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!!!

Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Happy Monday y’all!
Let’s get down to business. Yesterday was the first day of fall weather round’ these here parts. I woke up to chilly temps in the 50’s (omg), with the wind fiercely whipping through the trees in my back yard.  All I did was grab a cup of hot coffee and listen to live acoustic music on one of the local radio stations. It’s called acoustic sunrise, and they play it every Sunday (think you fave music…just live, in the acoustic version). 
Now, I wanted to bake, like seriously. I was craving some mad pancakes drenched in syrup, but it was just sooooo peaceful to sit and do absolutely nothing. So, I held off. Then, later in the day, it dawned on me…it was the perfect (and I mean really, really, ridiculously perfect) day for chicken soup. Now, let’s get this straight…this is not chicken noodle soup (although you could add noodles if you are in to that sort of thing). This is real deal, chock full of veggies and shredded roasted chicken soup. The kind that is perfect for a cold day, or a sick day, the kind of chicken soup that sticks to your ribs…but in a light, and healthy sort of way. 
This recipe or technique (I should say) was taught to me by my grandmother. Now, when I say taught, what I really mean is that when I was around 12 years old, I asked her how to make it and she proceeded to throw a handful of things into a large pot, blink…and bada-bing…magic! She’s real specific about her recipes…not! Anyway, my mom mastered the recipe over the years and can practically make it in her sleep. I have made it a few times, but it was never THIS good. I mean, seriously.
The only bad part about this soup is chopping onions. 
Ahhhh…tears!

Then everything gets really, really, ridiculously simple. 

This is a one pot meal.

Add some fresh herbs. 

Le chicken.
Really classy store-bought rotisserie chicken. I know, I know…but, it will change your life by making this dish more simple. Feel free to go all Julia Child on me and roast your own chicken. 
The only chicken soup recipe you will ever need.

I mean, seriously….gahhhh…just look at those tender veggies and that juicy shredded chicken.

Flavor x’s 10!!!
This is important: add a handful of shredded Parmesan cheese (the fake boxed stuff will do the trick) to your bowl of soup.
Trust me on this one. 
Roasted Chicken Soup (GF):
Ingredients:
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
5 large carrots, sliced into quarter sized rounds
5 stalks of celery, chopped
freshly ground black pepper, as needed
5-6 c. low-sodium chicken broth (you can also use water or vegetable broth)
1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 c. fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 large rotisserie chicken, shredded
handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of cracked red pepper flakes, optional toppings
Instructions:
1. Heat a dutch oven (or a large soup pot) over medium heat on the stove.
2. Drizzle with the evoo.
3. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are just translucent, stirring ever so often. About 5 minutes.
4. Add the carrots and celery, turn the heat up to medium-high, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the vegetables just start to tenderize. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
5. Add the chicken broth, basil, and parsley. Bring the soup to a low boil, then reduce the heat to low.
6. Add the shredded chicken, cover the soup, and let simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.
7. Serve warm with a bit of Parmesan cheese and a hint of red pepper flakes.
Serves about 10-12 people.
MANGIA!!!

Moo.

Happy Thursday y’all!
Did you know that the word for “pork” in Thai is moo? It fascinates me that two different languages can use the same word, but in different contexts. I mean, if you were to stick an American child, who has just learned that cows make the “moo” sound, in Thailand, they might be served a plate of pork each time they said “moo.” Baha! What’s really hilarious is that I learned this from a movie called “Uptown Girls,” where Brittany Murphy just so happens to own a pig named “Moo.” 
Moving on, all I have to say is…bacon. And tons of it. Seriously, what I am about to show you was my lunch yesterday (along with a turkey burger and a piece of toast). 
Bacon is our canvas today people. 
We are transforming it
with a spicy brown sugar glaze.

Smooth that glaze out over the bacon.
DO NOT LICK THE SPOON!

Food poisoning is for amateurs. Although I love me some raw cookie dough.

Then some herbs come out to play
 for a healthy, creamy, Greek yogurt ranch dressing.

OH MAH GAWD!

This candied bacon/ranch/romaine combo only gets 10 times better with FETA CHEESE!
Because I’m pretty sure that I have a little bit of Greek somewhere, running through my veins.

But oh mah gawd just look at that bacon!

Okay, I’m finished. 
Bacon, people…bacon.
Simple Romaine Salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing, Spicy Brown Sugar Bacon, and Feta (GF):
Ingredients:
For the bacon:
8 strips of thick, uncooked, pork center-cut bacon
1/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/2 t. ground chili powder
2 T. honey
1 T. water
For the dressing:
1/4 c. parsley, chopped
2 T. fresh dill, removed from the sprigs
1 T. fresh chives, chopped
1.5 T. fresh basil, chopped
1 whole clove of garlic
1 c. plain, Greek yogurt (I used non-fat)
2 T. low-fat buttermilk (you could also use water to thin out the dressing)
1/2 t. ground pepper
pinch of salt
For the salad:
8 Romaine lettuce leaves
1/2 c. crumbled Feta cheese
Instructions:
For the bacon:
1. On a piece of parchment paper, lay the bacon slices (fat side up) on top of one another in an angled position. 
2. Combine all of the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. 
4. Pour the glaze evenly over the bacon. Use the back of a large spoon to spread the mixture out over each piece of bacon. 
5. Cover the bacon in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
7. Place each strip of bacon on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. 
8. Bake the bacon until slightly brown and crispy. About 15-18 minutes. Watch carefully because it might burn! I placed the baking sheet on a rack in the middle of the oven to avoid this. 
9. Let the bacon cool on the pan for 3 minutes before using tongs to transfer to a cutting board. 
10. Once completely cool, chop the bacon into crumbles, using a large serrated knife. Set aside.
For the dressing:
1. Put all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process on high until smooth.
2. You may need to add a bit more buttermilk or water, depending on how thick or thin you like the consistency of your dressing.
3. Pour the dressing in two 6 oz. canning jars fitted with lids.
For the salad:
1. Top each romaine leaf with about 2 T. of crumbled bacon, drizzle with dressing, and top with about 2 T. of crumbled feta.
Serves 4 (2 lettuce leaves/person).
MANGIA!!!