Monthly Archives:

September 2012

Soup

Parmesan Chicken Meatball Soup

I was contacted a few weeks ago from Legends from Europe, asking if I’d like to participate in their blogger recipe contest.  I jumped at the chance!  Then quickly forgot about it!

Legends from Europe is on a three-year campaign in the United States to increase awareness of the legendary ingredients:

Grana Padano:

grana

Parmigiano Reggiano:

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Montasio:

montasio

Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele:

       di parma    san daniele

I actually thought that prosciutto was all the same.  I actually never even heard of it or tasted it before I met Tony.  There are two schools of thought – most people think that the Prosciutto di San Daniele is better because it isn’t massed produced like Proscuitto de Parma. 

I once made proscuitto purses stuffed with balsamic fig goat cheese – I need to make these again soon!

purse

But once I agreed to this recipe contest, I was given my star ingredient.  I was thrilled when I was given parmigiano reggiano cheese! 

The first thing I think of is parmesan chicken, but decided to make parmesan chicken meatballs for a soup – thus this recipe was born.

Parmesan Chicken Meatball Florentine Soup

  • makes 4 servings: 1.5 cups of soup and 8 meatballs per serving
  • 311 calories, 10 fat, 24 carbs, 4.5 fiber and 33 protein

Ingredients for Meatballs:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • pinches of salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil

For the soup:

  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach
  • pinches of salt and pepper

Put all the soup ingredients in a stock pot over medium low heat.  Put all the meatball ingredients in your food processor.  Pulse, just until everything is combined – if you puree it too much they won’t hold together.   My batch made 32 marble size meatballs.

Once you have your meatballs rolled out, heat up 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium high heat.  Sear the outsides of your meatballs – I ended up doing this in two batches so I didn’t overcrowd the pan. You don’t want to fully cook the balls because once they are browned, add them to the soup and they will continue to cook in the soup.  You’ll have super tender meatballs when you do it this way.

Once all the meatballs have been incorporated into the soup, simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped spinach.  Garnish with shaved parmiagano reggiano on top.

pARM RIND

Parmiagano reggiano cheese has to be stamped as such, otherwise its just parmesan cheese.

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You can see the basil and crushed red pepper in each ball.  I just like to say balls.

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This is the tomato sauce I used – its super thick with just the tiniest bit of tomato chunks.  Me no likey big tomato chunks. Sick smile

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This is a winning soup (first prize is $1,000!).  The soup has a nice kick to it from the crushed red pepper, I love the subtle flavor of the balsamic vinegar, and of course the cheezy meatballs are amazeballs. Open-mouthed smile  My SIL and I will be enjoying this next week for one of our lunches!

Thanks to Legends from Europe for letting me participate in your contest!

Tony and I are off to run some errands, have lunch out and do some grocery shopping.  We are having grilled turkey breast tonight with mashed potatoes!

And I am going to be lunching it at my Mom’s house tomorrow with Hannah to celebrate her birthday a week late.  I am going to make a classic breakfast casserole and fresh fruit salad – can’t wait to see Hannah again!

Enjoy your weekend!

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I’m gonna to lap you, crazy bitch!

There are just some things that I cannot photograph well (well, a lot of things!), but an egg white hash has to be one of them.  I had a 6 ounce baked potato in the fridge and diced it up with Canadian bacon, 1/2 cup egg whites and 1 cup chopped baby spinach – and of course a sprinkling of cheese. Flirt male

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So while this may look like someone ate a beautiful spinach and egg white omelet, then threw up in a bowl, this was super tasty.  With a piece of toast on the side, breakfast comes in at 443 calories, 15 fat, 41 carbs, 4.1 fiber and 32 protein.

So you may or may not know this about me, but I am pretty competitive.  After playing field hockey, doing shot put for indoor and outdoor track (as well as being a sprinter!) then playing softball (Tony still can’t believe I didn’t turn out a lesbian given my choice of sports!), turns out I like to win. 

So I decided to swim yesterday.  While I am not the best swimmer, I do like swimming because its an all body workout – I feel it in my back, my thighs my arms.  As luck would have it, a little Chinese woman got in the pool at the same time as me.  I suddenly imagined that we were going for gold!  After I put my goggles on, I looked at her and gave her the stink eye – I was there to win!

Okay, it doesn’t matter that this woman was in her 60s, I was there to win and she helped me push myself that much harder – I lapped her!  And while she was a super sweet lady, I had to envision her as my arch enemy – hey, whatever works to push yourself, right?!

I ended up swimming almost non-stop for 30 minutes – which doesn’t seem like much, but I was definitely flush and breathing hard.  It felt good!

My blood sugar before my workout?  229 – when I got back to my office, it was 75 and I was hangry!  I ended up having 3/4 a serving left of the kung pao chicken from my tacos earlier in the week.  I stir fried some broccoli slaw and broccoli, then accessorized my meal by hitting the Chinese restaurant across the street for some steamed brown rice and Szechwan green beans.

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While I asked for my green beans not to be cooked in oil, I am not so sure.  But they tasted amazing – nice and crisp and supa spicy!  Lunch comes in at 524 calories, 17 fat, 62 carbs, 10 fiber and 32 protein.

I was busy working away, when guess who stopped by to surprise me?!

me and hannah

Thank you for using Instagram to soften my belly!  And mind you, this is swim hair – I didn’t blow dry it, just pulled it back in a pony tail.  Hannah had spent the night before babysitting for her friend in Schaumburg and after thrifting, stopped by my office to surprise me.  It was so good to see her – I miss her a lot. Crying face

I ended up not working late – woot!  But then realized I never really planned anything for dinner other than potato soup and sammies.  When I texted Tony that I’d be home he asked what was for dinner, and when I told him soup and sammies he said “that’s not football food!”

He was fine with it.  I actually wasn’t in the mood for soup, so I had a sammie and some jalapeno chipins.  This jalapeno cheddar bread is sold for $1.29 a loaf at my store – I cut off a 3 oz. portion, then pulled out enough of the inside bread to make it 2 ounces.  On the inside?  Deli roast beef, a slice of mozzarella, and a teaspoon of my broccoli rabe pesto.

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This was an amazeball sandwich – loved the balance between the baked in cheddar with the mozzarella on the inside, and the garlic in the broccoli rabe pesto was perfect with the roast beef.  This plate comes in at 520 calories, 17 fat, 58 carbs, 2.8 fiber and 28 protein.

Have you seen these chips before?  I think I actually bought them at Bed Bath & Beyond – you can really taste the “popcorn” flavor, and of course, they had me at jalapeno.

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Stats for Thursday:

  • 1487 calories, 50 fat, 163 carbs, 17 fiber and 94 protein
  • 44% calories from carbs, 31 from fat, 25 from protein
  • 15 minute walk with the dog before work
  • 15 minute walk after dinner
  • 30 minute swim (giving myself 2 miles for my exercise yesterday!)
  • 154.6 miles left of my 170 mile challenge

When I tool the dog for a walk last night, the sky was so cool – I need to figure out how to use my camera at night – I used my telephoto lens – still not what I wanted but kind of cool!

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Come back tomorrow for my winning recipe!  I was asked to participate in a blogger recipe contest by Legends from Europe – you had to create a recipe using a “Legend” ingredient from Europe.  I was assigned Parmigiano reggiano.  You know how I love cheese!

I am making a chicken parmesan meatball Florentine soup!  In my head it turns out good, so we’ll see how it turns out tomorrow!

What are you plans for the weekend?  I hope to get together for lunch with Hannah and my Mom on Sunday to celebrate her birthday. Open-mouthed smile  And I want to get to the gym over the weekend – something I have plenty of time for but hardly ever do.

Make it a great day!  Hooray for me – no snacking after dinner last night! Just kidding

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It’s All About Balance

I walked off to work a second day in a row without my camera.  No worries, I had my cell phone with me.  Except I forgot to plug it in the night before, so it was dead when I got ready to take a picture of my breakfast.

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Thanks Google images!!  I had two breakfast tacos:  2 corn tortillas, 1/2 cup egg whites, 1/2 ounce chopped pepperoni, 1/2 cup of canned kidney beans, 1 cup baby spinach and 3/4 oz of cheese.  I had a fuji apple on the side – breakfast came in at 501 calories, 15 fat, 60 carbs, 12 fiber and 32 protein.

I decided to do a bike ride at lunch to take at stab at my 170 mile challenge.  I ended up doing 9 miles!  Woop!  I took the picture you see below, texted it to Tony and I got this wonderful text back that ended up saying WOW!  In my head I was like “it’s just a bike ride!”  Um, turns out he thought I ran that far – I wish!  Thanks though Tony!

9 miles

I tried to take a picture while I was still riding, that didn’t turn out so well! Open-mouthed smile

hard to take picture

Just like scallop potatoes have been my Achilles heal, so has potato soup.  More than half the time it tastes like I am eating a bowl of mashed potatoes.  Not this recipe!  I think the key was cooking the potatoes separately and adding them back in at the end.  This is creamy, but a bit chunky all at the same time.

Potato Soup

(adapted from Tidy Mom)

Makes 8 servings, 1.5 cups each:  274 calories, 8.6 fat, 40 carbs, 3.5 fiber and 13 protein

I left out the bacon in the soup recipe, but feel free to cook some up for a garnish.

Ingredients:

  • 5 large baking potatoes (1.5 pounds), cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 cup chopped carrots, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put the potatoes in a pot of water, covered an inch higher than the potatoes.  Cook until tender, about 10 minutes, then drain.

In a stock pot, heat olive oil. Add garlic, celery and carrots.  Cook for 10 minutes until carrots start to get tender.  Add flour.  Cook for 1 minute.  Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring until the sauce starts to thicken and get bubbly.  Put the potatoes and remaining ingredients in the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.  I did use my potato masher to mash some of the potatoes.

lunch

This was so good.  Creamy, with bits of potato and carrots.  And I love that this whole bowl was under 250 calories!

The reason I was happy about how low in calorie my soup was going to be, was because I knew my dinner was going to be a calorie bomb.  You see, over the weekend while flipping channels we saw a show that made a meatza deep dish pizza:  Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, pepperoni AND bacon!  Tony and I looked at each other and I was like “that’s going on the menu next week!”

Half of me didn’t even want to figure out the calories, but then I thought, I have to.  I have to own up to what I eat.

I always have to stop myself and remember, I am nowhere near what I was like back in the day.  I wondered “how the hell did I get to be 210 pounds?!”  I’ll tell you how:

  • Burger King breakfast croissant, cheezy hash browns and a 20 oz. pop: 1090 calories, 47 grams of fat
  • McDonald’s 10 chicken nuggets, large fry, pop and an apple pie: 1,460 calories, 65 grams of fat
  • On my way home: Auntie Ann’s pretzel for the train ride: 480 calories, 4 fat
  • Dinner: 4 beef tacos, refried beans, Mexican rice: 1,120 calories, 68 grams of fat
  • After Hannah went to bed?  12 inch Jack’s pizza: 1320 calories, 69 grams of fat

Not kidding, that was a typical day in the former life of Biz.  That day totals 5473 calories, 253 grams of fat, 572 carbs (!!!) 39 fiber, 214 protein and get this . . . ready for it?  11,876 grams of sodium!!

So when I figured out the calories for my one slice of a 9 inch pizza, it came in at 642 calories, 32 fat, 55 carbs, 2.8 fiber and 28 protein.

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my slice of heaven

When I finished entering the rest of my food for the day into fatsecret.com, I realized as a whole day, I didn’t do too bad!

Stats for Wednesday:

  • 1417 calories, 55 fat, 156 carbs, 18 fiber and 73 protein
  • 45% of calories from calories, 35% from fat and 20% from protein
  • 9 mile bike ride
  • 156.5 miles left of my 170 mile challenge
  • average blood sugar 141

So while a part of me was beating myself up for eating that pizza, the other half was telling me “you don’t eat like you used to,  It’s one slice of pizza – enjoy it and move on!”

Question of the Day:  How have your eating habits changed over the years?  All I know is that until I was about 30, the only vegetables I ate were cucumber and carrots!

Off to put my food together for the day – breakfast, lunch and dinner!  I might have to work late tonight – but fingers crossed that I don’t.  Somehow I think Tony will be just fine watching football tonight if I do work late! Open-mouthed smile

Make it a great day!