Monday, February 22, 2010

Chicken Soup with Asparagus and Parmesan

· 3 1/2 lbs of chicken
· 2 tbsp. butter
· 2 cloves garlic, minced
· 1/2 onion chopped
· 2 ribs of chopped celery
· 2 medium, peeled and chopped carrots
· 10 asparagus spears, sliced
· 10 sprigs of fresh parsley
· 3 sprigs of thyme
· 1 bay leaf
· 6 cups of chicken stock
· 1/3 cup of brown rice
· 1 tsp. kosher salt
· ground pepper to taste

· 1/4 cup good Parmesan cheese

· precook chicken by boiling or roasting, however you like to do it.
· saute the onion and garlic in butter over medium heat until transparent, a few minutes.
· add the carrots, celery and asparagus.
· add the chicken stock, chicken, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and brown rice
· bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer until veggies are tender and rice is fully cooked
· add salt and pepper while simmering
· once the soup is done, remove the bay leaf and sprinkle the soup with Parmesan cheese

This is such a simple twist on a classic. Once you know your basic recipes by heart, then you can mix it up a bit and add your favorite ingredients to make it your own. The asparagus in this soup gets so tender and delicious. The Parmesan cheese adds a nutty flavor and creamy texture that takes the soup to another level. My mom would always add Parmesan to her chicken soups and I love the flavor it brings. You should try it!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

9 Life-Saving Superfoods

I came across this article at I love learning the health benefits of food and thought I would share it with you. These 9 superfoods will infuse you with energy, help prevent disease, help you look younger and potentially add years on to your life. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, check out the first food on the list! CHOCOLATE! Now, you don't have to feel guilty if you eat the whole heart shaped box of chocolates...well, just a tad.

1. Chocolate

Dark chocolate has been shown to protect your ticker by lowering blood pressure, with antioxidants to boost immunity. Twenty semi-sweet chocolate chips can satisfy your chocolate cravings so that you don’t give in to a whole chocolate bar. Toss a Ziploc-full in the freezer, then enjoy without guilt.

2. Cheese

Part-skim ricotta cheese is a delicious way to strengthen your bones, while rebuilding muscles and organs. This low-sodium, high-calcium protein source is a great replacement for cream cheese. Spread on waffles and toast with a sprinkle on cinnamon, or fold into spaghetti sauce to bolster the protein component of a pasta meal.

3. Sweet potatoes
There’s a reason sweet potatoes rank the most nutritious of all vegetables. Their levels of Vitamin A are off-the-charts. They’re also a disease-prevention powerhouse food, rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. And they’re a great form of starch, supplying the glucose needed to fuel our brain, muscles and organs. It’s a tasty reminder not to cut carbs; they’re essential to optimal health.

4. Hot peppers
Hot peppers add zest to your dinner while punching up immunity. The source of their heat, called capsaicin, plays a role in curbing obesity, fighting cancer and diabetes, and inhibiting the nasty bacteria that induce stomach ulcers. Remember to wear disposable gloves when handling these hotties in the kitchen.

5. Turnips Turnip greens are a great food for heart, bone and eye health. Packed with vitamins, antioxidants and even calcium, turnips bolster the linings of blood vessels to keep blood pumping efficiently, deterring any hardening of the arteries that might lead to heart disease.

6. Haddock
Boasting all the virtues of seafood without the excess mercury, low-calorie haddock nourishes the brain with omega-3 fatty acids and destroys the triglycerides that threaten heart health. This white fish also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps slash the risk of hypertension. Its quick-cooking fillets make for an easy weeknight dinner.

7. Apples
This fiber-filled fruit can reduce allergic reactions, protect against cancer and diabetes, lower cholesterol and relieve both constipation and diarrhea. No wonder it’s the teacher’s pet. And with the range of varieties in the markets, from teasingly tart to super-sweet, you’re bound to find the apple of your eye.

8. Walnuts

Walnuts are the supreme heart health food because of their rich supply of omega-3 fatty acids. Enjoy a quarter-cup a few times per week for high-fiber satisfaction, protein and great anti-inflammatory power. Walnuts also provide ellagic acid, a potential trove of anticancer prevention.

9. Blueberries
They're actually ranked first in antioxidants among all other fruits and vegetables, blueberries are “high-octane fuel” for the body’s health. Blueberries also prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls, helping avoid those dreaded UTIs.