Its week two in my new adventure:  Craving Ellie in My Belly. The group is made up of bloggers’ who rotate to select a Ellie Krieger recipe every week and then we all blog about completing the recipe (Ellie hosts Healthy Appetite on Food Network).

Joining this group has been a great experience so far, especially because I made my first soup for week one! Week 2 has proven to be just as interesting but for different reasons. The recipe this week was Easy Chicken Mushroom Quesadillas. You might notice my title is different. I’m not much of chicken or quesadilla kind of girl. I don’t eat chicken frequently and I’ve always found wraps to be a waist (waste) of calories. To each his own, don’t make fun, I know its weird to not like wraps.

veg quesa

The original sounded great, but I made a few changes and still ended up with a delicious dinner:

Ingredients (Makes 4 to 5 portions)

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, (about 3 cups) 2 cups white button, 2 cups cremini
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced didn’t include
  • 2 cups cooked chopped skinless, boneless chicken breast (1 breast half)1 can organic black beans (rinsed)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 (10-inch) whole-grain flour tortillas 100 calorie whole grain pita
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese mix or Cheddar 4 Light Original Swiss Laughing Cow (1 wedge per pita)
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream non-fat greek yogurt

Please refer to Ellie’s directions on the Food Network. When adding the spices, add the black beans. I cut my pita into two circles, spread the thicker side with laughing cow cheese, added about 3/4 cup of the veggie mixture, and put it all into my George Forman grill to press like a panini. I don’t like to buy sour cream, b/c I will never use the whole container, so I just use the non-fat greek yogurt I always have on hand.

Nutrition Comparison: The original dinner had 440 calories for 1/2 a quesadilla, assuming my portion of a whole pita is the same, I shaved off about 105 calories, added heart-healthy vegetables and increased fiber. Not a bad deal.

I’m already excited about next weeks recipe – Pumpkin Pie Muffins. Mmm.

I know my way around a kitchen. That’s not meant to come off in a conceited manner, but I do cook and bake a fair amount. I can successfully follow a recipe (did you know not everyone can?), adapt recipes, or just cook on a whim. I don’t stress at the thought of throwing dinner parties and I feel comfortable eyeballing 1/4 cup of a substance, BUT I’VE NEVER MADE A SOUP. Pretty unreal, huh? Similar to the yeast component of bread, something about soup has always intimidated me. Good thing I just joined a new group called Craving Ellie in My Belly. The group is made up of bloggers’ who rotate to select a Ellie Krieger recipe every week and then we all blog about and share our experience (Ellie hosts Healthy Appetite on Food Network). Well, wouldn’t you know it, my first week of participating, and we are making a soup!

soup close up

Before I get into the recipe, I just want to say this was super easy. None of the ingredients were hard to obtain, nothing was expensive, and there was literally no way to screw this up. So…if you are an odd-ball like me and have never made a soup, this is a great way to start.

I followed the recipe featured on Food Network pretty closely. The only differences: I did not add celery (probably the only vegetable I hate), in addition to zucchini, I added a summer squash, and I used an organic vegetable broth.

The soup is a nutritional powerhouse and yet only about 110 calories for a 1 1/2 cup serving. That’s what you call a superfood meal! The cannelloni beans, especially the mashed ones, bring a surprisingly rich and creamy flavor to the entire soup. I would recommend pairing the soup with a side of something, or else you will be hungry shortly.

full meal

What rounded out my meal: WW bread with laughing cow cheese, salsa, and spinach.

PERFECTO.

Am I the only one that’s never made soup before?