Sunday, January 15, 2017

Avgolemono Greek Chicken Soup


Avgolemono Greek Chicken Soup

The other day I saw Trisha Yearwood make some delicious looking Lemony Chicken Orzo soup on her cooking show on TV.  The soup recipe can be found HERE.   I had nearly all the ingredients on hand so I got a few more items at the store so I could make the soup.  Some where along the line, I switched gears; I wanted to add egg to the soup like I had seen in other recipes.  I found another recipe for a Greek Chicken Soup called "Avgolemono" which can be found HERE.  I ended up combining ideas from both recipes and made up my own recipe.  The results are good.  I cook a lot and make a lot of soup, but I really don't make a lot of chicken soup.  The addition of fresh lemon juice makes this soup light and refreshing.  I like how the addition of egg to the soup changes the look of the broth from clear to opaque.  I used a store bought rotisserie chicken in this recipe which made this soup relatively quick and easy to throw together.

Avgolemono:
noun, Greek Cookery.                
a soup or sauce made with beaten eggs, lemon juice, and usually chicken broth.


Avgolemono Greek Chicken Soup

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 3/4 to 2 cups carrots, chopped
1 3/4 to 2 cups celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
about 16 ounces cooked boneless chicken breasts, shredded (store-bought rotisserie chicken or leftover cooked chicken breast will work)
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 large eggs
approximately 4 ounces fresh baby spinach (4 big handfuls of spinach)

Instructions
  1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the carrots, celery and onions, and saute for about five minutes or until starting to soften.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  4. Add the chicken broth and water, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  6. Stir in the cooked chicken.
  7. Prepare the egg-lemon sauce by whisking together the lemon juice and eggs. While whisking the soup with a fork, slowly drizzle in the egg-lemon sauce.  Once fully combined, add the spinach to the soup.  Stir the spinach into the soup and it will wilt quickly.  

Enjoy!



Saturday, January 14, 2017

B.A.T. Toast (Avocado Toast...Again!)


Bacon, Avocado, and Tomato (B.A.T.) Toast

Can you handle just one more post about Avocado Toast?  Here's a new tasty combination.

Toast, mashed avocado with a little salt and pepper, turkey bacon, and sliced tomato!

Delicious!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Beef and Very Veggie Soup (Slow Cooker)



Beef and Very Veggie Soup

Our family was struck down by the cruddiest cold EVER over the holidays. Ron got it first, then me, and then Zach.  It was the weirdest thing, but we really did not feel that badly for the first few days and then BAM! It got bad.  Ron seemed to be a few days ahead of me in the course of the illness since he got sick first. Since the writing was on the wall (I knew it was going to get worse for me too before it got better), I high tailed it to the grocery store to get ingredients to make myself some soup. I wanted it to be like the Hearty Turkey and Vegetable Soup I made a few weeks ago (see it HERE), but I wanted to swap out ground beef for the turkey and beef broth for chicken broth.  By the time I got home from picking up the groceries for the soup, I was feeling so poorly that I did not want to stand over the stove and make soup.  I chopped up the veggies and cooked up the ground beef in a skillet, and threw it ALL in a slow cooker (Crock Pot).  This recipe made a ton of soup and for days I joked, "This could be the BEST soup I've ever made or this could be the most DISGUSTING soup EVER, because I just can't taste a darn thing!"

Believe it or not, I still cannot taste very well... these cold symptoms are sort of lingering... STILL.  But I've decided this recipe is a keeper.  The soup is so good that I ate it two times a day for a number of days. 

If you are one to want or need very precise measurements, this is not a recipe for you.  I am pretty much writing this down how I made it a week or so ago so that I can make this again some time in the future.  You can feel good about eating this hearty soup, as it's full of lean protein and a TON of fresh vegetables.  Soup is so handy to have on hand when you are feeling poorly.

Beef and Very Veggie Soup (Slow Cooker)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, 96 percent lean
6 cups beef broth
Celery, 3-4 ribs, chopped
Carrots 3-4 carrots, chopped or 2 cups baby carrots, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes (no salt added)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Fresh tender spinach, 10 - 16 ounces
Salt 
Black pepper

In a large non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet, cook/brown/crumble the ground beef over medium high to high heat. Try to cook it on a high temperature so the beef really caramelizes.

Add in the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker EXCEPT for the spinach, salt and pepper(crock pot).  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours (or until carrots are desired tenderness).  Stir in the spinach (you may just wish to use a few handfuls of spinach but I used 1 1/2 bags of tender spinach, which was approximately a pound of spinach).  After adding in the spinach, allow to simmer for about 30 minutes longer.  Taste for seasoning. Add in additional Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, as you feel is needed. 



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Avocado Toast Day 4: Bacon and Egg


Avocado Toast: Bacon and Egg


Having Avocado Toast four days in a row was a lot of fun: I enjoyed thinking about different ways to top it!  The reason I had this four days in a row is because I used just 1/4 of an avocado each day so it took me four days to eat my way through one avocado.  What a bargain considering the avocado was on sale for $0.88.


On Day 4, I mashed up my avocado with a little salt and black pepper and spread it on some toast.  I topped that with some torn up cooked turkey bacon and then topped all that with hard boiled egg slices.  This came together quickly and easily since the cooked turkey bacon and hardboiled eggs were already made up and in the refrigerator.

I went shopping the other day and bought a very under-ripe avocado. It's sitting on my countertop getting nice and ripe so I'll be able to have avocado toast again soon.  If I come up with any more great toppings for avocado toast, I'll be sure to share.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Red Lobster Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti


Red Lobster Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti

Well, let me start off by saying, I really screwed up when cooking this recipe for Zach the other day but it was still edible!  Zach was out shoveling snow for the neighbors so I was trying to time it just right so he'd have this hot meal when he came in from the bitter cold.  I cooked the shrimp and then kind of had everything on hold until just before he came in.  When I first glanced at the recipe, I thought it called for just a few tablespoons or teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, but just as I was about to add the lemon juice, I looked at the recipe again and would have sworn it called for 1/2 a cup of fresh lemon juice.  I madly squeezed more lemons and then added nearly 1/2 a cup of lemon juice to the simmering sauce.  Then I looked at the recipe again and, to my HORROR, I read I was supposed to add only "the juice of 1/2 of a lemon".  So yes, I added 4 times as much lemon juice as I was supposed to add!

But Zach was a trooper and he ate it and said it was good, but we agreed... next time, I should add 1/4 cup of lemon juice or less.  The recipe does not call for pasta. I cooked up about 8 ounces of spaghetti and added it to the lemony-garlicky-wine-butter sauce at the very end.  I had a taste of this and I thought it was pretty yummy, albeit very lemony!

Zach just reheated another portion of this in the microwave and he said it was great reheated.  He said the leftovers were less lemony.  And yes! I DO love alliterations.


Famous Red Lobster Shrimp Scampi

Ingredients

    • 1 lb medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1 tablespoon pure olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 1/2 cups white wine, I use chardonnay
    • 1/2 fresh lemon, Juice only
    • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter                                              
    • 1 tablespoon parsley
    • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 
    • optional:  add in 8 ounces of cooked spaghetti at the end if desired.                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Directions

  1. Heat cast iron skillet (or non-stick skillet) and add olive oil.
  2. Add shrimp and cook until tender and no longer translucent, reduce heat. Remove Shrimp and set aside.
  3. Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes. Do not allow garlic to brown - it will make it bitter.
  4. Add white wine and lemon juice.
  5. Cook until wine is reduced by half. After it is reduced, add Italian seasoning.
  6. Reduce heat to low, and add butter. If pan is too hot, the butter will separate.
  7. Add shrimp back into sauce.  Add in pasta (if using); add parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan Cheese.

Whole 30: Harvest Grilled Chicken


HARVEST GRILLED CHICKEN

I purchased "The Whole 30 Cookbook" at Sam's Club just before Christmas.  I tell myself I should not buy cookbooks since I find so many recipes on line and I seldom use my collection of cookbooks and magazines with recipes. This year, I am resolving to make lots of new recipes from the Whole 30 book and also a year's worth of issues of "Clean Eating Magazine" which I have been saving for years.

The other night I tried two new recipes from Whole 30 and they are both amazingly good.  First let me share about Harvest Grilled Chicken.


Harvest Grilled Chicken is actually just part of a recipe.  The recipe is actually for a salad called "Harvest Grilled Chicken Salad" but I just made the chicken.  Basically, you create a mixture of dried herbs, sprinkle it over chicken breasts, and grill it. I used my stove top grill pan (I love it!), but of course you could grill this outdoors,  use a grill such as a George Foreman grill, or cook it in a skillet.

Have you ever noticed how large chicken breasts are? I see many recipes that call for chicken breasts which are about five ounces each, but many times I purchase chicken breasts which weigh more than twice that.  What I have been doing is cutting the chicken breasts in half (I think the proper term would be to say I am "butterflying" the chicken breast... cutting it in half so that it opens up like a book and I end up with two thinner chicken breasts.  I hope that makes sense).  I used just one huge breast for this recipe and it weighed close to one pound.  Oh, another thing I like about cutting one large chicken breast into two thinner chicken breasts is that I find it easier to cook them through, as compared to thicker chicken breasts. 

Here is the spice mixture for the Harvest Grilled Chicken recipe.  I was surprised that this recipe actually had a bit of a spicy kick.  That must be from the chili powder.  Just sprinkle this spice blend on one pound of chicken breasts (on both sides of the chicken) and grill/cook as desired. The internal temperature you are looking for is 160 degrees Fahrenheit.


I am sure sometime soon I'll make this chicken with the salad as described in the remainder of the recipe.  It calls for Granny Smith apple, cucumber, dried cranberries, and a Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette.  That sounds right up my alley.  Of course, I would be inclined to add feta or blue cheese to this salad but the Whole 30 cookbook recipes are all dairy free.

I made this chicken to go along with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze.  I'll share that recipe with you next. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Avocado Toast with Basil Pesto


Avocado Toast with Basil Pesto

I am having fun planning my breakfast each morning. This week, I am having avocado toast four times; each day I am having one slice of toast (Dave's Killer Bread Thin Sliced) with 1/4 of an avocado (sliced or mashed up) and then switching up the toppings.  Today: Basil Pesto!

There is so much inspiration on the internet for various toppings.  I was really wanting to have turkey bacon and tomatoes today on my avocado toast, BUT we are having a BIG SNOW STORM in Colorado today and the grocery stores are RIDICULOUSLY crowded when we are expecting snow. So I had to come up with alternative toppings today since I did NOT want to go to the grocery store yesterday.  Yes, it's that bad!

This couldn't be easier.

1 slice of toast
1/4 avocado, mashed with a fork and seasoned with a bit of salt and black pepper
topped with hard boiled egg slices
finished off with a little drizzle of prepared Basil Pesto (I used Kroger "Private Select" brand)

I am not sure what toppings I'll have tomorrow.  I don't think I'll be going to store so I may have to get creative, but I love that!