Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This is about to be devoured

This is about to be devoured

As soon as the weather even so much as teases colder temperatures, I find myself chomping at the bit to make soup. To me, soup is as comforting to make as it is to eat. It’s so simple and you have the ability to layer flavors and add in hidden veggies–so what’s not to like? This Broccoli Cheddar soup came from a Google search in which I landed here. I was looking for something that didn’t use a ton of cream because I wanted to keep it as light as possible.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

photo 2

Sometimes I randomly get an idea for a recipe, so I Google it and use the first thing that pops up on the search list.  I don’t know what i actually had in mind when I Googled “healthy pumpkin cookies” but the first thing that came up from Sally’s Baking Addiction sounded good enough. And I already had most of the ingredients so my search for healthy cookies ended as soon as it begun.

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Chicken with Rosemary Sauce

Working on presentation...half way there.

Working on presentation…half way there.

Hello, chicken! This dish was big for me for several reasons.

1. I’ve only been cooking pasta/Italian meals lately. They’re easy and basically effortless, so I felt accomplished with this one because it actually took some thought and planning!

2. I haven’t cooked chicken in over 4 years! After a year-long stint as a pseudo-vegetarian/pescatarian (save for a good cheeseburger now and then) I began eating all meat again except for chicken. I’ve only just recently added chicken back into my food repertoire but this is the first time I’ve actually bought and cooked chicken myself. My vegetarian experiment–that’s another blog entry in and of itself.

3. This dish was big because it turned out really (and surprisingly)  freakin’ good.

I got the recipe from Cooking Light and if you follow the link you’ll see a much prettier picture of the chicken than what I have. I used rosemary from my spice jar instead of  the fresh kind, and used way more than a teaspoon. I also added some flour to the sauce to thicken it up. The chicken was super moist and delish. The recipe was relatively healthy and stupid easy so I will be making this again!

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side.

Add green onions, wine, and rosemary; cook 30 seconds. Stir in broth; cook 2 minutes.

Add half-and-half; cook 2 minutes.

Lighter Eggplant Parmesan

I’m still working on this “presentation” thing. Bear with me!

Eggplant.

Eggplant is that one unexplainable foods that is enjoyed by the earthy-crunchy vegetarian and the raging carnivore alike. I don’t know anyone who asks, “What’s in this, eggplant?” and then hears “Yes!” and then says “Oh, hell no. I HATE eggplant. It sucks. “That’s  not to say those people don’t exist–I know someone out there probably doesn’t like it or is allergic to it or something but just amuse me on this one–eggplant rocks.

And then eggplant Parmesan. That rocks even more. I found this recipe in the archives of Everyday Food from 2008. It wasn’t like typical eggplant parm but in a good way. It was bared-boned delicious and was perfect for a warm, summery night. Even better, it was super easy to make so I can make it again and again and satisfy all those eggplant lovers in my life!

Ingredients

1 large eggplant (2 pounds), sliced 1/2 inch thick crosswise
1 tbsp olive oil
Coarse seat salt and ground pepper
1 cup of fat-free milk
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 garlic gloves
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup grate part-skim mozzarella
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Arrange eggplant on two rimmed baking sheets. Brush eggplant on both sides with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown and very tender, 20-25 minutes, turning slices and rotating sheets halfway through.

Meanwhile, make sauce: Off heat, in a medium saucepan, whisk together 1/4 cup of milk, flour, and garlic. Gradually whisk in remaining 3/4 cup milk and 1/2 cup marinara sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer, and cook until pink sauce has thickened. 2-3 minutes.

Spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Alternate layers of baked eggplant with pink sauce. Dollop with remaining 1/4 cup marinara sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake on upper rack until browning and bubbling, 10-15 minutes.