Cheeseburger Soup

I think Mother Nature needs to go shoe shopping. I mean, I know I can tend to be indecisive occasionally often rarely sometimes, but this is getting a little silly.

It’s been a pretty cold and drizzly week, which just always puts me in the mood for soup. I’m sure you’re aware by now that pizza soup is a staple in our household. But, we do have some alternates that we love!

With the big game coming up and all, you may already be planning a menu. It’s always nice to have a big pot of chili, chowder, etc. to feed a crowd. Heck, I think pizza soup would be great – as would buffalo chicken soup.

But I’d like to introduce you to another favorite – cheeseburger soup. Intrigued?

It sounds really weird, but I assure you, it is quite delicious – and, of course, good for you! The best part is you can set out condiments for people to customize their soup! Now I kind of want to throw a party…

Cheeseburger Soup (4 servings / 6 WW points per serving)

Ingredients

8 oz. ground turkey breast

2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine (I use Blue Bonnet Light)

1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped

1/3 cup celery, chopped

1/4 cup carrots, chopped

1/4 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. dried basil

2 Tbsp. white whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup fat-free milk

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup potatoes, peeled and diced

1 1/4 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

Garnishes (mustard, ketchup, relish, diced onion, etc.)

First, cook the ground turkey. Drain any liquid and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt margarine and add chopped vegetables and garlic. Stir and saute 4-5 minutes before adding cooked turkey and basil. Add flour and stir to coat, cooking 1-2 minutes.

VeggiesFlour

Over medium heat, pour in milk. Stir and cook 4-5 minutes. Then pour in chicken broth and stir. Add your diced potatoes and stir. Cover soup and when it starts to boil, reduce head to medium-low. Cook an additional 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are softened.

MilkPotatoes

Stir in the cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.

Cheddar

Once cheese has melted, serve your soup. Top with whatever you like on a regular cheeseburger – I like a little ketchup, lots of mustard and some dill relish. It’s also fun to toast a burger bun (sprayed with butter and sprinkled with garlic salt) to dip in the soup!

Close up

Dig in and enjoy…

Happy Friday everybody!

Cheeseburger Soup Done

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Cheese Steak Sandwiches

Happy Friday everybody! I’m even more excited for this Friday, because it’s the start of a long weekend.

While I love weekends, they are definitely something I struggle with when it comes to food. There’s usually more “down” time, which means snacking. And obviously, if you’re somewhat social, there’s the temptation of alcohol and junk/bar food. Nothing wrong with that – but when you’re trying to shed some lbs., it can be tough!

When I started doing the WW thing, it was easy to change dinner habits. Basically just make dinner before going out, and not getting carried away with the festive beverages. But for some reason, lunch was a struggle for me!

I’ve shared some pasta salads with you that are great for lunches (especially if you get easily burnt out on those frozen things) but I think since I get to sleep in a little more on the weekend, I don’t have breakfast so I’m usually pretty hungry come lunch time – and have some extra points at my disposal!

Well, I found a great sandwich to make that is a little higher in point values, but it’s easy to throw together, super filling AND I’ve already shared a pizza with you that will allow you to utilize any leftover ingredients you have. That’s what I call a win-win my friends!

Cheese Steak Sandwiches for 2 (13 WW Points each)

Ingredients

5 1/2 oz. tenderized sirloin, trimmed

2 demi baguette or hoagie rolls (I get the “Archer Farms” brand from Target – 7 WW pts.)

1/2 green bell pepper, sliced

1/2 small onion, sliced

2 slices reduced-fat provolone cheese

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. A1 steak sauce

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray

Heat your oven to 350.

Coat a medium skillet with non-stick spray and head to medium. Add your chopped onion and bell pepper. Spray with butter and sprinkle with 1 tsp. garlic salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Cook 3-4 minutes and add 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce. Toss and cook another 5-7 minutes until peppers have softened and onions have caramelized slightly. Set vegetables aside.

VeggiesCooked Veggies

Spray your skillet again and add your sliced sirloin. Sprinkle with remaining garlic salt and pepper and cook 3-4 minutes. Add remaining Worcestershire sauce and cook another 507 minutes until steak is cooked through.

Steak

While all of this sauteing is going on, slice your rolls in half. (Hint: If you want to decrease the point values a little, you can scoop out some of the “insides” in the roll, which also leaves more room for veggies!). Arrange rolls in a baking dish. Spray with some butter and sprinkle a little garlic salt if you’re feeling sassy. Arrange one slice of cheese on each sandwich.

BreadProvolone

Add cooked steak on top of cheese, and your cooked veggies on top of that. Then, drizzle each with 1 Tbsp. steak sauce. “Close” sandwiches as much as you can (you may have to use some special arrangement skills) and bake for 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted and bread is lightly toasted.

ToppingSandwich

This could be the perfect lunch for watching some NFL playoff action on Sunday…or even a great dinner paired with an ice cold beverage.

Cheese Steak Sandwiches

Have a great weekend!

Garlic Bread Spaghetti Braid

It has totally been one of those weeks when the kitchen and I have not been seeing eye to eye.

I think it all started when I set out to share my delicious recipe for kale chips with y’all. I got some awesome pictures, so while I was plating the main course, I stuck the baking sheet back in the oven.

Which I had turned off of broil 5 minutes before.Turns out, I don’t like my kale chips well done. They went in the garbage.

Then, the other night, I decided to try a super-awesome looking recipe off of my mere amusement obsession Pinterest. You can see the original recipe here.

Now, it ended up turning out okay – I just wasn’t patient enough. People – when a recipe says let the dough thaw…you should probably let it thaw. I’m pretty sure I almost chucked the dough on the floor, but I did not – I held my tantrum to throwing it on the counter and smacking it with a rolling-pin. Very mature for an almost no longer 20-something, right?

Anyways, it all turned out to be okay – so I’m very happy I get to share this recipe with you! I  made a few adjustments before and will make some additional ones the next time I prepare it, but no worries – I’ve included both below!

Garlic Bread Spaghetti Braid  (Serves 4 / 9 WW Points per serving)

Ingredients

1 can Pillsbury Crusty French Loaf refrigerated dough, room temperature

3 oz. uncooked whole wheat spaghetti

1 cup Prego light

1 cup reduced-fat shredded Mozzarella

1/2 egg white

2 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. Italian herb seasoning

2 Tbsp. reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray

Begin by thawing your dough. Just set it out 15-20 minutes before you start cooking. Seriously. If it’s cold, it won’t stretch and every time you roll it out, it’ll try to shrink back to original form. And you will want to hit things.

Get your water boiling and cook your spaghetti. While the spaghetti is cooking, work your dough out into as much of a rectangle as you can.

Dough

Drain your cooked pasta and add to a small bowl. Let cool.

Pour pasta sauce in another small bowl. I highly recommend adding a lot of seasoning to the light sauces – as I find them to be watery and a little sweet for my taste. Throw in 1 tsp. garlic salt, red pepper flakes, 1 Tbsp. Italian herb seasoning and taste to see if the flavor is improved. I made the mistake of not taking these steps and so the inside was a little bland – we had to doctor it up as we ate!

Pour sauce over pasta and mix well.

Mix with Sauce

Add pasta to the center of your dough, leaving a little room at the ends. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top.

Add PastaCheese

Now, on one side of your dough, make slices every 1 1/2 inches or so that run almost to the spaghetti. Repeat on other side, trying to match up the slices. Then, begin braiding. It’s really just  a matter of overlapping the pieces until they look right. Then tuck up the ends and pinch together.

Unbaked Braid

Brush a little egg white on top of the braid. Then spray with butter. Sprinkle with garlic salt, Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese.

Seasoning

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until bread is cooked and a nice golden color on top. I served this with a salad and glass of wine for a nice, light dinner. It’s really pretty simple to make – and it looks awesome! I think it would be great to throw together if you’re entertaining…

InsideInstagram - Bite

Or to have all to yourself on a cold, rainy evening…

Garlic Bread Spaghetti Braid

Lemon Spinach Orzo Soup

Hey there friends – and Happy 2013 to you all!

Being that my last post was before Christmas (yikes!), here’s a little recap of what we’ve been up to:

Christmas was awesome – a full day of family time and good food. My family always picks a movie to see together – so the winner was Les Miserables. We laughed. And cried. I think the hubby was just happy my Biffer and I didn’t sing along the entire time. Then, we had to take down Christmas – the saddest thing ever. But, we were leaving town, so we didn’t want to come home to sad pile of needles hanging out under some barren branches.

We headed up north for my best friend’s new year’s eve wedding! The husband is a huge history buff and had never been to Philadelphia, so we went up a little early and spent some time downtown. We ate a cheese steak. We braved the snow to tour Independence Hall. And of course, we ran walked briskly up the art museum steps with the “Rocky” music playing from my phone. Such tourists, I know.

Cheese SteaksSnow at IHall

The wedding day was a full day of fun – and I have never seen a bride so full of joy! She was absolutely radiant and I was honored to be a part of such a special day. I made it through a reading and a speech without crying (I’m a crier) or throwing up (public speaking and I don’t get along). And I got to ring in 2013 with some of my best friends!

The husband got sick the day of the wedding, so he barely made it to the ceremony and skipped the reception all together. We got home, and then I woke up sick the next day. Miserable I tell you.

So between Christmas and today, it’s been a lot of fun, some sickness crud, and catching up from the fun and the crud. Sunday, I finally felt normal and was able to sit down and plan a menu. A menu that would maybe help me lose some all of those pounds I put on over the holiday season (you know, that time from like mid-November until January 1-ish).

I figured with the flu that’s floating around, what could be better to share with you than a delicious soup that’s also good for you?

Lemon Spinach Orzo Soup (Serves 6 / 6 WW Points per serving)

Ingredients

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp. minced garlic

3 tsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 medium lemon (zested and juiced)

1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo

2-3 cups fresh spinach

8 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 Tbsp. cornstarch + 2 Tbsp. water

6 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large stockpot, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil on medium-low for 3-4 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, thyme and lemon zest and stir. Cook another 3 minutes.

SauteLemon Zest

 

Turn heat to medium and add orzo and spinach. Stir to coat in seasonings.

Spinach

 

Pour in broth and lemon juice and stir well. Whisk together cornstarch and water in a small dish and set aside.

Broth

 

Cover the soup, reduce heat to medium-low and bring to a low boil for 12-15 minutes, until orzo is tender. Stir in cornstarch mixture and reduce heat to low, allowing the soup to thicken slightly.

Pour soup into bowls and top with 1 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese.

Parmesan

 

We paired a bowl of soup with a small Panini for dinner the other night, and it was truly a delicious meal. Awesome comfort food if you’re a little under the weather or just need something to warm you up a little!

Lemon Spinach Orzo Soup

Hope you all have a great weekend!