White Chicken Chili

Do you ever hear about something someone else is having for dinner and immediately wish you were invited? That’s exactly what happened to me when I was reading a nightly “What’s for Dinner” post on a message board that I frequent. Someone said they were having White Chicken Chili for dinner and I.could.not. get it out of my mind. Luckily I have a recipe I’ve been making for years that is easy enough to throw together on a whim.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe my aunt gave me. It happens to be dairy free (for my allergy cousin :)) but it’s still somehow creamy and delicious. The seasoned split chicken breast add a nice layer of flavor and spice level in the chili is completely adjustable.  The ingredient list/directions may seem long, but it’s actually really easy to put together. Jesse wound up working late and when we spoke on the phone and I told him I had a pot of this chili on this stove he got super pumped. I like to think it inspired him to hurry up and finish his work so he could get home and eat!

 

 

Quinoa Mexican Soup

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I’ve been known in the past to have what my friends and family call “Shiny Things Syndrome.” I can be in the middle of a conversation or on my way to another room to do something and all of the sudden something “shiny” will catch my eye and the next you know I’m lost in the conversation or have completely forgotten what I was trying to do. What can I say, I can be easily distracted.

That’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago after I read a post on Branny Boils Over. She’s hosting a blogging event called the “Souper Bowl” and for every entry she will be donating $1.00 to the ASPCA. All you have to do is dedicate a post to a pet and share a recipe for soup. Sounds perfect for me! I love soup. I love my cats. I had a minestrone recipe just begging to be made. Then I posted my soup…. and realized about a day later that I just shared my entry for the Souper Bowl without actually making it an entry. DOH!

Then I found this recipe on Nicole’s blog and fell in love. Soup for me. Dedication to my cats. Post for the Souper Bowl. Win, win, win!


I love everything about this soup. Nicole said she wasn’t sure if she would like it but tried it anyway and liked it a lot. I, on the other hand, knew I would love this soup at first glance. The only thing that surprised me was the fact that I didn’t have to de-veganize it by adding sour cream and cheese. Of course I added a little cheese to one bowl. But I quickly found that it just wasn’t needed. There is flavor jam packed into every square inch of this soup and I love it. Did I say that already?

So in honor of both of my beautiful cats (who have to fly home to Ohio for the next couple of months while I’m in China, SO SAD!!!!!!!) I bring you Quinoa Mexican Soup.

Bigun
Tiffany 

Quinoa Mexican Soup

Ingredients
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
1 red bell pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
1 jalapeno, cut in half and seeds removed
1 cup dry quinoa
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
pinch ground cinnamon
1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 lime, cut into wedges (I forgot the lime!)

Directions
Turn your oven to broil, the high temperature if you have the option. Lay the poblano, red pepper and jalapeno skin side up on a baking sheet. Broil for 4-5 minutes, keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn, but just the skin chars. When the outsides are charred carefully remove from oven and place in a ziploc bag and let steam. Peel and dice the peppers.

In a stock pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and let cook for 4-5 minutes or until they just start to stick to the bottom of the pot. Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth. Cook again for another 3-4 minutes and deglaze again with more vegetable broth. Repeat this process 3 or 4 more times until the onions have caramelized and are dark golden brown with a slightly sweet taste.

While the onions are caramelizing, cook the quinoa according to the package.

When the onions are caramelized, add the rest of the broth, fire roasted tomatoes, poblano pepper, jalapeno, bell pepper, and seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, add the quinoa and stir.

Serve with fresh cut avocado and lime wedges (if you don’t forget them like me).

Source: As seen on Prevention, RD originally from Virtually Vegan Mama

Minestrone Soup

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The holidays are over and with the drop of a ball it’s officially a new year. There’s a good chance that a few of you have decided to start the new year off on a healthier foot. I’m not personally one for making resolutions, for me they rarely stick. Instead, I try to use moderation as a guide and make any changes I want through out the year. I started using the gym on a regular basis in the middle of August and just this past fall I started twice weekly yoga classes.

Still, after a month of heavy holiday foods, my body is just screaming for vegetables and “good for you” meals. What a body wants, a body gets. So I decided my first homemade meal of 2012 was going to be something chock full of vegetables, but still filling and comforting. Just what I needed on the day that I drove Jesse to the airport AGAIN for another trip to China. At least this time I get to meet him out there in February!


Minestrone Soup

Ingredients
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small zucchini, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 small yellow squash, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 small carrots, diced
1-2 celery stalks, diced
1/3 cup frozen lima beans
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can reduced sodium diced tomatoes, with juices
2 (15 oz) cans vegetable broth*
3 cups hot water
1 (15 oz) can Kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups kale, finely chopped (tough stems discarded)
1/2 cup small pasta shape
Pinch of kosher salt, if needed

*Make sure to check the labels when you buy your broth. I found that my store brand had almost 200 mg LESS sodium than the national brand. I try to use as much reduced or lower sodium canned goods as possible when making this soup, especially since the cans are being layered together.

Directions
In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, zucchini, squash, celery, lima beans, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until onions turn translucent. Add the dry spices and bay leaves to the vegetables and stir. Make a well in the center of the pot and add the tomato paste. Stir to coat the vegetables. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the diced tomatoes with juices, vegetable broth, and water. Bring soup to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Increase the heat the high and bring to a boil. Add the kale and pasta* and cook for 8 minutes.

Remove bay leaves before serving. Serve with fresh grated Parmesan.

*If you plan to make this soup and eat it later, you might find that cooking and storing the pasta separately will prevent “too chewy” or soggy pasta. Personally, in soup, I kind like the next day soggy noodles.

Adapted from Food.com

Comfort Food

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Sometimes you can read a few simple words and your stomach will immediately sink. You don’t know what is coming next, but you know it can’t be good. That’ s what happened on Thanksgiving day when I went over to Annie’s Eats and saw, “Our Thanksgiving did not go as planned.”

As I read those words, I hoped that it was something food related, maybe her oven went out… But paired with the sweet photo of her father and daughter, I knew deep down it was more. And it was.

What was supposed to be a day of family, giving thanks, and delicious food, quickly turned into what I am sure was horrible nightmare with a phone call. That morning, Annie’s father passed away suddenly at the age of 59. You don’t need to read very far into her blog to find the words that will show what an amazing man he was and how much he meant to Annie.

When something awful like this happens, the first thoughts that usually run through your head are, “What can I do?” And when it’s someone close to home it’s inevitable that as you start thinking of ways to comfort that family, food has a way of coming right to the top of a short list of things that seem both comforting and appropriate.

The blogging community can be a really close one, despite the thousands of miles that can separate it. One such community that I belong to decided that since we can’t bring a covered dish right to Annie’s door, we would do the next best thing and bring a comfort food to her through our blogs.


It will never heal the hurt in Annie’s heart. It will never make her families sadness go away. But I hope that the thoughts and prayers we put into our comfort foods and blogs can close the gap between us and that Annie and her family can feel our support for her, from however far away we each are. If you haven’t already, maybe you can stop by her blog and leave some words for her.

Annie, I am so sorry. I know your dad was an amazing man.

As for my comfort food, this was the very first thing to come to mind. Chicken and Dumplings are one of my favorites, one of Jesse’s favorites and always warm and comforting.


Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients
3 chicken breast, roasted and shredded*
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1 celery stalk, finely diced ~1/4 cup
1/2 of a small onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
salt and pepper to taste
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp butter
1 32-ounce carton low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, just slightly softened and cut into chunks
1/2 cup of milk

*I always use my fingers to shred chicken. It feels like I’m better able to get rid of all of the gristly stuff that’s really unpleasant when you bite into it.

Directions
In a large stock pot melt the butter. Add the vegetables and garlic and cook for 5 minutes to soften, add salt, pepper and thyme to season. Next add the chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. While the broth is coming to a boil make the dumpling dough by whisking together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Use fingers to incorporate the butter into the flour, then stir in the milk. It should be wet and stick together, but not runny. Drop the dough one spoonful at a time into the boiling broth. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes then add the shredded chicken and carefully stir. By this time the broth should have thickened but if it hasn’t, you can stir together equal amounts of flour and milk (a tablespoon or two) and add that to the broth.

Remove the sprigs of thyme before serving. Serve hot over mashed potatoes or by itself.

Sunny Side Up original recipe, dumplings dough adapted from Allrecipes.com