Tag Archives: lime juice

Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Sauce on Grilled Chicken

28 Jul
Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Sauce on Grilled Chicken

Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Sauce on Grilled Chicken

I am astounded I am about to make my FOURTH trip over the Santiam (mountain) Pass in Oregon tomorrow for the month of July. Let’s see, I’ve been over it to do a grueling hike to Blue Pool with friends from Ohio just after the 4th of July.

Blue Pool Oregon Hike

Blue Pool Oregon Hike

I’ve visiting friends (solo) at the coast in Yachats just after that and did another grueling hike to the top of Cape Perpetua. It was much shorter than Blue Pool but twice as steep to get up it! Luckily it was a cool and foggy-ish day so I didn’t die of heat stroke hiking up it.

Me and Friend at top of Cape Perpetua

Me and Friend at top of Cape Perpetua

This past weekend we spent four days at our river property on the Siletz River at the coast and got another base set for a new deck from our dock that washed it away last year in the floods.

New Base for Deck from Dock that Pushed it out Last Year in Floods

New Base for Deck from Dock that Pushed it out Last Year in Floods

And tomorrow our family leaves for a Portland family reunion at Clear Lake! My uncle is turning 89 and my parents have also flown up from Texas so my dad (and mom) can join his brother and extended family and us for a weekend of fun. This is a photo from the reunion two years ago but we did go last year too.

Clear Lake, Oregon

Clear Lake, Oregon

Whew! So what does that have to do with food and recipes? Well, the month of July has been kind of a cheater month for me. I made this dish on a whim a couple of weeks ago on the grill when I discovered I had bought a pound of tomatillos and forgot about them in the fridge. It was hot as heck out so I whipped up an impromptu batch of tomatillo sauce to pour over grilled, marinated chicken. Yummy all the way around!

My “recipe” is just a guideline, as I didn’t even write any notes down. I just kind of cobbled it all together and served it with beans and tortillas chips. That’s just how some dinners go!

Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Sauce on Grilled Chicken

2 small chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Salt or Mrs. Dash, and ground pepper, to taste
1 pound fresh tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 large clove garlic
1 1/2 large shallot (you can sub 1/2 small onion)
More oil and a little minced garlic for veggies
1/2 cup homemade or low sodium chicken stock or broth
Shredded cheese of choice

Marinate the chicken in oil, garlic, lime juice, and spices to taste for a half hour or more. Toss the tomatillos, minced garlic and shallot in a little oil then place on a pre-heated grill set to high. (The shallot kind of fell apart hence all the pieces)

Grilling the Tomatillos, Shallots, and Garlic

Grilling the Tomatillos, Shallots, and Garlic

Grill and turn until charred.

Roasted Tomatillos, Shallots, and Garlic

Roasted Tomatillos, Shallots, and Garlic

Remove, place in blender with 1/2 or so cup of chicken stock and blitz until blended.

Ready to Blitz the Roasted Veggies and Chicken Stock

Ready to Blitz the Roasted Veggies and Chicken Stock

Pour into a cast iron skillet and simmer for about 15 minutes until reduced to desired consistency. (I put the skillet on the propane grill burner but you can do this inside too.) Stir occasionally.

Tomatillo Sauce Finishing on Grill

Tomatillo Sauce Finishing on Grill

Meanwhile, grill marinated chicken for about 5 minutes per side.

Burning Some Chicken

Burning Some Chicken

In the last few minutes, toss some shredded cheese on the chicken until melted.

Melting Da' Cheese

Melting Da’ Cheese

Remove chicken from grill, let rest under foil for a few minutes, then serve with roasted tomatillo sauce, and beans and tortilla chips, if desired.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

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Mexican-Style Beef with Cabbage Soup

14 Feb
Mexican-Style Beef and Cabbage Soup

Mexican-Style Beef and Cabbage Soup

I have this awesome foodie friend named Adam. Adam J. Holland is his name and he cooks some crazy good food and shares it with the world on his website The Unorthodox Epicure. Not only is he talented food-wise, he is also a talented and witty writer. Do pop over to his blog at some point and check him out.

Now, on to this fabulous soup that I “stole” from Adam. His version of this recipe is not a soup, but since I am a soup fanatic I just had to transform it into one. I added a few other tweaks, but the base recipe is fabulous on its own. My family LOVED this soup, and the hubs declared it a soup that I MUST make again! How’s that for a complement? He tends to be wary whenever I spring something “different” on him. I am very happy to have a new soup to add into the rotation! After I took my photos my husband decided to crush up some tortilla chips and add it to the soup. It was a GREAT idea! It complemented the soup very nicely.

OH! And to those of you who celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, I wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day filled with Love and Food! ❤

Mexican-Style Beef with Cabbage Soup
Adapted from Mexican-Style Beef with Cabbage at The Unorthodox Epicure

2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 jalapeño, chopped (I used my dehydrated jalapeños)
1/2 cup tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon chile powder (I used Ancho)
Lots of ground black pepper and a wee bit of salt, to taste
3 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
2 cups shredded cabbage or chopped (I used my Ninja processor)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
Tortilla chips, for garnish (optional)

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.

Making the Soup Base

Making the Soup Base

Add the garlic, jalapeño, tomatoes, tomato paste, chile powder, and ground black pepper and salt. Stir and cook for about 7 more minutes.

Browning the Ground Beef

Browning the Ground Beef

Add the ground beef to the pot, breaking it up with your spatula. Cook until the beef is no longer pink.

Beef and Cabbage Soup Ready for Stirring and Simmering

Beef and Cabbage Soup Ready for Stirring and Simmering

Add the beef stock, cabbage, cilantro, and lime juice. Bring up to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes more.  Serve in bowls and garnish with tortilla chips (optional).

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Wildcard Contest Winner ~ Toasty Roasted Chickpeas, Cajun Style

4 Feb
Wildcard Winner Toasty Roasted Chickpeas, Cajun Style

Wildcard Winner Toasty Roasted Chickpeas, Cajun Style

What better way to lead into the Mardis Gras celebrations than with a surprise Wildcard Contest Winner Cajun recipe over at Food52 website??? I’ve never been a finalist and contest winner with prizes, but at least with a Wildcard Win you get braggin’ rights, yes? I actually got awarded this three days ago, but have been so busy only just found out today. YAY! (With a wildcard win you get a nice note from the editors of the website on the recipe why they picked it.) 🙂

Linky to the recipe here ———–>  Cajun Roasted Chickpeas

We’ll see you again this weekend with a new recipe!

Homemade Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

27 Aug
Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

Serranos and Peppers

Serranos, Jalapeno, and Pasilla Peppers

I am reblogging this recipe from last summer for you. I made another batch of this last weekend. This year, though, I had some beautiful heirloom tomatoes and my very own Serrano peppers that I grew to make it with! My husband said I didn’t make it spicy enough last year so I tossed in three Serranos this year instead of two, and one of them was the hotter fiery red and another one was already turning red. I also substituted the spicier Pasilla peppers instead of using Anaheim. He had no complaints this year. I hope you enjoy!

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

It was so much fun to get back into canning again! I have not canned anything in several years, but this year we have a bumper crop from my husband’s Hanging Tomato Plant Experiment. He got this crazy idea to plant a gazillion tomato seedlings (OK about 70) in hanging flower pot baskets upside-down, then sell them.

Hanging Tomato Plants on Side of House

Hanging Tomato Plants on Side of House

Well, the idea worked, except he didn’t sell nearly enough of them. We have about 50 of them left, all hooked up to this crazy hanging basket contraption on two sides of our house, with an automated watering system he devised, which thank goodness works because we do go out of town time to time.

Hanging Tomato Plants on Deck

Hanging Tomato Plants on Deck

That being said, I harvested a bunch of our ripe beefsteak tomatoes for this canning project. I looked up a bunch of recipes online, and settled on one that fit my taste but then of course adapted it. I barely eeked out 5 full pint jars of this, and was hoping for some partially leftover to snack on the day I made it fresh, but that will have to wait, as I wanted full jars. However, my taste test passed with flying colors! If you have an abundance of tomatoes this year from your crop, you can make some too! Here is what I did:

Basket of Ripe Tomatoes

Basket of Ripe Tomatoes

Homemade Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa
Adapted from Simply Recipes

5 to 6 pounds fresh tomatoes (I used 5 1/2)
3 large Anaheim peppers
2 large Serrano peppers
1 large Jalapeño pepper
1 large onion (I used sweet Walla-Walla), diced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (this took about 2 largish limes)
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped, including stems (fresh from my herb garden!)
2 teaspoons dried, crushed, Mexican Oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground Sea Salt
1 teaspoon sugar

OK now you have the ingredients list.  Next is the prep for the canning process, which is the one of the longest parts. Here is the special equipment stuff you need:

Canning Equipment:

5 or 6 pint canning jars (I used 5 but prepped 6 of them just in case)
Large stockpot for for canning (mine is 15-quart or so)
Flat steamer rack to fit pot (so cans don’t touch glass on metal directly, which can crack them)
Canning tongs for adding and removing jars from boiling water (you can do without but be careful!)

First I started prepping the jars and lids. Fill your stockpot about three-quarters of the way full with water, then put on high heat to boil. Meanwhile, go pick those ‘maters! Since it takes a long while for that much water to boil, now you can inspect your just-picked tomatoes for defects, then core and score them. Core the tomatoes and stems, then cut/slice off any bad spots. Score them lightly through the skin in half to make peeling easier. Now boil the jars for at least 10 minutes. At that point, go ahead and turn off the heat and let them sit in the hot water for now.

Anaheim, Serrano, and Jalapeno Peppers

Anaheim, Serrano, and Jalapeno Peppers

This next job I assigned to by dear husband Paul, who has been towing the line for me in the cooking category recently with my workload. Lightly grease a hot grill with oil, then roast the peppers on all sides until blackened and charred all over. Put them in a paper or plastic bag for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, (again) roast those tomatoes on broil in your oven on a large rimmed cookie sheet for about 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. I would have had hubby do them on the grill with the peppers but didn’t want to overwhelm him with the task at hand. I think it worked out better that way as I needed the juice from the tomatoes.

Fire-Roasted Tomatoes

Fire-Roasted Tomatoes

Once the peppers and tomatoes have cooled enough to handle, peel the skins off the peppers (with latex gloves!) then peel the skins from the  tomatoes. Dice both of them up now (you might need to reserve the juices from tomatoes when chopping, as you need a minimum of 7 cups of diced tomatoes and their liquid to balance the acidity) and add to a very large saucepan or skillet with all the rest of the ingredients. ( p.s. do not use an aluminum pot, as it can leach the aluminum from the acid from the tomatoes.) Bring all of this up to a good boil, then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes.

While all that is simmering, place the lids and caps in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Oh yeah, put a teakettle of water on to boil about 10 minutes ago. Oops! I forgot that too. I hope you read this all the way through before attempting.

Pot of Simmering Salsa

Pot of Simmering Salsa

After simmering, place half the salsa in a blender and puree, then add it back to the pot. If you like chunkier salsa , then you don’t have to do this. I decided on half and half. The original recipe recommends tasting the salsa at this point to either add  more sugar if too bitter or more vinegar if too sweet, but I found this to be the perfect balance!

Now remove the jars one at a time from the canning pot and ladle the salsa into the jars, leaving  a half-inch or more head space from the lid. Wipe the rim of the jars to remove any spilled salsa on them (which is easy to do!).  Tighten the lids only hand tight, and do not over-tighten them. Place all the jars back into the canning pot still filled with hot water, then bring up to a roiling boil. Big boil OK? Not just a few bubbles.  Process at a full boil for 15 minutes for 0-1000 ft. altitude, 20 minutes for 1000- 6,000 ft. altitude, and 25 minutes above that. I fell into the second category in case you are interested.

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

At your recommended boiling mark, turn off the heat and let sit five minutes.  Remove the jars from the pot, then place them on some thick towels to cool down. The lids will “POP” when they have cooled when creating the suction for the canning process. I did not get to hear this phenomenon this time as I had to go upstairs to my home office to work for the remainder of the day.

So there it is! This took me a little under four hours from start to finish. Yes, it’s a half-day project, but it was completely satisfying to turn our homegrown tomatoes into some delicious salsa for future snacks and meals.

Homemade Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

11 Sep
Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

It was so much fun to get back into canning again! I have not canned anything in several years, but this year we have a bumper crop from my husband’s Hanging Tomato Plant Experiment. He got this crazy idea to plant a gazillion tomato seedlings (OK about 70) in hanging flower pot baskets upside-down, then sell them.

Hanging Tomato Plants on Side of House

Hanging Tomato Plants on Side of House

Well, the idea worked, except he didn’t sell nearly enough of them. We have about 50 of them left, all hooked up to this crazy hanging basket contraption on two sides of our house, with an automated watering system he devised, which thank goodness works because we do go out of town time to time.

Hanging Tomato Plants on Deck

Hanging Tomato Plants on Deck

That being said, I harvested a bunch of our ripe beefsteak tomatoes for this canning project. I looked up a bunch of recipes online, and settled on one that fit my taste but then of course adapted it. I barely eeked out 5 full pint jars of this, and was hoping for some partially leftover to snack on the day I made it fresh, but that will have to wait, as I wanted full jars. However, my taste test passed with flying colors! If you have an abundance of tomatoes this year from your crop, you can make some too! Here is what I did:

Basket of Ripe Tomatoes

Basket of Ripe Tomatoes

Homemade Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa
Adapted from Simply Recipes

5 to 6 pounds fresh tomatoes (I used 5 1/2)
3 large Anaheim peppers
2 large Serrano peppers
1 large Jalapeño pepper
1 large onion (I used sweet Walla-Walla), diced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (this took about 2 largish limes)
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped, including stems (fresh from my herb garden!)
2 teaspoons dried, crushed, Mexican Oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground Sea Salt
1 teaspoon sugar

OK now you have the ingredients list.  Next is the prep for the canning process, which is the one of the longest parts. Here is the special equipment stuff you need:

Canning Equipment:

5 or 6 pint canning jars (I used 5 but prepped 6 of them just in case)
Large stockpot for for canning (mine is 15-quart or so)
Flat steamer rack to fit pot (so cans don’t touch glass on metal directly, which can crack them)
Canning tongs for adding and removing jars from boiling water (you can do without but be careful!)

First I started prepping the jars and lids. Fill your stockpot about three-quarters of the way full with water, then put on high heat to boil. Meanwhile, go pick those ‘maters! Since it takes a long while for that much water to boil, now you can inspect your just-picked tomatoes for defects, then core and score them. Core the tomatoes and stems, then cut/slice off any bad spots. Score them lightly through the skin in half to make peeling easier. Now boil the jars for at least 10 minutes. At that point, go ahead and turn off the heat and let them sit in the hot water for now.

Anaheim, Serrano, and Jalapeno Peppers

Anaheim, Serrano, and Jalapeno Peppers

This next job I assigned to by dear husband Paul, who has been towing the line for me in the cooking category recently with my workload. Lightly grease a hot grill with oil, then roast the peppers on all sides until blackened and charred all over. Put them in a paper or plastic bag for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, (again) roast those tomatoes on broil in your oven on a large rimmed cookie sheet for about 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. I would have had hubby do them on the grill with the peppers but didn’t want to overwhelm him with the task at hand. I think it worked out better that way as I needed the juice from the tomatoes.

Fire-Roasted Tomatoes

Fire-Roasted Tomatoes

Once the peppers and tomatoes have cooled enough to handle, peel the skins off the peppers (with latex gloves!) then peel the skins from the  tomatoes. Dice both of them up now (you might need to reserve the juices from tomatoes when chopping, as you need a minimum of 7 cups of diced tomatoes and their liquid to balance the acidity) and add to a very large saucepan or skillet with all the rest of the ingredients. ( p.s. do not use an aluminum pot, as it can leach the aluminum from the acid from the tomatoes.) Bring all of this up to a good boil, then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes.

While all that is simmering, place the lids and caps in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Oh yeah, put a teakettle of water on to boil about 10 minutes ago. Oops! I forgot that too. I hope you read this all the way through before attempting.

Pot of Simmering Salsa

Pot of Simmering Salsa

After simmering, place half the salsa in a blender and puree, then add it back to the pot. If you like chunkier salsa , then you don’t have to do this. I decided on half and half. The original recipe recommends tasting the salsa at this point to either add  more sugar if too bitter or more vinegar if too sweet, but I found this to be the perfect balance!

Now remove the jars one at a time from the canning pot and ladle the salsa into the jars, leaving  a half-inch or more head space from the lid. Wipe the rim of the jars to remove any spilled salsa on them (which is easy to do!).  Tighten the lids only hand tight, and do not over-tighten them. Place all the jars back into the canning pot still filled with hot water, then bring up to a roiling boil. Big boil OK? Not just a few bubbles.  Process at a full boil for 15 minutes for 0-1000 ft. altitude, 20 minutes for 1000- 6,000 ft. altitude, and 25 minutes above that. I fell into the second category in case you are interested.

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

At your recommended boiling mark, turn off the heat and let sit five minutes.  Remove the jars from the pot, then place them on some thick towels to cool down. The lids will “POP” when they have cooled when creating the suction for the canning process. I did not get to hear this phenomenon this time as I had to go upstairs to my home office to work for the remainder of the day.

So there it is! This took me a little under four hours from start to finish. Yes, it’s a half-day project, but it was completely satisfying to turn our homegrown tomatoes into some delicious salsa for future snacks and meals.

Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes

4 Sep
Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes

Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes

This corn dish is a bright and tasty accompaniment to any barbecue, and was served Labor Day with huge slabs of baby back ribs my mom grilled and cooked. I had my parents and uncle from out of town over for the holiday, and the entire meal was cooked by all. I did the corn and cole slaw, my mom did the ribs, and my husband whipped up a huge batch of his potato salad. Even my daughter pitched in and made chocolate-covered banana slices for dessert. My father and uncle pitched in by helping us to eat this huge quantity of food.

The original recipe didn’t have tomatoes, but with my cherry tomato plants exploding with ripe red balls of sweetness, it was a no-brainer for me to chop some up and add them in. I used some delicious fresh white sweet corn on the cob, and the spiciness of the chiles combined with the tartness of the lime and the sweetness of the corn and tomato made this side dish shine! I hope you think so too.

Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes

Adapted from Southwest Corn Skillet with Chili and Lime from Barefeet in the Kitchen

1 tablespoon butter
4 ears of fresh sweet corn, kernels removed from the cob
Lots of ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon New Mexico red chile powder
3 strips of bacon, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered
Juice of 1/2 lime

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the rest of the ingredients except the tomatoes and lime juice and stir to heat through, about five minutes. Add the tomatoes and lime juice and toss to combine. Remove from skillet and serve immediately with your meal. Easy and delicious!

Note: You can omit the bacon if you want. But hey, we had bacon left from the potato salad my husband made, so….what the heck.

Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes

Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes

Egg Drop Noodle Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach

13 Apr
Egg Drop Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach

Egg Drop Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach

Here’s a quick and easy soup I made for lunch the other day, but it’s filling enough for a meatless main and packed with protein and nutrients. I actually had it in mind to  make a turkey noodle soup with the leftover turkey breast I had hanging around in the fridge, but at the last minute I switched it out with eggs because, well, that’s what I do sometimes. After I ladled this into a bowl and took all my photos, I took a sip and frowned, thinking, “something is missing.” DOH! I forgot the lime juice and cilantro. I poured my bowl back into the pot, squeezed in the lime, and chopped up some fresh cilantro, and mixed that in. There, much better.

But I didn’t retake the photos, because I was on lunch break and had to eat and get back to work. And that brings me to a very important lesson in cooking. Always taste test throughout the preparation, so you can adjust seasonings accordingly or “notice” the lack of an ingredient — or two. Yes, I was rushed for time, but it was no excuse. But it all turned out good in the end. This made enough for four servings. The next day, I packed the leftovers for lunch and added some shredded turkey breast. Power lunch!

Egg Drop Soup with Spinach and Mushrooms

Egg Drop Soup with Spinach and Mushrooms

Egg Drop Noodle Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach

1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/8 teaspoon dried, ground ginger (or 2 teaspoons fresh, diced)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 green onions, chopped, white and green parts divided
4 cups homemade or low sodium chicken or turkey broth
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1/2-inch round of angel hair pasta, broken in half
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Juice of one small lime, plus wedges for serving
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro, plus more for serving
4 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped

In a soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat, add the oils then saute the mushrooms, ginger, garlic, and white onion parts until the mushrooms have released their liquid, about five minutes.  Pour in the chicken or turkey broth, add the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, and bring up to a boil. Add the angel hair pasta, and bring to a low boil and simmer until pasta is tender, about five more minutes. Slowly stream in the eggs, breaking up with a fork and stirring to make egg threads. Add the chopped spinach by handfuls, pushing down into the liquid and stir until wilted. Squeeze in the lime juice, then add the chopped cilantro. Simmer until heated through. Ladle into bowls and garnish with green onion, cilantro, and a lime wedge.

Kale Chip Round Up ~ Prepared Five Ways!

10 Apr
Kale Roasting in Oven

Kale Roasting in Oven ~ for some reason I really wanted to caption this “Dancing Kale.” Don’t ask me why. I just thought it was so pretty with the reflections.

This was a fun little project I set out on the other day. I had a huge bunch of kale, and decided to make these kale chips everyone and their brother has been blogging about. But since I’d never made these before and there were so many variations, I decided to do several little batches in all different flavors. That way if I burnt the kale, or I didn’t like the taste of the seasonings I chose, I wouldn’t be throwing out an entire bunch.

My very first batch was spent hovering in front of the oven with the light on, timing it precisely, and sweating it out that I would burn them. Since all ovens cook so differently, I went on the cautious side from the various timings I’d seen on this. I can tell you now that my oven crisps these babies up perfectly at 5 minutes per side, providing you didn’t add any liquid type seasoning, such as lime juice. Those batches took 2 minutes more to dry out the extra liquid.

It was fun to photograph them with all their seasonings. The hardest part was finding enough little bowls for them. I even resorted to a vintage Melamine avocado green dish that survived all my moves and clean-outs that I somehow acquired over the years. It’s possible it was given to me when my mom got rid of all her Melamine dishware and sent me off to college with them. I have two of those little bowls left, I guess they are considered “chic” now, huh?

I’ll give you my rating and my daughter’s rating for these after each recipe and photo. I could only get my husband to taste my first batch, and he said “well that’s interesting” and opted out of tasting all the other flavors.  I suppose I can’t count on these to replace his love for potato chips. Ah well.

Rinsed, Raw Kale

Rinsed, Raw Kale

Kale Chips Method

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Tear off  all the kale from the rigid middle stem, then wash thoroughly and drain. Pat dry real well with paper towels to absorb any moisture left. Add whatever amount you want to bake to a bowl. Spray the kale with olive oil, then rub it in thoroughly with your hands all over.  Next add whatever ever seasonings called for “to taste” in the recipe and distribute evenly. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and space the kale evenly apart so it’s not crowded. Since I did such small batches, that was not an issue. Bake for 5  minutes, then turn kale over and bake 5 minutes more, or until dried and crispy.

I had seen some websites say it can take up to 10 minutes per side, but not in my case. I’m wondering if it also has to do with how well you pat them dry, as my oven tends to cook cooler than most. I was also warned on several websites that these burn easily and fast, so monitor your oven for your first batch to get the timing down.

Parmesan Cheese Kale Chips

Parmesan Cheese Kale Chips

Parmesan Kale Chips

Light dusting of sea salt
Shredded Parmesan cheese (add after the first 5 minutes)

After taste testing all the batches, this was my Numero Uno pick! It had the perfect balance of crunchy/cheesy/saltiness. Next time I will add twice the Parmesan. Some of the cheese came out nice and brown, and somehow those ended up at the bottom of the bowl and didn’t make the photo. Those were my faves. This came in third for my daughter.

Cajun Kale Chips

Cajun Kale Chips

Cajun Kale Chips

Store-bought Cajun seasoning (I used Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning)

This one came in dead last for both of us. I have my suspicions I was over-zealous with the seasoning. Zatarain’s is pretty spicy and salty, and it was just overbearing. If you try the Cajun route, use sparingly! I might try them again sometime, with about half the seasoning, and perhaps some lime juice or cheese to mellow it out.

Lime and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes Kale Chips

Lime and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes Kale Chips

Lime and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes Kale Chips

Fresh squeezed lime juice (this took a quarter lime for my teeny batch)
Crushed red pepper flakes (some of them fell off, so sprinkled more on after turning them)

And this one was came in First Place for my daughter! It was second for me. I like me some spicy, and the lime really balanced it out. I did have to bake a little longer to get them crisp because of the lime juice.

Garlic and Sweet Hungarian Paprika Kale Chips

Garlic and Sweet Hungarian Paprika Kale Chips

Garlic and Sweet Hungarian Paprika Kale Chips

Minced garlic from a jar, with a little of the juice
Sweet Hungarian Paprika

This was my third place pick. My daughter said I should not make them again, but that they weren’t as bad as the Cajun ones, which made them fourth place for her. I think I should have added a lot more minced garlic than I did, because the pieces with the most roasted garlic had a really nice flavor. It seemed to be missing something, not sure what. Maybe a little salt? Or maybe my tastebuds were burning out at this point, not sure!

Balsamic Vinegar and Sea Salt Kale Chips

Balsamic Vinegar and Sea Salt Kale Chips

Balsamic Vinegar and Sea Salt Kale Chips

Balsamic Vinegar
Sea Salt

My daughter chose this as her second place pick, and this ended up being my fourth. Before she took a bite, she said, “You know mom, vinegar can be real iffy. This could be either really good or really bad.” She took a bite, and her eyes lit up. “I really like these!” So this goes to show that taste buds can vary as much as the spices. Once again, since you are adding a liquid, bump up the cook time for a couple of minutes.

So there you have it,  my Kale Chip Round-Up. It was a lot of fun, and this only took me just over an hour to achieve. If you make a single batch, you are done in no time! Now we have our winners and losers, and I can confidently make a few variations in the future for a healthy, low-fat, crispy snack. By the way, being the internet sleuth that I can be, I tried to find the origins of this recipe. Although I never came across a definitive source, I can say these “chips” have been in the published realm (online or paper) since the mid- to late-90s. It appears they first started as a recipe in the food dehydrator industry, then evolved to the oven. Either way, they are a yummy snack. I plan on making a nice big batch of the Parmesan ones for myself next time around.

Soothing Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

26 Jan
Soothing Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Soothing Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Mom!? We’re having soup AGAIN??!! You’ve made that like five times already the past week! (Not true.) OK, OK, my soup kick has gotten out of hand. But I’m in comfort mode. It’s winter, the hubby is gone on a business trip for two weeks, my work is crazy busy right now, and that’s what I feel like eating. So there. I did, however, promise the daughter I’d serve her  some “real food” next, although I can’t quite figure out how a good soup for dinner is not real food. Oh well.

So this is another one of my Asian-inspired soups that is a snap to make. I used my Inside-Out Won-Ton Soup broth as the base, but then threw in some new flavors and textures. To make this really simple, I picked up a rotisserie chicken on the way home from my physical therapy after work for my pinky finger (YES, I still can’t straighten the durn thang… apparently in the long healing process my tendon got stuck to the top of my joint and will be awhile to get it unstuck). I also picked up a baby bok choy, which was an astounding $2.99 a pound, but I handled it and it felt pretty light. At the checkout stand it only ended up 53 cents. I can do that! I also picked up some quite spendier fresh basil, as I know I have some cilantro-hater fans (read it’s SOAP!) so I thought I’d throw some of that in to see how that melded.  A fairly decent-priced bag of bean sprouts was also added to the cart. With all that in hand, I traveled home to concoct a really soothing, very slightly spicy, chicken noodle soup. I didn’t bother even looking for rice noodles at the store as I knew they didn’t have any from my prior hunt. So I used Angel Hair pasta snapped in half instead. This took about 35 minutes to make from start to finish to table to eat. Well, it actually took me closer to 45 minutes by dinking with my camera to take pics because I forgot to add the green onion for garnish in my first shots, and when I reshot with them I forgot to do my white balance setting again.My daughter ate it during that process. All in good time.

OK friends, now on to the recipe! Oh, and I made half the amount I normally would, so feel free to double or triple.

Simmering Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Simmering Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Soothing Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Angel hair pasta, broken in half
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 large white mushroom, sliced
1/2 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 or 2 green onions, chopped, white and green parts divided
1 cup baby bok choy, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped
3 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 tablespoon lime juice
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Fresh basil, chopped

Asian Soup Ingredients

Some of the Asian Soup Ingredients

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta, then start gathering and chopping up all the ingredients. Things tend to go quickly when cooking Asian, so it’s always best just to have everything ready. When the water starts boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions. I’m sorry I didn’t give you an amount to use, as I’m terrible about measuring or guessing pasta amounts to cook. Go with your gut. If you don’t have enough, that won’t matter much with the soup, or if you have too much, just leave some in the pot for something else. When all your ingredients are ready, heat the sesame oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper, and the white and light green parts of the green onion. Saute for five minutes, then add the broth, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Bring this up to a low boil, then turn down to simmer for about 10 minutes. Now add the cooked angel hair pasta, shredded chicken, bean sprouts, bok choy, spinach, and lime juice. Come up to a simmer again, and let the flavors meld for about another 10 minutes. Serve in bowls garnished with the green onion parts, fresh chopped cilantro and/or basil. This was a perfect soothing soup for a cold winter’s night, and I cursed myself for halving the recipe, as the one small  portion of leftovers the next day was fabulous and I was hankering for more.

Simple Pad Thai with Chicken

12 Jan
Pad Thai with Chicken

Pad Thai with Chicken

This was seriously easy to make. If you skip the chicken and eat it as a side dish, you can have this done in about a half hour. I have been craving Asian food lately, and came across this post on Pinterest. The blogger of that post, by the way, has received over 100,000 repins for it! However, the original recipe came out of Every Day Food magazine by Martha Stewart, which to my dismay announced a month or so ago it was discontinuing its print version of the magazine. They will be sending me her Living magazine instead until my scrip runs out. Bah-Humbug! I love my print foodie mags! Anyhoot, I enlisted my husband to par-boil the chicken earlier in the day for this, which was a great help. You could use a rotisserie chicken too, or leave it out altogether.

Simple Pad Thai with Chicken
(Adapted from Brownies for Dinner and Every Day Living)

8 ounces dried vermicelli noodles, or Pad Thai noodles
4 tablespoons lime juice, plus wedges for serving
5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Sriracha sauce, depending on your spice-level tolerance
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 green onions, white parts chopped small and green parts chopped large
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups cooked chicken, sliced thin
1/2 cup to 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped

Vermicelli Noodle Coils

Vermicelli Noodle Coils

I have never bought any Pad Thai noodles, so used vermicelli noodles as a substitute. Actually they were vermicelli coils, which were sure pretty to look at but a pain to cook because they clumped together. I would use just straight noodles next time.  But if you have Pad Thai noodles, they will have to be soaked or something beforehand. Anyways, if using vermicelli, or angel hair, or even spaghetti noodles, get those a-cooking to start right off the bat. It won’t matter if they are done ahead of time, as they get tossed into a skillet and reheated later. I actually didn’t start the water for my noodles early enough and had to wait on them until everything else was ready. While the noodles are cooking, get your other ingredients together, like chopping the onion, squeezing the limes, beating the eggs, etc. Whisk the lime juice, soy sauce, Sriracha, and brown sugar in a small bowl until sugar dissolves and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the oil to medium-high heat and add the green onion whites and garlic and cook for about one minute, stirring constantly. Next add the beaten eggs, and cook unstirred until the eggs are almost all the way set, about another minute or so. Flip the eggs, over, then add the chicken, the rest of the green onion, and sauce to the skillet and turn down to medium. Stir and chop up the eggs into little bits, then add the noodles. Toss around and cook until everything is mixed together  and heated through. Serve with lime wedges, cilantro, and peanuts. Don’t forget the peanuts! (Unless of course you are allergic.) Family rating? Hubby went back for seconds, and daughter went back for thirds! This made a ton of food, and we ate leftovers for a couple of days, so feel free to halve.

Pad Thai Sauce and Garnishes

Pad Thai Sauce and Garnishes

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