Chicken Soup with Avocado and Lime

After months of heavy eating in the name of ‘comfort food’ and the winter season, I needed a break. The light, tasty broth of this soup hit the spot! Add lime juice, garlic, cilantro…flavor packed! This soup comes together in about 30 minutes for your busy week night and gives you another reason to #dumpthedrivethru. I’ll take it!

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Chicken Soup with Avocado and Lime

1 lb chicken tenderloins, cut into thin strips

32 oz. of low sodium chicken broth

3 cloves minced garlic

1 Tablespoon cilantro paste (or more to your taste)

1/4 cup of lime juice

1 drained can of Original flavor Rotel (can substitute the flavor you prefer)

salt and pepper to taste

1 peeled and diced avocado (peel and dice into bite size pieces once soup is about done)

Tortilla strips to top it all off

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat, Once you see that the chicken is cooked, let soup simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the avocado that you’ve diced into bite size pieces and stir to mix it in. Simmer for another 5 minutes to heat through the avocado.

Taste to adjust salt and pepper.

Ladle into bowl and top with tortilla strips.

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You say Cottage, I say Shepherd’s Pie

So I started a debate on a food related site regarding the difference between Cottage and Shepherd’s pie. When the dust settled, many agreed that to be a true Shepherd’s Pie, it requires lamb vs beef. I just call this recipe delicious, stick your face in the plate and lick it clean, cheesy overload, goodness.

I had no leftovers…it’s just the three of us.

Shepherd's Pie pic

Cottage/Shepherd’s Pie

1 lb lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic
1/4 chopped yellow onion
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons ketchup/catsup
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (or more to taste)
1 small jar beef gravy
2 cups frozen mixed veggies (peas, carrots, corn, green beans)
4-6 servings if using instant or 2-3 cups if using homemade mashed potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or Colby jack
Salt and pepper to taste.

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Salmon with Nuts and Pesto

Salmon fish from the sea,
How satisfied you make me
Is it weird to love thee?
-An Ode to a Salmon by Athena Hood

I love salmon and it really does love you back! Salmon is a very good source of easily digestible proteins (amino acids), and fatty acids like Omega-3 in the form of triglyceride, as well as vitamins like vitamin-D, vitamin-A and some members of the vitamin-B family. It also contains minerals like selenium, zinc, phosphorus, calcium and iron.

I love au naturel salmon as much as the next person, but when I want to dress it up and feel fancy, I add pesto, nuts and parmesan to the mix. Think of it as salmon in a tuxedo…ok, that might be a bit much. Better if you think about this recipe the next time you decide to cook salmon, deal?

Salmon with Nuts and Pesto

Salmon with Nuts and Pesto
Serves 4

4 salmon fillets (6 oz portion seems to work the best)
2-3 Tablespooons of pesto
2-3 Tablespoons of mayo
1 cup of crushed pecans or walnuts
Grated Parmesan cheese (shredded gave it a weird consistency)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Spray rimmed sheet pan with non-stick or line pan with non-stick foil.
Combine pesto and mayo to make a paste.
Place salmon on sheet pan and spread paste on fillets.
Sprinkle crushed nuts on top, taking care to push them into the paste.
Sprinkle parmesan, to your taste.

Bake for approximately 8 minutes. If it flakes, it’s done.

Gnocchi and Sausage Soup

Winter has unofficially arrived! Ugh! This calls for some good ole comforting soup. I wanted to make something different and try out gnocchi at the same time. I mean, can you go wrong by adding pillowy potato noodles to ANYTHING? I googled “gnocchi soup” and got quite a few responses. Below is my recipe that combines about 3 of the recipes into one. See how the spinach is hugging the gnocchi tight? Oh, to be in that bowl! Mange!

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Gnocchi and Sausage Soup

1 pound of hot spiced Italian sausage (better for flavor or can add red pepper flakes to mild Italian sausage when cooking it)
1 32 oz container of good quality chicken stock
1 bunch of kale, roughly chopped with stems removed (if desired) OR 6 oz bag of spinach
1 pound box of DeLallo brand potato gnocchi (comes vacuum sealed and takes minutes to cook)
1/4 cup of heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
grated or shredded Parmesan cheese to top it off

Brown the Italian sausage in a large stockpot, taking care to break up the sausage with a spoon. Drain the excess grease when fully cooked.

Add in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and add in kale or spinach along with the desired amount of gnocchi. Stir to combine. Continue cooking for approximately 5 minutes or until all of the gnocchi float to the top and are tender.

Stir in the heavy cream. You may need more than 1/4 cup, it’s totally up to you. Season to taste. You can serve with either grated or shredded Parmesan cheese if desired.

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market comes to Central Indiana

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Last week I had the pleasure of attending the pre-grand opening of the Greenwood, Indiana location of Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, an organic market. Although it was a cloudy, rainy day, inside it was a party atmosphere that made me forget about the dreary weather. Customers were greeted with a rose to start things off right and many samples were provided such as bubbly cider and crab along with a chocolate fountain. A live band was also playing to add to the ambience.

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Their organic produce looked fresh and shiny along with the meat and fish counter. The meat they sell is raised without hormones and the seafood is flown in daily. A variety of cheeses and fresh baked goods are available at very reasonable prices. The baked goods are from local artisan bakeries and the onsite store bakery. The market dedicates a whole aisle to various natural and organic bulk foods. Locally roasted organic coffee beans are also sold in bulk. Wine and spririts abound and they have a great vitamin/supplement aisle with top notch brands. Homemade soaps were piled high on a table and smelled heavenly! For the makeup mavens, they have that too along with essential oils. I can't think of what they don't have!

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To win a gift card to this wonderful establishment, simply comment on what you would buy with this card. I’ll choose a winner next Friday, June 27th. Here’s a link to their website so you can see if there is a store in your area: http://freshthyme.com/

Give this organic market a try. The people were friendly and helpful-Just what you want your supermarket experience to be!

Sprouted

A couple of months ago I took a class on sprouted flour. I’d heard the term but wasn’t sure what it meant. According to the instructor it is the process of a grain becoming a plant so it’s more easily digestible by your body. This now uses sugar molecule to germinate, develops its own enzymes, provides lacto bacillus and digests itself. Since you’re now eating plants it’s low glycemic and it’s stored as energy not fat.  High enzyme activity so it absorbs nutrients better.  Some claims are that it lowers cholesterol, sugars,  and your blood pressure. Great benefits if you ask me.

Process for sprouted flour is you dry mill it and sift the grain. You get bran, grain and endosperm. All the nutrients remain. The germination part of the sprouting process removes the bitterness and increases fiber and protein count.

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Baked: doughnuts

I went out looking for an afghan loom yesterday and brought home a doughnut pan. When one buys a doughnut pan, one is constantly bombarded with thoughts of baking doughnuts. I gave in this morning and baked the lightest, tastiest doughnuts! I had a preconceived notion of the typical cake doughnut, often heavy and sitting in the bottom of my stomach like a bomb. I was pleasantly surprised with my airy doughnuts. The recipe I used was on the pan packaging. Easy peasy.

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Quickie Ground Chicken Empanadas

 

Empanadas are a staple in the Hispanic culture and I’ve noticed others have their own version of a stuffed mini pie. It’s hard to resist a little baked pie filled with a  whole lot of goodness!

Follows my ‘Semi Home Made” version of empanadas. You can substitute pie crust dough if you have the time and inclination. I used canned biscuits this time. The beauty of this recipe is you can customize the filling, the dough, all of it!

Chicken Empanadas

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Clementine Pie and I Don’t Care

Actually I DO care about this pie-it was delicious! I had a bag of clementines that were starting to turn. I asked on Facebook if anyone had a recipe for this fruit they could share. The one response that caught my attention was the pie suggestion from Nancy Platt via The Kansas City Star. I was a little hesitant as I hadn’t made a citrus pie in the past and wasn’t sure how this would turn out. I was pleasantly surprised as it was awesome! Hope you like it too!

 


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