Just about everyday I'm cooking a dinner for my family to enjoy. It's not always the easiest thing to do but it's well worth the trouble to invest in my family's health by cooking at home... and helps save money! My goals are to prepare meals that are healthy, easy, and inexpensive. I also like to incorporate many international style recipes along with traditional American ones to encourage my family to have a wide range of tastes. So, follow me as I cook for my family and share in laughter, love and food!

Buon Appetito! - From my family to yours!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Slow Cooker Thai-Style Chicken and Pumpkin Soup

Although this recipe has a lot of ingredients - don't be intimidated - it's an easy make-ahead meal packed full of nutrients and flavor. For the vegatarian this recipe is easily modified by substituting garbonzo beans (chick peas) for chicken and veg. broth for chicken broth. This dish is super hearty and is more like a stew than a soup. Although there's a ton of pumpkin to thinken it up, it doesn't taste like pumpkin and will please even a picky eater. Enjoy!

1 TBS olive oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
salt and pepper
1 large white onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic
1 TBS minced fresh ginger (I use a cheese grater)
1/2 to 3/4 TSP crushed red pepper flakes
2 stalks celery diced
2 large carrots diced
1 can (15oz) solid- packed pumpkin
1/2 cup mango nectar (find it in the aisle with hispanic foods)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 TBS rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1/2 cup milk (2% or whole)
1 TBS cornstarch
2-4 cups hot cooked jasmine/basmati rice
3 green onions, minced

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper to coat. Stir occationally and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add onion, garlic, ginger, red pepper, and cook 1-2 minutes longer until fragrant. Remove from heat and add to slow cooker.

Add to the slow cooker celery, carrot, mango nectar, peanut butter and broth. Stir to combine and add a little water if it's too thick. Cook 6-8 Hours on low and 4 hours on high.

Stir in vinegar and half of the cilantro. Mix milk and cornstarch together (this to thicken the soup. Omit cornstarch if soup is already thick!) and add to the slow-cooker. Continue to cook an additional 10 min.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and use an icecream scoop to top with rice. Sprinkle with cilantro and green onion. You can also serve with a lime wedge if you have them on hand.

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