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Savory soups

By Angie Sutton

www.mothersapronstrings.com

If healthy eating tops your resolution list for 2016, you’re not alone. Many of us stumble into a new year, laden with Christmas cheer and the desire to make up for the excesses of the festive season.

Creating a weekly menu helps keep you and your family on track with a healthy approach to dining. Without a go-to guide, you’re more likely to make spur-of-the-moment stops at the fast food joint on the way through town.

Having a weekly menu makes your grocery shopping experience less hectic,which is likely another one of your resolutions. Add crunchy snacks like baby carrots and easy-to-grab fruits like green grapes to the list for nutritious snack alternatives as you pass by those grocery store end caps loaded with sugary goodies.

At Sutton Central, the weekly menu is heavy with soup recipes. We are trying several new ideas and keeping a couple of our favorite.


Jamaican Chicken Stew

www.mothersapronstrings.com

This chunky-style stew will bring the flavor of the islands to your table this winter. Served over a bed of rice, this makes ahearty one-dish dinner.

Ingredients:

1 c. uncooked long-grain rice
2 tsp. olive oil
1 c. diced onion
1 1/2 tsp. bottled minced garlic
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/4 c. dry red wine
2 Tbsp. capers
1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained

Directions:

1. Prepare rice according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute until tender, about 3 minutes.

3. Toss chicken and the next 5 ingredients in a bowl, stirring to coat. Add chicken mixture to pan and continue to saute 5 minutes. Stir in wine, capers, black beans and diced tomatoes.

4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Serve over rice.


Chicken Cassoulet

Source: adapted from allrecipes.com

Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France. It typically contains meat, pork and white beans and makes a satisfying meal.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 c. diced onion, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 c. apple cider
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
3/4 tsp. dried thyme, divided
3/4 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
2 c. tap water
2 c. diced peeled acorn squash
1 c. diced carrot
2 (15-oz.) cans Great Northern beans, drained
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
5 bacon slices
1/2 lb. smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Directions:

1. Melt butter in a large oven proof Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 cup onion and garlic, and saute for 5 minutes. Add apple cider, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, basil and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Spoon into a bowl; set aside.

2. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 cups water, squash, and carrot in pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Partially mash the beans with a potato masher, and add beans and tomato mixture to pan.Cook over medium-low heat 30 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

4. Rub chicken with 1/2 teaspoon thyme and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside.

5. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble bacon, and set aside. Add chicken to bacon drippings in pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from skillet; cut into 1-inch pieces.

6. Add 1 cup onion and sausage to skillet; saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the chicken, crumbled bacon, and sausage mixture to bean mixture in pan, stirring to combine.

7. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes.

Apron Strings Tips: The squash-and-bean mixture (steps 1 and 2 in the method) can be prepared a day ahead of time; cover and refrigerate.


Easy Minestrone

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 c. diced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
6 c. vegetable broth
2 1/2 c. peeled butternut squash, cubed bite-size
2 1/2 c. peeled baking potato, cubed bite-size
1 c. cut green beans
1/2 c. diced carrot
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
4 c. chopped kale
1/2 c. uncooked orzo
1 (16-oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 2 1/2 minutes or until tender.

2. Add broth and the next 7 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes.

3. Add kale, orzo, and beans; cook 5 minutes or until orzo is done and vegetables are tender. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with cheese.

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