Spinach, Pasta and Bean Soup from Cooking Light

I had planned on making Marisa’s pumpkin, cranberry and apple baked oatmeal for my breakfast this week, but remembered I was out of flour.  Um, there is no flour in the recipe!  I kicked myself when I got to work and found the recipe on my desk and realized I already had everything to make it.  😦

I didn’t really have a taste for anything yesterday morning, so I had a non-Biz breakfast – chicken sandwiches!  Yep.  I grilled a few chicken breasts over the weekend just to have on hand.  One breast cooked was 4 ounces, or 3 points, I had them on toasted potato rolls (4 points) and 2/3 ounce of cheddar cheese (2 pts) and get this …more spinach! 😀  On the side with grapes, breakfast comes in at 9 points.

And if you are wondering, I was almost out of Tabasco at work!  I remembered to bring my new bottle – funny thing is it says its good unil April of 2014.  Um, pretty sure I’ll refill this before December 😀

While I still have a bit of a head cold going on, I didn’t let that stop me from getting outside – it was gorgeous!  Sunny and 70.  I walked a brisk walk for 50 minutes, it felt wonderful.  How can you not get re-energized seeing this scenery?  These pics were taken on my blackberry. 😀

Again, not sure why my pictures from my blackberry look like paintings – maybe I have it on the wrong setting?  I am so not technical, but they look pretty.

Night before last I was thumbing through Cooking Light and saw a soup recipe that was not only easy, but I had everything on hand. . . including. . .spinach!  The only substitution I made was I used canned northern beans in place of the chickpeas.  This was so easy I actually made it before heading off to work. 😀

Spinach, Pasta and Pea Soup from Cooking Light October 2011

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 thinkly sliced green onions (ick)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 can chickpeas (I did northern beans)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (I used 1.5 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a large saucepan over high heat.  Add olive oil to pan, swirl to coat.  Add garlic (and onions) and saute for 3o seconds, stirring constantly.  Add broth, water and bring to a boil.  Add orzo, lemon zest and beans, cover and cook 10 minutes, or until orzo was done. (10 minutes was perfect for me).

Stir in oregano, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Ladle 1 3/4 cups soup into four bowls, top each bowl with 4 teaspoons grated parmesan.

I have to say I am on the fence with this soup.  Even though I drained my beans, the broth had a dirty dishwater look to it, and visually it looks kinda bland.  I did kick mine up with some Tabasco, the vinegar in the Tabasco helped, but I think it needs something more, like maybe chopped roasted red peppers?  Any suggestions?  This one is going back to the drawing board – sorry Cooking Light!

 The night before last I did a deep clean of my pantry and two cupboards.  The problem is I am short, and why I was shoving stuff on the second shelf of our kitchen cabinet, I have no idea.  I also need to buy more glass containers to hold stuff so I’ll be on the lookout when I thrift.  I discovered I had the second batch of Ad Hoc Fried Chicken mix and knew I had chicken wings in the fridge.

While I was cleaning I heated up the brining liquid so it would cool by the time I went to bed and the wings could soak overnight.  Then you just rinse the wings off really well, and dip them in the flour mixture that comes with the package, dip them in buttermilk, then back in the flour mixture.  On the side I made simple mashed potatoes with gravy and green beans.  For the record – I only ate one wing, and cut the meat off the bone for the dog 😀

Now I may get some slack as to “why is she frying her food” it’s not healthy.  People, life is too short not to have fried chicken and deep dish pizza every once in a while.  I eat pretty healthy most of the time, so a couple indulgences a week makes me happy. 😀  And fried chicken makes me really happy! 😀  Dinner comes in at 10 points.

Stats for Tuesday:

  • 29 points
  • 50 minute walk
  • 100 sit-ups
  • 50 push-ups (boy pushups! – okay, I had to take a break after each set of 10 but I got them done!)
  • average blood sugar 138

Don’t worry – I have more spinach recipes!!  On tap for today?  Chicken Saagwala.  Helen, I think this is similar to a dish you make??  It’s an Indian dish with coriander, cumin, ginger and . . . SPINACH! I’ve never even heard of it before but it looks amazing!  Pretty sure Tony just threw up in his mouth with that picture and is happy that’s on my lunch menu and not his dinner menu! 😀

And go over to give Shelley some hugs after her foot surgery – I like how her dog Paco is keeping her company!  I told her if she lived anywhere near me she would be inundated with food! 😀

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40 thoughts on “Spinach, Pasta and Bean Soup from Cooking Light

  1. I want to make that oatmeal! It sounds awesome. I don’t eat a lot of spinach, I’ll eat it if it’s hidden. 🙂

  2. I think you’re thinking of the Chicken Shwarma recipe I make – which doesn’t have spinach lol! I love Indian food though so my guess is that I’ve probably eaten something similar.

    We’re finally getting rid of the rain and have a stretch of beautiful weather coming too. I can’t wait to be outside as much as possible this weekend!

    • That’s it! I couldn’t remember the name of your dish – our weather is awesome this week – 70s and sunny – and can you believe the Chicago Marathon will be in the high 70s on Sunday?

  3. WE are finally getting rid of the pesky rain that has been our daily event now for a week, and looking forward to some sunshine and warm temps! They are saying because of all the rain, the trees are late in turning colors…so I hope that it gets more colorful soon too! One of the things i do enjoy about fall is the colors…

    The soup? Sounds like it would be good…maybe the dish water color from the starch from the orzo when it cooked…IDK..but you are soup queen, I am sure you will find a way to tweak it to make it awesome!

  4. You should definitely indulge every once in awhile! You’re right, life is way too short to not eat things like fried chicken and pizza every now and then.

    I love the pictures from your walk, fall is my favorite time of the year, and I’m sooo excited to be out of the south this year. I hear the East coast has some pretty falls, so I’m thinking lots of walks for me 🙂

  5. Just let me know if anyone gives you a hard time about an occasional fried food or a pizza. I have my cane. Jeesh. heehee

    I thought WW was all about being able to eat what you want, but stay within your points bracket? An occasional fried food isn’t going to hurt anyone. Nor is one or two pieces of pizza. Life is about enjoying it to the fullest, just the things that are harmful in abundance must be enjoyed in moderation.

    And your fried chicken looks luscious. And you know me. I am a fried chicken snob. I like mine. 😀

    So lovely in your part of the world. I really like the pictures. Thanks for sharing.

    Hugs to you and please say hi to the gang for me.

  6. LOL! Great minds think alike – I made that Cooking Light soup this weekend! I think the issue is with adding the uncooked orzo to cook in the soup. It releases too much of the starch and can make it kinda icky. I cooked my orzo separately and added it in at the end. The family really liked it!

    Love your walk pics, Biz! It’s beautiful here today, so I may have to head out for a walk, too!

  7. wow, those pictures look so green and gorgeous

  8. WTG getting out there if you’re feeling a bit under the weather!

  9. Love the non traditional breakfast idea! One of my favorite things about the season change is the return of soup to my routine – YUM!

  10. You always kill me with all your delicious food photos! Come cook for me!! I agree…life is too short to go without fried chicken.

  11. Life IS too short to skip all fried chicken and pizza. Moderation is one of my favorite principles in life. 🙂

  12. I’m using spinach and quinoa tonight to stuff some mushrooms- hope it’s good! I just love your recipes! And your sense of humor! AND the fact that your mind works like mine sometimes…makes me not feel so alone. LOL

  13. I was turned off by the use of chick peas in this soup. I’m glad you substituted. I think cooking the orzo separately is a good idea. Also, this recipe looks like it could use a splash of lemon juice and some thyme.

  14. As my weight watcher leader said on Saturday; “Eating isn’t Cheating.” The best thing about doing WW is that we can have anything, just have to count the points for it. I’m with you, life is too short to not indulge every once in awhile!!!

  15. I love your pretty fried chicken. Fried chicken is one of those “bucket list” recipes I have to make before I die, but it’s a long way down. It seems like a lot of work and I’d rather wait until I have a real fryer than doing it in a skillet. Skillet frying is SUCH a pain-and mess!

  16. I agree with you that a couple of indulgences once in a while balances out when you eat healthy the other 90% of the time! We all have to do what works for us and what keeps us from going off the deep end and going on a binge!

  17. Roz@weightingfor50

    Bravo to you Vat….life IS too short not to have some fried chicken, pizza, or whatever our favorites are every now and then!!!!! It all works out if you eat healthy food for the bulk of the time!!! Love the scenic photos too! Life is too short not to stop and look at the world around us too. Have a great Wed.

  18. I think the soup might look better if you used a tomato based broth, versus a stock based broth. Try throwing in a can of stewed tomatoes or even tomatoes with chiles. It’d definitely improve the look and bump up the flavor. It’d be a little more like a minestrone that way- with the pasta, beans, spinach.

    • Great idea Christina – I think I will add tomato to the broth – at least it will look prettier! Hope your wedding plans are going great!

  19. I miss my cooking light subscription! I feel bad getting it because all the recipes are posted online now, but having the actual magazine is so much more inspiring to make their dishes!

  20. Too bad that soup didn’t turn out as you hoped. Maybe some different herbs might kick up the flavor.
    And yes, life is too short not to have fried chicken. 🙂 it looks amazing!!

  21. When life hands you deep dish pizza and really good fried chicken, you eat it! Sometimes you just have to! You should get some Mason jars to store pantry items in. You can see through them, they’re cheap, and they give off a nice shabby chic vibe. I’m a big fan!

  22. I don’t fear fat. It’s even better if you fry that chicken in coconut oil 😀

    I was going to suggest lemon juice for the soup, but it is already in the ingredients. Maybe pureeing some roasted red peppers or possibly butternut squash to add to the broth to change the color and give a little more punch.

  23. What a great healthy soup! I’m feeling rather under the weather today and it sounds like it would be packed full of healthy nutrients that would make me feel better!

  24. Awww, thanks for the shout out! 🙂

  25. Mmm grapes! I have no control around them ;). Glad you were able to get out at lunch. Looks gorgeous. I have picked up some sort of bug too (as has Kaylin…probably at daycare). Bahhh! Love spinach in soups. Sorry to hear about the cloudiness.

  26. I so agree, you have to have to feel like you can indulge sometimes! With the holidays coming up, I think it gives a better perspective. For me anyway!
    I love your pics, they really do look like paintings, how cool is that??!! 🙂

  27. Personally I’d rather lose weight slowly (or even carry a little bit extra weight) and be able to enjoy some of my delicious vices than to live without.

    Holy schmoly! You can do 50 boy push ups? I think I can MAYBE do 10! Now I know who to go to to open up my pickle jars! 😀

    And that soup needs some sausage or mini meatballs! 🙂

    • I have to stress that I do take a pretty big break in between the sets of 10, but they get done – and I agree – the soup needs balls! 😀

  28. Soup looks good and healthy. I’ll have to be brave and try some new ingredients.

  29. Yes, life is most definitely way too short to not have awesome fried chicken once in a while! (I can entirely do without deep dish pizza however… I know. I know….).

  30. Holy cow 50 boy pushups!!! Thank you for the new goal this week 🙂 I have to try to work that out.

    Your walk looks gorgeous, the leaves are starting to change here too.

    I plan on making this soup for a quick lunch once the weather really cools down, it sounds amazing.

  31. You definitely don’t have to justify your fried chicken to me! Honestly I think you do a great job of balancing “mostly healthy” with “sometimes treats.” I love that you eat food that real foodies like and still stick to your health goals!

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