Spinach Artichoke Soup-your favorite dip as a soup!

Most restaurants have a version of spinach artichoke dip on their menu. It is usually really cheesy and gooey, and delicious, but it’s also loaded with fat and calories. It shouldn’t be a meal, but it’s so good, you can’t help yourself, and you keep going back for more and more….and more. Well tonight’s dinner was a version of this favorite recipe that was just as delicious, and light enough to eat a whole bowlful without feeling too guilty! It was a very fast recipe and it got thumbs up from the whole family tonight.

Two tips for you: First, I always have cooked chicken breasts in my fridge or freezer. I buy a big pack of them, season them well and roast them at 425º for about 20 minutes. I chop them and put them in little ziplock bags to add to lunchbox salads which makes morning lunchbox packing for my teenage daughters a breeze! I used 2 cups of my chicken in this recipe, but you could also substitute rotisserie chicken if you prefer.

Also, the recipe calls for leeks. If you don’t have them, you can use onions, but the leeks really add a great flavor. Leeks push up through the ground and because they have many layers, they often have grit and dirt in between the layers. An easy way to clean them is to cut off the dark green part and the root end, then slice them in half lengthwise and then thinly slice them. Put them into a large bowl of cold water and really swish them around, separating the layers. Remove the leeks from the water by scooping them from the top, DON”T DUMP THE BOWL! The grit and dirt will sink to the bottom of the bowl and your leeks will be clean.

Spinach Artichoke Soup
Adapted from Cuisine at Home Soups, Stews and Chilies

1 c. sliced leeks*
1 Tb. minced garlic, about 4 cloves
2 Tb. olive oil
2 c. shredded, cooked chicken
1 can quartered artichoke hearts in brine (not marinated)
2 Tb. flour
1/2 c. dry white wine
2 1/2 c. low sodium chicken stock
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. cream
6 oz. package of fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Salt, Pepper, Hot Sauce

Saute the leeks and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook until the leeks are soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken and artichoke hearts and saute for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the top, stir in and cook for another minute. Deglaze the pot with the wine and cook until it is almost evaporated, scraping any bits up from the bottom of the pot. Add the stock, milk and cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer and add the Parmesan cheese and the spinach. Season soup with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.

Per Cup: 257 calories, 14 gm. fat, 15 gm carbs, 3 gm fiber, 17 gm protein.

If you are concerned about the fat content, omit the cream, and you can use 2% milk.