It’s only been two days of “New Year’s Resolution” time for the newly motivated gym goer, which means the gym is PACKED!! I went to a treadmill class yesterday that was at max capacity… normally there are about eight of us. We were in the middle of a hill climb and my instructor kept repeating, “This hill will help you fit in that bikini! Push yourselves!!” I actually started laughing out loud at this one. BIKINI?! It’s 22 degrees outside! The last thing that came to mind when I put a sweatsuit over my gym outfit this morning was wearing a bikini.
Lesson number one in making goals that you will actually keep: make them short term and realistic. My health goal for the month of January is consistency. What does this mean? Go to the gym more often than less often. Choose the healthier dinner option more often than less often. Let a “treat” like dessert, or fried chicken, or a humongous bowl of pasta be just that--a treat that you have sparingly enough that it really feel like you should savor every bite.
In honor of my bikini-themed workout I made Lightened-Up Baked Potato Soup for dinner last night. Potato soup at a restaurant can be a total calorie scorcher…loaded with cream to give it the perfect consistency. This recipe is the much healthier version, the bikini-inspired Lightened-Up Baked Potato Soup. Fluffy potatoes are mixed with caramelized onions, creamy garlic, and chicken stock to create a smooth, bisque-like consistency. I serve it with green onions, bacon bits, and just a bit of cheese for the baked potato experience you’d only get at a restaurant.
Image: Courtesy of Cooking in Red Socks
Makes: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
- 1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes (about 4 medium)
- 4 slices turkey bacon
- 1 scant tbsp butter
- 1 white onion, small dice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 cups 2% milk
- 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock, if you want it vegetarian)
- 6 oz (one container) nonfat Greek yogurt
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 green onions
- 1/4 cup grated pepper jack cheese (or cheddar)
- Hot sauce, for garnish (optional)
Special Equipment: a standard food processor
Rinse and peel the potatoes. Chop them into roughly 2-inch x 2-inch pieces and put into a large soup pot. Cover the potatoes in cold water, filling the pot to about 2 inches above the potato line. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Always, always start your potatoes in cold water. This helps bring the starches out correctly so that you have soft and fluffy potatoes. Otherwise they have a gummy consistency. Boil for about 10 minutes, or until you can easily insert a fork into the potatoes. Drain the water in a colander and let to potatoes sit.
Spray the same pot with cooking spray. Heat over medium-low heat and add the bacon to the pot. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked through. Remove the bacon and keep the heat going on the pot. Chop the bacon into small, bite-sized pieces for garnish.
Add the butter, onion, and garlic to the pan. Sauté until the onion starts to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the potatoes back into the pot with the milk and chicken stock. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot with a spatula to keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom.
Remove the lid from the soup and give it a good stir. Put about half of the soup in the food processor and the other half in a large measuring cup. Blend the first half so that it is completely smooth. Make sure the very top of the processor is open so that the heat can escape. Nothing like mashed potatoes all over the counters and ceiling! Pour the first half back into the soup pot and the remaining soup into the food processor. Blend until completely smooth and add back to the rest of the soup.
Stir the Greek yogurt into the soup and season well with salt and pepper.
Top each bowl with a bit of diced bacon, green onion, and some grated cheese. Garnish with hot sauce, if desired.
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