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Soup or bowl? Great soup & chili recipes

The food traditions of Super Bowl Sunday are almost as enticing for me as the game itself. We make all kinds of fun treats each year, including both new recipes and old favorites. Soups and chili are always part of the menu, though. Here are three of my family’s favorite recipes, all of them healthy, low-fat, and quick to make.

Caitlin’s Weeknight Chili
When my oldest daughter was four years old, she went to day camp for the summer. While she was there, she fell in love with her swim instructor, a warm graduate student named Caitlin. On the last day of camp, she begged me to ask Caitlin  to babysit sometime. More than 5 years later, Caitlin, now an English professor, is still babysitting for us.  A couple of years ago, she started cooking with the kids, and now it’s a tradition for them to make dinner twice a week (I know, I’m insanely lucky! I still thank my daughter for finding Caitlin). This chili recipe is a regular part of their repertoire, and we all love it.

1 package of chili seasoning (McCormick is good)
1 lb ground turkey breast
1 onion, chopped fine
2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 cans of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
Salt & pepper to taste (Eli adds hot sauce to his bowl, the rest of us like it mild)

Heat a medium-size Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute the ground turkey in a little bit of olive oil. Add the onions, tomatoes and seasoning. Let simmer 20 minutes. Add the beans and let simmer another 20-30 minutes. Season to taste. Serve with tortilla chips, salad, and easy guacamole (mash two ripe avocados with 1/2 tsp cumin, the juice of 1/2 lime, salt and pepper).

10 Minute Hearty Corn Soup
There is no soup in my repertoire that comes together as quickly as this one. It’s so good on a cold night, and it’s very kid-friendly, too. It’s definitely in the semi-homemade category.

1 box Imagine Low-Sodium Organic Creamy Harvest Corn Soup
1/2 bag frozen corn (I prefer the white varieties because they are usually sweeter)
Salt and pepper

Heat the box of soup in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the frozen corn. Let simmer 10 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. That’s it, you’re done. You can experiment with some extra seasoning and garnishes, but this is the basic recipe.

Low-Fat Low-Calorie Highly Nutritious Cauliflower Soup
This soup is really easy, really creamy, and really good. You would never believe that it’s basically cauliflower and water. You will probably burn more calories eating and digesting the soup than there are in the soup itself. Plus you’ll get all the vitamins and nutrients in the cauliflower and you’ll feel warm and full. My foodie kids like to sprinkle truffle salt on top (they may or may not have picked up the habit from their parents).

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 head cauliflower
6 cups water
Salt & pepper

Optional seasonings: add 1 tsp dried thyme OR 2 tsp curry powder OR 1 tsp cumin

Dice the onion, mince or press the garlic clove and chop the cauliflower into florets, discarding the stems. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Saute the onions and garlic (if using curry powder or cumin, add it now, then wait until it is aromatic before adding the cauliflower).  Add the cauliflower and the water (if using thyme, add it here). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the cauliflower is soft. Use a blender to puree the cauliflower in batches with just enough of the liquid to make a smooth, silky consistency. Then stir the puree back into the remaining liquid, and season generously with salt and pepper to taste. If you have an immersion blender, this goes even faster.

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