Slow-Cooker Chicken & Rice Soup

This nutritious family staple is too easy to not make at home. I make the recipe even simpler by using a slow cooker – by late afternoon you’ll have a fragrant, steaming soup that just needs some cooked brown rice and you’re done! I like to use boneless, skinless cuts of chicken to keep the fat down.

You can use red potatoes instead of rice, if you like. Cut them into 1-inch chunks and add in the beginning so they’re tender when it’s time to eat.

You’ll be seeing more slow cooker recipes from me soon!

chickenricesoup2

Slow-Cooker Chicken & Rice Soup

servings:4-6

  • 1 1/2-2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 whole carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 ribs celery, sliced (including top leaves)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Place the chicken breasts in a 6-7 quart slow cooker. Add all ingredients except rice, cover, and cook on low 6-7 hours.

Remove bay leaves and onion. Shred chicken. Add rice and stir; top with chopped fresh parsley if you like. Enjoy!

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Chicken in Savory Tomato Sauce

I got home from work and realized I had no plan on what to make for dinner.

I really hate when this happens! But I had a full pantry and hungry mongrels all around me. What to do?

This is what I did, and I’m glad I did.

The sauce was really rich and delicious…a quick homemade marinara. Simmer some chicken in it, and I wondered why I hadn’t thought of this before.

I didn’t have any, but tear some basil over the finished plates if you like. Or add fresh herbs for even better flavor!

I sprinkled shaved Parmesan cheese over the top, but you could use mozzarella too.

Something about the crunchy, peppery arugula under that rice really worked here. If that’s not your fancy, serve over pasta.

Either way, this recipe just proves the old saying that simple is better!

Chicken in Savory Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds chicken (any pieces you like; I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs)
  • 3-4 large garlic cloves, halved or quartered
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into slivers (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small green bell pepper (about 1 cup)
  • 26 ounce container chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • rice or pasta, for serving
  • arugula, for serving (optional)
  • Parmesan or mozzarella cheese, for serving

Heat the oil in a deep pan over medium heat. Generously salt and pepper the chicken. Add to pan and cook 10-15 minutes, turning once, until browned all over. Remove from pan to a plate.

Drain all but a small amount of oil from the pan (you may not need to do this if your chicken is skinless). Add garlic, onion, and green pepper, and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and beginning to brown.

Stir in tomatoes and oregano, and bring to a simmer. Put chicken back in the pan, cover, and simmer on medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through, turning once.

Serve over a bed of greens and rice like we did, or over pasta. Sprinkle with cheese. Enjoy!


One-Skillet Eggs with Potatoes and Kale

Thanks to Julie at feedfeed.info for featuring this post on her “Breakfast Eggs” feed in November 2014!

Here’s an easy, one-pot-to-clean way to get breakfast or brunch on the table. I’m always throwing things together in a pan and this morning’s turned out pretty derned good.

This is a simple recipe. Use the pretty multicolored potatoes like I did, or use any waxy potato (such as small red “new” potatoes).

I made 2 servings in a 10-inch pan. You could squeeze 3 or maybe even 4 servings out of a 12-inch pan.

I love when a meal you throw together turns out great! Enjoy.

One-Skillet Eggs with Potatoes and Kale

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 – 3/4 pounds waxy potatoes, such as red or fingerling, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 2-3 cups kale, stems removed, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pepper, to taste

In a 10-inch skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and garlic powder and cook 10-15 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add onions and cook another 5 minutes. Pepper potatoes and onions to taste.

Reduce heat to medium. Move potatoes to one side and add bacon. Cook slowly for 10 minutes until crisp. Set on paper towels to drain.

Stir potato and onions, and add kale. Move potatoes to one side and slowly pour eggs (pan should be hot enough that the eggs begin to cook immediately and don’t mix too much with the potatoes). Top with cheese. Scramble and cook until fluffy.

Serve half the eggs and potatoes with 1 slice of bacon. Enjoy!


Chicken with Salsa Verde

Salsa verde is the easiest thing ever. Made fresh on your stovetop in 45 minutes (including the meat), you’ll never buy the sodium-laden jars again.

Make tacos, enchiladas, burritos…or dip tortilla chips in it!

If you don’t like heat, leave the jalapeño out, because it does make the sauce spicy. Add in green bell pepper as a replacement.

As always, corn tortillas are traditional. Flour tortillas will work fine, but because they’re larger, you’ll get fewer tacos.

Garnish how you like…cilantro, lime wedges, radish slices, queso blanco…or sour cream. Or queso dip. Or all of the above. So delicious.

Chicken with Salsa Verde

Yield 10-12 tacos or enchiladas.

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken cuts (such as breast or thigh)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound tomatillos, papery shells removed, cut into small wedges
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced into rounds (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt to taste

garnish with:

  • chopped cilantro
  • radish slices
  • queso blanco
  • sour cream
  • hot sauce
  • lime wedges

Heat oil in a large fry pan (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat; generously salt and pepper chicken, and add to pan. Brown meat 5 minutes per side. Remove from pan to a plate.

Add chicken broth and scrape up the brown bits in the pan. When broth is simmering, stir in tomatillos, jalapeño, onion, and garlic. Simmer on medium-high heat 15-20 minutes, or until tomatillos soften. Using a potato masher or a wooden spoon, crush the tomatillos.

Add the chicken back and simmer 10-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and cut into slices; squeeze lime into sauce and season with salt if needed.

For enchiladas: heat tortillas, covered with a damp paper towel, in the microwave a few at a time, 15-20 seconds. Fill middle with a few slices of chicken, roll and place seam side down on a plate. Spoon verde sauce over the top. If desired, top with cheese and place under broiler for a few minutes to melt cheese. Finish with desired toppings.

For tacos: heat a dry skillet over high heat and lightly brown tortillas (corn only- heat flour tortillas using the microwave method above) until firm. Lay flat on a plate and add chicken, sauce and toppings as desired.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Bon Appétit’s Chicken with Salsa Verde


Spicy Beef Chili

I have about a zillion chili recipes – this is Mike’s favorite! It is also super easy and doesn’t have to sit on the stove all day if you’re in a rush.

It is quite spicy (but we love that). It is naturally gluten free, and very healthy – I always use low or no sodium canned vegetables. The bacon fat is worth the splurge for a little flavor!

As the picture shows, I was really bad and put it on a cheese biscuit (delicious). But a nice, big bowl over some brown rice is just as good.

We like to top this chili with cheese, jalapeno slices, sour cream, cilantro, chives…take your pick. A fried egg on top might send me over the edge.

Spicy Beef Chili

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean (90/10) ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat (or use oil)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • 15.5 ounce can spicy chili beans
  • 10 can mild or Original Ro-Tel tomatoes and chiles
  • 15 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1-2 cups broth (beef, chicken or vegetable will work)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon terragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2+ teaspoons salt (to taste)

In a large pot, melt bacon fat over medium heat. Add garlic and onions; simmer 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Turn heat to medium-high and add ground beef, cooking until no longer pink.

Add chili beans, Ro-Tel, corn, beans, and zucchini to pot, then add enough broth to barely cover. Stir in seasonings. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low, simmering 45 minutes to 3 hours, stirring every half hour or so. Season with salt to taste at the end. Enjoy!


Mandarin Orange & Candied Pecan Salad

This is my mom’s yummy salad that is so easy to make! She made it for my sister’s wedding shower last weekend and I had to share it!

Mandarin Orange & Candied Pecan Salad

  • 2 heads Boston or Bibb lettuce
  • 22 ounce can Mandarin oranges
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more if needed

white balsamic dressing:

  • 3/4 cups olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper to taste (around 1 teaspoon for me)
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • sugar to taste

To make the candied pecans, heat pecans and 1/4 cup sugar over medium-low heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon. When sugar has melted, add other 1/4 cup. Keep adding sugar until pecans have formed a “crust” of hardened sugar on them. Don’t walk away! Lay them on parchment paper or other nonstick surface to cool.

For the dressing, whisk all ingredients together, adding sugar to taste (if you don’t like it sweet, add a teaspoon or two; if you do, add a lot more).

Break the pecans apart once cooled.

Tear the lettuce into pieces. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Top with drained oranges and candied pecans. Enjoy!


Honey Cream Cheese Wontons

Here’s a quick and tasty dessert idea! I took my favorite elements from the Spanish sopaipilla and from the Asian crab rangoon to create these easy, crispy treats.

Try serving them with warm chocolate sauce or Nutella. Mmmm.

I give the instructions on baking, but you’ll get better results with frying. The outside gets lighter and crispier with frying and the edges stay sealed better. I’ve had so many baked wontons leak all their contents in the oven…your choice, but you’ve been warned!

Honey Cream Cheese Wontons

  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons honey, plus more for drizzling
  • cinnamon for dusting
  • 1 egg, beaten or 1/4 cup of water, for sealing wontons
  • oil for frying

Combine cream cheese and honey in a small bowl.

Lay the wonton wrappers out flat and fill with 1/2 tablespoon of the cream cheese.

Using your finger dipped in egg or water, wet 2 adjoining edges well.

Fold dry sides onto wet sides, forming a triangle. Repeat with all 24 wrappers.

To fry: Heat a 1/2-inch layer of oil in a pan to very hot. Wontons should immediately begin bubbling when the oil is hot enough. Fry in small batches for 30 seconds per side or until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and let cool slightly.

To bake: Heat oven to 425°F. Lay filled wontons on a nonstick baking sheet. Spray both sides with cooking oil and bake 8-10 minutes or until browned all over, flipping halfway through. Let cool slightly before handling.

Drizzle with more honey and dust with cinnamon to serve. Enjoy!