Chicken Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup with Chips, fresh lime and spoon on Rustic Wood Ba

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

I first posted a recipe with the same name five years ago.  This new version boasts bigger flavor with a few additional ingredients and new sauté procedure.  Slow cooking is perfect for this busy spring season. Simply start this in the morning to cook on low for 7-8 hours or at lunchtime, to cook on high for 5-6 hours.  If your slow cooker does not have a sauté function, simply prepare the first part of this recipe in  a skillet on the stove top and transfer to the slow cooker when ready.

If you are not familiar with Chihuahua cheese, please try it.  It is wonderfully creamy and is often used in quesadillas, too.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup (serves 6)

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoon chili powder

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

1 onion, cut into eighths

1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)

1-1/2 cups corn from cob (or 1 can sweet corn)

1 can fire roasted (15 ounce) canned tomatoes

4 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon oregano

2 corn tortillas, torn into 1-inch pieces

1 can (15 ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed

Salt to taste

Garnishes: non fat plain Greek yogurt (or light sour cream), shredded Chihuahua cheese, sliced avocado, fresh lime.

Heat oil in slow cooker set at 400 degrees on ‘Sauté’. Add pepper, onions, garlic and corn, sauté for a few minutes. Add chili powder and stir to coat vegetables and heat until chili powder is fragrant. Place chicken on top of veggie. Add tomatoes, broth, oregano and tortillas. Adjust slow cooker setting to low,  cover and cook for 7-8 hours. (Or set on high for 5-6 hours). At the end of cooking, remove chicken breast to a plate. Add black beans to the slow cooker to heat while shredding the chicken with two forks. Add shredded chicken back to pan. Serve soup in bowls topped with garnishes. Enjoy!

 

Pork Medallions with Mushrooms

IMG_3189Today’s recipe is simple enough for any weeknight dinner but it’s presentation and wine glaze is fancy enough for a dinner party.  And, I’ve paired this deliciousness with Parsnip Mash.

Parsnips are root vegetables resembling cream colored carrots.  They are available year round but their growing season is fall to spring.  When cooked and ‘mashed’, they develop a creamy, sweet flavor and deliver a good source of fiber, vitamin C and some B-vitamins.  Savor the flavor of eating right!  Enjoy!

Pork Medallions with Mushrooms and Madeira Glaze (serves 6)

1-1/2 pounds pork tenderloin

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 shallots, finely diced

1 pound white mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup Madeira wine (dry port, sherry or Marsala wines can be substituted)

1 cup chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Parsley, for garnish

Cut tenderloin into generous1 inch medallions. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauce pan over high heat. Sear meat until browned, about 2 minutes. Flip and repeat browning on other side. Transfer pork to a plate.

Add remaining oil to pan and heat. Add shallots and sauté until golden while scraping any browned bits from pan. Add the mushrooms and sauté until most of liquid evaporates. Sprinkle with flour and add the Madeira. Once the wine has reduced by half, add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add pork and any accumulated juices to the pan. Cook in simmering sauce for 5-8 minutes, flipping once, until internal temperature is 145 degrees. Serve medallions on top of parsnip mash* and garnish with parsley.

*Parsnip Mash

3 pounds* parsnips, peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch pieces

Salt and ground white pepper

2 teaspoons butter or Earth Balance

2 tablespoons milk (more, if needed, for desired consistency)

Place parsnips in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to a gentle boil until parsnips are easily pierced with a fork, about 8-10 minutes. Drain well.

Put parsnips in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add butter and milk.  Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

*If purchasing young parsnips, only 2 pounds needed since they have tender cores and do not need to be cored.

Chicken Fricassée with Fennel and Artichoke

Chicken Fricassee

FRANCE!!!! Ever since my time in Paris and the west of France this past autumn, my cooking has been influenced by the flavors of this luscious cuisine.  I even worked on a chocolate soufflé recipe I’ll have to share with you very soon!

And FENNEL!!!!! This fragrant vegetable has many culinary uses from the seeds to the bulb.  This recipe uses the bulb, sliced thin and sautéed with onions until soft.  Please don’t let the fancy name of this recipe hinder you from trying it!  It is basically a one-pot meal with straightforward prep.  And it’s OH, SO DELICIOUS!  ENJOY!

Chicken Fricassée with Fennel and Artichoke (serves 6)

6-8 pieces from a 2-3 pound chicken

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, halved and sliced thin

1 fennel bulb, trimmed, halved and sliced thin

1 cup dry white wine

1, 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1-1/2 cups pitted mixed, green and black olives (in the original recipe, Picholine is the recommended green olive as is brine-cured black olives)

1/4 cup capers in vinegar, drained

12 artichoke hearts marinated in olive oil, drained

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Cooked thin pasta or rice, for serving

Generously season chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet (with a lid) or Dutch oven, heat olive oil. Add the chicken pieces skin side down and brown until they are golden in color, about 5 minutes. Flip carefully with tongs and cook another 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Reduce heat to low, add the onions and fennel. Cook, covered until softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Return the chicken to pan. Add the wine, tomatoes, olives, capers and artichokes. Cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust, as needed. Serve over hot cooked pasta or rice. Bon Apetit!

Adapted from Patricia Wells, The French Kitchen Cookbook

‘Anytime’ Mini Stratas

Mini Stratas

Stratas seem like they’re reserved just for special occasions.  Made from bread and eggs, this dish typically takes some planning including an overnight in the fridge before cooking. That explains the annual strata recipe I make for our family’s Christmas brunch.  But, to my great surprise, I found a brilliant new way to enjoy strata.  Make them MINI.  Thanks to the Power Up Muffins in the 2015 ‘The Dairy Good Cookbook:  Everyday Comfort Food from America’s Dairy Farm Families’, I am sharing my newest favorite strata recipe and calling it ‘Anytime Mini Strata’.  In fact, I just made these after church for my family this weekend.  Not only did everyone enjoy them, they were simple to assemble, sit to soak for only 10 minutes and bake in just 20 minutes. Here it is!

Anytime Mini Strata (makes 1 dozen)Anytime Mini Stratas

6 large eggs

1 cup plan non-fat Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon each:  onion powder, garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup packed spinach, chopped

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup cubed whole grain bread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.  Using a whisk, beat eggs in medium bowl with yogurt.  Add up to a tablespoon of water if mixture to thick to blend.  Whisk in onion and garlic powders, salt and pepper.  With a spoon, mix in cheese, bread, spinach and mushrooms.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Stir once again and evenly distribute amongst the 12 muffin cups.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown.  Allow a few minutes to cool before serving. Run a small knife around each to help pop them out of the muffin cups.  Enjoy!

Easy Chicken Stir Fry with Veggies

IMG_2979Cooking with MU Women's Soccer

This week I had the privilege of teaching a cooking class to 16 upperclassman at Marquette University.  They are members of Marquette’s Women’s soccer team.  I brought my ‘Kitchen Simple’ recipes: 10 easy recipes from 15 main ingredients (the ones promoted for Myplate2yours 3rd Birthday!)  This Easy Chicken Stir Fry was one of the recipes we made.  What makes this ‘easy’ is the simple prep of the ingredients (using already shredded carrots and pre washed baby spinach leaves).

It was enjoyed by all of these rising chefs!

MU Soccer cooks!Easy Chicken Stir Fry with Veggies (serves 4)

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch strips

2 tablespoon oil, separated

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large red or yellow bell pepper, cut into strips (the size of matchsticks)

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup sliced onion

1 handful baby spinach

1/2 cup soy sauce mixed with 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup brown rice, cooked to package directions

Heat oil in skillet with medium-high heat. Quickly stir in garlic to lightly brown. Add chicken strips. Cook until lightly brown on all sides and no pink remains in middle. Remove from pan. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. When hot, add onions, peppers, and carrots. Stir fry until tender crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Return chicken to pan and add spinach. Stir fry until spinach wilts. Stir the soy sauce mixture and add to pan. Stir fry until sauce heats and thickens. Serve over rice and enjoy!

Marinated Salmon with Mango-Kiwi Salsa

Marinated Salmon

Dinner in less than 20 minutes?  It is possible with fish!  I tasted this recipe for the first time in Florida.  My mom made it for dinner when my oldest daughter and I were visiting.  We loved it!!! Since then, I’ve tweaked it a bit and made the recipe several times and even taught it in one of my classes.  I thought for sure I’ve posted this recipe on my blog but found out today (while I was searching for the recipe on http://www.myplate2yours.com) that I haven’t published it yet.  So, HERE IT IS!  Make it soon while mango and kiwi are affordable, ripe and yummy!

Marinated Salmon with Mango-Kiwi Salsa (serves 4)

4, 6 ounce salmon filets (about 1 inch thick)

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Salsa:

1/2 cup diced mango (1 small)

1/2 cup diced kiwi (2 whole)

1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Mix honey, soy sauce, oil and pepper in a ziplock bag. Add fish. Marinade for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix salsa ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt, to taste.  Refrigerate.

Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium high. Cook fish, 5 minutes and flip for an additional 5 minutes, until fish is cooked through.

Serve salmon with salsa on top of each filet. Enjoy!

Mexican Creamed Corn

Mexican Creamed Corn

Meatless is the name of a newer cookbook from the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living.  I recently enjoyed opening this book for the fist time and flagged several recipes to try.  This is the first one and it was fabulous!  I love that it uses non-fat yogurt instead of the mayonnaise that is typically used in this dish.  YUMMY!  Sweet corn is abundant this time of year and this is a terrific way to enjoy that sweetness!

Mexican Creamed Corn (serves 4) Adapted from Meatless

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 jalapeño, finely chopped (seeds and ribs removed)

1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped

4 ears corn, kernels and pulp scraped

1 cup water

1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt, plain

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons crumbled feta or queso fresco

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium.  Cook jalapeño and onion, stirring until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add corn and pulp and water.  Cook, stirring until corn is tender and most of the water evaporates, 5-7 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in yogurt and season with salt and pepper.  If more heat desired, sprinkle with ground cayenne pepper.  Serve immediately, top with feta and cilantro.  Enjoy!!

Meatless Monday: Black Bean Cakes with Chipotle Sauce

Black Bean Cakes

I recently made these Black Bean Cakes for family dinner and served them on slider rolls.  YUM!  My meat-loving son enjoyed them, too!

Black Bean Cakes with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce (makes 10 small cakes)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup diced sweet onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1 teaspoon each: cumin, chili powder

1/2 cup grated sweet potato

1- 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1/2 cup milk

Chopped cilantro, as garnish

Chipotle yogurt sauce: 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt, 1-2 chopped Chipotle peppers, 1 teaspoon adobo sauce, 1/4 teaspoon cumin. Mix ingredients thoroughly and chill.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Heat oil in a medium skillet and sauté onion, bell pepper and garlic for 3 minutes, until onion is translucent. Stir in cumin, chili powder and sweet potato. Heat until spices are fragrant. Remove from heat.

Place beans in a bowl and roughly mash with a large fork or potato masher. Stir in contents of skillet and combine. Sprinkle in bread crumbs and pour in milk. Stir again to combine. Divide mixture in half and make 5 equal cakes from each half. Place on an oiled baking sheet. Spritz top of cakes with oil. Place in middle of oven and bake for 5 minutes until cake tops begin to crisp. Flip and bake 2-3 minutes more (when second side gets crispy). Serve on a platter with a dollop of Chipotle Yogurt Sauce and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

Black Bean Cakes were adapted from Simple Gourmet

Meatless Monday: Avocado Egg Pita

Avocado Egg Pita

Easy and yummy!  It’s a great recipe to make when you find a ripe avocado to enjoy.  I served this for breakfast in a class last week…every plate was left clean!  It works well for lunch, too.

Avocado-Egg Pita (serves 2)

2 pocketless Greek pita, preferably whole grain

2 egg

1 large ripe avocado

1 lemon

Salt & pepper

2 teaspoons EVOO

2 tablespoons feta cheese

Brush pitas with oil. Toast on both sides in a hot skillet until beginning to crisp. Mash avocado and spread equally on each pita, drizzle with fresh lemon juice. Fry eggs in skillet, cook ‘easy over’ and season with salt and pepper. Place cooked egg on top of each pita and sprinkle with feta. Enjoy!

Chicken Kebabs in Lettuce Cups

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A kebab for the oven?  YES!  Chicken Kebabs in Lettuce Cups with Tomato-Red Onion Salad is full of fresh flavors with an easy prep.  What can be better?

Chicken Kebabs in Lettuce Cups with Tomato-Red Onion Salad (serves 4)

1-1/4 pound ground chicken

1/2 medium red onion; half fine diced and half sliced thin

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup crumbled feta

½ cup fresh mint leaves; half chopped and half whole leaves / larger ones torn

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

8 Bibb lettuce leafs

Eight bamboo skewers

Soak skewers in water for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, diced onion, chopped mint, feta, garlic, salt and pepper. Divide mixture in half and into 4 portions per half. Form each portion around skewer and place onto baking sheet. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, until internal temperature is 165 degrees.

Meanwhile, prepare tomato-red onion salad by combining tomatoes, onions, mint, olive oil, vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Serve kebabs in bibb lettuce leaves topped with the salad. Serve with whole grain couscous or a gluten-free grain, if desired. Enjoy!

Adapted from Everyday Foods 2013