The Countdown.

One more day until Good Friday. You know what that means…3 more days until Easter…3 more days until all of you who gave up drinking Diet Coke, indulging in chocolate covered cheesecake 3 nights a week, and/or eating a box of Snackwell’s dipped in a jar of peanut butter for dinner…those self-inflicted cold turkey ways are almost up.

You can almost breathe easy. Almost.

I love Easter. The Lord has risen and there are plenty of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs to be hunted down beneath the bushes in my family members’ front yard.

Watch out little cousins…I’m coming for you.

However, while Lent is still upon us…let us keep our promise to remember not to pick up that Cadbury egg until Sunday.

Let us eat salad.

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Now, this isn’t a “i’m going to force feed you some kind of horrible, tasteless green” salad.

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Nope, this salad is flavor town U.S.A.

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I even made you a homemade citrus poppy seed Greek yogurt dressing.

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This salad is all about the massage. Massage that kale!

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The simplicity of this salad is unreal, yet absolutely delicious…the acidity of the red onion cuts right through the bitterness of the kale and compliments the juicy, sweet honey tangerine juice that gets infused into the creamy Greek yogurt for one genius dressing.

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This might even be enough for you to extend your Lenten resolution past Sunday.

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Baha! Who am I kidding?

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This coming from the girl who currently has a freezer stocked full of an 8 piece pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs.

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I mean c’mon…you know me better than that 🙂

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Citrus Poppy Seed Kale Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad, Lunch, Dinner
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5
 
Gluten-free
Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • 1 bunch of curly leaf kale, stems discarded and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ of a large red onion, thinly sliced
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste
  • For the dressing:
  • ½ c. non-fat, plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • juice of 1 honey tangerine (or another type of tangerine)
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 T. granulated stevia (or sugar)
  • 1 T. poppy seeds
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Place the ingredients for the kale in a large mixing bowl, season to taste.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk all of the dressing ingredients together.
  3. Pour 4-5 tablespoons of the dressing over the kale.
  4. Gently massage the dressing into the kale, coating it evenly.
  5. Serve or for best results, place in the refrigerator to chill.

 

MANGIA!!!

Zuppa Del Sol.

Yesterday, I wrote an email to Summer.

Dear Summer, please come quick.

I need a snow cone and a sunbathing session like yesterday.

I am sick and tired of the days of gloves and layers.

I need to see my legs and wear flip-flops that show off my freshly painted toes.

Did I mention I need a snow cone?

Yea.

Let’s talk Mexican food. Tex-Mex is the stuff I grew up on.

Buuuuut I was also privileged to grow up around many authentic Mexican restaurants down here in Houston.

Taqueria’s run rampant here. No joke.

Sometimes all I want is to take a trip to my childhood Taqueria Del Sol. I grew up 5 minutes from this place and it was a treat on weekday/weekend nights for my parents to take seester and I out for an authentic Mexican meal.

Now, I’m talking enchiladas with homemade red sauce, smothered in Mexican cheeses, and rolled between corn tortillas that you know your abuela is back there pounding out with her hands.

Did I mention this place has a bakery? My fave are the “pig” cookies.

Google it.

The best part of this experience for me was the check-out line and a frozen cooler that carried a variety of “La Brisa” Mexican popsicle flavors.

You haven’t lived unless you have tried a coconut or a chocolate La Brisa.

This past Sunday my parents called me from a little Mexican market that they found a couple of blocks away from my house.

La Brisa jackpot!

They were like kids in a candy store.

Spring/summer is on the way, but let’s make the most of it.

Chicken Enchilada Soup.

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Take that winter!

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And by “winter” I mean it’s 70 degrees here and it’s freezing.

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This stuff is legit. Heartwarming, ooey, gooey, crispy with crushed tortillas on top, “Did I really just eat a bowl of enchilada filling?” soup.

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Today, I am your abuela.

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Chicken Enchilada Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Lunch, Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Gluten-free, Paleo
Ingredients
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling the pan
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeds discarded, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small sweet yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 large stalks of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. ground paprika
  • 1 t. ground New Mexico chile powder
  • 1 t. granulated garlic
  • 1 t. granulated onion
  • freshly ground black pepper and fine sea salt, to taste
  • 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 2½ c. low sodium organic chicken broth
  • 1 plain, rotisserie or smoked chicken, shredded
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • crushed corn tortilla chips, optional garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat a large dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Add the poblano pepper, garlic, onion, carrots, and celery and saute until the vegetables become tender and break down. About 10-12 minutes.
  3. Add the cumin, paprika, chile powder, granulated garlic, granulated onion, salt and pepper and stir well, coating the veggies evenly.
  4. Saute for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil.
  6. Once boiling, reduce the temperature to low and allow the mixture to simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  7. Add the shredded chicken to the pot and mix well. I divided the shredded chicken in half, pureeing some of it, and leaving a few chunkier pieces. 🙂
  8. Using an immersion blender, gently puree the soup until you reach your desired texture. I love my soup slightly chunky. You can also do this using a high powered blender or food processor.
  9. Add the chopped cilantro to the soup last and stir well.
  10. Check the seasonings and season with salt and pepper according to your taste.
  11. Serve warm with crushed tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream (or Greek yogurt), warm corn tortillas, fresh garnish of cilantro, and/or Mexican cheese.

MANGIA!!!

No Noodles.

Let’s talk about noodles.
Ramen: count me out. Pho: gross. Beef Stroganoff: pass me the vomit bag. Chicken noodle soup: take those noodles away and you have a winner. Pasta: never been a fan. I know you are probably saying “whut the whuuuuuut” to yourself right now, especially to the last one. I know, I know I’m sure that I am sooooooo non-Italian for disliking pasta. I think it’s a texture thing I just can’t get over. Also, the fact that I’d rather have a bowl full of meatballs and tomato sauce piled high with Parmesan cheese needs no questioning. 
While I have an adversity to noodles, I can get behind the aesthetics of them. Especially, when you get to twirl those beautiful stringy ribbons around the tines of a fork. Luckily, seester surprised me with a veggie spiralizer on Sunday. To say I was excited is an understatement. 
Enter zucchini noodles. 

Let’s make a zingy, zesty dressing and 

toss the noodles in it. 

Capisce?

Now this, this is a noodle I can get behind. A noodle we can believe in. 

Seriously. 

So flavorful, soooooo melt in your mouth. 

This is perfect for lunch or dinner! 

Serve it with some Chicken Parmesan…now that’s Italian! haha!



Zucchini Noodles with Honey Tangerine Tahini Ginger Dressing (GF/V/P):

Ingredients:

For the noodles:
2 large zucchini, cut into spiral shapes using a spiralizer (you can also use a julienne peeler and peel the zucchini into strips)
salt and pepper, to taste

For the dressing:
juice of 1 honey tangerine
1 T. + 2 t. tahini
1 T. raw honey
1 t. pure maple syrup
1 t. freshly grated ginger
zest of 1 honey tangerine
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:
1. Place the noodles in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Chill in the refrigerator while you prep the dressing.
2. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a large mixing bowl, whisking until smooth.
3. Pour about 3-4 tablespoons of the dressing onto the noodles. Gently toss the noodles.
4. Garnish with freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley and basil.

Serves 2-4

MANGIA!!!

Simmer Down Now.

Okay people, 2013 is starting to get really….real. Super real. So real that I’m kind of frightened to as what this new year will bring for me. Yikes. How is that even possible? “Calm down Chels, let God guide the way.” Oh, sorry I’m supposed to be having a conversation with you lovely people, not engaging in a self chat therapy session. Whoa, lightening just struck the sky here. I love thunderstorms!
I do know that one thing is for sure 2013 is going to be the year to try new ethnic cuisines. Lawd hawwwlp me. Seriously, I have 3 go to ethnic cuisines…Mexican, Italian (from my kitchen of course), oh, and Mediterranean, which is basically Italian with all the olives and eggplants and tomatoes and such (right up to the baklava). 
Let’s talk Indian cuisine (or more specifically, cuisine from the Western hemisphere). Even more specifically, curry. Now, I have a deep affection for the curry spice. I did not have a deep connection with the Thai restaurant where I experienced my first encounter with a chicken curry. Hello, sicky icky stomach problems from something that looked like a gloppy tomato curry explosion. However, I didn’t want to kick curry to the curb just yet, so I decided to create my own version.
Only good things can come from chopped onions and garlic. 
That is where this dish speaks my language. 

Oh, and yummy spices!
Then, we simmer everything together on the stove. 
This is a one-pot meal people. 
 Can’t stop. Won’t stop. 

The flavor is magical and the chicken is oh so tender!
Did I mention it’s paleo and gluten-free?
Get some
ASAP!

Chicken Almond Curry (GF/P):

Ingredients:
extra-virgin olive oil, for sauteing 
1.5 yellow onions, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 T. curry powder
1 t. ground ginger
2 t. fine sea salt
1 t. ground cumin
pinch of ground cayenne pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 15 oz. can no-salt-added tomato puree
1 c. unsweetened, plain, almond milk
1 T. coconut flour ( or almond flour)
chopped fresh herbs (i.e. cilantro, parsley), optional
Instructions:
1. Heat the evoo in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.
2. Mix in the curry powder, ginger, sea salt, cumin, and cayenne, stirring constantly so that the spices don’t stick to the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the chicken and tomato puree, toss to coat. 
4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 1 hour or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
5. When the chicken is finished, stir in the almond milk and coconut flour. 
6. Simmer the curry, uncovered for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. 
7. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with chopped fresh herbs. 
Serves 6.
MANGIA!!!

Hu are You?

Happy Wednesday y’all!
Well, the first day of 2013 was definitely a success for my family and I. By success I mean that mom and I set out to run a few much needed errands which ended in her purchasing a new rug for the floors. You see, my dad decided to rip up the carpet in the living room yesterday morning only because my parents are deciding between getting hardwoods or tile in the house. Oh, and this all started because I couldn’t fit a pan into the oven in our kitchen. Somehow the small oven translated into new kitchen, which translated into new floors. I see a pattern here. Anyway, if you have thoughts on tile or hardwood floors, throw them my way! Let’s talk about food. Duh.

I can’t even begin to remember when the last time it was that I ate meatloaf. When I was little I developed an adverse relationship towards this mystery meat. Mystery meat meaning God only knew what was in there and it gave me anxiety trying to figure it out. Mystery meat be gone!

A couple of weeks ago my older cousin mentioned to me that he had eaten the best Paleo meatloaf at one of his new fave Paleo restaurants in New York, Hu Kitchen. After checking out the Hu Kitchen website, not only was I jealous that I didn’t have one here, but I felt the need to create my own version of each item on the menu. It all just looked so good! Yesterday, I got to work on this meatloaf.

You start with a good saute of red and orange bell pepper along with some yellow onion and garlic.

We are going Italian-style on this meatloaf yo. 

Bada-bing!

I spooned some of my dad’s leftover homemade slow roasted tomato sauce over the top of the meatloaf mid-way through the baking process. 

Ummmm…not the prettiest meatloaf (mainly because I didn’t have the patience to allow it to cool completely) but for sure the tastiest!

The bell peppers add a hint of sweetness that balances the savory quality of the tomato sauce. 

Paleo Italian Turkey Meatloaf. Boo-yah Jack!
Paleo Italian Turkey Meatloaf (GF):
Ingredients:
extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
half of 1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb. of ground turkey (I used about 80/20)
2 T. Italian spice blend (recipe follows)
1 egg, whisked
1/3 c. fresh homemade tomato sauce (try my Garlic-Herb Tomato Sauce)
Italian Spice Blend:
1 t. sea salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. granulated garlic
1 T. granulated onion
1 T. ground sage
1 T. ground fennel seeds
2 t. dried parsley
2 t. dried basil
2 t. dried oregano
Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with evoo. Combine all of the ingredients for the Italian spice blend in a small jam jar and shake until evenly distributed. Set aside. 
2. Heat a drizzle of evoo in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bell peppers, onion, and garlic and saute until the onions become translucent about 8 minutes. Stir occasionally.
3. Place the mixture into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. 
4. Add the ground turkey, spice blend, and egg. Mix using your hands until well combined.
5. Spread the meat mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven, and spread the tomato sauce out over the top of the meatloaf.
6. Put the meatloaf back into the oven and bake for an additional 40-45 minutes.
7. Let the meatloaf rest until slightly room temperature. 
8. Slice and serve.
Makes 6 slices of meatloaf.
MANGIA!!!