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.
Advertisements

Spaghetti Squash Veggie Bake

I have been lovin’ Mondays this semester. I get up super early to take Devin to school, work out for an hour, eat breakfast, take a shower and then it’s still not even 9 o’lock yet! Travis goes to work and I have the house to myself until I leave for my 4 o’clock class. It’s usually a “write papers, make presentations and do home work kinda day”. In between studying, I cook.

Last week I roasted a spaghetti squash at 400 degrees for about an hour. Let it cool for a few minutes so you don’t burn yourself! Then use a fork to scoop it into a small baking dish (about a 8×8 size).

roasted spaghetti squash

I looked around in the fridge for some ideas for what to put on the squash. At first I was just going to dump some jarred sauce on it but then I decided to add some veggies to my veggies. I got out a half an onion, 1 zucchini and 2 cloves of garlic, then chopped, diced and sauteed them up in a skillet until almost tender. Then I added a 14 ounce can of organic diced tomatoes and a little oregano, salt and pepper and let it simmer for 10 minutes or so while I went back to my studying.

Then I dumped it over the squash and mixed it around…

spaghetti squash

Covered it with some freshly shredded parmigiano-reggiano…

cover it with cheese

and baked it at 350 for 15 minutes until the cheese melted into the veggie crevices!

Spaghetti Squash Veggie Bake

Lunch is served!

Crispy Quinoa Sliders with Zucchini and Chives

Crispy Quinoa Sliders

Today I was all by myself. No class. No boyfriend working from home. No appointments or anywhere to be. What did I decide to do? I worked out. I cooked a homemade lunch and dinner. I hung pictures. I planted some house plants and worked in my herb garden. I relaxed with my laptop. I also looked up recipes that included chives because with 3 plants growing I have plenty.

These quinoa sliders were a bit of work but well worth it. They are crispy, a very flavorful. Cheesy, garlic-y and onion-y…they didn’t need the buns that the orginal recipe suggested. As I ate them, I imagined making them for family or for a get together with friends. It’s one of those things you would make that would impress people because they wouldn’t expect vegetarian burgers to taste so good!

Here’s a look at the mix before it was fried up:

Quinoa Sliders mix

I placed the sliders on parchment paper to cool after cooking:

Crispy Quinoa Sliders

Today for lunch I ate two of the quinoa sliders with a baked sweet potato! They were perfect together and gave me the energy I needed to work around the house!

Crispy Quinoa Sliders and a sweet potato

Crispy Quinoa Sliders with Zucchini and Chives

  • 2/3 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • Two slices of wheat bread, torn into pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup coarsely grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  • In a medium saucepan, cook the quinoa in 1 1/3 cup vegetable broth until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork and leave uncovered to cool for about 15 minutes.

  • In a food processor, pulse the bread until coarse crumbs form; you should have about 1 cup. In a bowl, whisk the eggs. Squeeze the liquid from the zucchini and add the zucchini to the eggs. Stir in the cheese, chives, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix in the quinoa and bread crumbs. Let stand for 10 minutes.

  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Using a 1/4-cup measure, form 1/2-inch-thick patties.¬†Add 6 patties to skillet and cook until golden on the bottom, 3 minutes. Flip and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove first 6 sliders and place on parchment paper. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the skillet, and form the 6 remaining patties. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, until crisp. Serve with buns, lettuce, tomatoes, onion and pickles if desired.

Recipe Slightly Adapted from Food and Wine

Penne with Zucchini and Shiitakes

Diced zucchini and shittakes

Fast, easy to make pasta sauce doesn’t have to come in jar! I put this pasta together for a quick Sunday lunch when my sister was visiting last weekend. Check some pics from our weekend together on her blog.

We enjoyed (maybe-too-much) wine on Saturday night and I was craving pasta but I also wanted to eat lots of veggies and have a nice healthy meal. The eikhorn pasta has tons of nutrients and 8 grams of protein per serving. I chose shiitake mushrooms for their meaty-ness. Zucchini because it’s one of my favorite veggies and I wanted to add some “green” to the pasta. Garlic and shallots for flavor and bite. Last but not least…fresh, locally made goat cheese that I bought from the SOTJ Farmer’s Market the day before. If I hadn’t added it to the pasta I would have slowly eaten it throughout the week by sticking my finger in the container whenever I saw it in the fridge…it’s THAT good!

Penne with Zucchini and Shiitakes

Penne with Zucchini and Shiitakes

  • 1 – 12 ounce box Jovial Einkorn Penne pasta, cooked
  • 4 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 package shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 – 8 ounce container Night Sky Farms herbed goat cheese

Method

  • Set the goat cheese out to soften. Prepare and chop all the veggies. Add butter and oil to a large skillet and heat to medium heat. Add all the veggies at once and cook until zucchini is just getting soft. (I set a lid on the pot for part of the time to help them steam.)
  • Cook the pasta according the package directions and drain, reserving a little of the pasta water to help the pasta and veggies all come together.
  • In a large bowl toss together cooked pasta, veggies and goat cheese. Add a little pasta water if needed to help everything come together in a nice sauce.

Thai Veggie and Shrimp with Rice Pasta

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients in this dish. Many of these ingredients keep in the pantry for a long time and can be used in lots recipes and marinades. Then once you invest you only need to¬†replenish one bottle at a time when it empties.

 

I always know it’s good when the guys in my house say thank you and help clean up after dinner ūüôā

Thai Veggie and Shrimp with Rice Pasta

  • I package mini zucchini, sliced into 4 pieces in thin strips
  • 1 large handful baby carrots,¬†sliced into 4 pieces in thin strips
  • 1 red pepper,¬†sliced into thin strips
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package sugar snap peas, ends trimmed, sliced in half on the diagonal
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 pound cleaned, peeled,¬†deveined large¬†shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons Mirin (Japanese Sake)
  • 2-3 tablespoons, low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 – 8 ounce box DeBoles rice angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • siracha

Method

  • Chop and prepare all veggies. Heat large skillet over medium heat and add grapeseed and¬†sesame oils into the pan.¬†Add the zucchini, peppers, carrots and onion and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile cook the rice noodles according to package directions.
  • Back to the skillet where the veggies are cooking add garlic, snow peas and raw shrimp and cook until shrimp are about halfway done and then add the Mirin, soy sauce, ginger, fish sauce, sesame seeds and chili garlic sauce. Cook for a couple more minutes until shrimp are done.
  • Toss in cooked, drained and rinsed rice noodles. Add juice of 1/2 lime. Serve immediately. Garnish with siracha for extra heat, if desired.

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.

Ratatouille!!!!

My mom and I both bought the same recipe book from a Southern Living At Home party a few years ago; The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. I made a Boston Cream Pie out of it recently but there are a few recipes in this book that have turned up again and again at family get-togethers…namely this Ratatouille and a Black Bean and Corn Salsa. My mom and sisters and I made this Ratatouille together last weekend and served it with a thai marinated flank steak (recipe to come soon) and it was GONE. No leftovers. Seven people and a baby made short work of the whole pot of stew. Since I didn’t get enough last weekend and the farmer’s market had all the right ingredients I decided to make it again.

Almost everything that went into the Ratatouille was from the farmer’s market that I shopped at yesterday (with the exception of the red onion and the wine and spices). The beer was to help me get through all of the chopping involved for this dish ūüôā

The finished stew:

It was so hard to take this picture and have to wait a minute to dig my spoon into the veggy-goodness.

Ratatouille

Slightly Adapted From The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

  • 1 large eggplant (I used 5 small eggplant), cubed
  • 1 large zucchini (1 used 2-3 smaller ones), cubed
  • 2 medium yellow squash, cubed
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 peppers (red, yellow, green), coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans tomato wedges (I used a large pint of fresh grape tomatoes cut into wedges)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese and pitted black olives, for garnish

Method

  • Saute first 3 ingredients in hot oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Add peppers, onion and garlic and saute for another 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, wine and spices and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Discard bay leaf.
  • Serve with olives and some grated parmesan cheese. Can be served hot or cold. I prefer it warm. Makes great leftovers!!