It’s just barely September and I’m ready for fall. I’m ready for warm soups and stews, comfort food like meatloaf and pasta. Unfortunately, the weather here doesn’t agree with me. With the exception of a couple of cool days following some storms, it’s still been 90+ degrees pretty regularly.
But I don’t care. I’ve been craving soup. And the moment I told my hubby that we were having Chicken Enchilada Soup for dinner, at 3pm, he couldn’t stop asking when it was going to be ready. We really enjoy this recipe, one that I had found last year and never got around to photographing. It’s quick and easy. It’s healthy, even when I deviate from original recipe (minus the tortilla chips). It’s adaptable – use up leftover veggies, add extra chicken for a heartier soup, add extra kick with an additional chipotle. Make it your own. And it freezes beautifully – important for me this past week, as I was making a double batch so that I could deliver some to friends with a newborn.
Below, I included both directions for making this in a crock pot as well as making it on the stove-top.
Chicken Enchilada Soup
Adapted from Skinny Taste
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 c. low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
- 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce*
- 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro or 3 Tbs. freeze-dried cilantro
- 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
- 2 c. frozen corn
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 to 3 skinless chicken breasts – raw for the crock pot or cooked & shredded (roughly 3 c. if you’re using leftover chicken) for the stove-top
- Optional toppings: additional cilantro, scallions, shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese, diced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips
* Tip: Freeze extra chipotles in ziplock baggies for future use. One or two chipotles in a bag, and they defrost in 5 minutes or so on the counter.
Directions for the Crock Pot:
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat oil. When hot, add onion, garlic, and chipotle. Saute until soft and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
While above is cooking, add remaining ingredients to a crock pot. Then add onion saute. Give a quick stir, ensuring that the chicken breasts are completely covered. Cover crock pot and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.
Remove chicken from crock pot and shred with a fork. Return to crock pot. Give a quick stir, and cook on high heat for 5-10 minutes, just long enough to warm up the chicken (if it cooled while shredding) and the soup (if it switched to low heat after cooking for the 4-6 hours).
Directions for the Stove-Top:
In a large pot over medium-low heat, heat oil. When hot, add onion, garlic, and chipotle. Saute until soft and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (including cooked, shredded chicken) to a saucepan. Give a quick stir. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, until soup is hot and flavors have melded together.
Serve hot with your choice of toppings.
I’m not feeling very inspired to write today. Maybe it’s because me and sloppy joes don’t really have a history. I had them at my in-law house one of the first times I went home with my hubby. Something about this recipe struck me and I ended up loving it. I think it’s the slight tang of the sauce. Sloppy joes quickly became a regular in our weeknight menu – it’s healthy & filling; it comes together pretty quickly; and it’s one of my favorite leftovers to take to work. Enjoy!
Above, served with mixed berry salad with vanilla syrup.
Adapted from Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave p. 91
Makes 6-8 sandwiches
- 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 tsp. minced garlic (4 cloves)
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded & small diced
- 1-15.5 oz. can low-sodium red beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 1/2 c. no salt added tomato sauce
- 2 Tbs. tomato paste
- 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs. unsulfured molasses
- 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 8 burger buns or sandwich thins for serving
- In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, brown meat and onions until meat is mostly browned.
- Remove drippings from pan – pour or use a turkey baster to remove them – and add bell pepper and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the rest of the ingredients, minus the burger buns. Cook for another 5 minutes until flavors meld together.
Serve on burger buns or sandwich this.
Make ahead and reheat in a crock-pot on low for 2-4 hours.
Nutrition: 1/2 c. of the sloppy joe mixture is 220 calories and will yield a full 8 servings.
Finally – a break from desserts and some savory food! And a healthy recipe at that!
These chicken enchiladas were a treat for my hubby. I had never made enchiladas before, mostly because I always thought they were a bit too cheesy or creamy for my taste. However, I loved these – made with a chipotle tomato sauce, chicken, and veggies. I’ve made them a couple times now. As noted below, I usually use larger tortillas than the recipe calls for, so bulk up the filling with extra veggies (usually bell peppers or mushrooms), in order to keep the nutrition facts similar to the original recipe (about 250 calories per enchilada!). I make a big batch of these on the weekend, and then hubby and I heat them up for lunch or dinner during the busy week. They’re even better leftover!
Adapted from Gina’s Skinny Recipes
Makes 4 servings (8 enchiladas)
Ingredients for the Sauce:
- non-stick cooking spray
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 Tbs. chipotle chilis in adobo sauce (1-2 chipotles), minced
- 1-1/2 c. tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 3/4 c. low sodium chicken broth
- kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste
Ingredients for the Enchiladas:
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- 8.5 oz (2 breast halves) cooked shredded chicken breast
- 1 c. diced onion
- 2 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro
- kosher salt
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
- 1/3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 c. tomato sauce
- 8 (7-inch) tortillas*
- 1 c. shredded low fat Mexican cheese
- 1/2 c. chopped scallions or cilantro for topping
* The original recipe called for 8 7-inch reduced carb whole wheat tortillas (at 50 calories each… so that each enchilada would be about 160 calories). I used 8-10 inch whole wheat tortillas (at 130 calories each). Each enchilada was about 250 calories.
Make the Sauce:
- Spray a medium sauce pan with cooking spray. Over medium heat, saute garlic until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Make the Filling:
- In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil. Add onions and garlic, sauteing until soft. Add chicken, salt, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder, tomato sauce, and chicken broth. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
Make the Enchiladas & Bake:
- While the chicken mixture is cooking, preheat oven to 400 and spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- When chicken mixture is ready, place 1/3 c. chicken mixture into each tortilla. Roll it, and place it in prepared baking dish, seam side down.
- Cover with sauce and top with cheese.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, covering with aluminum foil if the top starts to burn.
Serve topped with scallions or cilantro, and if desired, sour cream. Serve with rice.
When I was little, my mom spoiled me. She worked nights, sleeping in the morning and up by lunchtime. That meant that almost every day, Mom made me a hot lunch. No sandwiches for me and my brothers. We got pierogis and potato pancakes and mini pizzas. To this day, I still prefer a hot lunch to sandwiches. I usually resort to leftovers, soups, and frozen meals.
This chicken salad is one of the more traditional lunch items that has made it into my lunch rotation. I originally made it for a pig-in at work and loved it. The apples made the salad slightly sweet, distinguishing it from other chicken salad recipes. But my favorites part was the almonds – I loved the crunch of the almonds. I’ve enjoyed this chicken salad for lunch several ways: straight-up, on toasted bread, and on a green salad.
Apple Almond Chicken Salad
Adapted from The Pastry Queen
Yields enough for 4-6 sandwiches or salads
Ingredients for the Mayo:
~ 2 large eggs
~ 1 large egg yolk
~ 1 tsp. kosher salt
~ 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
~ 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
~ 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
~ 1/3 c. olive oil
~ 2/3 c. vegetable oil
Ingredients for the Chicken Salad:
~ 1 c. slivered blanched almonds
~ 2 whole boneless chicken breasts, boiled, shredded, and cooled (may use leftover grilled or roasted chicken)
~ 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
~ 2 stalks celery, diced
~ 1 scallion, minced OR 1/2 c. diced red onion
~ 1/4 c. parsley, chopped
~ 1/2 – 3/4 c. homemade mayo
~ kosher salt & pepper, to taste
Make the Mayo: In a blender or food processor, combine eggs, yolk, salt, pepper, mustard, and lemon juice. Very slowly, with the mixer still running, add oils. You’ll be adding the oils almost a drop at a time, until thickened. If you mayo didn’t thicken up as much as it should (like mine), try refrigerating it for an hour or so. It’s not foolproof, but I was able to salvage my mayo with a brief trip to the fridge.
Store extra mayo in an airtight container for a couple weeks.
Make the Salad: Toast almonds in a 350F oven for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, toss chicken, apple, celery, onions and parsley. Add just enough mayo to bind the salad, 1/2 – 3/4 c. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate until serving. Add almonds just before serving so that they don’t lose their crunch.
Serve on a roll, bread, or salad, as desired.
Did you ever have a meal at a friend’s house, and instantly, the meal became one of your favorites? It’s that dish you immediately try to work into your weekly menu, and immediately start nagging your friend for the recipe… For me, this Chicken Cobb Pizza went straight into the favorites list, from the moment I tried it at K’s house. I’ve made it a couple of times since then, and have begged K to make it when we get together (including for “lunch” at 9am, 10 miles into our Sunday morning walks).
This pizza is pretty healthy in general (the original Pampered Chef recipe, using 1-10 oz. can chicken, says that two squares of this pizza is only 300 calories), but can be made even better for you with reduced-fat versions of the ingredients and even more veggies.
Thanks to K for sharing this great recipe!
Chicken Cobb Pizza
Adapted from Pampered Chef’s Clubhouse Chicken Squares
- 2-8 oz. pkg. crescent rolls
- 1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
- 2 Tbs. mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. fresh dill, chopped (or 1 tsp. Pampered Chef All-Purpose Dill Mix or dried dill)
- 1 1/2 c. cooked chicken, chopped/diced
- 1/2 small cucumber, seeded and chopped/diced
- 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- 6 slices bacon or turkey bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled
Make the Crust: Preheat oven to 375F.
Unroll one of package of crescent rolls on a baking sheet, with the longest sides of the dough running the length of the pan. With your fingers, seal in the perforations. Press the sides to form a crust.Repeat on a second baking sheet with the second roll of crescent rolls.
Make the “Sauce”: In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, mayo, garlic and dill. If the cream cheese isn’t soft enough to mix thoroughly, throw in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.
Assemble the Pizza: When the crust is cooled, spread the dill mixture on top of each crust. Layer chicken, bacon, veggies, and cheese.
Note for preparing in advance: The “sauce” can be made in advance. If it sits overnight, it will be come very garlicky. Also, if put together far in advance, the shredded cheese tends to dry out. Sprinkle cheese on pizza as close to serving as possible.
Last week was crazy, but I still got a few precious minutes of tv time. And how did I fill it? Food Network, of course!
I was watching Giada de Laurentiis do a picnic menu, and thought her Chicken and Shrimp with Pancetta Chimichurri sounded like a great recipe for the grill this weekend. I prepped the chicken and shrimp, and got started on the chimichurri early in the day, and went to taste the chimichurri to make sure it was good. Not such a fan. I found it very acidic. To salvage the chimichurri, I decided to use it as a marinade instead of as a post-grill sauce. This ended up working out great – the chicken and shrimp were flavorful and moist (definitely use fresh herbs for this marinade and not dried herbs).
Serving Suggestion: I would recommend serving this with a flavorful tomato or fruit salsa.
Herb Grilled Chicken & Shrimp Marinade
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
Yields enough marinade for 2 lb. shrimp and 2 lb. chicken
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 c. fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 c. fresh oregano leaves
- 1/3 c. red wine vinegar
- 1 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbs. lemon juice
- kosher salt (to taste)
- ground black pepper (to taste)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor, pulsing until smooth.
Marinate chicken and/or shrimp for 2+ hours before grilling.
Another non-dessert post! Don’t get me wrong, I do plenty of cooking – almost every night. However, usually I don’t think the dish is unique enough to blog about, or just don’t think about snapping a photo before we eat. Also, I cook like my mom – I throw a whole bunch of spices or veggies together without measuring much, and that doesn’t make for a great recipe.
This Thai Chicken Stir-Fry was a new recipe for us, from my favorite cooking magazine, Fine Cooking. As usual, it was another hit – easy and quick but full of flavor compliments of the fresh basil. I enjoyed the slight spiciness of the herb, which I don’t normally notice in pastas or salad caprese. This stir-fry did make me happy that I planted basil again this year.
Thai Chicken Stir-Fry
Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 98
- 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 4 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 lb. chicken breast cutlets (about 1/4 inch thick), cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips
- 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
- 2 Tbs. packed light brown sugar
- 1 c. lightly packed fresh basil leaves, cut roughly into 1/2 inch strips
Heat the oil in a well-seasoned wok or a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots start to soften but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until it’s no longer pink and the shallots are beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the lime juice, sugar, and 1/4 cup water. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is just cooked through and the liquid reduces to a saucy consistency, 2 to 3 minutes. (If the sauce reduces before the chicken is cooked through, add water, 1 Tbs. at a time.) Remove from the heat, add the basil, and stir to wilt it.
I was very excited when I saw that Karen of Shortbread chose Ina Garten’s Caesar Club Sandwich for Barefoot Bloggers this month. I have come across this recipe a couple times and have been waiting to try it. I was not disappointed. The sandwich was amazing – easy and flavorful. The dressing tasted way better than any bottled Caesar dressing does (I made mine without the anchovy paste, which I couldn’t find at my grocery store), and the sun-dried tomatoes were a surprising burst of flavor. I prepared everything ahead of time and assembled it shortly before my friends arrived. I have a feeling that my hubby will be adding this to his list of favorite dinners.
Caesar Club Sandwich
From Barefoot Contessa at Home and on Food Network
Ingredients for the Salad Dressing:
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 1/2 tsp. anchovy paste
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 c. mayonnaise
Ingredients for the Sandwich:
- 1 whole chicken breast (bone in, skin on, and split) or leftover rotisserie chicken
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 oz. thinly sliced pancetta
- 1 large ciabatta bread, or other bread with a slightly crunchy crust
- 2 oz. arugula or spinach, washed and dried
- 12 sun-dried tomatoes, in oil
- 2-3 oz. Parmesan, shaved (I used shredded, since that’s what we keep on hand)
Make the Chicken: Preheat the oven to 350F. Rub chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet, skin side up, and roast 35-40 minutes, until cooked through. Cook slightly. Slice meat off bone and set aside.
I used left over chicken from an rotisserie chicken I made the night before, and that worked perfectly. This is a great way to use up leftovers!
Meanwhile, prepare other ingredients:
1. Make the Dressing: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. Or, combine all ingredients in a food processor, processing until smooth.(Refrigerate if not using immediately.)
2. Place pancetta on a baking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes, until crispy. Pat off grease with a paper towel and set aside.
3. Slice bread in half horizontally. Place on a baking sheet (cut-side up) or directly on wire oven racks. Toast for 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Assemble the Sandwich
Spread Caesar dressing on both piece of bread. Then layer: arugula / spinach; sun-dried tomatoes; pancetta; chicken; shaved Parmesan (or, if using shredded, sprinkle on top half of bread, so that it will stick to the dressing). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place top on sandwich and cut into pieces. Serve at room temperature.
The only change I made with this recipe was to make two birds instead of four. If you’re going to make four birds, be sure to double the sauce below.
This recipe was mighty intimidating. I don’t like to make turkeys or chickens (um, ew, pulling out the innards?), and have never deboned any bird in my life. Since this was part of my special Valentine’s Day dinner for the hubby, I started the day early (when he was involved in video games and not paying any attention to me). It was slightly traumatic, and they weren’t the prettiest birds, but I did it!
Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Cranberry-Port Sauce
Adapted from: Fine Cooking No. 102 (p. 65)
Ingredients for the Birds:
- 2 Cornish Game Hens, 1 1/2-2 lbs. each
- 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage leaves (save the stems for the broth)
- 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme (save the stems for the broth)
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
Ingredients for the Broth:
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/3 c. chopped shallot
- Reserved backbone & wing tips from hens
- Reserved sage & thyme stems
Ingredients for the Sauce:
- 1/3 c. ruby port
- 1/3 c. dried cranberries
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 Tbs. minced shallot
- 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
Prepare Birds At Least 12 Hours in Advance:
Step 1: Split each hen down the center of the back using a chef’s or butcher’s knife. Remove the backbone. Or, using kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone. Set backbone aside.
Step 2: Extend wings on each side and chop off the last two joints. Set wing tips aside, with backbone.
Step 3: Combine sage, thyme, 1 Tbs. salt and 1 tsp. pepper in a small bowl. Pat hens dry and rub sage-thyme mixture on both sides of the hen. Place hens, skin-side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Hens should not be touching. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 12 hours, or overnight.
My backbone-less hens… not the prettiest but they sure were tasty.
Make Broth & Sauce 12 Hours in Advance:
Step 1, the Broth: Heat oil in a 3-4 qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Pat the wings and backbone dry and add to hot oil. Stir a few times until browned on all sides. Add chicken broth, shallots, and sage & thyme stems. Reduce heat, simmering for 30 minutes. Strain, removing the solids, and let cool. Refrigerate overnight.
Step 2, Start the Sauce: Combine port and cranberries in a small bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight, so that cranberries plump up.
A couple hours before mealtime… remove the hens from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for an hour.
Roast the Hens:
Preheat oven to 450°F. Melt 1/2 tbs. unsalted butter and brush it over the hens. Roast the hens for 30 minutes, rotating half-way through. An instant thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read 175°F to 180°F when done. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, Finish the Sauce:
In another saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tbs. butter. Add shallots and cook until tender, about 1 minutes. Stir in flour and whisk for about 30 seconds, until a thick paste has formed. Strain port into sauce pan, setting aside the plump cranberries. Whisk for another 30 seconds.
Whisk in broth until the sauce is smooth. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer, whisking occasionally until sauce reduced to 1/3 its volume, 5-8 minutes.
Stir in cranberries and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Just prior to serving, pour any juices left from the roasted hens into the sauce, stirring to combine.
Serve roasted hens with a drizzle of the cranberry port sauce.
I love meals that are quick to prepare. This one only took me 5-10 minutes to actually prepare, making the sauce. I marinated it for only a couple hours and it came out great. Sweet sauce and moist chicken, my only complaint was that I hate picking the chicken off the bone. I’d love to try this as a marinade and sauce for grilled chicken cutlets this summer.
Indonesian Ginger Chicken
Adapted From: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
- 1/2 c. honey
- 3/8 c. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/8 c. minced garlic (4-6 cloves)
- 1/4 c. peeled & grated fresh ginger root
- 8-10 chicken thighs
Marinade: In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, combine honey, soy sauce, garlic and ginger root. Heat until honey is melted and sauce is combined.
In a shallow baking pan, place chicken thighs skin side down. Cover in sauce.
Cover with aluminum foil and marinade at least 2 hours or overnight.
Cook: Preheat the oven to 350F.
Cook the chicken for 30 minutes with foil on. Uncover pan, flip chicken, and raise the temperature to 375F. Roast for another 20-30 minutes, until cooked through. Sauce will be a deep brown.
Serve over rice or with a side of Green Beans.