A grocery store hack makes this tasty tex-mex soup a quick & easy weeknight dinner
After my doctor extolled the virtues of homemade bone broth, Chris and I decided to make a batch. The resulting broth is nutrient-rich, multi-functional–and taking up lots of valuable freezer space.
As a result, we’ve started whipping up lots of soups, trying to make a dent in our broth stash. Out of all the soup’s we’ve made so far, this chicken chili has proven the biggest hit. We couldn’t get enough , enjoying it for dinner the next night and lunch the day after that. The flavors are complex–lime juice cuts through through potent chili powder and red pepper–and it’s packed with lean, hunger-satisfying ingredients like black beans and chicken.
Best of all, it can be made quickly and easily by purchasing a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, giving you flavorful, juicy meat without the lengthy process of cooking your own bird.
This easy and healthy recipe is sure to satisfy your mid-week tex-mex craving–especially when served with a couple warmed up tortillas on the side!
1.5 Tbs olive oil
2 C finely chopped onion
1 Jalapeño pepper cut into thin disks
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
2 quarts broth (homemade bone broth) or mix 4 cups chicken broth and 4 cups beef broth
2 cups shredded chicken—use a rotisserie if you’re short on time
1-1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn
1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 C drained, diced canned tomatoes
1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro
1-3 Tbs fresh lime juice
salt and pepper
1. Heat oil over medium high heat in large soup pot dutch oven. Add onion, jalapeño, garlic and pinch of salt and cook for 4-6 minutes or until softened
2. Add the chili powder, cumin and oregano and stir until they become fragrant
3. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes to soften vegetables, stirring regularly
4. Stir in shredded chicken, corn, tomatoes and beans. Simmer, stirring until all are tender and flavors meld, 5-10 minutes
5. Stir in cilantro and 1 Tbs of lime juice. Taste and add more lime juice as needed up to 3 Tbs
6. Sprinkle with queso cheese and serve
3 simple ways to make your DIY drinks taste top shelf
Want to seem terribly debonair the next time you have guests over? Mix them a drink with the learned ease of a mixologist and the rich taste of a handcrafted cocktail.
Wanting to achieve this level of happy hour prowess myself (and wanting to save money from being spent on overpriced drinks at the local prohibition-style bar prepared by a dude with perfectly barbered facial hair and a vest), I looked up the three major mistakes amateurs bar tenders make. Read on and serve up.
1. Use high quality ice
It’s a no-brainer that better ingredients make better cocktails. You wouldn’t order a Taaka martini at a nice meal when you could have Grey Goose. The same applies to ice. It’s more than frozen water chilling your drink, it’s an ingredient, and the quality of the ice affects the flavor of the drink.
Great ice starts with clean, purified drinking water. If your tap water has a chlorine aftertaste, so will your ice and subsequently your drink. Before you pull ice out of the freezer and plop it into your drink, make sure it’s new and fresh. If left too long in the freezer, it will start to get freezer burned and take on the taste of food around it. Yuck.
Next, consider the type of ice. Cubed, cracked, shaved and blocked ice are the primary types of ice used in cocktails. When selecting which type to use in your drink, you must consider the specific drink at hand. Those made entirely or almost entirely of spirits are best mixed with shaved ice, as it’s small surface area causes it to melt faster, creating desirable dilution. For cocktails that include vermouth, juice, seltzer, water or egg, opt for ice cubes. Dilution is undesirable in this case, and cubes’ large surface areas means they take longer to melt. This type of drink also works well with the stylish ice form of the moment: ice balls. Frozen drinks, like daiquiris or coladas, do best with shaved or cracked ice as the blender can most easily break them down. Finally, for liqueurs that are served as a slurry, like chambord, fill a glass with shaved ice and pour the liqueur over.
2. know when to shake it and when to stir it
There’s a certain cache to ordering your martini “shaken, not stirred” but there are times when stirring is preferable. Cocktails comprised of distilled spirits, which include most hard liquors, or that add very light mixers only, should be stirred as it is they are gentle spirits and shaking is thought to “bruise” these liquors.
Now, for cocktails that include hardier ingredients, such as juice, simple syrup, sour mix, cream liqueurs, you can give it a good shake.
When looked at through this lens, James Bond’s preference for his gin martini “shaken, not stirred”–a rough preparation for a delicate drink–seems symbolic of the spy’s violent tendencies; he does after, all, have a license to kill and a gun under his pillow.
3. Don’t Skimp on the small flavors
This is a loaded category, but I’ll summarize the best I can. Those ingredients listed in quantities of “dash” or “hint” at the end of the recipe count much more than their serving size suggests.
A couple dashes of bitters, an alcoholic liquid made from herbs and citrus fruits, make a big impact on the overall flavor of the drink. Omitting this ingredient is like skipping the herbs in salad dressing or the salt on eggs. They help the flavors meld and add a complexity that takes a drink from dull to delicious. Likewise, when a recipe calls for a slice of fruit or fresh herbs, include them. Pull out the flavors by slapping the herbs between your palms to release the oils or muddling the ingredients at the bottom of a mixing glass.
These small ingredients create nuances in the flavor profile of the drink that make a big, impact, and take a DIY cocktail from amateur to pro level.
Chris and I are on our way home. It’s late. We’ve had a couple of glasses of wine and now we’re hungry, but too tired to cook. I refuse to get a frozen pizza from the corner store.
“Where should we get takeout from?”
“Want to just pick something up from the Grove? I could really go for a Berkeley Bowl salad….”
This scenario plays out at least once a week. Partially because we live near The Grove on Fillmore and mostly because I’m obsessed with The Grove’s Berkeley Bowl Salad. It’s so fresh and healthy that you don’t feel gross eating it before bed, but tasty enough you don’t notice there’s no cheese or meat on it (although you could easily add grilled chicken for extra protein).
I was ordering it so often that it became easier for me to figure out to make the salad at home. Luckily, the recipe is super duper easy. Take a look below to see how to create this simply delicious meal yourself!
Interpretation of The Grove’s Berkeley Bowl Salad
baby spring mix
red onions (optional, I always skip this)
Dill buttermilk dressing (I make a healthier version by mixing chopped fresh dill, chopped shallots, non-fat greek yogurt, olive oil and cider vinegar or white wine vinegar with salt and pepper to taste)
Mix ingredients together, dress lightly and serve
Ridge Vineyard was the sentimental favorite and a personal highlight of our Sonoma wine weekend!
Chris, my parents and I have been overindulging in NoCal wines and food for four days straight. I went to bed each night thinking I would never be able to palette another bite of food again–until I woke up the next morning to the mouthwatering smell of the multi-course breakfast cooking in our Healdsburg B&B (the aptly named Grape Leaf Inn), and it started all over again; a big breakfast devolving into wine tastings by noon, an irresistibly fresh farm to table lunch and a gourmet feast for dinner. While my skinny jeans are straining, I’m not complaining. It was a fantastic weekend!
On Saturday we went on an all day private tasting tour of the Wilson family wineries, which spread from Sonoma County to the edge of Mendocino, and Sunday we took an unforgettable estate tour of Ridge Vineyards at Lytton Springs. Ridge is a sentimental favorite of Chris’s; While on a family vacation at 18-years-old, his uncle gave him a glass of Ridge Geyserville. It was the first great wine he ever had, and (much to my benefit) Chris has had a taste for Ridge wines ever since.
Ridge is one of the oldest wineries in the area. It’s history begins in the 19th century and Lytton Springs, it’s vineyard in Healdsburg, has vines over a hundred years old! Perhaps most impressive is that Ridge has kept its vineyards completely organic and even produces wine in a remarkable eco-friendly building made from straw. Yes, really! Check out the details here.
The tour was fantastic; we started out golf carting through the fields, studying the grapes (did you know Zinfandel leaves are fuzzy?) and pausing to try some chardonnay amongst the vines. We then headed inside to see where the grapes are fermented and the wine barreled and mixed. Finally, we had a grand tasting where we compared five exceptional Ridge wines (including a 2007 Geyserville!) side by side.
We returned home yesterday carrying a few extra pounds, loads of appreciation for vintners and a couple cases of wine. And, being the dorks we are, we spend last night recuperating with a bottle of California wine and the movie Bottle Shock.
What’s better than a popsicle on a hot day? A boozsicle!
Alright ladies and gents, it took several attempts to create a recipe for Fourth of July alcohol popsicles that wouldn’t fall apart, tasted good and were worth your time to make this holiday, but I finally found it. Here’s the red white and blue independence day alcohol popsicle recipe you’ve been waiting for!
Note: these icy suckers are the Bruce Li of popsicles; they’re small in stature but pack a powerful punch. Feel free to decrease the amount of alcohol in each layer–but don’t add more or it won’t freeze!
Check out the recipe below to find out how to get your Independence Day buzz on….
Red White and Boozsicle Recipe
White grape juice
Cream of coconut
Wooden popsicle sticks
1. In a food processor or blender, mix about 1.5 cups frozen strawberries with 1.5 shot clear rum, 1 tsp sugar and 2 tablespoon water. Fill dixie cups 1/3 full with mixture and leave in freezer for 30 minutes.
2. Insert popsicle stick into center of semi-frozen first layer before adding second layer.
3. Mix 3 parts cream of coconut with 3 parts water and 1 part clear rum. Use a shot glass to measure out parts. Pour atop atop red strawberry layer (leaving room for the final layer) and put back in freezer for 30 minutes.
4. Mix 1 part blue curacao to 2 parts white grape juice. Put in freezer for 30 minutes or until entire popsicle is frozen.
5. Remove from freeze, cut and peel away dixie cups to reveal boozsicles and enjoy immediately!
Healthy dinner with Caribbean flavor and a touch of heat
This is one of those recipes I make so often that I don’t even need to look at the recipe anymore! I love these spicy summer pork chops because the flavors (allspice, mango, fresh mint, red pepper) are rich and satisfying, but the dish is low cal and sits light in my stomach, leaving me satisfied–not stuffed.
Pork can take a lot of seasoning, so I really coat it in the spice mixture. Then, I get the cast iron going super hot so it sears the outside of the pork chop while holding in all the moisturize and flavor. The easiest place to go wrong is by overcooking the meat–nothing’s worth than tough, dry pork chops; four minutes on each side over high med-high to high heat should be sufficient. If you cut into them to find they’re not done, you can always toss them back on, but once they’re overcooked, you’re stuck with them…
If there’s excess fat on the chops, I’ll cut it off ahead of time, but genuinely boneless pork chops are lean. For a carb, I like to do basmati rice, as it helps balance out some of the heat in the mango mint salsa.
Spiced Pork Chops with Mango Mint Salsa
Adapted from April 2007 Cooking Light recipe by Nancy Hughes seen here
Makes 2 pork chops and approx. 2 cups salsa
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2 boneless pork chops
1.5 cups mango peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1. mix first three ingredients in a small bowl and rub evenly over pork
2. Heat a skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add pork, cooking about 4 minutes on each side or until it is done
3. make salsa by mixing mango, mint, lemon rind, lemon juice and red pepper in bowl.
4. Pour salsa atop pork and serve