2 lbs heirloom tomatoes (I like the color, you can use regular on the vine too)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. Olive Oil, plus 1 Tbs. for brushing the bread
1 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
12-14 basil leaves, thinly sliced
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
1. Remove the seeds and juice from the tomatoes as much as possible. Chop tomatoes (you can remove the skin if you want, but I prefer to keep it on).
2. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Brush one side of each slice of bread with olive oil. Place the olive oil side of the bread down on a baking sheet. Bake for 6-7 minutes on the top rack in the oven (or until edges brown)
3. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, 2 tsp. olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve tomato mixture with the bread olive oil side up*
 *You can serve this a few different ways, but if you are pre-loading the bread with the tomato mixture, be aware the bread could get soggy. The best way to serve is to have the bread on a platter with a spoon in the bowl to allow people to build their own.

Roasted Poblano Stuffed Chicken

Last night I had a craving for the Chicken Verde burger from a local burger place called Red Mill. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to fit within my Weight Watchers points I had left for the day, so I had to get creative. I wanted to go bun-less so I could enjoy some sweet potato chips on the side, so I decided to stuff a chicken breast instead. I sliced the chicken breast in half width wise, grilled each piece of chicken, then laid the peppers and cheese in the middle. It was not even close to my favorite burger, but I tried…

Roasted Poblano Stuffed Chicken (serves 4, WW Points+ 7 per serving)

Ingredients:
2 large chicken breasts, about 10oz each
3 poblano peppers
4 slices pepper jack cheese
salt/pepper

Directions:
1. Set your oven to broil and move the oven rack to the highest position. Set poblanos under the broiler. Make sure to keep an eye on them (you’ll hear some popping noises) and turn them as the skin starts to blister/turn black. This whole process should take about 10-15 minutes.
2. Remove peppers from oven and place in a bowl covered with a kitchen towel. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
3. While the peppers are resting, cut each chicken breast in half and then slice each half width-wise creating two thin pieces. Salt and pepper each side.
4. Turn on an outdoor grill on medium high heat
5. Place the chicken on the grill, cooking for about 3-4 minutes per side.
6. While the chicken is cooking, remove the stems, seeds and skins from the poblano peppers (it should pull off easily). Cut each pepper into 4 large pieces.
7. Once chicken is almost done, top four pieces of the chicken with pepper slices and one slice of pepper jack cheese. Place the other piece of chicken on top of cheese and peppers.
8. Heat on the grill for an additional 2 minutes to melt the cheese and serve with fries or in my case, sweet potato chips.*
*To make sweet potato chips:
-pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees
-thinly slice a large sweet potato (I used my mandolin)
-place slices in a large bowl with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, mix thoroughly
-on a baking sheet with parchment paper, lay each chip out individually
-bake for 5-7 minutes on one side, flip and bake another 5 on the other

Kale Chips

A healthy tasty chip… yep, they exist. Easier to make than homemade potato chips and much better for you. Very simple to make and will satisfy that need for something salty and crunchy. I recommend using dinosaur kale or any other type of curly kale (it has a thicker texture than the type you use to saute, so it won’t brown as quick or burn.)

Cooking time can vary depending on how hot your oven is. Mine took a bit longer than others had recommended, so if the kale is not crunchy or browned on the edges after 10 minutes, leave it in, but keep your eye on it.

Kale Chips

Ingredients:
1 bunch of dinosaur or other curly kale
2-3 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. garlic powder
Salt
Pepper
2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Slice or tear kale into chip size pieces (removing the stemmed portion if you like)
3. Place kale in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil
4. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, pepper and the cayenne pepper if you want it spicy
5. Toss the kale a few times and spread it on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or foil
6. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are brown and kale is crispy

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Filling

This recipe is quick and requires few ingredients. It can be used as a taco or burrito filling or even over black beans and rice. This particular taco filling uses green salsa and jalapenos but you could use red salsa as well. It’s great for a quick weeknight meal that takes little time to prepare. If you have some extra time you can brown the meat before hand, it enhances the flavor.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Filling

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast
1 large bottle green salsa such as La Victoria salsa verde
1 pickled jalapeno (about 10 slices)
Salt
Pepper

Topping Ideas: cilantro, avocado, extra salsa, cheese, sour cream or hot sauce

Directions:
1. Cut the chicken breasts into a few smaller pieces. If you have time, brown the meat
2. Salt and pepper the chicken
3. Place the chicken and the jalapenos in the crock pot
4. Pour entire jar of salsa over the chicken and jalapenos
5. Cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours stir once or twice if possible during the cooking time
6. Shred the chicken with a fork
7. Serve with corn tortillas for tacos or wrap in a flour tortilla with beans and rice