Mimi's Chicken Noodle Soup

>> Thursday, February 6, 2014

This is an old family recipe and it's definitely a family favorite around here!  It's rare that we have a meal of which everyone (even the baby!) requests second helpings.

Mimi's Chicken Noodle Soup
for the noodles:
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
2 eggs
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt

for the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
2 celery ribs, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 white onion, diced
1 small baking potato, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
6-8 cups chicken broth
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (or you can substitute a store-bought rotisserie)

For the noodles, add flour to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer.  In a small bowl, combine eggs, water, oil and salt.  Pour liquid into the flour and mix with a spoon until a dough forms.  With the bread hook attachment, "knead" the dough for about 10 minutes.  (Alternatively, you can do this with your hands if you don't have a stand mixer - I'm sure that's what Mimi did originally!)  Cover and let rest an hour.

Meanwhile to start working on the soup, place a large pot over medium-low heat and heat oil or butter. Add celery, carrots, and onion and cook 6-8 minutes, or until vegetables are softened and onion is translucent.  Add the garlic, potato, thyme, salt and pepper and cook another 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until garlic is fragrant.  Add chicken broth and let simmer while you finish working on the noodles.

After an hour, roll the dough out on a floured surface.  (If the dough keeps shrinking, let it rest another 10-20 more minutes.)  Roll dough out to about 1/8-inch thick and use a pizza cutter to slice into noodles.  Let the noodles dry out another 30 minutes.

Once the noodles have dried, add them and the chicken to the soup.  Cook another 10-20 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked through.  If the noodles are chewy, let them cook another few minutes.


Shrimp and Grits

>> Monday, January 6, 2014

Quick and easy!  My husband loved this dish so I wanted to write it out before I forgot what all I had done.  It was perfect for such a cold night.

Shrimp and Grits
recipe adapted from Tyler Florence
For the grits:
4 c homemade (or organic) chicken broth
1 c milk or cream
1 c stone-ground corn meal
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
2 T butter
6-8 oz organic white cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper, to taste

For the shrimp:
2 T olive oil
1 lb organic, no nitrates andouille sausage, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
couple dashes of thyme, oregano, and smoked paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c flour
2 c homemade chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 lb wild-caught, local shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1/2 lemon, juiced
garnishes: chives, parsley

For the grits, in a large pot add broth, milk, corn meal, garlic powder, onion powder and a few shakes of salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 20-25 minutes.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in butter and cheese until melted.  Remove from heat and cover until shrimp are ready to serve.

For the shrimp, in a deep skillet over medium heat add olive oil.  Saute sausage until browned.  Remove sausage from skillet.  Add onion, bell peppers, celery and seasonings.  Cook, stirring often, until veggies are softened and onion turns translucent.  Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds.  Stir in flour to make a roux.  Slowly drizzle in chicken broth, stirring well to avoid lumps.  Add bay leaves.  Once mixture starts to bubble, add shrimp and cook for a few more minutes, or until shrimp turn pink. Stir in lemon juice.  Toss with chives and parsley and serve over cheesy grits.


Week 1 Menu - 100 Days of Real Food

>> Saturday, January 4, 2014

Here is my basic plan for the first week of eating real food!  Some of the recipes below had to be tweaked a bit to better fit with the real food diet.  If I have any real winning recipes, I'll post them as we go.

Breakfasts -

  • Breakfast taco with veggies (onion; red, yellow and green bell peppers; spinach) on whole wheat tortillas
  • Pancakes with organic nut butter and maple syrup (using this homemade pancake mix recipe)
  • Greek yogurt with granola
Lunches -
  • Dinner leftovers
  • Fancy BLT sandwiches; veggies and ranch dressing
  • Nut butter and honey sandwiches; veggies and ranch dressing
Snacks -
Dinners -
Tips and Tricks -
  • I started the week off with the Crockpot Whole Chicken recipe.  After we ate it for dinner, I picked all the remaining meat off the chicken to use later in the week for the Tex-Mex Chicken Chili.  Then I put the carcass back in the crockpot; threw in some onion, carrots, celery and parsley; filled the crockpot with water; and let it cook on low over night.  The next morning I strained the homemade chicken stock and poured it into mason jars to use for the Tex-Mex Chicken Chili too.
  • I made a double-batch of the lettuce wrap filling and froze half.  I love knowing I have a healthy, already prepared dinner in the freezer.  I'd like to try to freeze at least one recipe every week so I can have a nice supply of dinners in the freezer.
  • The pasta recipe made a lot of tomatoes, so I planned to serve the extra tomatoes in the fancy BLT sandwiches.  
  • I saved the frittata until the end of the week because I knew that it was a recipe that could easily be tweaked to include any remaining veggies that I had leftover from the week.  So it became more of an 'everything but the kitchen sink frittata' but it was still delish.  And that's what counts!
  • I loved having my snacks prepared ahead of time for the week.  I usually don't go to grab a snack until I'm already famished, so I knew it was imperative for me to have healthy things ready to eat.


Our 100 Days of Real/Whole Foods Challenge

>> Friday, January 3, 2014

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, Andrew and I were tired.  Tired of eating easy to make but unhealthy food.  I stumbled upon the website 100 Days of Real Foods and decided to give it a-go for the new year.  Luckily Andrew was on board!  After reading all the guideline for the whole foods diet, we tailored it a bit for our family.  Specifically here are the goals/guidelines that we decided upon:

  • Try to make as many things as possible from scratch.  For instance, this week I made ranch dressing, chicken stock and pancake mix from scratch - each of which were truly easy and fast recipes.  And they all taste much better homemade than they do store-bought!
  • Cut out processed foods as much as possible.  We are only buying products with 5 ingredients or less and the ingredients must be all-natural.  No chemicals or preservatives or ingredients with ten syllables that I can't for the life of me pronounce.  Our exceptions right now are our bread products - we bought fresh whole wheat tortillas and whole wheat sandwich bread from a local bakery.  I found out that Great Harvest Bread Company makes a whole wheat bread with just five ingredients (whole wheat flour, water, yeast, salt and honey).  
  • Switching from white flour to whole wheat flour and switching from refined sugars to honey and maple syrup.  This is a process and not something we're doing overnight, but as long as we're moving in that direction, I feel like we're doing well.
  • Incorporate more vegetarian meals.  Our tentative plan now is to try our best to make 3 vegetarian dinners each week.
  • Limit eating out to twice a week.  Period.  The end.  No exceptions!

We spent January 1st cleaning out the fridge and pantry, meal planning and grocery shopping.  What I've found so far (you know, a whole three days in!) is that we saved money making things ourselves but spent more money because we bought more fresh fruits and veggies.  So overall, we spent just about the same amount on groceries for the week.

To be successful in this endeavor, I sat down and spent several hours planning out all of our meals, not just our dinners.  I am not a morning person, so I made a dozen breakfast tacos using this method but making them healthier.  I omitted the meat; added sauteed onions, bell peppers (yellow, red and green) and spinach; and I used whole wheat tortillas.  Now they are in the freezer ready and waiting for me to pop them in the microwave while I brew my coffee in the morning.

I also prepared some snacks to have on hand to help curb my sweet and carb cravings.  For snacks, I usually will grab chips, crackers, cookies or some other unhealthy snack.  No bueno!  I made some homemade granola and stored it in mason jars to keep it fresh longer.  I plan on eating the granola plain just to much on or over Greek yogurt and fresh berries if I need a more substantial snack/meal.  For our other prepared snack for the week, I cut up a bunch of fresh veggies (carrots, cucumbers, celery, yellow bell pepper) and threw them all in a large tupperware container filled with water.  I eat the veggies with some of my homemade ranch - it's delicious and the veggies can also stand in for a quick side dish at lunchtime.


French Peasant Beef Stew

>> Thursday, January 17, 2013

My mom makes an awesome beef stew, and with this cold snap we've had, I decided to make it for dinner one night.  Being pregnant, when I have a craving, I want it right that instant.  So I immediately called mom for her recipe...but she wasn't home.  So I headed to the grocery store and just hoped that I could wing it.  While my recipe wasn't exactly like my mom's recipe, it was still delicious - and easy!  Since I cooked it low and slow, it wasn't necessary to pre-cook the vegetables and the potatoes broke down and served to thicken the broth of the stew.  And the meat was fall-apart tender...yum!  Serve with crusty bread and a glass of the remaining red wine and you've got a fantastic winter meal.

French Peasant Beef Stew

2 T vegetable oil
2 - 2 1/2 lb beef stew meat
1/2 bottle good quality red wine
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 t herbes de provence
3 1-inch pieces of orange rind
salt and pepper
32 oz low sodium beef broth
16 oz fresh whole mushrooms, cleaned and halved (or quartered if large)
2-3 large carrots, thinly sliced
2-3 celery ribs, sliced
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
1 large baking potato, peeled and cubed
2 T worcestershire sauce
1/8 - 1/4 t ground cloves

In a large pot or dutch oven, add the vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat.  In batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pot, quickly sear/brown the beef.  Remove beef to a plate.

Lower heat to medium.  Pour in red wine, bay leaves, garlic, herbes de provence, orange rind and a little salt and pepper and scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Let simmer for a few minutes, 2-3 minutes.  Stir in beef broth.

Add meat back into the pot.  Add mushrooms, carrots, celery, potatoes and onions.  Stir well.  Cover pot and let simmer 20-30 minutes.  Stir again and lower heat to low, stirring occasionally, and let cook for 4-5 hours.

About an hour before serving, stir in worcestershire sauce and cloves.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove bay leaf before serving.


Mexican Shrimp Tostadas with Cilantro-Lime Slaw

>> Monday, October 22, 2012

I think I could eat these once a week and never tire of them.  I really, really love these tostadas and luckily so does everyone else in my family.  As good as shrimp, black beans, guacamole and cheese are, it's definitely the cilantro-lime slaw that elevates these tostadas into the realm of super awesomeness.  My family has some food sensitivities and this recipe is naturally gluten-free and for Finley, I simply omit the cheese.  Easy-peasy and everyone is happy!  If you aren't a shrimp fan, you can easily substitute chicken, pork, or beef or they're hearty enough to just serve them vegetarian.

Mexican Shrimp Tostados with Cilantro-Lime Slaw

for the shrimp:
2/3 lb small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Tex-Mex seasoning (or a mixture of garlic powder, salt, pepper, Mexican oregano and cumin)

for the slaw:
1/2 bag cole slaw
3-4 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1 lime, zest and juice
2-3 tablespoons cilantro
salt and pepper

for the tostadas:
12 tostada shells
1 store bought container good-quality guacamole (or make homemade)
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 oz crumbled Mexican or feta cheese
1 tomato, chopped

Early in the day, combine all of the shrimp ingredients together in a ziplock bag and gently mix well.  Refrigerate until ready to cook.  Then assemble all slaw ingredients (except salt and pepper) in a mixing bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with foil and arrange the 12 tostado shells on the baking sheets.  Cook the shells for 2-3 minutes to crisp them up.   Remove them and let cool until you can handle them.  Spread 1-2 tablespoons of guacamole on each tostada.  Evenly divide the black beans between the tostadas and then top the beans with cheese.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is softened.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook shrimp, flipping halfway through, 2-3 minutes or until no longer pink.

Remove tostadas from oven.  Top with slaw, tomatoes and shrimp.  Serve immediately.


Chorizo, Potato and Mushroom Tacos

>> Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's no secret in our house that my husband loves him some chorizo.  It's also no secret that I'm always on the look out for a quick weeknight meal.  This recipe fit both and sounded delicious, so I decided to give it a try.  Normally when I make tacos, I serve them with cheese and sour cream, but now that we're a (mostly) dairy-free household, I can't do that anymore.  This recipe was so flavorful and filling that I didn't miss the dairy at all!  So next time you have taco night, I highly recommend you trying this recipe!

Chorizo, Potato and Mushroom Tacos

Rick Bayless, Mexican Everyday, as seen on Pink Parsley

12 oz fresh Mexican chorizo, casings removed
1 medium white onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz of your favorite mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
12 oz red skin, yukon gold or russet potato, grated
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
12 warm corn tortillas, for sering
3/4 c tomatillo salsa, for serving
1 avocado, sliced, for serving
Margaritas, optional but definitely recommended!

Crumble the chorizo into a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat.  Cook, stirring often to break up any large lumps, until some of the fat starts to render and the sausage looks half-cooked, about 4-5 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium-high, and add the onions, garlic and mushrooms.  Cook, stirring nearly constantly, until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

Sprinkle the grated potato over the sausage mixture and continue cooking until the potatoes are soft, about 3 minutes, stirring often.  Reduce the temperature if the potatoes start to brown before they soften.  Taste and season with salt if necessary - some chorizo is highly seasoned.

Scrape mixture into serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.  Serve with warm tortillas, tomatillo salsa and sliced avocado.


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