Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Trip to Poland + Tomatillo Chicken Soup

First let me start by saying this soup recipe is honestly one of my all time favorites. I love any type of Mexican dish that comes with salsa verde, tomatillo sauce, green sauce, you name it. So when I decided I wanted to make a soup one Sunday afternoon, I knew I had to incorporate that yummy green sauce.

I love making soups and actually think it's probably my specialty (people always ask me what it is). I recently learned at a wedding shower my aunt and cousins threw me this past weekend, that soup is Brian's favorite thing I make. After learning that I naturally had to make one for him!

Okay, so on to Poland. I'm off to Poland on Monday for work. I'll be in Krakow and I'm so excited to see it. I've heard all good things about the food and city.  Pierogis, sausages, mustards. Yum. I'm also going to be about an hour away from Auschwitz which I will likely go to, to pay my respects and learn more about such a chilling part of recent history. 

I'll definitely be documenting my trip in Poland, so stay tuned via Instagram!

P.S. Brian and I are doing the Napa triathlon this weekend! I'm just doing the sprint but I'm so scared to jump in the water! We're also under the 4 month mark until the wedding. OMG!

Tomatillo Chicken Soup
makes 1 big pot (6-8 servings)

1 lb ground chicken or boneless skinless chicken breasts
10 - 12 tomatillos (paper removed and rinsed)
1 yellow onion (diced)
7 cloves garlic (sliced)
1 poblano
1 can mild or hot green chilies
3 tsp cumin
3 tsp oregano
3 tsp green chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 lime (juice)
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper
olive oil

for the toppings
fresh cilantro
queso fresco
non fat Greek yogurt
red onion (diced)
red cabbage (shaved on mandolin)
lime slices
avocado cubes

You're going to multitask to begin. Get three things going around the same time. 

Turn on your broiler. Place tomatillos on foil lined baking sheet and pop under the broiler. Let one side char for about 4 minutes, then flip over and let the other side char for another 4. Remove from broiler and set to rest.

As tomatillos char, char the poblano on a gas burner or pop into the over under the broiler with the tomatillos. Let all sides char. Let cool once charred, then remove stem and most seeds before dicing up.

As tomatillos and poblano char, heat a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat and add olive oil. Drop in ground chicken or chicken breast and add 1 tsp cumin, oregano, green chili powder and 1/2 tsp coriander. Add some salt and pepper as well. Let cook for about 7 minutes until browned a bit. It may not be entirely cooked through, but that's okay. Remove to a plate.

Lower heat to medium and add a bit more olive oil. Add onion and garlic, with 1 tsp cumin, oregano, green chili powder and 1/2 tsp coriander. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add in diced poblano and can of chilies. Let cook for another 3 minutes. 

Add the whole charred tomatillos with their skin and all juices. Crush a little bit with your cooking utensil and mix everything to combine. Add salt and pepper. Add the juice of 1 whole lime.

Add all chicken broth with remaining cumin, oregano, chili powder and coriander. Add an extra dash of salt. Bring to a boil. Once boiling lower heat, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, puree with an immersion blender until mostly smooth. Add chicken back in and let simmer for 20 minutes over low heat. If using chicken breast, let simmer for 45 minutes until chicken is super tender. 

Serve in a bowl with lots of fresh cilantro, cabbage, Greek yogurt, onions, lime juice, avocados and queso fresco. Feel free to leave anything out, or add anything else that sounds yummy.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Creamy Black Bean and Yogurt Dip

One of my good friends and her husband were staying with us recently, so we of course did lots of eating and snacking. My friend Sarah is mostly gluten free in order for her body to not hate her, so we made lots of good, healthy snacks.

One of my favorite new dips, which also happens to be gluten free, is this yummy black bean dip with fat free Greek yogurt. Have you guys tried subbing Greek yogurt for sour cream? There's almost no difference, except you're saving tons of fat and calories! Give it a shot!

Creamy Black Bean and Yogurt Dip
makes 1 bowl

1 tbsp bacon fat or 1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 15 oz. cans black beans (drained)
1/2 lime (juice)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp smoky hot paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 bay leaf
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper
1/2 cup fat free Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (rough chop)
tortilla chips

Heat bacon fat or olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add beans, lime juice, cumin, oregano, paprika, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and let cook for about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until almost all dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add remaining broth and let simmer until almost completely dissolved.

With an immersion blender, puree mixture until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.

Add to a mixing bowl and swirl in Greek yogurt and top with fresh cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Espresso Ancho Dry Rub Ribs

Time for a new ribs recipe. Same technique as the old one, just a new dry rub. If you're any kind of a ribs fan, you will love this one. Just pop it in the oven and pull it out 5 hours later. They come out smoky and delicious with a great crust. I bought our ribs at Trader Joes and they were so meaty without tons of fat. I'd recommend giving them a try unless you have a awesome butcher you use.

Espresso Ancho Dry Rub Ribs
makes 4 servings

2 1/2 - 3 lbs baby back ribs
2 tbsp espresso powder
2 tbsp ancho chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp hot smoky paprika
3 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Mix together all the spices. You'll have about double what you need. 

Pat the ribs dry and spread the dry rub all over. Be generous. Cut the ribs so that there are 3 - 4 bones per piece. I ended up with 4 pieces.

Add water to a deep baking pan, about 1/2 inch high. Place a wire or slotted rack on top of the pan and put ribs on top. Cover the ribs in foil and pop in oven for 4 1/2 hours. Add a cup of water to the bottom of the pan if it ever looks like its getting low. 

With 30 minutes remaining, remove the foil and finish the ribs uncovered.This will allow the crust on the ribs to really dry up and get crusty as if they were in a smoker

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Coconut Banana Pancakes for Breakfast

We don't only eat Brussels sprouts for breakfast in this house! We eat pancakes too! 

As I round the 4 month mark to our wedding (omg!) I'm in full-on healthy mode. I need to gush a little bit about the workout plan I'm currently following. It's called the Bikini Body Guide by a girl named Kayla Itsines. It's a 12 week program with 3 designed workouts each week, each 28 minutes focusing on a full body workout using body resistance and light weights. For 3 additional days during the week you do low intensity cardio or high intensity interval training. It's amazing and completely transforming. I've convinced about 6 co-workers to start the training, as well as 3 of my bridesmaids.

On top of this butt kicking fitness plan, I'm cutting out a lot of processed carbs and dairy products. Dairy products are out because I've recently self diagnosed myself as lactose intolerant. All in all, the results are great and I'm gonna be all cut up for the wedding. Watch out world.

Coconut Banana Pancakes with Berries and Bacon
makes 2-3 servings (double recipe for 4-5 servings)
inspired by Food & Wine

4 eggs
1 1/2 mashed overripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup water or vanilla almond milk
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp coconut oil

for the toppings:
1 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp champagne vinegar
4 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bacon on a foil lined baking sheet and pop into the oven for about 15 minutes, until crisp. Remove from oven and place on a paper towel. Set aside until pancakes are ready.

As bacon cooks make the berries and pancake batter. For the berries, place berries, honey, lemon juice and champagne vinegar in a small sauce pan over low heat. Let slowly cook down until everything else is ready. It will get runny and soft, like a sauce. 

Now for the pancakes. Make the batter. In 1 medium bowl whisk together eggs, mashed bananas, vanilla and water or almond milk. In a separate medium bowl combine coconut flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix only to combine. Don't over mix.

Heat a griddle or pan over medium to medium low heat and add coconut oil. Add pancake batter using a 1/4 cup. Cook for 3 minutes on one side, flip and cook for another 3 on the other. Work in batches if necessary. 

Serve pancakes with berry sauce and crumbled bacon. Enjoy this gluten free, refined sugar free breakfast or brunch one of these weekends.

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