Category: Food

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

Man oh man is it COLD out!  Every morning when I turn on Good Morning America one of the first stories covered has to do with how much of the country is being bombarded with record breaking snow and freezing temperatures.  I live in Seattle and although we (thankfully!!!) have not been plagued with this type of winter storm, it is pretty chilly and nothing warms my soul like a comforting pot of homemade soup.

The recipe I wanted to share today is super easy and so comforting.  It is a recipe for Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup that I stumbled on years ago while perusing the internet for a yummy and easy chicken soup.  The original recipe can be found here, however I have made some changes over the years to make it a bit healthier and tastier, in my opinion. I love to start the soup with a healthy dose of veggies that I like to put in a food processor so that my boys will actually eat the soup and not question everything.  You will also notice that I have a bit of an odd flavoring addition which is noted as packets of Ramen flavoring.  I know – very weird, but I can’t explain how good that salt in those little packets make this soup!  I also like to use either corn starch or potato starch to help make this a gluten free soup and I substituted half and half for the cream in the original recipe as well.

I hope you try this recipe out and let me know what you think.  This has become one of our family favorites and hopefully will become one for your family as well.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Ingredients
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
3 T. oil
3 T. corn starch or potato starch
4 c. chicken broth
2 c. water
1 package Rice a Roni Wild Rice Mix
2 packets Ramen Soup Mix (I prefer beef flavored for this recipe)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1-2 cups Half & Half

Directions
Over medium-high heat in a large stock pot warm 3 T. olive oil.

Place onions, carrots, celery and garlic into a food processor and pulse until all vegetables come to a very, fine chop.  Place vegetable mixture into soup pot and sauté until veggies are lightly golden, about 6-8 minutes.  Add starch (potato or corn) and cook for 2 minutes.

Add stock, water, rice mix and ramen packets to the pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover pot and cook for 25 minutes over low heat.

After 25 minutes, add chicken breasts and half and half.  Warm for another ten minutes and serve.
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Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding Parfait

I LOVE chocolate, sugar, candy, sweets, and all sorts of amazing, yummy treats.  I have tried to give up sugar at times but was so miserable that I will no longer attempt to deprive myself.  However, I have promised to be a bit healthier while I embrace my love of sugary sweetness.  This is where my delectable Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding Parfait comes in.

Chia seeds are amazing for you and are such a versatile ingredient.  They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, high in protein, fiber and anti-oxidant rich to boot!  These magical seeds naturally thicken in liquid making them the perfect way to create a healthy pudding.  My favorite way to enjoy this pudding is to add granola (for crunch) and fresh fruit (in this case raspberries) for a burst of freshness.

I enjoy this pudding for breakfast or it can be eaten as a snack or dessert.  This is such a tasty and healthy dish that you can enjoy it guilt-free any time of day.   Please let me know of any healthy dessert swaps that you might have!

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding Parfait
Ingredients
1 cup milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 T. cocoa powder
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
Granola
Fruit/Berries

Directions
Whisk milk, chia seeds, cocoa powder, brown sugar, white sugar, coffee granules, vanilla extract, and salt together in a bowl until pudding is smooth. Let sit for 5 minutes; stir. Repeat sitting and stirring process at least 2 times.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate, 8 hours to overnight. Pour mixture into blender and blend until smooth. Spoon into bowls and top with granola and berries.

All Mixed Up…
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Chia Seed Pudding Post Blending

 

 

 

 

 

Chia Seed Pudding
Perfection…


Delicious Cinnamon Spiked Hot Apple Cider – The Perfect Hot Cocktail

My friend Cindy came over on Halloween for some pre trick-or-treating festivities.  She came with a scrumptious option for an adult hot apple cider.  Now I like Apple Cider but I don’t love it and often times will forgo the calories for something else – such as, chocolate….  In any event, she convinced me to take a sip from her mug and I was ruined.  This was one delicious and super easy cocktail.

The secret ingredient is cinnamon whiskey such as Fireball or Sinfire.   There is something so soothing about having a warm cocktail that I was never able to relate to since I can’t stand whiskey so I have never thoroughly enjoyed a hot toddy.

I feel so lucky to finally have a warm cocktail recipe that I love and have Cindy to thank. This recipe is delicious, inviting and so simple to make.  While drinking this I felt like I was being wrapped in a  warm, cinnamon-y hug.  I definitely plan on making this for the holidays!

Delicious Cinnamon Spiked Hot Apple Cider
Ingredients
Hot Cider (any variety will work)
Cinnamon Whiskey (suggested Fireball or Sinfire)

Directions
Gently warm the cider in a saucepan over medium heat.  Pour a shot or two into a mug and pour in warm cider.  Enjoy!

My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

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Image Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year.  I love eating with reckless abandon and turkey day is the day to do just this – as far as I am concerned anyways….  Over the years I have come up with my traditional thanksgiving favorite recipes and I wanted to share them with you.

My normal menu consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, pumpkin crisp, gravy and cranberry sauce.  In looking at this menu, the first thing I always notice is that there is nothing green – no vegetable or salad and I must say that is just fine with me.  So without further ado…

The turkey recipe I use is Martha Stewart’s Turkey 101 which is amazing and turns out perfect every time.  I am sure that it has something to do with the bottle of wine and pound of butter used to baste the turkey that makes it so succulent and amazing!

photo courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

As for stuffing…I used to make Martha Stewart’s standard stuffing recipe that can be found here, however about five years ago I was introduced to a stuffing recipe that won a Good Morning America stuffing recipe contest.  OMG – this stuff is SOOOOOOOOOO freaking good!  It is ridiculously fattening so I only make it once a year, however it is so worth it!  The recipe dates back to 2007, however you can still find it online here.  I have included the recipe below just so I always have it in the event that page ever gets taken down.

Corn casserole might sound a bit unusual for Thanksgiving but again, I make it once a year and just seems to mesh well with everything on the plate.  Think cornbread but more delicate and buttery.  The recipe is from AllRecipes and can be found here.

Now Gravy is so easy and I do cheat by using a bottled product, but it is so delicious nobody will ever, ever know and you don’t have to worry about lumps!  Williams Sonoma Turkey Gravy Base is a gem!  You can thank me later.

I am not a pumpkin pie fan.  I think it is part texture and part overall pumpkin taste but I always had a pumpkin pie and an apple pie at Thanksgiving until I stumbled upon Pumpkin Crisp.   This dessert is made with boxed yellow cake mix so if you have any nostalgia for a basic yellow cake then this could be one of your new favorites as well.  I blogged about this a while ago and you can see the full recipe here.

The cranberry sauce I make is the standard Ocean Spray version that can be found on the back of the fresh cranberry package.  Sometimes I will add some fresh orange zest to add an additional flavor element to the sauce but that is optional.

So….that is my run down for what I make for my family on turkey day.  I hope you try some of these delicious recipes.  They are tried and true for multiple years so I can vouch that they are all super yummy!

Down Home Italian Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 extra-large yellow onion, chopped
  • 7 large celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 ounces pancetta, diced&
  • 6 cups day-old, finely diced French bread
  • 3 cups crumbled unsweetened cornbread
  • ½ cup butter, cubed, cold
  • 1 tablespoon ground sage
  • 1½ tablespoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 4-5 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • large Parmesan shavings

Directions

  • Heat oil in large skillet on medium. Sauté pancetta for 2 minutes.
  • Add onion and celery and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook another 3 minutes.
  • Mix together breads and ¾ cup toasted pine nuts in a large mixing bowl. Add cheeses and cooked sausage to the breads. Mix together with the dried seasonings.
  • Add sautéed veggies with any pan drippings.
  • Slowly add broth and stir until mixed thoroughly. The consistency should not be soupy, but very moist. If not, add more broth.
  • Test for saltiness and add a dash more if needed.
  • Place in an extra deep 9-inch-by-13-inch greased pan.
  • Dot the top with the cubed butter and cover with foil. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or until slightly crusted on the edges.
  • Top with remaining toasted pine nuts and chopped fresh sage. Add shaved cheese just before serving.

Chicken Larb

Have you ever gone out to eat and had something so delicious that out of the blue you will find yourself fixating on the sheer deliciousness of that meal and you can’t stop thinking about it?  Well…I tend to get that way and the only way I know to satisfy the craving is to of course – honor it!

My husband and I went out to eat at a restaurant called Black Bottle that is located in Seattle.  They have a Chicken Larb on their menu that is super spicy and amazing!  My mouth waters just thinking about it.  I have to warn you that this recipe is spicy, however you can adjust the spiciness based on how much Sriracha you add.  I use a heavy hand which you can tell by the pictures but this recipe would be just as yummy if you used less.   I concocted my own recipe using soy sauce and worcestershire sauce in lieu of fish sauce because I didn’t have any.  If you do have fish sauce by all means use that option.

Do you have any favorite recipes that you concocted after visiting a restaurant?  I would love to hear about them!

Chicken Larb
Ingredients
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 c. coarsely chopped shallots
1 garlic clove
1 T.  fish sauce or 2 tsp. soy sauce + 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
3T. sriracha (or to taste)
2 T. vegetable oil
Lettuce Leaves (for serving)
3 T. cashews, finely chopped

Directions
Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. oil over and pulse until chicken is very finely chopped. Heat remaining  oil in a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium–high heat. Add chicken mixture and sauté, breaking up into small pieces with the back of a spoon, until chicken is starting to turn golden brown and is cooked through, about 6 minutes.

Place 2 lettuce leaves on each plate. Top leaves with chicken mixture, dividing evenly. Garnish with cashews and serve.