Tag-Archive for ◊ cilantro ◊

30 Mar 2012 Chicken Tortilla Soup

The weather has just taken another cold turn. YES!  One last chance for a warming and comforting  soup!  Bring on the wind and the rain. We can enjoy Spring later  I have nothing against tulips and sproinging (yes, that’s a real word, and I love it, it is what lambs do), but with one last winter storm I am sure I will appreciate it that much more.

This soup is delicious, (would I post it if it wasn’t?  Rhetorical question: of course not!)  I am also posting this recipe because most everyone I know enjoys tortilla soup, but not many of us have a tried and true recipe in our repotoire.   My friend Adele made this soup  for an Ina Garden (AKA The Barefoot Contessa) themed cookbook club.  Two of us immediately re-made the soup for our families, and both to rave reviews.  I think Adele found a winner! Yay, Adele (and Ina)!

I had to twiddle with the original recipe a bit (I just can’t help myself). I added corn and black beans, plus I pureed part of the soup to make a thicker broth, which I enjoy, but you can totally skip the pureeing part if  you want fewer steps, less mess, and still have a tasty, hearty soup.

So, without any further ado, here’s my version of Adele’s version of Ina’s Garten’s “Mexican Chicken Soup” (from Ina Garten’s 2006 book, “Barefoot Contessa at Home“).

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 4 cups cooked chicken,shredded or chopped (baked, grilled, or poached chicken breast &/or thighs, or shredded  meat from a roasted chicken)
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions (brown or red, or a combo, 1 or 2)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (2-3 stalks)
  • 2 -4  jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1  or 2 15-oz. cans black or pinquito beans (one of each is nice, too)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (about 4)
  • approx. 2  1/2 quarts chicken broth (10 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • approx. 1 tablespoon salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 small corn tortillas (approx. 6 inch diameter)
  • for toppings (be SURE to include these!): lime wedges, chopped cilantro, grated jack and/or cheddar cheese, sliced avocado, and crushed corn chips (optional)
  1. If cooking the chicken specifically for this recipe, sprinkle chicken thighs or breasts (or combo) with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes, turn chicken over and continue to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.  (cooking time determined by how large the chicken pieces are and whether or not the chicken pieces have bones).  Remove chicken from oven and when cool enough to handle, dice or shred and set aside. Discard  bones and skin.
  2. Heat approximately 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet.
  3. Add onions to hot oil in skillet.  Saute onions until translucent, 5-8 minutes.
  4. Add celery and desired quantity of chopped jalapenos  to onions and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add garlic cloves and saute for another 30 seconds or so.  Do not let the garlic brown.
  6. Remove approx one third of the onion-celery-jalapeno-garlic mixture and place in blender. Leave the remaining 2/3 in the pan.
  7. Add 1/3 of each can of beans to the blender (you can add one can of beans or two, depends on how you like your soup and how much fiber you want), along with enough of the crushed tomatoes to make a puree-able mixture (1/3 – 1/2 of the can).  Whirl on high until mixture is pureed.
  8. In large stockpot heat the chicken broth, add the pureed mixture, the reserved onion-celery-jalapeno-garlic mixture, the chopped carrots, the drained and rinsed can(s) of bean(s),and the spices (cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt and pepper).
  9. Bring soup to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  10. Add shredded chicken and corn and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  11. Cut tortillas into noodle-like strips. (Cut tortillas in half and then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips.)
  12. Stir cut tortillas and chopped cilantro into soup and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until chicken is heated through.
  13. Serve the soup hot, topped with lime wedges, chopped avocado, grated cheese, and crushed tortilla chips (if desired, and everyone I served this soup to, desired everything, including the crushed tortilla chips! The t-shirt people–my running addicted friends–added the most chips!!!  LOL)
Note:  If you are just going to eat half the soup, divide the soup and add half the tortilla strips.  When you eat the remaining half of the soup, add the remaining tortilla strips. The soup keeps well, but the tortilla strips, when sitting in a liquid, don’t)
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  It took me so long to type, edit and insert a picture into this post that the weather has turned warm again.  Shoot!

 

 

13 Jul 2011 Southwestern Pasta Salad

I have not been very impressed with the food section of our local paper in the last, oh, decade.  There is one column in particular that drives me iNSaNe.  Typical recipes include a bit of Dream Whip here, Bisquick, Cream of Chicken soup and canned mushrooms there,  with Tater Tots, Rice-a-Roni, and crushed up Ritz Crackers stirred into a can of Pineapple Tidbits on the side. PLUS, not one of the recipes has been tested by the columnist! (Although she does say how good they all sound and she might get around to trying one over the weekend…)  Arggghhhhhh!!

That all been said and vented, there have been a few recipes over the years that I have tried.  And I have to admit, most have been pretty good.

This one here is a keeper. The basic salad can be thrown together with cans from the pantry, and it’s good for you with lots of fiber from the beans and lots of other feel good stuff from the veggies.  If you have some fresh herbs on hand, the basic salad can be jazzed up a bit, but it’s not necessary, the basic salad is good as it is.  If you want to go all out, throw in a few chopped avocados and a pound of bay shrimp.  This salad serves a bunch of people, so it’s ideal to take to any potluck or family gathering.  I’ve made this a number of times, and I have only had the recipe for a few weeks.  It’s been a popular side dish, and I love, love, love how fast and easy it is to throw together from ingredients I have in my pantry.

This recipe was inspired by two recipes that ran in the “Home Plates” column in the San Jose Mercury News in June 2011, both recipes were attributed to Hazel Lawson Gentry.  I took the best of both recipes, experimented a bit with quantities, and came up with this, my new “go-to” Pasta Salad.  You can do the same!  This recipe is very flexible and very forgiving. Make it yours!

Southwestern Pasta Salad

For the Dressing

1 cup ranch dressing

1 7 oz. can chopped mild green chilies

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

For the Pasta Salad

1 pound corkscrew, penne, or wagon wheel pasta, cooked and drained according to package directions (if you want less pasta in your salad, cook only 1/2 lb pasta, use 1 can of beans, and  keep all the other quantities the same.)

1 15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes (in the summer use 2 cups diced tomatoes from your backyard or from the farmers market), do not drain

1 OR 2 15 oz. cans (your choice) of black beans, pinquitos, or kidney beans (I use 1 can black beans), drained

1 15 oz. can corn (or 2 cups frozen corn, or fresh cooked corn stripped off the cob), drained

1 7 oz. can sliced black olives, drained

If you have it…

4 sliced green onions

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, parsley, or basil

To make this Pasta Salad “Supreme”

2 diced avocados

1 lb. bay shrimp

  1. Combine the ranch dressing with the undrained chiles and the cumin powder.  Set aside.  (Dressing can be made up to one week in advance.)
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Cool with cold water, and drain well.
  3. Combine the pasta with the can of undrained diced tomatoes and the drained beans, corn and olives.
  4. Stir in the desired amount of the prepared dressing–you might use 3/4, or you might use all of it.  It all depends on how much liquid your pasta absorbs (this depends on the brand, the style, and how long you’ve cooked your pasta), and your personal preference, how saucy do you like your pasta salad?  Stir in as much as you think you’d like.  Save any leftover dressing, after a few hours the salad might look a bit dry and you can stir in the rest of the dressing at that time.  (If the salad looks dry and you have no dressing left, stir in a few spoonfuls of salsa!)
  5. If using, stir in your choice of herbs, green onion, avocado and bay shrimp, and salt and pepper, if needed.
  6. Cover the salad with plastic wrap and chill until serving time.

That’s all there is to it!  Easy peasy!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Print out this recipe.  It will become a staple. Do you know how much stress is relieved by having a good, “go-to” pasta salad that can be made at the drop-of-the-hat, without a trip to the grocery store? Invite the neighbors over, get the burgers on the grill…, it’s Summertime and the livin’ is easy!!

19 Jan 2011 Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

Depending on where you live, you may or may not have a proliferation of “Pho” restaurants in your community.  If you do have a Pho restaurant nearby, I encourage you to try it out.  You’ll be rewarded with a huge bowl of broth and noodles, to which you add fresh basil, cilantro, mint, bean sprouts, peppers, chili sauce, and freshly squeezed lime.  The broth is quite tasty, and with the addition of all the toppings, the Pho has a very fresh taste.   On your first visit to a Pho restaurant, stick to Beef Pho or Chicken Pho, with the parts of beef and chicken that you are familiar with.  There are some other types of Pho which might be a bit challenging to an uninitiated American palate.

Having fond memories of Pho, I wanted to make it for myself.  I wanted to have a clear, rich, fat-free broth. I thought it would be great to have some of the broth on hand, and be able to boil it up and stir in some fresh ingredients whenever I wanted to.  I also think Pho would be a great dish to make ahead and then take to share with friends and family at a snow condo or beach house.   I found this recipe adapted from the cookbook Into the Vietnamese Kitchen at Steamy Kitchen.  It’s great!  I served it to seven friends, and three family members, and they all though it was great, too.  SCORE!

Before you make this dish, you should know how to pronounce it, “pho”  is pronounced “fuh” and not “foo” or “foe” or “poe” or  “puh” — that’s fuh-sho’!

If you have made your own chicken soup before, Pho is no more bother.  Follow the recipe below and make sure you buy good bones, start the day before, rinse and blanch the bones, have three hours to let the bones simmer. Then you can let the broth sit in the refrigerator overnight so that the hardened fat can be removed before finishing the pho.

Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

The broth

  • 2 onions, peeled, sliced across into 4 slices
  • 4″  of fresh ginger, peeled, halved lengthwise
  • 5-6 lbs of good beef  knuckle bones (beef shanks/knuckles $1.99/lb)
  • 6 quarts of water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 5 whole star anise
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

In the soup bowls

  • 1 rice noodles (dried or fresh)
  • cooked beef from the broth
  • ½ lb flank, london broil, sirloin or eye of round, sliced as thinly as possible.

On the side

  • fresh mint leaves
  • fresh cilantro
  • sliced fresh basil
  • limes wedges (2)
  • 2-3 chili peppers, sliced
  • bean sprouts (about 1 lb)
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha hot sauce

Char:

Turn broiler on high and move rack to the highest spot. Place ginger and onions on baking sheet. Brush just a bit of cooking oil on the cut side of each. Broil on high until ginger and onions begin to char. Turn over and continue to char. This should take a total of 10-15 minutes.

Parboil the bones:

Don’t skip this part! Fill your biggest pot (12-qt capacity would be ideal) with cool water. Boil water first, and then add the bones, keeping the heat on high. Boil vigorously for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse the bones and rinse out the pot. Refill pot with bones and 6 qts of cool water. Bring to boil over high heat and lower to simmer. Using a ladle or a fine mesh strainer, remove any scum that rises to the top.

Boil broth:

Add ginger, onion, spices, sugar, fish sauce, salt and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the beef meat and set aside. Continue simmering broth for another 1 1/2 hours. Strain broth and return the to the pot. Taste broth and adjust seasoning – this is a crucial step. If the broth’s flavor doesn’t quite shine yet, add 2 teaspoons more of fish sauce and 1 teaspoon of regular sugar–and another pinch of salt, if needed (I over-salted my broth, so be careful). Keep doing this until the broth tastes perfect refrigerate broth overnight and remove hardened fat the next morning.

Prepare noodles & meat:

Slice your flank/london broil/sirloin as thin as possible – try freezing for 15-30 minutes prior to slicing to make it easier. Cut or shred the cooked meat from broth and set aside. Arrange all other ingredients on a platter for the table. Guests will garnish their own bowls. Follow the directions on your package of noodles – for some fresh rice noodles, just a quick 5 – 45 second blanch in hot water is all that’s needed.

Serving:

Bring your broth back to a boil. Line up your soup bowls next to the stove. Fill each bowl with rice noodles, bean sprouts, shredded cooked beef and raw meat slices. As soon as the broth comes back to a boil, ladle into each bowl. The hot broth will cook your raw beef slices. Serve immediately. Guests garnish their own bowls with the mint, basil, cilantro, peppers, lime, and sauces.

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do. It’s a chin dribbling, big bowl of healthy, comfort food with a fresh & crunchy twist.  One of my favorite foods I believe. I have my fingers crossed that I will taste the real thing in Vietnam next year.  I hope this measures up. Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

29 Sep 2010 Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad

It’s HOT.  Crisp salads and iced tea are what we are clamoring for.

Here’s my version of  “Chinese” Chicken Salad.  It’s crisp and tasty. It’s made with cabbage, two kinds, which hold up better than lettuce–and lettuce is boring, and it’s in almost every other salad.  How many chances do you have to eat raw cabbage?  Not many, right?  I can only think of this salad and coleslaw.  So try this, with cabbage…, and carrots, cilantro, green onion, sesame seeds, and shredded chicken.  You might even want to add some chopped celery and/or sugar snap peas.  Sometimes I even add a can of mandarin oranges, which makes this so not a Chinese Chicken Salad (but it’s good!)

This recipe makes enough for a small crowd.  (I often take it to potlucks.)  If you’re not the Duggars, and are not going to a potluck, you might want to consider making half a recipe. Leftover Chinese Chicken salad doesn’t keep all that well (the noodles and the cabbage loose their crunch), although teenage boys have been known to devour soggy leftovers up to 24 hours after serving…

Chinese Chicken Salad

  • 1 small head green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/4 head of red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts, optional (I use dry roasted peanuts)
  • 4-5 cooked chicken breasts, chopped or shredded (Use leftover chicken, or marinate chicken breasts in teriyaki sauce for a few hours, then grill, broil or pan-fry-let cool before using.  You could also use the chicken from a cooked rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 packages of Top Ramen noodles (that soup mix stuff, the rectangular package!), crumbled (any kind, you will not be using the seasoning package)
  • 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds, optional (To toast seeds, place them in a hot, dry frying pan and swirl around a bit over medium high heat.  As soon as the seeds begin to take on a color, remove from heat.  Keep stirring, the residual heat in the pan will continue to toast the seeds for another few minutes.)
  • Optional additions: chopped celery, sugar snap peas, one can, drained, mandarin oranges

For the Dressing

4 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 cup salad oil (a light vegetable oil)
1/2 cup sesame oil
3/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all the ingredients for dressing, blend or shake to mix.  Set aside.

Toss remaining ingredients together.  If you are making this to serve later, do not add the dressing or the noodles until just before serving.

Pour desired amount of blended dressing over veggies, chicken, peanuts, and noodles.  I don’t always use all the dressing (extra dressing keeps for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator); I like a lightly dressed salad.  Plus, heads of cabbage come in different sizes…, you will need more or less dressing depending on how much cabbage you have in your salad.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  Hope this helps you deal with the hot weather.  Hopefully it will cool down soon and we can get some soup on the stove and some bread in the oven.  If you’d like to receive an email when I post a new recipes, please subscribe.  To view other recipes, just click on the “In The Kitchen With Polly” box on the upper left hand side of the page.  If you are looking for an even quicker side dish or pot luck dish check back soon, I just made a no fuss Southwestern Pasta Salad.  I’ll post it just as soon as I get a good picture!  I cook so much better than I take photographs.

28 Sep 2010 Chinese Pasta Salad

Chinese Pasta Salad?  Is there such a thing?  I doubt it.  So what is this?!  I don’t know what else to call it! Chinese Pasta Salad is the name it came to me with and I welcome all suggestions for a new name 🙂 This cold pasta side dish is good.  Very good.  I made it for a potluck last night, and three people asked me to post the recipe.  Always glad to oblige! Cold noodles, in a sauce of sesame oil, maple syrup (Chinese?  I think not!), and soy sauce with chopped dry roasted peanuts (again, Chinese?  I think not), green onion and cilantro. I wouldn’t have made this if I hadn’t tried it first.  Believe me, with this dish, the whole is better than the sum of it’s parts!

An old coworker of mine, Mary Lou Stuart, brought this to an HR potluck at LifeScan on Tuesday, September 20, 2005.  I know the date because I still have the email with the recipe (and that horrible name).

I changed the method a bit, just to make it easier, but other than that, I made no changes. Please forgive me for mixing up my cultures and photographing this Chinese Noodle Salad (which isn’t) on a Japanese cloth.  Also, the cilantro looks a little old, in the picture, doesn’t it?  It is.  I forgot to take a picture the day I served this. This is a picture of what was left in the refrigerator container because it wouldn’t fit into the serving container.  So that cilantro has been sitting in the dressing for three days.  Yours will look much better. The world is out of alignment today.

Chinese Pasta Salad (not..)

1 lb. angel hair pasta, cooked and drained
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (Grade B, if you can find it)
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce (I have also used teriyaki)
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 bunch chopped green onions (6-8)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts.

Blend the maple syrup, sesame oil, and soy sauce in the blender.  Pour over cooked and drained noodles.  Add in chopped cilantro and green onions. Refrigerate overnight.

Just before serving stir in the chopped dry roasted peanuts.

Mary Lou said she sometimes adds about 2 cups of chopped cooked chicken to the salad (she uses a cooked rotisserie chicken).  I’ve done this once or twice (with a chicken breast poached in a bit of soy sauce and water/broth), but actually prefer this salad without the chicken.  Plus, it’s always nice to have something on the table for the vegetarians and vegans in the group.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  If you know Mary Lou Stuart, please forward this message to her. I have lost track of her.  If she is uneasy with her name being on this post, I will use a pseudonym.

25 Sep 2010 Baked Chicken Taquitos

Yes!  You can bake taquitos!  Who knew?  My kids loved taquitos when they were growing up.  They were always happy when there was a box of them in the freezer. I wish I knew then what I know now.  I could have made batches of these and had them in the freezer for them to reheat.  I could have been my own Costco!  I could have served them real food, and it could have been baked, rather than fried.  Oh well.  I can make these now and my daughter is heading back to her college apartment with two dozen of them (frozen), and the knowledge of how to make them for herself.  Hey, I AM my own Costco!

I was afraid this would be a bit spicy for my tender palate.  Not at all.  In fact, if you want a bit of a kick you should probably add in a few chopped chilies.  We made most of these with corn tortillas, but tried a few with flour, too.  We didn’t like the flour ones nearly as much. BTW, I’ve found a really good brand of corn tortillas, they don’t crack when folded (even when taken right out of the refrigerator).  They are  “La Tortilla Factory Hand Made Style Corn Tortillas”.  Here in San Jose they are at both Lucky and Safeway. I found this recipe at Our Best Bites.

Promise me you won’t skip the sprinkling of Kosher salt before baking.

Baked Chicken Taquitos

4 oz cream cheese
1/4  cup Salsa Verde (green salsa)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1  cup grated pepperjack cheese

16-20 small corn tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray (Pam) or oil placed in an oil mister

Heat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it’s soft and easy to stir (but not melted).

Stir salsa verde, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, garlic, cilantro, green onions, chicken and grated cheese into softened cream cheese and combine well. You can easily prepare  this mixture ahead of time and store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Working with a few tortillas at a time, place between damp paper towels and heat in microwave (20-30 seconds) until soft enough to roll without cracking (not necessary if you are using La Tortilla Factory Hand Made Style Corn Tortillas!)

Place 2 tablespoons of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Roll tortilla as tightly as possible.  Secure with a toothpick if desired, but it’s probably not necessary (Now would be the time to freeze, if you want to save and bake at a later time). Place rolls seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. The rolls should not touch each other.

Spray taquitos lightly with cooking spray or oil in a mister.  Sprinkle tops lightly with kosher salt. Don’t you dare skip this!

Place taquitos  in preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

Serve hot, with dips that suit you–guacamole, sour cream, salsa…

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today, I hope you enjoy this recipe!