Posts Tagged 'cilantro'

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup copy

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken tortilla soup is the Southwestern cousin of mom’s chicken noodle soup, just with a little more kick and a crunchy topping. And, like it’s relative, it warms the soul and makes you feel good all over.

This quick, no-fuss soup has loads of flavor and uses ingredients that are typically on hand. The soup doesn’t take long to make. In fact, it can be on your table in less than 30 minutes. It’s also an ideal way to transform leftover chicken into a tasty and satisfying dish.  It has become a favorite in my house since my good friend Melissa Petersen of Edible Memphis shared this recipe with me.

Much healthier than it tastes, this broth based soup is loaded with tomatoes, lean chicken, and heart healthy avocado. The cumin and oregano add a richness and depth to the dish without any fat. If you want a little extra kick, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.

I like to top mine with a few homemade corn tortilla strips, which are surprisingly easy to make. Just cut corn tortillas into thin strips and fry for about 1 minute in a skillet with vegetable oil. If short on time, use crushed tortilla chips instead. Baked tortilla chips would be a heart-healthy alternative.

Serve with a side salad or a slice of cornbread and you have a satisfying meal.

Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Vegetable oil, for frying the tortillas
4 small (4-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch strips
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 can (28-oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

To prepare the tortilla strips, pour enough oil into a large stockpot so that you have a quarter-inch layer of oil. Warm the oil on medium-high heat until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. In batches, fry the tortilla strips until golden brown on both sides, about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Use metal tongs or a slotted spoon to lift the tortilla strips out of the pan, draining the excess oil as you do so. (The tortilla strips should be fairly stiff and crisp. If not, the oil is not hot enough.) Transfer the tortilla strips to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper while they are still warm.

In another large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, and shredded chicken. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the flavors have melded, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the fried tortilla strips, cheese, avocado, and fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The soup can be made the night before or frozen in advance. Just be sure to add the garnishes (tortilla strips, cheese, and avocado) just before serving.

Freezes well.

 

Recipe from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

Story excerpted from Jennifer Chandler’s bi-weeky Commercial Appeal newspaper column Dinner Tonight.

Photo and Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

 

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Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Dried Cranberries & Pine Nuts

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Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Dried Cranberries & Pine Nuts

Oh my!  You are gonna love this sweet potato salad. Colorful, tasty, and filling.

I created it from memory based on a dish my friend Lucia had made a couple of years ago as a side.  I served it over a bed over lettuce to give it a little more dimension.  For variations, I think you could sub chopped pecans for the pine nuts or scallions for the red onions.  To add more protein, I think drained black beans would be a tasty addition too!

Enjoy!

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Dried Cranberries & Pine Nuts

2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 or 4 medium), peeled and cut into small 3/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil and cumin. Season with salt and pepper to taste. On a baking sheet, even spread the potatoes in a single layer. Bake until the potatoes are cooked but still firm, about 30 to 35 minutes. Refrigerate to cool.

Place the cooled sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add the red onion, cranberries, and pine nuts and toss to combine. Add the lime juice and fresh cilantro and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over a bed of lettuce as a main or as a side salad.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: I like to line my baking sheets with parchment paper. The paper liner prevents sticking and helps make clean-up easier.

Variation: Chopped pecans would be a tasty substitute for the pine nuts.

Vegetarian & Vegan

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

SW Pinto burger

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

When I was doing my 30-day vegetarian challenge back last Fall, my friend Ellen shared a bunch of her favorite recipes.

While one of Ellen’s daughters has been vegetarian for several years, the rest of her family still eats meat.  She explained that it can be hard preparing meals that everyone at her table will eat.  Since I was in the same situation trying to feed my non-vegetarian family too, she kindly shared several dishes that consistently pleased everyone at her table.

This bean burger was a huge hit when I made it.  No one complained … and in fact, everyone asked for seconds! The chipotle mayonnaise really makes the burger stand out.

Most of the ingredients I already had in my pantry.  The only thing I needed to pick up was the cilantro and canned chipotle peppers.  You might be just as lucky.

A helpful hint (or two!) when cooking these burgers. They tend to be a little moist, so be sure to take the time to let them refrigerate for 10 minutes before cooking.  This little step really helps them stay together better. I also recommend using a non-stick skillet to cook them in for easy flipping.

Enjoy!

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine. Click here for the original recipe.

For the burger:
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no salt-added whole-kernel corn, drained

For the Chipotle Mayonnaise:
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon canned minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce

Remaining ingredients:
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 (1 1/2-ounce) whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
4 romaine lettuce leaves

To prepare burgers, combine the first 10 ingredients in a large bowl. Add pinto beans and corn; partially mash with a fork. Divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 3 1/2-inch patty, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

To prepare chipotle mayonnaise, combine mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon chipotle in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan, and cook 4 minutes on each side or until thoroughly heated. Place patties on bottom halves of buns; top each patty with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 lettuce leaf, and top half of bun.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

 

Have a surplus of summer squash?

Zucchini, yellow squash and eggplant have thrived in my veggie garden this summer. I keep looking for new ways to enjoy my garden’s bounty! This salad is one of my favorite.

This is a quick and  easy vegetarian salad you can make with grilled summer squashes.

The base of the salad is quinoa. It you are not familiar with it, quinoa is a high-protein, gluten-free grain that cooks much like rice and has a texture similar to couscous. It makes a delicious and healthy base for a salad.

Enjoy!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Vegetable oil, for the grill basket or screen
1 red onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 zucchini, cut lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups quinoa, cooked per package directions
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely shopped fresh cilantro

Preheat a clean grill with a grill basket or screen to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Light brush the grill basket or screen with oil.

In a large bowl toss together the red onion, eggplant, red bell pepper, zucchini, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the vegetables to the grill basket. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until the vegetables are tender and slightly charred, about 5 to 7 minutes per side.

Place the prepared quinoa in a large bowl.  Add the grilled vegetables and toss to combine.

In a small bowl whisk together the remaining olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro. Serve warm or chilled.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The quinoa can be made a day ahead. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Grill Pan Friendly: The veggies can be grilled indoors on a grill pan.

Source: Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Honey-Lime Corn Slaw

This is one of my favorite go-to summer slaws.  The sweet corn paired with the honey lime vinaigrette makes for a light and refreshing side. 

If fresh corn is not available, substitute frozen corn kernels.  Frozen corn kernels have a fresher taste and crunchier texture than the canned variety.

Enjoy!

Honey-Lime Corn Slaw
From Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

This light and piquant slaw is the perfect accompaniment for Southwest-flavored chicken and meats.  I also like to use it to garnish fish tacos.

For the Honey-Lime Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1 bag (10 ounce) Angel Hair Cole Slaw
3 ears fresh corn, shucked
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Honey-Lime Vinaigrette:
In a small bowl whisk together the lime juice, honey, and oil until well combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:
Place ears of corn in a medium-size pot of boiling salted water.  Cook until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Drain, rinse with cold water to stop cooking, and set aside until cool enough to handle.  Using a small knife, carefully slice kernels off the cob; discard cobs.  Place kernels in a large salad bowl.

Add the slaw, red bell peppers, scallions, and cilantro and toss.

Add the honey-lime dressing to taste and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 side salads

Cooking Tip: To avoid flying kernels, stand cob upright in the bottom of a deep bowl.  Carefully slice corn off into the bowl.

BBQ Chicken Salad

When I was on Martha Stewart Living’s Everyday Food Radio Program today talking to host Betsy Karetnick talking about Summertime Salad Suppers, this tasty salad came to mind. 

With the grilled chicken, black bean & corn salsa, and sliced avocados, this salad satisfies as a main course without being too heavy.  It is the perfect summer time meal!

I like to make the black bean & corn salsa and the buttermilk dressing in advance, so when dinner time comes around…I can just sit on my back porch and enjoy the summer evening while my chicken is grilling.

Enjoy!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Black Bean and Corn Salsa
From Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

Cowboys look out! This salad combines the best of the Southwest all in one dish.

For the Black Bean and Corn Salsa:
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, cooked as per package directions, drained, and cooled
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Buttermilk Ranch Dressing:
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/4 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3/4 cup your favorite BBQ Sauce
1 bag (12 ounces) American or Romaine salad blend
2 ripe avocados, halved, pit removed, peeled, and thinly sliced
2 cups tortilla chips

For the Black Bean and Corn Salsa:
Combine the black beans, corn, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, oil, vinegar, and cayenne in a medium-size mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 1 day in advance.

For the Buttermilk Ranch Dressing:
In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, cider vinegar, garlic, mustard, thyme, and chives.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the salad:
Place the chicken breasts in a large bowl and coat with BBQ sauce.  Cover and marinate in a refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat a clean grill to medium-high.  Season the marinated chicken with salt and pepper.  Grill until no longer pink in the middle, 6 to 8 minutes per side.  Remove the chicken from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes.

Divide the salad blend equally among the individual plates.  Drizzle with the dressing to taste.  Arrange on top a generous spoonful of the black bean and corn salsa, the sliced avocados, tortilla chips, and a chicken breast.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4 dinner salads.

Cooking Tip:  The black bean and corn slaw is such a versatile…and tasty… condiment.  Serve as a dip with chips, serve it with fajitas, or bring it to a barbecue as a side dish.

Chinese Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

I love peanut butter!

Whether in a dessert, paired with chocolate (Mr. Reese’s was  genius in my book), in a PB & J sandwich, I just can’t resist it. (I have to admit most often I just eat it by the spoonful straight from the jar!)

When most people think of peanut butter, they think of dessert or the classic children’s sandwich, but did you know that peanut butter is absolutely wonderful in savory dishes?

When I was writing my book Simply Salads, one of the first dressings that came to mind was a peanut dressing I had once enjoyed at a restaurant.  

The cloyingly sweet peanut butter makes a delicious sauce when paired with Asian-cuisine staples such soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and fresh ginger. 

Peanut sauce is also very versatile. In addition to a salad dressing, I often use it as a marinade for grilled chicken or shrimp, or as a dipping sauce for veggies, spring rolls or chicken satays.

Which peanut butter to use?  I developed this recipe using good old Jiff creamy peanut butter. Crunchy peanut butter works fine as well; the sauce will just not be as smooth. If you want to use natural or freshly-ground peanut butter, you may want to add a little extra honey.

So … Peanut butter lovers beware.  The dressing in this colorful and tasty salad is addictive.

Enjoy!

Chinese Chicken Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing
From Simpy Salads by Jennifer Chandler

For the Peanut Dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh peeled ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil
A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1/2 cup Peanut Dressing
1/2 cup fresh snow peas
1 bag (5 ounces) Spring Mix salad blend
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 carrots, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a traditional grater
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
2 limes, quartered, for garnish

For the Peanut Dressing:
In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, canola oil, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:
Bring salted water to a boil in a medium pot. Add snow peas and cook until vibrant green and crisp tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Drain the peas and immerse in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain again and place in a large salad bowl.

Add the salad blend, chicken, carrots, scallions, cilantro, and peanuts and toss. Add the dressing to taste and gently toss to coat. Garnish with lime wedges.  Serve immediately.

Tip: To save time, pick up a roasted rotisserie chicken at your local grocery for this recipe. The meat will be fresh, juicy, and flavorful. 

Makes 4 dinner salads


Jennifer Chandler

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