Saturday, October 31, 2015

Leila's Smoky Mexican Chicken Soup - Easy and Delicious!

Leila's Easy Smoky Mexican Chicken Soup
I created this soup after I made a bunch of chicken stock from a couple of Costco rotisserie chickens. I wanted a Mexican-style soup that was loaded with healthy vegetables, had a hit of smoky flavor and was not creamy.

This soup turned out super! our family loves it and we have really enjoyed the leftovers. It is warming for these cool fall evenings we are having.

I really like the zucchini in this soup. I used a huge tough zucchini from our garden for this soup. I peeled it and then removed all the seeds. I then chopped it into small cubes. The older zucchini stay nicely firm in simmered soups. If you have tender zucchini, add it towards the end of cooking time, so that you don't turn it into mush.

Leila's Smoky Mexican Chicken Soup Recipe:

1/2 pound bacon
1 extra-large onion, minced
6 large cloves garlic, smashed
2 stalks celery with tops, minced
3 large mild chiles, fire roasted and then cored, seeded and minced
4 tomatillos, minced
4 roma tomatoes, diced
1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes with chipotle chiles
1 7-ounce can La Victoria Fire Roasted diced green chiles (this brand has the best roasted flavor)
3 quarts chicken stock (home made is best)
1 bay leaf
1 t. ground cumin
2 14.8-ounce cans Great Northern beans, drained
1 29-ounce can Mexican-style hominy, drained
2 zucchini, cubed
1 T. sea salt, to taste
35 grinds fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 to 4 cups shredded cooked chicken meat
Smokey paprika, optional, to taste


Over a gas flame, char the whole chiles, then remove stem and seeds and mince. Set aside.

In a large soup pot, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and crumble, then set aside.

With the bacon fat left in the pot, saute on medium-high heat, the onion, garlic, celery, chilies, and tomatillos, until the onion becomes transparent.

Add the canned tomatoes and canned green chiles. then add the chicken stock.

Add the bay leaf, cumin, canned beans, hominy, and diced zucchini. Bring up to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and let it simmer about 30 minutes.

Season the soup with the salt and pepper, to taste. Add the crumbled bacon and shredded cooked chicken meat. let simmer a few more minutes before serving. Check the seasoning.

Garnish the soup with sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, lime wedges, corn chips, as desired.


Use gluten-free corn chips if desired.

If avoiding corn, omit the hominy and corn chips.

If dairy-free, omit the cheese and sour cream garnishes.

For a vegan option, omit bacon and saute the vegetables in deodorized coconut oil. Add smokey paprika to give a nice smoky flavor. Use vegetable broth in place of the chicken stock. add an extra can of beans in place of the shredded chicken.

In place of the canned petite diced tomatoes with chipotle chiles, use regular diced Mexican or plain diced tomatoes. Add these additional seasonings: 1/4 t. Mexican oregano, 1/4 t. dried chipotle powder, 1/4 t. additional cumin, to taste.



Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Speedy Thai Turkey Snacks - Low Carb, Gluten-Free

Thai Turkey Snacks
Try this quick tasty snack next time the munchies hit - You will be doing yourself a favor with this high-protein, low-carb treat.

This is a very tasty and very quick use for canned turkey or chicken. Our low-carb, sweet Fiji Hot Sauce is the perfect accompaniment to this mayonnaise based meat mixture. Topping with fresh basil leaves adds a little cheer and flavor dimension. Use Thai basil if you have it!

I like this as a quick lunch, served along side some fresh sliced fruit. I love that it's so low-carb when used to top cucumber slices. I do love the taste of sesame rice crackers though...

If you are short on ingredients, you can omit the Fiji Sauce and basil, but that kinda takes all the fun out of it. Don't get me wrong, it's still good though.

Try this for a lunch at work, or take on a picnic and serve with a salad and fruit. Serve this to your kids as an afternoon snack. When you get the munchies before bed, eat this in a romaine lettuce leaf, or on top of cucumbers, and you will have avoided the tempting high-carb snacks most people reach for. It's SO easy to make, it's hard not to try this recipe :)

Thai Turkey Snacks:

1 can turkey or chicken meat
1/4 c. mayonnaise, to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste
seasoned salt, to taste
cucumber slices or artisan GF sesame seed rice crackers
Fiji Sauce (Thai chili sauce) See recipe on this blog
fresh basil leaves


Drain the juice from the canned turkey or chicken and place the meat in a small bowl.

Add a dollop of your favorite mayonnaise, to taste. Mix together well.

Season the meat mixture with ground black pepper and seasoned salt to taste.

Portion the meat mixture on top of the cucumber slices or crackers.

Drizzle the tops with Fiji Sauce and place a basil leaf on top.

Serve immediately.

A good cracker to serve with the meat filling.
Doesn't that FIJI SAUCE look good?



Monday, October 12, 2015

Flower Child Carrot Raisin Salad - Healthy & Fresh! Plus a Chef Secret Revealed...

Flower Child Carrot Raisin Salad  

This is not your ordinary carrot raisin salad.

Try this fresh tasting, healthy, high fiber, easy to make salad for lunch or as a side for dinner.

I am a flower child, it's true. My mom made this for me a lot while I was growing up. I loved it. I still do, I just do not add the rice polish (an health food ingredient from the 70's).

There are versions of this salad served at buffets, which have soggy raisins, wilted carrots, sweetened coconut shreds and canned pineapple tidbits added - YUK. This is not that salad.

This salad is fresh, with crunchy seeds and chewy raisins, a little sweet, with just the right amount of tang to make things interesting.

The dressing is healthy too. It has a nice protein content from the yogurt and sunnies (sun flower seeds). Please make sure your sunnies are fresh. Rancid seeds will ruin your salad.

I am going to reveal a excellent chef's secret to you now...

Add a PINCH of ground cinnamon - just a pinch! If wisely done, you don't taste the cinnamon, but my-O-my what it does to lift the flavor! This is an "extra-super chef's secret" (to quote my mother, Nancy Glazier), to use an "under the radar" pinch of cinnamon in many sweet recipes.

Now you know.

Flower Child Carrot Raisin Salad Recipe:

1 quart (packed) peeled and grated organic carrots
1 c. plain yogurt or plain Greek yogurt
1/3 c. Best Foods or Hellman's Mayonnaise (or your favorite brand)
3 T. raw honey, or more to taste
1 to 2 T. raw apple cider vinegar, to taste
1/2 t. sea salt
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 1/4 t. rice polish, optional
1/2 c. organic raw shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 c. (packed) organic raisins


Wash, trim, and peel the carrots. Grate in a Cusinart food processor, or by hand.

In a serving bowl, mix the dressing ingredients together to taste. It should be tangy and sweet.

Mix in the rice polish powder, if using

Add the grated carrots to the dressing, and add the sunflower seeds and raisins.

Mix well to coat and serve immediately.


If you plan on serving the salad later, add the raisins at serving time, that way they are chewy instead of mushy.



Favorite Rosemary Lemon Chicken - Italian Restaurant Copy-Cat

Rosemary Lemon Chicken
Flavor-packed Rosemary Lemon Chicken that is better than any restaurant! 

This recipe is now one of our family favorites. It is so juicy and bright tasting. It's also easy!

My daughter Naomi is a foodie too. She was inspired last month to make this dish. She felt like creating a zippy skillet chicken featuring rosemary and lemon. I offered her the ideas of adding fresh garlic, brining the meat beforehand for more rosemary flavor, and making a tasty glaze at the end. I let Naomi take the lead on this one, which was fun. I brined the meat. she cooked and seasoned it, then I made the final glaze, with her watching me so I could teach her how to do it. She seasoned it perfectly (proud mom smiling). I have told all of my children that a secret to being a great cook is just knowing what good food tastes like! It's kinda like knowing your destination before you get there, so then you will know when you have arrived.

Glazed Rosemary Lemon Chicken
We made this dish again together last night. Naomi says we have to put this on our blog, and I definitely agree. So now I'm sharing our recipe with you!

I highly recommend brining your chicken, so plan ahead a bit. Fresh rosemary is wonderful here, although dried will work OK. If you must use dried rosemary, boil your 1 cup of water and pour it over the rosemary, cover and steep like you would when making an herbal tea. This will infuse your chicken with a stronger rosemary flavor more quickly. This dish is supposed to have a big hit of rosemary. YUM.

Rosemary Lemon Chicken Recipe:

Serves: 6

1 c. hot water
2 T. sea salt
1 t. Lakanto sweetener (erythritol + monk fruit)
1 clove garlic, smashed into a paste with some of the sea salt
20 grinds black pepper
1 t. fresh rosemary leaves, smashed with some of the sea salt
cold water, to cover the chicken

6 skinless boneless organic chicken breasts, thawed
2 T. organic butter or ghee
2 T. deodorized coconut oil
4 cloves garlic
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 t. lemon pepper seasoning
1/4 t. dried basil

1/2 c. water
1 t. organic chicken base
1 t. tapioca starch
1 T. butter, optional

Rosemary sprigs
Thin sliced lemon



Dissolve the sea salt and Lakanto sweetener into the cup of hot water. Add the garlic, rosemary, and black pepper. Stir together and let steep together a few minutes while you prep the chicken meat.

Thaw the chicken meat and trim off any excess fat. Place in a large shallow bowl.

Pour the salt water mixture over the chicken. Add enough cold water to completely immerse the meat. Let the chicken marinate in the brine for 2 hours. May also marinate in a large (1-gallon) zip-lock bag.


When you are ready to cook the chicken, remove chicken from the brine and let drain. Heat the butter and coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the 4 cloves of smashed garlic and place the chicken in the pan. Lower the heat to medium.

Squeeze half of the lemon juice over top and sprinkle with half of the rosemary, which has been stripped off it's stem. Sprinkle the chicken with the lemon pepper and basil.

Cook uncovered until the chicken starts to look golden brown underneath.

Flip the chicken over and sprinkle with the remaining rosemary leaves. cook until golden brown on the other side. Check meat to make sure it is cooked through (you should see no pink in the center).

Remove the meat to a serving platter and set aside. Leave the drippings in the pan.


For the glaze, mix the chicken base and tapioca starch into the 1/2 cup water.

Heat the frying pan with the drippings to medium-high. Pour the starch mixture into the pan and whisk until thickened and bubbly. Add additional butter, if desired.

Squeeze the rest of the lemon juice over top the glaze and whisk in. taste for seasoning.

Pour glaze over the hot chicken and serve immediately.

Garnish with fresh sprigs of rosemary leaves and lemon slices if desired.


If your frying pan is too small, your meat wont brown because too much moisture accumulates. If this happens, just cook the meat on both sides until completely cooked through. Transfer 3 breasts at a time to a new fry pan of sizzling butter and quickly brown on both sides. Repeat with the last 3 breasts. Scrape the leftover butter into the pan with the rosemary drippings and continue on with making the glaze.

You may add the zest from the half lemon, if desired (use an organic lemon for this).

The brined chicken stays very moist and does not need additional salt added. It is forgiving if you accidentally over-cook it. Make sure that you have added enough fresh lemon juice at the end. The flavor should be robust with rosemary, yet bright from the citrus, and not too tart.

Photos of the process: