Tuscan White Bean and Spinach Soup

1 teaspoon olive oil
1⁄2 medium onion, chopped
1⁄2 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon thyme
1 can (15 ounce) white beans (cannelloni) with liquid
1 cup low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1 cup water
2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves, rinsed, drained, and sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In large pot, add olive oil and heat over medium-heat. Add onion, celery, garlic, pepper, thyme. Sauté until vegetables are tender. Stir in beans, chicken broth and water, and cover. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove 1 cup of bean/vegetable mixture and set aside. Pour remaining soup in small batches into blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Pour pureed soup and reserved bean and vegetable mixture back into the pot with spinach and lemon juice and simmer for an additional 10 minutes until the soup is hot and the spinach has wilted. (You may need to add water as some will be lost through evaporation.)

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 cups Serving size: 1 cup
Calories per serving: 127
Exchanges: 1 starch, 1⁄2 lean protein, 1 vegetable
Fiber: 10 grams

Baked Kale Chips

baked kale chipsThese delicious baked kale chips will satisfy your snack cravings while giving you a healthy serving of nutritious greens!


Ingredients:

1 head of kale (any variety will work

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper ( or to taste)

Sea salt ( lightly)

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese


Directions:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Choose a dark green, crisp head of kale. If you see any yellowing or wilting it is a sign that it is old and there will be less nutrients inside. Remove the thick stems on each leaf with a sharp knife (save the stems for making a vegetable broth later on or discard). Place the leaves in a sink of cold water and rinse well. Spin the leaves in a salad spinner to remove all excess water. If you do not have a spinner use paper towels. Make sure that the leaves are totally dry since any moisture will result in soggy chips. Cut, or tear, the leaves into bite size pieces. Place half of the pieces in a large bowl and add one tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss well and gently, but thoroughly, rub the oil onto each piece. sprinkle with half of the cayenne pepper, this adds a nice heat to the chips, sea salt and 2 tablespoons of the cheese.

Place the kale on a large baking sheet so that the leaves are not overlapping. Bake for 10 minutes and then rotate the pan and turn the chips. Bake for another 10 minutes or until chips are crisp. Watch carefully because you do not want them to burn. Cool and enjoy!  Store leftover chips in a large plastic bag or air tight container.

Colcannon

colcannon recipeThis is a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes and greens. You can try different types of potatoes like Yukon gold or red new potatoes. Try not peeling the skins one time for added texture and fiber. The dish is usually made with kale or cabbage but you could use Swiss chard, spinach, collard green or mustard greens. I used both kale and cabbage in my recipe below. You can also substitute parsnips or cauliflower for half the potatoes for a nice change. Add extra flavor by adding some green onions, leeks, chives or bacon. Most Colcannon recipes are heavy on the butter and cream. I have adapted this recipe to use buttermilk or regular milk instead of cream. I have cut the butter way down to save on calories and saturated fat without sacrificing flavor.


Ingredients:

4 Russet potatoes (2 – 2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into large chunks

2 lightly packed cups of clean chopped kale leaves

1/4 of a small head of cabbage sliced thin

3 green onions, including the dark green tops, minced

2 tablespoons of butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 piece of uncured, nitrate free bacon (Applegate Naturals is a good brand sold at WFs)

1 cup of buttermilk or regular milk ( you could subtitute yogurt for half the milk)

Salt to taste ( 1 tsp. of salt has 2000 mg of sodium and you are salting the water for boiling the potatoes so go light on adding more to the finished dish. Always taste before adding salt)


Directions:

1. Put the potatoes in a medium pot  and cover with cold water by about an inch. Add 1 tablespoon salt to the water and bring to a boil. Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender (about 15-20 minutes). Drain in a colander.

2. While the potatoes are cooking place the piece of bacon in a large non-stick fry pan over medium heat and cook until crisp. Remove and set aside to cool. Break into small bits and save for garnish.

3. Add the olive oil to the bacon fat and add the cabbage, kale, and green onions. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat stirring occasionally until the cabbage is soft but not mushy.(You can add a little water to the pan to help speed up the process).

4. Melt the butter in the pot used to boil the potatoes. Return the potatoes to the pot and add the buttermilk. Mash the potatoes into the butter and buttermilk until they are well mixed. Add the kale and cabbage mixture to the potatoes and stir until well combined. Spoon into a bowl and garnish with the crisp bacon bits.

Serves: 4 – 6 depending on the serving size.

 

Raspberry Lime Iced Tea

raspberry lime iced tea recipeLooking for ways to cut the sugar but not the flavor? Try this delicious and satisfying raspberry lime iced tea recipe!

3 Raspberry tea bags

64 oz boiling water

1 lime cut into thin slices

2 tsp. honey (optional)

Purchase a package of raspberry (or other fruity tea bags) and place the tea bags in a large 1/2 gallon container. Boil the water. While the water is boiling cut the lime into slices. Pour the boiling water over the tea bags. Add the 2 tsp. of honey. Stir gently. Let brew on the counter until cool. Add the lime slices. Place in the refrigerator. You can drink this full strength or dilute it half tea and half water for a refreshing drink.