Evidence is mounting on the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet – a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains and healthy fats. Low-fat dairy foods, lean red meats, fish, skinless poultry and eggs are also included in the diet, if desired, but in moderate amounts. This way of eating can lower the risk for heart disease and diabetes and may help prevent certain cancers as well. A recent study in Greece followed 2,500 adults for 10 years. They found that those individuals ranked in the top third as being most adherent to a Mediterranean diet had a 47% decrease in risk for developing heart disease compared to individuals that did not follow the diet (ranked in the bottom third).
Following this diet may be a complete lifestyle change for you, but small goals can help get you there. One way to increase your vegetable consumption is to start your lunch or dinner meal with a salad or vegetable soup. This pasta fagioli soup, or pasta and beans soup, with it’s savory tomato-based broth, is full of vegetables and flavor. It’s also a wonderful light meal with some carrot sticks and hummus, even though my teenage son has declared that soup is not a meal. However you enjoy this comforting soup, you’ll know it’s good for your heart.
Did you try this recipe? Do you have a favorite soup you enjoy? Please click on the title of this post and scroll to the bottom to leave a comment.
Alphabet Soup with Vegetables and Beans
1 sweet or yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green squash, halved, seeds scooped out with a spoon, halved again and chopped
2 yellow squash, halved, seeds scooped out with a spoon, halved again and chopped
3 carrots, sliced in half and chopped
3 celery sticks, sliced in half and chopped
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, stems removed, chopped
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) petite diced tomatoes
1 can (15.5 oz.) cannelloni (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
32 oz. vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 ½ cup alphabet pasta*
¼ tsp. Pepper
1 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Dried parsley
½ tsp. Dried oregano
1 tsp. Basil
1 Bay leaf
Warm olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion, carrot, celery and garlic for 8 minutes.
Add green and yellow squash, salt and pepper and dried herbs (except bay leaf) and sauté another 5 – 8 minutes.
Add spinach and sauté another minute until wilted.
Add beans, tomatoes, stock, water and bay leaf and increase heat to medium-high until simmering.
Once simmering, add pasta and reduce heat to medium once pasta begins to simmer. Let simmer 10 minutes until pasta is cooked through. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer 10 more minutes. Add more water if desired. Remove bay leaf before serving.
*For chunky pasta, like elbows, cook pasta separately and add to the soup during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Recipe compliments of http://www.nourishednation.wordpress.com
This time of year, I make homemade soup on a weekly basis. There is something so warm and comforting about a bowl of homemade soup, especially if it is loaded with noodles. I’ve recently discovered how yummy and satisfying egg noodles are when added to my chicken noodle soup. Just serve a hearty wedge of bread alongside it and you have a light and healthy lunch or supper to warm you when it’s chilly outside . The leftover noodles not used in the soup are deliciously silky with some butter and parmesan cheese – another comfort food! This version of my chicken noodle soup really cooks up quickly if the noodles are already cooked and placed in a container in the fridge with a little olive oil to keep them separated. It also helps if the carrot and celery sticks are already prepared. See my earlier post on: Storing Celery and Carrot sticks.
Give this recipe a try by clicking here or on the Dinner 911 tab at the top of this page. Note this recipe has been removed to make room for another Dinner 911 recipe.
What is your favorite soup? Click on the blog title at the top of the page and scroll down to leave a comment. Thanks and enjoy!
The weather may be getting warmer, but I’m still in “soup-mode”. Soup is a meal-in-a-bowl and it can warm you on the inside unlike any UVA rays can! I’m actually good at making soup, which is why I like it so much. I often make a pot of soup after I’ve thrown one of my recipe disasters into the trash. My version of pasta fagioli soup is almost vegetarian, except for the chicken broth, which can be substituted with vegetable broth. Not only does it have my favorite beans, white beans, but it is also chock full of flavorful green beans, carrots, onions, celery and tomatoes. It’s perfect for a light lunch or dinner, or a healthy beginning to your main course.
Click on the Dinner 911 page at the top to enjoy this recipe – Note: This recipe has been removed to make room for another delicious recipe.
***What’s your favorite soup – let us know! Also, please let us know if you try this recipe. Just click on the title of this post and scroll down to leave a comment.***
Is it correct to call something a “pie” if it is crustless and baked in a square pan? Well, that’s what we have always called this wonderful recipe that I have enjoyed since I was a kid. Back then, my eighty-five year-old grandfather lived with us and tended a large garden in our backyard. He took such good care of the garden, there was never a weed to be found. Sometimes he would yell at us in Italian if we had to run in and retrieve a ball. I remember him stringing-up his old pair of long underwear to scare away the birds, but that only lasted a day until my mom made him take it down. She must have had this recipe memorized during July and August when the zucchini harvest was in full swing!
Enjoy this time-tested recipe by clicking on the “Recipe Rescue” page (**Note: this recipe has been removed at this time to make room for another recipe rescue**). The oil in the recipe has been cut in half from the original – it simply was not necessary to have so much oil. Although I cut the fat by reducing the oil, I increased the amount of cheese from the original recipe. To lighten things up, use less cheese or 50% low-fat cheeses. Or, try just 1/4 cup of grated parmesan – the strong flavor goes a long way. And hey, there’s no crust, so that saves a ton of fat right there. This zucchini pie can be enjoyed as a side dish or a light lunch or dinner. I have been known to eat it cold for breakfast as well – enjoy!
This calzone is made using Pillsbury Hot Roll mix again! This is such a versatile mix and it’s easy to use. We call this “Big Ham Loaf”, as my friend’s son, Jack, aptly named it when he was a toddler. Despite the name, you can fill it with whatever you like. I make half chicken and half ham to keep my family happy. I’ve always wanted to try spinach and ricotta, so let me know if you try that combination. Whatever you use for a filling, this is a hearty and satisfying meal that can be prepared in a little over an hour. This calzone recipe is worth a try!
Click on the Dinner 911 page for the recipe (Note: this recipe has been removed at this time to make way for another Dinner 911 recipe. Don’t worry, it will return for a comeback!)
I recently attended a panel discussion on social media and blogging at the Massachusetts Dietetic Association’s annual convention. One of the speaker’s pointed-out that people really do want to know what dietitian’s eat. So, strange as it sounds, I took a picture of my lunch the other day to share with all of you. When I have the time, I love to have a big salad for lunch. It’s actually very quick to put together if you have all of the ingredients prepared and ready to go. What takes time is eating it. It requires a lot of chewing – you cannot really “wolf down” a salad. All of the flavor combinations, fiber, protein (and chewing), make for a very satisfying lunch. Here’s what’s in my salad – please share what’s in yours:
Romaine lettuce – carrots – celery – tomatoes – leftover baked chicken – croutons – craisins