Busy Bee

Hello Friends!!!!

I know I’ve been awfully quiet in the blog world this week. All is well, it’s just that all is…well…busy! These busy times are the hardest times to stay on track with healthy food and smart choices, so this week I decided to automate my food more than I normally would. I’m usually pretty good about keeping lots of fruits and veggies in the house, but I’ve come to the realization that when life gets super busy, it doesn’t matter how much swiss chard I have in the fridge if I’m too tired and too burnt out to cook it. I’m just not ready for raw swiss chard, I guess. Also, raw swiss chard does not a filling meal make. Also, blech.

So on Sunday, Jon & I spent a couple of hours putting together some meals that would get us through the week. Yes, Jon too. He chopped things. Good job, husband!

First on the list? Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean Soup. The recipe was totally in the pamphlet that came with my slow cooker. I tweaked it a bit, laying off the oil and adding a ton of mustard greens to boost the veggie content. The result was a delicious, salty, hearty soup that is now pre-portioned in my freezer for lots of meals to come. Score!

White beans, carrots, greens & bacon. So easy!

White beans, carrots, greens & bacon. So easy!

Second, we made a Tex-Mex Casserole that I sort of made up based on a couple different recipes for such dishes that I found online. It turned out pretty yummy–kind of like a 7 layer bean dip you might eat at a Super Bowl party except more of a meal and less chips involved. And of course I had to throw in some greens to boost my veggie content. Kale is Tex-Mex, right?

Half eaten, fully delicious

Half eaten, fully delicious

I’ve heard people suggest this for years–cooking on the weekend for the whole week ahead–and I always dismissed it as “not for me.” But I must say I am a convert. I haven’t had to cook all week and I’ve been eating real food that is filling and nutritious. So if you’re struggling to find time to nourish your body with something other than a frozen pizza or some take-out, try cooking ahead some time. It is such a relief to have such a major component of my day crossed off my list several days in advance, I know you’ll feel the same.

Stocked freezer. And yes, that is an eye pillow next to my soup stash.

Stocked freezer. And yes, that is an eye pillow next to my soup stash.

And now for the recipes…

Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean Soup

Makes 8 servings, about 2 cups per serving, 9 points per serving

16 oz. bag dry great white northern beans, rinsed & sorted

1 large onion, chopped

3 large carrots, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

12 oz uncooked bacon, cooked crisp & chopped OR 1 package Trader Joe’s Fully Cooked Bacon with no added nitrates, chopped (I purchased this by accident and it was awesome!)

3/4 package of rinsed & chopped mustard greens from Trader Joes

1 fresh rosemary sprig or 1 tsp dried rosemary

Salt & Pepper

10 cups fat free chicken broth

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put all of these things into a crock pot. Cook on low for 8-9 hours, or until beans are cooked through (mine took 8 1/2 hours). For reals. That’s all.

Jen’s Tex Mex Veggie Casserole

Makes 6 servings, 10 points per serving

5 cups brown rice, cooked

1, 14 oz. can diced tomatoes

1/4 jar Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde, or to taste

1 tsp. cumin

1, 4 oz. can Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Diced Green Chile (or some such item from elsewhere)

1, 14 oz. can black beans, drained

1, 14 oz. can fat-free refried beans

1 1/2 cups low-fat cheddar

Bag of greens of your choice – I used a mixture of baby spinach & kale

INSTRUCTIONS:

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees

Spray a big casserole dish with cooking spray

In a big bowl, mix together 3 cups of the rice, the tomatoes, salsa verde & cumin. Spread onto the bottom of the casserole dish.

In the same bowl, mix together the black beans, refried beans & green chiles. Spread most of that on top of the rice in the casserole dish. Add remaining rice to remaining beans. Mix together.

Add a whole bunch of greens to the casserole dish. Like as many as your casserole dish can take. Keep adding. Go ahead. They’re good for you.

Sprinkle 1/2 c. of the cheese on top of the greens.

Spread remaining rice & bean mixture on top of greens.

Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of the whole thang.

Bake for 30-35 min until golden brown on top.

That's a big honkin' portion!

That’s a big honkin’ portion!

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