Chicken + Lime Soup

Super Easy Comfort Food Recipe // Delicious Healthy Chicken and Lime Soup - A Must Try.So I’ve been trying out a new diet plan, Weight Watchers actually… and I’ve dropped 25 lbs. and counting. My diet has been largely successful because of this soup. I make it in large quantities and then freeze it for later use. I first found the recipe here on BudgetBytes.com and then modified it to meet my particular tastes.  It’s really great comfort food without the guilt and it’ll make noses turn in envy towards your direction. It’s super easy. Try it out and tell me how much you love it.

Super Easy Comfort Food Recipe // Delicious Healthy Chicken and Lime Soup - A Must Try.

INGREDIENTS: (I typically double my recipe for larger quantities to freeze for later, below is the recipe without doubling the ingredients)

  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 medium/large yellow onion
  • 2-3 stalks of celery
  • 1 med jalapeno
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lb of chicken breast
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 cups of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can of organic roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 TBSP cumin
  • 1 medium lime
  • OPTION: 1 avocado

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Dice the onion, celery, and jalapeno (scrape the seeds out of the jalapeno before dicing). Mince your garlic (try not to use “lazy garlic” that’s already minced in the can – too much sodium). Get out your big ole pot and cook the onion, celery, and jalapeno, with the garlic and olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until everything gets a little tender.
  2. Add the chicken breast, chicken broth, cream of chicken, canned tomatoes, oregano, and cumin to the pot. Bring the whole thing to a boil over high heat and then reduce it on down to low heat. Place the lid on top and let ‘er simmer for an hour.
  3. After simmering for an hour, carefully remove the chicken breast from the pot and use two forks to shred the meat.  Return the meat to the pot. Squeeze in the juice from one lime, get as much out of it as you can, and scrape the inside of the lime into the pot.
  4. Give it a stir and add your diced avocado to each bowl.

Super Easy Comfort Food Recipe // Delicious Healthy Chicken and Lime Soup - A Must Try.

THE DIRTY DETAILS:

If you follow along with Weight Watchers, I have calculated that 1 ladle equals approximately 2 points. I divide my soup into serving sizes for freezer storage. 3 ladles = 6 points, which equals approximately 1 serving (in my book).  This is perfect for lunch when you don’t have much time to make something or can’t stand to grab another microwave lunchable. Your insides will thank you.

Something new that I learned, if you look for spices on the ethnic aisle, I have found spices in larger quantities anywhere from $1-$2 cheaper than on the spice aisle. If you’re like me and you shop on budget, this can make a world of difference. And you can get those spices you didn’t think you really wanted to splurge on.

Super Easy Comfort Food Recipe // Delicious Healthy Chicken and Lime Soup - A Must Try.Alright, go on and tell me how much you love it. Oh yeah, go get a spork!

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Day 1: Detox

Thank Goodness. The first 24 hours are over. And even though it’s Day 2, I thought I would update you on the results from Day 1. The Good News: I’m down 2 lbs!! The Bad News: I’M FREAKIN’ HUNGRY! No, I’m just kidding. I’ll probably reserve that saying for Day 3. My coworkers keep trying to persuade me to go out to Waffle House or Burger King or Guthries — it’s so hard not to give in! But I’m still hanging in there. The headaches have begun. I thought my morning drink would help alleviate the pain but it hasn’t much. It’s been difficult trying NOT to pop any advil’s to help. But I think, I”ll just have to wait it out. The only other strange side effect — I have to pee all the time. And when I say all the time, I mean it.  It’s quite obnoxious! Moving on…

Here’s what I had to drink yesterday!

beet juice: 2 beets, 2 lbs of carrots, 3 green apples, 2″ ginger, 4 stalks of celery = 48 oz

This juice is really tasty and refreshing. I love juices that have ginger in them. Just think, I didn’t even know what a beet was 2 days ago.

nastiness concoction: 22 roma tomatoes (small), 1/4 onion, 1 cucmber, 6 stalks celery, 1/2 green pepper, 1 red pepper –  sliced lime – to go

Okay. This one was gross. I tried so hard to like it. But I think the reason it tasted so foul was because of the onion. I can’t stand onions!  I was trying to stay open minded; however, I just don’t think that I will ever be converted.  So, if I ever try this one out again, there will be NO onion. AND I think it’s important with tomato juice to make it fresh for every drink. Because when you come back to it in a few hours… you find a science project in your fridge where all equal parts have separated.

oj: 1 bag of nectarines, 3 naval oranges

I needed something that I knew I would like for dinner. And that’s freshly juiced oranges. Oh they were delicious. I completed depleted most, if not all, of the fruit in the kitchen. I think my goal right now will be to find a really good vegetable juice recipe that I can fall in love with. I’m still requesting any recipes anyone might be able to offer. I think I’ll attempt the mean green tonight.

Today I am thankful for: A great 2nd day. Trying to stay strong, trying to stay positive. PLTW.

Wonton.

One of my dad’s most coveted recipes is the famous family Wonton. If you are a chinese dumpling lover, then you would find these things delectable. I wish I could tell you that I’m providing you with the recipe, I even tried to write it down… but somehow his “measurements” don’t really equal out to be anything normal–and I can’t remember where I wrote it down. Pitiful, I know.

Ingredients: Ground pork, baby shrimp, regular shrimp – cut up, lots of ginger, garlic, chopped green onion, eggs, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and chinese cooking wine.  I think that’s it. But there may have been more. Poor memory… sorry about that. Oh… you’ll need some wrappers, too.

The best part about dumplings is actually folding them. Everyone folds their dumplings differently. My dad knows a few different ways of folding wontons… but he usually goes for the most efficient way possible.

We put some meat in one of the corners of the wapper. The meat also acts as a glue… a bonding agent, if you will. So we put a little bit on the other corners of the wrapper.

Roll the bottom corner of the wrapper around the dollop of meat and then fold it in half. With the “meat glue” on the corners, you’ll stick the two sides together.

And then fold the two corners under the dumpling.

And Voila! There you have it. We make several at a time and freeze them. Be mindful while you fill them, if you put too much meat inside the wrapper they will crack. To cook them, boil some water, dump in the frozen dumplings and they usually sink to the bottom. Stir ’em around so that they don’t stick… walk away for a bit. And come back when they start floating to the top. Let them boil for a minute more and they are good and ready to eat. You can dip them in sauce… soy, hoisin, or whatever you like. Lately, I’ve been eating them without anything else. They are delicious and my favorite family snack.

Today I am thankful for my father having a good surgery. We have a long night ahead of us… so keep us in your thoughts.

Austrian NOMS

I cannot say enough for Austrian Cuisine. Although, we really did get caught up in other ethnic foods as well (like Mexican, Indian, and Italian). But I’ll show you these highlights of the trip! Above is the famous Austrian dish: Weiner Schnitzel. If you are as poorly informed as I previously was about the German language; “W”s are pronounced with a “V” sound. So previously, I was say “Weiner” like Weiner Dog – the way we do in the states – but actually it’s pronouced as Veiner as in Victor. Now you know. Weiner Schnitzel’s are yummy. How can you go wrong? It’s fried meat! I had it with roasted rosemary potatoes. For any Mid-Westerners our there, I’m sure this is pulling on your heart strings because the Austrian are Meat and Potatoe’s folk.

The NaschMarkt. Alright foodies, this is your place. The Market runs a few blocks and is organized in two alley ways (so to speak). One side is the actually market, the other side has sit down restaurants. It’s a place where you can buy cheeses, wines, dried fruit, herbs, bread, seafood, meat…etc. It’s a mixture of tourist and locals. I think I could have spent hours here. Here are some finds…

Fresh Juices. Mine was Mango and Kiwi!

Have y’all ever had Macaroons? Oh. My. Goodness — stand back. They might be better than… CAKE. This is a rather large statement coming from me. They are so good. Go find some today.

So, while we were in the mountains, we stayed in this incredible resort. All of their food is organic and bought locally. I’ll tell you more about the hotel later. While we were there, we were served a 5 course meal every night. HEAVEN. The menu descriptions were so interesting. I don’t know if that was the original intent or if there was a strange translation…

[Lower Left] Three kinds of Bruscetta– Tonna, Tomatoes, Parma

Cappuccino of the Curry with Citrus Clouds (This is the best thing I have ever tasted!!)

Crispy and Fresh Salad Plate

[Above] “Dry Aged Beef” – thinly sliced of Sirloin with Marinated Cherry Tomato, Arugula Salad, Spicy Potato Wedges, Shaved Parmesan and old Balsamic Vinegar from Madena

[Lower Right] With Lime — Sour Cream Baked Berries

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Today I am thankful for: goldfish crackers. They squash my hunger cravings!

Where I’ve been…

I’ve been away. Well actually I’ve been staying in my same spot, I’ve just been really busy. Last week was a seventy hour week, the week before was similar and the week before… well I’ve forgotten… but I’m pretty sure I was busy. So in pictures, this is what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks or so. (Above, my hunny at sunset).

I turned 26. The cakes were awesome. I feel old. The wrinkles are settling in. Dad took us to my favorite restaurant in the whole world… DARWELL’S. Oh, I love that place. Everything in there is good. I’ve started trying new things and we heard Mr. Darwell himself say that you can get anything as a side, you could get prime rib as a side. Now that’s my kind of place. And you’ll see that I got my own very special Darwell hand drawn cup. Go there. It’s the Bomb. dot. Com.

We saw this little gem on our way to see dad. Nothing better than an old school fast food joint. I think these old buildings are so cool.

Barq’s bottles. There’s a bottling plant in Gulfport, MS. I’ve never seen Barq’s bottles outside of MS.

Cooler full of crawfish… waiting for the boiler.

A visitor at work.

Sunset on the Bay during a break at work. You can’t beat this view.

Dinner one night. Toast with parmesan, fresh tomatoes, with avocado and black pepper and sea salt.

A lock on one of the service vans at work. Now can you look at me and tell me that’s not awesome? Yeah, I thought not.

One night we went down to the Local’s part of the bay and brought our dinner down there with us. It was so nice to sit down there with no one else on the beach and just relax.

Toes at sunset.

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Today I am thankful for: an end to the 70 hour weeks.

Food Team: Baru, NOLA

So I was recently in NOLA for a workshop. And I could never go to NOLA and not see one of my bestest friends, Sara. She took me to an awesome restaurant that is now at the tip-top of my favorites list. [REMINDER TO SELF: Make a Favorites List]. It’s called Baru and it’s a Bistro and Tapa’s Bar. The food was exsquisite and I was the perfect amount of happy when I left. Here is what we ordered… and NO judgements… it was a girls night.

TAPAS >> CEVICHE: gulf fish| leche de tigre | cilantro | pickled onions | avocado | chips

TAPAS >> MAZORCA: roasted corn | salao cheese | pink sauce | potato sticks

TAPAS >> OSTRAS FRITAS: deep fried louisiana oysters | cilantro aioli | carmelized onions

TAPAS >> CHUZOS de CARNE: grilled skewers of skirt steak | chimichurri | bollo

SALAD >> CAMARONES: coriander crusted louisana shrimp | mango | julienned red onion | avocado | tomato | greens | citrus vinaigrette

DESSERT >> DOLCE LECHE: off the menu and it was yummy

DRINK >> MANGO PINNAPPLE JUICE: an off the menu specialty

The atmosphere was perfect. The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful — and judgement free! The food – oh, the food – was DIVINE. What was my favorite? The fried oysters, BY FAR. It was the perfect balance of sweet and savory. My least favorite… probably the CEVICHE. It was a little too citrus-y for me. The MAZORCA was the perfect balance with all of the other spices on the table. And the DRINKs were incredibly refreshing. I expected to walk away stuffed. But instead, as my father likes to say, I was content.

You like how there is a big bite taken out of my dolce leche? I have a problem remembering to take the picture… until after I have eaten what was on my plate!

Oh yeah, that’s my girl.

Today I am thankful for: a date night tonight. AND the frozen pina colada mix my dad gave me. He’s so awesome.

Stuffed Shells

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

20-25 jumbo pasta shells

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese + 1/4 cup for topping

¼ cup of feta cheese

1 large tomato

3 tablespoons of homemade pesto (you can use storebought)

2 cups of shredded cooked chicken

2 cloves garlic, mince

salt and pepper and onion powder to taste

In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. Drain the pasta shells and set aside. The original pesto chicken stuffed shells recipe suggest to cook the pasta shells until al dente; however, I like my shells softer and I found that even after cooking them longer, they still came out a litte hard after baking the dish. Cook your chicken. I only ended up using 1 1/2 chicken breasts about a pound and a half. I will suggest that you undercook your chicken slightly so that they’re still a little pink. It will go back into the oven. Core and chop up your tomato. In a large bowl, mix in all ingredients except for the cooked shells and the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping. Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts. Original recipe can be found here.

This was one of those recipes that’s really simple and everyone enjoys. My boyfriend said that this is his all time favorite. Easy to please, I tell you.

Today I am thankful for: getting to see my dad tonight! And in other news… I found out that my pasta won’t expire for another 202 years.

That’s weird… right?

Sauce…

This past weekend I was in the mood to make a few things. I started with Sauce. My momma makes the best tomato sauce, but she hasn’t been making any lately… so I stepped up. It wasn’t easy. At first it was really bitter, and then it tasted like ketchup, and then it tasted like marinara, and then I let it think about what it had done, and then 2 days later with the help of somes ecret spices… it was just right. Want the recipe? Let me know.

Look at this beautiful close up shot…

You can’t make any kind of sauce without a wooden spoon. Ask my bestie’s Italian grandmother. This ones too clean and not burned yet, so it hasn’t been initiated yet.

Freezer containers–this is so that you can have homemade sauce anytime you want… so I froze it and then we cooked some pasta last night.

YUM in my TUM.

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Pensacola Bay Bridge

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Today I am thankful: to be home. 15 hour work days are just too long.

Post Christmas Review

My Christmas actually started a little early… well at least this gift did. I got a new computer at work, with all of the lovely accessories. I’ve been meaning to share this with all of you and have only now gotten around to it.

There has been so much going on, it seems as though there should really be a lot to say. My Christmas has only halfway happened–my bro and sis come into town tomorrow so we’ll do my families Christmas over New Years. We did Christmas with the BF’s family on Christmas day, as well as part of my family (grandparents + aunt), and then my adopted family (BFF).It was good to see 1/2 the family over Christmas but I’m ready to see my family when everyone gets into town.  Life is good in Fairhope. We’re just trying to settle in, but we’re finding out that we have already outgrown our little house. Looks like we’ll be moving again soon–its inevitable. I’m trying to get creative about storage but I just don’t want to pay for organizational racks. That kills me. There should be an easier way. I digress… here’s some Christmas pics.

I needed a little help opening my presents. Milly was so helpful.


Needless to say… I ate a good “healthy” helping of food that entire day.  This was the first of 3 large meals that day.  We got a call in the middle of our first meal to find out that my grandfather had a car accident.  Thankfully everything was fine. But what’s worse than getting one car stuck in the mud… getting 2 cars stuck in the mud… and then needing a 3rd to get the 2nd out. It was an eventful Christmas to say the least.

We’re headed back to B’ham this weekend and we’ll have a small family reunion when everyone gets into town. I’m ready to see the fam. Did y’all have a good Christmas? Was it eventful? Hopefully not.

Today I am thankful for: having a Blake in town. Did I mention we’re going on a company bike ride this afternoon? Oh yeah, this should be interesting.

Taco Night

I’ve never been one to crave Mexican Food. That all changed after I started dating my certain someone. Now, I can eat a burrito or quesadilla  any night of the week (and we often do). And this weekend we decided to make homemade tortilla’s. They were soooooo good. What’s even better? I didn’t have to lift a finger. I got to watch. We are going to keep mixing up the recipe for the tortilla’s and once we get it perfect, I’ll share the recipe! Do y’all have a favorite homemade ethnic food?

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Today I am thankful for: GETTING WORKING INTERNET. Could you go 2 months without internet at home? Oh yeah, and a boyfriend who will send my modem back 3 times until they get my address correct. Sooo high maintenance…