Potato & Carrot Soup

Ingredients:

  • 6 -10 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 whole medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 whole carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 6 small russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
    • (I start with about 4 – 4.5 cups for two people)
  • 3 TBS flour
  • 1 cup milk (don’t use skim, recommend 2%)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt & black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cajun spice mix
    • I used 1 tsp paprika and 1/2 tsp southwest spice mix
  • 1 tsp fresh minced parsley
  • 1 cup grated cheese of your choice (I used cheddar jack)

Add bacon pieces to soup pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the grease; do not clean the pot.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add onions, carrots, celery and green pepper.  Stir and cook for 2 minutes, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper and spices.

Pour in the broth and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove half the soup and blend in batches until completely smooth.  Only fill the blender halfway full to prevent spilling, and if time let the soup cool for a few minutes before blending.

**I take the middle part of the lid out and cover with a dish towel which prevents the lid from popping off and spilling hot liquid.

Once blended, pour back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Let it heat back up, taste the seasonings and add more if needed.  Stir in cream, then parsley.

Serve soup in bowls garnished with remaining parsley and top with the grated cheese and crisp bacon pieces.  (This is why you may want more than 6 strips of bacon, the strips go fast!!)

**Adapted from The Pioneer Women, Creamy Soups

 

Greek Stuffed Peppers with Feta Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 LB extra lean ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked brown rice (or use couscous)
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives (I usually skip these!)
  • 1/2 chopped zucchini
  • 3 TBS chopped fresh parsley
  • 3-4 red bell peppers, cut in half length wise
  • 2 TBS pine nuts
  • **you can also add fresh mint

Preheat oven to 350.  Heat a large skillet, and add beef, salt and pepper, cook until the beef is browned (or mostly brown) and crumbling.

Turn the heat to medium and add onions until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes (and pine nuts and zucchini if adding!) and cook for 1 additional minute.

Add the crushed tomatoes and brown rice or couscous and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the olives and parsley.

Place the peppers, cut side up in a baking dish (or braising/dutch oven). Divide the beef mixture evenly among the peppers. Pour 1/4 cup water in bottom of the baking dish.

Cover tightly with foil and cook until the peppers are tender, about 35 minutes.

Sprinkle the feta cheese (2 tsp for each pepper) and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

**Adapted from Cookin Canuck (http://www.cookincanuck.com/)

Baked Spiced Indian Chicken & Rice

Baked Spiced Chicken & Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups white long grain rice (use basmati if you can, washed)
  • 1 TBS grapeseed oil
  • 2 chicken breasts (cut in half) or 3-6 chicken thighs (skin on)
  • 2.5 cups chicken stock, heated till hot
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (or more to your liking)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • small sweet or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Mix all the spices together in a small bowl, and preheat oven to 350.

Take half the spice mixture and rub over the chicken. Add the oil to a skillet, and heat to medium – high heat.  Brown the chicken on both sides, brown in batches to make sure not to overcrowd the pan.  Remove the chicken and keep warm.

Add the onion and garlic, cook until onion is soft, be careful not to burn the garlic, lower the heat to medium if it begins to burn.  Add the remaining spice mix, stir and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the rice and mix for 1 minute. Make sure the rice is fully coated with the spices. Add the peas and saute for another 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a casserole dish or if using a dutch oven, remove from heat and add the browned chicken on top.

Pour in the warmed 2.5 cups of chicken stock.  Wrap tightly with aluminum foil, or cover with lid to dutch oven and make for 45 minutes.

When you remove the lid, the steam will be hot so be careful!  Enjoy!

**Adapted from http://delishar.com/2013/08/baked-spiced-chicken-rice.html

Asparagus and Chicken Rice Pilaf

Quick healthy alternative to rice pilaf!  I added peas but other vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, etc could also be added!

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Ingredients:

  • Butter or oil to coat pan
  • 1 LB boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped/minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice (such as jasmine or basmati)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (reduced sodium)
  • 2 bouillon cubes or 2 tsp better than bouillon
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, (about 12 spears) cut into 1 inch pieces
  • parsley (for garnish)

Melt the butter or add oil to coat the pan, such as a dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the chicken (sprinkle some pepper) and cook for 5 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink.

Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic, season with pepper and salt. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the onion is soft.

Add the rice, chicken stock and chicken bouillon cubes, stir and cover the pot, cooking for 10 minutes.  (I turned the heat to medium low, but recommend keeping it at medium to absorb more of the liquid).

Add the asparagus and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, at least 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add parsley.  I also added Parmesan cheese and peas!

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**Adapted from “30-Minute One-Pot Meals”

Jacked-Up Chicken Scampi with Fettuccine

The heat of the spices and the fresh coolness of the cherry tomatoes compliment each other really well in this dish.  Great for weeknights!

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Ingredients:

  • Butter, Olive Oil or Grapeseed oil (to coat pan)
  • 1 LB boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut up into cubes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced/chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 TBS hot sauce (or less based on preference)
  • 2 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 12 0z uncooked linguine or fettuccine
  • 6-12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 TBS fresh parsley (for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup (at least!) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter or pour 1 TBS oil to coat pan of a dutch oven or braising pan.  Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  (I had heat on medium- high, and turned down to medium for the next step).

Add the onion, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes to the pot and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the onion softens and becomes translucent.  .

Add the wine and deglaze the pan for 1-2 minutes scraping any brown bits off the bottom.  Then add the chicken stock and lemon juice and pasta.  Cook, string occasionally, about 8 minutes or until pasta is el dente.

Remove from heat and add the tomatoes and parsley and cheese.

*** At the end I still had a bit of liquid in the pan, this did thicken as the dish sat on the counter and can be used as a sauce, or added to a container for leftovers when reheating.

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**Adapted from “30-Minute One-Pot Meals”

Chicken & Cream Sauce

ckn cream sauce 3

Ingredients:

  • grapeseed oil
  • boneless chicken breast
  • flour
  • 1 shallot or 1/2 sweet onion
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tomatoes (squeeze seeds out)
  •  1 bag carrots
  •  1/4 cup brandy
  •  1 cup wine
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 TBS tarragon
  • 1/2 TBS Italian seasoning
Wash off chicken and dust with salt and pepper and flour, shaking off any excess flour.   Heat olive oil in frying pan and sautée chicken on both sides until cooked through (brown).
While the chicken is cooking, cut up tomatoes and squeeze out seed sacs, set aside in a bowl.  Cut up carrots, onion and mince garlic and add to the skillet, cook for 3-5 minutes until onion is soft. (You may want to pre-boil carrots for 3-4 minutes to make them softer).
Heat up brandy, light, and pour over chicken (recommend removing skillet/pan from heat when you pour the brandy over the chicken). Let brandy cook for 1-2 minutes, then return to heat and add wine and cut up tomatoes.
Stir in tarragon and italian seasoning, cover and simmer for 30 minutes on low.   If serving immediately add cream to pan and stir a little and then serve over rice.
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To serve the next day, remove from heat before adding the whipping cream and let cool, uncovered 10-15 minutes.  Cover and refrigerate until the next day.  To reheat, make sure to use a pan/dutch oven at room temperature, cut up the chicken and heat on medium for 5 minutes or until mixture begins to boil.  Cover, and reduce heat to low and simmer for five more minutes.  Add the whipping cream, stir, and serve over rice.
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Salmon Ragout with Terragon

Ingredients:

  • 2 roma tomatoes (tomatoes on the vine also work)
  • 1 medium leek
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 12 ounces skinless salmon fillet
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 small red new potatoes, cooked and quartered

One item to note about this recipe, make sure to cook the potatoes ahead of time!  I got to the end of the recipe and realized I had uncooked potatoes, not cooked potatoes!

Cut the tomatoes and squeeze out seed sacs, dice tomatoes and set aside. (I also think you could use store bought diced tomatoes in a can)

Cut root end and green tops off the leek. (See video above). Slice the leek thinly crosswise. Melt the butter in an 8-9 inch wide saute pan over medium-high heat and add leek; sprinkle with salt.  Cook, stirring often, until leek is very soft, about five minutes.

Pour in the wine and cook until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, broth and tarragon and bring to a boil. Stir in the peas, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, until peas are tender, 5-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, rinse salmon and pat dry with paper towels. Cut fish crosswise into strips about 2 inches wide, then cut strips into 2 inch pieces.

Once peas are tender, stir the cream into the pan and let come to a boil. Place salmon in pan and reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until salmon is still slightly pink in center about 5 minutes. (I cooked 8-9 minutes to ensure salmon was done).

Divide the cooked potatoes between 2 shallow bowls, ladle salmon ragout over and garnish with any extra tarragon leaves.

** Adapted from “Braises and Stews” cookbook

Coconut-Curry Chicken – Magazine Version

  •  Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • grapeseed/olive oil
  • 1 lb, skinless, boneless chicken thighs (I have also used breasts)
    • Cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 (15 oz) can unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 2 TBS red curry paste
  • 1 TBS natural peanut butter
  • 1 TBS reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cups green beans, halved lengthwise if large
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into thin bite size strips
    • I cut into round pieces and pre-boiled/steamed for 5 minutes before
  • 1 red sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions (optional)
    • I substituted sweet onion and added after cooking chicken
  • 2 cups hot cooked rice
  • Lime wedges (optional, garnish)

Add oil to skillet/wok, heat over medium high heat. Add chicken; cook until no longer pink, stirring frequently.

Stir in coconut milk, red curry paste, peanut butter and soy sauce until well combined, bring to a boil.

Once at a boil, add green beans, carrots and peppers and again bring to a boil for 1 minute.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered 10 – 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cilantro and green onions and serve with lime wedges.

**1 cup chicken mixture and 1/2 cup rice is aprox 400 calories, 14g fat, 460 sodium, 38g carbs, 6g fiber, 30g protein

**Adapted from Skinny One-pan Recipes, Better Home and Gardens

Spicy Coconut-Chicken Curry – Cookbook version

I am not a huge fan of curry, but this one I love as the fresh ingredients of the ginger, chopped tomatoes and cilantro really add a lot to this recipe. You can also adjust the heat by adding more/less of the cayenne pepper.

Spicy Coconut-Chicken Curry

Ingredients:

  • 6-10 chicken thighs (also can use drumsticks)
  • salt
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 TBS curry powder, (preferably madras)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes
    • I also add 1-2 freshly chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz) light coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen, thawed peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilanto leaves (optional)

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Coat the bottom of a 5-7 quart dutch oven with a thin film of the oil and set over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add chicken, skin sides down, without crowding. (I often use multiple skillets or brown in batches). Cook until the skin is golden brown and chicken relases easily from the pot when lifted with tongs (about 5 minutes). Turn pieces over and cook until they brown and release easily on the other side, about 5 minutes longer. Remove chicken from heat and place on a platter.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger to a pot and cook, stirring until vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the curry powder, cumin, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook for 30 seconds until spices are fragrant, then stir in the tomatoes and 1 cup of coconut milk. Stir well and let come to a boil. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot; chicken should be surrounded by sauce, but not submerged in it, so that the topmost skin is exposed.  (Add more coconut milk if not enough liquid).

Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until chicken is opaque at the bone, about 45 minutes. Stir in the peas and cilantro and cook until peas are hot, about 5 minutes more.

** Adapted from “Braises and Stews” cookbook

Pasta with Beef Sirloin and Beans

This recipe reminds me of a hearty chili but with healthier sirloin meat and rotini pasta. The melted shredded cheese on top was my favorite part!  Highly recommend for a quick week night meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (I used sweet onion, red onion would also be good!)
  • 1 lb boneless beef sirloin (add/subtract based on number of people feeding)
    • trim and cut into bite-size pieces
    • If on sale, I buy top sirloin
  • 2 to 3 tsp chili powder
  • 1-2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (14.5 oz) reduced sodium beef broth
  • 1 (14.5) oz no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (8 oz) can no salt added tomato sauce
  • 2 cups rotini
  • 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • frozen whole kernel corn
    • (I put in about 1 cup, recipe calls for an entire bag, that is too much)

In a large skillet heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion, cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic cook and stir 1 minute, being careful not burn.

Meanwhile, combine the chili powder, Italian seasoning and pepper in a small bowl; add to the skillet with the bite-size pieces of meat. Cook 3-4 minutes or until meat is browned.

Stir in the beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and stir in pasta, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in beans and corn. Simmer, covered, 3-5 minutes or until heated throughout.  Dish into bowls and sprinkle with cheese!

**An alternative is to cook the pasta separately and add to dish at the end.

**Adapted from Skinny One-pan Recipes, 2016