Orange Tortilla Soup

Here goes another tortilla soup recipe :-), but this one, from The Sister's Cafe, isn't really like a tortilla soup in my opinion. It was super tasty though. I loved the fun flavor the orange juice gave the soup. And everything came together very quickly! We topped ours with crushed chips and avocado chunks.

1 Medium yellow onion, chopped
1 Clove Garlic, minced
4 Celery Stalks, sliced
3 Tbs. Vegetable Oil
2 ½ C. Chicken Broth
1 ½ C. Orange Juice
1 14 oz. Can Tomato Sauce
1 C. Water
1 4 oz. can Diced Green Chilies
1 Tbs. Chopped Cilantro
½ Bag Matchstick Carrots
2-3 Chicken Breasts (I used 1 can chicken but added some taco seasoning to the soup as well)
Grated Pepper Jack/Cheddar Cheese/ Queso Fresco (mexican crumbling cheese)
Tortilla Strips/Chips
Sour Creams

1. In large pot sauté onion, garlic, celery, and carrots with oil until onions are translucent.
2. Add broth, orange juice, water, and tomato sauce, cilantro, and chilies and simmer until vegetables are tender.
3. While soup is simmering pan fry or grill the chicken breasts with taco seasoning (optional), then shred or dice (I prefer diced) into small pieces. Add to soup.
4. Add your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Fiesta Rice Salad

I really liked this rice salad from All You magazine. It is versatile, so you can eat it plan, with tortilla chips, in a tortilla like a burrito, etc. It made tons so it has been lunch for me for the week too (I just didn't add in all the avocados and throw in some fresh ones when I'm ready). You could make it more of a meal by adding some grilled chicken too.

* 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
* 3 tablespoons olive oil (I just used 1)
* 3 tablespoons roasted tomato salsa
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups cold cooked brown rice
* 1 cup cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
* 2 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
* 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
* 1 cup small cherry tomatoes, halved
* 3 scallions, thinly sliced
* 1 avocado
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (I used 3 T)


1. In a small bowl, stir together lime juice, oil, salsa, cumin and salt. In a large bowl, stir together rice and corn, breaking up any rice clumps.
2. Pour lime-juice mixture over rice mixture and stir well to coat. Add beans, bell pepper, tomatoes and scallions, and toss gently to combine.
3. Just before serving, pit, peel and dice avocado, and stir gently into salad. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired, and serve.

Low Calorie Hummus

I LOVE hummus but was sad when I looked at the fat and calorie content on my favorite kind recently and discovered it wasn't quite as healthy as I thought :-). I've been wanting to try making my own for awhile now but it seems like the recipes I would find called for tahini and I could never remember to buy it. Then I saw this version on Fit Family Meals and couldn't pass it up. It was super easy, tasted great and is totally good for you...Hooray!!!

15-oz. can garbanzo beans drained, liquid reserved (I didn't need any extra liquid)
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. black pepper
(I also added some onion powder)

Combine garbanzo beans, garlic, cumin and salt in a food processor. Blend on low speed, gradually adding reserved garbanzo bean liquid, until desired consistency is achieved. Servings 6 (3 TBS). 76 calories each

Time for a Fiesta

Here is the plan for Adeline's family Birthday party on Sunday...
(she actually wanted spaghetti, but we had that tonight instead :-).

Taco in a Bowl

Ever since Ella saw this recipe (which included a cartoon picture of a big taco) in an issue of The Friend, she has been really wanting to make it. We would usually be at church when she would tell me and then I would forget until she brought it up again in the middle of the week when the menu had already been planned. So, she was SUPER excited that we finally had it! I was skeptical she would actually eat it because she has been so picky lately, but she ate her whole bowl...because it was just like a taco of course :-)! The recipe is pretty much a taco soup recipe, but I felt like the addition of green beans made it a little healthier and it had a nice flavor to it (not to mention it was super easy to make).

1 pound (454 g) ground beef, turkey, or chicken
1 cup chopped onion
(I added 2 t minced garlic)
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
2 tablespoons ranch-style powder dressing mix
1 15-ounce (425-g) can chicken broth
1 15-ounce (425-g) can water (use the empty chicken-broth can)
2 15-ounce (425-g) cans red kidney beans, including juice (I used one can pinto and one kidney beans and I rinsed and drained them and just added some extra water)
1 15-ounce (425-g) can diced tomatoes, drained (I used roasted garlic)
1 15-ounce (425-g) can corn, drained
1 15-ounce (425-g) can green beans, drained
taco chips
grated cheese

1. Cook the ground meat and onion in a skillet until completely cooked.
2. Put the ground meat mixture into a large pot. Stir in the taco and dressing seasonings. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.
3. Bring the soup to a boil. Put the lid on the pot and cook on low temperature for a half hour.
4. Serve with taco chips and grated cheese on top.

Hawaiin Chicken Bowl

This recipe is from Kill the Gluten and I decided to try it because it looked good most importantly, I love broccoli and it used a crock pot. It was really good, pretty healthy and the ranch was a fun addition I wouldn't have thought of on my own. They mentioned that they have made it with pork too and that it was just as tasty.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 3)
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple (I used lite)
1 bottle (16 oz) [gf] barbecue sauce (I used lite)
4-6 cups rice, cooked (I used 1/2 white and 1/2 brown)
Steamed broccoli
Ranch dressing

Place meat in 3 1/2-5 quart slow cooker. Combine pineapple and barbecue sauce and pour over meat. Cook on high heat for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Layer in bowls: rice, chicken, broccoli, and a little ranch dressing. Makes 4-6 servings.

Five-Spice Coconut Chicken

Back to healthy eating again after a weekend of indulgence :-). This is a Rachael Ray recipe and it was really good. I cut up my chicken and peas and tossed it together as more of a stir fry. It was light, but still flavorful.

* 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut milk (I used light)
* 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon honey
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lime juice
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
* 2-1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder (I used an Asian spice mix I had on hand)
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 8 boneless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds total), pounded flat (I used 2 large chicken breasts)
* 1/2 pound sugar snap peas
* Cooked white rice, for serving (I used Basmati rice and used the rest of my coconut milk in it...sooo yummy!)

1. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon coconut milk, 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon lime juice. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1/3 cup coconut milk, 2 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoon lime juice with the soy sauce, garlic, five-spice powder and salt. Add the chicken thighs, coating well. Marinate for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sugar snap peas and cook for 1 minute; drain. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with the reserved coconut-honey dressing.
4. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium. Grill the chicken thighs for about 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Serve with the sugar snap peas and rice.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (Pioneer Woman Style)

Another tortilla soup recipe?! Yep :-)! I think I need a separate category devoted to tortilla soup...and I really need to go through and delete out the ones that aren't as good as the others. Any, back to this soup. When I saw this on The Pioneer Woman's site recently I knew I would have to try it. Was it good? Super good. Was it worth all the work to make it? Not in my opinion. Although the soup was tasty, I have had equally tasty tortilla soups that are a lot less time consuming to prepare, so I may add some elements from this one (like the bell peppers) to some of my other favorites but I don't know that I'll actually make this exact one again.
(Some of faves...My recipe, Tortilla Soup, Sopa Azteca, and Mexican Chicken Lime Soup)
(In this soup's defense, it does make a lot!)


* 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
* 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
* 1-½ teaspoon Cumin
* 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
* ½ teaspoons Garlic Powder
* ½ teaspoons Salt
* 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
* 1 cup Diced Onion
* ¼ cups Diced Green Bell Pepper
* ¼ cups Red Bell Pepper
* 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
* 1 can Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
* 32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
* 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
* 4 cups Hot Water
* 2 cans Black Beans, Drained
* 3 Tablespoons Cornmeal Or Masa
* 5 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches
* Garnishes:
* Sour Cream
* Diced Avocado
* Diced Red Onion
* Salsa Or Pico De Gallo
* Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
* Cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.

Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.

Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed—add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.

Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese, if you have it! (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)

Banana Cream Pie

As part of an activity at church last night some of the youth made homemade pies. I was excited to make one too, since I can always use baking practice :-). We used this fool proof pie crust recipe and the filling came right from Jell-O. It turned out delicious!!!

1 pkg banana cream flavor cook and serve pudding
2 cups milk
2 bananas, divided
9" baked pie crust
1 cup cool whip

Mix pudding mix and milk in medium saucepan. Bring to full boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Slice 1 1/2 bananas; spread onto bottom of crust. Cover with pudding. Refrigerate 4 hours. Spread cool whip over pie just before serving. Slice remaining banana; arrange over pie.

Fool Proof Pie Crust

This is super easy and super yummy...and comes from a wonderful baker at church, so you know it's got to be good!

Cut together with pastry blender:
4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups shortening

Mix in small bowl:
1 T sugar
2 t salt
1 T vinegar
1 egg
1/2 c water

Combine two mixtures until moistened. Chill 15 minutes.
(can refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze).
Bake at 425 degrees for 13-15 minutes.
Makes 3 crusts.

Lemon Artichoke Risotto

This is yet another Rachael Ray magazine recipe, and I think the last one I saved from her most recent issue. This was also my favorite of the ones I tried! It was SOOO delicious! I was glad it made enough for a couple days worth of leftovers for lunch because I looked forward to it every time. Even my kiddos ate most of theirs which shocked me...and made me happy :-)! The nuts give the meal enough substance that I don't even think you miss the meat.

2 cups chicken broth
4 T butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1 1/4 c drained chopped canned artichoke hearts (1 can)
grated peel of 1 lemon plus 2 t lemon juice (I used 2 1/2 t juice and no peel)
salt and pepper
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 c chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/3 c walnuts, toasted and chopped (I thought I had some but didn't so I used pecans instead and they were delish!)

-In saucepan, bring the broth and 4 c water to boil, cover and keep at a simmer.
-In large saucepan, melt 2 T butter over med heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.
-Stir in 1 cup of broth mixture, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed, 2-3 minutes. Maintaining a low simmer, continue to add the broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and allowing the rice to absorb the liquid. Cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
-In the last 3 minutes of coking, add the artichoke hearts, lemon peel, lemon juice and the remaining 2 T butter; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese, parsley and nuts.

Roasted Root Vegetables

This is another Rachael Ray recipe and was a great introduction to some new vegetables for me. I had never tried turnips or fennel and still haven't tried parsnips because I didn't find them at the grocery store I was at. I was a little nervous about the fennel, but ended up loving it, and didn't love the turnips...the potatoes I added were definitely better. I cut this recipe in half for our family.

3 lbs. small turnips, peeled and halved
2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 2-in pieces
1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut diagonally into 2-in pieces
2 8oz heads fennel, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/2-in wedges (after doing a little research online, I only used the bulb part and threw in some of the leafy tops too)
(I added 3 red potatoes cut in cubes)
salt and pepper
4 T butter
2 T chopped fresh sage

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-In large bowl, toss the turnips, carrots, parsnips and fennel with the olive oil; season with salt and pepper.
-Divide the vegetables between 2 rimmed baking sheets. (or use 1 if you half it like me). Roast, turning occasionally, until tender, about 1 hour; transfer to a large bowl. (I turned mine every 20 minutes)
-Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook the butter over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden-brown, about 5 minutes; stir in the sage and season with salt and pepper. Add to the vegetables and toss to coat.

Lazy Baked Greek Chicken

This a recipe from Rachael Ray and it turned out super, super yummy. I put a little less stuffing in my kids' chicken because I wasn't sure how they would like the feta and spinach, but they ate it all, so next time I'll just make it like ours. It's always fun to serve a chicken dish that looks so fancy too :-).

1/2 medium onion, finely shopped
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 10oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed (I used fresh spinach and wilted in the microwave in a bowl with a little water...just drain it well after)
salt and pepper
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (didn't have, so didn't use)
3 T butter
1 c panko breadcrumbs
1 t dried oregano
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 c crumbled feta cheese (mine was a garlic and herb kind)

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-Heat 1 T EVOO in small skillet over med heat. Add the onion and 2/3 of the garlic and cook until softened, 3-4 minutes.
-Transfer to a bowl to cool, then add the spinach and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
-Melt the butter in the same pan, turn off the heat and add the panko, oregano and remaining garlic; toss.
-Drizzle baking dish with remaining 1 T EVOO. Split each chicken breast across (but not all the way through) and open like a book. Stuff with the spinach and feta, letting the stuffing overflow at the edges.
-Place chicken pieces in the baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs. Bake until the juices run clear, about 20 minutes.

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

This is another recipe I saw in All You magazine and wanted to try. I am definitely a snacker, so when I am trying to be healthy it is key for me to have healthy snacks available or I will go for my trusty chips (oh, how I love chips!). These little guys were easy to make and crunchy and flavorful. I'm hoping the leftovers taste good too because even Addie loved them and they'd be great to have on hand!

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon cumin
* 1 teaspoon allspice (I didn't have so left out)
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* I added 1/2-3/4 t chili powder
* 2 15 1/2-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained, thoroughly patted dry


Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, salt and pepper. Add chickpeas and toss to coat thoroughly. Turn chickpeas out onto baking sheet and roast, stirring or shaking baking sheet often, until chickpeas are browned and crunchy, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool before serving, stirring occasionally.

Italian Sausage and Potato Roast

This recipe was in a recent issue of All You magazine and it looked easy and yummy and not too bad for...especially when you use turkey sausage instead like we did. I love roasted EVERYTHING :-) and this hit the spot!

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
3/4 lb. red potatoes, cut in quarters
1 T olive oil
1/4 t dried oregano
1 t garlic salt
1 lb. Italian sausage cut into chunks (I used a 14 oz turkey sausage)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, toss peppers, onion and potatoes with olive oil, oregano, garlic salt and pepper. Spread vegetables on baking sheet.
Distribute sausage chunks among vegetables. Roast until veggies begin to caramelize and sausages are cooked through, about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking.

Tex-Mex Beef Enchiladas

I saw these enchiladas on Peachtree Cooking while browsing for a meal using beef for the week. I was intrigued by the use of the chipotle chile in the sauce because I really like that flavor--and what do you know, I loved the new sauce :-)! Here is my adapted version...

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 can chicken broth
1 T chili powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1 t cumin
1/4 chopped cilantro
1/2 a chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced, plus 1 Tbs. adobo sauce from the can
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4-1 lb. lean ground beef
salt and pepper
corn torillas
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 350.
Make the sauce: in a saucepan, heat 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil over medium. Add cornstarch and cook, whisking for one minute. Add broth, spices, chipotle and adobo sauce, and 3/4 cup water; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat, add cilantro and simmer until lightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Make the filling: In a nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1/2 Tbs. olive oil over medium high. Add onion, garlic, and beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Spoon 1/4 cup sauce in bottom of an 8 inch square (I used 9x13) baking dish. Set aside. Make enchiladas: Stack tortillas and warm in foil in the oven. Fill each with a heaping 1/4 cup beef mixture and 2 Tbs. cheese; tightly roll up. Raise oven heat to 450. Arrange enchiladas in dish and top with remaining sauce and cheese at the very top. Bake uncovered until hot and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve garnished with cilantro.

Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup

(there is more broth than this, but it's hard to get a picture of all the yummy stuff when it is covered by broth)
I adapted this recipe is from a site I used to visit often but sadly isn't posting new recipes, Kill the Gluten. You can use whatever noodles you like and you could mix it up with any variety of vegetables as well. Leaving the noodles separate has helped make the leftovers stay delcious...and having the leftovers in the fridge has been an easy and healthy lunch to go to. Aaand my kids ate up every bite in their bowls!

3 chicken breasts
6 cups water
6 GF chicken bullion cubes
8 oz. GF noodles (I use penne for pretty much everything because our Walmart has them for cheap)
2 t. minced garlic
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 c. parsley, finely chopped

Boil chicken with water and bouillon. When chicken is mostly cooked, add all the vegetables and bring to a boil. I added vegetables as I chopped them and did them in order of those that needed more time to cook (garlic/onions, carrots, zucchini and then tomatoes). While this pot was cooking I cooked my noodles in a separate pot (gluten-free noodles fall apart easily, so it may not be necessary to do this with regular ones) When it was time to serve the soup I added noodles to each bowl. I have been storing them separately in different dishes in the fridge and it has worked perfectly!