The Fit Lady’s Chicken Noodle Soup

I love chicken noodle soup in the winter!  There’s something about it that is so comforting.  Some time ago I stumbled across this recipe created by Paula Deen, realized it had 5 stars and I couldn’t resist making it.  Quite honestly, if any of you know Paula Deen then you are probably wondering how in the world this recipe can even be counted as healthy!  She’s the butter and cream queen.  However, I made a few modifications to the recipe and it balances out perfectly.

This is a chicken noodle soup on flavor steroids!  The seasonings in it are fantastic.  Plus you get to add in some Parmesan cheese that basically melts and sticks to the chicken and noodles while in the pot.  Oh, it is sooooooo good!  The Parmesan cheese is optional and if you’re looking to cut more calories, then cutting out the cheese is the place to start.  But, if you can afford a smidge extra calories, it is SO worth it.

This recipe makes a lot!  I love to make it and then share it with others.  If there aren’t others to share it with, then I cut the recipe in half and Beau and I still have leftovers for a few days (which makes me SUPER happy).  So, adjust it as you need/want to and then just sit in amazement at how delicious it is.  I do that every time I eat it.  Oh, and as a bonus, I actually tallied up the cost for this recipe (because of a class I was teaching) and found that I could make the entire recipe for only $6.59.  That’s only 44 cents per serving.  Just picture me sitting there eating my soup with a big smile because it tastes SO yummy and it cost less than half a buck.  Now that’s satisfaction!

The Fit Lady’s Chicken Noodle Soup
Adapted from Paula Deen

3 quarts chicken stock
1-2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
2 bay leaves
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups sliced celery, with leafy green tops
2 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat wide noodles
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 1 T. dried)
1/3 cup cooking sherry
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 2 tsp. fresh)
1 cup grated Parmesan, optional
salt & pepper to taste

Place stock, Italian seasoning, lemon pepper seasoning, and bay leaves in a large soup pot; bring to a boil.  Add carrots and cook for approximately 3 minutes.  Add celery and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes.  Add egg noodles and cook according to directions on package.  When noodles are done, add chicken, mushrooms, parsley, sherry, and rosemary.  Add Parmesan if using.  Cook another 2 minutes.  Adjust seasoning, if needed, by adding salt and pepper. (Remove bay leaves before serving.)

Serves 15.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving – 1 Overflowing Cup or 1.5 Cups)
Calories:  163
Protein:  14g
Carbs:  16.3g
Fat:  5.4 g (2.2g = Sat.)
Fiber:  0.8 g
Sugars:  3.8 g

Classic Chicken Salad Sandwich

I have always loved eating chicken salad sandwiches!  Unfortunately, they are usually full of terrible fat, calories, and come on croissants!  Because I love them so much, I came up with a much healthier version that I don’t have to feel guilty about eating.

Despite the calorie and fat cut, this chicken salad is still full of flavor and has good crunch (thanks to the celery).  I love putting this on some homemade wheat bread and enjoying it for lunch.  I hope you can too now . . . without all the guilt!

Classic Chicken Salad

3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of celery salt
salt and pepper
12.5 oz. can of chicken breast (I used Kirkland), drained
1-2 celery ribs, chopped fine
1 scallion, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Whisk the mayonnaise, lemon juice, olive oil, celery salt, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a medium bowl until smooth.

Stir in the chicken, celery, scallion, and parsley until well combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and let sit until the flavors have blended, about 15 minutes, before serving.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per serving = 1/4 of the recipe)
Calories:  105
Protein:  11.7g
Carbs:  2.1g
Fat:  5.8g (0.7g = Sat.)
Fiber:  0.5g
Sugars:  0.5g

Nutritional Information for Chicken Salad Sandwich
Per Serving = 1/4 of recipe plus 2 slices Sara Lee Delight Bread
Calories:  195
Protein:  17.7g
Carbs:  20.1g
Fat:  6.8g (0.7g = Sat.)
Fiber:  5.5g
Sugars:  2.5g

Fit Chicken Corn Chowder

Are any of you soup fans?  I love my food, and soup is of no exception.  I feel kind of lucky that my husband will eat soup as a main course because I have several friends who claim that their husbands don’t really call soup a meal.  Whatever their arguments may be, it doesn’t matter because I have a man that will eat soup so I love to make it!

With that being said, I definitely make my soups hearty.  I am quick to make sure that there is enough protein which always helps to make them more dinner-worthy.  This chowder is one of our favorite soups around our house.  I can hardly believe that it’s even appropriate for a light meal, considering it has the word “chowder” in the title, but I’ve trimmed it up a bit to lower the calories to be just about right!

This soup is creamy, the veggies give it such great flavor, and the ham/chicken combination is fantastic in it.  I’m gonna say that the cream cheese is probably what gives this soup that over-the-top, give-me-more appeal. I know the list of ingredients seems long, but don’t let that scare you.  The soup comes together in a flash and it’s TOTALLY worth it!

Before my grandma passed away, Beau and I would visit her at least once a month.  We would take her dinner and this soup was her #1 requested meal.  Of course she also loved to eat it with my biscuits, but we’ll have to save that recipe for another time.

Fit Chicken Corn Chowder
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped, seeds and membrane removed (this is important for flavor – but doesn’t add heat because the seeds and membranes are removed and it is cooked with the other veggies)
1/2 cup (3 oz.) thinly sliced or cooked chopped ham (lean)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup frozen corn kernels
12 oz. of chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
4 oz. softened light cream cheese
1 cup lowfat milk (1%)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

Place olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté celery, bell pepper, onion and jalapeno until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ham; cook for another 3 minutes. Whisk the broth with the flour in a liquid measuring cup or bowl and then stir into the soup. Stir in the corn and chicken. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat. Whisk together the cream cheese and milk in a large bowl until smooth (to avoid major lumps, soften the cream cheese until almost melted in the microwave). Whisk the cream cheese/milk mixture into the soup along with the salt, pepper and cheddar cheese. Simmer on low until ready to serve.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1.5 Cups)
Calories:   252
Protein:  23.2g
Carbs:  19.6g
Fat:  10g (4.8g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.1g
Sugars:  5.7g

Bruschetta Chicken

This is a great way to use Bruschetta!  The fresh tomatoes, basil, onion, and vinegar help make this grilled chicken far from bland!  It was simple to throw together too!

Bruschetta Chicken
Adapted from Skinny Taste

3 medium vine ripe tomatoes
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
4 4-oz. chicken breasts
Combine onion, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. Set aside a few minutes.

Chop tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Combine with garlic, basil, onion-balsamic combo and additional salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and let it sit at least 10 minutes or as long as overnight.

Season chicken with salt and fresh pepper. Grill the chicken cutlets on your indoor or outdoor grill, top with bruschetta and serve.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving =  1 Breast + Bruschetta)
Calories:  159.5
Protein:  24.1g
Carbs:  6.6g
Fat:  4.9g (0.5g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.5g
Sugars:  1g

Mexican Fiesta Chicken

For all of you out there that want something SUPER easy with LOADS of flavor, pull out the marinades!  Marinating your meats is a great way to pump up the flavor without adding a lot of calories.  Plus, the marinades usually cover a lot of meat!  I like to mix up the entire amount of marinade with all of the meat it can handle and then I always have leftovers I can use for a quick meal (pretty sure this chicken would make killer fajitas/tacos).

McCormick brand makes a great line of marinades they call Grill Mates.  This is how I made this chicken.  I purchased the Mexican Fiesta marinade, mixed it up, poured it over my chicken, let it soak in the flavor for a while, and then cooked it on my indoor grill (aka George Foreman grill).  The flavor was full of Mexican spice and the chicken was incredibly tender.

Now you have no good excuse for needing a quick fix for dinner!  Add this to your line-up on a busy day and you’ll be so happy.

Mexican Fiesta Chicken

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 package Mexican Fietsa marinade
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

If desired, cut chicken breasts in half or in smaller pieces (this is a great idea if you have smaller kids to feed or if you just like to coat more of your chicken with the marinade).  Mix marinade mix, oil, water and vinegar in small bowl. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well.

Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or longer for extra flavor. (I like to marinate mine for at least a few hours and often times overnight.  However, if you’re in a time crunch, you’ll still be surprised by the amount of flavor you’ll get from just 15 minutes.). Remove chicken from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade.

Grill, broil or bake until desired doneness.  If using a thermometer, chicken will be done when it reaches 165 degrees. I prefer grilling this on my outdoor grill, or on my indoor grill (aka George Foreman Grill).

Serves 8.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = Approx. 4 oz.)
Calories:  145.6
Protein:  23g
Carbs:  0.2g
Fat:  6.3g (0.8g = Sat.)
Fiber:  0.0g
Sugars: 0.0g

Pumpkin & Sausage Pasta

This recipe just screams AUTUMN, doesn’t it?  If you’re sitting there thinking that putting pumpkin in a pasta or savory dish is strange, well all I have to say is, “Don’t knock it, ’till you try it.”  When I first made this recipe it was mostly out of curiosity.  I was very intrigued to find out how the final dish really tasted.  But, once it was made and tasted, it instantly became a fall favorite!  We never go without making this dish at least once during the fall months. The way all the flavors come together is nearly indescribable.  The pumpkin flavor is there, but not overpowering.  The sauce is nice, smooth, and almost velvety.  It coats the pasta beautifully.

In looking at the nutritional information, I must point out that this is definitely a recipe for those that are maintaining their weight.  If you’re trying to lose weight and MUST try the recipe, you’re going to need to cut your pasta serving in half.

As far as the ingredients go, most are very basic ingredients that you can find anywhere.  I thought you might be curious to know what chicken sausage I used when I made this . . . You can get away with using about any turkey or chicken sausage.  However, I used Aidell’s Italian Style Chicken Sausage links.  I’ve found these at Costco and I’ve seen them occasionally at my local grocery stores (Macey’s is one of them).

Now, if you can afford the calories and you’re looking for a delicious and savory way to use pumpkin this fall, you must add this recipe to your list ASAP.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin & Sausage Pasta
Adapted from Rachel Ray – 30 Minute Meals

1 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 oz. turkey or chicken sausage, sliced
4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 cup white cooking wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup nonfat half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
Coarse salt and black pepper
8 oz. penne pasta (about 1 ½ cups dry), cooked to al dente
Parmesan cheese, for grating (about 4 tablespoons)

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.  Add sausage to the pan and cook until heated through.

Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Reduce heat, and stir in half-and-half. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with shaved cheese.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information
(Per Serving = 1 cup cooked noodles plus 1 cup sauce)
Calories:  412
Protein:  22.9g
Carbs:  42.1g
Fat:  16g (5.1g = Sat.)
Fiber:  5.2g
Sugars:  5.4g

Chicken, Artichoke, & Pesto Pizza

Wow!  Two pizza posts in one week?  Hmmmmm, I wonder what’s been on my brain lately?

This pizza is so yummy!  It combines the taste of pesto sauce, chicken, veggies, and feta cheese.  When I first discovered this pizza combination I thought I had struck gold because it was so tasty!  For one who loves ALL these ingredients individually, I was loving them all together.  Now this pizza makes a fairly common occurance in my home.  Again, I wrote the recipe for just 1 pizza thinking that it would  be easiest for you to see what goes on each one.  (When I make multiple pizzas, I just put all my ingredients in a row and throw them on the pizza like an assembly line.)

If you’re looking for something a little bit different, but full of flavor . . . this is it!

Chicken, Artichoke, & Pesto Pizza

1 whole wheat pita round (about 120 calories)
1 tablespoon pesto sauce
3 oz. cooked chicken breast, shredded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tomato
2 tablespoons chopped bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2-4 tablespoons chopped artichoke hearts
1 tablespoon reduced fat feta cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Spread pesto on pita bread.  Top with chicken, tomatoes, bell peppers, red onions, artichoke hearts, and feta cheese.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese looks slightly melted and golden brown in spots.

Serves 1.

Nutritional Information
Calories:  361
Protein:  28g
Carbs:  23g
Fat:  15.3g
Fiber:  5.8g