Sunday, May 22, 2011

Italian Chicken-Lentil Soup

One of the things I've come to enjoy in the past year is cooking.  Specifically, in my slow-cooker.  I've dubbed "Crock-pot Sunday" as the day I test out new recipes while engrossing my tiny apartment with the aroma of food.  Add a little Ella Fitzgerald in the background and sometimes I think I'm at a romantic restaurant instead of my cramped kitchen. 

As a runner, I have to make sure that I eat a balanced diet; as a runner in her 30's, this has never been more important.  Gone are the days of heating up Lean Cuisines via microwave (I can't believe I ate those).  Nowadays, while cooking is a way for me to relax, it also helps me keep track of what exactly I'm putting into my body.  And with marathon training around the corner, fuel is imperative!

On the menu this Sunday: Italian Chicken-Lentil Soup

I've never made soup.  Or cooked with lentils, so this was going to be an experience.  I actually had most of the ingredients on-hand, which shocked even myself because I think this actually means that I can somewhat consider myself more than a "novice" at cooking!

Prep: 15 min Cook: 6 hour 15 min.
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
4 medium carrots, sliced
1 cup dried lentils (rinsed and sorted)
4 1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 c. sliced mushrooms
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil or 1 tbsp. dried basil leaves (I used 1 bay leaf because I didn't have basil)
Shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired

Remove fat from chicken.  Mix remaining ingredients in slow cooker except : mushrooms, tomatoes, basil and cheese.

Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Remove the chicken from cooker; place on cutting board.  Pull apart chicken into shreds.  Return chicken to cooker.  Stir in mushrooms and tomatoes.  Cover and cook on low about 15 min. until heated through.  Sprinkle with cheese. 

Hopefully, my first attempt at making soup will be a success - and I'll have lunch prepared for at least the next two days! 

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