Mexican Chicken Soup

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One perk of my job as a dietitian and food writer is getting asked to preview early copies of new cookbooks and try recipes in them. When the American Heart Association asked if I’d try some recipes in their new cookbook, I jumped on the opportunity!  I’m game for cooking most anything, particularly if it’s got an emphasis on flavor and health. And while I can’t say my kids are always as eager as I am, they’re pretty good sports and are slowly turning into expert taste-testers.

Most winter Sunday afternoons you’ll find a pot of soup cooking in my kitchen, so this made Mexican Chicken Soup an easy recipe choice, since I’m always looking for new soups to keep on hand. Aside from being comforting and an easy-to-pack lunch for the office, soups are a great way to sneak several foods (like beans and extra veggies) into my kids’ meals without them really noticing.  

The challenge that I run into though with soup and stew recipes is that they often call for lots of regular canned ingredients and packets of seasoning mixes - two things that are great for convenience and flavor but not so much for keeping sodium in check. If you combine regular canned broth, canned beans, canned veggies and seasoning packets, and it’s easy for sodium levels to shoot way up to 1500 mg or more per serving, an amount that’s more than we need in a day for ideal heart health!  

To stay heart-healthy, this recipe called for low-sodium broth and no-salt-added canned products and no seasoning packets.  And while I love trying new recipes with a healthy spin, I have to admit that I was a little worried that the finished product might not have the bold Mexican-inspired flavors that I wanted.  The verdict at the dinner table? I’m excited to report my taste-tasting panel gave Mexican Chicken Soup a definite thumbs up, and I agreed with them.  In fact, my daughter even asked if we could have leftovers again the next night.

Click here to find the Mexican Chicken Soup recipe, as well as tips for boosting flavor without going overboard with salt!  If you're interested in additional Sodium-Smart Recipes, click here to find AHA's cookbook!