Welcome to California on week 6 of the United States of MyPlates Challenge, where the ocean is so blue, the air is so salty, the food is so fresh and the sun is so warm. When I think of California memories from our trip a year ago, the word that immediately comes to mind is “fresh”.
FRESH. Food Reminding Everyone to Simply be Healthy. FRESH.
I may be watching too much Celebrity Apprentice with Gary Busey where everything becomes an acronym, but I think eating FRESH food allows you to simply be healthier! As a registered dietitian nutritionist, it’s been my mantra for years, eat more fruits and vegetables and eat them at every meal.
This California recipe from the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge cookbook features seven types of produce. I am thoroughly impressed with this 9 year old’s ability to create such a tasty recipe. It was the perfect dinner recipe for our family as a few of us are suffering from a late season cold and all of us are suffering from a weekend of birthday celebrations involving lots of delicious food.
Surprisingly, my daughter who isn’t always crazy about new foods let alone many vegetables rated this “stoup” (soup and stew combo) an 8 (out of 5 stars!)! It does have a bit of a kick from the chili powder, so if you prefer less, just use half the amount.
Having my kids involved in the preparation of these recipes really speaks to the research that has been done about kids + cooking (+gardening) = more fruit and vegetable intake at mealtime.
Adapted from The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook, recipe submitted by Sean Reichbach of California. I altered the recipe by using canned tomatoes instead of fresh, being flexible with the colors of the peppers (they all will work) and using shredded carrots and less chicken.
Makes 4 servings.
2 cups cooked whole grain orzo (1 cup dry)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup diced, cooked chicken breast
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
- In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add orzo and cook 7-8 minutes until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In the same pot, heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Add tomatoes, red onion, bell peppers, potato, and carrots. Sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add chicken, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add chicken broth and simmer over medium heat 10 minutes. Add pre-cooked orzo and stir to mix. Or can ladle soup into bowls and placing a scoop of noodles over the top of the mixture.
Make it a MyPlate meal by adding a serving of fruit – we had grapes in the house – and a glass of milk or try yogurt.
MyCart Shopping Tip: Rotisserie chickens can help you make quick and easy meals like this one. Or just cook up a whole chicken in the crockpot each week and use the meat as you go!
Husband: 3 – He is not fond of soup in general, but thought the flavor was good and he liked the spiciness.
Adventurous Son: Licked the bowl clean, I will say it’s a 5.
Cautious Daughter: An 8 and she really liked the fact that it was helping her cold!
Dietitian Mom: 5 – I liked the chunkiness and the flavor. It wasn’t what I expected.