Monday, November 18, 2013

Mexican Chicken & Lime Soup

Okay, so, who hasn't heard of Williams-Sonoma's Mexican Lime Soup?  I honestly don't know of many people who haven't!  This is one of the best soups I've ever tasted!!  It was so flavorful & refreshing, and will definitely hit the spot every time you make it!  The original recipe is posted on the Williams-Sonoma website within their recipes tab, but I made a few minor adjustments, based on what I had in my own kitchen.  Go on and give this soup a try!  It's perfect for those cool and cozy autumn nights!

Mexican Chicken Lime Soup
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma / Serves 2-3


Ingredients:
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half (cut into chunks)
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion (or white onion, if you prefer)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cup water
  • mild feta cheese - for topping
  • 1 medium avocado, diced - for topping
  • cilantro - for topping
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 TB grape seed oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp McCormick's Perfect Pinch Salt-Free Original All Purpose Seasoning (or 1 tsp oregano)
Directions:
  1. Season chicken breast chunks with kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a saucepan and sautee chicken breast pieces until browned.
  3. In the meantime, combine chicken broth, water, crushed red pepper, lime juice, black pepper, kosher salt, and McCormick's seasoning in a medium-sized pot.
  4. Remove browned chicken from saucepan and add to the pot.
  5. In the same saucepan, sautee garlic and red onions until nearly translucent (being careful not to burn the garlic).
  6. Add garlic and onions to the pot and cook on medium heat until boiling.
  7. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Transfer soup to a bowl and top with cilantro, diced avocado, and mild feta cheese.
  9. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    Homemade Chicken & Rice Soup


    I am absolutely in LOVE with Autumn!  The beautifully colored leaves on the ground, pumpkin pie, and the excuse to break out the knit hats, scarves, and ankle boots!  Unfortunately, along with Autumn, also comes cold and flu season - which my poor little munchkin has experienced this past weekend.  In an effort to help make her feel better, I whipped up my first ever batch of Chicken & Rice Soup!  I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we did!  I can't wait to make this again!

    Homemade Chicken & Rice Soup
    Original Recipe / Serves 4


    Ingredients:
    • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup diced red onion
    • 1 c frozen mixed vegetables
    • 3 c chicken broth
    • 1/2 c cooked brown rice (I used basmati)
    • 1 1/2 tsp McCormick's Perfect Pinch All Purpose Seasoning (or you can sub basil, oregano & parsley)
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • kosher salt & pepper, to taste
    • 1 TB grape seed oil, for frying
    Directions:
    1. Cut chicken breast into small chunks and season with salt and pepper.
    2. Heat grape seed oil in a medium-sized skillet and cook chicken until golden brown.
    3. Meanwhile, combine seasonings, brown rice, chicken broth, and frozen vegetables in a medium saucepan.
    4. Remove chicken from skillet and place in saucepan.
    5. In the same skillet, saute diced onion and minced garlic, until the onion becomes slightly translucent - being careful not to burn the garlic
    6. Add onion/garlic mixture to the saucepan and cook on medium heat until soup begins to boil.
    7. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
    8. Enjoy!



    Friday, November 8, 2013

    Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken

    There's really no introduction needed for this recipe.  I love chicken, I love lemon, and I love garlic! And when you mix them all together, you get a mouthwatering delicious entree that the whole family will enjoy!  This dish is extremely light and healthy, and can be used as a main dish or as a topping for salads, in a soup, or even wrapped in a tortilla!  I simply love how this chicken came out, and I will definitely be making it over and over again!  I hope you and your family love it as much as mine did!  Enjoy!

    Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken
    Original Recipe / Serves 3-4


    Ingredients:
    • Juice from 2 medium lemons (approx 2/3 c)
    • 1/2 c grape seed oil
    • 8 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 TB)
    • 1/8 c minced onion
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
    • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • Lime (or additional small lemon), optional.
    Directions:
    1. Combine all ingredients in ziploc bag and shake until well mixed.
    2. Remove small portion of marinade to use while cooking.
    3. Place chicken in bag and marinade overnight, for best results (or for at least 3-5 hours).
    4. Remove marinated chicken breasts from ziploc bag and cook on the grill (brushing with reserved marinade) until no longer pink.
    5. Remove cooked chicken from the grill and squirt with lime (or lemon) juice.
    6. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    Spaghetti Squash Alfredo with Garlic Wheat Naan



     For my second day, and first "official" cooking day of my 20lbs in 9 week challenge, I decided to make something light, yet filling.  I combined two of my favorite things, Alfredo Pasta & Naan bread!!!  I am fully aware that I have intermingled Italian and Indian cuisine, but I just could NOT resist!  The end product:  a
    dinner that even my picky 5 year old and non-dieting Aunt would not only eat, but LOVED!!!  I have to say, I was a bit nervous about both the Squash and the Naan.  I've cooked Spaghetti Squash once before (Click here for previous post), and my munchkin wasn't too thrilled.  Actually, to be honest, she hated it.  It took her a very long time to finish her food, and asked me not to make that again! It was the texture that she couldn't get past, and possibly the disappointment of her taste buds expecting spaghetti, but getting squash.  This time around, however, her response was "Mmmmm this is sooooo good, mommy!  I love it!"  Hearing those words come out of her mouth makes me love cooking a little bit more, if that's even possible!  Now about the Naan... I have never tried Whole Wheat Naan before.  And as much as I am in love with Naan, I honestly wasn't sure how this was going to come out.  But after the taste test - both myself and my daughter - we were both in love!  My aunt had never tried Naan before, and she really enjoyed it, as well.  All in all, I'd have to say tonight's dinner was a huge success.  My tummy is full, and my taste buds are happy!

    Spaghetti Squash Alfredo
    Adapted by Freakin' Fantastic Food / Serves 2-3

    Ingredients:
    • 1 medium Spaghetti Squash
    • 1 TB Butter
    • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
    • 1 TB Onion, minced
    • 2 TB Almond Flour
    • 1 1/2 c Almond Milk
    • 1 tsp Corn Starch
    • 1 TB whipped or light Cream Cheese
    • 1 c grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more for garnish
    • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
    • 1/8 tsp Ground Black Pepper
    • Parsley & Crushed Red Pepper, for garnish (optional)
    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Cut the squash lengthwise, using sharp knife, and remove the seeds.
    3. Place squash cut side down on baking sheet, and cover halfway with water.
    4.  Bake squash for about an hour, until tender.
    5. Remove squash from oven and using a fork, gently scrape the "spaghetti" strands into the center of the squash (spoon desired amount into a bowl, if desired).
    6. For the sauce, melt butter in small saucepan over low heat.
    7. Add minced garlic and onion, and saute' until golden brown.
    8. Whisk in flour and then slowly add milk, making sure well blended.
    9. Add corn starch and whisk vigorously, removing all lumps.
    10. Heat mixture for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until fully heated.
    11. Add cream cheese, and whisk until smooth.
    12. Remove from heat, and add parmesan cheese, salt, and ground pepper.
    13. Spoon cream sauce over the spaghetti squash (or bowl of "spaghetti").
    14. Sprinkle parmesan cheese, parsley, and crushed red pepper (optional) on top.
    15. Serve Immediately.


    Garlic Wheat Naan
    Recipe adapted from Budget Bytes / Serves 8 

    Ingredients:
    • 1 3/4 c Whole Wheat Flour
    • 1 c unbleached Almond Flour
    • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
    • 1 tsp raw, unfiltered Honey
    • 2 tsp Active Dry Yeast (Bread Machine Yeast also works)
    • 1/2 c Water
    • 1/4 c Oil (Grapeseed or Olive Oil are best)
    • 1/3 c  0% Plain Greek Yogurt
    • 1 large Egg
    • Butter, Garlic Salt, and Parsley - for topping
    Directions:
    1. Combine honey, yeast, and water in a small bowl and whisk until fully dissolved. Let sit 1-2 minutes until bubbles form.
    2. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, combine whole wheat flour & salt.
    3. Pour wet ingredients into medium bowl with flour mixture, and stir until well blended.  
    4. Slowly pour in almond flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until well combined and flour ball is formed.
    5. Place ball of dough on well floured surface, and kneed dough for 2-3 minutes, adding additional
      wheat flour, as needed to prevent sticking.
    6. Loosely cover the dough and let rise until ball doubles in size, about 1 hour.
    7. Gently flatten dough, after fully risen, and slice into 8 equal pieces.
    8. Shape each piece into a ball, by folding the edges over each other.
    9. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat and spray lightly with cooking spray.
    10. Roll dough, one at a time, on floured surface, until about 1/4 inches thick.
    11. Place dough into heated skillet and cook until the bottom is golden brown & bubbles begin to
      form on the surface.
    12. Flip dough and cook other side until golden brown.
    13. Remove from heat, brush with butter, and sprinkle with parsley and garlic salt.
    14. Enjoy! 


      Sunday, November 3, 2013

      Spinach Artichoke Hummus



      Mmmmmm Hummus...  My absolute FAVORITE snack these days.
        I simply cannot get enough!!!  Because of this, I have begun making my own, because it can get to be quite expensive when you're eating a tub of hummus every 2-3 days!  This recipe was inspired by a dip that I tried a few days ago, which was a very unhealthy Artichoke Jalapeno Cream Cheese dip, that tasted amazing with wheat thins.  After eating more than my fair share of this dip, and nearly running out, I decided to make a less guilty artichoke dip - and the end product was hummus!!  This dip is great with carrots, pretzels (my favorite), or any type of cracker.  But don't just take my word for it, give the recipe a spin, and test it out for yourself.  It was sooooooo quick and easy to make, you're going to wonder why you spent all that money on store-bought hummus in the past!

      Enough of the chit chat, let's get to blending!

      Spinach Artichoke Hummus
      Original Recipe / Makes 2 cups

      Ingredients:
      • 1 15-oz can Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas), 3 1/2 TB liquid reserved
      • 2 TB Plain Greek Yogurt
      • 3 cloves Garlic
      • 2 TB Tahini
      • 3 TB Lemon Juice
      • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
      • 1/8 tsp Ground Black Pepper
      • 6 oz Artichoke Hearts, drained
      • 2 handfuls Fresh Spinach, rinsed
      Directions:
      1. Place garbanzo beans plus reserved liquid, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, & pepper into food processor and blend until smooth (add more bean liquid, if necessary).
      2. Add artichokes and spinach and process until reached desired consistency (slightly chunky or smooth, if you like).
      3. Serve chilled.

      Friday, November 1, 2013

      November 2013 Dinner Menu Plan

      Today marked the first day of my Clean Eating Diet, and I have not only completed my shopping for the month (with the exception of the ground turkey), but I have also completed my monthly dinner menu!!!!  I'm very excited about this, because I have handpicked a number of recipes that I have been dying to try.  The trouble with these menus, though, is that I sometimes have a problem following the plan to a tee, but I am going to be as strict as possible to stick to the menu this time.  When eating Clean, planning ahead is the key to not falling off the wagon, as I've discovered over the past few months.  If you wait until you get home from work to decide "What's for Dinner", then you may end up whipping up something quick and easy, which will more than likely be something unhealthy!  So, if I can just follow along with this meal plan, then I should hopefully be set!





      Since this will be my first time cooking most of the dishes featured on my menu, I will unfortunately not be able to post the recipes ahead of time.  While most of these recipes will be adapted from other sources (mostly found while browsing pinterest & ziplist), I will undoubtedly be modifying them quite a bit to fit my personal taste, so I will be sure to post the updated recipes after each meal is completed.  If you would like to follow along, and cook the dishes on the specific days that I've planned, feel free to head on over to Pinterest and do a recipe search!  Afterall, this post isn't about getting you to love my adapted recipes, but it is to help you along your personal journey toward eating clean and losing weight.

       Thank you for tuning in... Wish me Luck!