Archive | March, 2012

coriander and smoked paprika chicken tacos with peppers and onions and poblano pesto

20 Mar

i have fond memories of taco night growing up, seasoning packet ground beef, ice berg lettuce, tomato, shredded cheddar. looking back, ugh that was an abomination of a taco. with just a little more effort you can have a really rockin and way better taco night–sans seasoning packet!

my tacos tonight consisted of smokey coriander shredded chicken, poblano pesto, sauteed peppers and onions, melted cheddar jack and avocado. you could easily do something like roasted tomatoes and corn or grilled radicchio instead of the peppers and onions, just don’t do iceberg lettuce. also, the sauteed peppers and poblano pesto taste great with cumin spiced black beans if you want to make it vegetarian.

What You Need for 4 tacos:

2-4 bone in skin on chicken thighs (depending on the size you may need 2 or 4)

2 T smoked paprika (try to get smoked, not just plain sweet paprika. the smokiness makes a big difference)

4 T ground coriander

2 T salt

1-2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp black pepper

1 bell pepper, julienned

1 jalapeno, julienned

1 onion, julienned

2 garlic cloves, slivered into thin slices

grated cheese, (cheddar, monterey jack, queso fresco, whatever you want)

4 corn or flour tortillas or taco shells

1 avocado, sliced thinly

poblano pesto–roast 2 poblanos under the broiler until black and blistered. put in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and let steam for 5 minutes. run under water and peel skins off. in a food processor combine the poblanos with a large handful of cilantro, 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 c toasted walnuts, 1/8 c parmesan cheese and olive oil. blend until it’s the consistency of a chunky pesto.

to make the chicken:

preheat the oven to 350.

peel the skins almost completely off the chicken, but leave it attached, you are going to lay it back over the chicken while you bake it so it stays moist–we aren’t actually eating it though.

season each chicken thigh, top and bottom, with 1/2 T of salt, 1 T coriander, 1/2 smoked paprika, a pinch of black pepper and a small pinch of cayenne. (you can add a dash of cumin too, its yummy)

lay the fat back over the top of the chicken and bake for 20-30 minutes, until fully cooked. move the chicken to a cutting board to rest.

you can do all the rest of the cutting and cooking while the chicken cooks and rests. once you are ready for the chicken, remove the skins and shred the chicken using 2 forks.

for the peppers and onions:

heat 1 T of canola oil over medium heat. add  in the red bell pepper and jalapeno. saute about 5 minutes until just beginning to get tender.

add in the onions and saute on low heat about 10 minutes, until the onions are fully translucent and just beginning to turn light caramel colored

so, to build the tacos!

on the bottom of the tortilla, spread a bit of the poblano salsa/pesto. next pile on the chicken, the peppers and onions and the cheese. set under the broiler for 1 minute just until the cheese is melted.

top each taco with some avocado and a bit more of the poblano pesto



baked brussel sprout chips!

9 Mar


I LOVE KALE CHIPS. so then i thought O_M_G what if I make brussel sprout chips!! and then, this awesome creation was born. super healthy. super delicious. same idea as kale chips but totally different flavor, so go ahead, switch it up!

thank me later.

What You Need:

as many brussel sprouts as you want chips–you have to figure that you’ll only get 3-5 good leaves off each brussel sprout. (i’ll explain later)

1 tsp really good extra virgin olive oil


crushed red pepps


How To:

preheat your oven to 250. (NOT 350–too hot)

so, remove the outer leaves from the brussel sprouts, most of them should be easy to peel gets more difficult as you go on because the leaves get smaller. so you really won’t get more than 5 or 6 leaves off each sprout. sometimes you only get 2 good leaves off.

you want  them to look pretty so you want the whole leaf, not ripped pieces.

so, carefully and slowly peel off as many leaves as you can from each brussel sprout and put them into a bowl. toss with the teaspoon of olive oil, just enough to lightly coat them. season liberally with salt. (taste one to check the saltiness) lay them spread apart in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment. sprinkle with crushed red pepps and bake about 12-18 minutes until they are really crispy but NOT browned or burnt!

spiced black bean soup

9 Mar

please forgive the grayish color of my soup. if you use dried beans you can use your bean cooking liquid to make the black bean soup the proper color black. if you do this last minute like i did, and as usual have no time to soak beans and therefore use canned–your soup will also be slightly grayish. not ideal but it is what it is.

what you need for 4 servings:

2.5 cans black beans, drained and rinsed OR 3 .25 cups dried black beans, soaked over night and cooked. (save your cooking liquid and use it in place of the 1 cup water)

1 shallot or 1/2 red onion

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, halved and sliced. you can also use a serrano or whatever chile you like best.

2 cups of veg or chicken stock

1 cup of water


1/2 tsp spanish smoked paprika (or regular paprika, but the smoked adds a really great smokey flavor)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

a few shakes of dried oregano

avocado/fresh cilantro–optional for garnish


How To:

spray a sauce pot with nonstick spray, saute the shallot over medium heat. add in the jalapeno slices and saute together until lightly browned.

add in the garlic and all the dried seasonings, stir and let this toast up for a minute or two.

add in half of the beans and stir to coat. add in the stock and water. bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for about 20 minutes.

turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes before pureeing the soup in the blender. return to the pot, add in the remaining black beans. taste and add any extra cumin, coriander, salt or cayenne if desired.

i ate mine with a cheddar and roasted tomato quesadilla 🙂

24 calorie, 0 fat raspberry thyme vinagrette

6 Mar


What You Need:

1.5 cups frozen raspberries

1 T honey

1 t brown sugar

1/2 c white balsamic vinegar (white balsamic vinegar is balsamic vinegar made from white grapes, it tastes like regular balsamic vinegar mixed with a white wine flavor–its delicious!)

1/4 c water

2 sprigs of thyme, 1 with the leaves taken off (should be about 1/4 t of leaves, the other sprig left whole/in-tact)

salt and pepps


How To:

combine the vinegar and brown sugar in a small sauce pot over medium heat. cook until the sugar dissolves about 2 minutes.

pour in the honey, raspberries and water.

bring up to a boil. drop in the whole thyme sprig and reduce to the lowest heat. let cook for about 3 minutes. remove from the heat and let it sit for a few more minutes to cool down and so the thyme can steep into the liquid.

pour the mixture into the blender, add a pinch of salt, pepper and the 1/4 t of thyme leaves. liquify until smooth. strain if desired to get out the seeds. and there you have it!

24 calories and 0 g of fat per Tablespoon of dressing.


tomato ricotta ravioli with basil arugula pesto

6 Mar


i made such a yummmy salad for lunch!

4 Mar

gnocchi with mushrooms, peas, and turkey bacon

4 Mar

this happened because i had mushrooms, peas and turkey bacon. and was in the mood for gnocchi. its hearty and yummy and comforting in all of its saucy starchy glory.


What You Need for 2 servings:

1 package of gnocchi (or you can make your own if you’re feeling up to it) you can find it in the refrigerator section at the store

1.5 slices of turkey bacon (or regular bacon, or pancetta but i used what i had)

2-3 large cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/3 cup of frozen or fresh peas

1/3 cup of chicken stock

2 T butter

2 sprigs fresh thyme or fresh lemon thyme

salt and pepper

parmigiano reggiano (optional for garnish and cheesey yum yum)


How To:

cook the bacon over medium heat until really crispy. remove from the pan, slice into 1 inch strips and reserve.

add a small bit of butter to the same pan. add in the sliced mushrooms, cook over medium heat about 7 minutes until really browned on both sides.

pour the chicken stock into the pan and turn the heat up to medium-high. (a splash of white wine here would be great too!)

(this would be a good time to put your gnocchi into boiling salted water)

let the stock reduce a bit so that it thickens.about 4-6 minutes. at this point, add in a tablespoon of the cold butter. (this helps thicken the sauce)

add in the thyme

taste the mushrooms/sauce and adjust seasonings as necessary. it should taste mushroomy saucy yummy.

add in the peas and bacon. let it all come together for a minute before adding the gnocchi.

add a nice pinch of parmesan, give it a nice big toss! add more butter or chicken stock if necessary. adjust seasonings, garnish with more cheese and more fresh thyme if desired.


prepare for a photo shoot….sorry i was a little obsessed with the goodness of this dish.