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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A Healthy Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Hanschen Klein's Healthy Blueberry Muffin

A friend of mine stops by our office every now and again and she always drops off the most delicious treats and they are always healthy. Delicious and Healthy are two words that don’t often go together in my book. I wanted to make Blueberry Muffins for my office and asked if she would pass along a recipe. And this is the recipe she gave me…

INGREDIENTS

  • 1  1/3 c.  whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 c.  all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp  baking power
  • 1 tsp  salt
  • 1/4 c.  apple sauce
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 c. milk
  • 2 tsp maple flavoring
  • 3/4 c.  granulated sugar
  • 2 c.  blueberries

TO BAKE

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt (set it aside for later). In another bowl, combine apple sauce, butter, large egg, flavoring, and sugar — stir well.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and add wet ingredients.  Mix.  Pour half the batter into your muffin tins and drop in half the blueberries. Top off your muffins with the rest of the batter and place the rest of your blueberries on top. Bake for 10-15 minutes. These will be delicious. But if you think you need a little extra sugar (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want a little sugar?), you can top off your muffins with a glaze.

THE GLAZE

  • 1 c.  powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp maple flavoring

Mix powder sugar, milk, and maple flavoring — drizzle when warm. YUM.  Enjoy.

-wishing you, peace and love throughout the world-

Day 8: Detox

green juice: 4 stalks celery, 1 bag spinach, 2 banana’s, 3 kiwi’s (they’re such an awkward fruit), 3 green apples, 1/2″ ginger

I’m still going. I haven’t given up. I’ve lost 8 lbs. I think it would be more but I’ve been using a little helper that I don’t think is helping me at all. Let me explain.

I’ve been using Naked Juice. But I only started doing this this weekend because I ran out of time to juice. When I juice, I always try to juice make 2 different juices at a time. At a minimum this takes me 2 hours including clean up. Which does not make for very exciting evenings at home. This weekend we went to see the Blue Angels and we had a big birthday the night before, so I didn’t want to spend my time juicing instead of being with loved-ones. So I improvised. Now it’s a crutch. It obviously isn’t a bad thing to use but it’s not helping me lose weight–it is helping me maintain weight. So I’m going to finish my remaining bottles and keep going with my juicing.

On average, I’ve been losing around 1.5 lbs. a day! I don’t feel very weak anymore. I’ve been trying to start running again. I’ve noticed that I can’t run as far without feeling very tired but I’m running again. I think water is really the key. We can put our bodies through a lot. It can be without food, but it cannot be without water. And I’ve noticed that I am incredibly thirsty for water. When I’m hungry and it’s not my time to start having a juice, I drink water. And I’ve finished a case of water just this week. I used to only drink one bottle of water in one week. Talk about a change in lifestyle!

Pensacola is home of the Blue Angels. I don’t care who you are… jets are cool. Jets are even cooler when they do a flyover and the boat next to you is playing the soundtrack to TopGun. Those are some sexy planes. It makes you feel like a little kid when you look at them fly by with your mouth wide open, hitting your neighbor – making sure that they see exactly what you’re seeing. They are tons, TONS of people and it was all really exciting. I can’t wait for next year.

Today I am thankful to see my boy go from 27, 28 to the big 29.

By the way, I went long boarding today. I’ll share pics with you tomorrow.

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.

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?

Round 2: A Successful Cheese Muffin :)

The Cheese Muffin!

So my families go-to place for recipes has always been Southern Living Cookbooks. And instead of going straight to an internet blog for a recipe, I did it old school and looked for a good recipe in a whoo-bangin’ (awesome) cookbook.

So here is the recipe from the 1983 Southern Living Cookbook. (btw, this is one of the best years — If you were to only pick up one, pick up this one)

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Directions:

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add cheese, and mix well. Make a well in [the] center of [the] mixture. Combine egg, milk, and butter; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Spoon into crease muffin pans, filling two-thirds full. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes. Yield: 1 dozen.”

Yummmmm...

So naturally, I made 3 dozen again. And these were good.

I’ve learned that cooking is fun when you’re in good company. My baby monster dog, Porcini, had a play-date that night with his new friend, Gabby. And she is a well-behaved young lady and he, of course, is a hellian with hormones. Yeah, us.

Porcini The Wise

Before...

After: When Porcini Attacks!

Such a good time with friends and pups!

Cooking Tragedy: Jim ‘n Nicks Cheese Biscuits …

The Muffins

Today I didn’t eat lunch at work. And after a 9 hour day, I was pretty hungry. I half heartedly expected there to be food in our break room; however, (to my utter disappointment) there was no birthday this week and no left overs from all-nighters or take-out from the previous day.

I wanted something savory, delicious, and a finger food. So, it popped into my head that I was going to attempt to make Jim ‘n Nicks Cheese Biscuits. Ohhhhh Yummy Yummy. So I did just that.

I borrowed the recipe from gas•tron•o•my (My husband likes astronomy, I prefer gastronomy). You can find the recipe here. Or below. But she has better pics on her blog.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar >> I substituted this for splenda baking “sugar”
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten well
  • 4 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Directions:

    Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan.

    Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk egg, milk, butter, and vanilla together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend.

    If you should decide to make these wonderful little morsels here are some tips that others added to the gastronomy blog… (and maybe I should’ve read those before I already poured the batter into the muffin pans.)

    Incorporate shredded cheese into batter. Do not over mix.

    Divide batter evenly among greased muffin tins. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. When fully baked, the tops of the biscuits will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the center of the biscuits will come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each biscuit from its mold.

    Makes 10 to 12 biscuits.” (I doubled the ingredients and it made 36 mini muffins)

    Seemingly Innocent Muffin... I think not.

    —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

    Something went horribly wrong!!!

    My muffins look beautiful but they have the consistency of something gummy. I’m having a hard time putting it into words. Its like the ingredients never bonded together and it has an overcooked cheese look to the center but the consistency of a hard paste or gross playground foam. GROSS. Just Look…

    Nasty Playground Foam or... Cheese Biscuit !?!

    Tips?:

    • Maybe try using Buttermilk instead of regular milk.
    • Somewhere in there Corn Meal needs to be used. One person suggested using 1/2 flour and 1/2 Self Rising Corn Meal.
    • Possibly reduce the sugar to 1/2 c.
    • It needs some salt
    • And probably REAL SUGAR. Silly me. **I’m still learning!!!!

    Any Suggestions? … Help. Me.