Curried Chicken and Cauliflower Soup

I found this recipe at the same time I found the Thai Chili recipe that I recently blogged about. This soup is a perfect weeknight dinner since it only takes about 30 minutes to make from start to finish.

Adapted from January 2011 Clean Eating Magazine:

Cut up one pound of boneless skinless chicken breast into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Chop up 4 cups of cauliflower, one small red bell pepper and a medium red potato. Set aside.

Pull out your  4-quart pan or your favorite soup making pot. Heat 2T of light coconut milk over medium heat, swirling to coat pot. Be careful not to let the milk boil. Add chicken, covering the bottom of the pot and season with 4 teaspoons of curry powder.

When edges of chicken turn white, stir or flip chicken to cook other side. Cook chicken another 1-3 minutes or until lightly golden.

Add in 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth.

Add in cauliflower, bell pepper, potato. Stir to combine.

Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10 minutes.

When cauliflower and potatoes are tender, uncover pot and simmer for one more minute to thicken slightly. Season with black pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with 3 tablespoons of cilantro and 1/4 cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt.

Stir in the yogurt to make the broth creamy and to help disperse the cilantro.

I was a little scared to see if the yogurt would stir in smoothly. This definitely made the soup into a restaurant-quality soup. I’ve since eaten leftovers without the yogurt and it is much better with, but edible either way. This soup is inexpensive  and easy to make, filling, tasty and nutritional. A perfect first course for your next dinner party. Your friends will be impressed and shocked that you didn’t slave over the stove all day.

Another Christmas wraps up

Not being with my family on Christmas falls on my top 10 list of things I don’t like.

Spending times with friends falls on my top ten list of things I do like.

Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to be with my family. Fortunately, my friend Brock also wasn’t able to be with his family, so I got to spend Christmas with Brock.

We started out our evening at NoMI for a pre-dinner cocktail.

I really loved the single giant ice-cube in my Whiskey Smash so that my drink didn’t be come watered down. I liked it so much that I drank all of my drink so that I could share a picture of that ice-cube with you. Not that I wouldn’t have finished my drink anyway. My parents raised me well and taught me not to waste.

We had dinner reservations at Aria, but that didn’t work out. So, we ventured on over to Niu Japanese Fusion Lounge for some sushi. Sushi for Christmas? Yes, please. Oh, and an extensive martini list.

And some seriously sinus-clearing Tom Yum soup.

And sushi. Lots of sushi.

Warm Christmas breakfast

After being on a Greek yogurt and pumpkin streak for breakfast for quite sometime, the snow last night really made me want a hot breakfast today. Last night I soaked 1/4 cup of cracked wheat, a diced apple and a few dried cherries overnight.

All I had to do this morning was heat it up in the microwave. I also had an overripe banana that I mashed up and mixed in.  It was so delicious. It turned out to be the perfect Christmas morning breakfast that I could have heated up at work.

Christmas Dinner

Brock and I are both in Chicago, with nothing to do for Christmas.

So, we are going to grab drinks at NoMI then head to Aria for dinner.

If you are unable to be(my case) or don’t want to be(not the case) with your family this season, I hope you have a great friend to spend it with, too.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas everyone!

 

Slow cooker pot roast

In the cold days of winter a midwestern girl needs some comfort food to warm her up. I remember eating many a pot roast on my grandparent’s farm, so it has fond memories attached to it. I don’t remember particularly liking it as a small child, mostly because there were always onions with it. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to like onions and along with it, pot roast. So, I got a hankering to make a roast as the temperatures plummeted. I came home late from work one night and threw it in the crock pot so it would cook while I slept and I would have lunch to take to work the next day. It was the perfect plan. I came up with this concoction by combining several recipes that I looked up online and my vague memories of how my mom and grandma made it. In the bottom of the crock pot I combined a 20 oz bottle of Coke, 1/2 cup warm water and one packet of powdered beefy onion soup mix.

 All the recipes I saw called for regular onion soup mix but when I saw the beefy version at the grocery store, I couldn’t resist. I really don’t think it made any difference. All of the recipes I saw only called for a 12 oz can of Coke, but the grocery store didn’t sell single cans so I poured it all in. Mix the liquids and powder together as best you can. Mine didn’t combine all that well, probably because the Coke was cold.

 

Dump in 4-5 medium red potatoes(chopped), one medium yellow onion(sliced) and 1/2 pound of baby carrots. For herbs, I threw in unmeasured, but probably close to one tsp of each: thyme, rosemary and bay leaf.
Oh, and a GIANT clove of garlic. See… No, really. Compare it to the size of the baby carrots: 

Rub your 3-4 pound roast with salt and pepper. Nestle the roast amongst the vegetables and scoop up liquid and pour over the top of the roast until coated.

Put lid on crock pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6.  Let the wonderful aromas fill your house.

If you cook your roast overnight, wake up to the joy of knowing that a meal is already fixed for the day and you’ll have lots of leftovers for days to come.

Crustless quiche

My mom sent me a recipe for a crustless spinach quiche. Which I meant to make….but I went to the grocery store twice and managed to pick up everything but the spinach. Also, the recipe involves cottage cheese, which made me a little leery. Don’t be scared, it cooks down and melts in so that you never know it’s in there.  I substituted portabella mushrooms, artichokes and black olives for the spinach and made it healthier by chosing the healthier versions of some of the ingredients.  It turned out awesome. I ate it everyday for about a week and can’t wait to make it again.

Preheat your oven to 325F. Spray a 9×13 pan with non stick spray. Set aside.

Chop up whatever vegetables that you want in the quiche. I threw in about a pint of sliced baby portabellas, one jar of artichoke quarters(drained and roughly chopped), 1/4 cup diced onion and about 12 black olives(roughly chopped).

In a bowl mix together 2 cups of low-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese, one 16oz package of fat-free cottage cheese, one 16oz carton of liquid egg whites and your vegetables.

I also added in a little freshly ground black pepper, probably 1-2 teaspoons. Combine well and pour in to 9×13 pan.

Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until set in the middle. Let stand for 10 minutes and cut into slices. Enjoy cheesy, eggy goodness.

Thai Chili

I can eat soup for every meal in the fall and winter. So, it comes as no surprise that I have been tearing soup recipes out of magazines right and left lately. I found two easy, filling and delicious recipes in the latest issue of Clean Eating magazine. While, I don’t eat “clean,” I have found several good recipes in their magazine.

I saw this Thai chili recipe and had to try it. I changed it up a little, so I’ll give you my version. In the future I would add some chili powder or chili’s to make it spicy and maybe a little garlic for kick.

For starters, take your favorite soup pot and put it over low heat on your stove top. Add in 1 1/2 tsp of red curry paste, one tsp of cumin and 1/4 cup vegetable broth. Mash and combine until smooth. 

Then, add in 3 3/4 cup of vegetable broth, one diced medium sweet potato, one diced medium green bell pepper,  and 1/2 cup of either bulgur, cracked wheat or quinoa. I used cracked wheat because that is what I had on hand. Mix together. Turn heat up to high until mixture boils. When soup begins to boil, cover pot tightly and turn down to med-low. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove lid. Add in two cans of dark red kidney beans(drained), 2 cups crushed or pureed tomatoes (tomato sauce will work in a pinch), and 1/2 cup of light coconut milk. Stir. Cook about 7 more minutes until cracked wheat is tender and soup is thick. Season with black pepper. 

 Serve in bowl and sprinkle with scallions.

Pumpkin Pancakes

As I was perusing some of my favorite food blogs the other day, I noticed this pumpkin pancake recipe on Whipped. I followed the recipe exactly except I didn’t add the nuts.

As a fun surprise I got Star Wars pancake molds to use with the pumpkin pancakes. Sadly, my pancakes turned out looking nothing like the pancakes in the picture. I read the reviews stating that they were difficult to master, but I thought the force would be with me. It wasn’t. 

The pumpkin pancake batter is significantly thicker than regular pancake batter, which I believe to be much of the problem. I also needed a larger sized flipper to handle the large Star Wars shaped pancakes. Yoda and Darth Vader would have turned out recognizable had they not broken in half when I was trying to flip. The storm trooper was a total loss.

Lesson learned. I am looking forward to trying out the molds and will definitely be making the pumpkin pancakes again…just not doing the two together.

These pancakes are really moist and their flavor exceeded my expectations. This recipe is a keeper.

Homemade granola bars

Active.com tweeted about healthy recipes to give this season and the peanutty energy bars sparked my attention.

I went to make them and was missing some key ingredients(half of the oatmeal), so I just added in more nuts and dried fruit and they turned out great.

Here’s what I used:

  • 3/4 cup of quick oats
  • 1 1/2 cups of unsugared cereal(I used Cheerios that I crushed up a little, the recipe recommended rice krispies)
  • 3/4 cup dried fruits of choice(I used a combo of raisins, cranberries, papaya and pineapple)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups of nuts of choice(I used almonds, cashews, peanuts and sunflower seeds)
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Mix peanut butter, light corn syrup, and brown sugar in microwave safe bowl and cook on high for 2 minutes.
  2. While that is in the microwave, mix all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  3. When the microwaved ingredients are finished heating, add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and mix ingredients until smooth.
  4. Pour warm liquid ingredients into dry mixture and mix until well combined and dry ingredients are well coated.
  5. Spread mixture evenly into a 9×13 pan and press down with a silicone spatula or with lightly oiled hands. I lined the pan with wax paper so they could be easily lifted out.
  6. Let set for one hour, lift out of pan and then cut into granola bars.
  7. Wrap individually in wax paper and eat when hungry or share with friends.

These turned out awesome and took no time to throw together. I can’t wait to make them again and change up the ingredients. It seems like a pretty fail-proof recipe.