Holiday eating is not easy, am I right?I go into action mode during the month of December because I want to walk into January feeling great. Not drained and heavy.
As with most things in life, it starts with a plan. Since there is so much going on this month, I want to make sure that I am prepared with really healthy food at my disposal. Here’s a couple of things I am doing to ensure a healthy, stress-free holiday month.
Soup Frenzy. I’m making lots of delicious soups and storing them in my freezer. But not just any soups. Brothy soups, full of vegetables, beans and whole grains are my best friend right now. My Lentil Barley Soup with Swiss Chard (below) is the perfect meal in a bowl. I make a big pot, divide into single-serving containers and stick them in my freezer. Instant lunch.
Slow Cooker Power. I’m taking advantage of cooking tools that can be my kitchen assistants. When I am too busy and not home, my slow cooker takes over.
Grab and Go. At the beginning of the week, I stock my refrigerator with foods to grab and go – carrot sticks or sliced cucumber that can be dipped into hummus. A bowl of apples on the counter. Individual serving packs of almonds. Anything to make healthy eating more convenient. What do you do to ensure a healthy holiday? Take the first step and start here with this easy delicious, filling soup. You’ll thank me in January.
Slow Cooker Lentil Barley Soup with Swiss Chard
Makes 6 servings
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon each coarse salt and pepper
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
12 cups low-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
2/3 cup pearl barley
2/3 cup brown lentils
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bunch Swiss Chard, coarse stem removed and sliced
- In the insert of a slow cooker, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat on the stove. Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pot with the salt and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes, until vegetables are softening.
- Stir in the garlic and cumin and continue cooking for another minute. Turn off the heat and place the insert into the slow cooker.
- Add in the stock, barley and lentils, cover and set the slow cooker on HIGH for 4 hours.
- Keep the slow cooker on WARM and add in the tomatoes and Swiss Chard. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes.
- Taste the soup, you might want to add in a bit more salt and pepper. Serve hot and refrigerate or freeze the rest.
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