Chipotle Shrimp Tortilla Soup

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Saturday night, dinner was almost ready- a sprinkle of garlic powder on the dinner rolls before sliding them into the oven was all that was left to do. I swung open the pantry to grab the seasoning- oops. Dropped it. Yikes- it wasn’t a little ‘it’, either. One of those bulk varieties, you know. The pour-top popped and poof. Garlic. Powder. Everywhere. Blech. As I knelt down to sweep up what I could before grabbing the vacuum- I realized the amount of food-stuff I had in the bottom of my pantry- NOT in use. Canned goods, dried fruits, cereals, and even old seasoning packets- the kind out of the boxed quick-cooking grain of some sort (I refuse to use them because of the sodium content- yet I save them for some reason? Who knows.) I made my way up from the bottom and realized this was true throughout the rest of my food pantry. By the looks of this crystallized bottle of honey, my OCD habits had not yet met the likes of this place. Whew- time for a clean out, I suppose-yes, time for Spring Cleaning. I decided that I wouldn’t stop at the pantry. Why not make my way through the rest of the kitchen?

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How about you? Ready for Spring? No better time than now to kick start your healthier lifestyle with an honest look at your ‘food-stuff’. Here are some tips from this RD to help get you in gear for summer.

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The Pantry: Throw away canned foods, vegetables and fruits that are out of date or are loaded with sodium and syrupy sugar. A better option would be to select fresh or frozen vegetables that are less processed and thus higher in fiber. Take a look at your snack foods- throw out all the open bags of chips and cheesy crackers. These foods most definitely boast little nutritive value and can get overwhelm realms of healthier snack options. Replace these high sodium foods with 100% whole wheat crackers and pretzels, unsalted nuts and dried fruit. Finally take a look at the rainbow of cereal boxes lining the top shelf. Yes- those sweet and frosted cereals are the ones that taste so yummy- but personally, I’m starved less than an hour after my bowl is empty. This is mainly due to the lack of fiber and protein to fill me (and you) up. Add in some substantial whole grain with cereals like Kashi®, All Bran®, Total® and FiberOne®. Don’t forget the hot cereal! Quick cooking oats is an easy addition to your morning ritual- full of fiber and B vitamins making for a powerhouse breakfast choice!  Next Stop on this Train…
The Refrigerator: Go into the chill box with the same mission you started in the pantry-out of date= got to go. Some key cold food staples include low fat and fat free dairy. Dairy foods are rich in calcium, potassium and a great source of protein- but also contain high amounts of fat and cholesterol if you are choosing the full fat varieties. Do you have choices like skim, 1% low-fat milk, and 2% cheese? Make it a point to select the lower fat varieties of yogurt- and reach for the Greek! Low fat, plain Greek yogurt it is much higher in protein and has no added sugar- unlike those yogurts with the fruit on the bottom. Put your sweet tooth in check with fresh fruit, 100% fruit frozen bars, and slow-churned frozen yogurt (and I say slow-churned because that’s the kind I like!) Although no food is off limits- choosing these over puddings and ice cream would be beneficial to your waistline as well as the fact that the replacement choices are full of vitamins and minerals. Leave the Blue Bell for the “once-a-week-treat” Finally, in addition to sweet fruits, make sure your refrigerator has a rainbow of (fresh and frozen) vegetables. Vegetables are fantastic snacks with hummus or can quickly be mixed in salads or added to sandwiches and wraps- and not to mention their addition to soups, sauces, and casseroles. I had plenty of vegetables left over from a busy week of work that were in need of use- hence I decided on putting them to use in a hearty soup for Sunday dinner.  I paired it with fresh shrimp, but you can definitly replace with frozen and thawed- or use shredded chicken instead!

Chipotle Tortilla Soup with Shrimp

INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 meduim onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped (about 3 stalks)
1/2 cup carrot, peeled and chopped (about 2 carrots)
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile, with about 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can white or yellow hominy, rinsed and drained
2 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
12 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, about 1 lime
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced avocado
Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and next 6 ingredients (through garlic); cook 6 minutes or until carrot is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth, hominy, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover and cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp; cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are done.
Remove from heat; stir in juice and salt. Divide shrimp mixture evenly among 4 bowls; top evenly with queso fresco and avocado. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Nutrition Information:
Serves: 4
Serving Size: 1 3/4 cups soup, 2 tablespoons queso fresco, and 1/4 cup avocado
Calories: 356
Fat: 14 g
Charbohydrate: 32 g
Fiber: 7.8 g
Protein: 25 g

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