Janis founded The Dinner Spin in 2008 and her recipes, tips and time-saving tricks are tried and true. Life is a lot easier when the “what’s for dinner” panic is averted.

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Soup Recipes for the Soul

A big chill has set in across the nation; lift your spirits and your internal temperature with hot and healthy soups. Simple, comforting and delicious, these soups offer contentment in every lovin’ spoonful.

Coco-Curry Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Servings: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups baby spinach greens
  • 1/2 package matchstick carrots
  • 2 cups whole wheat egg noodles
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, reduced sodium
  • 1 can coconut milk, lite
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Instructions

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the carrots for 2-3 minutes, add spinach and cook just until the spinach wilts, 30 seconds. With a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables; set aside in a medium bowl. Add the noodles to the water and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain well. Transfer the noodles to the bowl with the vegetables.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Cook the onions over medium-high heat, 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 3 teaspoons of oil, the garlic, curry paste, curry powder, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the stock, bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk, soy sauce and sugar, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, spinach, noodles, cilantro, crushed red pepper and green onions and cook just until heated through; season with salt and lime juice to taste.

Alphabet Vegetable Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 32 ounces vegetable broth, reduced sodium
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons no-salt added tomato paste
  • 1 cup alphabet shaped pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil dusted with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/4 cup mounds of cheese about 2 inches apart onto baking sheet; use the measuring cup to flatten. Bake until golden, about 6-8 minutes. Let cool and transfer using a thin spatula, cheese will crisp in about 3 minutes.

In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, corn and peas, stirring until tender. Add vegetable broth, tomato paste and tomatoes, cover and bring to a boil. Stir in pasta and cook until al dente. Stir in 1 cup of water for a soupier consistency. Season the soup with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve with parmesan crisps.

Recipe Tips

The first time I made this my kids were not really using utensils to eat so I omitted the water and made it a thick stew. I had enough to freeze in two little serving sizes, which comes in handy on nights when the kids didn’t like the “adult entree.”

You can find alphabet pasta in the pasta aisle, bulk food section or in some cases you may have to stop at a specialty stop. You could always add whole wheat elbow macaroni instead.

Pepper & Wild Rice Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Servings: about 4 quarts

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces instant long grain and wild rice
  • 2 pounds 99% lean ground turkey
  • 4 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 small onion
  • 2 (26 ounce) jars low-sodium spaghetti sauce
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 32 ounces reduced-sodium beef broth

Instructions

Prepare rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook the turkey, green peppers and onion until meat is no longer pink and veggies are tender; drain excess fat. Stir in the sauce, tomatoes, broth and rice, heat through.

Portion out enough for 4-6 bowls of soup into freezer safe containers. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw 24-36 hours before reheating. Reheat in a microwave safe bowl.

White Wedding Soup

Prep Time:

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt, to taste
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small pieces
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth, reduced sodium
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 pound endive, coarsely chopped

Instructions

In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Divide by measuring with a tablespoon and rolling into balls. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally until softened. Add broth and undrained tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Gently add meatballs, cook, DO NOT STIR, until meatballs float to surface, about 5 minutes.

Add endive to pot in batches. Cook until wilted and meatballs are cooked through, approximately another 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Healthy eating expert Janis Bowers provides a weekly menu plan for Dinner Spin members (www.thedinnerspin.com) and is author of a new cookbook, Simple, Everyday Favorites. Her nutritious recipes, clever tips and timesaving tricks are intended to motivate life-long healthy eating habits. She develops each creative yet simple recipe with her own wholesome spin. Janis has been featured on local and regional television news and lifestyle shows, regional and national print and is an expert contributor for many online sources including TodaysMama.

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