Chicken Abruzzi

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Aaaaaand the Holidays are over. Did everyone survive? Did we all make it out ok? Let’s do a quick headcount, shall we? 1, 2, 3… I don’t see Rodger – can somebody check on him please… 4, 5, 6, 7…. Yes, it looks like we’re all here. Whew!

So I took a couple weeks off to celebrate and spread good cheer, and let’s be honest, EAT! But now I’m back and ready to fill your inboxes with delicious, wholesome meals intended to wean you off of those calorie-laden dishes that we’ve all grown accustomed to these past few months. The first of which is this amazing, Southern Italian-inspired Chicken Abruzzi (pronounced aˈbɾut tsi) which boasts as much flavor as it lacks in calories and fat. Loaded with hearty vegetables, creamy cannellini beans, and zesty lemon chicken, this savory meal is just the trick to jumpstart your post-holiday diet. Continue reading

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Harvest Soup

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Okay, so Harvest Soup isn’t the actual name of this soup. It’s proper name is Mushroom and Hazelnut Soup, but since my mom only made it on Thanksgiving, my sister and I started referring to it as this (and be grateful, because the runner up was Pilgrim Stew). This is yet another recipe that’s been in the family for years, and we have no idea where it originated, other than one of my mom’s cooking magazines from way back. You see, at one point in the early 90’s (about the time Martha Stewart hit the scene), my mom decided that she wanted to fancy up our Thanksgiving dinner by serving courses. She was looking for something seasonally appropriate for the first course and felt that hazelnuts and mushrooms sounded autumny and elegant. It was an immediate hit with our guests, who, nearly 20 years later, ended up becoming my in-laws; that’s how magical this soup is! (Just kidding. Kind of.) Anyway, since that fateful Thanksgiving, this soup has made a return appearance every single year, but ONLY on the fourth Thursday in November. Continue reading

Pumpkin Soup

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Pumpkin soup is one of my favorite meals this time of year. To me it feels like I’m getting away with something, almost like I’m eating pumpkin pie in liquid form – just without the sugar. (Incidentally, I made a pumpkin pie one Thanksgiving and forgot to add the sugar. I have yet to live it down.) Now, like pumpkin pie, this soup is bursting with warm autumn flavors like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, but unlike pumpkin pie, it’s incredibly healthy. So this Halloween why not put your conscience to rest, fill up on this festive soup, and leave the candy bowl to the trick-or-treaters. (Oh, who am I kidding, go ahead and stuff your face – it’s Halloween!) Continue reading

Smokey Corn Chowder

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Happy autumn, everyone! In celebration of this change in seasons, I felt it appropriate to post a soup recipe (remember when I used to do that all the time?). Well, now that the temperatures are steadily dropping, it seems only fitting that I should get back to making more of the food that I love soooo much I named an entire blog after. But rather than jumping in feet first with a hearty stew, I thought it best to tiptoe into fall with a light and flavorful chowder. Seasoned with warming spices like smoked paprika and chilies, this soup is the perfect way to take the edge off of a brisk day, AND it has the added bonus of using up all that leftover summer corn that’s taking up valuable pumpkin space at the supermarket. So come on everyone, let’s get our autumn on! Continue reading

Baked Southwest Egg Rolls with Creamy Salsa

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I have a major weakness for Southwest egg rolls. It’s my kryptonite. Just one whiff of them can bring me to my knees, and every time I see them on a menu (and that’s a lot since our move to Texas), I have to order them. I’m not sure who it was that first came up with this Asian fusion work of art, but they should be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for brilliance in food discovery. Alright, maybe that’s going a bit too far, but that’s how much I love them. Now, with that being said, I realize that these fried little goodies aren’t the most nutritious things you can put into your mouth, and with bikini season still in full swing, I’m not yet willing to abandon my healthy eating habits and devour these by the handful, like I inevitably do once sweater season strikes. But just because the weather is warm and the clothing trends skimpy, doesn’t mean I should completely sacrifice my favorite go-to appetizer, right? At least that’s what I was thinking last weekend when I was having a serious snack-attack. Hungry for something savory and satisfying, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own less fattening version of the Southwest egg roll. Made with brown rice, lean chicken, and baked instead of fried, I feel better (at least a little bit) about attacking these guys with reckless abandon. Which I did. — Don’t judge.

Baked Southwest Egg Rolls

Makes 14

  • ½ cup dry brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1½ cups corn kernels, fresh or canned
  • 1 cup precooked rotisserie chicken (white meat, skin removed), roughly chopped (*omit to make this a vegetarian dish)
  • 1 bell pepper (red or orange), chopped
  • ½ cup jarred salsa
  • ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 Tbsp diced canned jalapeños (substitute mild diced green chills for less heat)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 14 flour tortillas, fajita size
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water
  • parchment paper

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Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Once boiling, add rice and stir for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until rice is soft and all the water has evaporated from the pot. Once rice has finished cooking, fluff with a fork and set aside.

Meanwhile, pour half of the black beans into a medium bowl and mash with a fork until most of the beans are crushed.IMG_9237

To the same bowl, add cooked rice and all the other remaining ingredients (except the tortillas and egg wash), and stir until combined.IMG_9254

Fill a ¼-cup measurer with egg roll filling and drop it into the center of a tortilla.IMG_9259

Bring 2 sides of the tortilla upward, then use your other hand to press on the outside of the tortilla, forming the filling into a log running down the center of the tortilla, stopping ½-inch from each end.IMG_9260

Fold the bottom of the tortilla up towards the center, then fold both sides inward, creating an envelope.IMG_9261

Brush the open end of tortilla with the egg wash and fold inward, sealing the egg roll.IMG_9266 IMG_9263

Place egg roll seam-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then brush the top of the tortilla with egg wash, covering the entire surface.IMG_9265

Repeat with the remaining tortillas.IMG_9268

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until egg rolls are golden brown and crispy to the touch. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve with Creamy Salsa for dipping (recipe below).IMG_9270

Creamy Salsa

  • 1 cup jarred salsa
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • smoked paprika for garnish

Mix salsa, sour cream, and salt together until smooth. Sprinkle with smoked paprika. Creamy Salsa can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.IMG_9287

Sidekick: Serve with a light and refreshing beer, preferably of the Mexican variety: Pacifico, Modelo, Sol, Dos Equis, Victoria, or Carta Blanca.

Easy Summer Salads

Alright, friends, have we all agreed to stop buying frozen, grocery store hamburgers and unanimously decided instead to try making our own patties this summer? Have the last couple days of me preaching from my soapbox convinced you that there are better ways to barb-e-que? Yes? Good. Now we can move on to fantastic salads to accompany those delicious burgers! Below are two, super easy salads that pretty much go with any main dish. Continue reading

Southwest Steak Chopped Salad with Chipotle-Lime Ranch Dressing

IMG_8587Alright, here we go, another chopped salad recipe for you guys! If you already made the chopped salad base from yesterday’s post, then you should be good to go, if not, I included the recipe again for your convenience. Because I’m cool like that. Anyway, this version is a little more gluttonous than yesterday’s, but still very low in calories, so don’t feel bad about splurging a little. However, if you’re really serious about your daily calorie intake and don’t want the extra digits to add up, just omit the avocado and chips, and swap out the steak for chicken — you’ll still get the same great taste without the extra fluff. Continue reading