Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Italian Soup with Cornmeal Dumplings (my favorite diet food)

Lately I have been trying to slim down. I have been cutting out butter, bacon, pastry, baking, cookies, sugar, coffee, dressing, breads, grains, sweets, rice, pasta, desserts, and potatoes. I have been eating lettuce and chicken.
Just kidding.
But sometimes it feels like that-right?
My husband told me that  friend of his has been eating light soups. I checked the price and at 2.99 each can, my budget can't handle that. I opted to make my own soup, that costs around $5 and lasts all week for me, my husband, and my sister.
In my quest for a comfort food lunch that still met my lo-cal requirements, I made up this soup. I hope you enjoy it, and you will find the dumplings are delicious and satisfying, but far lower in calories due to the cornmeal and restricted butter.

Italian Soup with Cornmeal Dumplings

For the soup:
12 cups chicken stock
2 cups carrots, in a large dice
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onions
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cups shredded chicken
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning

6 cups spinach (for serving)
1 bunch parsley (for serving)

For the dumplings:
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup buttermilk

Makes 12 servings

Combine soup ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 25 mins.

Meanwhile, make the dumpling dough. Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Work in the butter with your fingers. Add the buttermilk and stir with a spoon.
Drop pea-sized dumplings into the soup and cook for another 5 minutes or until the dumplings puff up and are cooked through.

Ladle soup into a bowl, top with 1/2 cup spinach and chopped parsley.

For your information, the dumplings are fine if you refrigerate the leftovers. They absorb more liquid as they sit so you might need to thin out the soup with more chicken stock.

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