Crock-pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Adding to my fall favorite recipes (see fall food round up) is a new crock-pot soup recipe I’ve been working on. Much like our Lime Chili Chicken Soup (crock-pot lime chicken chili soup ) this one is inspired off of a Chili’s restaurant soup. I have always like the Chicken Enchilada soup. After awhile I start to crave the cheddary, mexican flavors. So I finally decide I’d take the challenge of creating my own, hopefully healthier version. Here are the results!

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The first time I made it we were beyond excited with how it turned out. A few weeks ago we did the soup and salad deal at Chili’s and after having the Chicken Enchilada soup my husband tells me my soup is a lot better. Now I know you may think my husband has to say this, but believe it or not he is a pretty good cook himself and is more than willing to critique mine or anyone else’s food. So I will take the full complement.

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Ingredients:
3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion, diced
2 cans green chili
1-2 small jalapeno pepper chopped

1-2 green pepper diced
2+ tablespoons cumin
2+ teaspoons chili powder

2 or more teaspoons garlic powder

1.5-2 boxes chicken broth (32 oz each)

2 small cans tomato paste (or one large one)

1 can black beans
1 cup greek yogurt
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 chopped chicken breasts

Instructions:

1. Place chicken broth, tomato paste, greek yogurt, green chili, and shredded cheese in the crock pot on high for 1 hour and add seasoning: garlic powder, chili powder, cumin and little salt. (You can use plan tomato sauce for a less thick texture.)

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2. Meanwhile cut up tomatoes, onion, and green peppers (for advice on chopping veggies see homemade pico de gallo).

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3. Then cut chicken breast into strips. Pan-fry them with seasoning: garlic powder, salt, and chili powder.

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4. After hour on high, add the rest of the ingredients: tomato, onion, green pepper, chicken, and black beans

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5. Set the crock-pot on low for 3 hours or longer

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6. Add cut jalapeños depending on desired heat. I usually put them in an hour to half hour before serving. The longer the jalapenos are in the hotter the soup will be.

It is a filling and flavorful soup. One bowl usually will fill me up! You can also top it off with:  sour cream, more cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, avocado, or lime. So it’s your turn make this soup and decide for yourself it is is equal or better to the restaurant version.

And enjoy!!

Tropical Banana Creamsicles

Awhile ago I shared with you that with some of my birthday money I bought popsicle molds. Since then I have been excited to try a variety of tasty frozen treat recipes. My cookies n cream pudding pops with blueberries were eaten up quickly (which I took at a good sign). Since then I have made two other new recipes both just as good but lower in calories. These creamsicles are great weekday treats that satisfy my ice cream craving while keeping me in my calorie count.

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First new recipe is: tropical banana ceramsciles. They are simple to make and have the potential for many variations.  It’s as easy as: 1. making the creamscile base 2. adding fruit juice 3. adding fresh fruit.

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This recipe makes 8-10 creamsciles (based on the size of your forms) if your batch makes 8  creamsicles they are 95 calories each and if 10 then they are 80 calories each.

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Tropical Banana Creamsicles

Ingredients:

1 C greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)

1 packet dry vanilla pudding mix

1 C 1% milk

1-2 tsp Vanilla extract if using plain yogurt

1 ripe banana

½ to ¾ C. Dole’s Banana Orange Pineapple Juice

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Instructions:

1. Cream base: mix together greek yogurt, milk, (vanilla), and dry pudding mix

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-transfer vanilla mixture into blender or food processor

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2. Fruit Juice: Add Dole’s Banana Orange Pineapple Juice

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Variations:  Use straight pineapple juice for a taste similar to Disney’s dole whip (will be pretty sweet). You can add 1/4 C coconut milk to the pineapple juice for a taste similar to a pina colada. Or you can keep it simple by using only orange juice for a more traditional creamsicle or 50/50 bar.

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note: mixture will be thick so you will need to pulse the blender or food processor on a low setting until juice is incorporated

3. fruit: cut up 1 ripe banana and blend into mixture

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-Spoon or pour mixture into popsicle molds

-Let sit in freezer for a least 4-5 hours

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Then enjoy!!!

I made a larger batch and only have 6 molds, fortunately leftover batch keeps well in the fridge in a plastic tupperware container so I can refill the molds as the week goes on.

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What are your favorite tropical fruits?

Mocha Oreo Cupcake Brownies

Luke sends me text or emails anytime there is an event at work in which I have the opportunity to provide some wonderful baked goodies. It is a great chance for me to try a new recipe but get rid of more than half of it before we are tempted to eat them all. A few weeks ago Luke’s department was having a retirement party. So I made up these delicious mocha Oreo cupcake brownies.

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Based on the very popular pintrest pin, where some ingenious person placed two double stuffed Oreos, stuck together with peanut butter in a cupcake tin, covered it in brownie batter, then baked it. But as you know, I like to put my own twist on things: and a healthier one at that if I have the chance. Using greek yogurt and only one Oreo (no peanut butter) one of these handheld chocolaty treats is only 160 calories.

Here’s what you need:

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Ingredients

-one box of dark chocolate brownie mix

-one package of oreos (your favorite kind)

– ¾ C-nonfat plain greek yogurt

-1 to 2 tsp vanilla extract

-2 tsp instant coffee

-¼ C water

Instructions

-Preheat oven to 325 F.

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-Pour brownie mix, yogurt, instant coffee, water and vanilla into large bowl and mix together.

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-Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.

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-Place small amount of brownie mix on bottom of tin about one spoonful; just enough to cover it.

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-Place whole oreo in bottom of each tin pressing it into the center of the cup. You can always do double stuffed oreos or more than one oreo for more crunch but it does add calories.

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– Fill each muffin tin the rest of the way (about 3/4 ths full); which should be another 2 spoonfuls each cup

-Bake for 15-20 minutes.

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Note: They will be very moist so if the tops are not shiny/liquidy they are probably done. You can always check with a toothpick and as long as it does not come back with runny batter. Remember no eggs means no problem with under cooking 🙂

One cake mix makes a batch of about 30 (not all pictured below).

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They are gooey chocolaty delicious with a hint of coffee and a great cookie crunch. The best thing is you can change it up.  There are so many different flavors of Oreos these days peanut butter, strawberry smoothie, mint, to birthday cake. Take out the coffee or change up the brownie mix flavor. The options are endless.

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Cookies n’ Cream Pudding Pops with Blueberries

It’s been almost a month since my birthday and I just realized haven’t shared with you any of my b-day presents. One small gift was to buy popsicle molds they have blue tips (match kitchen) for the popsicles into sail boats (a little something fun for my husband who one day wants to own a sailboat).

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After looking around online, my first experiment with my new summer kitchen toy: cookies n’ cream pudding pops with blueberries! And the great thing about these are: they are each only 90 calories!!

Makes 6-8 pops (if recipe yields 6 pops then each are 120)

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Here are the ingredients:

1 pack sugar and fat free white chocolate Jello pudding mix

3/4 C. Plain Greek yogurt

1/2 C. low Fat Milk

3/4- 1 C. fresh blueberries

5-6 Oreos or off brand version

Instructions:

-Mix together the dry pudding mix, greek yogurt, and low fat milk. You can do this by hand or with a mixer.

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-Add in the cookies. You can crush them with a whisk, put this mixture in the blender, or send the mixer on a high setting. Here is where you need to decided if you want large chunks of cookie or a more blended texture (we did the latter).

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-Next fold in blueberries. Do not use the mixer/blender if you want your berries whole.

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– Fill the molds to their full line. Remember to push out any airpockets.

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-Let the pudding pops freeze for at least 5-7 hours. Because they are so thick they will take time to solidify.

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Then enjoy!!!!

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They are rich, creamy, and full of antioxidant blueberries with that hint of chocolate we all love. If you only have a 6 pop set like I do the great thing it saves in the fridge just fine until you have eaten one (or two) and can fill up the mold again .

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What is your favorite frozen summer treat?

Some like it Hot: Kickin’ Mac n’ Cheese

Who doesn’t enjoy good old fashion  mac n’ cheese? Luke and I love our pasta but we also like our food hot (let’s just say Luke’s “medium” salsa would be a kick in the pants for most). So I couldn’t help adding some kick to this classic comfort food.  But what do you do when you want to make a delicious bowl of fatty spicy cheese and carbs a “healthy meal”? You add protein and some veggies creating my recipe for kickin’ mac n’ cheese!

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Awhile ago when Luke and I were taking a finance class at church I posted food on the run where I gave out the recipe for our mushroom and spinach white cheddar pasta using Annie’s gluten free shells.  Although I usally do not like using box mixes, Annie’s makes dinner fast, easy, and some-what healthy. Plus the gluten-free rice pasta has less calories (which amounts to more pasta in our bowl) and as has been widely discussed doesn’t create that fat storing “wheat-belly” issue.

Now that I’m done advertising how about I give you the recipe?

Ingredients:

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-2 boxes of Annie’s rice pasta and cheddar Mac n’ Cheese

(depending on how many people you are serving and their appetite you may vary the amount of pasta you use which will change the amount of  your other ingredients )

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-3/4 C. greek yogurt or 1/2 C. depending on how creamy you want it

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-Siracha (about 1 tablespoon again depending on how much kick you’re looking for)

-red pepper flakes to taste

-chili powder to taste

-good potions of salsa, homemade pico de gallo, or chopped mixed veggies: onions, green peppers, tomatoes and/or jalepenos.

Instructions:

-Follow box instructions for cooking pasta. Be careful:  to stir the  noodles as they cook. The rice noodles absorb a large portion of the water  and you do not want the pasta to get stuck to the bottom of the pan.

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-Drain access water from the pot.

-Turn stove to very low and add in the packets of cheese and greek yogurt and mix together.

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-Add in the kick: siracha, red pepper flakes, chili powder and mix.

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-Turn off stove and dish up into bowls.

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-Top it off with pico de gallo, salsa, or pre chopped chopped veggies.

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I make my own pico de gallo because I use it as a veggie base for so many of my dishes. It is easy to make a big batch at the beginning of the week and have it available for several meals. (A more specific recipe will be coming soon.)

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In general, I chop up several fresh green peppers, onions, and tomatoes. Then place the mixed veggies into a medium size mixing bowl and with a large serving spoon mix together with lime/lemon juice, seasoning, and a little oil.

And there you have a somewhat healthy dinner-in-one-bowl kickin’ mac n’ cheese.

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What are your family’s favorite meals?