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Recipes of the Month: Serotonin Power Diet-Friendly Simple Soups

We all have wardrobe staples, like a simple black dress, a favorite pair of jeans, or those boots you can wear anytime. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some staples in your kitchen for easy go-to dinners?  Broth is just such a staple. The most popular are chicken, vegetable, mushroom, and beef (and even Miso Ginger Broth has made its appearance on some mainstream supermarket shelves). By grabbing whatever is in your vegetable drawer, freezer, pantry, and spice rack, there are endless possibilities for easy, nutritious, Serotonin Power Diet-friendly, and delicious meals.

Many Serotonin Power Diet-Friendly Recipes, Same Method

Start with broth of your choice in a pot, add vegetables, a starchy carb like noodles, potatoes, corn, grains like quinoa or bulgur wheat, beans, or lentils. Add low fat or fat free spices or condiments that you you have on hand. (And next time you’re at the market, check out the ethnic aisle to pick up new spices and flavorings like Thai curry paste, Italian herb mixes, and hot sauces you’d like to try). If using onion and garlic, first sauté them in a teaspoon of oil, then bring the remaining ingredients to a boil (when you’re using pasta it should be added once the broth has boiled). 

Easy Solution For Pureed Soup 

If you favor purees, a hand-held immersion blender is a fabulous, easy and fast way to blend your concoction without having to let it cool first and requires minimal clean-up (just make sure the head of the blender remains submerged under the liquid to avoid splattering piping hot soup that can burn your skin) – one of the most popular brands costs $30 and is available in 17 colors which is not bad for sprucing up your kitchen “wardrobe.” 

Grocery Staples To Keep In Stock

Here’s a suggested list of staples to keep on hand for endless possibilities if you’d like to get creative: 

  • Freezer: Vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach, zucchini, summer squash, Brussels sprouts, green beans, rutabaga, carrots, cauliflower, corn, shrimp, fish, cooked chicken.
  • Pantry: Broth (chicken, vegetable, beef, and/or mushroom), canned cooked beans, uncooked red lentils, bulgar wheat, quinoa, thin rice noodles, thin spaghetti or Asian wheat noodles, stewed tomatoes, canned bamboo shoots, canned baby corn, canned water chestnuts, canned Asian mushrooms, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine or sherry, sugar, cornstarch, sesame oil, dried seaweed.
  • Fridge: Eggs, fresh vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, bok choy, chopped cabbage, green beans, celery, spinach, kale, pepper, mushrooms, etc.), onions, garlic, potatoes, tofu, cooked chicken, Thai curry paste.

Good For Any Phase of The Serotonin Power Diet

Below is a basic recipe to try that you can tweak to make your own. Beneath that, we’ve included several variations you can experiment with after you are comfortable with the basics. Enjoy with a warmed crusty roll or a sweet potato prepared in the microwave while the soup is cooking.  In addition to the soup, your meal can include cut-up raw vegetables like cucumber or tomato, or a simple salad of greens with some balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice. 

If you are on phase one of the Serotonin Power Diet, enjoy this for dinner without any added protein – or for lunch, with protein and without the starchy carb. Otherwise, add a protein of your choice and enjoy!

Basic Vegetable Soup 

Ingredients

One onion, chopped coarsely (or 1/2 cup store-bought pre-chopped onion)

1 or 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped, or 1-2 tsp frozen or jarred chopped garlic 

1 tsp vegetable or olive oil

4 cups (32 oz carton) chicken or vegetable broth

4 cups fresh or frozen vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, and carrots 

Suggested spices: dash of hot pepper flakes and one T. of Italian herb blend

Directions

Heat a large pot on medium and sauté onion and garlic in oil until very lightly browned.  Place broth and vegetables in the pot, cover, and bring to a boil on high heat.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Add spices and blend with hand-held blender. Serves 2.

More Variations Of The Classic

Once you get the hang of it, you can think of soups you’ve tasted to get creative ideas for new recipes.  Some examples are: 

  • Tex-Mex Corn: Chicken broth (option to use 3:1 ratio of broth to fat-free milk), garlic, onion, frozen corn, chili powder.  Can be blended.  Add shredded cooked chicken, chopped fresh multicolored peppers, a teaspoon of grated parmesan cheese, fresh cilantro, and lime juice before eating.     
  • Minestrone: Chicken, beef, or vegetable broth, onion, garlic, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, celery, green beans, kale, potato, canned beans (garbanzo, cannellini, kidney, etc.), dried Italian herbs.  Serve with a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese.
  • Hearty Italian Tomato: Chicken or vegetable broth, garlic, onion, canned stewed tomatoes (drained), onion, garlic, and bulgar wheat or quinoa.  
  • Fall Harvest: Chicken or vegetable broth, onion, 16 oz can pumpkin puree, carrots, sliced and peeled apple or applesauce, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamon. Blend, if desired. Serve with a large dollop of fat free Greek yogurt.
  • Indian Red Lentil: Chicken or vegetable broth, garlic, onion, red lentils, curry powder. Add spinach or kale during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  • Thai Shrimp Curry: Chicken or fish broth, bok choy, Napa cabbage, mushrooms, tomatoes, thin rice noodles, Thai curry paste, fish sauce, and fresh or dried basil leaves. Add frozen shrimp and rice noodles during the last few minutes of cooking, plus fresh-squeezed lime just before serving.
  • Chinese Hot and Sour: Chicken, vegetable, beef, or mushroom broth, sesame oil, onion, garlic, canned bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, baby corn, chopped cabbage, cooking sherry, soy sauce, ginger, thin spaghetti or Asian noodles, and 2 T of cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup of cold water or 2 beaten eggs drizzled and stirred in just before serving. Top with coarsely chopped scallions.   
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