Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken and chips and veggies all whirled(is that a word?) together means yummy soupy-goodness. I have seriously made this so many times that I realized not sharing it here was like I was lying to you somehow. I think my spoon goes into my bowl so fast that I just don’t think about you. Sorry. I think.

It easily doubles to feed your 2 brothers, 2 sisters, their husbands and kids…ummm…a big crowd…

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 white/yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • (you can add a diced red pepper here…I didn’t have one)
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 28-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • pepper-jack cheese
  • 5-6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2-1 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 3/4 cup Mont Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers
  • 1-2 roasted chicken breasts or meat from one small rotisserie chicken, pulled
  • 1 cup frozen corn

Toppings:

  • Mont Jack cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Limes
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • more crushed tortilla chips

Method

  • Heat oil in dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat and add vegetables (next 6 ingredients). Season with salt & pepper. Saute until tender or about 15 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, seasonings, fresh cilantro and chicken stock.  Bring to a simmer and let cook down for 20 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the crushed tortillas and simmer for 10 more minutes or until soft.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Blend it! Trust me. It somehow tastes better when the soup is smooth!
  • Add the shredded, roasted chicken, corn and the cheese and stir around to incorporate.
  • Spoon into bowls and finish with your favorite toppings.
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Smashed Avocado and Shrimp Salad Sandwich

easy shrimp salad

A lot of people talk about how they make breakfast/brunch or special dinners on the weekends but I don’t really see LUNCH getting any attention.

I usually always have a smoothie for breakfast…and in the past couple of weeks sometimes overnight oats…and especially on Saturday mornings after working out and showering I want a really good lunch. Something fresh, no re-heated leftovers.

I’ve been making this shrimp salad for a few years now. I got the recipe from a friend and she prepared it as a topping on a toasted english muffin, then she would top that with some sliced havarti cheese then place it under the broiler for a minute or 2 to get it all melt-y. YUM! I had a large ripe avocado that needed to be eaten so I decided to substitute that for the cheese…glad I did!

Smashed avocado and shrimp salad sandwich

With creamy avocado, plump shrimp bites and crunchy-fresh celery it’s a very satisfying and flavorful lunch. I had my previously mentioned favorite summer fruit — a nectarine — on the side.

Smashed avocado and shrimp salad sandwich

Perfect thing to eat before heading to the pool. Only a few pool days left before it closes after all…

at the pool

Smashed Avocado and Shrimp Salad Sandwiches

  • 1 pound cleaned and deveined shrimp (fresh from deli if possible, or frozen/thawed)
  • 2 tablespoons Vegenaise (or your fav mayo – I prefer the taste of Vegenaise)
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon country style mustard (or dijon)
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 2 teaspoons white wine (I used sauvignon blanc)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 avocado
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • wheat bread or 12 grain bread

Method

  • In a large non-stick skillet add a small drizzle of EVOO and cook shrimp with a little salt and pepper for no more than 5 minutes for large shrimp. Let cool.
  • In the meantime in a bowl stir together Veganaise, dill, mustard, shallot, celery, wine and S&P. Dice each piece of shrimp into 4-5 pieces and add to bowl.
  • In a separate small bowl smash the avocado with the lime juice.
  • To prepare sandwich smear avocado on toasted bread and top with about 1/4 of the shrimp salad. Serves about 4.

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings

Perfect comfort food for the night before a big exam!

Check out The Pioneer Woman’s blog for the recipe. The only change I made was to roast the chicken whole and then pick the meat off of the bones before adding it  to the soup. Yes, I even added the apple cider. There are a lot of negative comments on her blog about how corn meal in the dumplings would make them “grainy” and that Bisquick mix is the best….blah, blah, blah. Ignore those people. These dumplings are sinfully good! Don’t rely on processed ingredients for your cooking 🙂

“One pot meals make my skirt fly up.” – The Pioneer Woman

BluePrint Cleanse – Preparation Day 3

Blueberry banana faux smoothie

Breakfast

  • warm water with freshly squeezed lemon
  • What I call a “blueberry banana faux smoothie”. Faux because it didn’t have any yogurt or almond milk! It had 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 frozen banana, the juice of one naval orange and little water to get it going in my little blender. It was delish and almost tasted like dessert!

Exercise

  • It was 28 degrees this morning so I opted out of walking outside and got on the treadmill for an hour. I did just under 4 miles.
  • 1 stalk celery with 1 tablespoon almond butter (eaten on the way to class).

Lunch

  • Spinach salad from Rev It Up Cafe. Spinach, diced tomatoes, dried cranberries, red onion and pecans (no blue cheese!) and balsamic vinaigrette. This salad was a generous portion and so good and fresh. I will have this again when I can have dairy and keep the blue cheese!
  • Cinnamon spice hot tea also from Rev It Up. I need to buy some of this for home. Very yummy!

Snack

  • a honey crisp apple

Dinner

  • Saute of fresh kale, spinach, shallot and garlic.
  • 2 cups vegetable broth served with some thinly sliced green onion. (I didn’t like having plain veg broth! I forced myself it eat like a kid who wasn’t allowed to leave the dinner table. Will not have this again.)
  • Sipped on vanilla chai tea after dinner.

Just a side note about my exercise. I have been working out six days a week since December 21st. I was working out about 2 days a week prior to that. Just didn’t want anyone thinking that I just started doing this the week of my cleanse 🙂

Tomorrow starts my juice only diet for the next three days. I’ll be looking for a box from FedEx in the morning!

Turkey Tetrazzini

Happy New Years Eve!

Turkey Tetrazzini

The only time I have ever eaten Turkey Tetrazzini is at the old Ukrops deli. It’s been forever ago since I had it but I remember the turkey, spaghetti noodles and celery goodness very well. It’s a once-a-year-get-rid-of-my-leftover-turkey-kind-of-dish. You know….delish but not something to make all the time.

I read over a few recipes. Some called for tons of cheese or cream cheese….not the flavor or calories that I wanted. Some had ingredient lists a mile long. I made my own version and I think it turned out great. Peas, celery, onion, shiitake mushrooms…a light(ish) sauce with crispy parmesan cheese baked on top. YUM!

Turkey Tetrazzini

The two 15-year-olds in my house ate 2 plate fulls!!

Turkey Tetrazzini

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 container shiitake mushrooms, stem removed and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 ounces frozen peas
  • 1 cup homemade turkey stock (or the boxed stuff is good too)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk (I don’t usually buy this but I had some leftover from the mashed potatoes I made on Christmas Eve and didn’t want to waste it)
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 3 cups leftover turkey, shredded
  • 10 ounces Barilla Plus spaghetti noodles, cooked for about 8 minutes and drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

Method

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the extra virgin olive oil. Add onions and celery (salt and pepper) until about halfway cooked or about 5 minutes. Add butter and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Add peas, shredded turkey, stock, milk and sour cream (then season again with salt and pepper) and cook until starting to bubble. Add cooked, drained noodles and toss to combine
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13×9 glass dish with non stick olive oil spray and add contents of skillet. Top with 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese and 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for another 10-15 minutes before serving.

Whatever You Have Beef Stew

This week has been a blur. Devin started school on the 20th. Classes at VCU started for me last week on the 23rd so this was my first full week of classes. We’re both getting used to getting up early. He took a 3+ hour nap when he got home from school one day! It’s Labor Day weekend though, so with no school on Monday for both of us I can write on my blog, clean the house, do some homework and enjoy our last weekend at the pool for the summer!

The stew I made today is inspired by the rainy day and the bits and pieces of veggies from my cooking this past week that were left in my fridge. In the crisper drawer I had a quarter of a package of baby carrots, a bag of celery with only 2 stalks left, a yellow pepper and half of a large onion. My mom’s fresh canned tomatoes had been opened a few days ago for use in another recipe and I knew the rest of them needed to be used up soon. In the pantry I had a few tiny red potatoes. Making this stew was meant to be!

We served it with cornbread muffins:

Travis took some leftovers to his 95 year-old grandfather and he called me the next day to tell me how much he enjoyed it. He said that, “he wasn’t sure it was beef stew but whatever is was it was really, really good”! How great is that?? Thanks Grandpa!

Whatever You Have Beef Stew

  • 1 pound ground beef (93% lean)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • handful baby carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 of a large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced into strips and diced small
  • 3 zucchini, quartered and sliced
  • 1 – 16 ounce bag frozen, chopped spinach
  • 12 tiny red potatoes, sliced
  •  1/2 quart fresh canned tomatoes (a 28 ounce can would work great)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

  • In a medium skillet cook ground beef and the minced garlic along with a little salt and pepper until the ground beef is cooked through.
  • Meanwhile chop veggies and add them along with the rest of the ingredients (including the cooked ground beef) to the crockpot.
  • Cook 3-4 hours on high.