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  • Mary Kay

Low-Cal Loaded Potato (and Veggies) Soup

The skinny on eating a little better.

This Low-Cal Loaded Potato (and Veggies) Soup gives you vitamins you need and fills you up. It's also a delicious end of summer soup to use up all that's left in the garden.


Get ready for the colder weather! What’s better than my Low-Cal Loaded Potato (and Veggies) Soup on a cold wintry day, along with a crusty beer bread topped with a slice of local cheddar cheese? It's low-cal and it's filling.


I make mine loaded with diced potatoes sauteed in extra virgin olive oil (of course, don’t use butter if you’re going low-cal), a little broccoli and flavored with carrots, onions, and celery. It’s plumb full of veggies – I choose whatever I have in the veggie drawer. Absolutely everything is fresh. Nothing canned or full of sodium.


This is a real versatile soup recipe. You can substitute different veggies if you like - kale and turnips? And, you can substitute low-cal liquids instead of the milk I use. If you like a creamy soup, add a little skim milk at the end. But, if you’re going low-cal, stay away from whole milk or cream.

This is a soup that is packed full of vitamins, and it’s filling. Sometimes I add some milk and/or cream to mine, but that’s really an option depending on whether you like a creamy soup or are going low-cal.


What I love about this soup is that it’s easy and I make it a one-pan soup. Sauté everything in the same pan and then bring it all to a simmer to cook everything off before serving it up with a delicious sandwich made with a crusty bread – no butter.


If you like a real creamy soup without the individual veggies showing, use a food processor or an immersion blender to chop and blend everything together after it’s done cooking. Just don’t do it while it’s still hot. Cool the soup a little first so nothing explodes on you in the blender. Hot soup in the face can’t be any fun. A blended soup will give you a velvety finish without the chunks.


Serves 4.


Prepare your pan:

I use a large saucepan with a little melted butter or extra virgin olive oil to get started over a medium burner.


Load up your soup with lots of vitamins and color:

1 T Butter (use EVOO if you’re going low-cal)

2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ Onion, diced

1 Celery stalk, diced

1 Carrot, diced

1 Potato, large, diced

1 Broccoli floret cut into small pieces (a large handful)

2 C Water (optional – use vegetable broth if you want high sodium)

1 Bay Leaf (optional)

½ C Milk, 2%

1/4 C Heavy Cream (optional – use 2% Milk or water if you want low-cal)

Salt and pepper to taste

Get dicing:

NOTE: I make this soup with ALL fresh vegetables. Of course, they take just a little time cleaning and dicing the veggies.

- If you want to take a just as healthy low-cal shortcut, use fresh frozen vegetables (without any sauces or extras thrown in). However, do not use canned vegetables. They lack flavor and color. They have less vitamins, lost in the canning process, plus they are usually loaded with sodium which does not necessarily lend to low-cal eating.

- Clean and dice the onion, carrots and celery and sauté in the olive oil (or butter) until translucent. Set these veggies aside in a medium bowl.

- Dice the potato and sauté in the saucepan in a tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil until browned. Set aside in the bowl with the other veggies.

- Clean and cut up the broccoli, ending up with a large handful, and sauté in the saucepan. You might need to add some of the extra virgin olive oil. Just cook it until it achieves a bright green color. It’ll still be a little crunchy. Don’t overcook or you’ll lose the bright green color.


- Add 1 cup of water and deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up anything that may be stuck on the bottom.

- Add the second cup of water and the Bay Leaf and let the soup lightly simmer for 10-15 minutes. I don’t like to use purchased broth or stock since they are overloaded with sodium. I use good old country tap water just like Mom did, and include no-sodium herbs for flavor.

- Add more water if you think you need it (milk and cream are optional) and let it simmer just a few minutes more to bring the heat back up. Do not boil.

- Now add salt and pepper to taste. I normally do not add any salt in order to keep the sodium intake down. Instead, I add other herbs such as an Italian mixture or just some Basil, or a no-sodium herb combination.

- Take the Bay Leaf out of your soup before serving or placing the soup in the refrigerator.


Storing:

- I usually eat up this easy to make soup within 4-5 days – that’s why I make a small batch, so it stays fresh. I have been known to freeze a cup in a sealable plastic bag to enjoy a couple weeks later.

This soup goes great with sandwiches:

- With this soup, I prefer a 1/2 slice of crusty beer bread topped with a thin slice of local cheddar cheese or a gruyere cheese. No butter.

- Doug likes a grilled cheese sandwich with his soups, but that adds more butter and salt.

- I’ve known some people to place a slice of cheddar or provolone cheese on top to let it melt it into the soup. That's not so good for low-cal eating.

- A nice change from cheese is to serve up a little tuna salad sandwich on a crusty bread with this soup.


However you like to dress your Low-Cal Loaded Potato (and Veggies) Soup, try different veggies in it and... "Bake your own Memories!"

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