Summer Solstice Warming Vegetable Soup

"Summer Solstice" vegetable soup with garlic cheese bread

I’ve recently found out that onions are generally a bad idea for me.  If I don’t want to end up having certain health issues that I won’t discuss here, I need to generally avoid them like the plague.

To say the least, this has really put a cramp in my cooking-style.

Almost every recipe out there involves onions of some description or another. Sliced, diced, chopped, minced, pureed… somehow, it’s present in everything from soups and stews to burgers and meatloaf. What’s an onion-avoiding girl to do??

With the recent rainstorms and cooler summer weather, I’ve found myself craving a good, hearty, warming soup. Yes, soup in the summer — I’m not crazy, I promise! But again: soup = onions. Right? Well, not exactly. I’ve found  that I have no adverse effects from onion powder. There’s hope yet! Based on this and wanting to get something equally tasty and nutritious into me, I went out to buy some veggies I haven’t had in recent days: cabbage  and sweet potatoes.

Sure, I’ve got potatoes in my pantry but the  sweet potatoes are generally so much better for you and they just have a different taste. So, today, after I had gotten up from a short afternoon nap, I started chopping and slicing and  whipped up this yummy little number. I’ve dubbed it Summer Solstice Warming Vegetable Soup because I created it on the Summer Solstice and the flavours are warming without being “spicy”. Feel free to play with the seasonings to make it more to your taste, but  I have to say that this turned out better than I originally imaged!

This also makes a huuuuuuuuuge pot of soup/stew, so feel free  to cut these measurements in half to make a dutch oven’s worth of soup. This one took my large stewing pot, just as a warning.  (See the end of this posting to see the “leftovers” after hubby and I both had two full bowlfuls!) Also, this was an instant hit with my hubby, though there was no meat in the soup. Woo! Here’s what I did…

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Curried tomato pepper soup

Curried tomato pepper soupDespite the summer heat, I’ve been craving tomato soup lately. So I picked up some ‘no salt added’ canned tomatoes and thought, “Why the heck not?” Who says you can’t have soup in the summer? I’ve been hiding in air conditioned spaces, anyway, so it’s not so strange.

I didn’t have a recipe. I didn’t even look. I just went into the fridge and cupboard and started pulling ingredients out that I thought might taste good together. Here’s what I did…

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Chicken parmesan meatloaf muffins

Two 'muffin'-sized meatloaves made of ground chicken and seasonings are topped with homemade marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Served with cauliflower risotto.I love chicken parmesan when I go out to eat, but I’ve been avoiding it due to the elevated sodium levels I know the sauce will undoubtedly have, the breading on the chicken, etc. I’ve been learning that some of my favourites from restaurants over the years are not the healthiest of choices and tend to have a million calories, two million grams of fat and an ungodly amount of sodium. Chicken parmesan is no exception, sadly.

But does this mean I have to swear off of it? No! Why not make my own and adjust things to fit my dietary needs? I’ll save my waistline from expanding (or my feet!) and save my pocketbook too!

I had a craving for it one night but didn’t have any chicken breasts to make it myself. What did I have? Ground chicken. What could I do with that? Well, I make beef meatloaf ‘muffins’ all the time, so why not do the same with the chicken? They’d have bread crumbs worked into them, using a similar theme to chicken parmesan. And heck, I have light parmesan in the fridge at all times! If I made up my own sauce, I could control the sodium considerably. So I went to work on it and here’s what I did:

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Lower-carb / lower-sodium adventures: chili stew

A bowl of chili stewI’m sure that I’ve probably posted my chili/chili stew before somewhere, but let me state for the record that it is not what most people think of when they think of chili. It’s more of a stew or soup with chili seasonings. I throw all kinds of vegetables into it and there are no beans.

But lately, I’ve been watching my sodium intake and carbs, so I’ve been  changing some of my old favourites up, as mentioned in previous posts. For this one, I focused on cutting right back on the sodium. Did you know, for example, that 1/2 a cup of diced tomatoes from a can generally has about 450-500 mg of sodium, but the same amount from a ‘no salt added’ can of tomatoes may only have 20-30 mg? It’s a HUGE difference! It allows you the room to regulate the salt how you’d like it, rather than dealing with all that sodium right from the start.

I managed to get my chili stew to the point of only being about 170 mg of sodium per 1 cup serving, which means I could have two servings if I wanted to! 😉

Here’s what I did:

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