Kay S Beatty, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist 

Serving Northern Virginia and

The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

Helping you achieve your weight

management goals realistically  

Healthy Weight Options, LLC


Want to try a new recipe? Check my blog weekly to find easy-to-prepare recipes that are packed with nutrients and flavor.

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Posted on November 2, 2016 at 3:30 PM
This soup doesn't take long to make this wholesome and healthy soup. Parmesan cheese really sets it off, adding "umami," that special quality that takes a recipe to a higher level of flavor. This recipe is courtesy of Ellie Krieger for Food Network Magazine. I've made just one change--I've added more broth.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1/3 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups) (frozen beans are fine, too)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano)
1 teaspoon dried basil (or one tablespoon of fresh basil)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 28 -ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 14 -ounce can crushed tomatoes
8-12 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 15 -ounce can low-sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed (I usually add two cans! I like beans!)
1 cup elbow pasta (or any pasta you like)
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (if you don't have fresh basil, add a teaspoon or two of dried basil to the simmering soup)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the green beans, dried oregano and basil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook 3 more minutes. Add the diced and crushed tomatoes and the chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the kidney beans and pasta and cook until the pasta and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Ladle into bowls and top with the parmesan and chopped basil.
Per serving (2 cups): Calories 260; Fat 8 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 560 mg; Carbohydrate 37 g; Fiber 10 g; Protein 15 g

Lentil Soup

Posted on November 2, 2016 at 1:55 PM
Have you tried lentils? They're a hearty, yet mild tasting legume that is packed with fiber and nutrients. Below is a recipe by Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis that I altered a bit to produce a more broth-y soup with plenty of Parmesan flavor.

2 tablespoons olive oil, extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 pound lentils (1 regular size bag), rinsed well
13+ cups low-salt chicken broth
4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs (or a couple teaspoons of dry thyme)
2/3 cup dried elbow pasta (or any short pasta you like)
1 cup shredded Parmesan

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and sauté until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices. Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add the broth and stir. Add the thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes. You'll need extra broth for the pasta, so if there's not a lot of broth left after simmering, add more and bring to a simmer again. Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Add about 1/2 cup of the Parmesan into the soup and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve.

Chili with beef and beans

Posted on November 1, 2016 at 9:40 PM
If there's a perfect dish health-wise, Chili might just be it. It's packed with protein and healthy carbs, and has just the right amount of fat to help us feel full and satisfied. Chili is not only a great meal on it's own, it's also a great snack. A mid afternoon cup of chili is a perfect snack, and will curb the appetite, to ward off the munchies the rest of the day. This recipe is a bit more complex than others, but the end product is worth it. Plus, since this recipe produces a lot of chili, you can freeze servings to warm up weeks later, for quick, healthy weeknight meals.

2 pounds ground beef chuck or other lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped (red bell pepper also makes it tasty)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bottle of smooth tasting beer (not an IPA or hoppy beer, I use Yuengling)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 quart beef broth, to start with, but probably more, depending on the consistency you want
3 15-ounce cans of beans--black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans--any combination of beans, drained and rinsed.
1 tablespoon hot sauce, if desired.
Shredded cheddar cheese, sliced scallions and/or sour cream or yogurt, for topping.

In a stewpot or other pot suitable for soups and stews, heat a small amount of oil; add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon; wipe out the pan. Heat another small amount of oil in the pan. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon salt and cook 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is brick red, about 6 minutes (add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick). Add the beer and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the beef and any juices from the plate; add the cocoa powder, tomatoes, beef broth, and beans and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens and flavors are well combined, about an hour. Test spices and add more, to taste. If chili is too thick, add some more beef broth (I usually end up using 2 quarts of broth), and simmer a few minutes longer. Stir the hot sauce into the chili, if using, and add more salt, to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese, scallions, sour cream or yogurt, or other favorite chili toppings.