Tomato Basil Soup

4 Cups of chopped/seeded/peeled tomatoes
4 Cups of low-sodium tomato juice
1 cup of low fat milk
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup or 4 oz of low fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup of julienne basil leaves
8 slices of french baguette

Bring tomatoes and juice to a boil in a large saucepan.  Reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes.  Either use a hand blender to blend ingredients in the pan or transfer ingredients to a blender.  Add 1/3 cup of basil and blend until smooth.  Stir in milk and salt and pepper.  Add cream cheese, stirring well with a whisk.  Cook over medium heat until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Garnish with chopped basil and baguette slices.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

4 Butternut Squash
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
5 tablespoons light sour cream
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
4 chives, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs or panko

Heat oven to 450 degrees with the rack in the center of the oven.  Halve the butternut squash lengthwise (do not cut off the ends) and remove the seeds.

Sprinkle halves with salt and pepper.  Fill roasting pan with 1/4 inch of water.  Place squash in the pan and cover with foil.  Bake until tender, about 35-45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and transfer squash to a cool surface.  Use a spoon to scoop squash out of the skin and into a mixing bowl.  Be careful not to tear the skin.  Reduce oven heat to 425 degrees.  Add sour cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, chives and salt/pepper.  Mix until smooth.  Refill the squash with the mixture and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.  Bake uncovered until golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.

This recipe can be scaled down and most ingredients can be added to taste.

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Artichokes, Lemon and Herbed Goat Cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons of Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 (6 ounce) jar of Marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 3 ounce package of herbed goat cheese
2 (6 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Cooking Spray

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Combine first 6 ingredients and stir well.  Place each half breast between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap or parchment paper and pound with a meat mallet.  Top each breast half with 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture and roll up. Tuck in the sides and secure with wooden picks or skewers.

Heat a large non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Add chicken to the pan and cook for three minutes on each side or each side or until brown.  Wrap handle of pan with foil and bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until the chicken is done.  Yields 2 servings

Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Southwest Pesto and Spanish Rice

2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup toasted pecans
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup fresh clementine or orange juice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup canola oil

Spanish rice:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups basmati rice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
4 (8-ounce) pork tenderloins

Prepare the pesto by combining all of the ingredients in a food processor and blending well.

To prepare the Spanish rice, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium

heat. Saute the onions, bell peppers, and garlic, and cook for

approximately 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and rice to the pot and

stir gently. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20

minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a hot skillet, sear all of the pork tenderloins to seal in the juices

and finish cooking in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes. When ready, slice

against grain of meat and serve.

To plate, place a spoonful of the

rice on a plate, top with slices of pork tenderloin, and drizzle some

of the pesto on top of the pork. Garnish with cilantro.

T & K’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

4 boneless/skinless chicken thighs
4-6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 can pinto beans (drained)
1 can sweet corn (drained)
1 can kidney beans (drained)
1 can diced tomatoes (drained and pureed)
1 onion
2 anaheim (diced, seeded and pureed)
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp chili powder
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

In soup/pasta pot:
melt butter pad over medium heat and add chopped onion and crushed garlic to brown. Add chicken broth, pureed peppers, pureed tomatoes, beans, corn and spices and lower heat to simmer.
In skillet or on grill, cook thighs 6-7 min a side with a little olive oil to crisp outside. When done use two forks to shred chicken and add to soup pot. Let simmer for 60 min (or a little more for flavor)