Tag Archives: slow cooked

Creamy Italian Crockpot Soup

7 Sep

Cooler days and school back in session means that the crockpot has returned to it’s semi-permanent position on my kitchen countertop.  Hungry for some flavorful, slow-cooked food and eager to have food ready with little effort, I started searching around for some new recipes to try in the crockpot.  I spotted a Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup on Pinterest that looked mighty tasty, the only problem of course, all that dairy.  Looking through the ingredients, I figured that it wouldn’t be very hard to substitute the dairy for non-dairy counterparts, and while I was at it I decided to reduce the calories from the original version.  With all new recipes, it feels like a real crapshoot whether anyone will eat it, let alone enjoy it.

This recipe?  Jackpot.  Jackpot in the Crockpot.

Creamy and slightly cheesy, the base of this soup tastes a tiny bit like the sauce in Chef Boyardee’s canned pasta, which normally would not make it a ringing endorsement in my book.  HOWEVER, the kids totally loved it.  And the more I had, the more I loved it too.  Slightly rich, hearty, and low in calories, this soup might be one of our new favorite things.

After replacing the dairy ingredients in the original recipe (butter, parmesan, half and half) with non-dairy counter parts (non-dairy butter, Daiya mozzarella, soy cream), I was worried that the resulting soup would not be thick and creamy enough.  To make sure that the soup was not too thin, I added ingredients in two batches, pureeing the first half to create a thicker base.  The resulting flavor and texture was terrific, helped to thicken up the soup, and allowed me to reduce some of the fat and calorie-laden ingredients (this recipe is about 35% lower in calories than the original).  This recipe makes a pretty big batch of soup, which worked out great here because it has been requested for dinner and lunch several times.  I’m not sure if it will freeze well, and this time, I won’t even have the chance to try.

Creamy Italian Crockpot Soup
Serving size: 1 c.
Serves: 11

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, divided
1-1/2 c. carrots, cut into bite-sized bits, divided
1 stalk celery, cut into chunks
1/4 c. onion, cut into big chunks
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. fresh herbs (mix of basil and oregano)
4 c. chicken broth
2 T. non-dairy margarine
1/4 c. flour
1 c. soy cream
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 c. Daiya mozzerella
Salt and pepper to taste

Add one can tomatoes, half the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, herbs, and chicken broth to a crockpot.  Cook on low for 5 hours.  After 5 hours, use a hand blender to puree the soup until no chunks remain.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter.  Add flour and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add cream and stir until the flour mixture breaks up into the liquid and becomes a thick sauce.  Add 1 c. of soup from the crockpot, stirring until well-combined.  Add another cup of soup from the crockpot if any doughy chunks remain.  When everything has been combined and the sauce has thickened, add to the crockpot and stir.  Add remaining tomatoes, carrots, cannellini beans, and mozzerella, then stir to combine.  Cover and cook for an additional hour.

Serve.

 

Estimated calories:  143 cal/serving

Print it: Creamy Italian Crockpot Soup

Notes:
– If you would like to replace my non-dairy replacements with dairy versions, I’d recommend using butter, shredded part-skim mozzerella, and half and half in the same amounts noted here.

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Creamed Chicken Over Biscuits

3 Nov

Many times, I feel like I need to make a choice between having the comfort food I crave and consuming something healthy. This is disappointing, of course, because I really want both.  The pleasure in eating something that is tasty and comforting does not last very long if I feel like I blow through a lot of calories to eat it, especially if it was particularly rich or heavy.  Calorie remorse is the enemy of happy consumption, and I avoid it at all costs.

Creamed chicken over biscuits is one of those decadent sounding things that you’d expect would be a terrible choice for the calorie conscious.  In the hands of Paula Deen or without regard to portion size, it sure could be.  This recipe is heavy on the vegetables, includes flavorful chicken and a creamy gravy, all served over a biscuit.  And comes in at 117 calories per serving.  As a point of comparison – that’s almost the same as just one ounce of cheddar cheese.  And if you’re like me, that means that you can have the comfort food for dinner and still feel okay about eating that cheese later because you were so darn calorie-thrifty.

The creamed chicken part of this recipe is super easy to make, requiring only a little prep and cooking time in the crock pot.  I used canned biscuits (see all my biscuit notes below), so the time between when we got home and when we sat down for dinner was only as long as it took for the biscuits to bake and to serve it up.  The kids loved this meal, particularly the biscuits.  Even the child who just earlier this week said he “did not care for dough”.

Creamed Chicken Over Biscuits
Serves: 10
Serving Size: 2/3 c. creamed chicken + 1 small biscuit

1 c. cooked chicken
1 c. frozen green beans
1 c. potato, peeled and cubed
1 c. carrot, diced
1/2 T. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
3 T. flour
3 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. soy creamer
Salt and pepper
1 can small biscuits (10 per can)

Add chicken, green beans, potato, and carrots to a crock pot.

In a large skillet, add olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and cook until transluscent.  Add flour and stir constantly for about a minute, until all the oil is absorbed and starting to turn a little golden in color.  Add chicken stock 1 c. at a time, bringing to a boil between each addition.  Add soy creamer and stir until combined.  Pour mixture into the crock pot and stir.  Cook on low for 6 hours or until the potatoes are tender.  Season with salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven and bake biscuits according to the package directions.

Split biscuit in half and place in a bowl, top with 2/3 c. creamed chicken.

Estimated Calories:  117 cal/serving

Print it: Creamed Chicken Over Biscuits

Notes:
– Feel free to use milk or cream in place of the soy creamer used here.
– There are LOTS of kinds of canned biscuits to consider.  I chose a store brand (Food Club) that had small-sized biscuits that were also non-dairy.  If non-dairy is important to you, it is easy to overlook canned biscuits as an option, especially since most are described as “buttery” or “buttermilk”.  I’ve found that many times, store brands are non-dairy, inexpensive, and pretty tasty.
– More about the biscuits.  The biscuits I used in this recipe were 50 calories each, so adjust your calories accordingly.  At our house, we each ate more than one, but because they were only 50 calories each, I didn’t feel bad in having a second.
– Last thing about the biscuits.  Next time I would buy two cans because they went so quickly, and everyone wanted a few extras.