Thursday, February 5, 2015

Tomato Chicken Soup with Lime, (G)

Everyone I know loves soup! Whether it is a small cup or a hearty bowlful, soup means comfort, warmth and, usually - vitamins. Many soups are created from 'this and that' items hiding in the back corners of one's refrigerator. I have created soups because I craved a certain flavor or food or when I wanted to replicate a certain restaurant menu item. On the other hand, there are those wonderful family favorites like:

 1. Ham and Split Pea Soup

2.  'Lentil Vegetable Dish'

Whatever the deciding factor, don't give up on making your own soup!

 Featured soup has a very 'south of the border' flavor.

Tomato Chicken Soup with Lime

2 C fragrant rice
Olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1 large sweet onion, diced
Pepper blend
3-4 boneless chicken thighs, no hormone, no antibiotic, free-range
1 can diced tomatoes with chipotle
1 small can gree chilies
4 C chicken stock
Cilantro, (I use a cilantro paste from a tube - find it in the produce section)
Juice from 1 large lime
Shredded sharp cheddar (optional)
Tostada shells, broken up (optional)
Cook rice and set aside.
Preheat a large dutch oven over med/high heat. Add olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot - add the onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add sliced garlic; continue to cook. Stir occasionally until mixture is golden. Remove to a plate.
Add 1-2 T olive oil and place chicken thighs in the pan so they are not touching each other. Brown chicken on each side, 4-5 min. (You will have to lift the thighs from time to time to keep them from sticking to the pan bottom).
Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, onion mixture, chilies and pepper blend. Turn heat down to a simmer and with the lid partially on, cook for 90 min. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and pull the meat apart with a fork to shred it. Add meat back to the tomato mixture. Stir in the cilantro paste and lime juice and blend evenly. Taste and add salt to taste.
Put 1/2 cup rice in a bowl and ladle hot soup over it. Sprinkle the top of the soup with sharp cheddar shreds. Serve with crushed tostada shells. Serves 4.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pineapple-lime Refresher (G, V)

Sometimes a recipe comes to me in the form of a total surprise. I might be on the trail of an  delicious food item and, because of extensive Googling - become lost in a maze of unrelated, but fascinating recipes.

The Pineapple-lime Refesher is a 'maze-find' which I have modified. It is a wonderful beverage and is easy to prepare. Pineapple-lime Refesher can be made for one or two people or a crowd. I love it the year round! Gluten-free and vegetarian.

Pineapple-lime Refresher
2 C cut up fresh pineapple
1 1/4 C cold water
1 T Sugar
Juice from one lime
Fresh pineapple spears (optional)
Combine first four ingredients in a blender or Vitamix. Process until smooth.
Strain mixture into two glasses, discard fibrous solids.
Add ice and garnish with pineapple spears. Makes two servings. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lentil Vegetable Dish, (G, V option)

Lentils! If you eat them and love them - good for you. If you don't know about lentils, it is well worth the effort to get to know them.

To get you started, know this: lentils are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber and they help manage blood-sugar disorders because lentils help prevent blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Lentils provide significant amounts of the following: B-vitamins and protein - and NO fat.You might wonder if the calorie numbers of this tasty legume outweigh the benefits of the lentils' nutrition. They don't!

 A whole cup of cooked lentils contains under 250 calories.

I love lentils for their mild flavor, short cooking time and comfort-food appeal. Lentils can be combined with many vegetables, herbs and spices to allow for creative recipe expression.

Lentil Vegetable Dish is a great way to learn to cook with lentils. Besides the great flavors and healthy ingredients, the aroma of the sauteed cumin and onion is like culinary perfume!

Lentil Vegetable Dish
1 C lentils ( Split -green, red, black and/or a combination of lentils)
4 C water
1/2 tsp Hymalayan pink salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
Olive oil
Ground cumin
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Pepper blend
1-2 carrots, cleaned and chopped
1 T chicken base (optional)
Rinse lentils and in a large pot, combine with water, salt and turmeric. Bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer - partially covered - for 10-15 minutes.
In a large saucpan, heat oil over med heat. Add cumin, carrots and onion. Cook and stir until onion begins to brown. The aroma will be amazing! Continue to cook for about 5 minutes total. Add garlic and pepper blend. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Stir the carrot, onion, garlic mixture into the lentils. Reduce heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally until the lentils are very soft - 10-15 min more.
Add *chicken base. Blend well. Taste and adjust seasonings. *(If you do not use the chicken base, add more salt as desired).
Serve over fragrant rice.