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Category Archives: Chicken

Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

One would think I should have posted this recipe after Thanksgiving. Sadly, Santa left an unwanted gift for me this year in the form of a stubborn cold. I could eat soup all year long but I especially crave it when I’m not feeling good. I decided to recreate this tasty “soup du jour” from a recent dining-out experience I had while said cold was just starting to incubate. This recipe could easily be made with chicken and chicken stock. However, because I did cook two birds on Thanksgiving and have packages of leftovers and gallons of broth in the freezer, I used turkey instead. Being lactose intolerant, I’m not normally a huge fan of cream soups because they are usually laden with lots of dairy (duh), extra fat and questionable thickeners. In this case, the soup is thickened a bit with flour and then finished off with a touch of sour cream to give it a creamy texture.

The original recipe called for instant rice. I had a bag of Lundberg brand wild and whole grain brown rice blend in my cupboard (purchased at Sprouts) so I opted to cook it separately in a rice cooker. I started the rice first, estimating that by the time I chopped the veggies and sauteed them, the rice would be ready to add to the pot. I wasn’t that far off, actually.

I also subbed dried, and reconstituted, porcini mushrooms only because I was fresh out of fresh mushrooms and didn’t want to make a trip to the store. On a side note, I purchased a huge bag of dried mushrooms at one of those membership-only big box stores years ago. The bag lasts forever (I actually had one bag for an entire decade…but I didn’t cook as much then) in the pantry and allows me to keep a supply on hand for any mushroom-related emergencies that may come up, like today.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions or shallots
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 3 cups (roughly 12 ounces) shredded chicken or turkey
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Directions:

  1. If using wild rice blend, begin cooking it separately according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stock pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the flour, salt and pepper. Cook for two minutes, stirring constantly until the flour is entirely incorporated.
  3. SLOWLY add the broth one quarter cup at a time. Thoroughly mix each quarter cup of broth into the veggies until a paste forms. Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any bits that might have stuck. Once you have a nice consistency in the bottom of the pan, pour in the remaining broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for about five minutes.
  4. Add rice, meat and sour cream. Stir to combine. Adjust cooking time based on what kind of rice you are using (5 to 7 minutes for instant; 15 to 20 minutes for white rice). If rice has been pre-cooked, just gently heat through.

Serves four

Nutrition per serving (approximate)

354 calories; 9 g fat; 87 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrates; 36 g protein;3 g fiber; 378 mg sodium; 577 mg potassium.

Adapted from: Eating Well

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Brown rice, Chicken, Low fat, One pot cooking, Soup, Turkey

 

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Kat’s Easiest White Bean Chili Ever

White bean chicken chili topped with chopped cilantro

I commented before how I had three or four different recipes for butternut squash soup. Turns out I have even more versions of white bean/chicken chili. You may wonder why I’m posting about chicken while the rest of the world is already talking turkey. The answer is that I still have some cooked chicken on hand from my marathon soup weekend. I guess I could freeze the chicken and save it for later. But truthfully, I’m just not ready to talk turkey yet. I already have my T-day menu planned out and its fairly simple. After Thanksgiving, turkey leftovers will be abounding and I’m sure I’ll be up to my eyes in turkey soup. My guess is you’ll be hearing a lot more about turkey then.

In the meantime, the recipe I am posting today reportedly was one of the top ten recipes from the Seattle Times in 1994. Unlike some of the other versions I have, it honestly doesn’t get any easier than this. If you have cooked chicken (or turkey leftovers) on hand, you could be eating dinner in under 30 minutes. I normally don’t go for canned beans. Even if I did, I certainly would always rinse away the extra sodium. However, this recipe calls for dumping in the entire can; beans, juice and all, which gives you a head start on a thicker chili and cuts cooking time.

If you’re in a hurry for dinner some night, this recipe could be the ticket.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion — peel/chop fine
  • 2 medium garlic clove — peeled/chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper — chopped fine
  • 30 ounces white beans, canned — undrained (two 15 oz. cans)
  • 4 ounces green chiles — canned/diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 14 1/2 ounces chicken broth — canned, low sodium
  • 8 to 12 ounces roasted chicken breast meat — cut in 1/2 in. cubes
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro — minced
  • 6 tablespoons salsa — optional

Directions:

  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper and sauté 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the white beans, chiles, cumin, chili powder and broth.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the chicken and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the lime juice and top with chopped cilantro.

Use a tablespoon of salsa to garnish each serving of chili, if desired.

Serves 6

Nutritional information: assumes 12 ounces cooked chicken

Calories 201.4 Total Fat 3.3 g Cholesterol 32.9 mg Sodium 42.6 mg Potassium 630.5 mg Total Carbohydrate 23.0 g Protein 20.0 g

Recipe By : Seattle Times – Best 10 Recipes of 1994

 

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Chicken and Lentil Stew

Ingredients for chicken and lentil stew, check!

Watch out world, Kat is about to add another bean under her belt! Remember the bean mausoleum? Somewhere on the back of that shelf, there is a Tupperware container of dried lentils that is about to see the light of day. This is momentous because I don’t really cook with lentils. Now that I think about it, even though I almost always have them on hand, I don’t recall actually adding them to a recipe. Until now.

On a separate note, while much of the blogosphere is busy posting T-day recipes and tips, I am busy trying to use the last of the cooked chicken from the two batches of soup I made for the germ ridden people I know. Each cooked chicken yields about 24 oz of meat. Harkening back to my Weight Watcher days, and depending on how much protein I want in my dish, that is enough chicken to make two or three recipes with four servings each which I can store in the freezer. Multiply that by two chickens and I’ll have a pretty healthy stockpile to choose from. Which is good because December is a busy month and I operate much better when I can throw a pre-cooked meal in the microwave. Otherwise, historically I end up subsisting on Christmas cookies and wine.

P.S. I’m giving myself bonus points for finding another way to use up some of the kale that I bought.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large celery stalk
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 12 ounces cooked chicken, diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dried lentils, picked through
  • 4 cups kale, ribs and stems removed

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until the onions are soft.
  • Add the carrots and celery. Continue cooking about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the mushrooms and cook another two to three minutes.
  • Add the chicken, lentils, thyme, oregano and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes until the lentils are tender.
  • Drop the chopped kale on top of the stew. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the kale softens.
  • Stir through and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serves four
Nutritional info:
Calories 214.0  Total Fat 5.0 g  Cholesterol 32.9 mg  Sodium 93.7 mg  Potassium 835.6 mg Total Carbohydrate 23.4 g  Protein 21.3 g
 

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Minestrone – The Mix and Match Soup

Minestrone with tomatoes and chicken

An Italian peasant dish, the name minestrone roughly translates as “the big soup.” With humble origins that date back to the Roman Empire, there is no true recipe for minestrone. This means there is no right or wrong way to make it; don’t you just love recipes with versatility?? Across Italy, even to this day, minestrone will vary from region to region. Although traditionally a vegetable based soup using seasonal crops, you’ll often find the additional of beans, rice and pasta. To me, minestrone isn’t minestrone unless it has tomatoes in it (interestingly, according to Wikipedia, this is a totally American custom).

A hearty dish, minestrone takes on an “everything but the kitchen sink” quality because you can literally use anything that appeals to you at the moment. Vegetables that are at their tipping point in the crisper drawer, along with leftover rice, pasta or beans, can frequently be salvaged by throwing them in the pot. Need more protein on a given day? Toss in some diced chicken or Italian sausage. The sky is the limit.

Legend has it that minestrone tastes better the next day. Being cooked ahead of time and gently reheated allows the flavors to meld. As my Grannie used to say, “Mangia!”

Kat’s Totally American Minestrone 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup cooked white beans (or one can beans, rinsed and drained)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil or one teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 large (28 oz) can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced on a diagonal
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta (like orzo) or rice
  • Diced chicken or sausage (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking.
  2. Add the onion and celery; sauté a few minutes until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for about two minutes.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients up to the pasta. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat back to medium low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add in the rice or pasta. If adding cooked meat, add this now.
  6. Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until heated through.
  7. Divide into soup bowls and sprinkle with grated cheese

Serves four for a main meal

Kat’s tip: Orzo will soak up the liquid from the soup if stored together. If you’re not planning on eating this all in one sitting then I recommend leaving the orzo out. You can add 1/2 cup of orzo to each serving as you reheat it. The orzo can be stored in the fridge in either ziplock baggies or plasticware. It can also be frozen until ready to use.

Kat’s Second Tip: I keep a bag of frozen mixed soup veggies on hand for times when I want soup in a hurry. For a single serving or quick version of this I’ll heat up 2 cups of chicken broth with the mixed veggies, some diced chicken, brown rice and white beans.

Nutritional information (without meat):

Calories 398.6  Total Fat 9.4 g  Cholesterol 0.0 mg  Sodium 605.6 mg  Potassium 782.4 mg  Total Carbohydrate 63.5 g  Protein 12.7 g

Nutritional information (with 8 oz cooked chicken)

Calories 460.9  Total Fat 10.1 g  Cholesterol 32.9.0 mg  Sodium 642 mg  Potassium 926.9 mg  Total Carbohydrate 63.5 g  Protein 25.7 g

 

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Chicken Soup for the Soul (and for Flu Season)

Chicken soup simmering on the stove

I think autumn has finally (really and truly) arrived in Phoenix. Anyone reading this outside of Arizona who thinks I’m nuts should keep in mind our day time highs are only just now holding steady at about 80°. And, true to form, my toes are cold. I can see you smirking. Just remember, temperatures are relative. That which makes us Phoenicians able to survive 115° in July (albeit murderously hot, loudly complaining and basically miserable), means some of us are cold at 80ish…or at least our toes are.

The other thing changing temperatures mean is the onslaught of cold and flu season. I’ve been to two large networking events in the last week where I shook hands with scads of people who were potentially incubating something. I hugged a client last night only to find out she’s on something like 17 different meds for the worst sinus infection the ER doctor had ever seen. Great! Hours later, I wake myself up coughing in the middle of the night. Super great!

So, all day long I wanted soup. As you might imagine, I’m a soup snob…nothing out of a box or can for me. Its GOTTA be homemade. To quote my long time friend, “why would you pay $3.00 for a box of broth when you can buy a whole chicken for slightly more than that? That way you get the broth and the chicken.” Amen, sister.

Chicken soup is known for its healing powers. They don’t call it Polish penicillin for nothing. Google it and you’ll see. Plus, chicken broth is a just good, clean food. You can pretty much add anything you want to the broth and still have a filling, low calorie, high protein meal. I feel practically virtuous eating soup.

Just knowing the chicken was simmering on the stove made me feel better. So, if you’re cold (or you have a cold or you feel like you’re getting a cold), I encourage you to make your own broth. The prep time is minimal, the ingredients are few and the cooking is basically unattended. From there, the sky is the limit. Homemade broth is a great backdrop for a bazillion other soup recipes. Stay tuned because I’m going to be posting my favorites this month!

Ingredients:

  • One whole chicken
  • One yellow onion – quartered with skin left on (this deepens the color of the stock)
  • 3 stalks celery cut into large pieces
  • 2 carrots cut into large pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper (avoids black flecks in your broth)
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions:

Stock pot with strainer

Large stock pot with metal strainer

Clean out the chicken and discard the innards. Rinse the cavity until the water runs clear. Place the chicken in a large stock pot (bonus points if yours has a strainer like mine in the picture). Add vegetables and seasonings. Cover with water leaving at least two inches below the rim of the pot so it doesn’t boil over. Heat on medium high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for at least 2 hours.

When the broth is done, carefully remove the cooked chicken. Once it cools, debone the chicken. Package the chicken separately for use in other recipes. Discard the veggies. Allow the broth to cool and skim the fat from top. Store in plastic containers; I find 4-cup containers to be handy size. Freezes well.

Kat’s tip: I usually toss the veggies that cook in the broth since I find their texture unappealing. Plus, after they’ve been simmering for 2 plus hours all of their nutrients have surely leached out. I add fresh (or frozen) veggies and any combination of cooked rice, pasta or beans to bulk up the broth.

Nutritional information:

There are barely any calories in homemade broth, WAY less sodium that store-bought and no fat if you cool the soup and skim it. I would estimate about 10 calories a cup and 230 mgs of sodium.

 

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A Month’s Worth of Lunches

Variety is very important to me. But being the quintessential Libra that I am, my variety has to be balanced. You know; Libra, sign of the scales, etc. The same traits that rule my star sign shine through in my food planning too. Mentally picking one from Column A, one from Column B and one from Column C, I choose my recipes based on a nice array of vegetables, grains and my proteins. On a side note, I can’t stand the combination of fruits and vegetables in the same dish. There will be no fruit in my salads, no pineapple on my pizzas, no raisins in anything but trail mix and especially no fruity salsas or chutneys. For the record, that is precisely why there is no Column D.

In a perfect world, I would reserve a Saturday and pick five recipes to cook once a month. Each recipe would give me four portions (packaged, it goes without saying, in matching plastic containers). For purposes of this blog post, that means twenty lunches. Keep one portion of each in the fridge and freeze the rest. Straight from the freezer to the microwave. Reheat for five minutes on power level 5. Hot food at the ready!

Back on topic, my meal planning resembles someting like this:

Column A – Bread Column B – Protein Column C – Veggie
Barley Chicken Broccoli
Beans Turkey Tomatoes
Rice Pork / Sausage Bell Peppers
Wheatberries Fish Mushrooms
Pasta Shellfish Spinach
Quinoa Beef Squash

 So, here is what is on my meal plan for this week.

If you’re like me, the ratio of five recipes for a month works great for lunch because you’re probably only feeding yourself (say, at work). If you’re intrigued by the idea of true bulk cooking and need it on a larger scale because you’ve got a spouse and/or kids to feed, check out http://onceamonthmom.com/. I am in total awe of the program that blogger Tricia Callahan and her team of contributing writers has put together. They’ve got meal plans, shopping lists, cooking plans and labels (I think I am in love).

Photo credit: kiwikewlio on Flickr. CC Licensed. So creative 🙂

 

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A Summer of Salads

A summer's worth of salads

An endless variety of ingredients to keep you satisfied all summer long

There’s something about 100+ degrees that makes me want to avoid the kitchen altogether. Alas, a gal has to eat. So, when summer hits I start getting creative with salads. Salads are healthy, cheap to make and can be quite filling.

Variety is the spice of life. You’ll often find me in the kitchen re-creating flavors and food combinations from cold-weather dishes into cool combos for summer salads. If it works in a soup or stew, it’ll work in a salad. Adding protein in the form of eggs, meat, poultry, fish or beans to your salad can change it from a side dish to main dish in a flash. Adding grains like wheatberries, barley or rice means you have a complete meal in a bowl that will sustain you for hours. Bon Appétit!

Here are some salads that are easy to pull together to help you get started:

Black & bleu salad
Steak strips
Bleu cheese crumbles
Red onion
Vine-ripened cherry tomatoes
Blue cheese dressing
Greek salad
Canned tuna – white beans
Feta cheese
Artichoke hearts
Sundried tomatoes
Caesar dressing
Honey mustard chicken salad
Chicken breast strips
Cheddar cheese
Crispy bacon
Vine-ripened cherry tomatoes
Almonds
Honey mustard dressing
Mexican salad
Taco chicken
Cheddar
Salsa
Tortilla chips
Beans – red or black
Ranch dressing
Grilled Shrimp and Spinach
Grilled shrimp
Hard boiled egg
Red onion
Mushrooms
Warm bacon dressing
Mediterranean Salmon
Salmon
Wheat berries
Artichoke hearts / red peppers / grape tomatoes
Feta cheese
Italian Dressing

Photo credit: Fotoosvanrobin on Flickr. CC Licensed. A much better picture than I could ever take!

 

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