Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Adventures in Low Carb Cooking: Creamy Garden Veggie, Tomato Basil Soup

What? Two posts in one day...whatever am I going to do with myself!?!?

However, my dinner experiment tonight was too good not to share.

So, without further ado, I give you Creamy Garden Vegetable, Tomato and Basil Soup with Quick Cheesy Garlic Bread.

The picture doesn't do it justice! (well, I have a crappy camera, and a slightly messy kitchen, so what can you expect?)  It is chock full of creamy, healthy deliciousness! Its filling, hearty and just downright tasty...

I know what you're thinking:

What? BREAD! I thought you were low carb!  Well, being low carb doesn't mean that you can't have some of the things you love every now and again, and if you're eating whole grain bread and limit your serving, you shouldn't have any problems helping it to fit into your lifestyle in a healthy way!

AAAAAaaaand the soup is a crock pot recipe! Gotta love that. You won't heat your house up during the summer months, and you can pretty much dump the ingredients and forget them until the end of the process, which is lovely!

So, here is the recipe for the soup (makes 4 one cup servings)

1 can diced tomatoes with juices
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced zucchini
1/2 of a sweet red bell pepper, diced
1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp Basil
1/4 of a bay leaf
2 cups water
2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
1/4 c flour
1 c half and half
1/4 c butter
1/2 c parmesan cheese
1/2 to 1 tsp garlic salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

In crock pot combine tomatoes, celery, onion, zucchini, bell pepper, oregano, basil, bay leaf, water, and bouillon. Set crock pot to low and cook for 5-7 hours.  In the last 30 minutes of cooking, remove as much of the zucchini as possible (its okay if you get other veggies too, I just used a slotted spoon) and puree in a food processor or blender until it is your desired amount of chunky (I wanted a smoother soup for dipping. There were still some lovely little chunks of tomato and celery left in the crock pot to add some more texture.) Return puree to the crock pot.

Then, over medium heat on stove, heat the half and half with butter to melt together. Add the parmesan cheese and whisk in the flour to make a rue.  Whisk the rue in with the crock pot contents.  Allow the crock pot contents to cook for another 15-30 minutes on low. Stir in the salt and pepper to taste as you stir the soup occasionally to keep it from getting lumpy, allowing the flavors to melt together.

Quick Cheesy Garlic Bread:

Take out your desired number of slices of bread (suggested serving is one piece per person)
spread butter onto bread, sprinkle with garlic salt and garlic powder. Top with mozzarella cheese (I just split up some string cheese and laid it on the top.) Broil in oven until the cheese is melted and the bread is browning and crisp....its best eaten dipped in the soup! (Think of it as a take on tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches...)

So...here is your carb breakdown for the soup:
 Per each 1 cup serving you have:

Tomatoes= 1 gram carbs
Celery= 0.25 grams carbs
Red Pepper= 0.25 grams carbs
Zucchini= 0.5 grams carbs
Onion= 1. 5 grams
Parmesan Cheese= 0.5 grams
flour= 6 grams

Soup Total= 10

Quick Cheesy Garlic Bread (1 slice)

Bread= 15 grams (per package, I'm sure you could find whole grain, or low carb bread with fewer carbs)
Butter=  not enough carbs to register...we're talking in the hundreth place after the decimal point...
Mozzarella= 0.5

Bread Total= 15.5

Meal total= 25.5...most people with insulin resistance or diabetes are asked to keep it under 30 grams of carbs in each meal...this meal is filling, hearty, and you won't really feel like you need to eat anymore than one serving of anything.  My husband said he'd eat it again, except he wished there had been some corn in it. Perhaps when I'm not as crazy about having to count carbs I will make it again and add some corn in the last 30 minutes (corn is a VERY carb filled and sugary veggie...at least that is what I remember from working with dieticians.) I suppose if you wanted to forgo the bread, or don't care about the carbs, you could add a cup of corn to the soup. It would add another 7.5 grams of carbs per serving.

Oh, and by way of updating. I don't know if I was bloated on Saturday at the doctor's office when I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, but I think I should mention that after a few days of sticking hard core to a low carb diet, I found out today that I lost 2 pounds- that is,  according to the doctor's scale today at my regular OB's office. I'll keep you posted.  To be honest, my doc had hoped that I would only gain 15 lbs at the most with this pregnancy and so far I've gained 20 (which is amazing when you consider I gained 50 with Faith and still had 20 to lose when I found out that Miss Cupcake was coming) So, I don't think my doc will complain if I lose a little weight here towards the end, especially because they are going to be monitoring my baby's growth more carefully via ultrasound...and neither will I, since it definitely gives me hope for my success in dieting after Miss Cupcake gets here.  Let's be honest, when you're THIS pregnant (almost 33 weeks for those of you keeping track) you pretty much just sit around and do nothing because anything and everything physical is super uncomfortable and, in some cases, painful.

All in all, I was pleased with my efforts...Bon Appetit to anyone brave enough to give my madness a whirl!

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

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