As 2017 has been starting, I’ve been seeking a lot of comfort and coziness. There’s been enough excitement on all fronts, and I’m still holding on to the quiet days and pine forests of my winter holiday.
It’s finally started raining in Southern California, which is pretty rare, and feels pretty magical. The rain and yearning for comfort and coziness mean one thing: soup.
Ever since starting my NTP program and learning the amazing amounts of information about nutrition, it’s become more clear to me that it’s time to incorporate more animal proteins in my diet. Before starting this program, I ate meat about twice a week (this includes leftovers). As I’ve mentioned before, the quality of meat I want to eat (pasture-raised, grass fed or sustainably caught and low in mercury) is out of my price range at the moment to eat every day.
As I’ve been studying and learning, something popped out to me. If you’re still hungry after a meal (which I can be more than I’d prefer), that means your ratio of carbohydrates to protein to fat is off. If you up the amount of protein or fat, you’ll be fuller, longer. So while I’ve been making sure my meals have protein and fiber, keys to satiety, I haven’t been consistently eating enough of it.
So I’ve been thinking for a few months on how to incorporate more animal protein in my diet with my budget. It’s still in the works, but I’ve slowly been adding more protein here and there. This soup is one of the early steps.
This Slow Cooker Chicken Soup with Rice is a lot of great things: affordable, easy, and packed with nutrient dense foods. Let’s break it down. Affordable: instead of boneless skinless chicken (which is more expensive because of the labor), I used a bone-in, skin on chicken breast. This added some extra flavor and saved me $5 at Whole Foods. Easy: Using a slow cooker saves me a lot of active cooking time. I just need to prep, sauté the vegetables, and then combine everything in the slow cooker and let it do its thing while I do my thing. This also makes a lot of soup, so depending on how big or small your table is, you’ve got a few meals covered. Nutrient dense: In addition to the ethically raised chicken, I’ve packed veggies and greens in this soup, as well as some brown rice for extra fiber.
Have you found a way to affordably add high-quality animal protein into your diet? Let me know in the comments below. As I figure out what works for me and my table, I will let you all know!
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and cut in thin strips
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 tsp cayenne/chili powder/chipotle (depending on how much heat you like)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
- 1 pound bone-in chicken breast with skin (for me this was only one)
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
Put rice in a bowl, cover with water, and let soak for 15 minutes.
In a sauce pan, melt butter and add in garlic, onion, celery and carrots until soft but not super soft, around 8-10 minutes. Add in kale and cook until slightly wilted. Add in all spices (including salt) and stir to combine.
Drain rice and add into slow cooker, followed by sautéed vegetables and broth. Add raw chicken to the top.
Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until chicken and rice is cooked. Remove chicken and shred with a fork, then add shredded chicken back in. Adjust any seasonings as needed.
Adapted from The Roasted Root.