Yogurt Chicken

(inspired by Libby)

  • chicken (thighs, breasts, whatever)
  • Greek (plain) yogurt 1 1/2 c.
  • lemon juice 1/4 c.
  • olive oil 1/4 c.
  • parmesan cheese 1/2 c.
  • fresh herbs (basil, thyme, oregano)
  • scallions
  • salt & pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a ziplock bag and let marinate for an hour or overnight. Spread contents of bag evenly onto a baking sheet and bake until chicken is almost cooked. Finish under broiler. Garnish with fresh herbs and scallions.

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Really Good Apple Butter

Recipe from: Changing My Destiny, altered by me

I am delighted to live only a couple miles away from a very sweet older gentlemen who runs his own orchard. Every fall I make it a point to drop by at least once to pick apples. In my desire to consecrate these handpicked apples to a special autumny use, I made a batch of this crockpot apple butter. It was amazing, and I mean a-mazing. Melt-in-your-mouth marvelous.

Ingredients:

  • 12 or so assorted apples, at least 50% granny smith
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. coconut sugar ( or 1/4 c. brown sugar)

Directions:

Peel and dice the apples, then place them in a crockpot. Add the water, butter and spices. Set aside the coconut sugar for now, unless you’re using brown sugar instead, in which case, add it now.

Turn the crockpot on high for 5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Turn off the crockpot and remove the lid to let cool for an hour. Your house will smell absolutely incredible. When the mixture is still warm but not hot, pour it (with the coconut sugar, if using) into a vitamix or other high-power blender. Blend on high until very smooth and creamy.

Serve on vanilla ice cream, pancakes, oatmeal,  yogurt with granola, scones, crackers, or, if you’re like me, just dig into it as is. Yum.

Smoky Lentil Soup

This soup is really yummy, but it definitely needs time for the flavors to meld so it’s better to make ahead and save for the next day.

Recipe from: William’s Sonoma

Ingredients: (Measurements modified to serve 8)

  • 1 pkg. bacon, cut into small chunks and cooked
  • 2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, rinsed and sliced
  • 2 medium stalks of celery, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 c. canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c. red lentils, sorted and soaked for 5-8 hours
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. salt + more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • sour cream for garnish

Directions:

see Williams Sonoma link above

Blueberry Chicken Salad

This was such a pretty, dainty little meal it felt like something I’d order at a tea house. The lemon adds brightness and the blueberries pop flavor in your mouth.

Recipe from: me

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp. grapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonaise
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
  • 4 scallions
  • 1/4 cup toasted almond slices
  • 1 tbsp. seasoning (I used 21 Seasoning Salute fro Trader Joe’s)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Trim the fat from the chicken breasts and filet them in half. Pour a drizzle of oil in a frying pan and heat it up for a minute, then add the chicken breast halves. Sprinkle liberally with seasoning and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Fry on both sides until lightly browned. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

When cool to the touch, place the chicken breast halves in a mixing bowl and beat with a mixer on medium for a couple minutes until the meat is shredded but some larger chunks still remain. Add the mayo (eyeball it) and the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon. Add salt to taste (a teaspoon perhaps) and freshly ground black pepper. Stir by hand until combined. Chop the scallions and add to chicken mixture along with the blueberries and toasted almond slivers. Let it chill in the fridge if desired, or serve room temperature. Top with a sprinkling of lemon zest and serve with a slice of bib lettuce.

Macanaccady Tortilla Soup

Recipe from: me

Recently there was a night where Katie was assigned to make dinner, and though she had some chicken thawed, there was virtually nothing in the house to make a dinner out of. It was late and she was begging for my advice and feeling overwhelmed, so I helped her scrounge around the kitchen and pantry for inspiration. We had a few old corn tortilla shells, which gave me the inspiration for tortilla soup. So we peeked in every nook and cranny to find suitable tortilla-soup-ish ingredients. Katie was afraid this stuff was going to be a bizarre failure. See, in our house, we tend to be recipe folk. Making things up isn’t usually something we do. That’s why this felt like such a grand adventure to us. We bestowed upon our concoction the title “macanaccady” in reference to one of LM Montgomery’s stories. “Wilson has some fancy name for it, but I call it macanaccady. Anything I can’t analyze in the eating line I call macanaccady and anything wet that puzzles me I call shallamagouslem. ”

Well, our macanaccady turned out beautifully! I actually loved it. So did Katie. So did our Dad. And nobody else complained or seemed to think it was weird. And the tortilla strips were amazing things, because they stayed crunchy during the entire consumption of a bowl of soup. I definitely intend to make this stuff again.

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • enough chicken broth to fill a pot up to the desired level
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can Mexican-style diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 1-2 tsps. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. lime juice for soup
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice for tortilla strips
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 pkg. corn tortillas
  • shredded cheddar cheese

(Haha, we certainly used a lot of ingredients for having “nothing in the house”)

Directions:

Stirfry the chicken in the cumin and 1/2 tsp. chili powder. Set aside.

Dice the onion and saute until translucent, then crush and add the garlic. Allow to cook for one minute to get the better edge off the garlic. Move the onion mixture to a large pot and fill with desired amount of broth. Season with the salt, pepper, taco seasoning, oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1 tsp. lime juice. Add beans, tomatoes, salsa, and cooked chicken.

Meanwhile, using a clean pair of kitchen scissors, cut the tortillas in half, than cut each half into strips. Put the strips in a large bowl and pour the melted butter on top. Season with salt, chili powder, and lime juice. Toss to coat. Spread out thinly on two cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for intervals of ten minutes, rotating the pans each time and stirring the strips. Shorten the intervals to five minutes toward the end, and cook until just slightly golden brown and crispy.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow the flavors to stew for as long as you have the patience. Serve by itself or over brown rice if desired. Top with cheese and tortilla strips.

Spicy Quinoa Salad

Recipe from: Photograzing, “Dinner Tonight”

My mom and I really liked this salad. I found it extra refreshing the second day around, served cold instead of room temperature. It reminded me somewhat of the quinoa salad I ordered with Bek at a smoothie shop. (You would like this salad, Bek. You should have your mom try it. ;-)) I definitely intend to make it again. One thing that was misleading, however, was the adjective “spicy”. I found it quite mild, and would’ve doubled the jalapeno and perhaps even added the seeds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups diced cucumber (about 2 medium)
  • 2 cups finely diced tomatoes (about 2 medium)
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño or serrano peppers (to taste), seeded if desired and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus several sprigs for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely minced (optional) [I dislike red onion, so I substituted four-ish green onions instead and found that quite to my liking]
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 avocado, sliced, for garnish

Directions:

Put the diced cucumber in a colander, and sprinkle with salt to draw some of the cucumbers’ moisture out. Gently mix the cucumbers and salt and allow to sit for 15 minutes or longer. To remove the salt, rinse the cucumber with cold water, and drain on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.

Place the diced onions in a bowl of cold water. By soaking them before adding them to the salad you will remove the stinging bite of the onions, and it mellows out the taste a bit. Let them sit for five minutes before draining and then drying them off on paper towels. [Or just chop up some green onions instead, like I did]

Soak the quinoa for 5 minutes in the cooking pot. (Soaking it will help the quinoa cook evenly, and loosens up any residue of saponin (usually removed in processing), which can give it a bitter taste.)

Stir the quinoa with your hand, and carefully pour off the water using a fine mesh strainer.

Dump the quinoa back into the cooking pot, add 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt if desired. Bring to a boil, then cover with a tight fitting lid. Immediately turn the heat down to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.

Remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on. You will know the quinoa is done when it is tender and translucent; on each grain you will see a little “tail”.

Combine and stir the vinegar, lime juice, mustard and olive oil in a bowl. Add the tomatoes, jalapeno, cucumber, and onion. Season to taste with salt.

Add the quinoa and cilantro. Toss together, add salt and pepper if needed.

Dish and add a few slices of avocado and extra cilantro, if desired.

Serves six.

 

Salsa Soup

From: Papa, original source unknown

I made this soup with my grandpa the first time. He raved about it, but I thought it was going to be strange. Sweet potatoes and salsa? Eh… but I added some cheese and some crushed tortilla chips, and it was actually very tasty and satisfying! My aunt was also skeptical of the combination at first, but she too was converted. I’d imagine it would be the perfect sort of thick, filling soup to have on a cozy autumn evening.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. butter or oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato or yam (I’ve used yams both times I’ve made it)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth to make the recipe vegetarian)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 can corn niblets, drained
  • 1 cup salsa–mild, medium, or hot is up to you
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • tortilla chips

Optional: Cheese, sour cream, and cilantro for garnish

Recipe:

1) Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion and saute over medium heat until softened and translucent.

2) Chop the sweet potato or yam into 1/2 in. cubes. Add it with the broth and cumin to your pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. With immersion blender, process soup until smooth. (If using a countertop blender, cool sweet potato mixture 10 minutes, then blend in 2 batches.)

3) Stir in corn, salsa, tomato sauce, and black beans. Simmer, covered, for 5-10 minutes to blend flavors. Garnish if desired, and serve with crunched tortilla chips sprinkled on top.

My tip: Make sure you wear an apron and keep the pot covered when you can. Sweet potatoes have a habit of spitting at you! Don’t spit back to get even, either.