Square Meal Round table
When we get a rainy day, and trust us, it is not that often, we make soup. This was a new one for us and was inspired by the half market rotisserie chicken sitting in the fridge. Yes, it is super easy to roast a chicken, but sometimes it is even easier to buy the organic one already ready to roll at the market. When it is just us, the little family of four and not the big family of ten, it usually gets us one dinner, one lunch and then one extra something. This soup combines all the flavors that are a usual home run with the kids as they love Mexican food, and they love playing with their food and this soup lets them have and do both. The flavors of chili, cumin, and cilantro are warming, and when served with all the condiments like avocado, lime, cheese, chips and sour cream, you get the feelings of chili or taco night but the soup is a whole lot lighter. We added some heat with hot sauces and the kids loved crushing the chips into the soup. The oldest wanted it for lunch the next day, and for any mom serving a new dish to pick eaters, that is the best compliment we can receive!
Chicken Tortilla soup
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
32 ounces chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
3-4 cups water
1 box strained tomatoes, about 26 ounces
1 onion, diced
4-ounce can of mild green chili
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. Ancho chili pepper
1-tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2-3 cups shredded cooked chicken
Tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream, cheese, lime, cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and salt and cook for 2 minutes, then add garlic, green chili, and the spices and sauté for five minutes, until everything begins to soften. Add the tomato paste and sauté for 2 more minutes.
Add the water, stock and tomatoes, then the fresh cilantro and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for one hour.
Add the chicken and corn into the soup and cook for another ten minutes so both heat through.
Serve and let everyone top as they like!
This dish is in heavy rotation in our house as all generations enjoy it. It can be made in under thirty minutes so makes for a great weeknight meal. Get the kids involved in separating the lettuce leaves and mixing the sauce. The grown-ups like to add a little heat in the wrapping process. We like this meal as for kids it has lots of veggies, good protein and usual the plates come back clean.
Minced Chicken in Lettuce Cups
1 lb. ground chicken meat
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 small zucchinis, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 scallions, diced
¼ tsp salt
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely minced
Lettuce leaves, either iceberg, butter, or Boston Bibb
2 tsp. plus 2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Mirin
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tsp. marmalade (orange, apricot, lemon)
½ tsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. sesame seeds
In a small bowl mix 2 tsp. sesame oil, the rice wine vinegar, Mirin, soy sauce, marmalade, and brown sugar. Set aside.
Sautee garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon sesame oil, then add zucchini, carrots, and scallions. Add salt. Sautee until everything begins to brown and begins to get tender. Push all the vegetables to the side of sauté pan and add the remaining sesame oil, then the chicken. Cook until chicken is cooked all the way through then mix the veggies and chicken together. Add sauce and cook for two minutes until sauce thickens and reduces slightly.
Serve in lettuce cups with rice.
We are always experimenting, trying to find new ways to spice up a salad. Lately, we have been obsessed with grilling some of the vegetables and combining them with raw. It gives the salad a nice combination and texture of soft versus crunchy and the char on the grilled veggies imparts a nice smoky flavor. What really though turns this salad on in the vinaigrette. Sweet, floral, spicy, tart, and tangy. It hits all the right umami notes. Try leftovers in a rice bowl with some steamed spinach and baked salmon.
Kale, Grilled Vegetable and Grilled Chicken salad with Coconut Lime vinaigrette
3 cups kale, stemmed and sliced fine
2 cups red leaf lettuce sliced or shredded into bite sized pieces
1 small eggplant sliced into ¼ inch rings
5 scallions with tips removed
1 zucchini sliced long ways into ¼ inch thick pieces
1 yellow squash sliced long ways into ¼ inch thick pieces
1 firm stone fruit, diced (can be plums or peaches)
¼ cup radishes thinly sliced
2 Persian cucumbers, diced
1 chicken breast
½ -1 cup coconut lime vinaigrette
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
On the grill or in a grill pan, grill eggplant, squash, zucchini and scallions until tender, then dice. Set aside.
Season chicken breast with salt and pepper and grill in pan or on grill. (About 5 minutes per side.) Remove from heat and dice.
Dress kale with ½ cup dressing and massage. Let kale sit for at least five minutes.
Toss all ingredients together and add more dressing to your liking.
Coconut lime Vinaigrette
Makes about 2 cups
Juice of 3 limes
Zest of 3 limes
6 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons of fresh mint, minced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1-cup full fat coconut milk
3 cloves garlic minced
1 Serrano pepper, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, garlic and brown sugar until sugar dissolves. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until mixed.
Serve with rice bowls or as dressing for any salad including the Kale, Grilled Vegetable and Grilled Chicken salad.
Every generation in our house loves take-out Orange Chicken, so that inspired us to try to make our own. This dish is lighter then your normal delivery as the only breading you have is a light coating of cornstarch and it is pan fried, not deep fried. It has a sweet and sour flavor that hits those citrus notes, with a subtle heat from the ginger and chili flakes. If you are making this for kids, you may want to skip the chili flakes and add some at the end for the grown-ups.
Make-In Orange Chicken
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. orange zest
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ tsp. red chili flakes
½ inch piece fresh ginger, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
3-4 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
Canola oil for frying
Scallions or sesame seeds for garnish( about one scallion and 1 tsp. sesame seeds)
In a small saucepan bring orange juice, zest, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, chili flakes, ginger and garlic to a boil. Then, turn heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half.
Pat chicken pieces with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
In a large bowl add salt and cornstarch and toss in chicken until all pieces are well coated.
In a large sauté pan or wok heat enough Canola oil so that the oil comes up the side of pan about ¼ of an inch. When hot, add chicken in batches, browning on all sides. About 5 minutes per batch. Remove from pan. Drain pan of excess oil. Add all of the chicken back in and pour sauce over. Heat for 1-2 minutes until all of chicken is coated. Then, sprinkle sesame seeds or diced scallions over the top and serve.
*If you want a thicker sauce add 1 tsp. of cornstarch to the sauce when you add it to the chicken.
Serve with Rice
Grandma Alice did not make many dishes, but the ones she did, she honed over many years. We have tweaked this slightly but it still retains her memory. The key is the sweet Hungarian paprika, which lends a smoky flavor without any heat, and the assortment of peppers. We have added the orange pepper but use what you have on hand. The meat is tender and juicy, and served over rice is a hit with all generations at our table.
Grandma Alice’s Hungarian Chicken and Pepper’s Stew
1 whole chicken cut in parts plus 2 extra whole breasts cut in half
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 orange pepper, sliced
1 large brown onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 of a cup of Hungarian sweet paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup of olive oil
2 boxes of chopped tomatoes
In large pan, heat half of the olive oil and sauté all vegetable until soft over medium heat. Remove from pan and reserve. Add the remaining olive oil and heat to high. While pan is heating, rub chicken with salt, pepper and paprika. Add chicken to pan and brown on both sides, about five minutes per side. Return vegetables to pan and add tomatoes. Reduce heat and cover. Cook until chicken is tender and falling off bone about one hour.
Serve with steamed rice
A square meal is satisfying, nourishing, complete.
A round table includes all.