“THE BEST” Chicken (or Leftover Turkey!) Barley Soup

Why do I call it “THE BEST” you ask?!  Well…because of this…

Photo (7)Hahahahaaaa.  I think instead of being a post about “Feeding Mr. Rodgers,”  this should be “Pleasing Mamma Monaghan.”  The original idea was to create a chicken noodle soup without noodles.  Haha, I tend to cook classic foods without their main ingredient I have noticed.  Mr.  Rodgers loves chicken noodle soup…especially on days like the ones we have been having.  Cold.  Wet.  Dark.  Well I wanted to leave out the noodles for health reasons, but still wanted something nice and tasty other than just veggies and meat.  And I began to reminisce on my childhood when my mamma would make barley soups, so I thought I’d try it out.   Well my mamma in law decided to try a bowl…and promptly informed me that there might not be any left when I came home from work that night.  She then packaged it up and put it in the fridge for me…and I found this note.  Hahahah.  So sweet and fun!  And it really didn’t last very long either.  She devoured it, and I am so glad, cause she’s not a big eater so I love it when she goes crazy on healthy foods!!

But she wasn’t the only one thrilled with it.  It truly was perfect for our rainy day and the flavor was beyond wonderful and comforting.  I used chicken breast, but here is the beauty of a soup like this…you can use whatever meat you have laying around.  So tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  Why not re-purpose the left over turkey into a barley soup?  Not only delicious…but oh so frugal!  And a good way to get the kids to eat the same thing for days without realizing (or complaining about) it, eh?

So…I think this was adapted from marthastewart.com.  But honestly, when you look up Chicken Barley Soup recipes…they are pretty close to identical so I can’t remember for sure which one I based this off of haha!

 

Here’s what you need!

  • 3 Tbsp Butter or Coconut Oil
  • 4 Large Carrots, Diced
  • 4 Celery Stalks, Diced
  • 3-5 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 Onion, Diced
  • 2-3 Lg Chicken Breasts, Cut into cubes (or about 2 Cups cooked Turkey!  Or meat of choice!)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 6 C Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 5 Sprigs Thyme
  • 1 C Barley (I did not use quick cooking because I wanted to let it simmer!  You can use either and just adjust the time/wait for it to get tender)

 

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Prep all your veggies!
  2. Melt your butter or coconut in a large pot over medium heat and add all your veggies except the garlic.  Cook until starting to get tender; about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and stir in, cooking another 30 seconds.
  3. Cut up your chicken and season with salt and pepper.  Add to the skillet and cook a few minutes, until starting to brown. (If you are using leftover meat, you just have to throw it right on in there!)
  4. Add chicken broth and thyme.  Bring it to a boil then add the barley.  Now cover and reduce; letting simmer until you are ready to eat!  (At least 15 minutes so the chicken gets cooked through, but I let mine simmer for a good part of the morning while I did laundry and such wifely things!  Gotta love mornings off!)  How easy as that?!  Easy as pie!  Speaking of pie…you will probably be regretting all the pie you eat on Thanksgiving, so this recipe will be really good for upset tummies and trimming for expanding waist lines, haha!!!  Enjoy!

 

Prep your veggies!

PhotoMelt your butter or coconut oil in a big ol’ pot…

Photo (1)

Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds or so, until fragrant.

Photo (3)Add your meat source…be it chicken breast, left over turkey, browned ground beef…don’t forget a little salt and pepper!

Photo (4)

Add chicken broth and thyme….

Photo (5)Bring to a boil, add barley, reduce heat, and simmer till done!  At least 15 minutes but can be simmered as you do your laundry until you are ready to eat!  😉

Photo (6)Yummy yummy in your tummy, healthy healthy for your body!! Hopefully you will find a note kind of like this on top of your soup!!

Photo (7)❤  LOVE IT!

 

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Spiced Rack of Lamb With Pomegranate and Honey over Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Sounds super fanc, right?  Well.  It is, haha.  And yes, I said “fanc” on purpose.  Apparently shortening your words when you speak is really cool, so I’m totes trying it out.

Wow.  I don’t know what just happened.  Let’s move on.

On to lamb.  I LOVE lamb. I had barely had it until this past year.  I can honestly say I only remember having it in one dish: gyros.  And even then it was not often, and usually mixed half and half with beef.  But then I made it for the first time with our Rack of Lamb with Garlicy Pesto…and my life was forever changed.  We were HOOKED.  However, because of the price tag, we don’t get to enjoy it often.  Well.  I had a little extra in the grocery budget this month.  So I bought a rack of lamb.  And did a little happy dance.  And discovered this little beauty from myfoodbook.com.  And did another happy dance.  🙂

Because of my crazy schedule, I had to wait a few days to cook this, and I almost went mad with anticipation knowing this beautiful piece of meat was waiting for me in the fridge!  But I tell you what, it didn’t disappoint!  I don’t know how I have gone without lamb for these past few months!  Yummy.

So let’s get down to it!  Just a little note….the original is served with a garlic yogurt sauce.  Mr. Rodgers and I aren’t huge fans of plain Greek yogurt.  But I mixed up the sauce in an effort to be brave and try it anyways…and then decided I didn’t want to be brave anymore haha!  Then I had an idea…which I am very thankful for.  I was already planning on serving this dish with mashed cauliflower…which I usually make creamy with sour cream.  So instead of sour cream, I just used my garlic yogurt sauce and BAM!  Garlic yogurt mashed cauliflower.  EAT IT!  No, really.  Eat it.  Do it.  You won’t regret it.

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Rack of Lamb
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Coriander
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Head Cauliflower
  • 1 C Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 – 1 Stick Butter
  • 1 Pomegranate
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Roasted Almond Flakes

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Mix together all you seasonings in a small bowl and rub all over your rack of lamb.  Set in the fridge until you are ready to cook, preferably about half an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400*
  3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat, with the coconut oil in the bottom.  We are going for a nice char, so I would make it closer to high heat than medium.  HOWEVER, if you don’t like the crispy dark crust on meat…go for more like medium.  🙂
  4. Toss in your lamb and cook about 2 minutes per side, just till you get your desired amount of char…or “brown.”
  5. Slide the skillet into your oven and cook about 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, chop your cauliflower into florets and toss into a pot of boiling water until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  7. Mince garlic and stir into Greek yogurt.
  8. Drain cauliflower and dump into a blender, in shifts if needed.  Add half a stick of butter or so, your yogurt mixture, salt and pepper, and blend till creamy perfection.  Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and butter.
  9. Put a pile of mashed cauliflower on each plate, top with a piece of lamb or two, then sprinkle with pomegranate, almonds, and honey!!  DIG IN!  Bam!

Peectures:

Photo (9)Gather your spices and combine in a small bowl.

Photo (10)Cover that rack of lamb with that rub!!  Set in fridge until ready to cook!

Photo (11)Preheat oven to 400*.  Melt 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

Photo (12)Toss in your lamb and cook about 2 minutes per side until you have your desired amount of char/brownness.  We like ours crispyyyy!

Photo (13)See?  Yes, it looks pretty dark, but it turned out perfect!  Slide into your oven and cook about 20 minutes.

Chop your cauliflower into florets and toss in boiling water for 10-15 minutes, until tender.  Meanwhile mince garlic and stir into yogurt.  Drain cauliflower and toss in a blender with yogurt mixture and about 1/2 cube butter, and salt and pepper.  Blend until creamy.

Photo (14)Creamyyyyy.  Picture doesn’t do it justice unfortunately.  Now plop a big spoonful on your plate…

Photo (15)Slice lamb between bones, and place one or two on top of the mashed cauliflower…

Photo (16)Sprinkle with pomegranate “seeds,” almonds, and a drizzle of honey.  Perfection!

Photo (17)I was so worried I had over cooked it, but it turned out just how we liked it!!  This was definitely a man pleaser!

Photo (18)What do you think?

Photo (19)This not only renewed my love for lamb, it also renewed my love for pomegranate.  I had given up on pomegranate because I kept trying to drink pomegranate flavored things and never liked it.  But I gave it a try for this recipe, and realized just how wonderful and not at all like the “pomegranate flavoring” it was.  I had forgotten!

Photo (20)Yums!  Enjoy!

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Creamy Garlic Mushroom Sauce

Boom.

If that name itself doesn’t entice you, then I don’t think you are human.  Or at least, you don’t have taste buds.  Or a heart.  One of the two.  Hehe, just kidding.

I just have to say one thing.  My dad is the bomb.
See, he came all the way from Washington to spend a week with me in New York!  We had all these fun options of things to do with him, but you know what he wanted to do the most?  Just be with his daughter and son in law, living life how they do.  Experiencing their day to day.  Sweet.  😉  Yes, I know I am getting mushy, but…you should be thankful, because it was his above mentioned attitude and desire that birthed this monster of a recipe.  He knows how much I love my food blog, and that it brings me joy to create beautiful meals…so he decided that together, we had to create a fabulous idea from scratch.  So we put our brains together, and this bad boy came into existence.

I tell you what.  You won’t want to miss it!  I don’t usually do mushrooms.  I was shoving this sauce into my mouth as fast as I could!  And the stuffed chicken was just such a fun combo!  Man!!!  You should try it!  Maybe make it with a family member and spread the love!  We had lots of fun dreaming it up, so we hope you can share in that!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 6 Chicken Breasts
  • 6 Slices Quality Deli Salami
  • 6 Slices Swiss Cheese
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Package Mushrooms, Sliced (or chopped into bits.  Ours started sliced and ended chopped, haha!)
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 C Half and Half  (We were splurging for celebration!  If you want to keep in lines of my usual, slightly healtier habits…use almond milk and increase the amount of flour…use a good quality, healthier flour)
  • 1 Tbsp Flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Pinch of Oregano

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Slice your Swiss Cheese and remove 6 slices of salami from the bag (if you have extra, that is.  You are going to be touching raw chicken, so you don’t want to grab one piece at a time and contaminate the rest!  That’s good sammich meat there!)
  2. Carefully split your chicken lengthwise, but not all the way.  Butterfly!  If this is your first time butterflying a chicken breast, you can see my pictures below for help…and please be careful!
  3. Place a slice of salami and swiss on one half of each breast, folding as necessary so you don’t have a lot hanging over.  Flop the chicken breast closed.
  4. Cook your chicken in a method you choose…baking or grilling would work great!  We grilled ours in foil packets and it worked pretty well!  You just have to be careful not to leave it on too long so it doesn’t dry out 🙂
  5. Now start your sauce!!  Slice your mushrooms and mince the garlic!
  6. Melt the butter in a pan.
  7. Add mushrooms.  Cook a few minutes, until beginning to soften.
  8. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute or so, until you get a wonderful garlic smell!
  9. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix in, and simmer until thickened.
  10. Spoon over cooked chicken, and devour!

 

 

With pictures!!:Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 4Slice your Swiss Cheese and remove 6 slices of salami from the bag (if you have extra, that is.  You are going to be touching raw chicken, so you don’t want to grab one piece at a time and contaminate the rest!  That’s good sammich meat there!)

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

 

Place chicken breast flat on your cutting board.  Put your palm flat  on top of the breast, and line the knife up lengthwise about halfway down.  Slowly and carefully begin slicing toward the other end, but do not cut all the way through.

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 2

 

See?

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 3

 

Here it is, butterflied.  Open it up and lay it flat.

Salami Swiss Stuffed CHicken with Mushroom Sauce 5

 

Place one slice of salami and swiss on top of one half of the breast.  Take the other half and close it back up.  Now cook it up how you wish…baking or grilling!  Meanwhile….

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 6

 

Start your sauce!  Slice up your mushrooms.

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 7

 

Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet….is it weird that just that is appetizing to me?  Haha!

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 8

 

Add your mushrooms and begin to saute, and chop up if you want smaller pieces.  We went this route! 🙂

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 9

 

Let cook a few minutes, until mushrooms begin to soften.

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 10

 

Add your garlic and stir in.  Cook for about 30 seconds to a minute longer.  You should be smelling a heavenly garlic smell right about now.

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 11

 

Now add the rest of the ingredients and stir in.  Let simmer until it thickens to a wonderful creamy goodness.

Salami Swiss Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 14

 

Now place the chicken on a plate and drench in a big spoonful of sauce!

Salami Swiss stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce 15

 

How good does that look?!  Let me tell you….it is FANTASTIC!!

Here’s to you daddy, and a beautifully created meal!

Simple Grilled Garlic Dijon Salmon (Summer Grillin’!)

I am passionate about food…and because of that fact, I have no issue with taking time on it.  However, some nights, you just want to throw something together and be eating within 20 minutes, but still have it taste fantastic!  That was the case the night I tried out this beautiful recipe from skinnytaste.com.  It was just a wonderful recipe.  I didn’t change a thing!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 4 salmon fillets (6 oz)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Lemon wedges

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your grill, about medium!
  2. Salt and pepper your fillets!
  3. Now…turn the rest of the ingredients into a paste!!  You can do this a number of ways…either toss them all into a mini food processor, use a mortar and pestle if you have them…or if you are cool like me and don’t have either of those…mince your garlic small, and using the flat part of your knife, smash it back and forth a few times until it starts becoming paste-like.  Then mix with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl!
  4. Cook for about 5 minutes.  Flip it and spread some of the paste on the fish.  After cooking about 3 more minutes, flip again and spread the remaining paste on the other side.  Cook another minute or so, remove from grill, garnish with lemon, and serve!! 🙂

Note:  Cooking times will differ depending on the thickness of your fish.  It will turn opaque and flake easily with a fork when ready!  🙂

Another note:  You should really go check out skinnytaste.com, they’re awesome and I’m so glad I discovered this recipe from them!

Peectures!

Grilled Dijon Salmon 1

Salt and Pepper your fillets!  Preheat your grill to medium.

Grilled Dijon Salmon 4

Create a paste with all remaining ingredients, except the lemon.  You can do this with a mini food processor, mortar and pestle, or simply mashing the garlic as best you can and mixing it all together!

Grilled Dijon Salmon 3

Find a cute guy to grill for you!  Okay, so that is an optional step….but that’s how I like to do it 😉

Grilled Dijon Salmon 2

Grill for 5 minutes, flip and smear with half the paste.  Cook another 3 minutes, flip again, smear again, and cook another minute or so.  Remove from grill when opaque and flakey.  Garnish with lemon, and serve!! Enjoy it’s beautiful simplicity!

Grilled Dijon Salmon 5

Yaaaaaaaaaay!!!  So tasty!!!!!!!!!  You’ll love itttttt!!!!

Hearty Roast Beef and Swiss Salad

These are a few of my favorite thiiiiings!!!  I just got that song in my head, because of this salad.  This is pulling from the archives, but I felt it was time for a nice big hearty salad recipe; it’s been a while.  However it has been long enough that I was studying the picture to help me remember exactly what I put in it…and I found myself thinking “what did I put in this salad other than beef and swiss?  Well…my favorite things!!”  Then without warning my mind was transported to a dance scene with the Van Trapps, haha.  Anywho.  Back to food.

This salad was fantastic.  It was one from the very beginning of our Maker’s Diet adventure, in fact it was adapted right from perfectweightamerica.com!  It was also one of the first days of summer last year…and I was still nannying.  I had put the baby to bed for her nap and went outside, sat on the wicker furniture, soaked in the sunshine that really wasn’t all that warm yet…and ate my salad and felt sooooooo good.  🙂  I was surprised how happy it made me!  You should try it so it can make you happy too!  🙂  Oh, and, as always…feel free to play with it!!  More or less of what you like….add things….have fun with it!  Salads are a great canvas!  This will stuff you…yay for healthy lunches that stuff you!!!

 

So…here’s what you need!

  • 1 Heart Romaine, rinsed and chopped or ripped into bite size pieces
  • A couple handfuls of spinach or mixed greens
  • 1/2 lb(ish) deli roast beef, sliced into strips
  • 1/4-1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 Tomato, sliced
  • 1 Cucumber, sliced
  • Dressing of choice (my favorite includes EVOO, AC Vinegar, Lemon Juice, tiny bit of Greek Yogurt, Dijon Mustard, and Sriracha!)
  • Swiss Cheese, grated to taste (I believe I used about 3 oz)
  • 1 Avocado, sliced

 

And, here’s how you do it.  (honestly, I don’ think this needs directions haha)

  1. Get your eggs boiling.
  2. Rinse and cut all your veggies, meat, and cheese accordingly.
  3. Put lettuce and greens in a large bowl and top with other ingredients.  Toss if you desire.
  4. Mix up your dressing (or take a bottle out of the fridge).  Dress each serving separately because this is a large salad and you don’t want it to get wilty…cause you can eat it for lunch tomorrow too!
  5. Eat and be amazed.  Tasty, so your “buds” are satisfied.  Filling, so your tummy is satisfied.  And yet healthy, so you don’t feel like you have bricks in your gut.  PERFECT for hot summer days!!

 

 

Here’s some pictures, to show you how crazy easy this is 😉

Roast Beef and Swiss Salad 1

 

Make sure your eggs are boiled or boiling.  Prep your veggies, slice your beef and grate your cheese.  And theeeeen…

Roast Beef and Swiss Salad 2Put it all in a bowl!!!  Whoo!!  That was difficult 😛

Roast Beef and Swiss Salad 3Yummy! Protein, vitamins, AND flavor!  How?!  I don’t know, but it’s wonderful….!

Roast Beef and Swiss SaladAll tossed together!!  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

For When I Want a Donut

This is going to be a quick little post…to help you get through the days when you get to work and they have a whole box of Dunkin Donuts available for the taking.  Sigh.  Oh…am I the only one that that happened to?  Haha.  I just wanted to give you an idea for a little treat that is sweet, satisfying, and will not taste fake and make you feel like crap.  If you have been eating healthy for a stretch of time, and then had a donut…you will know exactly what I mean 😉

So, here’s what you need:

  • Spelt bread, or something similar
  • 1/2 a banana
  • Almond butter
  • Honey, preferably organic and raw.  But either way it’s going to be better than a donut.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. You are probably guessing where this is going.  Pretty self explanatory.  Toast the bread.  Spread the almond butter, slice the bananas on top.  Drizzle with honey.  Enjoy the sweet taste, the hearty feel, and the fact that you aren’t poisoning yourself!  Yay!

It may not look like much, but it is exactly what I needed to get me through the temptation…and honestly I didn’t feel like I was missing out!!  You should try ittttttt!

When I want a donut 2