Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Clean Eating #149: Super Healthy Mexican Taco-Bean-Chili-Soup-Like-Dish

Super Healthy Mexican Taco-Bean-Chili-Soup-Like-Dish

Relax Ladies and Gentlemen, Children, Puppies and other small pets who may or may not have been waiting for me to come back...

Because I'm BACK!!
*Sort of.  Actually, next Wednesday, I'm heading out to L.A. with my two girls where we'll stay with several of my mom's friends, be all touristy and I'm going to audition for "The Voice Season 2".  We'll be gone about two weeks.  Unless we hate it, then we'll come back sooner.  Although I imagine a 33 hour train ride after a 4 hour drive will make anything seem tolerable... and, basically, anything that isn't rural town USA will surely be tolerable.

The ingredients (I made a HUGE batch of this and it was REALLY cheap, so it would be great for a big family gathering, potluck or some kind of group gathering.  My family ate half of it in one 24 hour period.  All 6 of us (except the ten year old doesn't really eat much... she prefers to paint):
Oh wait, I was going to start with the recipe.  With school starting soon, my A.D.D. is in full swing... my apologies!

1 bottle of Low Sodium Tomato Juice
1 Large, Industrial sized can of Tomato Sauce 
(if you're going small, just use about equal amounts of sauce and juice and vary according to your tastes)
1 Carton of Vegetable Broth
2 bags of Kidney Beans
2 bags of small red beans
2 bags of White Navy Beans
1 bag lentils
1 bag of frozen spinach


And here I am modeling the secret ingredient (well, if secret means that I told everyone, but you can't SEE it, then that's what I mean by secret).  You guessed it, pureed spinach in tomato sauce.  I AM that good.
You can also see some of the 20 pounds I've put back on since the epic stress has taken over my summer.  And on a perhaps unrelated note, let me just say that parenting can be hard as hell.  Even if all the things you THOUGHT might go wrong DIDN'T ~ you get new, EXTRA surprises... ahhhh... yeah, its lovely.

Prepare your dried beans (you might want to do this the night before, I just did it in the morning and had the soup for dinner.  You could even use a crockpot if yours works well and you're gone for the day)
*I soak mine for about 3-4 hours or even overnight if I remember.
*Then bring to a boil on the stove, then turn to medium or med-high heat & cook until soft. (they grow a LOT, so keep them covered with lots of water!)
*Do NOT add anything with salt until the skins of all the beans are soft

Drain 2/3rds of the liquid.
Puree your frozen spinach with some tomato juice **Note:  Do NOT do this if the juice is hot, thinking that SURELY the frozen spinach will cool it off enough.  Scroll back up if you think you might forget this tip.

Add all of your other ingredients (including the lentils) and simmer until you're ready to eat.

This soup tastes fantastic with grilled cheese, tortilla chips or whole wheat tortillas.  My kids all have their own way of eating it (all of these include cheese:).  As my resident carnivore, Kainan even cooks ground beef to throw in his.  I tend to 'toast' a whole wheat tortilla under the broiler and use it as a dipper:)

Verdict: This was AWESOME.  Even my meat eaters didn't miss the ground beef in this.  With all the different textures of the various beans, it was just wonderful.  The pureed spinach seemed to deepen the flavor without actually adding any 'green' taste to it.  My husband is reading this book:
 The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman
And is totally sold on the "Slow Carb Diet", so he wants a lot of lentils and spinach.  This soup is a great crowd pleaser, it fits his diet, its incredibly versatile and tasty and HEALTHY!  Yay!!

And for anyone who came back to read again, thank you!:)  I'll try to be better now that it isn't constantly over one hundred and ten degrees outside!