baked potato soup

baked potato soup | she likes to eat

i could not be more excited about spring arriving (only 6 more days until it’s official! ::breaks into wild happy dance::) we have had a rough winter here in the ozarks and, boy am i glad to see the snow go. (although the little she is pretty upset about it – i have never met someone who loves the snow as much as that little half-colorado kid does.)

so in one last winter hurrah, i want to share a cold-weather wonder that is a staple around here – baked potato soup. it is super thick and perfectly creamy, and topped with crispy bacon, it’s one of my favorite comfort foods.  oh, and extra points: it’s always a win for me in the meat-and-potato husband department.

*to make this whole30 friendly, omit the heavy cream – that’s it! oh and make sure not to go for the sour cream or cheese garnishes 🙂

baked potato soup
adapted from the nordstrom friends & family cookbook

ingredients

3-4 tbsp olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled & chopped

2 celery stalks, rinsed well & chopped

1  bay leaf

2 tsp dried thyme

6 cups (48 oz) chicken stock (low-sodium)

4 large baked idaho potatoes, flesh scooped from shell and mashed (**see below)

1 cup heavy cream

coarse sea salt & pepper

for garnish:
sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onion (green & white parts), 6-8 slices bacon (cooked until crisp & crumbled)

directions

1. in a large pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaf, and thyme. saute, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.

2. add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer, then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. (the veggies should be very tender.) discard the bay leaf. add the baked & mashed potatoes, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. remove from heat and, using an immersion blender (or in batches with a blender), blend the soup to make creamy – as desired. (if you like your soup chunky or not as creamy, you can skip this step.) whisk in heavy cream, a heaping 1/8 tsp sea salt, freshly ground pepper (to taste), and return to heat, on low, for about 5 minutes. ladle soup into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onion, and crumbled bacon (about one crumbled slice per bowl).

recipe makes about 6-8 bowls.
keeps for 4-6 days in fridge in an airtight container.
reheat in microwave or on the stove.

**to bake the potatoes, i follow this “recipe” from the kitchn. they turn out perfectly every time.

enjoy!

asian chicken lettuce cups

asian chicken lettuce cups

during the winter, there is a lot of chili-and-cornbread-eating, curl-up-with-a-hot-bowl-of-soup nights around here. i love the warmth and the fullness of my belly after a big bowl.
but after a few months of this loveliness, i do crave a fresh, crisp, even crunchy dinner. and recently, it was these chicken lettuce cups.

if you’re like me, you first fell in love with this concept after discovering the chicken lettuce cup at p.f. chang’s. i’ve always loved their version of the dish, but this recipe is by leaps and bounds the best i have ever made myself and the best i have ever eaten. i might even like them better than p.f. chang’s.
sorry, p.

(you can also serve this dish sans the lettuce cups and with rice instead. i used a white jasmine rice as the bed for the chicken filling a few times and it is delicious, and a little heartier.)

*to make this recipe whole30 friendly: for the dipping sauce, sub coconut aminos for the soy sauce, sub pure date syrup for the brown sugar, omit the cornstarch, and make sure there is no added sugar in your OJ.

asian chicken lettuce cups
adapted from the family chef cookbook by jewels & jill elmore

ingredients

the filling:
2 lbs ground chicken (you could also use turkey)

2 tbsp peanut oil

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 large carrots, peeled and shredded or finely chopped

4 green onions, finely chopped

2 tsp ground ginger

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 small can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped

the sauce:
1 cup soy sauce

4 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar

4 tbsp orange juice

4 tbsp brown sugar

4 tbsp water

3 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp chili flakes

for serving: 2 heads of iceberg lettuce, washed & leaves peeled into cups

directions

1. for the sauce, mix all sauce ingredients together with a whisk and set aside.

2. heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. when the pan is hot, add the peanut & sesame oils. saute the carrots, green onions, ginger, and garlic for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables have softened. add chicken and cook, stirring constantly to break up the meat.

3. when the chicken is almost cooked, add the sauce. bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and continue cooking 5 or 6 minutes.

4. remove pan from heat, stir in water chestnuts. spoon the mixture into lettuce cups and serve while warm.

enjoy!

(photo above is from the family chef cookbook. because, let’s be honest.. i could NOT for the life of me get the lettuce cups to cooperate.)

central market’s kale, pepita, and cranberry salad

 


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kale isn’t one of those things where i go “OH KALE?! i love kale!” i mean, in the last few years i have been on my way there. almost;) ultimately my goal is to be more like my mom, who has a shirt that just says KALE (like YALE, get it?). #wholefoodsnerd

well, one fine day i experienced a kale salad that i fell in LOVE with. i actually went around telling people about this salad, making them promise me that they would go as fast as they could to go get this amazing salad. KALE salad.
if you know me, this would have seemed odd.

but it’s true. this kale salad is amazing. and anyone who has been to h.e.b. or central market in texas and tried this salad can attest to this. i had a little help (from this blog and this blog) to get the ingredients straight and then i adapted it, getting it just right to my taste. hope this makes you like kale too.

*if you are wanting to make this recipe whole30 friendly, just sub coconut aminos for the soy sauce, omit the agave, and make sure there is no added sugar in your OJ.

central market’s kale, pepita, and cranberry salad
serves 4 as a side dish

ingredients

6 – 7 cups raw kale, washed & chopped (i chop mine pretty well, like the greens in a chopped salad)

1/4 cup orange juice

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp agave (scant)

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup pepitas

1/4 cup sliced almonds

directions

1. after washing (and drying off a little) & chopping, place kale in a serving bowl or glass dish.

2. in a mason jar, combine orange juice, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, agave, and ground ginger and give it a good shake (or you can whisk it all together in a small bowl). pour dressing over kale greens, add cranberries, and toss a bit.

3. you can serve immediately, or ideally, refrigerate and serve the next day so that the flavors really soak in and the kale absorbs the dressing and softens (if you can’t refrigerate overnight, let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour or two to soften the kale). while it’s marinating in the fridge, stir it a few times, every 3-4 hours if you can to redistribute the dressing. before serving, top with pepitas and almonds.

enjoy!

scrambled egg muffins

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mornings can be tough, yo.
especially when you are rushing around and really getting tired of eggs and toast every. single. morning.

we all need a little excitement, and that excitement in my house, has to be kid-friendly.
these not-really-a-muffin muffins are all of the above. so delicious, kids love ’em, and they’ve been a hit each time i have made them. oh, and they are super super easy.
me likey.

this recipe makes quite a few muffins so they are perfect for brunch parties. (you can 1/2 the recipe for a quieter morning at home.) also, they are really easy to modify. you can add chopped & sautéed spinach, use diced ham instead of turkey sausage, use goat or feta cheese instead of cheddar, add some cholula for some heat, make them meatless… the possibilities are nearly endless.

*to make these whole30 friendly, just omit the milk and cheddar cheese.

scrambled egg muffins
makes about 24 muffins

ingredients

16 eggs

8-10 oz chopped turkey sausage patties or crumbles (pre- cooked)

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 cup milk

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/4 tsp pepper

directions

1. preheat the oven to 350. spray two 12-cup muffin tins generously with cooking spray.

2. in a large bowl, beat the eggs. whisk in the milk, garlic salt, & pepper. stir in 3/4 of the cheese, the bell pepper and sausage. scoop egg mixture into muffin tin (fill about 1/2 full – they puff up quite a bit). sprinkle the rest of the cheese over tops of muffins. bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean and they’ve begun to golden a little around the edges.

muffins will keep for a few days in the fridge, sealed well. just reheat for 10-15 seconds in the microwave.

enjoy!

asian vinaigrette with sesame oil + black pepper

asian vinaigrette with sesame oil + black pepper | via she likes to eat

this weekend, i made this dressing because i was in serious need of change from the regular dressing stock in our fridge. and, i need to confess, it was because we had no fresh garlic and no fresh herbs – things you uuusually need to make a fresh vinaigrette. so i grabbed my trusty dressing shaker that has recipes on the outside and chose this one (adapting it a little), since the ingredients were all things i had on hand.
yeah, i know, so boring.
BUT it was so good! it has an awesome balance of tartness from the rice wine vinegar and sweetness from the brown sugar. and then the pepper hits your tongue… seriously. so good.

*to make whole30 friendly, sub coconut aminos for the soy sauce, and sub pure date syrup for the brown sugar.

asian vinaigrette

ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp dark brown sugar

directions

1. place all ingredients in a mason jar and shake to blend. pour over a salad of arugula, spinach, carrots, and broccoli (and tomatoes…if you’re into that kind of thing) or toss with cut up veggies.

cinnamon bun muffins – gluten free

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now, i don’t personally eat gluten-free, but i made these for a good friend several years ago who had just had a baby – her husband eats gluten-free and we were taking over brunch.
these turned out so well (read: they were devoured by both adults & kiddos within minutes), i decided to post them on my non-GF food blog.
they do require some specialty ingredients (i had no trouble finding them) but it is well worth it if you are wanting something GF for your family or to take to a friend.
who will thank you for days.
maybe months.

*april of 2016 i edited this recipe to make it whole30 friendly – cuz that is our life this month 🙂 my adapted version here is gluten-free, paleo, and refined sugar-free (only date syrup used, which has no added sugar). i also omitted the vanilla extract because it is made with an alcohol base, which is not whole30 approved. the date syrup and the cinnamon give them so much flavor, i didn’t even miss it. even with these changes, Y’ALL. they were totally awesome!
if you want the original gluten-free recipe via elana’s pantry, just click here

cinnamon bun muffins
makes 9 muffins

cinnamon topping ingredients:

2 tbsp pure date syrup

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tbsp grapeseed oil
muffin ingredients:

1 cup almond flour

2 tbsp coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1/4 cup date syrup

3 eggs
directions

1. line 9 muffin cups with liners or spray with cooking spray. preheat oven to 350.

2. in a small bowl, whisk together all 3 topping ingredients and set aside.

3. in a large bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt and whisk together. in a separate bowl, whisk the eggs then add oil and date syrup. stir well to combine.

4. mix together the wet & dry ingredients until well combined. scoop about 1/4 cup of the batter into each muffin cup, then with a spoon, drizzle topping on top.

5. bake muffins for 13-15 minutes. once baked, allow to cool at least for an hour before serving (or they’ll fall apart).

 

asian turkey meatballs

asian turkey meatballs | via she likes to eat

these little gems were a lovely surprise this week. i was skeptical, them coming – randomly – from the disney family website (i have NO earthly clue how i originally got this recipe, although i think the link was sent to me by a family member). i had read through the ingredients and the instructions and they sounded delicious. and they were. divine. they have all the flavors of a chinese dumpling and the sauce is heavenly.

the meatballs are served best over jasmine rice and a side of the sauce. it’s an easy meal and delightfully yummy.  also, the meatballs and the sauce save pretty well for a few days and are great reheated. oh and kiddos LOVE them. (both of the little shes are in a dipping phase right now – i know you mommies know what i’m talking about – so this was a HIT in the highchair this week.) these also freeze quite well, so they are a good option for make-ahead meals.

*updated march 2016
**to make whole30 friendly, see note at the bottom

asian turkey meatballs
makes about 2 dozen

ingredients

1 lb ground turkey (you can use lean or dark meat)

2 green onion stalks, finely chopped (or snipped with kitchen shears)

1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp soy sauce (or you can use liquid aminos)

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup ricotta cheese (not skim)

for dipping sauce:

6 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 cup soy sauce (or liquid aminos)

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (or 1/4 tsp ground ginger, heaping)

directions

1. preheat the oven to 400.

2. in a large bowl, mix together turkey, scallions, cilantro, oils, soy sauce, breadcrumbs, egg, and ricotta with your hands, then form meatballs by rolling 2 tablespoon-sized scoops between your palms.

3. arrange on a baking sheet covered with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper and bake for about 25 minutes, until browned on top and cooked through.

4. while the meatballs are in the oven, make the dipping sauce: in a small saucepan, stir the sauce ingredients together over medium low heat until the sugar has dissolved. simmer 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens a bit.

5. serve with jasmine rice + dipping sauce on the side.

**to make this recipe whole 30 friendly, make the following substitutions for the meatballs: sub coconut aminos for the soy sauce, replace panko breadcrumbs with guiltless superfoods’ 7 seed flour or raw almond flour, omit the ricotta cheese. then for the dipping sauce: sub pure date syrup (this one is my favorite and there is no added sugar) instead of brown sugar  (using 5-6 tbsp), and again subbing coconut aminos for the soy sauce. and don’t forget to skip the jasmine rice if you’re on whole30!