Monday, October 17, 2016

Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Soup

This baby bump and fall weather have me ready to nestle in and get cozy. All you see in stores are pumpkins and a vast array of squash, so loaded up with ingredients, this soup was a must. I made a similar version of this soup a few years ago, but I've upgraded it with pumpkin this time. 

Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Soup
makes 1 large pot of soup

1 yellow onion (diced)
1 medium carrot (peeled & diced)
2 stalks celery (diced)
6 cloves garlic (rough chop)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1 butternut squash (halved, peeled & seeds removed)
15 ounces can pumpkin puree
15 ounces can Cannellini Beans
1 spring rosemary
4 cups homemade or low sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
1 cup cream
1/2 cup Parmesan (grated)
Salt and pepper
olive oil

Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add in onion, carrot, celery, salt and pepper. Let soften for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Deglaze pan with dry white wine and let reduce for 2-3 minutes. Now add paprika and bay leaves.

Add in previously peeled and cubed butternut squash, can of pumpkin puree, and drained Cannellini beans. Add a big pinch of salt, pepper and add rosemary. Put the rosemary in a spice bag if you have it. Mix and let cook together for 5 minutes.

Add in chicken broth and water, with another generous pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes.

Turn off heat. Using a spider or slotted spoon, remove about 1/4 - 1/2 of the squash and bean hunks to a bowl. Set aside. With an immersion blender, puree everything left in the Dutch oven, until very smooth.

Add back in the un-pureed hunks of veggies and beans. Add the cream and parmesan as well. Stir everything together and taste. Adjust seasoning as necessary. 

Serve warm with toasted bread or a grilled cheese.

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Paprika Pork Chops over Cabbage & Onions

These past few weeks have been crazy busy. Hence, I've been doing very little cooking and had very little time to blog about anything. A couple of weeks ago we were down in Columbus for my sister-in-law's wedding shower. Last weekend my parents came up to Chicago to celebrate Labor Day weekend with us, and this week my in-laws are coming up for a visit. And in between all these fun weekends, work has been jam packed. 

So, this pork chop recipe was a really quick and simple weeknight meal that I could sneak in between everything else. It only takes about 25 minutes to make and it's so filled with flavor, I'm glad I spotted this inspration on Food52!

Paprika Pork Chops over Cabbage & Onions
makes 4 servings

4 boneless, medium cut pork chops
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 red onion (sliced thin)
1/4 head red cabbage (sliced thin)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
olive oil

Begin by making the spice mixture. Combine cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika and oregano in a small bowl. Season the pork chops generously first with salt and pepper. Then add the spice mixture to all sides of the pork. Let this set aside for about 15 minutes. 

As the pork comes to room temperature and rests, get the onions and cabbage going. In a Dutch over or your largest saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add red onion, cabbage, garlic, horseradish, salt and pepper. Let cook down for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add in the apple cider vinegar and cook for another 2 minutes. Push the mixture over to the side in the pan. 

Add some more olive oil to the open space left in the pan and drop in the pork chops. Cook on 1 side for 5 minutes, flip and cook on the other for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cover the pan with a lid and let rest for 5 minutes. 

Serve the pork chops over that yummy onion/cabbage mixture. 

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Shrimp & Tomato Zoodles

TGIT. We're headed back to Ohio this weekend to celebrate my sister-in-law's wedding shower, and I seriously can't wait for this week to be over. I'm over it.

So for a quick weeknight meal, I recently made this yummy zoodle pasta dish. Zoodles are no match for real pasta, obviously, but for a super healthy, low carb alternative, I'm a fan. To give this dish a little fat and flavor, I've used a few pats of butter which went a long way. You could certainly sub out the zoodles here and just use spaghetti.

Shrimp & Tomato Zoodles

makes 3-4 servings
cook time: 30 minutes active

1 lb peeled & deveined shrimp (raw)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 shallot (diced)
6 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 lemon (juice)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 tbsp unsalted butter
olive oil
salt and pepper

for the zoodles
2-3 zucchini (spiralized)
2 tbsp low sodium chicken broth
olive oil
salt and pepper

Start by spiralizing the zucchini. My preference is to use the thinnest zoodle option, but any will work. Spiralize the zucchini and place into a collander. Sprikle with salt and toss to coat. Put the collander over a bowl and let sit 30-60 minutes. This will help draw out some of the liquid in the zucchini. After 30-60 minutes, pat the zoodles dry and set aside. 

As your zoodles drain, get the shrimp started. Sprinkle shrimp with salt, pepper and garlic powder. 

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil. Drop in about 1/2 of the shrimp, making sure each shrimp touches the pan on one entire side. Cook for 2 minutes on 1 side, and flip for another 2 so they are browned on both sides. Remove with tongs to a plate. Repeat the process with the other 1/2 of the shirmp. Remove to the plate. 

Lower heat to medium and add additional olive oil. Add shallots, cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic slices and cook for 1 additional minute. Now add tomatoes, lemon juice, chicken broth, wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 8 minutes. Add shrimp back in and 1 more tbsp of butter. Let the butter melt, about 30 seconds and remove from heat. 

As the shrimp cooks, you're going to saute your zoodles. In a separate saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add zoodles, 2 tbsp chicken broth, salt and pepper. Let cook for 3-5 minutes. You don't want the zoodles completely soggy, but a little bite left in them. Remove from heat.

Pile up some zoodles on your plate, and pour the shrimp, tomato sauce over top. Finish wish a sprinkling of parmesan. 

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Spicy Shredded Chicken Tacos

Yes, another taco recipe. A shredded chicken one this time. I've made another variations of this recipe here, but I think this one is a little bit better, and definitely a little bit spicier. Thanks to my mom and dad, I had a bunch of fresh peppers from their garden to use in this one. Definitely pretty hot, but if you use 1 poblano as I mention in the recipe, you'll be just fine. 

And finally, a note on chicken tacos. While I am a huge fan of carnitas or any slow cooked pork tacos, shredded chicken tacos take significantly shorter to make, and are so delicious if you make a cook simmering liquid. Okay, that's all. Enjoy.

Spicy Shredded Chicken Tacos
makes enough chicken for ~20 tacos
cook time: 30 min active, 1.5 hr inactive

2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 yellow onion (diced)
6 - 8 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 poblano pepper or 3-4 smaller peppers (mild/med heat)
1 4 oz. can green chilis (diced)
2 chipotles in adobo sauce (diced)
1 15 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes (diced)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 lime (juice)
spices: cumin, coriander, garlic powder, green/red chili powder
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
olive oil

for the tacos
red cabbage slaw (recipe below)
avocado slices
sour cream or Greek yogurt
corn tortillas (La Tortilla Factory White Corn Tortillas are my fave.)

Give yourself a few hours to make this so the chicken can cook nice and slow. 

Cut the chicken breasts in half and cover in cumin, garlic powder, coriander, green/red chili powder, salt and pepper.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with olive oil. Add half the chicken and brown on one side for 3 minutes. Flip and brown the other side for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat, and add remaining chicken to the pan, cooking the same time. Remove all chicken to a plate. 

Lower heat to medium. Add onions and chopped up poblano, can of green chilis, a mix of spices, salt and pepper. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. 

Add in the chipotles with the juice from when you diced them up, diced tomatoes and chicken broth. Add a few more pinches of each spice, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Stir to combine everything and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add chicken and accumulated juices, and lime juice. Cover and keep over low heat for about 1.5 hours. Shred the chicken directly in the pot, it will fall apart. Let simmer, covered, for 10 more minutes once shredded.

Serve on warm tortillas with your favorite taco toppings. My toppings for this taco included fresh avocado, cilantro, Greek Yogurt and a homemade quick slaw... see below. 

for the red cabbage slaw

1/4 head purple cabbage (grated on mandolin)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
2 green onions (finely sliced)
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes before serving. 

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