Monday, January 25, 2010

Week 2: Resolution Recipe Review

Here's a link to the actual recipes in case you missed them.

Mexican Chicken Soup

This is actually a recipe we've made several times before. Definitely a keeper and it's the easiest thing in the world to make. This time I did something a little different and it made my life so much easier! I boiled the chicken the night before in just water (not the carrots and onion). My grocery store only had 4+ pound chickens, but I still bought two. Once the chicken was done boiling (about an hour) I let the pot cool and then took the chickens out and put the water (now the start of my stock) in the refrigerator.

The husband helped me shred the chicken; our 8 +/- pounds of chicken made 6.5 cups of shredded chicken. I reserved 2 cups for the Chicken Tamale Recipe below (total time saver for later in the week), 2 cups to make the husband chicken salad with walnuts and cranberries for him to snack on and for lunches and then the last 2.5 cups were for the soup. Three meals from one pot. Heaven.

Then the next day I pulled the start of my stock out of the fridge. For the first time ever making this recipe I refrigerated the stock before it was done and boy am I glad I did! I was able to scoop all of the chicken fat off the top of my broth and I didn't sacrifice any flavor at all! Then I added in the onion and carrot to reheat the broth (only boiling them for about 30 minutes). And then made the soup as called for.

When I actually serve this up I use about 1/4 cup of rice, 1/2 avocado, a shit load of cilantro and half a lime for each bowl. I have no idea what the recipe says to do, but this is how we like it. And it is SO good. It has a clean and refreshing flavor and it's super light. Love. 

Chicken Tamale Casserole 

This recipe took 20 minutes to make from start to finish. It definitely helped to have chicken already set aside from the chicken soup recipe (above), but if you were in a pinch and pressed for time I think you could easily sub in a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and be fine!

I'm not a big spicy food eater and this recipe had a LOT of heat. The husband, of course, loved it. So it will stay in our recipe binder (it was really good). Next time I'm going to buy a milder enchilada sauce though. Oh and I should note that I doubled up the cheese on the top of the chicken. I love me some melted cheese. I covered the top with foil for the first 10 minutes of baking and then left it in to bake for another ten minutes without the foil. This kept the cheese from burning. 

The recipe serves 8, but really it served two with just a smidgen left over, and the husband finished off our leftovers two hours later. If you were to legitimately eat "one serving" the calorie content is really great, but because I ate probably two and a half servings I was feeling like a fat ass for the rest of the night. Since the recipe went from calorically reasonable to calorically dense with one plate, next time I think I'll take the pico de gallo recipe (from last week) and throw that over romaine lettuce as a "side dish", this way I can fill up without eating 7 pounds of cornbread. 

Creamy Garlic Seafood Soup

The husband and I made this together in the morning before the fish went bad. My local fish market didn't have black snapper, but growing up in Florida I was familiar with the texture and thickness of black snapper. So I subbed in 1/2 pound of red snapper and a 1/2 pound of cod fish. When I cook this recipe again (and I will cook it again because it was so freaking good) I will only use the cod I think.

I don't have a Le Creuset, so I used a deep dish calphalon pot that we have and it worked just fine. I also couldn't find saffron (wish I had it, but I didn't; ended up ordering some from the Spice House for next time!) which I'm sure changed the final flavor, but it was seriously still so good.

This was a super easy recipe to make, even though the recipe itself looks intimidating. One thing we did which cut down on our total time in the kitchen was we made the stock (with the shrimp shells, etc.) in the morning and set it on the stove to reduce while we got ready for work. By the time we were dressed the stock was ready to be drained. *NOTE* maybe because we didn't use a Dutch oven, this was the case, but we ended up having to reduce the stock for much longer than 40 minutes (maybe like an hour and twenty?) on a medium-low heat rather than a simmer. Also worth noting is the jalapeno - these add a lot of kick! We seeded one pepper, but not the other. I think next time we may seed them both. The soup was outrageous, but man you sweat a bit if you leave in the seeds.

After reducing and straining the stock, we left it in a pot on the counter and then finished cooking the soup when we got home that night. Finishing the recipe took 20 minutes, tops. In all honesty, when we first started cooking this, I told the husband that this was a throw away recipe. I was annoyed at all the prep work and a little put off at the idea of sauteeing shrimp shells, but it was so good that I quickly backtracked later that night. Fortunately/ unfortunately I ended up going out to dinner with a friend that night and the husband at ALL of the soup. Totally glad I tried some before we left. Worth a girl's night out though (xoxo Nic!)

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