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A can a week: Muir Glen Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chef JimI’ve been really making an effort to eat better in 2011–and by that I mean healthier. You may remember I posted something about buying bigger pants just before the holidays, and I’m still wearing them–but trying to eat less carbs, eat more produce and get to the gym. Don’t worry…..I still love fatty fried foods and bacon, so there will be plenty of that in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, here is a review of a soup I tried today that tastes pretty damn good for being good for you, Muir Glen Organic Chicken Tortilla soup.

It’s not like I go out of my way to eat organic, but I picked up this soup because it’s all natural–the ingredient list if fairly long but you won’t find any crap listed on it. It’s one large serving, though the can claims it’s two. But still, you’re eating quality food.

This soup is a rich tomato/chicken broth with black beans, corn, and giant chunks of chicken meat. It’s also a tad spicy, but being me, I had to add some hot sauce. It wasn’t overly salty or not salty enough, and the only spice drawback is that the flavor of cumin kind of dominated-and cumin is not for everyone (just ask my wife, who calls it the “armpit” spice).

Overall, this soup tastes great and is good for you, with 14 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber per can. My only real complaint? There are no tortillas in it, and it’s called chicken tortilla soup. There is corn, and there is toasted corn flour to thicken it, but no actual tortillas. It didn’t affect the flavor, but still…why call it that?

So if you’re looking for a healthy option for lunch that tastes great, pick up a can of Muir Glen soup…..I found it in the health food section of our local grocery store. And I’ll see you on the treadmill!

  

A can a week: Campbell’s Chunky Chicken Corn Chowder

Chef JimI’ve always been a fan of Campbell’s Chunky Soup. Maybe it’s because like the name implies, there are big chunks of stuff in it, making it good man-food. Or maybe it’s because they take the time and care to put real ingredients in that taste good. But here is one flavor that stands out–Chicken Corn Chowder.

Chowder to its core is a thick, hearty soup, usually involving cream and/or potatoes–with a base of either clams or chicken or corn or, like this one, a combination of chicken and corn. It’s also often flavored with bacon.

Campbell’s Chunky Chicken Corn Chowder has big chunks of white meat chicken, potatoes, and carrots; as well as a lot of corn kernels. The base is a chicken broth that is thickened with corn starch but tastes extremely creamy, and there is also bacon to give it a hint of smoky flavor. Above all, this chowder just rocks and is the perfect cold weather soup. There is also a “Healthy Request” version that has a lot less fat and about 2/3 of the calories (this one has 200 calories per serving, 400 per can).

If you have never tried this chicken corn chowder or any chicken corn chowder, go try it and let me know what you think. And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish the rest of the can.

  

A can a week: Progresso Creamy Chicken Wild Rice

Chef Jim

If those condensed canned soups aren’t your thing, and you prefer a soup that is closer to homemade, Progresso is the best commercial one that is widely available. And they make so many kinds now, the options are almost endless.

So for A Can a Week this week, we tried Progresso’s Rich & Hearty Creamy Chicken Wild Rice soup. You’d think that with a cream based soup you’re looking at crazy amounts of fat and calories, but this stuff weighs in at 140 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving, or 280 and 10 if you eat the whole can, which I’m assuming most of you do. I mean, who doesn’t?

But here’s the best part–this soup tastes great. There is a richness to it without being too rich, and the dominant flavor is that of roasted chicken, as if you picked it off the bone yourself. There are big chunks of white meat with no gristle, and a good amount of wild rice that is cooked perfectly and has that nice snap that wild rice has. There is some celery and onion too, but those flavors are in the background as they should be. And here is why it’s not fatty–there is no cream. It’s just thickened chicken broth with a bit of butter and soy protein. But you’d never be able to tell. Well, maybe you would, but you sure don’t miss the cream if you don’t know it’s not there.

So if you’re looking for a good, hearty soup on a winter day, give this one a shot. Mama Progresso would probably be happy you tried it too.

  

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