Monday, August 22, 2011

Quick and Simple Chicken Tortilla Soup

The other day, I was at a loss about what to serve for dinner. So, I got out my crock pot, threw in some chicken tenders, a taco spice packet and a little water. I let it cook on low for about 4 hours. By then it was falling apart and shredding nicely. The flavor was a bit bland, so I added about 1 1/2 cups of homemade salsa to it. Still not quite what I wanted, but we ate it anyway.

A few days later, we still had quite a bit of the chicken left. Everyone was tired of eating it straight, so I decided to try something. I put 1/2 cup of homemade salsa in a bowl, added 1/2 cup of chicken broth and a big scoop of the shredded chicken. I popped it all in the microwave until it was hot, added a dollop of sour cream and a bit of shredded cheese. There you have it! A very simple and very quick bowl of tortilla soup (minus the tortilla strips of course).

My salsa recipe is very simple as well:

Get out your food processor.
Core and quarter 2lbs of tomatoes
Peel and quarter an onion.
Remove the stem (and seeds, if you don't want it spicy) from 1-2 jalapenos.
Dump all those in the food processor and pulse until chopped small.
Add 1-2 Tbsp chopped garlic, 2-4 Tbsp lime juice, one chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and a handful of cilantro or parsley.
Process it all until it is finely chopped and well mixed.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Avocado-Tomato Salad with Chimichurri

I went out to Bar Louie last night. I had a steak with chimichurri sauce on it. It was amazing. But my favorite part of the meal was the avocado and tomato salad. It was drizzled with the chimichurri too and it was amazing. I ate that first and the steak was kind of an after thought. I think I would have rather had more of the salad and skipped the steak altogether. I decided that I had to make it at home and found that chimichurri sauce is amazingly easy to make. All you need is the ingredients (all were already in my fridge and/or pantry) a bowl, a whisk, a glass measuring cup and either a blender or food processor.

Chimichurri Sauce

1/4 c hot water
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp kosher salt or 1 tsp table salt
1 1/3 c parsley
2/3 c cilantro
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c good extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine hot water, oregano and salt. Let sit 5 minutes.
In food processor or blender, pulse parsley, cilantro, garlic and red pepper until roughly chopped. Add water mixture and pulse to combine.
Pour mixture back into the medium bowl and whisk in olive oil.
Cover and let sit at room temp for at least 1 hour. Store in fridge but bring to room temp before using.

Avocado-Tomato Salad

1 large avocado
1 large tomato
1/4 head iceberg lettuce or spring mix greens

Shred the lettuce and put in medium bowl.
Slice avocado and tomato. Place on top of lettuce, alternating avocado slice then tomato slice.
Spoon chimichurri sauce over the top.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I don't remember if I've blogged about this recipe before.  If not, that is an injustice that must be corrected as soon as possible.  If I have, well, it's worth blogging about twice!  A couple of ladies at work told me about how great this recipe is (from Giada on  At first, I was a bit hesitant, because I've never been a huge fan of meatloaf. I always ate it when it was served, but never craved it or asked to have it for dinner.  However, my opinion on meatloaf has been changed because of this delightful spin on a classic.  I told Missy that I was making meatloaf for dinner tonight and I could tell she was less than enthused.  When she took her first bite, I could tell she also agrees that this recipe should be a staple in any home.  Let me know what you think!


  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic and herb-marinated sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, optional
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, if using, eggs, milk, feta, salt, and pepper. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat.
Carefully pack the meat mixture into the prepared pan and bake until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and slice. Put on a serving platter and serve.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Oven-Roasted Pork Loin with Apples and Cranberries

Pork loin was on sale this week, so I picked one up. Of course, I had no idea what I was going to do with it once I got it home, but Cook's Illustrated helped me figure that out. I found this recipe and it sounded so yummy that I had to make it. I tweaked it a bit to use what I had on hand and this is what I came up with.

Oven-Roasted Pork Loin with Apples and Cranberries

4 oz (1 c) dried apple-sweetened cranberries
1/2 c apple cider
1 pork loin roast (2 1/2 to 3 lbs)
1 Tbsp Herbs de Provance
Salt & Pepper
3 Tbsp walnut oil - coconut oil would work nicely too
1/2 small onion, medium dice
1 lb Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored & sliced 1/2" thick
2 Tbsp Apple Brandy (optional)
2 Tbsp butter, cold

Move oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine cranberries and cider in a microwave-safe bowl. Nuke on high for 30 seconds. Set aside until needed.
Rub herbs, salt and pepper into all sides of the pork roast.
Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a heavy, oven-safe skillet over medium-high until smoking. Sear roast on all sides. Set aside on a large plate.
Add remaining oil and onion to pan. Saute 3-4 minutes or until golden.
Add apples and continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes or until they are golden too.
Pour cider and cranberries into pan.
Nestle pork roast into pan, stick meat thermometer into thickest part of roast and transfer to the oven.
Remove from oven when it reaches 140-145 degrees.
Transfer roast to cutting board and cover lightly with foil. Let rest until thermometer reads 150 degrees F, 15-20 minutes.
If the pan is a little dry, add the brandy and bring it to a boil to cook out the alcohol flavor. Whisk butter into the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover to keep warm.
Slice roast in 1/2" thick slices and serve, spooning apple mixture over pork.

We had this with some steamed broccoli and a salad. The original recipe called for 1 Tbsp brown sugar, but I left it out of this recipe because it was a little too sweet for my taste. If it needs a little more sweetness at the end, you can always add a little of your favorite sweetener or a little more apple cider.

Almond-Crusted Chicken Fingers With 2 Dipping Sauces

Chicken fingers are Joshua's favorite thing to eat. If we go out to eat, that's what he orders every time, if the restaurant has them. If they don't, he's one disappointed kid. So I figured it was time to make some that are primal-friendly so I can feel better about him eating them all the time. All that wheat flour breading and peanut or canola oil is a little unsettling to me.

There really isn't anything complicated about making breaded chicken. It's just messy, the main reason I avoid doing it. The other reason, I've had a bad experience with raw chicken. (see my last chicken recipe post) But since I have a big tub of disinfecting wipes and a box of latex gloves under the kitchen sink, I have been more willing to work with raw chicken.

The kids just ate these with honey-mustard sauce, ketchup or straight honey while Eric and I put them on some salad and drizzled the honey-mustard over it all. Yummy. Eric was full after just two chicken fingers with salad. I was stress eating and ate four. But I was really overly-full afterward. I think two would have been plenty. Next time, I think I may brine the chicken to keep it a bit more moist. I think the almond flour dried them out a bit.

Here's the simple recipe along with a couple sauces that are great for dipping.

2 lbs chicken tenders or breasts cut into strips
4 c almond flour
4 eggs
Salt & Pepper
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Cayenne pepper
Coconut oil for frying

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs together with salt and pepper.
In another medium bowl, combine almond flour and seasonings, to taste.
Remove any fat from the chicken.
Dip chicken into flour, then egg and back into flour. They should be well coated.
Place them on a foil-lined baking sheet after coating.
Heat oil in large skillet over med-high heat until shimmering.
Working in batches, not over-crowding the pan, brown chicken for 2 minutes. Turn them over and brown for another 2 minutes.
Move browned chicken to another foil-lined baking sheet and start another batch browning.
Once the chicken fingers have all been browned, bake for 10 minutes.

While chicken fingers are baking, make your dipping sauces.

Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce
(Perfect as a salad dressing as well)

1/2 c Dijon mustard
4-6 Tbsp honey
Salt & pepper

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. If you like your honey-mustard spicier, use the smaller amount of honey and add more if needed.

Buffalo Wing Dipping Sauce

1/4 c butter, melted
1/4 - 1/2 c hot sauce

Whisk together. Start with the smaller amount of hot sauce and add more until it's as hot as you like it.