Gluten Free(ish) Chicken Soup

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My name is Jenni B, and I have issues.

I mean, I come home after a dogged day at work, and my brain is screaming type, woman!  Type to your clamoring fans!  And my body just can’t move off the couch.  It’s not you.  It’s me.  Honest.

And it’s worse than just blogging:  I haven’t been to the gym since Nam.  I thought that going to a hella ‘xpensive fitness/spa/luxurious experience would get myself in gear, but all I can seem to do is Nexflix and chill.  In my head, I’ve run a 10k.  If only my brain could go to spinning (which I haven’t been in 4 months).

And it’s worse than not writing or working out.  I now have a stress-induced ulcer.  Or, ulcah, as my fellow Bostonians would say.  So I have that going for me, which is pretty nice.  So most of my evenings of late have been married to Hulu and/or Netflix out of necessity.

I am trying, my loves.  I’m trying.  In the meantime, I have been severely limited to what I can eat that won’t send me into a tizzy with heartburn, indigestion, and general ulcer-related goodness.  The best recipe that I’ve stumbled across has been this soup:  it’s a spin-off from chicken noodle soup (I’m trying to watch my carbs since I’m not burning many calories these days), but just as wholesome and hearty.  I wanted to post this today in honor of my gluten-free gal pal’s birthday!  I am not sure if it’s completely gluten free because of the spices I used, but let’s go with yes:)  Enjoy!

Materials:

  • slow cooker
  • cutting board
  • two forks
  • measuring cup and spoons

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 2 T cumin
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 T garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • lime juice for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place chicken along the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Cover chicken with spices, then pour in stock.IMG_7144
  3. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or on LOW for 6 hours.FullSizeRender (6)
  4. Take out chicken and place onto a cutting board.  Shred with two forks pulling opposite directions.IMG_7148
  5. Place chicken back into broth.FullSizeRender (5)
  6. Add corn and white beans and stir.FullSizeRender (4)FullSizeRender (3)
  7. Serve with a splash of lime juice.  Enjoy!FullSizeRender (1)

Gluten Free(ish) Chicken Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Materials:

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  • slow cooker
  • cutting board
  • two forks
  • measuring cup and spoons

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 2 T cumin
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 T garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • lime juice for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place chicken along the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Cover chicken with spices, then pour in stock.
  3. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or on LOW for 6 hours.
  4. Take out chicken and place onto a cutting board.  Shred with two forks pulling opposite directions.
  5. Place chicken back into broth.
  6. Add corn and white beans and stir.
  7. Serve with a splash of lime juice.  Enjoy!

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Oven-Fried Green Beans with Chipotle Aioli

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A while back, I spent the weekend in northern VT with my SO, who is finishing his degree in the coldest place on the planet.  I mean, it’s beautiful, and it’s a great school, etc etc etc, but there’s Miami, Hawaii, Cali… what’s wrong with those?  All joking aside, it’s a lovely time, mainly because we pig out.  That’s really all I do on the weekend, but we do it like we are trying to win a prize.  This particular weekend, we went to a spectacular dive to shoot pool, and of course needed to order every appetizer they have on the menu.

And that’s when they entered my life:  Green Bean Fries.

Come on.

I’ve had (and made) fries of all sorts:  carrot, sweet potato, you name it.  But beans?  As fries?  Seriously?  I was skeptical.  And wrong.  These things are so addictive!  Dangerous.  Don’t think that you deserve a pat on the back for choosing green beans on the menu:  these battered-and-deep-fried bunches of goodness are death.  The best part had to be the dipping sauce:  they had this chipotle mayo that was so heavy and spicy and oh oh oh my mouth is literally watering right now.

So, being a formerly extremely heavy gal, I had to figure out how to harness their superpower for good.  I give you: the oven-fried green beans.  Their only breading is parm cheese, so if you’re carb-contious you’re still safe.  And the sauce?  Yup, I got that for you too.  My boo gave it a “hey, when are you making that sauce again?” approval, so you know it’s a win.  Enjoy!


 

Materials:

  •  2 mixing bowls (one can be small)
  • fork
  • non-stick pan
  • cooking spray

Ingredients:

For the green beans:

  • fresh green beans (I didn’t measure… I just grab about 2-3 handfuls)
  • 1 egg
  • minced garlic
  • Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the chipotle aioli:

  • 3T mayo (I use olive oil-based)
  • 1T lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 1T smoked paprika

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and snap the ends off the green beans.  Pat dry.IMG_6939
  3. In a bowl, mix egg, garlic, salt, and pepper with a fork (like you’re making scrambled eggs).IMG_6942
  4. Dip green beans in egg mixture, shaking off the excess egg.  Place in a non-stick pan (be sure to spray it first).IMG_6943
  5. Coat beans with Parmesan cheese.IMG_6944
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.FullSizeRender
  7. While the beans are baking, mix the mayo, lemon juice, and paprika in a small bowl; IMG_7012set aside.IMG_7013
  8. Serve beans hot with the aioli.  Enjoy!FullSizeRender (1)

 

Oven-Fried Green Beans with Chipotle Aioli

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

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Materials:

  •  2 mixing bowls (one can be small)
  • fork
  • non-stick pan
  • cooking spray

Ingredients:

For the green beans:

  • fresh green beans (I didn’t measure… I just grab about 2-3 handfuls)
  • 1 egg
  • minced garlic
  • Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the chipotle aioli:

  • 3T mayo (I use olive oil-based)
  • 1T lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 1T smoked paprika

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and snap the ends off the green beans.  Pat dry.
  3. In a bowl, mix egg, garlic, salt, and pepper with a fork (like you’re making scrambled eggs).
  4. Dip green beans in egg mixture, shaking off the excess egg.  Place in a non-stick pan (be sure to spray it first).
  5. Coat beans with Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.
  7. While the beans are baking, mix the mayo, lemon juice, and paprika in a small bowl; set aside.
  8. Serve beans hot with the aioli.  Enjoy!

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Courtesy of Cookinglight.com

When I was a little whipper-snapper, all I wanted was a doll that looked like me.  I know what you’re thinking:  a toy-maker could never capture my beauty.  An impossible mission.

Joking aside, I wasn’t all that into the whole Barbie thing, mainly because the gal was a tall, skinny, blue-eyed blonde, and I was, well, pretty much the exact opposite of that:

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Where was I going?  Not sure.  But I was going to be fabulous.

Studies show that girls desire to play with dolls that most mirror themselves, and I was no exeption:  I wanted an olive-skinned, short, dark and curly-haired doll, preferably one with high ambitions and little patience. My poor mother’s best solution was a Native American doll, thinking that the hair and skin would be a closer match than Barbie.

Now, Barbie has launched a new campaign with a wider range of dolls:  there are tall, curvy, and the original skinny B’s with a variety of styles.  But…. what about us average gals?  I know Matel cannot please everyone, but how about a brunette with green eyes, and normal height and weight?  Maybe they thought the most popular combination of female attributes was too obvious…

Anyway, given the way my weight fluctuates the search for the doll in my image is futile.  If they can come up with a doll that is constantly stressed at work, eats like a linebacker, then guilt’s herself into losing the weight a few times a year, I’m game.

Here’s a binge-worthy recipe for you!  I got this recipe from Cooking Light, and it was a HUGE hit at my Superbowl gathering.  I served it slightly warm, with sliced french bread.  Enjoy!


 

Materials:

  • mixing bowl
  • aluminum foil
  • small pot with lid
  • food processor
  • measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of sun-dried tomatoes, not packed in oil
  • 1 c water
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 can of white beans, drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c lime juice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Remove paper coating from garlic.
  3. Cover garlic with olive oil. Wrap garlic in aluminum foil, and roast for about 12 minutes.
  4. While garlic is roasting, place sun-dried tomatoes and water in a small pot.  Boil until tender, about 5 minutes.  Drain.FullSizeRender (5)
  5. Remove garlic head from the oven, carefully popping out the cloves from the shells.FullSizeRender (4)
  6. In a food processor, combine all ingredients.  FullSizeRender (3)
  7. Pulse until well-combined.  It should have the consistency of hummus.FullSizeRender (2)
  8. Serve warm with bread.  Enjoy!FullSizeRender (1)

 

Sun-dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Dip

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Materials:

  • mixing bowl
  • aluminum foil
  • small pot with lid
  • food processor
  • measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of sun-dried tomatoes, not packed in oil
  • 1 c water
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 can of white beans, drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c lime juice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Remove paper coating from garlic.
  3. Cover garlic with olive oil. Wrap garlic in aluminum foil, and roast for about 12 minutes.
  4. While garlic is roasting, place sun-dried tomatoes and water in a small pot.  Boil until tender, about 5 minutes.  Drain.
  5. Remove garlic head from the oven, carefully popping out the cloves from the shells.
  6. In a food processor, combine all ingredients.
  7.  Pulse until well-combined.  It should have the consistency of hummus.
  8. Serve warm with bread.  Enjoy!

Balsamic-Honey Chicken

Analyzing and prioritizing.  I feel like that’s the theme of my life lately.  With my birthday looming around the corner, I am thinking about what is truly important to me right now, where my heart truly lies, what I should be pursuing, spending my energy on, etc.

The problem is, I have very little energy to even devote to this. By the end of the work day I find myself so spent, so utterly drained, that just the idea of making lists, researching ideas for improving myself, possible next chapters in my life, all the wonderfully nerdy things I love to do on a weekday evening is too much for my fried brain these days.  So that’s one priority I have:  more sleep.  A lot more sleep.

I’m also beginning to come to terms with wishes and wants from life vs the reality of life.  I’m not talking a million-dollar home with Chris Hemsworth raising pompskys.  I’m talking a few things I wished I could do before 30, and the reality of that actually happening.  Example:  I very much want to go sky-diving before my 30th birthday.  It’s not a big deal, lots of people have done this.  But I have a few weeks left, I’m busy, it’s cold, and I have no one to experience that with right now.  Excuses?  Yep, but I can live with that.

As far as goal-setting goes, that is a project that, when my energy and time are both more aligned, I am excited to take on.  Basically, the plan is to apply everything I have learned about my life experiences, my lack of experiences, and my realistic wishes and wants and sketch out some plans.  What else would I be doing at night besides talking to my cat and wishing I didn’t eat those last few bites?

This recipe was such a good find:  it’s one of those recipes that you can throw together using pantry ingredients, such as balsamic vinegar, Italian dressing, and honey.  It sounds weird, but it was just incredible!  Light, full of flavor, and it makes great left-overs!

Materials:

  • large pot with lid
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • wooden spoon
  • cooking oil (I used coconut oil for this one!)

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into inch-thick strips
  • 1/2 c cherry tomatoes
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/4 c Italian dressing
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T red pepper flakes
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • green beans, prepared

Directions:

  1. Heat about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add cherry tomatoes and garlic to pan with a little water.  Cover and simmer for about 3 minutes.FullSizeRender
  3. Remove tomatoes from pan and set aside.IMG_6053
  4. Add more oil to pan.  Add chicken, red pepper, salt, pepper, and sauté for about 8 minutes on one side.IMG_6054
  5. Flip chicken.
  6. In a measuring cup, mix balsamic vinegar, Italian dressing, and honey, and pour over chicken.
  7. Continue to simmer chicken until cooked through.
  8. Add tomatoes and green beans to pan and gently stir to avoid crushing tomatoes.  FullSizeRender
  9. Enjoy!
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Balsamic-Honey Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Materials:

  • large pot with lid
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • wooden spoon
  • cooking oil (I used coconut oil for this one!)

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into inch-thick strips
  • 1/2 c cherry tomatoes
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/4 c Italian dressing
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T red pepper flakes
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • green beans, prepared

Directions:

  1. Heat about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add cherry tomatoes and garlic to pan with a little water.  Cover and simmer for about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove tomatoes from pan and set aside.
  4. Add more oil to pan.  Add chicken, red pepper, salt, pepper and sauté for about 8 minutes on one side.
  5. Flip chicken.
  6. In a measuring cup, mix balsamic vinegar, Italian dressing, and honey, and pour over chicken.
  7. Continue to simmer chicken until cooked through.
  8. Add tomatoes and green beans to pan and gently stir to avoid crushing tomatoes.
  9. Enjoy!

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Another H-O-L-I-D-A-Y!!!!! I love me some holidays, and the 4th is right up there with one of the favorites.  I’m a sucker for fireworks, and will eat pretty much anything that’s grilled and/or has the word “salad” after it.

I’ve never hosted a 4th of July party, but always try to find a good one on or near the water.  Since I am a guest, I always need to bring something good to either throw on the grill or pass around.  This recipe has been one of my family go-tos for ages now, simply because it’s made mostly with stuff from our pantry.

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The best part besides it being easy and relatively healthy — it’s SUPER cheap to make.  What more could you look for in a tasty side dish for your party?


Materials:

  • cutting board
  • knife
  • spoon
  • large bowl
  • can opener
  • measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients:

  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1/2 c green onion, chopped
  • 1/3 c cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 c lime juice
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop green onion and cilantro, and add to bowl.IMG_5162
  2. Add all other ingredients to the bowl.  Mix well.IMG_5163
  3. Enjoy!FullSizeRender (2)

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

  • Servings: 1 qt
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Materials:

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  • cutting board
  • knife
  • spoon
  • large bowl
  • can opener
  • measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients:

  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1/2 c green onion, chopped
  • 1/3 c cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 c lime juice
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop green onion and cilantro, and add to bowl.
  2. Add all other ingredients to the bowl.  Mix well.
  3. Enjoy!

10-Minute Protein-Packed Rice Bowl

Be Persistent.

Sure, persistence may be the slightly cuter cousin of obnoxiousness, but it can certainly pay off, especially in today’s age of immediate satisfaction.  I completely inherited this from my mother (although my dad calls her “determined” instead of obnoxious because he’s a really loving husband and knows better), but I have the obsessiveness on top of that.  Or perhaps it’s the OCD that drives the persistence.  Eh, chicken, egg.  Omelets.  I’m hungry.   What were we talking about?  Continue reading

Baked Beans: Mom’s Secret Recipe

It’s no secret that my mother, a supporter of my blogging and the very source for my culinary curiosity, does not read my blog. Don’t get the impression that she and I aren’t that close, either… we talk on the phone AT LEAST once a day.  Not texting, talking.  Not many people can say that about their parents, and I am very thankful I have her.  Plus, until she gets around to finally sittin’ down for longer than a few minutes and readin’ them all (my mom is very Southern), I get to use this to talk about her.

Including, giving up her most-prized baked beans recipe.   Continue reading