Archive | July, 2015

Almost Instant Chicken Salsa Soup

Almost Instant Chicken Salsa Soup

Almost Instant Chicken Salsa Soup

Ingredients in the fridge are like a cook’s paint box. There are so many ways to use them, they can be as delicious as starting with a purchased array. That’s how this recipe came about. I always have homemade broth in the freezer now. In the past, I would make a huge batch of soup, and we’d eat it every day until we got tired of it. Maybe I’d freeze the remainder or maybe it would get sour, and I’d have to toss it. It wasn’t working very well, and soup for supper (or lunch) was an only-once-in-a-while thing. We were getting huge amounts good nourishing bone broth occasionally, but I really wanted it to be a part of my cooking all the time.

So instead of making a vat of soup, I decided to make broth instead and freeze it in ice cube trays. Now I have homemade bone broth for quick soups like this week’s recipe, liquid for cooking rice, a flavorful addition to pan sauces and a way to enhance greens and other vegetables. We get the benefits of the broth nearly every day. Right now I have chicken, beef, dashi, and ham broths ready at the waiting in the freezer.

Chicken broth recipe made two ways.

This golden gem should always be in your freezer and can be made in two easy ways.

When we want soup, I can make just enough and not too much, using leftover meats, poultry or seafood and the assorted vegetables that are just waiting in the fridge. It’s a great way to use up half a jalapeño, some leftover roast chicken, some salsa or whatever good stuff you happen to have.

For a time I was a personal chef to some dear friends. I made this soup for them (though not from leftovers) and when one of them brought the soup to work and heated it up for lunch one day, I suddenly had four new clients to cook for. It perfumed the office with an enticing aroma that lured her coworkers to the break room to find out what it was. Try that with Progresso sometime. There’s a funky, weird smell that lingers long after the not-so-tasty soup is gone.

This recipe is for a Mexican-inspired soup, but you can vary it up in many different ways. Cook some carrots, celery and onion in the chicken broth. Add the chicken and some leftover rice. Voilà! Almost instant chicken rice soup. And whether you want to chase away a cold or keep from getting one, you’ll have a bowl of goodness that beats Campbell’s to shame.

There’s a nice, long playlist this week. I kept adding tunes and decided to keep ’em. Fire up the Spotify, make a quick soup and enjoy!

Almost Instant Chicken Salsa Soup

Almost Instant Chicken Salsa Soup

Almost Instant Chicken Salsa Soup
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Almost Instant Chicken Salsa Soup
If you have some Mexican-inspired ingredients in the fridge, you can make this chicken soup recipe in about 20 minutes. Tummy warming, mouth watering, it's as good for you as it is delicious. Remove canned soup from your shopping list forever! Make this for one or a crowd, just set the number of servings desired and the app will do the calculations for you.
Almost Instant Chicken Salsa Soup
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If you have some Mexican-inspired ingredients in the fridge, you can make this chicken soup recipe in about 20 minutes. Tummy warming, mouth watering, it's as good for you as it is delicious. Remove canned soup from your shopping list forever! Make this for one or a crowd, just set the number of servings desired and the app will do the calculations for you.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
2servings 5minutes 15minutes
Servings Prep Time
2servings 5minutes
Cook Time
15minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Heat chicken fat or olive oil over medium heat in sauce pan large enough to hold ingredients. Add the onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add jalapeño and cilantro stems, sauté 1 minute.
  2. Increase the heat to medium high. Add the salsa and cook, stirring frequently until it loses its bright red color, about 6-7 minutes. Add broth and chicken, heat until hot, about 5 minutes.
  3. Garnish with your choice of avocado, lime juice, cilantro leaves, cheese or sour cream.
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Chicken broth recipe made two ways.
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Two-way Chicken Broth
Why throw out those chicken bones when you can have deeply nourishing, delicious broth whenever you want or need it? Enriching a pan sauce, adding flavor and goodness to vegetables or making nearly instant soup is a snap when you have a bag of golden cubes in your freezer. And when you need some chicken for salad or a quick meal, start with a whole chicken and make the richest chicken stock possible. The vegetables and seasonings are kept intentionally simple and no salt is added so the broth will be useful in most any recipe or preparation. This is a great time to use a slow cooker. You can start the broth before you go to bed and strain it in the morning. I've suggested a quantity of one pound of bones, but use more or less of the vegetables depending on the amount of bones you have or if you use a whole chicken.
Two-way Chicken Broth
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Why throw out those chicken bones when you can have deeply nourishing, delicious broth whenever you want or need it? Enriching a pan sauce, adding flavor and goodness to vegetables or making nearly instant soup is a snap when you have a bag of golden cubes in your freezer. And when you need some chicken for salad or a quick meal, start with a whole chicken and make the richest chicken stock possible. The vegetables and seasonings are kept intentionally simple and no salt is added so the broth will be useful in most any recipe or preparation. This is a great time to use a slow cooker. You can start the broth before you go to bed and strain it in the morning. I've suggested a quantity of one pound of bones, but use more or less of the vegetables depending on the amount of bones you have or if you use a whole chicken.
Ingredients
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Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a pot about three times larger than the ingredients' volume. Add cold, filtered water to a height about 2 inches above the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and skim foam from the top. If you are using a whole chicken, simmer for 20 minutes only. Remove the chicken parts and allow to cool. Turn off the broth while the meat is cooling.
  2. If using just bones, reduce the heat to a very low simmer once the foam has all been removed. The surface should just barely bubble. Simmer for at least two hours, but a large volume can simmer for up to 10 hours if you like.
  3. If using a whole chicken, remove the meat and skin and set aside to cool. Refrigerate and reserve the meat for another recipe. Return the bones to the pot and continue with the second step.
  4. Strain the broth, removing the vegetables and bones to a strainer, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Use at once or freeze in ice cube trays and store in zip top bags. Label the bags with contents and date.
  5. When the broth is chilled, there is likely to be a layer of fat on top of the broth. Skim it off, reserving it in a small container. Refrigerate if using right away or freeze. The chicken fat is a super delicious way to start a sauté of vegetables for chicken soup or other recipe.
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Paleo Chili Dogs

Paleo Chili Dog

Paleo Chili Dog

Sometimes Harris wants “fun” food: the stuff from the bad old days of processed edibles with ingredient lists only a chem major can understand. Chili dogs fall into that category. I’m not a hard liner when it comes to his choices. As he’s been known to remark to control-freaky friends in the midst of a tirade, “Not the mama!” I cook with the ingredients and in the style that makes sense for me, and so far, he hasn’t left the table in order to run out to the golden arches. But he will ask for such weirdness as Hormel chili-topped dogs about twice a year, and I’ll cringe, and pick up the can with my handy 11-foot pole. I used to actually open the thing and heat it up, but then I decided he could manage that task and leave me out of it. This last time he requested chili dogs, I thought I’d just make my own version and see what transpires.

Grassfed hot dogs are easy to find if you’ve got a Whole Foods around, and conventional grocery stores are beginning to stock grassfed and pastured meats and poultry with some consistency. Making paleo chili con carne is easy. And this recipe is packed with nutritious goodness and excellent flavor. It’s the bun that’s the problem. While gluten free options are available, “gluten free” rarely qualifies as paleo. I found a recipe for paleo hot dog rolls and had a link to it, but since this post was first published, the recipe has been taken down. It certainly fit the bill, and I so appreciate the recipe developer’s work, in the end though, I skipped eating much of it, and the rest of the group found it to be only “okay.” The trouble with faux breads is that they just don’t equate. Some wheaty alternatives can be awesome, but it’s usually in the sweets section of the recipe index. Once fruits or chocolate are introduced, paleo baked goods become quite delicious. The bare bones reality of the paleo sandwich-delivery systems we’ve tried is that they’re less than memorable. Personally I’d rather do without.

Paleo Chili Dog

Paleo Chili Dog

My benchmark for bread options is this: if the item is so damn delicious you could eat it without butter, toppings or fillings of any kind, it’s the real deal. But most breads and buns are ho-hum flat and boring, so why bother? I know … it’s the ones that aren’t that are hard to forget. And believe, me, if there was one ingredient to be grievously troubled by, I would have to get wheat. Could it be radishes? Of course not. I could start with breakfast and give you a litany of wheat-based treats that I adore, but can no longer eat without being punished, that would fill ten pages. On rare occasions I’ll dip a toe in the gluten pool regardless and suffer the consequences, but for the most part, I have no regrets. Two of my sisters and I went out for burgers the other night and I barely gave a thought about leaving out the bun. It can be done, though it can be a chore at times, and I continue to search and experiment. If I come upon a winner, you’ll be second to know ‘cuz Harris has to give his thumbs up first. Meanwhile, chili dogs are so messy that a traditional bun tends to disintegrate anyway, and until a truly delectable option shows up, I think we’ll all be content to knife-and-fork this dish.

The consensus on this recipe was that it’s a winner. I heard no sentimental pining for Hormel, and perhaps we’ve left that old dragon behind.

Tex Mex Cherry Tomato Salad

Tex Mex Cherry Tomato Salad

To go with the chili dogs, I wanted a fresh, crispy/crunchy side, and borrowing from a Cook’s Illustrated technique, I have a recipe for cherry tomato salad with a Tex Mex flavor profile that goes nicely with the chili dogs. Okay, I confess, we have a bounty of cherry tomatoes (Sweet 100s) and cucumbers in the garden, and we eat them everyday. This recipe was a way to dress them differently.  I do hope you enjoy! For the playlist, I have an eclectic assortment of tunes for your listening pleasure.

Paleo Chili Dog
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Paleo Chili Dogs
Paleo chili dogs are a hit for a cookout or when watching a game. A weeknight treat, this recipe is not only delicious, but nutritious as well. Dig in!
Paleo Chili Dogs
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Paleo chili dogs are a hit for a cookout or when watching a game. A weeknight treat, this recipe is not only delicious, but nutritious as well. Dig in!
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
8servings 20minutes 2 hours 90minutes
Servings Prep Time
8servings 20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 hours 90minutes
Ingredients
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Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, place the beef broth and sprinkle the gelatin on top to soften.
  2. In a 12-inch skillet or Dutch Oven, melt oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for about five minutes. Increase the heat to medium high and add the ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or other utensil. Cook, stirring frequently until pink color is gone about 10 minutes.
  3. Add dried spices and salt and pepper and cook about 2 minutes, mixing them thoroughly into the meat mixture. Add the tomatoes and stir. Stir the broth until the gelatin is completely dissolved and add it to the skillet with the meat and tomatoes. Stir thoroughly.
  4. Reduce the heat to very low and let simmer uncovered until most of the liquid is gone, about 90 minutes to 2 hours.
  5. Cook the hot dogs in a skillet over medium heat until browned to your liking, 7-10 minutes. Serve with chili spooned on top and garnished with your choice of toppings. Use paleo buns if desired. Paleo Chili Dog
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Tex Mex Cherry Tomato Salad
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Tex Mex Cherry Tomato Salad
Fresh and lively, this salad gets it's great flavor without being watery from a technique developed by Cook's Illustrated. I varied the ingredients, including sherry vinegar, for southwestern style.
Tex Mex Cherry Tomato Salad
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Fresh and lively, this salad gets it's great flavor without being watery from a technique developed by Cook's Illustrated. I varied the ingredients, including sherry vinegar, for southwestern style.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 10minutes 5minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
5minutes
Ingredients
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Place the halved cherry tomatoes in a colander set over a bowl to catch the juices. Sprinkle with salt and coconut sugar and toss to coat. Allow to drain for 30 minutes.
  2. Shake the colander to remove any remaining juice and place tomatoes in a large bowl.
  3. Pour the juices in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the vinegar and cumin and bring to a boil. When the mixture reduces and becomes slightly syrupy (about 2-3 minutes), remove and set aside to cool, about 5 minutes. Whisk the olive oil into the vinegar mixture.
  4. Add the cucumbers and red onion to the tomatoes and add the dressing, tossing to coat the vegetables. Taste and correct for seasoning. Garnish with cheese if using and serve. Tex Mex Tomato Salad
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Chicken Sauce Piquant

Chicken Sauce Piquant

Chicken Sauce Piquant

Ask a Southern cook how to prepare a legendary dish like gumbo or shrimp and grits, and you will get as many answers as there are cooks. Each will explain why certain ingredients or methods are necessary or why it isn’t authentic if they are. Normally chicken sauce piquant is a long-simmered dish with lots of sauce and canned tomatoes or tomato sauce. I wanted to take advantage of an abundance of peppers and tomatoes in our garden, and this version of chicken sauce piquant is the result.

The dish comes together quickly, sautéing on the stovetop in just enough time to cook the chicken through. The bright flavors and colors are summer at its best. For the side dish, I’ve got a quick recipe for potatoes, feta, lemon and the herb of your choice. Quick enough for a mid-week meal and pretty enough for company, I hope you enjoy.

Chicken Sauce Piquant Cooking

Chicken Sauce Piquant Cooking

New Potatoes with Lemon, Herbs and Feta Cheese

New Potatoes with Lemon, Herbs and Feta Cheese

For your listening and dining pleasure, the Spotify playlist features summer tunes in a mix of patterns and textures.

Chicken Sauce Piquant
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Chicken Sauce Piquant
An abundance of summer tomatoes and peppers can turn another chicken dinner into a feast of fresh colors, textures and flavors. This quick-cooking dish won't overheat your kitchen on languid summer nights. Use a pastured bird and home grown or farmers market produce for stellar results.
Chicken Sauce Piquant
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An abundance of summer tomatoes and peppers can turn another chicken dinner into a feast of fresh colors, textures and flavors. This quick-cooking dish won't overheat your kitchen on languid summer nights. Use a pastured bird and home grown or farmers market produce for stellar results.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
4servings 10minutes 20minutes 15minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20minutes 15minutes
Ingredients
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Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat large skillet over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes, add oil of choice. Place chicken pieces, skin side down, in skillet and sauté 5 minutes or until deep golden brown. Flip chicken to the other side and sauté 2-3 minutes.
  2. Remove chicken to a plate, lower heat to medium and add onion slices. Sprinkle with salt and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so. Onions should be golden but not browned.
  3. Add peppers and sauté 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, cook 30 seconds until aroma blooms. Add tomatoes and combine all ingredients.
  4. Add chicken broth and Worcestershire. Stir again and place chicken, skin side up, on vegetables. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.Chicken Sauce Piquant Cooking
  5. Check chicken for doneness using a paring knife. Cut down to the bone and make sure there are no traces of pink juice. Continue cooking if necessary until chicken is cooked through. Plate and serve.
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New Potatoes with Lemon, Herbs and Feta Cheese
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New Potatoes with Feta, Herbs and Lemon
Tender new potatoes combine with feta cheese, herbs and lemon juice elevating spuds-as-side-dish to company fare. But why wait for guests?
New Potatoes with Feta, Herbs and Lemon
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Tender new potatoes combine with feta cheese, herbs and lemon juice elevating spuds-as-side-dish to company fare. But why wait for guests?
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
4servings 5minutes 10minutes 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 5minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10minutes 10minutes
Ingredients
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Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Cover potatoes in cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Drain potatoes. Add feta and herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon juice over all and serve.
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Creamy Chicken Salad — Hold the Mayo!

Creamy Chicken Salad - Hold the Mayo

Creamy Chicken Salad – Hold the Mayo

When it’s hot outside, reaching into the fridge for a chilled salad is about as good as it gets for summertime eating. And this salad is make-ahead friendly with lots of interesting flavors and textures: tender chicken, crisp celery and apples, crunchy almonds, sweet/tart cranberries and a creamy, no-mayo dressing bright with curry, lime, honey and a kick of Tabasco. This will wake up your appetite!

Creamy Chicken Salad Ingredients

Creamy Chicken Salad Ingredients

The salad comes together in minutes. You can use leftover rotisserie chicken or a no-fail method of oven poaching the bird in its own juices. Chicken poached in water loses its flavor, so I like to put the chicken — light or dark meat — in a covered oven-proof dish and cook it for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. It’s a technique I picked up from Martha Stewart and as she says, “It’s a good thing.” Martha has her outspoken critics, but as a new bride, I found her approach to cooking warm and inspiring. I never took it to the level that she does, but I often found useful ideas I could incorporate into everyday meals to make them better and more delicious.

If you need a salad for a potluck supper or a picnic, this recipe will take the worry of warm mayonnaise out of the project with coconut cream as a substitute for mayo. Some curried chicken salads can be harsh, but the key to using curry powder is to cook it prior to adding it to the dressing. A minute in over medium heat mixed with some coconut or olive oil is all it takes to remove the harshness.

To accompany the salad, I have a cucumber, lime and honey cocktail made with gin:

Cucumber, Lime and Honey Cocktail

Cucumber, Lime and Honey Cocktail

Or a non-alcoholic cucumber, lime and honey spritzer with sparkling water over ice:

Cucumber, Lime and Honey Spritzer

Non-Alcoholic Cucumber, Lime and Honey Spritzer

I hope you enjoy these recipes and the cool, fresh tunes in this week’s playlist!

Creamy Chicken Salad - Hold the Mayo
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Creamy Chicken Salad without Mayo
This is a creamy chicken salad without mayo. The warm, savory curry dressing is made with coconut cream so it's summertime picnic friendly. Tender chicken is combined with crisp apples and celery, crunchy almonds, and sweet/tart cranberries.
Creamy Chicken Salad without Mayo
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This is a creamy chicken salad without mayo. The warm, savory curry dressing is made with coconut cream so it's summertime picnic friendly. Tender chicken is combined with crisp apples and celery, crunchy almonds, and sweet/tart cranberries.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
4servings 20minutes 40minutes 20minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40minutes 20minutes
Ingredients
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Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place chicken in a covered, oven-proof dish and season with salt and pepper. (If using rotisserie chicken, skip this step.) Cook for 40 minutes. Remove from dish and allow to cool. Reserve chicken juices for use as chicken broth in another recipe.
  2. In a small skillet or saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium heat and add curry powder. Stir to combine and cook gently for one minute or until powder becomes fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine coconut cream, curry mixture, lime juice, honey, salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce.
  4. In a large bowl, shred chicken. Add apples, celery, green onions and cranberries. Add dressing as desired and combine. Garnish with almonds and serve.Creamy Chicken Salad Ingredients
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Cucumber, Lime and Honey Cocktail
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Cucumber Lime Cocktail
Summer in a cocktail glass: cucumber juice, lime, honey and a splash of gin.
Cucumber Lime Cocktail
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Summer in a cocktail glass: cucumber juice, lime, honey and a splash of gin.
Servings Prep Time
1serving 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
1serving 10minutes
Ingredients
Servings: serving
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Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Peel cucumber and slice lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Cut into 1-inch pieces. In a blender or food processor, purée cucumber. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and add the puréed cucumber. Allow to drain for 10 minutes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, press as much juice as possible from the pulp.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add all ingredients. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with cucumber and lime.
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Cucumber, Lime and Honey Spritzer
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Non-Alcoholic Cucumber, Lime and Honey Spritzer
Summery and refreshing, this cucumber lime spritzer features fresh honey and sparkling water.
Non-Alcoholic Cucumber, Lime and Honey Spritzer
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Summery and refreshing, this cucumber lime spritzer features fresh honey and sparkling water.
Servings Prep Time
1serving 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
1serving 10minutes
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Units:
Instructions
  1. Peel cucumber and slice lengthwise. With a spoon, remove seeds. Cut into 1-inch chunks. Purée cucumber in a blender or food processor. Place fine mesh strainer over a bowl and add puréed cucumber. Allow to drain for 10 minutes. With the back of a wooden spoon, press as much juice as possible from the pulp.
  2. In a tall glass, add lime juice and honey. Stir until honey is dissolved. Add cucumber juice and ice cubes, and fill with sparkling water.
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