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Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken & “Rice” Soup

17 Jan

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice
Things have been a little slow around here this month in the food department. Not that I have cooked, it’s just that I haven’t been very inspired or impressed by anything I’ve made lately. I’ve been trying to drop a couple pounds and let’s be honest… a lot of times healthy food just tastes so darn… healthy. But that just means, when I finally do post something, you know it’s worth making! Like this soup!

I got this recipe from a newly acquired cookbook called “Paleo Slow Cooker Soups & Stews” by Amelia Simons. This is my first venture into the book and I’m happy to say it was a success. Tons of flavor and super easy to make. Now I actually made this on the stove top in a couple of hours, but the results should be very similar to the slow cooker method. The changes I made involved cooking the onions in a pot with the garlic and chicken, then adding the rest of the ingredients and simmering on low for an hour or so. I also used a bag of frozen cauliflower (thawed) to make the “rice.” I was going to get fresh stuff but it was $3 for a tiny head of cauliflower at the grocery store which I thought seemed ridiculously expensive. The last thing I would suggest is to go towards the low end on the chicken amount. The recipe calls for 2.5-3 pounds of chicken breasts and I used 2.5 lbs. This still seemed like a lot of chicken. I’d suggest closer to 2 pounds for a better ratio.

Anyway, after all was said and done, this was a very easy meal to throw together and healthy to boot! An excellent “healthy” meal that everyone will be happy to eat!

mexican soup

Ingredients

  • 2½ to 3 pounds chicken breast, sliced into strips (I’d suggest only 2 pounds)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 (14 ounce) jar of roasted red peppers, chopped medium
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 1½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Coat the slow cooker insert with coconut oil and turn it on HIGH while you get your ingredients ready.
  2. Place the chicken slices, garlic, onions, and peppers in the bottom of the slow cooker. Gently pour in the diced tomatoes and chicken broth.
  3. Add the chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.
  4. Cover with the lid and turn the slow cooker down to LOW. Cook for 6 hours.
  5. Several minutes before you want to serve the soup, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until you have the consistency of rice.
  6. Empty the cauliflower into a serving bowl and mix in the fresh cilantro.*
  7. When ready to serve, place some “rice” in the bottom of a soup bowl and cover with the chicken soup.

*I just mixed all my cauliflower and cilantro in with the soup to save cleaning an extra bowl.

Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

15 Mar

gumbo

I had never eaten gumbo before I made this. I don’t know why, but the word “gumbo” doesn’t exactly sound appealing. Maybe because it’s along the lines of goulash, which for me brings back memories of my dad’s goulash which consisted of Spaghetti-Os, canned corn, and pork & beans all mixed together. Yum. And let’s be honest here. It’s not like gumbo is known for being visually stunning. All I knew about it was it’s a bunch of stuff thrown together and people down in Louisiana seem to like it.

So why did I even make this you ask? Well, I saw this recipe on a site I trust. A site where I’ve gotten a bunch of delicious recipes and I figured if they thought it was awesome, then I would too. Man I love being right. Seriously though, this stuff was so good. It wasn’t the fastest meal to put together… about an hour of active work time and 2 more hours of simmering time, but the results were well worth it. I made sure to prep all my ingredients and took my time on the roux to make sure I didn’t burn it. No sweat. Definitely not as finicky as I expected. So make this. You won’t regret it!

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Creamy Potato Chowder

5 Mar

bacon potato chowder

I was originally going to make this soup in the crock pot, but after looking at the recipe and seeing how fast it was to make, I just threw it together on the stove. I ended up doing 1.5 times the recipe because I needed to use up a couple extra potatoes. Which I thought worked out well as it turned out to be a better sized batch. Next time I’ll just double it for simplicity’s sake.

I made the recipe as written except for one small change. A few reviewers mentioned how they’d blended part of the soup to make it a bit thicker. I decided to do the same and just stuck my immersion blender in the pot for a few seconds when it was all done cooking. You definitely don’t have to do this extra step, but I thought it was a good tweak. Oh also, I was a little concerned when I first put all my veggies in the pot to simmer because it didn’t look like there was near enough water. But, after a couple minutes of cooking it all settled down and the extra water from the veggies brought it up to the right level. So don’t freak out if yours looks the same. It’ll be fine.

Ultimately I was very pleased with this recipe. It was super fast, cheap to make, and surprisingly full of flavor. A definite keeper!

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Colorado Cape Cod Chowder

26 Feb

cape cod chowder

When I first saw this recipe I thought it looked incredibly delicious and a little out of the ordinary. I’m not used to having chunks of fish in soup, but the concept seemed like a good one. This turned out to be a very tasty quick dinner. It didn’t taste fishy to me at all and I think even a non-fish eater might like it since the creamy base tones it all down. I’m sure you could use any dense white fish in place of cod, but I’d stay away from the more delicate stuff like trout because it would just fall apart.

So if you’re looking for some variety in your soup life, try this one out!

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Mexican Corn and Poblano Soup

21 Feb

corn poblano soup 2

As is quite frequently my luck when shopping for required recipe ingredients, my grocery store was fresh out of poblano peppers. Darn it. Having used them before I knew they were quite mild, so I decided to go with Anaheim peppers instead. And since they were smallish, I used 4 instead of 2. Anaheim peppers are actually a little hotter than poblanos, but the resulting soup was pleasantly spicy. So I guess what I’m saying here is, you could use Anaheim peppers if you can’t find poblanos.

I chose to go the broiler route to char all my onions and peppers, and I’d say it took approximately 3-5 minutes per side until they were done. Which was fine because this left my hands free to prep the rest of the ingredients. I thought this soup had a great flavor and Seth and I promptly ate the entire batch in one sitting. So if you’re cooking for your family, might want to double or triple this one.

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Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas

8 Jan

Carrot Soup with chickpeas

When I first saw this recipe I was very intrigued. I knew it could either be horribly bad or really good. I mean, chickpeas? They aren’t exactly known for being full of flavor. But, I made it and even before all the elements came together, I knew it was going to be awesome.

My crisped chickpeas were done before anything else so I sampled some. Then I sampled some more. And more. And then I had to stop myself from eating them or else I wasn’t going to have any left for the soup. I have never had a crisped chickpea before but there were so good! I can totally see making more of these just to eat as a snack.

The next component finished was the pita chips. Holy crap. So delicious. I used toasted sesame seeds and sea salt on mine and they were just perfect. I had to hold myself back and just eat one as a tester. I would totally make these as a snack as well. I bet they’d be awesome with some hummus.

When I finally got all the components together and into the soup, I was in heaven. So much flavor in such a healthy dish was a bit astounding to me. This meal was really over-the-top. Next time I would definitely double it, especially the soup since it only made about 3 bowls. So what I’m saying is, make this! You will not be disappointed!

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Chicken and Dumplings

7 Jan

When I was choosing my meals to make for the week, I didn’t look super close at the time requirements of this recipe and missed the one hour cook time for the chicken. Since I had already bought 5 pounds of chicken thighs, I was kind of stuck using this recipe, but luckily Seth is around on weekends so it makes these more time consuming meals possible. After all was said and done I think it took me close to 3 hours to get this on the table. Keep in mind I wasn’t rushing around the kitchen or anything, so if you work faster than I do it’s highly possible it won’t take you that long.

The question is, was all that time and effort worth the results? It’s hard to say. I mean, this turned out really good and I feel better feeding my family purely homemade food. So, if you’ve got the extra time, go ahead and make this. If you don’t and don’t mind a few store-bought substitutes, try this other winner from Sandra Lee. You can’t lose with either recipe.

chicken and dumplings atk

“Don’t use low-fat or fat-free milk in this recipe. Be sure to reserve 3 tablespoons chicken fat for the dumplings; however, if you prefer not to use chicken fat, unsalted butter can be substituted. Start the dumpling dough only when you’re ready to top the stew with the dumplings.”

STEW

  • 5 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 12 thighs)
  • table salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (½ stick)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 4 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup whole milk (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leave, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
DUMPLINGS
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons reserved chicken fat (or unsalted butter)

For the Stew:

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove the browned skin. Pour off the chicken fat and reserve. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and the remaining chicken. Pour off and reserve any chicken fat.

Add the butter to the Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the flour. Whisk in the sherry, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, milk, thyme, and bay leaves. Nestle the chicken, with any accumulated juices, into the pot. Cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, about 1 hour.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Discard the bay leaves. Allow the sauce to settle for a few minutes, then skim the fat from the surface using a wide spoon. Shred the chicken,(using two forks), discarding the bones, then return it to the stew.

For the Dumplings:

Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Microwave the milk and fat in a microwave-safe bowl on high until just warm (do not over-heat), about 1 minute. Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until incorporated and smooth. Return the stew to a simmer, stir in the peas and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

Drop golf-ball-sized dumplings over the top of the stew, about 1/4 inch apart (you should have about 18 dumplings). Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve.

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