Veggie with Chicken Mushroom Soup and GIVEAWAY!

How is the new year treating you so far? Me? So far so good awesome. With the new year comes new resolutions ranging from work out more, drink less and far and away the most popular – lose weight. The new year means a straight stretch of road ahead, with no holidays in sight to derail our healthy goals. We have made it through the annual obstacle course of cookies and sweets and now it’s the time for us to tackle health and renewal.

Last year I started Weight Watchers and ran the highs and lows that any dieter would. Still feeling accomplished with 12 pounds lost. But with August coming quicker than I care to realize, I’ve got just shy of 9 months to lose the remaining 15 pounds of my goal before my summer wedding.

Over the Christmas holiday my future sister in law made a fantastic soup chock full of veggies and beans. ย Despite it’s lack of meat, I didn’t miss it at all. I’m a fervent carnivore, but this soup was so filling and hearty I was momentarily convinced that I could survive on a veggie diet if it were always this cozy and satisfying. Bacon though, is the main deterrent for me going full-circle veggie. It’s bacon! If it were kosher, it could solve world peace.

Moving on.

Like I said, there are a ton of veggies in this soup – so get ready.

Slice two small zucchinis, two small yellow squash, 3 carrots, and 3 stalks of celery.

Mince six cloves of garlic.

Garlic is good. Wards off vampires and cures a cold. Firm believer right here – about the cold, not the vampires.

And if you have a trusty hound laying near by, toss him a veggie or two. He’s earned it.

The last thing to slice up would be two cups of Chicken of the Woods mushrooms. Chicken mushrooms are a great alternative for meat lovers going veggie. They retain the firm texture and flavor of chicken, minus the guilt of feasting on a dead animal. Sorry, terrible visual huh?

Anyway – my little brother is a master of mushroom hunting and these are one of the varieties he gave me to cook with. There is also a bag of lobster mushrooms in my freezer calling my name and begging to be put into a risotto. He’s currently cultivating oyster mushrooms. Talk about impressive.

Sorry, side tracked again. Once you get all your veggies sliced, diced and julienned pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in to a heated large stock pot. With all of the veggies poured in, allow to soften, stirring occasional about five minutes or so over high heat. (Maybe longer depending on your heating elements, mine are notoriously craptacular.)

Once softened, add in garlic and once fragrant pour in tomatoes, drained and rinsed garbanzo beans, salt, pepper, chicken stock and mushrooms. Bam! With a mere 25 minutes of simmering – Soup’s On!

This is an exceptionally easy recipe to recreate on a weeknight. Add in or subtract whatever ingredients tickle your fancy. Your mother can stop nagging you about eating your veggies and your jeans might even shrink a little. Two things which never hurt anybody.

And now – for what you’ve REALLY been waiting for.

With the new year, new resolutions and new diets I want to give one lucky winner a copy of the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.ย ย I received a copy from Ben’s madre last year and since then it has become a fabulous resource for me in my quest for healthy food with great taste. Dieting and eating healthy is difficult enough, but when it tastes bad – fo’gedabout et!

The usual suspects of ATK have put together an book containing all of your favorite recipes with tips and tricks to make them guilt free and still completely flavorful. Their lasagna is my new favorite. And when using their recipe for Lemon and Basil Ricotta, in this lasagna it is out of this world. Really. I’m biased – but I am fluent in the language of Truth.

To enter, riddle me this… What is your New Years Resolution?ย 

This giveaway will run until Monday, January 9th with the winner being announced here, on Facebook and then e-mailed directly by me. Now go forth in health and awesomeness. Good luck!

Yield: 8

Veggie and Chicken Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

3 medium Carrots, sliced
2 small Zucchini, sliced
2 small Yellow Squash, sliced
6 cloves Garlic, minced
3 stalks Celery, chopped
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 can (28 oz.) Diced Tomatoes
1 can (15 oz.) Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups Sliced Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms
3 cans (15oz) Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
1 tsp. Thyme
1/2 tsp. Rosemary
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground Pepper
1 cup. Parmesan Cheese, shredded

Directions:

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil until shimmering. Pour all pre-sliced vegetables into pot and stir to coat in olive oil. Allow vegetables to soften for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic.
Once vegetables have softened and garlic is fragrant, pour in diced tomatoes with juice. Stir to incorporate.
Add in garbanzo beans that have been drained and rinsed from can.
Add in Chicken of the Woods mushrooms and stir.
Pour in chicken broth, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Allow soup to come to simmer. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. Serve, topping with shredded parmesan cheese.

*Obligatory Author’s Note: The giveaway is being furnished by me, myself and I. Though my love of ATK knows no bounds, I’m just giving this away because I love you and this book. And I know you’ll love it too.