Moroccan Chicken Soup with Chickpeas and Preserved Lemons

Moroccan Chicken Soup with Chickpeas and Preserved Lemons

This recipe combines the heartiness of classic chicken vegetable soup with the flavors of roasted Moroccan chicken and curry flavors. For the freshest and most nutritious soup I use homemade chicken stock. Preserved lemons might be hard to find at your average grocery store which is why I just make them ahead of time. I had also found that roasting a chicken in the oven with spices and olive oil allows for the most tender, shredded meat for the soup. If you don’t have any chicken stock on hand, you can use the bones from the chicken and make your own. If you already have some ready, that’s great, because you can then freeze the bones and have it ready to go for next time! The recipe uses a whole butternut squash, carrots, red potatoes and chickpeas for heartiness and flavor. A few tablespoons of spicy Moroccan Harissa paste and a curry spice blend is all that it needs to take this soup to the next level! I was very happy with the results and will be incorporating it into my weekly meals! The recipe yields a lot of soup so it makes a perfect weekday dinner.
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Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Eggplant

Thai Green Curry with Chicken

I simply can’t get enough of Thai curries. The combination of fresh herbs with creamy coconut milk and layered spices can be transcendental and delicious. This curry combines thinly shredded chicken with eggplant, red peppers, coconut milk in a fresh green curry broth. I usually make all my curry pastes from scratch but I found a pre-made version from a local Thai market that I like a lot. I recommend finding your own local asian or Thai market that has all the ingredients you need, no substitutes needed! If you do go for the homemade version, recipes can be readily found online. This recipe is easy to throw together and doesn’t require much prep or cooking time. Serve with rice and if you want to make the meal vegetarian, substitute one package of extra firm tofu for the chicken and switch out chicken stock for vegetable stock.
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Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Muffins

Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Muffins

When everyone is super busy these days who doesn’t love a grab and go breakfast? These muffins are the perfect “wrap in a napkin” breakfast. A lot of muffins you buy at cafes and stores are loaded with sugar but these are much better for you in that respect. I also added some rolled oats for fiber and hardiness. You can pretty much add whatever fruit you want to these since they are surprisingly versatile: raspberries, blackberries, currants and boysenberries would all work great as an added fruit. I added a little lemon zest to brighten up the fruit flavor. The muffins were fluffy on the inside and taste amazing straight out of the oven!
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Homemade Potato Salad

Homemade Potato Salad

Potato salad is a classic American summer side dish that reminds me of hot summer days, afternoon picnics and grilling sessions. I used to purchase potato salad from a local deli but the ingredients on the label were a bit off-putting. I didn’t recognize most of them listed and I finally decided to just make it from scratch. This recipe is a perfect antidote to the store-bought problem. While it is more time consuming than just running to the store, this recipe is healthier and you know exactly what’s going in it. It’s a delicious alternative to the processed stuff!

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Homemade Mexican Rice

Homemade Spanish Rice

Mexican rice (also known as “Spanish” rice) is a savory rice dish flavored with tomatoes and spices. Mexican rice holds up well on its own and makes a great accompaniment to beef, chicken, fish, tacos, enchiladas…the list goes on! It goes well with tons of different dishes and is pretty easy to make. You start by toasting the rice in a saute pan. Toasting it first enhances the flavor and is considered an essential step. I would recommend using homemade chicken or vegetable stock to give it an extra boost of nutrients and flavor!
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Italian Chicken Parmesan Soup

Italian Chicken Parmesan Soup

Italian food excels at using great ingredients to elevate humble meals. This couldn’t be more true with a recipe like this soup. It combines a whole roasted chicken, seasoned with only sea salt and pepper, shredded in a savory tomato based broth with beans and veggies. The soup is peasant style with zucchini, great northern beans, fresh herbs and rotelli noodles. I used homemade chicken stock for added flavor and nutrients. Since the noodles tend to absorb a lot of the broth I don’t add them into the soup beforehand. Instead, I cook them separately and add a handful to each bowl. I would recommend using only fresh herbs since it made a big difference in the flavor of the broth. Add a big handful of parmigiano reggiano or romano cheese to each bowl for melted cheesy goodness! I served the soup with a warm crusty baguette and garnished each bowl with fresh basil.
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Roasted Chicken Tacos with Chipotle Salsa and Oaxaca Cheese

Roasted Chicken Tacos with Chipotle Salsa and Oaxaca Cheese

Tacos are one of my favorite foods and I’m always looking for different combinations to try out! This recipe combines tender, shredded chicken with a smokey Chipotle salsa and melty Oaxaca cheese. I roasted the chicken in the oven with fragrant spices, garlic and honey. The nice thing about roasting the chicken is that it produces plenty of juice in the pan to incorporate back into the meat once it has been shredded. This results in the juiciest, most tender meat for the tacos. The Oaxaca cheese melted easily over the tacos and had a mild flavor that complimented the other ingredients. The salsa can be made up to two days beforehand to save time on preparation.

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Roasted Chipotle Tomato Salsa

Roasted Chipotle Salsa

The thing that makes this salsa unique is the charring of the vegetables before blending. This can be done over a skillet or with a pair of tongs over an open flame. I really liked how it amplified the smokey flavor of the chipotle peppers. I used several toasted Puya chiles which aren’t too spicy and have a fruity, chocolatey flavor.  This salsa is the perfect balance between smoky, spicy and sweet. It’s also really simple and goes with so many different tex-mex dishes. I could see it going well with eggs but I made it for tacos which turned out great!
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Tofu and Kimchi Mandu (Korean Dumplings)

Tofu Kimchi Dumplings7`5

I am a big fan of finger foods and this recipe for little pan fried Korean dumplings can’t be beat! The dumplings are filled with tofu, white beans, kimchi, garlic, ginger and other flavorful ingredients! It all comes together tucked in a gyoza wrapper and sauteed. The recipe makes a lot of dumplings so I had no problem having this as a main course though it works perfectly as an appetizer. I served the dumplings with a savory Korean dipping sauce which paired together very nicely! If you prep the dumplings the night before it works great for a weeknight meal.

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Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

I used to make instant Jell-o chocolate pudding all the time when I was a kid.  All you needed to do was dump the powder and milk in a sauce pan and stir until your wrist got tired.  This is the grown-up version of the Jell-o stuff, and much tastier! I adapted a recipe I use for vanilla custard so it uses plenty of butter and eggs (but it’s worth it for the good stuff, right?) It’s a bit more involved than the instant kind since this requires tempering your eggs.  Tempering is a process that allows the temperature of the eggs to rise without creating a scrambled mess. All you need is a steady pouring hand and another to do the fast stirring to combine the hot milk into the eggs.  It’s a breeze once you get the hang of it. I used real chocolate chips along with unsweetened cocoa powder to amp up the chocolate flavor.  It also tastes great served cold, hot and in large bowls!

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