It can be a pretty steep turn from the holiday celebrating to reconciling to a healthier and/or lower calorie diet approach. I frankly think it’s an easier change to do in the summer. Fresh produce abounds with lots of salad makings, smoothies, grilling and frankly it’s hot so we don’t want to eat as much.
Winter is for comfort food. We crave stick-to-your ribs recipes that fill us with warmth. Most of those dishes are heavy and often higher in calories. They make us feel full which I frankly think satisfies an evolutionary need to bulk up in winter when food used to be scarcer. Sadly unlike the caveman who burned calories braving the elements in winter, most of us are probably less active making the road to a healthier, svelter self a struggle.
One of the first recipes I shared after starting Boulder Locavore was a homemade soup recipe called War-On-A-Cold Chicken soup. My knee jerk reaction in the cold months when anyone begins to sniffle is to whip together this soup packed with natural whole foods, some heat from jalapenos to help purge the body and a splash of apple cider vinegar which brightens the soup’s flavor as well as soothes a sore throat and clears sinuses.
There have been actual medical studies illustrating chicken soup really does help get over colds but more importantly I believe it is a basic comfort food. Somewhere in everyone’s past they have a family chicken soup memory. Whether their Grandma made it from scratch or their mother made it from a can, it is a flavor footprint associated with warmth and goodness.
My first soup recipe of the year is a take on chicken noodle soup but skinnied up a bit as well made in under 45 minutes. The soup starts with basic vegetables along with garlic and some ginger to make a simple from-scratch stock. Prepared chicken lessens the cooking time while still lending the flavor and texture we love about chicken noodle soup. Chicken breasts can be prepared quickly or purchased as a rotisserie chicken, and are a great lean protein choice.
Lastly the noodles are actually spiralized Sweet Potato (shhhh). Their texture is that of spaghetti noodles when cooked and they add great nutrition to the soup. Originally I considered making the noodles from white potatoes, which you certainly can do, however for this soup decided on sweet potato for their higher dietary fiber (makes you feel more full), higher Vitamin A and they add color to the soup. The soup is not strained so brimming with chunky texture making it a healthy, satisfying option!
Skinny Chicken and Sweet Potato Noodle Soup
- 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
- ½ medium Yellow Onion , chopped
- 2 large Garlic Cloves , diced
- 2 medium stalks Celery , rinsed, scrubbed and sliced
- 1 medium Carrot , scrubbed and sliced
- 1 ½ teaspoon diced fresh Ginger Root
- 6 cups low sodium Chicken Stock
- 1 tablespoon fresh Italian Parsley , diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh Thyme leaves
- 1 heaping cup prepared Chicken Breast meat , shredded or chopped
- 1 cup Spiralized* Sweet Potato noodles (using the 1/8-inch 3mm noodle blade)
- 1 teaspoon fresh Lemon Juice
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a large stock pot or sauce pan, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add the celery, carrots and ginger and sauté an additional 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, parsley and thyme; bring to a low boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes add the chicken and allow to continue simmering for 10 minutes.
- Add the sweet potato noodles and lemon juice. Cook 5-10 more minutes until the sweet potato noodles are ‘al dente’ (still firm but cooked). Salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe Notes*To prepare sweet potato noodles without a Spiralizer, try this method.
You’ve asked what Spiralizer I use and I’ve used this one since I started sprializing and love it!