Slow Cooker Saturday – Chicken Minestrone Soup

Recipe source: http://www.thekitchn.com

Slow Cooker Hearty Chicken Minestrone

Serves 6 to 8

For the broth:

1 ½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs
1 medium leek, sliced into ½-inch rounds and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
2 celery stalks, cut into ¼-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
Pepper
1 quart (4 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water

To finish:
1 cup whole-wheat pasta shells
1 bunch red Swiss chard
½ head green cabbage or 4 cups of shredded cabbage
1 medium zucchini
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

For the broth:
Place the chicken, leek, tomatoes and their juices, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon salt in the insert of a large slow cooker (at least 4 quarts). Season with pepper and add the broth and water. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. Meanwhile, prep the other vegetables and cook the pasta.

To finish:
Cook the pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water, then store in the refrigerator.

Remove the stems from the chard. Cut the leaves crosswise into 1-inch-wide pieces. Place in a large bowl. Core the cabbage, thinly slice, and add to the bowl of chard. Halve the zucchini lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces and add to the bowl. Refrigerate until the broth is ready. (The pasta can be cooked and the vegetables prepared up to a day in advance.)

When the broth is ready, remove the chicken and bay leaf to a plate and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, add the bowl of vegetables to the broth and stir to combine. Cover the slow cooker, turn the heat to high if not already on high, and cook until the greens are tender but not mushy, 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken meat from the bones and discard the skin, bones, and bay leaf. Shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Stir the garbanzos, chicken, and cooked pasta into the soup. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

I LOVE minestrone soup, and I am always looking for ways to add protein – my demanding workouts basically demand it! How does this sound to you?

Tasty Tuesday – Stuffed Acorn Squash

Do you like acorn squash? What about sweet potato? Dynamo combination, if you ask me!

With all the holiday meals, it can be easy to feel bogged down. This is a lighter, cleaner dish offering tons of flavor but won’t sit in you like a ton of bricks, either.

A note: sometimes using sweetened cranberries takes off some of the tartness. I make this exception to the rule because I don’t like the super bitterness of cranberries that have been baked. You can use whichever cranberry form you like! 🙂

stuffed-acorn-squash

Saturday Snack Spotlight – YoNuggets

I came across this recipe by chance, and since I love Greek yogurt and fruit, it sounded yummy to me, so I made them! I altered the recipe by adding 1 Scoop of Cafe Latte Shakeology, and I used banana instead of cantaloupe!

http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-yonuggets/

Have you ever tried these? Would you?

(Note: I found these adorable popout ice trays at TJ Maxx’s home section… I froze these, let them thaw a bit, and they popped right out!)

yonuggets

 

Tasty Thursday – Avocado Chicken Salad

YUM!! Saw a variation of this (not quite as clean…) and decided to do my own cleaner version of it, because I LOVE avocado, and I go CRAZY for my husband’s chicken salad! A combo of the two? Right up my alley!

This helped get some healthy fats, it added a creamy texture without loading tons of mayonnaise in (the recipe does call for ¼ Cup of Mayonnaise but this can easily be omitted without sacrificing texture or flavor!), and helped to bind it too.

You could also add some finely chopped tomatoes in here, basically making it guacamole chicken salad (also right up my alley –  me and Guacamole are best friends!), and the red onion (finely chopped, as a little raw red onion goes a long way) added flavor and crunch. You can play around with the seasoning to taste, as well.

My husband was a fan too! 🙂

Avocado Chicken Salad