It’s Time to Kick the Can!

I love soup. It has been my lunchtime meal choice many times during my journey to better health. I make a lot of soup from scratch, but I will admit that sometimes I cave to the can. Recently, I heated up a can of “healthy” chicken and dumpling soup. Carrots, celery, onions, dumplings and chunks of chicken breast in a light chicken broth. It sounded yummy, and I just love those little dumplings. Well, there were plenty of yummy carrots, celery, onions and little dumplings in my bowl, but where was the chicken?? I seriously had a hard time finding the chicken! After eating all of the veggies and dumplings, this is what was left in the bottom of my bowl:

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Yep. That’s it. Seriously. Only ten tiny pieces of chicken that weighed less than one ounce in an entire can of soup! And, this is supposed to be two servings. I was shocked! These negligible nuggets of protein were supposed to sustain me until dinner? I don’t think so.

A few days later, I ran across this on the net. It says, “a 2011 Harvard study found that consuming canned soup for five days caused a 1,000 percent increase in the urine level of the chemical BPA, thanks to the can’s lining. BPA has been linked to reproductive problems in lab animals, and diabetes and obesity in humans.” See also this article in the Harvard News Gazette for information.

That’s all it took. I have kicked the can. The soup can, that is.

In addition to not containing dangerous levels of BPA (or sodium!), one of the best things about making a soup from scratch is that you have complete control over what goes into the pot — and into your body. You can mix it up and use as many or as few of your favorite veggies in your soup. You can include chicken, tofu, or any other protein you like — or no protein at all — because it’s your soup!

Here is my recipe for my family’s favorite Chicken Vegetable Soup. It is quick, healthy and uber delish! I mix it up all the time. What I put into my soup depends on what I have in my fridge and pantry. This week, I had boneless, skinless chicken breasts; carrots; celery; onions; garlic; green peppers; potatoes; green cabbage and corn.

A very large pot of soup provides everyone with seconds or thirds, as well as leftovers for lunch, so I start out by placing four boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the bottom of a large stockpot and cover them with 8 cups of water. I chop and add one large yellow onion, four large cloves of garlic, four large stalks of celery with leaves, and eight carrots. I bring the ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer it until the chicken is cooked through. This takes about 20 minutes.

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While the soup simmers, I prepare the potatoes, cabbage and green pepper. I peel and cut up four medium russet potatoes; clean, core and cut up a very large head of green cabbage; and clean and chop one large green pepper.

When the chicken breasts are cooked through, I remove them from the pot and place them into a large bowl to shred (or pull).

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I add the potatoes, green peppers, cabbage and two cups of frozen whole kernel corn to the pot. I prefer to add these veggies later in the process so they will not be overcooked when I am ready to serve the soup.

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Using two forks, I shred (or pull) the chicken into bite-sized pieces, then add them to the pot of veggies.

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I stir it all together, cover the pot and let it simmer for another 15 minutes.

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That’s all there is to it! It is super simple and delightfully delicious. In fact, this batch of soup was so tasty that my husband asked me, “You’re going to blog about this, aren’t you? You should because it’s really good!”

Are you ready to kick the can? What would you put in your soup? Your favorite veggies? Noodles? How about beans or brown rice? Let’s dish!


Chicken Vegetable Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

4 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts
8 cups water
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 large stalks celery, with leaves, chopped
8 whole carrots, sliced
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tablespoon Mrs. Dash Original Blend seasoning
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut up
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large head green cabbage, cored and cut into large chunks
2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
Salt and pepper

Instructions

1.  Place chicken breasts in bottom of large pot and cover with water.
2.  Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic and Mrs. Dash.
3.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
4.  Remove chicken from pot and set aside in large bowl.
5.  Add potatoes, green pepper, cabbage and corn to pot, cover and simmer.
6.  Shred chicken into bite-sized pieces.
7.  Return chicken to pot and mix with vegetables.
8.  Cover pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
9.  Season with salt and pepper or Mrs. Dash, to taste.


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