Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

I really like this flavorful, brothy soup. The gnocchi, Italian dumplings, and chicken make this soup more substantial. You can find packages of pre-made gnocchi by the dried pasta in the grocery store.

This soup is pretty quick to fix, but you can save time by using part of a rotisserie chicken (just add at the same time as the gnocchi) or leftover cooked chicken in the soup.

Gnocchi

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken broth
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with juices
1 16 oz. package of potato gnocchi
2 cups fresh baby spinach
5 leaves fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute more. Add the chicken broth, chicken pieces, and diced tomatoes and their juices. Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. When the soup comes to a boil, add the gnocchi. Cook until the gnocchi rises to the top, about 3 – 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and fresh basil and take the soup off the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. Grated Parmesan cheese can be sprinkled on top just before eating, if desired.


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.


Chicken Chop Suey

chicken-chop-suey

I don’t get take-out from Chinese restaurants often, but when I do, Chop Suey is one of my favorite menu items to order. Chop Suey usually consists of shredded veggies and a protein in a lighter sauce. It’s actually easy enough to make at home.

Chicken Chop Suey

2 handfuls of dried shiitake mushrooms (about 6 large or 12 small)

Sauce ingredients:
1/2 cup chicken broth
6 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins, sliced
1 small sweet onion, halved and thinly slivered
1/4 head green cabbage (Napa is great too), thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 8 oz can bamboo shoots, drained and julienned

Hot rice, to serve

Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water until rehydrated, about 20 minutes. Remove stems and thinly slice. Throw out the soaking liquid.

Mix together sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok (or large skillet) over high heat. Add the sliced chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink. Empty into a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the wok with a paper towel. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok place back over high heat. Add the onion, cabbage, carrots, and celery and stir fry until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the bamboo shoots, reserved sliced shiitake mushrooms, and reserved chicken. Cook a few minutes longer. Add the sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened and the chop suey is heated through.

Serve with hot rice.


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.


Kimchi and Chicken Stew

kimchi-and-chicken-stew

I like making Kimchi, but I usually make too much. Making a stew with the remaining Kimchi is a great way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. I have made a Kimchi Stew using tofu, but I like this one made with chicken more. It’s even better the next day.

You will have to go to an Asian market (or Korean market) to find the Gochujang and Gochugaru. I’ve never seen these items in a regular grocery store. If you don’t want to make your own Kimchi, you can get it at the Asian market too. Get the fish sauce (I like Three Crabs brand) and the Chinese cooking wine there as well. These ingredients are essentials for many Korean or Asian recipes. Buy them and challenge yourself to use them.

Kimchi and Chicken Stew

5 dehydrated shiitake mushrooms
1 small onion, thinly slivered
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 cups your favorite kimchi
1 tablespoon Gochujang (Korean fermented hot pepper paste)
1 tablespoon Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
salt and black pepper, to taste

Cooked rice, hot

Place the shiitake mushrooms in a bowl. Add enough hot water to cover. Soak until the mushrooms are soft, about 20 – 30 minutes. Remove the stems from the rehydrated mushrooms and slice thinly.

Heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook a couple more minutes, until fragrant.  Add the kimchi, Gochujang, Gochugaru, fish sauce, Chinese cooking wine, chicken broth, raw chicken, and the sliced rehydrated shiitake mushrooms. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the stew to a slight boil. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with hot rice.


Chicken with Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

Chicken with Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

One of the blueberry bushes in my yard is heavy with blueberries right now. Being a fan of savory fruit sauces, I used some of the fresh berries to make this dish for dinner tonight. It was really, really good. Served alongside some roasted fingerling potatoes, this was a meal worthy of a special occasion.

Fresh Blueberries sm

This recipe makes enough sauce for four generous servings. If you are cooking 2 chicken breasts, only use half of the sauce and save the remainder for another time. I think it would be excellent on salmon.

Chicken with Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

2 – 4 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion (or favorite sweet onion)
1 cup fresh blueberries (frozen should be a fine too)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey (you may want to add an additional tablespoon of honey if your blueberries are not very sweet – taste the sauce and adjust as necessary)
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add to the skillet. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides. Place the seared breasts in a baking dish and place in the oven.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet the chicken was seared in (no need to clean it out). When the butter is melted, add the finely chopped onion. Cook, stirring, until softened and starting to caramelize. Add the blueberries and cook for 1 minute. Add the balsamic vinegar and honey. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Keep warm.

Spoon some of the sauce over the chicken breasts and return them to the oven until cooked through, about 10 more minutes.

Serves 2 – 4.


Crockpot Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

Crockpot Tom Kha Gai

This is one of my favorite soups. It’s so flavorful. Traditionally, it is not done in the crockpot, but there is no reason why it can’t be. Cooking it in the crockpot is not only easy, but it allows for the flavors to meld as it cooks over several hours. It turns out fantastic! To make it a little more substantial, sometimes we will eat this soup over some cooked rice vermicelli noodles.

This recipe contains several ingredients that may not be easy to find in a regular grocery store. Use this recipe as an excuse to visit an Asian market. I cook so much Thai food that I tend to keep these ingredients on hand.

Galangal: I have rarely been able to find fresh galangal, but I have been able to find it frozen or dried at Asian markets. If you use dried galangal, don’t mince it, instead throw a handful of slices into the soup. Remove the galangal slices (as you would a bay leaf) before serving. If you are unable to get galangal, you may substitute ginger instead.

Galangal

Lemongrass: I am able to find lemongrass at my local Asian market. I will buy a bunch and clean it up and freeze it to use later. I have also seen a lemongrass paste in the produce section of my Publix. I would think 1 tablespoon of the paste could be used instead of minced lemongrass. If you can’t find lemongrass, you can leave it out.

Kaffir Lime Leaves:  These are actually kind of hard to find in any store. This may seem strange, but I buy them on ebay, usually from someone in California that has a kaffir lime tree growing in their yard. They go out and pick the leaves and mail them. The leaves ship well and don’t need to be refrigerated right after picking. Once I get my kaffir lime leaves, I freeze them. They keep forever in the freezer. Lime zest can be substituted for kaffir lime leaves. The flavor isn’t exactly the same, but it is similar.

Sambal Olek:  They actually sell this at Target in the ethnic food section. It is usually right next to the sriracha.

Crockpot Tom Kha Gai

Crockpot Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 ounces mushrooms, washed and thickly sliced
5 cups chicken broth
1 13.5 (approximately) ounce can coconut milk
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece galangal, minced (substitute ginger if you can’t find galangal)
1/2 stalk lemongrass, finely minced
3 kaffir lime leaves, rib removed and julienned (substitute zest of 1 lime)
1 teaspoon sambal olek (or sriracha)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon Thai basil, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine all the ingredients except the Thai basil and fresh cilantro in the crockpot. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. Right before serving, remove the chicken and shred with two forks. Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot along with the Thai basil and fresh cilantro. Serve with additional chopped fresh cilantro.