Italian chicken bruschetta soup

This soup was made for my Soup & Sandwich Swap event, which you can read about HERE for more recipes and pictures.

Joelen’s Italian chicken bruschetta soup

1 large can marinara sauce
1 large can whole tomatoes w/basil
3 tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 onion, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cup low sodium chicken broth
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasted, diced
1-2 tablespoons italian seasoning
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup cooked small pasta (optional)

Combine everything (except pasta) in the crockpot and set on low for 6-8 hours.
Before serving, stir in cooked pasta.

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Spicy vegetarian chili

This soup was made for my Soup & Sandwich Swap event, which you can read about HERE for more recipes and pictures.

Betsy’s spicy vegetarian chili

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups black beans, cooked
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup salsa, medium
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup canned corn niblet

Heat oil in a large pot, saute onions, peppers and garilc for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add remaining ingredients except corn.
Increase heat to high to bring to a boil.
Decrease heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in corn, simmer until heated through.
Makes about 10 cups or 6-7 servings of 1 1/2 cups.

Stuffing It… In a Healthy Way!

Today was a dreary, cold, wet and cloudy day… a typical fall night in Chicago. It definitely called for a warm and comforting dinner, but I wanted it to also be healthy. (Often times, warm and comforting means starch heavy and sauce laden meals in our house!)

It’s been a few nights since we had some seafood so I baked some flounder fillets, seasoned with rosemary, garlic and lemon slices. To go along with our flounder, I roasted some asparagus spears and served up these stuffed tomatoes:

Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes
courtesy of Weight Watchers Best Eats Cookbook

1/2 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup whole wheat couscous
6 (7 oz) beefsteak tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, diced (I omitted)
1 teaspoon dried basil (I used fresh)
1 (15.5 oz) can great northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/3 cup crumbled fat free feta (I used regular feta)

Bring the water, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the couscous, cover, and remove from the heat. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, cut a thin slice from the top of each tomato and reserve (I accidentally threw it out when I prepared it!). With a spoon, carefully scoop out the seeds and pulp, leaving a tomato shell. Reserve the pulp for a soup or sauce.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the succhini, onion, bell pepper, and basil; cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and tomato sauce; cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the couscous, cheese, and remaining salt & pepper. Spooon about 3/4 cup of the filling into each tomato shell and cover with the reserved tomato tops.

* I baked these stuffed tomatoes in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes to roast them as well. This can be made in advance and frozen too!

Serves 6
Serving size: 1 stuffed tomato
WW Points value: 3 Points

WW: Eggplant Rollatini with Tomato Basil Sauce

For dinner tonight, I had a special guest over… my 6 year old nephew. To keep things healthy yet kid friendly, I made something similar to a lasagna (a favorite of my nephew’s) – Eggplant Rollatini. Little did he know that it was completely vegetarian! I served this with a baked bone-in chicken breast, seasoned with italian seasoning. Thankfully it was a hit and he enjoyed it… so did the rest of the family.

*Tip: You could make this in advance and is freezeable too, just like a traditional lasagna!

Eggplant Rollatini with Tomato Basil Sauce
courtesy of Weight Watchers Best Eats cookbook

1 medium eggplant, unpeeled, cut lengthwise into 8 (1/4 inch slices)
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 small zucchini, diced
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450F degrees. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Arrange the eggplant on the baking sheet in one layer and spray lightly with nonstick spray. Bake until browned, about 10 minutes on each side. Reduce the oven temperature to 400F degrees.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium hat. Add 2 cloves of the garlic and cook, stirring occassionall, until fragrant. about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the basil; bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, 10 minutes.

To make the filling, spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and place over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, onion, and remaining 1 garlic clove; cook until the vegetables are softened, 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; allow to cool slightly. Stire in the ricotta, parsley, egg, remaining tablespoons basil, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, the salt and pepper.

To assemble the rollatini, spray a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread 3 tablespoons of sauce in the dish. Place 2 tablespoons of the filling at one end of each eggplant slice. Beginning at the filled end, roll up the eggplant slices and place, seam side down, ina single layer in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the rollatinil sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Bake until heated through completely, about 25 minutes.

Serves 4
Serving size: 2 rollatini
WW Points value: 3 Points

Goat Cheese Baked in Tomato Sauce

The following recipe was made and shared at my Tapas party. You can read about the event and view links to the other recipes shared HERE.

Goat Cheese Baked in Tomato Sauce
shared at the event by John
recipe from here


2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
baguette of bread, sliced
8 ounces goat cheese
1 to 1 1/2 cups marinara or pasta sauce
basil leaves (optional garnish)

Preheat conventional oven or toaster oven to 350°F.
Mix together the garlic and olive oil and spread over bread slices and place on a baking sheet.
Pat the goat cheese into a 1/2-inch pancake and place in shallow baking dish.
Ladle tomato sauce into dish to come up to top edge of cheese (do not cover the cheese with sauce).
Bake, uncovered, until sauce begins to bubble at edges and cheese is hot, about 25 minutes.
During last 10 minutes of baking, toast bread until golden brown.
Garnish cheese with basil if using.

Comforting Italian…

I think I mentioned before how my husband isn’t much of a pasta guy. However I do like pasta and well, he’ll eat what’s for lunch or dinner regardless. So today, I was considering chicken parmagiana… breaded & fried, slathered with sauce and topped with gooey cheese. But with my recent efforts of getting back to shape, I wanted to lighten up where I can.

Taking the idea of stuffed chicken and combining it with the idea of lasagna rolls, I concocted these Chicken Parmigiana Rolls. You can easily make these in advance and freeze for future meals. They are also baked, not fried making it a bit healthier. I served this with pasta and a homemade chunky vegetable wine sauce.

Here is my recipe for Chicken Parmigiana Rolls:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
1 cup pasta sauce
4 basil leaves
2 slices of mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup flour
1 egg, scrambled
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
salt & pepper to taste

Open up the butterflied chicken breasts and cut in 2 equal pieces.
With a meat pallet, pound each piece of chicken flat to form a paillard.
On each piece of chicken, spread a tablespoon of pasta sauce.
Top sauce with a 1/2 slice of mozzarella cheese, sprinkle of parmesan cheese and 1 basil leaf.
Carefully take one side of the chicken and begin rolling it into a chicken roll. Secure chicken roll with a toothpick to stay intact.
Dredge chicken roll in flour.
Dip chicken roll in the scrambled egg.
Combine the italian season, salt, pepper and panko breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl.
Coat the chicken roll with the seasoned breadcrumbs.
Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
Place on a baking dish and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.
You can choose to top the chicken rolls with sauce and cheese if you’d like.

*I’m also submitting this to the Presto Pasta Nights blogging event done by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast. Katie of Thyme for Cooking is hosting it this week! Check out the upcoming pasta dishes they feature each week!*

Balsamic Tomato Couscous

The follow recipe was shared at my Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Event. You can read and view links to other recipes that were featured HERE.

Balsamic Tomato Couscous
shared at the event by Lori

recipe from Recipezaar

2 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups uncooked couscous
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
5 small tomatoes

In a medium pan, bring the broth to a boil.

When it is boiling add the basil and garlic and stir. Then add the couscous, cover the pan, and remove it from the heat. Let sit 5-10 minutes.

Chop the tomatoes.

In a small bowl mix the balsamic vinegar, the oil, and the pepper. Add the tomatoes.

When the couscous is ready add the tomato mixture and mix well. Serve hot or cold.