Archive | October, 2013

Healthy & Hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup

29 Oct

It’s starting to actually feel like Fall here in Northern California. As soon as it gets cold I want soup it’s delicious and easy to make. Chicken tortilla soup is one of my favorites, there’s so much flavor, you can make it spicy (add diced jalapeño when sautéing vegetables :)) and like chili you get to add avocado, chopped onions and cheese too. Oh, and it’s really healthy so fill yourself up and don’t feel guilty 🙂

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Divided
  • 1 Yellow or Red Onion Diced (Either works, whichever you prefer)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper Diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper Diced
  • 4 Cloves of Minced Garlic
  • 3 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 TBSP Ground Cumin
  • 1 TBSP Chili Powder
  • 1 TBSP Granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 TBSP Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 TBSP Cracked Pepper
  • 10 Oz Can of Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles
  • 8 Oz Can Fire Roasted Green Chiles Diced
  • 64 Oz Chicken Stock
  • (2) 14 Oz Cans of Black Beans Rinsed
  • 14 Oz Can of  Corn Kernels
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

  • Tortilla Strips
  • Avocado
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Cilantro
  • Lime
  • Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese

DIRECTIONS

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In a Large Stock Pot over Medium High Heat, add half of your EVOO. Add the Diced Onion, Red & Green Bell Peppers and Minced Garlic sauté for 5 Minutes.

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In a Large Skillet over Medium High heat add remaining EVOO and Chicken Breasts. On both sides of the Chicken sprinkle the Ground Cumin, Chili Powder, Granulated Garlic, Salt & Pepper. Cook for 4-5 Minutes on both sides.

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Using your handheld mixer, Shred the chicken breasts.

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In your Large Pot, add Diced Tomatoes, Diced Green Chiles, Chicken Stock, Black Beans, Corn Kernels and Cilantro. Cover the Pot, bring to a boil and then reduced heat to low. Simmer for 40 Minutes. Before you serve it add more Salt & Pepper to your taste.

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Put together a plate for all your Toppings so that everyone can easily personalize their bowl.

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This can also be made in your Slow Cooker so that you can have dinner ready when you get home from work. Enjoy! Stay warm!

Have a Safe & Happy Halloween Everyone!

XO GMW

The Cheaper Chicken… Piccata

25 Oct

Full Plate

I can’t believe HOW long it’s been since I’ve blogged… I was in wedding hell… I mean bliss for so many months. 🙂 Working 3 jobs, planning a destination wedding and at home reception is apparently enough to keep you busy. Then, when I thought I was going to be bored with all my extra time after the wedding, my husband got a job that required a move in 4 days. Now, I’m finally bored again. Thank you Jesus! And now I can share with you all things wedding/planning/moving to a studio… ETC. YAY!

I love to entertain for any amount of people, but it can be quite expensive once you and your friends make the leap from Coors Light with pizza to good wine and 5 star restaurants. I love the movie Father Of The Bride, one of my favorite quotes ever is while picking the wedding menu and going over budget Steve Martin yells out, “We’ll take the cheaper chicken!” Chicken is always the best go to when budgeting. However, flavor should NEVER be a compromise. I would cancel a dinner party before I ever served mediocre food and wine. Chicken Piccata has amazing flavor, easy crowd pleaser. It’s not spicy and it’s not overwhelming. The squash is sooooo yummy and easy to find at Trader Joe’s.

While making this dinner last night I realized that I got so many great new kitchen gadgets as wedding gifts that I need to put together a post entirely about essentials to ask for on your registry or from Santa.

Lets get started…

ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS buy your chicken in bulk, wait until it’s on sale and stock up. Immediately separate into smaller Ziploc bags and freeze.

CHICKEN PICCATA

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable/Canola Oil
  • 5 Cloves of Peeled Garlic
  • 3 Boneless/ Skinless Chicken Breasts (Cage-Free Organic Recommended)
  • Kosher Salt & Freshly Cracked Pepper
  • 1/3 Cup, 1 TBSP All-Purpose Flour Divided
  • 1/3 Cup Bread Crumbs
  • 1-2 Lemons Sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Chardonnay
  • 1/3 Cup Rinsed Capers

DIRECTIONS

Prep- In a large skillet add your Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Peeled Garlic. If you don’t have a Garlic Peeler… Get one NOW! This one is from Crate & Barrel for $6.95. It’s a kitchen must have. Also, Slice your lemons into 1/8″ thick slices. Then using a Reamer juice your lemons. This is my favorite Reamer from Crate & Barrel for $3.95.

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Now, grab your chicken friendly cutting mat (Yes, if you have one kosher element to your kitchen it should be cutting mats) my favorite are the Martha Stewart Set of 4 Color Coded with Pictures 🙂 on SALE now $11.99. You need to cut off any extra fat or cartilage. A bite of either will ruin your meal, take the extra minute. Make a horizontal cut through the middle of the width. Salt and pepper each side. These can be done a day or two in advanced and kept in the refrigerator to make meal time faster. Mix the 1/3 Cup of All-Purpose Flour with your Bread Crumbs. Cover both sides of the breast and tap off excess. (NOTE: If you leave too much flour or bread crumbs they will burn in your oil.)

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Next, heat your Oil over Medium High heat. Add your garlic cloves, this helps to add flavor to the oil and garnish to your serving platter later. Cook each side of the chicken breasts for 4 Minutes. Set the cooked breasts on a plate. DO NOT clean out your skillet, leave the goodness in there 🙂 Add the 1 TBSP of All-Purpose Flour, Lemon Slices, Lemon Juice, Chardonnay and Capers. Mix over heat for about 2-3 Minutes when it starts to bubble, add your Chicken Breasts and continue to heat for 2-3 more Minutes.

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Lastly, plate your meal. I usually use tongs to plate all the chicken and then pour everything in the pan on top.

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You can add a wide variety of side dishes to this meal. You should always pick your sides by what is on sale. I love all the different squash you find everywhere this time of year. When I walked into Trader Joe’s they had Delicata Squash for 99 Cents… DONE & DONE. This is another one that can be completely prepped the day before and refrigerated until you’re ready to cook.

DELICATA SQUASH

INGREDIENTS

  • Delicata Squash (Washed & Dried)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper

Delicata Step 1

Pre Heat your oven at 375 Degrees. Then using your Vegetable Mat Slice the Squash horizontally. Using a spoon scoop out all the seeds and stringy stuff (technical term). 🙂 Lightly drizzle the EVOO, I used my favorite little Martha Stewart Misto. Then, sprinkle with Salt & Pepper. You can add cheese or stuff with meat. Place them face down in a Pyrex or other Oven Safe dish, cover with Aluminum Foil and bake for 35 Minutes.

Delicata Steps 2-5

It has a buttery corn-like flavor. The peel is soft enough to eat as well.

Delicata Step 6

I threw together a little Simple Salad to keep more Vegetables on the plate than meat 🙂 Organic Baby Greens (Costco has the best prices), Red onion, Avocado, Salt & Pepper, Oil & Balsamic.

Simple Salad

As a recovering Carb-oholic I know my limits. I never buy bread to just have in the house. But for special meals like this I buy EXACTLY how much I need. Since this dinner was just for my husband and I… I got a sandwich size roll for 50 Cents, sliced it and had EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar for dipping. This way I can’t “Over Do It” 🙂

Bread EVOO & Balsamic

Lastly, October always brings the new release of my favorite cheap Red Wine to Trader Joe’s… . It’s a blend of different Reds each year the percentages always change but it includes Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel. It’s WONDERFUL!

Chariot Gypsy Wine

So there you have it another meal that I hoped to have broken down to make a quick and easy dinner for 2 or 20. Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions at all.

Mangia,

-Mrs. Training

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