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.


Thai Pot Roasted Chicken

I must have a thing for green chicken recipes. A while back it was chicken with the creamy poblano sauce and tonight it is Thai Pot Roasted Chicken which has a green sauce with cilantro and spinach. I bought this little cookbook called 200 One Pot Meals by Joanna Farrow at Wegman’s. It was only $7.99 and as a personal chef, I love one pot meals that are interesting for my clients and this little book has quite a few. One of the first recipes was this Thai chicken, it’s the first recipe I’ve made from the book and it is a keeper!

Thai Pot Roasted Chicken
Adapted from 200 One Pot Meals by Joanna Farrow
Serves 3-4

This was SOOOOOOO good!!

2 1/2-3lb chicken
1 Tb. Thai Seven Spice seasoning
(I used McCormick brand Far East Seasoning blend)
2 Tb veg. oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 hot red Thai chili, seeded and sliced thin
1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced (1 Tb of jarred ginger)
3/4 c. chicken stock
2 lemon grass stalks, chopped ( 1 Tb of the tube lemon grass)
1 Tb. fish sauce
1 Tb. sugar
2 Tb lime juice
3 c. cilantro, roughly chopped
1 bunch scallions, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 3/4 c coconut milk (1-14 oz. can)
4 c baby spinach ( 1 bag)

Preheat oven to 375º
Rub the chicken skin with the 7-spice seasoning. Heat oil in a dutch oven and brown the chicken on all sides. Add garlic, chili and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a boil, cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile in the food processor combine cilantro, scallions, lemon grass, fish sauce, lime juice, and turmeric and pulse until finely chopped. Add coconut milk and blend until smooth.

After the 30 minutes, pour the cilantro sauce over the chicken and cook another 30 minutes or until chicken is very tender. Remove from oven, stir in spinach into the sauce, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

I always use jarred minced ginger as I am too lazy to peel and grate my own; it tastes just as good and it’s much easier. I don’t often use lemongrass, so I bought a tube of it rather than messing with the actual stalks which need to be chopped and mashed to get flavor from it. Again, easier to squeeze the tube.

The chicken was so tender and juicy, and there was quite a bit of sauce left so I froze it and next time will just brown some chicken pieces and then simmer in the sauce for a quick meal!


One pot of delish!

I made jasmine rice for the sauce and a quick stir fry of garlic and ginger snap peas to round out our dinner. It got enthusiastic thumbs up around the table and will definitely be on our menu again this winter!