June 15, 2015

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Okay, okay, this is definitely not soup. But it is easy, fast, delicious, healthy, and perfectly comforting on a warm day. A crisp bite of lettuce and a warm savory filling! There is not much better. I don't typically make a lot of Asiany food, I am always afraid it won't taste as good as it should. But this was pretty darn perfect. Topped with whatever you like or have on hand, this is definitely customizable. I want to eat everything inside a lettuce leaf now! Look out tacos, you have a fierce competitor! Ground turkey or pork would also work well here!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Recipe from The Kitchn </u>
Serves 4 as a main course, or 2 people for two meals!

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce (gluten-free, if needed)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or 1 tablespoon tamari, if gluten-free)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 pound ground chicken, white meat or dark meat (or ground turkey)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
8 ounces mushrooms, chopped small
1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, rinsed, drained and chopped small
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 cup sliced green onions (from about 6 green onions), divided
2 small heads Bibb or butter lettuce (we ate one whole head of Boston lettuce for one 2-person meal, and will eat the other head with leftovers!)

Optional extras: chopped red onions, chopped bell peppers,  grated carrots, extra green onions, red pepper flakes, hot sauce 

Mix together the sauce: Combine 3 tablespoons of the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Whisk to combine and keep near the stove. (If you'd like a thicker sauce, whisk in 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.)

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the ground chicken and cook until cooked through and no longer pink, 7 to 8 minutes. Break up the chicken into small crumbles as you cook. Transfer the cooked chicken to a clean bowl.

Warm the other teaspoon of oil in the skillet. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped water chestnuts, garlic, and ginger, and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds.

Transfer the cooked chicken back to the pan with the vegetables, along with half of the green onions.

Pour the sauce over the top of the chicken mixture and stir to coat. Cook just until you hear bubbling and the sauce is warmed through, 30 to 60 seconds. Taste a spoonful of the mixture and add more hoisin sauce if you'd like a stronger flavor. (I found it to be perfect as is!)

Break off all the lettuce leaves and pile them on a plate in the center of the table, along with small dishes with hot sauce, red pepper flakes, and the remaining sliced green onions. Transfer the hot chicken mixture to a serving dish, or serve straight from the skillet. Give everyone a spoon and let them dig in — place a generous spoonful of chicken mixture in the middle of a lettuce leaf, top with whatever looks delicious, and dig in! 


April 30, 2015

Yam and Peanut Stew with Kale

Around our house we've been feeling pretty uninspired to cook lately.  And there's one big culprit - we bought a house! So that means finding time or energy to think about or do anything has pretty much gone out the window.  Honestly even I get bored of how much we talk about house stuff but still we're super excited that we finally made this dream a reality.

When we have busted out with some cooking it's been for simple and healthy things to make up for all of the eating out we've been doing lately.  Up here in the PacNW we are also in between seasons weather wise so it can change daily what we're in the mood for.  We hit a cold and rainy spot earlier this week and that sent us hankering for some soup.  But healthy soup...and cheap soup...and quick soup.  So I found this recipe and it called my name immediately.

I really liked this soup but next time I'd pureed the whole thing and then add in the kale.  The texture was a little weird to have it a little of both.  Flavor wise this soup was top notch.  You may think, peanut butter in soup?  Are you sure?  And yes, I am sure - it's delicious!  Another thought is serving it with a nice lemon yogurt sauce on top to brighten it all.  Enjoy any which way you serve it.

Yam and Peanut Stew with Kale
found here

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger, minced
1 cup dried red lentils
2 lbs of yams, peeled and cubed
3 ripe vine tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
dash of cayenne
5 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 head of curly kale
salt and pepper to taste
chopped green onions and peanuts for garnish, optional but highly recommended

1. Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion and sautee until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and ginger and sautee until fragrant.  Add the lentils, yams, tomatoes and spices and stir to combine.
2.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce soup to simmer and cook until yams are tender, about 35-40 minutes.
3.  Add peanut butter and stir well.  Puree soup with an immersion blender.  Add kale and cook until wilted.
4.  Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper.  Serve and garnish with peanuts and green onions, if using.

2015-04-28 19.29.42

March 3, 2015

Chicken Avocado Green Curry

Whenever we order Thai food, which in Portland is one of the only abundant take out options, I often order this dish.  I love the warm but not mushy avocado and the spice level of the green curry is perfect for me.  And although it's not soup it sure is close enough and provides the same comforts.

I was brainstorming what to make for dinner a few nights ago and whenever I want tasty but healthy I usually veer towards a stir fry with lots of veggies and chicken or pork.   But then I saw that DP had stocked up on avocados over the weekend and those avocados were all perfectly ripe at the same time. So I immediately thought of one of my favorite Thai food take out dishes.  I went in search of a recipe and didn't come up with a whole lot for this dish.  So I found a green curry recipe and made up the rest on my own using my mad stir fry skills.  What I turned out was extremely good, and dare I say, better than the take out we usually get.  All the more reason to start making my own Thai food and probably spending a whole lot less.

I hope you enjoy this!  It would be a fun take on a St. Patrick's Day meal as it has loads and loads of green in it.

Chicken Avocado Green Curry
curry sauce adapted from here

  • 4 tablespoons green curry paste
  •  2 cans of coconut milk
  •  1 tablespoon soy sauce (or I use Bragg's liquid aminos)
  •  4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  •  1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 oz of fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha, give or take depending on your desired spice level
  • 2 tablespoon canola or other light oil
  • 1.5 lbs of skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, medium dice
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2" coins
  • 1 bunch asparagus, fibrous ends discarded and cut into thirds
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems discarded and chopped thin slices
  •  3 small avocados, cut into medium dice
  • cooked jasmine rice, for serving
First make the green curry sauce.  In a blender add green curry paste, coconut milk, soy sauce, crushed garlic, brown sugar, basil, and 1 tablespoon of Sriracha.  Blend until smooth and the basil is thoroughly blended.  Set aside. At this point you can start your rice, if using.

In a wok or large skillet, heat oil to almost smoking and add the chicken.  Cook until pieces are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside to add back in later.  Add some more oil to coat the bottom of the pan, turn down heat to medium high and add onion to pan.  Allow to caramelize and then add carrots.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Add in asparagus and bell pepper, cook for another 3-5 minutes until they start to soften.  Add kale and cook for 2 minutes until it starts to wilt.  Then add the cooked chicken and the green curry sauce.  Allow the sauce to come up to temperature.  Taste the curry sauce for desired spiciness and salt level.  Add more soy sauce or Sriracha if you'd like.  Last but not least, add in the diced avocado and allow to warm up, about 1-2 minutes.

Serve with jasmine rice if you'd like.


February 10, 2015

Soba Noodle Soup with Mushrooms and Bok Choy

I have not been sick in a very long time, so I guess you could say I had it coming.  When I started to have that tickly throat, extra tired, stuffy head feeling, I made this soup in an effort to ward off the impending plague.  It didn't quite work, unfortunately, but this soup was delicious, and it did make me feel a little better.  I even declared that I could eat it every day.   The recipe is simple and comes together so fast and with minimal prep, that even if you would rather be sitting on the couch watching Scandal than cooking dinner, you can whip it up without batting an eye and get back to cozy couch times, with this soup keeping you company.

I used more mushrooms than the recipe originally called for, because why the heck not. I also used chicken stock that I had made over the weekend instead of veggie broth, but if you did use veggie broth this would be vegan. The Sriracha is optional, and add more if you like spicy. I used only 1 teaspoon and it was just perfect. You could always add a little more when you serve it for varying spice preferences. Thinking about this soup is making me hungry! I wish I had more of this soup to eat right now!

Soba Noodle Soup with Mushrooms and Bok Choy
Modified slightly from The Kitchn
Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces sliced Crimini or Baby Bella mushrooms 

1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoons Sriracha, optional but highly recommended
3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 cups chicken broth
4 ounces soba noodles
1 bunch chopped Bok Choy or other hearty greens (Chard, Kale, Spinach)
Sesame seeds, for topping
Heat a dutch oven or other soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and sliced mushrooms. Cook mushrooms for 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and ginger (and Sriracha, if using), cooking for another minute. Next, add in the soy sauce and stir, scraping up any parts of mushrooms stuck to the pan and continuing to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. The mushrooms should be softening and smelling delicious.
Next add in the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and add the noodles and greens. Cook until the noodles are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
2015-02-02 Mushroom Soba 003

January 18, 2015

Kimchi and Tofu Soup with Ground Pork

This soup is what I would call the equivalent of an Asian chicken noodle soup.  It seemed like something of a go to comfort soup and was really soothing and used a lot of basic Asian ingredients.  We happen to love kimchi in our household and try to have it on hand to throw on top of eggs, takeout, and whatever else we can think of.  I think kimchi in general is creating quite a following right now and seems to be prevalent on a lot of restaurant's menus, Asian or not.

Another thing about this soup is that it had a very harmonious texture profile.  The tofu was silky, the kimchi added crunch, and the ground pork added a chewy meaty consistency.  It had a little bit of spice from the kimchi and overall was really satisfying for a weeknight meal.  And, as always, I try to pick recipes that have minimal prep for anything I'm making on a weeknight.  This totally fit that order.  It also looked good in my new soup bowls my family gave me for Christmas - thanks family!

I hope you enjoy this; it was fun to make and eat!

Kimchi and Tofu Soup with Ground Pork
adapted from Food 52
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 cups kimchi
  • 6 cups chicken stock 
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into medium dice 
  • Bragg's liquid aminos, to taste
  • 7 ounces soft tofu, chopped into cubes
  • Green onion, to serve
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil on high until hot. Add ground pork and cook, breaking up clumps, until no longer pink. Add garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant. Add kimchi and cook for a few minutes until hot. Pour in stock and about a tablespooon of liquid aminos.
  2. Let soup come to a boil, then turn heat to a low simmer and gently add the tofu and carrots. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes. Add more liquid aminos to taste as you go.
  3. Distribute the soup evenly into bowls. Garnish each with a sprinkle of green onion right before serving.

January 9, 2015

Greens Galore Soup with Cayenne and Lemon

After a food-filled four days in California over the new year, I was ready for some greens. So I decided to make this soup I had recently saved which is basically just a ton of greens blended up with caramelized onions.  The result is a super fresh soup that I felt really good about eating!  

I liked this soup a lot more than I thought I would, and will probably end up freezing half of it because it made a lot of soup.  Another reminder to read a recipe carefully before you start to make it because I should have cut this in half based on the amount of liquids alone.  The small pinch of cayenne does not add a lot of heat, feel free to add more if you like spicy.

In any case, this soup is a wonderful kickstart to the new year and I hope you like it as much as we did!

Greens Galore Soup
Adapted slightly from Cookie and Kate
Serves at least 6
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 2 Tbsp plus 3 cups water, divided
  • 1/4 cup arborio rice, rinsed
  • 1 large bunch Italian kale (about 1 pound), thick ribs removed, leaves chopped coarsely.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces of gently packed spinach or baby cooking greens, such as chard (I used two 5 oz tubs of OrganicGirl's Super Greens which is a mix of spinach, chard, and other baby greens)
  • 4 cups broth (I used chicken, but veggie would make this dish vegan!)
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • Serve with (optional): Cooked rice and a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas
First, start the onions caramelizing. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add the chopped onions and 1/4 tsp salt.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are starting to brown, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low, add 2 Tbsp water, and cover. Cook until the liquid is greatly reduced and the onions are a rich caramel color, this should take about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, and each time replace the cover on the pan.

While the onions are cooking, combine 3 cups water, 3/4 tsp salt, and the arborio rice in a large soup pot or dutch oven.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover.  Cook for 15 minutes. 

(If you want to have this over Jasmine rice and with chickpeas like we did, start the rice now. 1 1/2 cup water and 1 cup jasmine rice with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 18 minutes.  If you have a small strainer that fits inside your pan that you used to rinse the chickpeas, when the 18 minutes are up set that strainer on top of the hot rice pot and put the lid over it to warm up the chickpeas!)

Add to the soup pot the chopped kale and the minced garlic.  When the onions are caramelized, stir them into the soup pot along with the baby greens, broth, and cayenne pepper. 

Return the pot to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until the greens are slightly wilted but still bright green.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice.  Taste and add more salt, lemon, or pepper to taste. 

You can eat this as is for a super healthy green soup, or on top of rice and chickpeas for a heartier dinner.  Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy! This looks swampy, but me and my love agree, this soup tastes much better than it looks!

2015-01-04 Greens Soup 005

January 5, 2015

Harissa and Veggie Wild Rice Pilaf with Crispy Prosciutto

This recipe was very compelling to me even though it could come off as confusing to some.  I was in search of something indulgant, which for me means cheese, but still somewhat healthy and also weeknight friendly.  I recalled seeing this recipe and it checked all of those boxes for me. Also if you aren't already following the Half Baked Harvest blog then please do, I just love her stuff.

The result of this was very satisfying.  I was really in love with this dish.  The crispy prosciutto on top was so good and it would've never occurred to me to crisp it up like that but it added an extra treat to the dish.  If you are trying to go lighter with it you could always leave it off. I also loved the wild rice and it reminded me of a wild rice "stuffing" my mom always made at Thanksgiving time. Also this dish is very versatile in that you could use whatever veggies and cheese you wanted to the mix and still come up with something great.  This would also make a lovely side dish but I ate it as my main.  I went back for seconds of course because it was just that good.  I ate it all week for dinner and it stands up really well for leftovers.

A really great weeknight meal for the new year - enjoy!

Harissa and Veggie Wild Rice Pilaf with Crispy Prosciutto
slightly adapted from Half Baked Harvest

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1/3 cup store bought (or try homemade) harissa
  • 1/2 cup fresh broccoli, cup into small pieces
  • 12 oz. fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped. plus more for garnish
  • 4 oz. dill cheddar cheese
  • 2 oz. gouda cheese
  • 5 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 2 tblsp. toasted and chopped almonds
  • salt and pepper
Grease a 2-3 quart baking dish with butter or olive oil.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook wild rice and set aside.  Heat a very large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  Once hot add 2 tblsp. of olive oil, the chopped onions and minced garlic.   Cook 8-10 minutes or until onion is soft and lightly caramelized. Add the broccoli, spinach, cilantro and dill and cook about 3-5 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted and broccoli is slightly softened. Remove from heat and stir in the cooked wild rice, harissa and remaining 2 tblsp. of olive oil.  Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish and cover with grated cheeses.  Lay out prosciutto evenly over top of cheese.  Bake for about 20-30 minutes until prosciutto is crispy.  Remove and sprinkle with cilantro and almonds.  Serve immediately.

2014-11-21 19.37.14 HDR