Sicilian Style Chicken Noodle Soup

Sicilian Style Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s 90 degrees in Michigan and I’m making soup. That’s insane, but it’s what the grand kids requested for dinner this week. They wanted tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, but there was no tomato soup in Blimpy Girl’s pantry. OK, now what?

For those following my blog, you know, a pantry scavenger hunt is in order. In this case, I needed soup stuff. After searching for ingredients, I opted for a Sicilian Style Chicken Noodle Soup.

Add pineapple chunks to the soup.

It took less than 35 minutes to prepare the soup. I added grilled cheese sandwiches cut into fun cookie cutter shapes. The grand kids loved dunking the sandwich shapes into the soup bowls. Pineapple chunks add a subtle sweetness to the soup (a healthy sweet!).

Ingredients

  • 1 package Alessi Sicilian Chicken Noodle Soup Mix, dry mix
  • 1 package Roasted Chicken Ramen Noodles w/flavoring
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup Ditalini Pasta (very Short Macaroni-type Pasta Noodles)
  • 3/4 cup DaVinci Ravioletti pasta noodles
  • 1/2 cup medium size egg noodles
  • Add all the water listed on the soup mix packages, PLUS 2 cups additional water or broth.

How To

Prepare the Alessia Soup Mix as directed on the package. Add any additional pasta. Cook uncovered over medium heat for 12 minutes.

Add pineapple, ramen noodle packet (including any flavoring sauce) and additional water/broth. One-half cup of pineapple juice can be substitued in place of 1/2 cup water.

Simmer soup (uncovered) until pasta/noodles are softened. Salt and pepper to taste and serve while hot.

OPTIONS: Add 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken breast to soup. Shred cooked chicken with fork prongs. This will add 28 calories per serving.

We’re looking at 240 calories for a one cup serving (without the options). The grilled cheese sandwich (using spreadable Land O Lakes butter) is 330 calories. You can dump 79 calories if using a low-fat maragrine on the grilled cheese sandwich.

This recipe easily makes eight one-cup servings. Forego the grilled cheese for a green salad and you are well under 325 calories for a hearty lunch/dinner.

Low-fat cream cheese or non-fat mayo for buttering the inside of the sandwich is another way to reduce calories and fat intake.

A Purse Filled with Wine!

A new take on wine in the box: It's a purse!

The wine-guy sent me this photo of the newest addition to the company’s wine portfolio. Wine box purses. I love that my honey-man is toting the pink purse.

Pink wine purse is a Rose.Several varietals are available. The pink purse is Rose, cream color is Pinot Grigio and red color is Pinot Noir/Merlot.

I can’t wait to take a couple of wine purses to my next Bunco event. The girls are going to love them.

These wine boxes were first showcased on The View, April 28. The winery went public May 1, 2012. The wine-guy informed me they are flying off the shelves. At a cost $13 each, why wouldn’t they?

Blimpy Girl gives the wine purse / handbag a big thumbs up! Bachelorette parties, wedding showers, Bunco nights or just a girls night out, these purse wine boxes are portable and fun.

Pinot Grigio Purse Wine Box

Pineapple, Shrimp & Beef Kabobs

The finished grilled meal!

Nothing like firing up the grill on a hot summer day. This meal is quick and easy. The grilling takes less than 5 minutes. Prep time is about 30 minutes. If you have extra help, like I did, prep time moves a little faster. 

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces top-sirloin steak, cubed and trimmed of any fat
  • 1 pound of medium size raw shrimp, peeled
  • Small container of fresh mushroom caps, stems removed.
  • 1/2 medium valdalia onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper cut into bite size pieces
  • 3 cups pineapple chunks, reserve the juice for the marinate
  • Wooden skewers (soak in water for 20 minutes to prevent from burning on grill)
  • 3/4 cup yellow or red cherry tomatoes
  • Montreal steak seasoning

Marinade Sauce

  •  1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
     

    Use fresh or frozen raw shrimp when grilling.

How To

Combine all marinate ingredients in a zip lock bag. Add the shrimp. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Preparing the marinate sauce and shrimp the night before speeds up the prep time.

Place the steak cubes in a plastic bag. Sprinkle with Montreal steak seasoning. Close bag and place in fridge until ready to skewer.

Remove shrimp from marinade. Place the marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on stove top and set aside. This will be used for basting.

Slide the shrimp, beef, and veggies onto each skewer. Alternate evenly for a nice colorful display. Place on grill at medium-high heat. Baste with the reserved marinade. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Baste again when turning.

Drizzle any remaining marinade over the cooked kabobs. Serve immediately. Grilled asparagus complements the kabobs.

Eating Asparagus, Kid’s Style

We had plenty of fun eating dinner with the grand kids last night. The grilled asparagus was a hit except with four year old, Fischer. He wanted no part of these long green stems that looked like oversize pieces of grass. Thankfully, big brother came to the rescue. His strategy was simple.

“Plug your nose Fischer and you won’t taste it. As soon as you swallow it, take a drink of chocolate milk to help the asparagus go down your throat.”

Watching Fischer’s facial expressions gave us all a chuckle. In the end, he finished one asparagus stem. It was a milestone. One green vegetable down. There’s still green beans and broccoli to conquer. I’m hoping the “plug your nose” technique works for those as well.

Fischer trying to swallow the chewed asparagus.
Fischer trying to swallow the chewed asparagus.

My nine year old grandson, Carson, helped Poppy clean and grill the asparagus. It was a joy watching them work together in the kitchen. Carson was extremely proud of his efforts to put dinner on the table. There is something about working together in a kitchen setting that evokes a spirit of camaraderie.

Carson helps Poppy peel the asparagus for grilling.

 Fischer helped skewer the shrimp, steak and veggies. Olivia took care of setting the dinner table.

Last night’s dinner on the deck was a group effort. We took turns sharing about our day (both good and bad), cleared the table, worked on special Father’s Day gifts and rode bikes.

Fischer assembles the skewers for the grill. Olivia sets the dinner table.

 The finished dinner! Bravo to my little peeps for lending a hand.

The finished grilled meal!

 

Pinot Grigio Smoothie

Pinot Grigio Summer Smoothie

This weekend we are experiencing cloudless, sunny skies with temps in the upper 80’s to mid 90’s. As the wine guy and I prepared to cruise the lake on our pontoon boat, I had to decide what would be my drink of choice (besides an abundance of water!).

I had plenty of fruit hanging around that needed my attention. The lone pathetic banana in my fruit bowl was starting to draw fruit flies. The “ah-ha” moment came when I spotted a bottle of Pinot Grigio chilling in the fridge. I pulled out my blender and starting prepping for my new summer drink. A Pinot Grigio Smoothie.

Chunky fruit goodnes with the crisp flavors of Pinot Grigio wine.

 If you rarely consume alcoholic beverages, this is an ideal drink for you. The fruit mixed with wine doesn’t lend itself to intoxication. Instead, you will find this wine cocktail both refreshing and tasty. Here’s the recipe for my Pinot Grigio Summer Smoothie:

  • 1 bananna (overripe is best)
  • 3/4 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (sliced)
  • 1/2 medium apple, cored (leave skin on apple)
  • 3/4 cup blackberries (I used frozen)
  • 2 cups Pinot Grigio wine
  • 1 container of 99% fat-free Yoplait yogurt (single serving size)

Throw everything into the blender. Mix until smooth.

TIP: Go for the least expensive Pinot Grigio you can find when making a smoothie. You aren’t pairing the wine with a food dish, you’re simply adding the wine for it’s melon to pear and subtle tropical or citrus fruit components.

OK, let’s talk calories. This recipe fills around six 8-ounce glasses at 158 calories per serving. If I pair this with a green salad (low-cal dressing), I have an entire lunch in the neighborhood of 200 calories.

 

Marinated Tomato & Onion Salad

Marinated Tomato Slices & Onion Salad

A refreshing and easy, low-cal salad for steamy summer days. The summer heat can make appetites pale. This salad dish reminds me picking fresh veggies from my Grammy’s summer garden  in Missouri. The temps were well into the 90’s and a garden salad dish like this was a mainstay at the dinner table.

Summer Salad: Sliced Tomatoes & Onion on a bed of Spinach Leaves

Use baby spinach leaves for a green background to complement the bright red tomato slices and crisp onion rings. Add a few Kalamata olives (pitted), salt/pepper and a seasoned vinegar/olive oil dressing and you have a winning salad. Tasty AND low-cal.

Garden cucumber slices are optional. I love cucumbers from the garden. In my opinion, they add flavor and additional color to this salad dish.

Marinate the tomato and onion slices in a vinegar dressing for 1 hour (if using cucumbers, marinate those too). Marinade recipe is  below. Place veggies in a shallow dish in the refrigerator to marinate.

I am hosting a post “on the lake” dinner party this evening. We are serving homemade lasagna from the famous Giovanni’s Restorante in Detroit. Our good friends Randy & Mary own the restaurant and supply us with bulk servings. Excited to sit on the deck and enjoy dinner with long time friends.

Vinegar Oil Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup  balsamic vinegar or red wine garlic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Place above ingredients into a jar, cover with a lid and shake. Pour over the tomato and onion slices and marinate in fridge for 1-3 hours. Add the spinach leaves just before serving.

 

Goluptious Country Goulash

No Frills GoulashThere was a brief chill in the air last week. After 80 plus degree weather, a 60 degree day felt like Fall. I decided to make my Blimpy Girl Goulash for dinner. A slice of hard crusted bread spread with low-fat buttery goodness completed the dish. It was great dish to eat while curled up on the sofa (with a soft comforter and glass of red wine) watching a Netflix movie. I was in heaven.

Ok, let’s start with the name of this dish. Why Goluptious? First, it’s fun to say. Additionally, the word means “delightful, luscious” and that is exactly how I would describe this easy-to-make goulash dish. I’ve never been a big fan of goulash, but I give my seal of approval on this one. Maybe it’s the added zip from the ground red pepper. Even the “wine guy” had two helpings.

Slow cook over low heat to simmer in the flavors.Ground sirloin is the best meat to use since it is very lean. I didn’t even have to drain the cooked meat. ***Big Smile***.

Of course, whole wheat elbow macaroni is a better choice if you can find it. I used standard elbow macaroni in my recipe. Whole wheat will lower calories/fat intake.

 

Here’s the easy-peasy recipe (that’s what my grandson calls all things he believes to me easy).

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1/4 pound ground sirloin beef, cooked, drained.
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 medium size onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 3 cups elbow macaroni (pre-cook per package directions). Rinse and drain.
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (I used red garlic vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 pinches of red ground pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon). Use more if you like a spicy zing.
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to tasteMeat sauce simmering on stove top.
  • 3 Tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese

How To

Crumble ground sirloin into a Dutch oven pan and cook over medium-heat. Add chopped onion and minced garlic once meat has started to brown. Drain off any excess grease.

Add crushed tomatoes, seasonings, vinegar, water and noodles to the meat mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Sprinkle grated Parmesan on top of each serving.

 Makes (8-10) one cup servings. Add 1/2 cup more water if to ensure a serving for 10. Hard crusted bread with low-fat butter/margarine is a perfect match for this hearty dish.

Now for the calorie count. A one cup serving is in the neighborhood of 155 calories. Add a slice of hard crusted bread… another 90 calories. A pat (1 teaspoon) of low fat butter is only 30 calories.

An incredible meal for well under 300 calories. Add a yummy green side salad and you will still be around the 300 calorie mark.

ENJOY!!