Healthy Ramen

Healthy Ramen

As we get older, one of the many things that we need to watch is our blood sugar levels. I am always looking for ways to cut down on my refined carbohydrates; but this particularly difficult for me, because I am such a lover of carbs. Growing up I used to eat a lot of Top Ramen—all by itself. It was so tasty and so not healthy for you! I came up with my own healthier version after eating at a noodle restaurant in Ann Arbor, while visiting my daughter.

I decided to replace half the noodles with zucchini pasta and the other half with ½ serving of angel hair pasta. Eating foods with a low glycemic index is key in keeping our blood sugar levels from having large increases. Believe it or not, spaghetti (white) has glycemic index of 44, according to Dummies.com. The Mayo Clinic states a low glycemic index is between 1 and 55. It should be cooked al dente. Overcooking the pasta, surprisingly increases the glycemic index.

My soup base is just five ingredients: organic chicken stock, reduced sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic clove (smashed), and fresh ginger (sliced and smashed). Sliced Chinese barbecue pork and hardboiled egg are my protein ingredients. Then I topped the soup with some bean sprouts and green onions.

What makes this recipe so easy is a lot of the prep work can be done in advance. The Chinese barbecue pork was actually a leftover. The zucchini pasta was spiralized the day before and stored in a zip lock storage bag. The hardboiled eggs can also be cooked ahead of time. The soup base can be made in a few minutes, while cooking the angel hair and zucchini “al dente.” This soup is just perfect for cold fall and winter nights and it’s delicious and healthy too!

Healthy Ramen

Healthy Ramen

Healthy Ramen

 

Healthy Ramen

Ingredients:

Soup Base:

  • 1 (32 ounce) package organic chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 slices fresh ginger (smashed)
  • 1 garlic clove (smashed)

Ramen:

  • 4 ounces “al dente” cooked angel hair pasta
  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized and cooked “al dente”

Soup Fillings:

  • Chinese barbecue pork slices*
  • 4 hardboiled eggs, halved
  • Bean sprouts
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal

*Recipe for Chinese barbecue pork is in previous post.

Directions:

  1. Using a medium pot, heat chicken stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. After it boils, let it simmer until you are ready to assemble the soup.
  2. Cook the angel hair pasta until it is “al dente.” At the same time, steam the zucchini pasta until it is “al dente.”
  3. Pour the soup base into individual soup bowls. Add the angel hair and zucchini. Then top with barbecue pork slices, eggs, bean sprouts and green onions. Serve immediately.

 

Healthy Ramen

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Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had the time to blog in over a week! Finally today, I had the time to try this healthy and delicious red lentil soup. It contains my favorite spices, cumin and chili powder; and my favorite herb, cilantro. This recipe is by Melissa Clark, New York Times Cooking. It can be made with either chicken or vegetable broth. When I make this soup again, I will be cooking adding more lentils, since I prefer a thicker soup. This is incredibly easy to make and a very tasty to enjoy!

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion (about 1½ cups), chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground chili powder
  • 1 (48 ounce) package of organic chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 large organic carrot, peeled and diced
  • Juice of ½ lemon, more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Using a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for about 4 minutes, until golden.
  2. Add tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper and chili powder and cook for 2 minutes longer.
  3. Pour in broth and water. Add lentils and carrot. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes, until lentils are soft. If needed, add more salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Using a regular blender or immersion blender, purée half the soup, then put it back into pot.
  5. If necessary, reheat soup. Add lemon and cilantro. Serve immediately. 4 servings.

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Light Corn Chowder

Light Corn Chowder

I am always looking for good and healthy soup recipes and I found this delicious corn chowder soup on the Better Homes and Garden website. They prepared their soup in a slow cooker, but I prepared mine on the cooktop with my old Le Creuset pot. Other changes I made to the recipe were using nonfat milk, instead of whole milk; reducing the amount of milk from 2 cups to 1 cup; and eliminating the 2 tablespoons of a dry white wine. I used uncured bacon, so there were no additional nitrates other than what is naturally found in celery salt. As always, I tried to use organic ingredients when cost and availability allow. I have to say that I was very pleased my results, a very tasty and light corn chowder!

Light Corn ChowderIngredients:

  • 1 tablespoon organic canola oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped organic carrots (2 medium)
  • ½ cup finely chopped organic celery (1 stalk)
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped russet potatoes (2 large potatoes), approx. ½ to ¾-inch cubes
  • 3 cups organic chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • ⅛ teaspoon paprika
  • 4 cups frozen organic sweet corn
  • 1 cup organic nonfat milk
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme + extra sprigs of thyme for garnish (optional)
  • 4 slices uncured bacon, crispy cooked and crumbled

Directions:

  1. Using a medium-large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until tender. Stir in potatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf, dried thyme and paprika. Lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk corn starch and ¼ cup milk, until blended. Set aside.
  3. Add corn and remaining milk. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add corn starch and milk mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in fresh thyme.
  6. Using a potato masher, carefully mash the potatoes, until soup slightly thickens.
  7. Finally, sprinkle with bacon crumbs and garnish with thyme (optional)

Light Corn Chowder

Organic Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Organic Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

I can never pass up on the cut up organic butternut squash at Costco. It makes life and cooking so much easier, not to mention how delicious the roasted squash is! The soup recipe I am sharing with you, today, is the perfect blend of butternut squash and spicy chipotle chili. It is the kind of soup you would want to warm your chilled bones on a cold fall or winter day! I found this wonderful recipe by Marcela Valladolid on the Food Network. As usual, I made some minor changes in the ingredients and in the preparation to suit to my tastes and cooking style. I can’t wait to make it for my daughter, when she comes home from Michigan for a weekend visit later this month. I promise you that you won’t be disappointed with this simple and healthy soup!

Organic Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Organic Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Organic Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 2 pounds organic butternut squash or 1 medium squash
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 organic stalks celery, chopped
  • 2  organic carrots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups organic chicken broth
  • 1½ teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo

Chipotle Cream:

  • ¼ teaspoon minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo
  • ½ cup organic plain nonfat yogurt
  • Sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. If using a whole butternut squash, cut it in half and use the grapeseed oil to grease the flesh sides of the squash. Place on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about 45 minutes, until very tender. If using cut up squash, toss with grapeseed oil in a large bowl. Place on a foil lined, rimmed baking. Add salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about 30 minutes, until slightly brown and tender. Remove from oven and cool.
  3. Using a large nonstick frying pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery; then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 10 minute, then add the garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. If using a whole squash, scoop the flesh into blender. If using cut up squash, place pieces in the blender. Blend the squash and chipotle with some chicken stock, until very smooth. Transfer to a large pot.
  5. Place cooked onion, carrot, celery and garlic mixture in the blender with some chicken stock. Blend until smooth. Transfer to the large pot.
  6. Add remaining chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together yogurt and chipotle. Add salt to taste.
  8. Spoon soup into individual bowls, top with “Chipotle Cream” and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately. 6 servings.

Organic Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Easy Red Lentil Soup

Easy Red Lentil Soup

With the colder weather just around the corner, this soup will certainly warm your chilled bones. It is so easy to prepare with ingredients you will usually find in your pantry and refrigerator. The lentils are first cooked in a delicious organic vegetable broth and then seasoned with a spicy curry powder. It is finished off with a dollop of yogurt and freshly chopped cilantro! I found this wonderful recipe in America’s Test Kitchen, Cooking Fresh, 2015. I made some minor changes, substituting butter with healthy olive oil and reducing the amount of ginger. It is a hearty soup that will please your taste buds and colorful ingredients that will please your eyes!

Easy Red Lentil Soup

Easy Red Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1 cup split red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato (12 ounces), cored, seeded and chopped into ¼-inch pieces
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Using a small saucepan, combine 2 cups broth and lentils. Cook over low-medium heat for about 12 minutes, until lentils are al dente and most of the broth is absorbed. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 3 minutes. Then add garlic, ginger and curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the remaining broth, lentils and tomatoes. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until lentils are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in soup bowls with a dollop of yogurt and sprinkle with cilantro. 4 servings.

Easy Red Lentil Soup

Tuscan Vegetable Soup

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This deliciously healthy soup is so easy to make and takes about 30 minutes to prepare. It is made with cannellini beans, zucchini, carrots, green beans, tomatoes and spinach. You can use either chicken broth or make it totally vegetarian by using vegetable broth. The soup is seasoned with thyme, sage and garlic. You can easily double the recipe, so you can have more for later in the week or you can freeze it and serve at a later date. I found this wonderful recipe in Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave, Taunton Press, 2008. The only change I made to this dish was adding the fresh green beans. With the cooler weather just around the corner, this is the perfect soup to take the chill out of your bones!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can cannellini or other small white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ large red onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium organic carrot, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 small zucchini, diced (about 1½ cups)
  • ½ cup organic green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or ½ teaspoon dried
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can organic diced tomatoes with juices
  • 2 cups (2 ounces) organic baby spinach, chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Using a masher or the back of a spoon, mash half of the beans in a small bowl.
  2. Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, zucchini, green beans, garlic thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Cook, stir occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Then add the mashed and whole beans and the spinach. Cook for about 3 minutes, until spinach is wilted.
  4. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serves 6.

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Spicy Egg Drop Soup

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It’s been a long time since I had egg drop soup. I didn’t realize how simple it is to prepare and that the ingredients are already in my pantry—no need to go to the grocery store! Egg drop soup is a wonderful comfort food and you can easily add other ingredients to suit your tastes, like chopped carrots, peas, tofu, etc. I used sesame chili to give the soup some spiciness, but you can use sesame oil, instead, if you prefer.

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Ingredients:

  • 32 ounces organic chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon sesame chili oil or sesame oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • ⅓ cup frozen organic corn, thawed

Directions:

  1. Pour chicken stock in medium saucepan over medium high heat, reserving 2 to 3 tablespoons of stock to whisk with the cornstarch in a small bowl.
  2. Add cornstarch, soy sauce, sesame chile oil and corn, stirring well. Reserving some green onion for garnish, mix in the soup. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to a simmer.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk eggs. Slowly pour (in a narrow stream) the beaten eggs into soup, while very gently whisking as you pour to create the egg ribbons. Let eggs cook for a few seconds.
  4. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately. 4 servings.

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