Jen Mellace: Day 18

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So here we are in the thick of winter, the perfect weather for soup?especially after a cold winter ride! I love thick, hearty soups, but unfortunately they aren't always low calorie or healthy. Thankfully, today's recipe (Pumpkin, Black Bean and Corn) is simple, tasty and good for you.

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With a mix of pumpkin, black bean, corn, bacon (which is optional), onion, garlic and red pepper, as well as spices (ground cumin, ground ginger and ground nutmeg), it really makes for a delicious combination. A combo even my kids like! And while the recipe said to cook two slices of bacon in the soup pot (before adding everything else), I use the pre-cooked Hormel bacon pieces so I don't have a whole thing of bacon sitting around. It works, and probably cut down on the fat content some since I eliminate all the bacon grease.

If you're looking for another great one, try this Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice. This one isn't quite as low calorie, but you can substitute a few things here and there to cut back. And served with a slice of homemade wheat bread, you'll be satisfied for quite some time.

Ingredients
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, shredded
1 (4.5 ounce) package quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter (have fun experimenting with replacements or considering cutting the amount down a bit if you want to make this recipe healthier)
2 cups heavy cream (I use 2% milk as a healthy substitute)

Directions
In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth, water and chicken. Bring just to boiling, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat.
In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat to low, then stir in flour mixture by tablespoons, to form a roux. Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.
Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and they help warm you up after a nice winter ride. If you have any soup recipes to share please do!! I'd love to try them!

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