Monday, October 17, 2011

Chicken Soup for the Athlete's Tummy

Notice the lame attempt at referencing "Chicken Soup for the Soul" in the title.  Hey, it's Monday.  I can pretend to be an idiot (or show my true colors) and you guys will forgive me.  Right?  RIGHT?  Well, how bout if I give you a few fall recipes to tip the scales?  (Or, in this case, not.  They are both uber healthy).  Sound good?  Alright then, on with the show....!

Since yesterday was pretty much a train wreck with the weather, I decided to get busy in the kitch.  The result?  A yummy crock pot full of chicken veggie soup and some demi-Polish deconstructed cabbage rolls for dinner and weeknight reheating!  Here we go....

Chicken Soup for the Athlete's Tummy (serves 3-4)
Nothing tastes better after a long run in the fall or winter than Chicken Soup.  (Ok, chocolate tastes good anytime.  But I'm trying to be a grown up here).  Come October, the hubster starts requesting soup for dinner quite a bit.  Of course, I am happy to oblige.  Healthy, easy crock pot dinner?  Sign me up!

The goods:
8 oz. chicken breast, cooked
1 onion
2-3  BIG carrots
4 stalks celery
1 can creamed corn
Chicken bouillon (Any kind, usually I use 2-3 cubes)
Salt, pepper, and savory
8 oz diced or crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup noodles (optional)

The ridiculously easy 5 minute prep:  Shred the chicken, add to crock.  Add in spices, tomatoes and corn. Chop up the veggies and throw em in the pot.  Add the bouillon to 4 cups HOT water, then pour it over the top of the rest of the goodies.  Cook for 4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low.
Add in the macaroni's 20 minutes before serving. 
Simmering in the Crock

(Sideways) Dinner is served with french bread for dippin'.
Humbly accept wife of the year (or girlfriend, or husband, or whatever).  You earned it (or so they think!).

And because I'm an overachiever (or was just bored) while the soup was crockin', I made dinner #2 (yup, it's gonna be THAT kind of week).  What does one do with a head of cabbage and leftover canned tomatoes?  Why, make cabbage rolls, of course!  (Yes, clearly that would not be the obvious answer.  But bear with me).
Along with my Italian and German roots, I also carry 25% Polish genes.  Say what you will (lalalala CAN'T HEAR YOU!) but I rather enjoy my Polish heritage.  My Polish family is fun, funny, and we have great holidays together :-)  One of the "traditional polish dishes" I grew up with is Golumpki, or, stuffed cabbage.  It tastes better than it sounds! And because I don't have the patience to roll up filling in cabbage leaves....we went with deconstructed cabbage rolls!  (and it sounds good.)

Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls-Serves 2 to 3

1 head cabbage (medium sized)
16 oz tomatoes (crushed)
8 oz extra lean ground beef
1 cup brown rice (raw)
1/2 onion, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1:  Steam the cabbage leaves (cut out tough core and discard)
Step 2:  Saute onions and ground beef until browned.  Add in salt and pepper.  Set aside.
Step 3:  Cook brown rice according to package directions.  Add in ground beef and onion and tomatoes.
Step 4:  Chop up cabbage into bite sized pieces and add into pot.  Simmer on low for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.

Plate it and drizzle with ketchup.  Looks, not so much.  Taste? Spot on.  And since I'm the only one who eats it, I don't mind much about presentation.  But if you insist....

Told ya.  But my taste buds enjoyed it :-)  And now we have 2 more meals for each in leftovers.  Can't beat that!

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