January 28, 2011

Chicken Quinoa Stew

(from picky-palate.com)

If you haven't been to picky-palate.com, then you must go at once! This is one of my favorite places to get recipes, and everything I have tried has been soooo yummy. I picked up this recipe since it has been soooo cold in NYC, and we have been eating a lot of soup. My pictures aren't that great, so to see the post where I got this recipe, click here.
Here is what you will need:

-2 tbls. extra virgin olive oil
-1 large onion, chopped
-5 Stalks celery, chopped (I didn't have celery, so I made it without)
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
-2 cups sweet pepper, chopped (Trader joe's has a bag of frozen peppers that are perfect!)
-1 large zucchini, chopped
-64 oz chicken broth
-15 oz can diced tomatoes
-5 medium yukon gold potatoes, cubed into 1 inch pieces
3 cups cooked quinoa
-4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
-kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic salt (optional) to taste
1/12 cups fresh parsley, chopped

optional: 2 tbls. Dijon mustard, 1 tbls. hot sauce
(I didn't use these and it still tasted great!)

I also boiled my chicken earlier in the day, and it was super easy to shred and was very delicious:)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Saute the onion, celery, carrots, peppers and zucchini, until softened. (for me this took about 10-15 minutes, because I was trying to make it really soft for J). Stir in the chicken broth, tomatoes, and potatoes. increase heat to high just until broth starts to boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook potatoes for about ten minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in quinoa, chicken, mustard, and hot sauce. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Stir in fresh parsley, and simmer until you are ready to eat!

It is super delicious and hearty:) We like to eat it with this bread:

most recipes make too much for our family to eat (even when we have leftovers the next day) so I like to turn one meal into two by freezing half of it. So, I always have these awesome bags on hand:

They are so great! You put your food in, suck out the air, and stick it in the freezer and it will last months and months! And when you go to eat it will still taste excellent.

It is perfect for when you come back from vacation, or you have a long day and don't know what to make for dinner. Just grab one of your frozen meals, stick it in a pot of hot water to thaw (or thaw in refrigerator overnight) and voila! An instant home cooked meal:)

Homemade Tomato Soup

One of my favorite meals!
*tweaked & taken from a recipe by Tyler Florence

2 lbs of tomatoes  (i love the use the campari tomatoes from Costco) 
4 cloves garlic (large)
1 yellow onion (medium size)
extra virgin olive oil
1 quart chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 tbl butter
fresh basil leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Wash, Core (cut out centers), and cut tomatoes in half. Chop onion. Spread tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves onto baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil & sprinkle salt & pepper over all. Bake in oven for 25 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and add veggies to a large stove pot.  Add chicken stock, butter, & bay leaves. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Remove Bay leaves.

Add contents of pot to a blender. Make sure to blend soup in small batch's because liquids expand when they are hot and you don't want your dinner to end up all over you & your kitchen. Add blended soup back to pot, season & serve with bread.  (add chopped basil leaves as a soup garnish)

January 27, 2011

bbq chicken pizza

make or buy pizza dough.
Add bbq chicken left over from this recipe
pizza sauce
green onions
shredded mozzarella cheese

Add pizza sauce, then chicken, then green onion then cheese. Bake in oven per pizza dough directions. Remove from oven and chop and sprinkle cilantro leaves over the pie. enjoy.

January 24, 2011

Green Smoothie

Handful of spinach
Almond milk (approx. 1/2 cup)
Banana (or fruit of choice)
Ice (or frozen fruit)

Don't let the color scare you.  It doesn't taste "green". This is so good and gives you a spurt of health and energy you wouldn't believe!  There are a lot of mix and match options, so don't worry about what you throw in the blender.  As long as you have your greens, add any fruit and ice combo you desire.  For more on this "green monster" click here

Happy blending!
{blender pic here}

shredded bbq chicken sandwiches

frozen chicken tenders (about 10)
bbq sauce (we love "Bulls Eye" Original)
small sweet onion
rolls or biscuits
mozzarella cheese (optional)

Add frozen chicken tenders to the bottom of your slow cooker.  Give onion a rough chop and sprinkle it over the chicken in the pot.  Pour 1/2 bottle of  bbq sauce over the chicken & onions. Make sure to cover the tenders the best you can. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours.  At hour 3, open the lid and shred the chicken with 2 forks inside the slow cooker.  Place the lid back and cook for the additional hour. 

Slice rolls and assemble sandwiches (I used Pillsbury Grands Biscuits) .  Add cheese (I used slices of string cheese which melted so perfectly).

serves 4

Such a easy & great meal. The left over shredded chicken can be used in a recipe for another night. For example, I like to make bbq chicken pizza.

lemon salad dressing

spring greens
fresh lemon
olive oil
salt & pepper

Cut lemon in half. Squeeze a few drops (not too much!) onto your salad. Next, drizzle olive oil onto the leaves. The amount depends on the size of your salad. Add Salt & pepper.

Super light & delish.

January 23, 2011

Taco Soup

This recipe is one of my favorites--I make it a couple of times a month, and I always make a big batch so I can freeze some for later! I have found many recipes online for taco soup, so I have taken bits and pieces from those recipes and put my own together. Here is how we like it:

1 lb ground beef, 1 can kidney beans, 1 can black beans, 1 can corn, 1 package taco seasoning,
2 16 oz can tomato sauce , 1 can diced tomatoes, 1-1 1/2 cups water (depending upon how thick you like it)

Optional Ingredients:
shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips

First, brown the ground beef (I like to add onions to my ground beef, but it is not necessary). Place the cooked beef in a large pot. Add all cans, water, and taco seasoning. Simmer until heated through, or until ready to serve. We like to eat it with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream on top. Also, Kevin likes to crush tortilla chips in the soup, and I like to use the chips as a scoop and eat it like dip. Jacob likes it sans chips. Any way, it is a great soup on a cold winter day!

roasted vegetables

Roasted Peppers and Zucchini
**this works with pretty much any vegetable!

Give the zucchini (with skin on) and red & yellow & orange peppers a rough chop
Cover them with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt (preferably kosher salt)
bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.
they should be soft and turning brown when you take them out.

They are perfect as a side dish by themselves or as an addition to any recipe. They have the most amazing sweet flavor when they are cooked this way!

almond butter

Here is how I did it:

Ingredients = raw almonds + coarse salt  [+ olive oil (optional)]

Spread 1 cup almonds on a baking sheet.  Bake 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Your house will smell amazing.

Using a food processor (I tried using a blender and it did not work) process the roasted almonds. Add a pinch of salt and mix for 5-10 minutes until the mixture turns creamy. You can add up to 2 tablespoons of olive oil to speed up the process if you would like.

Use as a dip for fruit (apples & bananas work great) and in place of peanut butter. 
Store in an air tight container.