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lunch

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Lightly creamy chicken and rice soup

I like to keep a pot of homemade soup on hand at all times. It kills the question “what’s for lunch?” almost immediately. Plus, it never hurts to have something delicious on hand to help you avoid the drive-thru line during the busy holiday season. Feel free to adjust the amount of broth. I like a lot, but you might like less. It’s definitely a personal choice with soup, so see what works for you! Here is a quick and easy chicken and rice soup. It’s not too creamy, yet it has just enough to add some flavor. lightly Creamy chicken and rice soup Ingredients 2 tbsp olive oil 1 large carrot, chopped 1 large celery rib, chopped 1 small onion, chopped 1 tsp minced garlic 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, rinsed 2/3 cup uncooked long grain rice 1 tsp dried basil 1/2 tsp pepper 32-36 ounces chicken broth (or…

Pickle Soup is quirky, fun, and a really big dill

Pickles have been somewhat of a sensation lately. The beloved briny cucumbers show up in everything now days from icy slushies to creamy dips and fried chips. So I say, why not soup? There are several different recipes out there circulation around the web, but I think this variation is the best. The bold color flecks of veggies look delicious in the bright yellow broth. It’s tangy and salty, yet mild enough to enjoy a whole bowl — and then another, and another… It’s addicting and delicious and you just might make a believer out of folks less fanatical about pickles than yourself. I definitely recommend dill kosher pickles, because is there any other pickle? The snap makes every bite the best bite. I like to finely chop all of the ingredients to make it easy to eat and pour. Plus, I think it looks most delicious. Serve it hot…

Indian-inspired Vegetarian Chickpea Soup

Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein. A 1-ounce serving provides about 3 grams of protein, plus they are full of fiber, so making them a part of your meal can keep you full longer. These little legumes have become more popular in recent years thanks to an increased interest in Middle Eastern and Indian foods, but the nutty, grainy texture makes them easy to add to almost any type of cooking. Try them in this creamy (but cream-free) Indian-inspired soup. If you like a little heat, have a bit of your favorite hot sauce ready to drizzle on top. Otherwise, it’s mostly mild, but very flavorful! Chickpea Soup Serves 5-6 Ingredients 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), drained 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk 14.4 ounce can whole tomatoes 1/4 cup apple juice handful cilantro leaves (about 1/4 cup) 2 tbsp garam masala 1 tsp ground ginger 1 1/2 cups vegetable…

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese perfect for fall

Here’s an earthy mac and cheese that takes a risk and wins! Pumpkin and cheese are actually make a great flavor combination. If you’re skeptical, substitute for another squash such as butternut squash. This quick dish is yummy and totally fun for fall. Imagine the surprise when you tell everyone it has a touch of pumpkin! The flavor isn’t overwhelming. It’s just subtle enough that you can taste the unique fall take on this class comfort food. Pumpkin puree has a moist, velvety texture, and it will keep the cheese gooey a little longer, I find. I like to grate my own cheese because it melts faster too, but whether you buy bagged or block, make sure it’s extra sharp cheddar — there’ just more flavor that way. Note: Be sure to use pumpkin puree and nothing labeled “pumpkin pie mix.” The latter has lots of spices mixed. Pumpkin Mac and…

Easy 20-minute Bone Broth Chicken Noodle Soup

Think back to your childhood. If there was one guarantee when you got sick, it was that Grandma would be making you a big batch of chicken noodle soup. But does chicken noodle soup have any actual impact on impending sniffles? According to UPMC, when you’re sick, your immune system can receive support to help fight infections from standard cold and over-the-counter medicines. However, in some cases, the nutrients you get from a big bowl of chicken noodle soup can give additional aid to that support system. Studies have shows that the anti-inflammatory effects from the ingredients in chicken noodle soup can help ease cold symptoms, while the warm broth can clear nasal congestion. So while it may not be a miracle cure-all, chicken noodle soup makes a great meal when you’re feeling under the weather because it’s packed with nutrients. They are easy to digest, soothing to the throat…

Pumpkin spice ranch-style salad dressing

I agree pumpkin spice has gone a little over the top at the grocery store (see below), but I can’t say the same when it comes to homemade pumpkin spice inspired foods. I can’t get enough of all of the homemade fall baked goods. Whether it’s pumpkin pancakes, smoothies, or other sweets, I’m pretty sure I haven’t turned one down yet. Here’s another take on pumpkin you’ve never thought of — salad dressing. Try this creamy pumpkin dressing as a dip for veggies or on top of a crispy green salad with cranberries and walnuts. Pumpkin spice salad dressing Ingredients 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling) 6 ounces of plain yogurt 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup extra light olive oil 3 tbsp maple syrup 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1/2 small sweet onion, peeled, chopped 4-5 fresh sage leaves 1/2 tsp pepper, or more  (optional) 1/2 tsp salt,…

Easy slow cooker chicken tikka masala

Before we know it, colder temperatures will descend upon us. First chilly, windy fall. Then snow, ice, and slush. You can hardly wait, right? Well, if there is one thing to look forward to as the weather cools, it’s warm, delicious slow cooker recipes — the kind that give you the perfect excuse to cozy up inside on the couch and finish up your Netflix binge. Slow cookers are ideal because they magically turn ingredients from nothing into a delicious, flavorful meal. Plus you get credit for cooking, and reap all of the rewards, when you’ve really been lazy all day. This is a simple recipe that benefits from a long, slow simmer, so once you dump you ingredients into the pot, let cook and go about your day. Chicken, or paneer, tikka masala is probably one of my favorite foods on earth right now. I can’t get enough! But…

AUTUMN QUINOA SALAD

I’m convinced we grow sick of salads because we stop taking the time to focus on the flavors — or lack-their-of — that we’re adding to the bowl. We fall in a rut, and start throw tomatoes over lettuce, grab the nearest salad dressing and call it a day. With truly endless combinations of veggies, grains, and fruits, there’s no reason on Earth you should get sick of salad. Take the time to explore different fresh tastes and usual dressings, and you’ll surely opt for healthy salads much more often. Here’s a salad that’s interesting enough to serve to at a fall feast, yet simple enough to whip up for weekday lunch. You’ll have most of these ingredients already in your well-stocked pantry — just pickup an apple, lemon, and basil from the produce department. I like using Red Delicious apples because of the bright color and feeling of fall…

15 minute dinner: Taco soup

Here’s one for those of you with “no time to make anything tonight.” I think you can come up with 15 minutes, right? If you can find just 15 minutes, you can find this super simple and delicious taco soup recipe ready on your table. I say 15 minutes, and you say, “But I still have to stop and get groceries, don’t I? That’s time, too!” Well, yes. But almost everything in this recipe can be stocked in your pantry or freezer, ready to go when you’re out of ideas, and out of time. Add these ingredients to you next online or grocery store order, and pull this recipe up when the week starts to get a little crazy. Taco soup Ingredients 1 tsp olive oil 1 large onion, chopped 1.5 lbs. ground beef (at least 90/10) or ground turkey 1 15-22ounce can of fire-roasted tomatoes* 1 15-ounce can of…

6 Tips for packing back-to-school lunches on a budget

It’s the start of a new school year, and that means new teachers, new friends, and new lunchtime struggles. While it’s easy to fill your kids’ lunchboxes with pre-packaged snacks, that doesn’t do much in the way of keeping their growing bodies healthy. Sending kids to school with healthy lunches each day doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. “School lunches may not seem significant in a child’s life, but when you add up that they are eating them five days per week, it’s quite a lot of their calorie consumption,” said Dr. Nimali Fernando, a Fredericksburg, Virginia-based pediatrician and founder of The Doctor Yum Project. “Teaching them healthy lunch habits from a young age will give them the tools to build lifelong healthy habits.” Many pediatricians are concerned that children simply do not get the amount of healthy foods they need to begin with. The Centers for Disease Control…