Archive | Chicken RSS feed for this section

Recipe Makeover — Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

19 Dec

Christmas is less than a week away!!! I finished my holiday shopping on Monday. (Thank you, Amazon!) I had everything shipped to my in-laws houses, so fingers crossed all of the gifts will be there when I arrive this weekend.

I really do try to eat healthy during the week and get to the gym 5-6 days/week. It’s an active effort everyday and trust me, there are days when I think to myself, “It would just be easier to pick something up to eat.” Or, “Gosh, I have so much work to do. I should just skip the gym.” But I know that’s just my lazy inner self just getting the best of me. There are a few strategies I use to keep me on track.

  1. Packing a gym bag in my car prevents me from coming home and keeping me there.
  2. Find others who can be support you and help you to be accountable — Find a gym buddy. Sign up for classes. Write down in your planner when you’ll be going to the gym each day.
  3. Plan meals ahead of time and look for healthy substitutes.

I can’t help you with making sure to pack a gym bag everyday, but I can help you with a getting involved with a community and healthy meal planning. Emily from Sweet Bella Roos has started an online community called Counting Cupcakes. (How cute!!) This group is for anyone who wants to start (or continue) to live a healthy lifestyle. There will be a weekly newsletter which will feature a healthy recipe, a sweet treat recipe and a weekly meal plan. Click on the cute lil cupcake to sign up!

aqua150

When you look at your favorite recipes, try to find new ways to make it better for you. Add more vegetables so you get fiber and stay full longer, skip butter & cream and use olive oil & skim milk instead, use fresh herbs and seasonings instead of salt or fat. It takes some practice, but I know you can do it.

There is a local restaurant in town and they have the best chicken & rice soup I’ve ever had. It’s creamy and delicious. I really wanted to recreate it at home and make it a lighter option. I added vegetables & brown wild rice. Instead of cream, I used skim milk and reduced fat cream cheese to give it a creamy texture. It totally worked! And since I made it at home, it wasn’t loaded with salt and I wasn’t tempted to dunk a huge loaf of bread into the soup. (this restaurant gives you huge portions and a loaf of bread which every order. It’s a total calorie bomb.)

Recipe Makeover Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup the Tasty Fork

I know with Christmas & New Years right around the corner, you might not be in the mood for a soup makeover recipe, but pin it and come back when you’ve started your new years resolution to get healthy. It doesn’t taste like a “diet” meal, which is important to me! 🙂

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice (I used Uncle Ben’s and included the spice packet.)
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 4 to 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups cooked skinless boneless chicken breasts, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Parsley, chopped for garnish

Directions:

  1. Cook rice according to package directions. When cooked, set aside. 
  2. In a large dutch oven, bring the heat to medium and add oil. When the oil is warm, add onion & thyme. Stir & cook for 2 minutes. Add celery, carrots, and garlic. Saute for another 5 minutes. Add potatoes and stock; bring to boil. Cover pot; reduce heat to a simmer until potatoes are tender.
  3. Combine milk and flour; stir with a wisk and make sure there are no clump. Pour milk mixture into soup and let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cream cheese. When all of the cream cheese has dissolved, add in rice & chicken. Let all of the ingredients fold into the soup and warm up. Taste and season with salt & pepper if needed. Garnish soup with parsley.
Advertisements

Smoked Almond & Rosemary Chicken Tenders

15 Nov

Chicken Tenders. Chicken Fingers. Whatever you wanna call it, I LOVE them.

I created this recipe to find a healthier option. Most chicken tenders are breaded & fried. I’ve seen recipes which are oven baked, but the crust of the tender is covered in breadcrumbs, eggs and cheese. No thanks.

I’ve been eating a lot of hickory smoked almonds lately. It’s the perfect combo of smokey & salty. Did you know if you’ve got a food processor or a good blender, you can grind nuts so they have a consistency of breadcrumbs? It’s true!

I made these chicken tenders for dinner, but I think they would be a great appetizer for a holiday party! I threw in some fresh rosemary, which is a perfect herb for the holiday season. Have some dipper options, like bbq sauce or honey mustard, and you’ll be all set!

I added about 1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs, but if you can’t find panko or wanting a gluten-free recipe, just cut them from the recipe.

Smoked Almond & Rosemary Chicken Tenders

  • 1 cup smoked almonds
  • 1/4 panko bread crumbs (optional)
  • 2 tbsp rosemary, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 8 chicken tenders
  • Cooking Spray

Directions:

  1. In a food processor (or strong blender), put in almonds. Grind until the texture is very fine, like breadcrumbs. Heat skillet to medium heat and toast panko until it’s slighty brown. In a shallow dish, combine bread crumbs, almonds and rosemary. Mix well.
  2. In a bowl, stir buttermilk, Dijon mustard, salt & pepper. Dip chicken one by one into the butter milk and then into the almond coating.  Arrange a wire rack on a large baking sheet; coat rack with cooking spray. Arrange chicken on rack; coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Garnish with rosemary leaves, if desired.

Crock Pot Meal: Sesame Chicken & Mushroom Cilantro Rice

1 Aug

I started thinking about dinner by 8am on Tuesday. Don’t judge me. I was up at 4am to get to a client by 5am. (I know, it’s early but its the life in produce.) I’m usually thinking about dinner a couple of hours after being awake, so I guess my early morning thoughts weren’t that strange after all.

I stumbled across a new blog today. I saw a posting on Facebook about a new avocado slicer. Being intrigued by any kind of kitchen gadget, I found myself on Very Culinary. After making a mental note of  “I NEED that avocado slicer,” I surfed through some of Amy’s recipes. She had so many delicious looking posts. I probably drooled a couple of times.

There was a post on Very Culinary I kept coming back to… Crock Pot Sesame Chicken.  I’m always looking to use my crock pot, it does the work for me. I had almost all of the ingredients on hand and by adding vegetables, I could stretch out this meal for a few days.

Another reason why I loved this recipe – I was done with dinner and clean up by 6:30. That NEVER happens! I love making a great a meal, but nothing is a bigger drag than having to clean up. This recipe will not turn your kitchen into a disaster zone. All I used was my crock pot, a pot to cook the rice and a cutting board. Between the time I saved my using my crock pot and 5 minute clean up, I felt like I had my whole evening ahead me. It’s a good feeling.

Ok, so if you have left overs of this meal, I think it would make an excellent wrap! There are a lot of places in Chicago which specialize in Asian Style Chicken and making wraps. You can do this, too. All you need is a large tortilla wrap, cabbage and your sesame chicken & rice left overs. It’s like a whole new meal and requires no effort. Love that!

Crock Pot Sesame Chicken & Mushroom Cilantro Rice, serves 4

(inspired by Very Culinary)

  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (I used low sodium)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 6 Tablespoons water
  • 2 carrots, sliced in rounds
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon (or more) sesame seeds
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • cilantro, for garnish
  • Mushroom & Cilantro Rice (recipe follows)

Directions:

  1. Lightly season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, put into crock pot.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic, pepper flakes, Sriracha (if using) and lime juice. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in 6 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce. Add veggies. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened.
  4. Shred chicken into bite size pieces. Then in individual bowls, place chicken pieces over cooked rice and spoon some sauce on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, chopped scallions and cilantro.

Mushroom & Cilantro Rice

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups instant brown rice
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Bring stock to a boil. Add rice, mushrooms and cilantro. When the rice mixture starts to boil again, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10 minutes or until all of the liquid has disappeared. Fluff with fork before serving.