PERRYSBURG - With the Super Bowl on tap this weekend (no pun intended), it seems a good time to offer a recipe to feed the gathered horde creatively. We mean something one step up from Dagwood sandwiches and Fritos, in other words.
Perrysburg's Ann Marie Krautheim has a great suggestion that will satisfy a small crowd or a big family and do it without breaking the bank.
Her Southwest chicken soup is really more main dish than soup, despite the name.
A chicken crock pot dish, it is enriched - and made colorful - by the inclusion of ingredients like sweet potatoes, corn and chile peppers.
"It's great for 'pre-game' or half time football parties in fall or winter weather," said Krautheim.
Over the past several years, she has made it for both family and friends.
"It's always a hit. The recipe is frequently requested," said Krautheim, a registered dietitian who is currently senior vice president for nutrition affairs for the National Dairy Council. Although she has a home office, it's a fairly high powered position which requires her to fly for business two to four times a month.
"Since I do work full time and everyone comes home hungry, I am fond of slow cooker meals. It just takes that stress out of things and everything's ready when we're ready."
She and husband Mark are parents of two boys, ages 9 and 6.
As all parents know, the younger the child, the more limited the list of foods they will consume without prompting.
So Krautheim takes it as a "thumb's up" that her 9-year-old likes the chicken dish, despite the inclusion of quite a few (horrors!) healthy vegetables.
"The younger one, we're working him up to it," she said with a laugh. "He does eat sweet potatoes alone" but not yet this way.
She originally acquired the recipe for Southwest chicken soup from "Slow Cooker Meals," a Betty Crocker publication.
"I've used that book so much - it's a little paper book - that the front cover has fallen off."
She so thoroughly liked the recipe, in fact, that even though she's a food professional she only made one addition to the ingredient list.
"We have found that topping the recipe with a dollop of sour cream helps to cool the palate, although it is not too spicy. It gives a good contrast with the green chiles."
The soup is "very rich in Vitamin A and rich in protein" as well.
Not that the Super Bowl guests will care, but you the host will be able to award yourself that many more brownie points.
Krautheim, a Toledo native who studied medical dietetics at Ohio State University, lived in Delaware for three years while her husband was employed at the University of Delaware. "Once we had our first child, we wanted to be closer to family. Mark was hired at BGSU in 1999, which led us to making Wood County our home."
She suspects that coming up with healthy meals on a consistent basis is the biggest challenge facing home cooks today.
"It does take a reasonable amount of planning ahead, but it's so worth the effort."
Equally challenging is incorporating the five food groups into the day's menu. The Southwest chicken soup comes pretty close all by itself.
"Add whole grain rolls and serve it with a glass of milk" and you've got it covered.
Krautheim's final piece of advice: "Try not to get stuck. Favorites are good to have, but don't get into a rut!"
Southwest chicken soup
1 lb. boneless chicken
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into one inch pieces
1 large onion chopped
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 (14 oz.) can of chicken broth
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1) Mix chicken, sweet potatoes, onion, tomatoes, broth, oregano and cumin in 3.5-4-quart slow cooker.
2) Cover and cook on low heat setting for 7-8 hours.
3) Stir in corn. Cover and cook on high setting for 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center and vegetables are tender.
4) Spoon soup into individual bowls. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Yield: 6 servings.
¥ Nutrition information
1 serving: 240 calories (65 calories from fat); fat 7g (saturated 2 g); cholesterol 45 mg; sodium 600 mg; dietary fiber 4g; protein 21 g.
Percent daily value: Vitamin A - 100 percent; Vitamin C - 40 percent; calcium - 8 percent; iron 16 percent.
Dietary exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 2 lean meat, 1 vegetable
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