By Laura Kebede
When cooking for 11 other family members with varying schedules, Sarah James says it’s hard to find healthy food that everyone likes.
“Finding common ground” and “finding (healthy) stuff that tastes good” is a challenge, said James, a 20-year-old student at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and who cooks half the meals of her household.
Her family tries to stick to two principles: only cook fried food twice a week and eat out only once or twice a month. But busy lives make that commitment difficult.
That’s why the American Heart Association released “Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook” this month. Though the group has published many diet-specific cookbooks throughout the years (low-cholesterol, diabetic, low-fat, etc.), the slow cooker recipes are designed for those on the go so that healthy, tasty meals can be ready to eat after work and after-school activities.
Other healthy cookbooks and recipes:
- Diabetes & Heart Healthy Meals for Two by the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association
- Healthy Chicken Favorites: 25 Easy Delicious Meals! (All Things Chicken) by Kimberly Thomason
- Better for You Breakfast in Southern Living Magazine
Do you have a recipe to share? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Write a brief description of how the recipe has been useful to your family. Include pictures if you have them.
Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
Serves 4; 1 1/2 cups per serving
Slow cooker size/shape: 3- to 4 1/2-quart round or oval
Slow cooking time: 6 to 8 hours on low, OR
3 to 4 hours on high
A garnish of avocado bits, thinly sliced red bell pepper, and crisp tortilla strips adds texture and color to this popular soup.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all visible fat discarded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
2 cups fat-free, no-salt-added chicken broth
1 14.5-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ancho powder
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips, and 1 6-inch corn tortilla, torn into pieces, divided use
2 to 4 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped avocado
1/4 medium red bell pepper, cut into matchstick-size strips
In the slow cooker, stir together the chicken, corn, broth, tomatoes with liquid, onion, sugar, ancho powder, garlic, and salt. Cook, covered, on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Arrange the tortilla strips in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crisp. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Let the strips stand for about 15 minutes, or until cool. Transfer to an airtight container and set aside.
When the soup is ready, transfer 1 cup to a food processor or blender. Stir in the tortilla pieces. Let the mixture stand for 1 minute so the tortilla pieces soften. Process until smooth. Stir the mixture into the soup. Stir in the cilantro.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the avocado, bell pepper, and reserved baked tortilla strips.
Cook’s Tip: Adding the processed soup and tortilla mixture to the rest of the soup gives the finished product more body and distributes the tortilla flavor.
Nutrition Analysis (per serving)
Total Fat 5.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.0 g
Cholesterol 73 mg
Sodium 350 mg
Carbohydrates 33 g
Fiber 5 g
Sugars 8 g
Protein 30 g
1 1/2 starch
3 lean meat
This recipe is reprinted with permission from American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook, Copyright © 2012 by the American Heart Association. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. Available from booksellers everywhere.