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Healthy Living: Tomato Soup

Beth Peralta, Registered Dietitian with University of Illinois Extension

Patricia Wolf, PhD Candidate and Dietetic Intern with the University of Illinois

When searching for chicken recipes, most call for boneless skinless chicken breast, but by cooking the whole chicken, you can save up to $2.00 per pound.

These savings are not just for one meal. With just a few extra steps, families can enjoy just one chicken in three different and tasty ways.

1. Meal 1: Roast chicken and vegetables.

o Cooking a whole chicken is simple and takes just as much time as cooking chicken pieces.

o Cutting the pieces off the bone after cooking is easier than when raw.

o Steam some frozen vegetables and add a whole wheat roll for an elegant meal that takes little effort.


2. Meal 2: Chicken fajitas.

o After eating a chicken, there is often leftover chicken pieces that don’t make a full meal. If you shred the meat, your dinner can have a second life.


3. Meal 3: Tomato cilantro soup.

o After using the chicken for two meals, it seems like this chicken is done. But you can use the bones to make a tasty broth.

o Now we will add a few extra ingredients to make a fresh tasting soup. Just one can of tomato paste, one can of diced tomatoes, 1 Tbsp of cilantro, and a tsp each of salt, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add sandwiches and you have dinner for the whole family.

Cook a whole chicken this week to feed your family and save you money. For more recipes and healthy living information, please visit our website at

Recipes Used:

Roasted Chicken



· 1 whole Chicken

· 2 TBSP Canola Oil

· 1 tsp salt

· 1 tsp black pepper

· 1 tsp of garlic

· 1 tsp parsley

· ½ onion

· ½ lemon



1. Pat one whole chicken dry with a paper towel, and rub with olive oil.

2. In a small bowl mix salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley.

3. Sprinkle spice mixture evenly over chicken.

4. Stuff cavity with onion and lemon and place in baking dish.

5. Cook at 425°F until thigh meat reaches 165°F (about one hour).

6. Let rest for 10 minutes and serve with steamed broccoli and whole wheat rolls.


Chicken Fajitas



· 2 cups chicken meat, shredded

· 1 large onion, diced

· 1 large green pepper, diced

· 3 TBSP Canola Oil

· 1 TBSP Garlic

· 1 TBSP Cumin

· 1 TBSP Chili Powder

· 1 tsp salt

· 8 tortillas

· 2 cups lettuce, shredded

· 2 tomatoes, diced

· 1 cup shredded low-fat cheese



1. Shred 2 cups chicken meat and place on sheet pan with diced onion and pepper.

2. Add oil and spices and mix thoroughly with hands.

3. Place in oven and broil until vegetables begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

4. Serve with tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese.


Zesty Tomato Soup



· 1 chicken carcass

· Vegetable scraps (from fajita recipe)

· 2 quarts water

· 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

· 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes

· 1 TBSP dried cilantro

· 1 tsp garlic powder

· 1 tsp salt

· 1 tsp red pepper flakes



1. To make broth: Place chicken carcass, vegetable scraps, and 2 qts water in a pot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Strain.

2. Note: if not using homemade broth, use 1 quart reduced sodium chicken broth. To broth, add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and spices.

3. Simmer on medium for 5 minutes to allow flavors to incorporate.

4. Serve with whole wheat grilled cheese sandwiches.

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