After I ran the Chicago Marathon, I’ve basically been in what I consider “minimum maintenance mode” (MMM) in terms of workouts. I hit the gym twice a week and get most of my cardio on the Elliptical (also because I can watch Scandal while I sweat, which is my current Netflix indulgence.) Aside from running the NY marathon, I’ve run very little over the last two months and I’m very ok with that.
I keep saying that I’m not a runner. It really is all about medals for me. If there isn’t a medal or a PR goal involved at the end of the running, it’s really hard for me to run.
But I don’t want to talk about running today. I want to talk about soup.
My whole point to mentioning being in MMM, is that I need to remember that once I stop training, I also need to stop eating like I’m in training. I don’t believe in scales so I don’t know how much weight I’ve put on, but I do know that my size 28 skinny jeans now feel like compression tights and the size 27’s would probably split open if I wore them for more than the 5 minutes it took me to realize after squeezing into them that it was not happening.
While I’m not going to start a full on diet smack dab in the middle of the holidays, I have started to modify some of my dietary decisions so I don’t have to buy new jeans before the end of the year.
What does that mean right now? It means that I watch my carb intake, try to eat more vegetables and keep to leaner proteins. I probably should be giving up the wine, but I’ll do that after the holidays.
That means….no bacon. *sigh*
But focusing on the positive, when I want to try to eat this way, one of the things I like to make are soups. It’s easy to find a lot of healthy soups, it’s easy to eat more vegetables when they are in soup and since it’s damn cold outside, the fact they are hot and steamy is a good thing.
Plus, I love a meal that just requires one pot to be cleaned after a I make it.
However, this week for me it was actually two pots. Two of my soup obsessions or soupsessions right now (yes, I made up another word) is this Chicken Detox soup I found a few months ago and the Pork and Napa Cabbage soup from nom nom paleo. The chicken soup has a ton of veggies, along with ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper and turmeric. The pork and cabbage soup just looked GOOD – and I love cabbage soup of any kind.
I modified the second recipe slightly – instead of ground pork, I used ground turkey. Incidentally, I do not recommend using the low-fat ground turkey that has like 1 or 2 grams of fat per serving. Go for the 80 – 85%. I have tried both and it’s significantly better. I also opted to substitute the potato with a rutabaga.
I decided to make one on the stove and the other in the Instant Pot. Since both soups involve a lot of cutting vegetables, it’s easy to knock them both out together. All ingredients out, you can see that it’s not a ton of ingredients and these are also fairly easy on the wallet. I haven’t been good about making my own bone broth lately, which I’m sure would have made these soups even better.
I always try and get prep out of the way first. That means a whole lotta peeling and chopping up front. Since the parsley and cabbage go it last, I’ll do those while other veggies and meat are cooking
The recipes both start out the same for the first few steps. Vegetables that require more time to break down or that flavor in first (onions, garlic, ginger and celery.) I set the pots up showdown style…mostly because I’m a huge cooking geek.
Next in are meats and secondary vegetables for both, and broth for the one soup since the chicken poaches in it.
Now it’s time to stuff the instant pot with it’s remaining vegetables. Don’t be afraid to stuff it full, either.
After that, while it only takes 5 minutes for the soup to cook under pressure, it does take probably a good 15 minutes for the soup to get to the desired pressure state. So, in reality, it takes about 20 minutes to cook. Which is the exact same cook time for the other soup. Back on the other side of the stove, I pull out the chicken and dump in everything green to finish cooking.
This is one of my favorite kitchen hacks for shredded chicken. However, you absolutely need to make sure that you don’t take the mixed out of the bowl while it’s still going because you absolutely will get shredded chicken everywhere (to the delight of your comically tiny dog.)
Both soups were done about the same time, although technically, the cabbage soup was done first so I guess it “won.”
I’ll eat these alternatively for the week and have some left to freeze once I get tired of them. Super easy, cheap and paleo.
Not going to lie – can’t wait to make the cabbage one with the pork once I’m back in my skinny jeans.
What are some of your favorite go to recipes? I’m always looking for new ones.