Thursday, February 9, 2012

Recipe Finds - BLT Pasta Wins by a Mile and Two Soups Try to Win Our Affection

Chocolate-Cherry Smoothie

We're big smoothie fans so it's always great to find new recipes.  I ran across this one from Prevention Magazine and didn't think twice about the nutrition content, assuming it was healthy.  I used Chobani vanilla yogurt and unsweetened vanilla almond milk to be on the safe side.

This smoothie is GOOD!  The greek yogurt makes it more like a shake and the combination of dark cherries and chocolate chips is yummy.  With the protein from the yogurt and the fiber from the fruit, this will also stick to your ribs.  Plus, you're getting in 2 servings of fruit with this. 

But to my dismay, this liquid delight is also a diet buster.  Using a nutrition calculator to double check, I clocked in this smoothie at:  

510 calories76 carbs (25%)18 fat (28%)18 protein (36%)4 fiber (16%)165 sodium

If you left out the chocolate chips, you would save yourself almost all of the fat and 280 calories.  Eeecks!

This leaves me quite conflicted.  On the one hand, I had this for breakfast and was full enough to skip my mid-morning snack and drank tea instead.  But since I'm calorie counting, this definitely marks this in the "treat" or "only once in a while" category.

I'm guessing that you could easily cut the chocolate chips in half (2T instead of 4).

3 out of 5 forks (2 for nutrition but 5 for taste)

Yucatán-Style Chicken, Lime, and Orzo Soup

This dish looked like it would be a hit and I really liked the idea of using orzo pasta in soup. 

Unfortunately, this recipe wasn't balanced properly.  The lime overpowered EVERYTHING.  It was sour to the point of being bitter.  I'm not sure if this is because we didn't use fresh lime juice or this needs a little suger to balance the acidity.  

We ate a bowl a piece, but the leftovers went down the garbage disposal.  While we didn't like it, we both agreed using orzo would be a nice twist on chicken noodle.  Duly noted.

1 out of 5 forks

Bacon-Linguini-Tomato (BLT) Pasta

What's better than bacon?  Bacon with pasta!

If you don't like the mess of cooking bacon in a frying pan, try it in the oven.  Whip out a rimmed baking sheet, line it with foil, lay out your bacon slices, and cook for 30 minutes at 375 degrees, flipping them over half way through.

Note: fully cooked bacon keeps well in your fridge and is perfect for the freezer.  This is ideal for small households who don't need the temptation of a whole pound of bacon laying around.  I'm not pointing any fingers ...

Back to this recipe - NOM!  With your bacon in hand, this recipe is a cinch if you ignore all of the Pampered Chef promo stuff and go with my modifications instead.  

Throw your chicken broth, tomatoes (I insist on fresh), garlic, and 1/2 of bacon with the pasta and boil under tender (we use onion powder in place of onions).  Once the pasta is cooked, remove from heat, add remaining bacon, cream cheese, and parsley.  Let sit for 5 minutes and stir to coat with sauce. 

Box up leftovers right away because this recipe is hard to portion control!

I love this dish because you're not consuming that much bacon, you can halve this for two people, you won't miss full-fat cream cheese, and high fiber pastas are ideal. 

5 out of 5 forks 

Tortilla Soup

Ever wanted a homemade soup that tastes like one from a market deli?  Look no further.

Clearly we've had some troubles with soups lately, so I was leery of making this one.  This was worth every ounce of effort I put into it.  It tastes WONDERFUL!

A few hints:
  • Yes, blending soup is a pain in the arse but you won't regret it for this.  Just remember all of the fools on Chopped who blend hot liquids and make a royal mess.  Fill your blender half way, put on the lid, and cover the top with a towel.
  • I split my 28-oz of tomatoes between a can of Rotels and a can of fire-roasted tomatoes.
  • Chipotles in adobo sauce are expensive, but they go a long way.  They keep forever in the fridge but outsmart yourself.  Get an empty ice cube tray, chop up your chipotles, and make ice cubes out of them.  Perfectly portioned for future uses!
  • Because you blend the entire soup, this recipe is ideal for onion haters like me.  No chunks to pick out!
  • If you're ambitious enough to fry your own tortilla strips, have fun.  But you can use any type of tortilla chip instead.    
4.5 fork out of 5

What are your favorite soups to make?


  1. I absolutely LOVE cake recipes! Quick, easy & delicious! I make them for Valentines Day and also for a 50th wedding anniversary. We placed two heats together on a small foil board, one heart dusted with baker's("stay put")icing sugar and the other dusted with cocoa. Then tied together with organza and tags. Made the perfect take away treat for all the guests! They all raved about them & demanded seconds!...good thing we made extras! I learned that recipe at visiting, you won't regret!

    1. Thanks for the tip! I don't do cakes often, but when I do, I like to go with something unusual. I did a Root Beer cake a while back you might enjoy: