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
  • Print

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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Quick Chicken Salad with Avocado

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In my last entry, which felt like a century ago, I talked about my recent life reflections, and how I am attempting to prioritize my life. I came up w 3 categories: the must haves, the nice to haves, and the let it goes.  I spent some time discussing the let it goes in my life, and so far am happy with the list.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been doing a lot more reflecting (or cooking) because I’ve been so consumed w my job lately (both the work itself as well as the incessant worry of it). When you suffer from OCD, you perseverate like whoa:  if something is pressing on me, it consumes my thoughts to pretty much a debilitating measure.  In short, I’ve been a hoot to be around.
Which brings me to my next category: the must haves. My non-negotiables. Some of these will inspire some radical changes, which I am terrified about, but will be very welcome and necessary:

  • my overall health:  I know I mentioned in the “let it goes” that having the perfect body is not necessary; however, being healthy is a must.  Most notably, needing to get my stress levels under control, finding time to exercise regularly again, and focusing on making good foods a priority, regardless of convenience.
  •   sleep:  related to the first point, I am finally taking measures to get more sleep, and under healthy conditions.  I have suffered from chronic insomnia for almost 16 years.  That’s about long enough, right?
  • desire to start a family: Yeah, I know, my egg timer is ticking.  I know I’m not married, I live alone, and love my selfish lifestyle. So unless they have found a way for my awful cat and I to…. I don’t want to even finish that sentence. But you know where I’m going.
  •  being less stressed:  this isn’t a chance for me to gripe about my work or workplace (not my style); it’s a wake up call to alter the approach to my work. Attitude, confidence, strength.
  • returning to positive:  recently, a former coworker spoke to me about how positive I always was about everything, and I felt… ashamed. I know exactly what she’s talking about:  I would pride myself on how I could stay positive about everything, look at the bright side, never get knocked down.  I feel like that person is a memory, and I need to get her back.

And of course, cooking more!  I know that this isn’t exactly cooking, but it was all I had time for, and it was absolutely delicious.  I could eat this every day 🙂  Give this a try on your super busy nights for a healthy lunch tomorrow!  I used a rotisserie chicken and it was soon good.  Enjoy!   image1


Materials:

  • cutting board
  • knife
  • bowl
  • spoon

Ingredients:

  • rotisserie chicken (or left over chicken)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 T mayo (I use olive oil mayo)
  • Pinch of lemon juice (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop chicken into small shreds.
  2. Place chicken, avocado, and mayo in bowl, Mix well.IMG_6181
  3. Season with lemon juice (optional), salt, and pepper.FullSizeRender
  4. Enjoy on a wrap, crackers, bread, or alone!FullSizeRender

Quick Chicken Salad with Avocado

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

FullSizeRenderMaterials:

  • cutting board
  • knife
  • bowl
  • spoon

Ingredients:

  • rotisserie chicken (or left over chicken)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 T mayo (I use olive oil mayo)
  • Pinch of lemon juice (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop chicken into small shreds.
  2. Place chicken, avocado, and mayo in bowl, Mix well.
  3. Season with lemon juice (optional), salt, and pepper.
  4. Enjoy on a wrap, crackers, bread, or alone!

Chicken Butternut Squash Quinoa Soup

TWO MORE WEEKS UNTIL MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!

I’ve been playing around a lot with what’s important, and what used to be important to me that I’ve loosened the reigns a bit over the years.  Being an uber-nerd, I actually sat down and started to categorize this stuff.  Although I am still working on these lists (and probably will still grapple with this for a while), here’s what I came up with:  (1) the must haves, (2) the nice to haves (but not worth killing yourself over or beating yourself up over), and (3) wishes and wants, but nothing to struggle for… aka the “let it gos.

I’m going to devote today’s session to the Let It Gos.  Again, this is a list-in-process, but here are a few that I have written down:
  •  Needing the perfect body – life is too short to obsess over it.  I don’t have time to work out every day any more, I don’t feel joy in following a crazy strict diet and punishing myself if I veer off to have a cookie.
  • Comparing myself to other gals – I feel like this goes with not feeling like I need to look perfect, but I don’t find myself comparing the way I look to other girls anymore.  I’m not sure if it was all of a sudden or over time, but I no longer hate the VS models when they bombard my commercials.  I no longer want to push the 22-year-old perfect 10 in front of moving traffic.  More power to them.  Mostly…
  •  What others think of me/impressing everyone – I have come to the realization that I am awesome, and give zero farts about what anyone else has to say about that.  See, I just said farts on my blog, twice now.  How do I feel about that?  All smiles.
  •  Not eating in front of others – this was another one that I, like a lot of chicks, needed to get the eff over.  Everyone eats.  No one looks good doing it.  We are all slobs, embrace it.
  • Not admitting just how much tv I actually watch – I live alone, so my TV is basically my roommate.  It’s always on, basically to fill the silence void.  Why do people look down on TV watchers?  The “idiot tube?”  Snobs.
  • Not really doing things for yourself – I’m almost 30, I’ve been living alone pretty much since I was 20, and am just now getting a grip on what this really, truly means.  Doing things because you enjoy them, because you want to improve your life, because you need to relax more (or less?  I don’t know your life) is not an easy task.  We so often have ulterior motives, like landing a mate, getting a promotion, being better than that skinny 22-year-old.  Is it actually for you?  If not, maybe you need to let it go.

And now let’s talk about some food so we can get the Frozen song out of our heads.

Not only is this time of year great because of my birthday, but it is also soup weather!  Which means I get to bust out the slow cooker on the weekend for a lazy meal that will last me pretty much all week.  This was a super easy, crazy delicious set-it-and-forget it meal that instantly earned its way into my regular rotation.  Low fat, low cal, high protein, filling, and delicious?  I’ll take seconds, please!

Enjoy!

Materials:

  • cutting board
  • knife
  • two forks
  • measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium (about 2 c) butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 c quinoa
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 1 can tomatoes (any kind) with juice
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • rosemary to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:

  1. Place chicken on the bottom of the pot of a slow cooker.FullSizeRender
  2. Place all other ingredients into the slow cooker.IMG_6088
  3. Cook for at least 3 hours on HIGH or at least 5 hours on LOW. (I recommend slow and low!)FullSizeRender
  4. Take out chicken and shred using two forks.  FullSizeRenderPlace back into soup until ready to eat.
  5. Serve with parmesan cheese.
  6. Enjoy!  FullSizeRender

Chicken Butternut Squash Quinoa Soup

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

Materials:

  • cutting board
  • knife
  • two forks
  • measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium (about 2 c) butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 c quinoa
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 1 can tomatoes (any kind) with juice
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • rosemary to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:

  1. Place chicken on the bottom of the pot of a slow cooker.
  2. Place all other ingredients into the slow cooker.
  3. Cook for at least 3 hours on HIGH or at least 5 hours on LOW.
  4. Take out chicken and shred using two forks.  Place back into soup until ready to eat.
  5. Serve with parmesan cheese.
  6. 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!

Pesto Chicken

Picky Eaters

This has always fascinated me.  What makes a picky eater?  I don’t want to get started on adult picky eaters… I think they are food snobs of a terrible color.  If you’re an adult picky eater, and have no food allergies or sensitivities that forces you to have dietary restrictions, you should be banished to a 3rd world country for a minimum of a year in which you don’t know the language, and therefore must eat whatever is put in front of you.

\I’m not hating here… I’m actually speaking on personal experience.  Believe it or not, I had a terribly snobby palate until I went on a missions trip when I was 16:  I didn’t speak the language, and I wouldn’t dare be rude to the hosts.  So, I ate ALL of their foods. And you know what?  I lived to tell the tale.  And it was an amazing experience.

Glad I didn’t get started on adults.  Anyway, I meant to start on children.   Continue reading

2-Ingredient Salsa Chicken

So I’ve reached the end of my 30 Days project for July, and I did not reach my goal of working out every day for 30 days.  I was surprisingly going strong, until two things got in the way: going home, and getting sick.  I mentioned in my last post that I didn’t get much exercise other than dancing at my girl’s wedding and playing cornhole with my family when I went home, which I definitely did not count as a workout.  But I also got a really bad virus earlier that week, and set me back two days.  I didn’t move other than getting up to get water or throat spray.  Still this was a great goal, and I will take another crack at this during the fall.

Speaking of goals, I’m really liking these 30-Day Challenges.  It gives me something to chip away at, and makes me more responsible to myself. I decided on August, and will write about that in my next entry.

So, can we talk about how INSANELY HOT it’s been?  I mean, seriously.  This IS the same year we got like 6 feet of snow in 30 seconds, right?  I think Mother Nature is going through “the change.”   But for real, how do folks deal with this who don’t have a/c?  #firstworldproblems, right?  My friend Betty (not her real name) that I have mentioned before doesn’t have air conditioning, and I don’t know how she is still alive.  Come to think of it, I haven’t heard from her in…

Anyway, when it’s like this, there is NO WAY I am turning on the stove.  It’s either a salad or the crock pot.  Lucky for me I just came across this incredible recipe.  And I still cannot believe it is only 2 ingredients!!!! And talk about taste.  This is something that you will not be able to stop eating, making, or telling everyone you know about.  I don’t know how I didn’t know of this before.

Enjoy!


Materials:

  • crockpot
  • cutting board
  • forks

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 jar of salsa

Directions:

  1. Place chicken at the bottom of the crockpot.IMG_5405
  2. Pour salsa over chicken.FullSizeRender (5)
  3. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or on HIGH for 3-4 hours. FullSizeRender (6)
  4. Shred using forks.IMG_5415
  5. Serve over a taco salad, or in tortillas with toppings such as tomatoes, cheese, and avocado!FullSizeRender (7)
  6. Enjoy!

Chicken in a Crock

STOP THE PRESSES!  SHE’S ALIVE!

young_frankenstein1

Every time I look in the mirror and see a wrinkle.

Yes, I have returned.  You can stop putting my name and bio pic on pop-up milk ads now.  I am back, and I promise I’ll never leave you again my children (well, fingers crossed… I don’t know what the future has in store).

I had to take a brief hiatus from blogging (and cooking…and the gym…and my social life) this month, simply because my work schedule got to a point where something had to give.  As much as it pained me to choose my job over my beloved hobby, I can’t pay my bills on a quick wit and a recipe for a great roasted chicken.  Or buy that roasted chicken, for that matter.

Anywho, I’m back, and I have PLENTY of recipes that are ready to burst out of me!  I can’t type them fast enough for you.  Plus, we have A LOT of catching up to do– you’ve been without your Jenni fix for some time now, and I’m sure you’ve been dying to know what antics I’ve been up to besides my Invisalign, which I know you read religiously.

Here’s a little sneak preview for a future post:  in May, I took on a month-long project called “30 Days of Deeds,” and it was such an interesting and insightful project, that I decided to continue a new 30-day project for June.  What did I do?  What was the result?  What will I take on for 30 days in July? All in time, my darlings.  All in time.

For now, let’s start off nice and easy, and slooooow.  I’m talking slow cooker.  For those days (I’ve lost count how many I’ve had) when your work day ends up being a 12+ hour one, this is a wonderful dish to set-and-forget.  The entire chicken literally falls apart in its own juices.  5 minutes of prep time = 1 stress-free, satisfied you.  Until you start all over again tomorrow.

Enjoy!


Materials:

  • crock pot
  • medium bowl
  • paper towels
  • tongs

Ingredients:

  • 1 roaster chicken (about 5 lbs)
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T rosemary
  • 1 T parsley
  • 2 T garlic (minced or dried)

Directions:

  1. Place carrots in an even layer on the bottom of the slow cooker.       FullSizeRender
  2. Rinse and pat-dry chicken.FullSizeRender (1)
  3. Combine all spices in a bowl.FullSizeRender (2)
  4. Rub entire surface of the chicken with the spice mix.FullSizeRender (3)
  5. Place the chicken, breast side down, on top of the carrots.  Do NOT add liquid!FullSizeRender (4)
  6. Cook on low for at least 6 hours,FullSizeRender (8) until the meat falls off the bone.FullSizeRender (7)
  7. Enjoy!FullSizeRender (6)

Chicken in a Crock

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Materials:
FullSizeRender (5)

  • crock pot
  • medium bowl
  • paper towels
  • tongs

Ingredients:

  • 1 roaster chicken (about 5 lbs)
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T rosemary
  • 1 T parsley
  • 2 T garlic (minced or dried)

Directions:

  1. Place carrots in an even layer on the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Rinse and pat-dry chicken.
  3. Combine all spices in a bowl.
  4. Rub entire surface of the chicken with the spice mix.
  5. Place the chicken, breast side down, on top of the carrots.  Do NOT add liquid!
  6. Cook on low for at least 6 hours, until the meat falls off the bone.
  7. Enjoy!