Super suppers

This time of year, warm and inviting pots of soups and stews are often found simmering on the stove. One-pot soups are winter-wonderful, especially when you are tired of cooking, because they’re hearty, satisfying and, best of all, easy to clean up! Whether you are feeding a “soup-er bowl” crowd or just that special someone for Valentine’s Day, you are sure to please with these winning one-pot meals. For a little something extra, try serving them with a scrumptious bread to soak up the last drop from your bowl. Or for a low-carb option, pair your soup with a hearty salad full of nutritious ingredients.

Loads of folks rave over the flavor in Italian Wedding Soup, so I just had to share it as a super supper—and it is perfect if you are trying to hint to your Valentine. Think of this as a first-rate chicken soup with lots of hearty veggies and mini meatballs. To make it extra easy, look for pre-cut onion and celery mix in the produce section.

Elegant and date-ready, French Onion Soup is a classic that really is simple to make. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredients; you probably have most of them on hand already. Baby portabellas are easy to find pre-sliced in the grocery and give the soup a rich, earthy flavor. For a vegetarian option, use vegetable broth instead of beef broth. Be sure to serve with French bread, as the melted Parmesan on top is so yummy!

Chicken Stew with Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa is another excellent soup that sounds complicated but actually isn’t. Roasting the squash is worth it, as it brings out the buttery, sweet flavor. When you use rotisserie chicken, pre-cut butternut squash, and a few pantry staples, this hearty soup practically cooks itself. If you aren’t familiar with quinoa, then you should definitely give it a try. Although it is usually considered a whole grain, it is actually a seed and is considered a complete protein, making it a healthy addition to this delicious, gluten-free, diabetic-friendly soup.

Cozy up with a cup of soup to warm yourself on these winter days.


Italian Wedding Soup


Italian Wedding Soup

A calming comfort food or a hint for a honey.


1 lb. ground sirloin

1 egg

1 egg white

2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

1 tsp. plus 1 Tbsp. minced garlic, divided

1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 cup diced carrots

8 cups fat-free chicken broth

1 1/2 cups beef broth

1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

1 cup orzo pasta

6 cups fresh baby spinach


For mini meatballs, combine sirloin, egg and egg white, parsley, 1 tsp. garlic, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Shape meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs, and set aside.

In a large nonstick pot coated with nonstick cooking spray, sauté onion, celery, carrots and 1 Tbsp. garlic until tender, about 7 minutes. Add both broths and oregano. Add orzo. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add mini meatballs, and continue cooking for 8 minutes or until meatballs are done. Add spinach, cooking for a few more minutes until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 12 (1-cup) servings with 3 to 4 mini meatballs in each.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories 153 | Calories from fat 19% | Fat 3g | Saturated fat 1g | Cholesterol 40mg | Sodium 433mg | Carbohydrate 17g | Dietary fiber 2g | Sugars 2g | Protein 14g | Dietary exchanges: 1 starch, 1 1/2 lean meat


French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

Sophisticated presentation, simple preparation.


1 Tbsp. olive oil

6 cups thinly sliced onions

1/2 lb. sliced baby portabella mushrooms

1 tsp. sugar

4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup sherry

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

6 cups beef broth

1 cup white wine or cooking wine

Salt and pepper to taste

8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices French bread, toasted

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a large nonstick pot, heat olive oil and sauté onions and portabellas over medium heat, stirring, until onions are golden and very soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add sugar and garlic; continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes more, stirring. Add sherry, stirring to loosen any brown bits from pot. Add mustard, thyme and flour, and stir for 1 minute. Add broth and wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle hot soup into bowls. Top with bread, and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Microwave or broil (if using oven-proof bowls) until cheese melts. Makes 8 (1-cup) servings.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories 242 | Calories from fat 26% | Fat 7g | Saturated fat 3g | Cholesterol 12mg | Sodium 720mg | Carbohydrate 27g | Dietary fiber 4g | Sugars 5g | Protein 11g | Dietary exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1/2 fat



Chicken Stew

Chicken Stew with Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa

A pot full of fantastic, hearty flavors.


1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 1/2 cups)

1 onion, chopped

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 (14-oz.) can chopped fire-roasted tomatoes

6 cups low-sodium fat-free chicken broth

2 tsp. dried oregano leaves

1/2 cup quinoa

3 cups cooked, chopped skinless chicken breast (rotisserie chicken works well)

1/4 cup chopped parsley


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil, and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Spread squash on prepared pan, and roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender and starting to brown. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick pot coated with nonstick cooking spray, sauté onion and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, squash, oregano and quinoa. Bring to boil, lower heat, and cover, cooking for 15 minutes or until quinoa turns translucent. Add chicken and parsley, and heat for a few minutes. Makes 10 (1-cup) servings.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories 147 | Calories from fat 13% | Fat 2g | Saturated fat 0g | Cholesterol 38mg | Sodium 276mg | Carbohydrates 17g | Dietary fiber 3g | Sugars 4g | Protein 16g | Dietary exchanges: 1 starch, 2 lean meat