Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mexican Cabbage Soup, Olé! - A Healthy Choice - #soupswappers

It is January.  Time to take a look in the mirror and make some decisions.  Do I or don't I try to drop a few pounds?  It's a cycle.  Don't we tend to do this every year?  Start out fresh, craving healthy foods, wanting to maintain healthy eating habits...and sometimes we even get out of the house and take a walk or jump on the treadmill.  Additionally, every year cabbage soup makes its regular appearance along with all of the regular promises. I do love cabbage and I eat my fair share, but, no, for me it doesn't appear only in January and only in soup!

That being said, for this post it is cabbage soup but it is a kick up your heels kind of cabbage soup! 


It is a healthy soup. It is a smack your lips tasty soup!

I am not bashing other cabbage soups. Being from the Central Valley of California, we have a large Basque population and there isn't anything better than their cabbage soup which is brothy and flavorful...and the best part, it is eaten with a scoop of pot beans and topped with some pretty spicy salsa.  Now that is cabbage soup and one that I should post!  So, I do like cabbage soup..and I like it year round, too.

I am sharing this particular recipe because I am participating with a great group of ladies who have dubbed themselves the Soup Saturday Swappers.  Forming the group was the brainchild of Wendy's at A Day in the Life on the Farm.  The third Saturday of each month all participants will share a soup based on the selected theme! If you would like to participate, contact Wendy at the Soup Saturday Swappers link or at her blog. This month's theme is healthy soups. Here is my healthy soup choice for you!

Mexican Cabbage Soup
adapted from Eating Well

Yield:  10-12 servings

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
2-3 chopped carrots ( about 1 cup)
2-3 chopped celery ribs, about 1 cup
2-3 Anaheim chiles or poblano chiles (about 1 cup)
4 large cloves garlic, minced
8 cups sliced cabbage
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
3-4 cups water
2-3 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained (Your preference on the amount of beans.)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
Crumbled queso fresco, nonfat plain Greek yogurt and diced avocado for garnish

Heat oil in a large soup pot or le creuset (8 quart or larger) over medium heat.  Add onions, carrot, celery, Anaheim and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, 10-12 minutes.  Add cabbage.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 10 minutes more.  Add the tomato paste, chipotle, cumin and coriander.  Cook and stir for about 1 minute.

Add the broth, 3 cups water, beans and salt.  Cover the mixture and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Add the remaining cup of water if desired.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with queso fresco, yogurt and/or avocado.


I am also participating in Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lemon Rosemary Muffins

Are you one of those people who likes to do "everything"?  By that I mean that you have many irons in the fire at the same time....I admit, I am one of those people.  I like to feel the momentum around me and participating in different things and have projects fits my style.  When I was working I always felt as though I was juggling....there were many projects happening and things were always whirling. That is the way that I have approached retirement, also.  I love the energy!

All of that said, I am adding a cooking group to the mix.  The Improv Cooking Challenge is a group of ladies who love a challenge!  Each month two ingredients are listed and the cook is to find a recipe or create a recipe that uses the two ingredients.  I am more of a "find a recipe" type of gal so I went searching for January's ingredients:  lemon and rosemary.  They are such a delightful flavor combination.

I found the perfect recipe for us.  It was in one of 2016's cookbook recommendations, Better Baking:  Wholesome Ingredients, Delicious Desserts by Genevieve Ko.  Her book has used alternative ingredients and fats to make delicious, "better for you" recipes that are painless and fun!  You will want to check it out.  In fact, you can peek at it here.  Her mini muffins are the bomb!

Lemon Rosemary Muffins
adapted from Better Baking

Yield:  36 mini muffins

1 1/4 cups fine stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh corn kernels, chopped
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus leaves for topping
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large lemon, zested, juiced

Preheat Oven:  375° F.
Coat the mini muffin tray with cooking spray or use cups

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the corn and rosemary.  Toss until the corn is coated with the mixture.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the milk, oil, maple syrup, and egg.  Zest the lemon into the mixture, add 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice and whisk to blend.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.  Fold gently until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened.  Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.  The cups will be almost full.  Top each muffin with a few rosemary leaves, if desired.

Bake until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

Cool the muffins in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Pop the muffins from the tin and cool on the rack until warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead:  The muffins are best served the same day but can be kept at room temperature for up to two days.  They may be frozen for two weeks.


If you would like to join in, check out the Improv Cooking Challenge post made by our hostess, Nichole, at Cookaholic Wife.  I am also sharing at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Chicken Tarragon Pot Pie

I took a long winter break from blogging.  While I missed keeping up with everybody and preparing great food to post, it was time to take "thyme" for me!  My daughter and her family visited us over the holidays.  It was so much fun to have both girls for the holidays and of course, adding a four year old to the mix made everything extra special.  As usual, my son-in-law and I cooked together.  It is so much fun for us to be in the kitchen preparing great food to share with one another.

We have had the strangest can be really cold one day and the windows can be open the next.  I am not certain what kind of weather to expect, how to dress for it, or what to cook!  The one thing I do know is that the evenings are cold and comfort food fits the bill.

This recipe originates from Julia Child and Jacques Pépin and was adapted before being featured in a the New York Times article.  I have made it a number of times as it seems we have had leftover turkey or chicken on hand regularly!  The New York Times has become my favorite source for cooking guides, new recipes and inspiration.  I think I mentioned that in the past.  Get on their mailing list, you will love the variety of articles and recipes!

Chicken Tarragon Pot Pie

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Tbsp cold vegetable shortening
Scant 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Scant 1/2 tsp sugar
1 egg used to make an egg wash to coat the dough prior to baking

Prepare the crust:  Combine the flour, butter, shortening, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse together until the mixture is crumbly and butter is broken into small pieces.  Pour 1/3 cup ice water into the bowl.  Pulse 3 to 4 times.  Test the dough by squeezing in your hand to determine if the clumps together and is evenly moist.  If it is not, add and additional tablespoon of water, and pulse once or twice.  Do not overmix so that the dough comes together in a ball.

Turn the dough onto plastic wrap.  Lift the ends of the wrap to bring the dough together inside.  Press it into a large disk, wrap tightly and refrigerate until ready to use.  The dough may be made up to two days in advance.

5 Tbsp unsalted butter
2-3 carrots, peeled, chopped to make 1 cup
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup leeks, cleaned, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
1 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried tarragon
1 cup frozen baby green peas
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 cups leftover turkey or chicken, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

Prepare the filling:  Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add carrot, celery, leeks and tarragon and cook, stirring, until slightly softened but not browned (adjust the heat, as necessary, to prevent browning), about 3-5 minutes.  Transfer the cooked vegetables to a bowl.  Wipe out the skillet.

Melt the remaining 3 Tablespoons butter over medium-high heat.  Whick in the flour, and cook, whisking, until the mixture bubbles and smells cooked.  Do let let the mixture brown.  Whisk in 2 cups of broth.  Cook, whisking, about 1 minute.  Whisk in the cream, cook until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the salt and pepper.  If the sauce appears to be too thick, whisk in the additional half cup of stock/broth.

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Add the cooked vegetables, peas, chicken, and sauce to an 8-inch deep pie dish or small baking dish. Mix gently, adjust seasoning.

Flour a work surface.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  Roll out the dough, turning and flouring often.  Cut a shape approximately the size of your baking dish plus 1 1/2 inches overlap all around.

Roll the dough up onto the rolling pin, and unroll evenly over the dish.  Fold the edges under and crimp.  Create hole vents near the center using a knife or a fork.

Whisk the egg and 1 Tablespoon of cold water together.  Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the crust with the egg wash.

Place the dish onto a baking sheet and place in the oven.

Bake 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350° F. Bake 25 to 30 minutes longer, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.

Allow the pot pie to rest for 10 minutes before serving.


You won't regret making this tummy-warming dish!  It is great comfort food.

I am sharing at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.