Shrimp Laksa

Shrimp Laksa

Laksa is a spicy noodle soup that is popular in Singapore and Malaysia.  There are a gabillion different variations of it.  Some have a curry-coconut broth while others have a sour fish broth or tamarind-based broth.  Laksa can be made with seafood, chicken, beef, and/or tofu. This particular Laksa recipe is one I came up with after scanning about 20 other Laksa recipes online.  It’s not all that authentic, but it is quick, tasty, easy to prepare, and the ingredients can be found in most American grocery stores.

Shrimp Laksa

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced (or about 1 tablespoon of ginger paste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon (or to taste) sambal olek (sriracha can be substituted)
4 cups broth (vegetable, chicken, shrimp, etc…)
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 package rice vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
fish sauce, to taste
fresh cilantro
fresh lime wedges
chopped fresh chiles (optional)

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat and sauté the onion softened.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.  Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and sambal olek (or sriracha).  Add the broth and bring to a boil.
As soon as the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat and add the shrimp and coconut milk.  Let cook until shrimp is pink and cooked through, about 3 – 4 minutes.  Season to taste with the fish sauce, about 1 tablespoon.

Divide the cooked rice noodles in bowls and ladle the soup over the noodles.  Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges and chiles (optional).

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Crockpot Tomatillo Chicken

I stopped at a Hispanic market Friday night and bought a bag of minature tomatillos (Tomatillo Milpero) and some beautiful serranos. The Tomatillo Milpero were so cute. There was no noticeable taste difference compared to regular tomatillos.

I do like to cook in the crockpot in the summer to avoid heating up the kitchen. I based this recipe on my favorite Salsa Verde recipe. It’s great served with Cilantro Lime Rice and black beans.

I made enchiladas with the leftover chicken and sauce. They were fantastic too. To make the enchiladas: Spread a little of the leftover tomatillos sauce in the both of a baking dish. Shred the chicken and mix it with shredded cheese and a little of the tomatillo sauce. Divide the mixture between 8 warmed corn tortillas and place them in the baking dish. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining tomatillo sauce and bake in a 350º oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until bubbly and hot. You can sprinkle some shredded cheese on top the last 5 minutes or so of baking, if you would like.

You can complain about getting two different meals out of one.

Crockpot Tomatillo Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2.5 pounds)
2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed, cut in half (also remove the stem if still attached)
1 onion, roughly chopped
2  cloves garlic, chopped
2 – 4 whole serranos, stems removed
1 tablespoon white vinegar
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Place the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and serranos in the crockpot. Season with the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Place the chicken breasts on top of the tomatillo mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over the top of the chicken breasts.

Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high for 3 – 4 hours until the chicken is tender. Before serving, remove the chicken from the crockpot. Using a hand blender, puree the tomatillo mixture in the crockpot. Serve the tomatillo sauce over the chicken breasts.


Easy Chicken Posole

Easy Chicken Posole

This is one of my all-time favorite meals. It’s easy, delicious, comforting, and makes a big batch that ensures leftovers for future meals.

If you like your posole a little more on the brothy side, feel free to add an additional cup of water (or chicken broth) to the recipe.

Easy Chicken Posole

5 cups chicken broth
2 chicken breasts
2 poblano peppers, roasted, seeded, and chopped (or a 4 ounce can diced green chiles, drained or 3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped)
4 15.5 ounce cans white hominy, drained
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (and their juices)
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

grated cheese (I like cheddar)
shredded green cabbage
thinly sliced radishes

Bring 5 cups of chicken broth and the chicken breasts to boil in soup pot. Reduce heat slightly and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and reserve the cooking liquid in the pot. Let the chicken cool.

Add the chopped roasted poblanos (or canned green chiles or chopped jalapenos), drained hominy, diced tomatoes (and their juices), Mexican oregano, and ground cumin to the reserved chicken broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Shred the chicken while the posole is coming to a boil. Once it does, added the shredded chicken and cook until the chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes. Season the posole to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve in bowls. Let everyone top their posole with cheese, shredded cabbage, and sliced radishes.


Baked Chicken Taquitos

baked-chicken-taquitos

This is a recipe I posted on my other blog last night. I’m on a low iodine diet for 2 1/2 weeks to prepare my body for a tracer dose of radioactive iodine and a nuclear whole body scan to check for possible recurrence of thyroid cancer. I’m looking forward to a clear scan.

The thyroid is gland that absorbs iodine from one’s diet and uses it to make hormones that are used by the rest of the body. Certain types of thyroid cancers mimic healthy thyroid tissue and also absorb iodine. Because of that characteristic, certain thyroid cancers can be treated successfully with radioactive iodine. By eating a low iodine diet, the thyroid and  certain thyroid cancers are starved of iodine. When the radioactive iodine is ingested, the thyroid/thyroid cancer tissues gobble up the iodine with radiation attached. In a large, therapeutic dose the thyroid/thyroid cancer tissue is killed. In lower, tracer doses it allows for a scan that shows where the radioactive iodine was taken up. They are able to see if there is a recurrence of thyroid cancer (or regrowth of healthy thyroid tissue).

On the low iodine diet (LID), you can not eat iodized salt, sea salt, dairy, egg yolks, soy (soy oil and soy lecithin are fine), seafood, sea products (seaweed, carrageenan), certain dough conditioners, and red dye #3 or any foods that contain these ingredients. You can only have 5 – 6 ounces of meat per day. This diet is a challenge, but each time I have to do it, it gets easier. Only 12 more days to go.

When I am on LID, I eat these Baked Chicken Taquitos with LID-safe salsa and avocado “cream” (avocado blended with lime juice and kosher salt until smooth).

If you are not on LID, you can add cheese to the chicken mixture. You can also add other ingredients such as roasted chile peppers, kale, spinach, etc…

These taquitos freeze really well, but they have to be reheated in the oven (or toaster oven) to maintain crispiness. They get soft and chewy when reheated in the microwave.

Baked Chicken Taquitos

1 whole chicken
kosher salt
black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup salsa
corn tortillas
cooking spray

Season the chicken with kosher salt and black pepper. Place in the crockpot and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high for 3 -4 hour until the meat is tender and falling off the bones. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and let cool. Remove the chicken meat from the bones, discarding the skin and bones (unless you plan to make chicken stock.…in that case, reserve). Shred the chicken. You should have about 6 cups of shredded chicken meat.

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Add the ground cumin, garlic powder, and salsa to the shredded chicken. Season with more kosher salt and black pepper, if needed. Mix to combine.

Place 4 corn tortillas on a large microwave safe plate. Microwave on high for about 30 seconds to soften tortillas. Place about 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on  bottom third of the warmed corn tortilla. Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Don’t roll too tight. Place the taquito on a baking sheet. Repeat until all of the chicken mixture is used. You will have approximately 18 taquitos. Use two baking sheets if you need to. Spray the taquitos with cooking spray and place in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, turning after the 10 minutes, until crispy and golden brown. Remove the toothpick before serving.


Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili

chicken-and-white-bean-chili2

This is a nice change from a heavier, spicier beef chili. I like this dish a little more on the soupy side. If you like a thicker chili, add less chicken broth and definitely add the masa harina to help thicken. Serve the Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili with cornbread or fresh tortillas.

I think this could easily be made into a crockpot freezer meal. Add all of the ingredients except for the canned beans and masa harina to a gallon-sized freezer bag. Freeze flat. You could make several at one time and have them on hand for easy crockpot meals. The day before cooking, place the frozen bag in the refrigerator to defrost. Place the defrosted contents of the bag in the crockpot with the drained canned white beans and cook 6 – 8 hours on low or 3 – 4 hours on high. Stir in the masa harina/water slurry 30 minutes before serving.

chicken-and-white-bean-chili

Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large breasts)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, stems and seeds removed and finely chopped
1 4 ounce can roasted chopped green chiles, drained (or the equivalent of chiles you roasted yourself)
2 15.5 ounce cans white beans (Great Northern, Cannellini, Navy), drained
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons Masa Harina mixed with enough water to make a slurry

Possible toppings:
fresh cilantro, chopped
cheese, shredded (Monterrey jack, pepper jack are great options)
avocado, sliced
lime wedges
serranos, sliced

Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot. Sprinkle the cumin, coriander, paprika, Mexican oregano, cayenne, and salt over the chicken. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, jalapenos, roasted chiles, white beans, corn, and chicken broth. Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high 3 -4 hours.

30 minutes before serving, remove the chicken breasts and shred with a fork. Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot. Stir in the masa harina/water slurry and continue to cook 30 minutes until the chili is thickened.

Serve and let each person customize their toppings.


Vegetable Jambalaya with Black Eyed Peas

vegetable-jambalaya-with-black-eyed-peas

Happy New Year!!

I’m not feeling too hopeful as 2017 starts. I am trying to counteract my bleak outlook with a New Year’s tradition for good luck, eating black eyed peas. This Vegetable Jambalaya is a delicious delivery system for black eyed peas. This recipe makes a big batch so there will be plenty to share with family and friends or to have for leftovers. I don’t recommend freezing leftovers, though. Upon reheating, the rice gets really mushy.

Serve the Vegetable Jambalaya with Blacked Eyed Peas with crusty bread and a salad for a complete meal.

Vegetable Jambalaya with Black Eyed Peas

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 14.5 ounce can black-eyed peas, drained
1 15.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juices
3 1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1 bay leaf
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)

Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, and carrots.  Cook, stirring, 1 minute longer.

Add the bell peppers, black-eyed peas, tomatoes with juices, vegetable broth, dried thyme, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, and bay leaf.  Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes for flavors to blend.

Add the zucchini, turn heat back up to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil again. Stir in the rice, cover, reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes. Do not lift the lid or stir the jambalaya. After 20 minutes, check to make sure all of the liquid has cooked out. If some liquid remains, replace lid and cook a few more minutes or until all the liquid is gone. Be careful not to burn the bottom of the jambalaya. Remove bay leaf, fluff jambalaya with a fork, and mix in the chopped parsley, if using. 


Southwestern Split Pea Soup

spicy-split-pea-soup

I haven’t blogged in so long. Life has been really busy. I’m not getting into the kitchen much. Plus, it’s been so hot this summer, I don’t even want to cook to avoid heating up the house. To make things worse, the hard drive on my computer died and I lost so many pictures, including food pics for future posts. I thought I had backed up my computer this past spring, but that appears to not be the case. I lost a year and a half worth of pictures and documents. Stop what you are doing and back up your hard drive right now. I’ve been spending my extra time trying to compile my pictures from various sources and organize them. I’m not sure if I will ever finish this daunting task.

It is finally starting to cool down here in South Carolina. It was only in the low 80’s today. My hubby is out of town and my youngest son didn’t have a soccer game today so I got to spend some time cooking. I baked some brownies and then started working on this soup.

Southwestern Split Pea Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes and green chiles (Rotel)
7 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup green split peas
1 large Russet potato, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 zucchini, chopped
fresh cilantro, chopped

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and jalapeno. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the cumin, chili powder, coriander, Rotel (including the juices), dried split peas, and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the potato, corn, and zucchini. Cook until the split peas and potato are tender, about another 20 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.