Italian White Bean Soup

Winter suddenly decided to make an appearance in the South this week!  After a warmer than normal season it was quite a shock waking up to lows in the 20’s-30’s with the highs barely making it over 40!

{I know y’all up north laugh at our cold weather whining…}

When the temps drop I love nothing more than a bowl of warm and comforting soup, even if it is mid-March and everything is in bloom!

This week I whipped up a pot of Italian White Bean Soup for the family.  This scrumptious soup was so easy to prepare and is healthy as well!

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I used organic and low-sodium white beans, chicken broth, carrots, onion and spinach to create this soup.  I chose low-sodium ingredients to counter the salt found in prosciutto. It made for a totally filling supper without adding side dishes as well as a little extra for the hubby’s lunch the next day.

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What I liked best about this soup was that it was a convenient one pot (don’t you just hate a sinkful of pots & pans on a busy night?) dish.  Start with diced prosciutto in a little olive oil, then add the veggies to sauté, adding the beans and chicken broth to simmer a few minutes before throwing in freshly chopped spinach.

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Are you hungry yet?

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Click for the printable version of Italian White Bean Soup ….

and Buon Appetito!

What’s your favorite winter comfort food?

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Fit Friday: Quinoa Salad for Hot Summer Days

I don’t know about you, but when the temperatures rise to 100 degrees I want to do as little cooking as I can get away with.  We want our meals filling, but as light as possible.  There is no worse feeling than to feel stuffed and bloated while winding down your day in the heat.

Skipping meals isn’t an option, so cold salads have become our summer staple.  One of my favorites is definitely light and filling, easy to prep and makes an easy solution to eating on the run as well.

Quinoa salad has become my “go-to” meal for these dog days of summer.  Prepped early in the day (or night before), then left in the refrigerator for the flavors to mesh, it is the perfect meal or side dish!

I’m sharing two of my favorite salads for Fitness Friday today.

To make these cool summer sides or meals I took a 14 ounce bag of quinoa and prepared all of it according to package directions, except I replaced the water with unsalted chicken broth for added flavor, then divided for the two recipes.  Be very careful not to undercook your quinoa as it’s a whole lot like eating pebbles, or to over cook the grain and have a pan of mush on your hands.  I’ll be honest, I have done both and it will totally kill your salad dreams.

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Cooked Quinoa

Cooked Quinoa

After the quinoa was fully cooked, I divided it into two large bowls to make my salads.

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One of the easiest and tastiest quinoa salads to make is my Southwestern flavored quinoa.

INGREDIENTS:

7  ounces of Quinoa, cooked

1/2 bag Organic frozen corn

1 15 ounce can of no-salt added black beans, drained and rinsed

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Medium red onion, chopped

Green Bell Pepper, diced

English Cucumber, diced

2 Roma Tomatoes, chopped

Juice of two large lemons

1 tablespoon olive oil

Fresh cilantro

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Combine the vegetables with the quinoa and squeeze the lemon juice over the top.  Drizzle your olive oil and then mix well.  Taste to decide whether you need more lemon juice.  Add the cilantro, cover and let sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight for the flavors to mesh.

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My other favorite quinoa salad dish is Mango & Shrimp.  I really love this one, especially after it has had time for the flavors to really come together!

INGREDIENTS:

7 ounces quinoa, cooked

1/2 pound grilled shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved

1 mango, peeled, sliced & chunked

1 large jalapeño, seeded and diced

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 medium red onion, chopped

3 limes, juiced

1 tablespoon olive oil

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Combine the quinoa with the shrimp, mango, pepper, tomato, and onion.  Add the lime juice and olive oil and mix thoroughly.  Then toss in the cilantro.  Taste to make sure you like the strength of the lime juice.  In the summer limes are often smaller and less juicy than the fall, so you may want to add a bit more juice.

Cover and let sit in the refrigerator a couple of hours (overnight is much better!).

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Just a little side note; if you are wanting a salty juicy dish, this IS NOT one for you.  I love these two dishes because they showcase fresh flavors without artificial flavor and toxins getting in the way.  

Skipping meals is one of the worst things you can do to your body when you are striving to live an active and fit life, and especially if you are trying to lose weight and gain muscle!  Take advantage of these fresh dishes that can be enjoyed right from the refrigerator for a lighter meal as they both contain your carb and protein servings.

You can’t beat that simplicity!

FitFriday

Have a Fabulous & Fit Weekend!!

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Sriracha Lime Shrimp Salad

While the high is only 45 today in South Carolina, spring really is on the way.  For me that means swapping the heavier foods of winter for something light and filling.  After all we don’t want thick thighs come short, swimsuit, & 5K weather!

It is also the season for “fast food” as my Madeline has joined the Lacrosse team this year and we have games at least 3 nights a week!

This Sriracha Lime Shrimp salad totally fits both of my needs.  Easy, fast, healthy and clean, there is no reason to worry about getting a healthy supper on the table in minimum time.

Now this does require just a bit of prep, but take 15 minutes before you walk out the door to get your shrimp marinating, and then 20-25 minutes when you get home to get it on the table and VOILA!

Supper is served.

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Ingredients:

For the Shrimp

2-3 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined {just pay the extra & purchase them this way….so much easier!}

1/4 cup sriracha

2 limes, juiced

Pink Himalayan Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

For the Salad

8 cups lettuce, chopped

10 pineapple rings, sliced

1 cup diced tomato

small red onion, diced

bunch of green onion, sliced

2 avocados, sliced

fresh cilantro, chopped

Lime Dressing

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

2 limes, juiced

2 tsp honey

ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.  In a non-reactive bowl, combine the shrimp with the sriracha, lime juice, salt & pepper.  Set in the refrigerator to marinade 30 minutes.  The longer it marinades, the better (which is why I said you can do this step ahead of time).

Use a glass bowl when marinating your shrimp

Use a glass bowl when marinating your shrimp

2.  Use the marinade time to chop your vegetables for the salad.

3.  Heat a grill or non-stick skillet to medium-high.  Once the shrimp is marinated, either skewer to place on a grill or add to the skillet to cook.

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4.  Take your pineapple rings and add to grill.  Grill for 5 minutes, flipping once as they heat up.

5.  Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing; taste to adjust ingredients (whether or not you need more pepper, lime, etc…)

6.  Once the shrimp is done (shouldn’t be more than 10 minutes until they are cooked through), assemble the salad, & toss with a little of the lime dressing.

Don't you just love colorful food?!

Don’t you just love colorful food?!

There you have it…. clean, easy, healthy, and fast.

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Oh yeah…. It’s delicious as well!

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It’s still pretty even when tossed

Our Southern Table

Wishing you all a fabulous and healthy weekend!

We’ll be watching this girl play Lacrosse!

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Joining Concord Cottage for Something to Talk About Link Party

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Fast Food: Zesty Taco Salad

Wednesday nights in our house have become taco salad night.  I’ve never been one to fix the same meal weekly, but for some reason it’s turned out this way.  Since the kiddos aren’t complaining about it, I take it as a sign that it’s a good thing and will keep it up as long as I can!

Time for cooking on Wednesday night is short.  I usually get home from work at 5:30 and we leave for mid-week Bible study at 6:35.  Putting together this flavorful taco salad is so easy and fast that it works perfectly in crunch time!

Fresh, Healthy and easy ... What more could you wnat in a meal for your family?

Fresh, Healthy and easy … What more could you want in a meal for your family?

 Ingredients:

For the Protein…

2 pounds ground turkey breast or extra-lean ground beef (I always overcook for my lunch the next day)

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon minced garlic

pinch of salt (optional)

For the Salad…

Chopped mixed romaine and butter lettuce

chopped tomatoes

cucumber

avocado

red onion

fresh limes

salsa

jalapeños (optional)

fresh cilantro (optional)

Making Supper in 30 Minutes:

In a large skillet brown your ground turkey or beef on medium high.  Season with the chili, onion and garlic powders, as well as the minced garlic and salt if you desire.

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While the meat is browning take just a few minutes to chop your fresh veggies and the limes for your meal.  I try not to use more veggies than what I have time to prepare as the meat cooks.  This keeps you on schedule for having supper on the table in a 30 minute time frame.

Our favorite toppings for taco salad

Our favorite toppings for taco salad

Layer lettuce, fresh veggies, protein and salsa on your plate, then top with salsa.  I love to use deli salsa from Publix (if I don’t have any homemade on hand) because it tastes so much fresher than what is in a jar on the shelf.  Squeeze lime juice over your salad and sprinkle a little fresh cilantro over the top.

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Since I don’t eat cheese, the kids (even my son) will sometimes help in the kitchen by shredding a little cheese for their salads.  Also a dollop of greek yogurt really adds a dressing twist to the salad.

Keeping things simple!

Keeping things simple!

This meal is made even easier by taking a little time for meal prepping on Sunday afternoon.  There are many times I will chop Gladware containers of onion, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, lemons, limes, etc…. for use in meals all throughout the week.  It takes about an hour and its a real time saver when trying to have supper on the table in a timely manner after work each evening!  If I see that I won’t use everything those same fresh ingredient make great toppings for a fresh green salad to carry to work for lunch.

The beauty of having an easy meal like this for crazy, busy nights is that if I am running behind at the gym, my girls have had supper waiting on the table for us on more than one occasion.

If you would like to check out another one of our “fast food” at home options, you can try these fabulous Buffalo Chicken lettuce wraps.

Do you have a go-to meal for those busy nights?

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