Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bahama Chicken Soup and Tortilla Strips


I have never been to the Bahamas but I can see myself sitting under a coconut tree enjoying this flavorful soup. I found the recipe in a 30 Minute Meal cookbook by a local Utah author Shauna Evans.  I marked several recipes that look interesting.
The trick to making this meal in 30 minutes is to have a Rotisserie chicken on hand. I didn't have one but quickly cooked some frozen chicken tenders (that I always have). I added more veggies and cut the recipe down so we only ate it for 3 meals.
I had my doubts about the Tortilla Strips--I usually purchase packaged Wonton or Tortilla Strips but I didn't have any on hand and I did have some close to date tortillas in the fridge. The garlic butter gave them a great flavor and they really did get crispy.
I was happy with the final dish and quickly wrote the recipe down so I could share it with you.
Here is my version of:
Bahama Chicken Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red or yellow pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon seeded and minced jalapeno pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 can petite diced tomatoes--or 2 diced Roma tomatoes
1/2 can diced green chilies
2 cups diced cooked chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
juice from 1 lime
In a stockpot heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, red peppers, garlic and jalapeƱo. Cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add chicken broth, coconut milk, tomatoes, green chilies, carrots, salt and pepper. Cook on medium low heat until carrots are crisp tender.
Add cilantro and lime juice.
Garnish with Tortilla Strips.


Tortilla Strips
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
flour tortillas
Mix melted butter, garlic and salt. Brush on both sided of tortillas. With a pizza cutter, cut in 1/2 inch strips. Spread on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, turning once.
Printable Recipe




Saturday, April 11, 2015

2015 Books List--1st Quarter


I enjoyed sharing the books I read in 2014. Many good reads but the post was certainly too long. I decided a quarterly book post would be better. Here is just a little about each book and why I liked it.
More detailed information on each book can be found on Amazon.
Books read the first quarter of 2015 include:

Still Alice--B+
For some reason I assumed this book was true. I finished it before I realized it is a work of fiction. I hate it when that happens! Still Alice by Lisa Genova was a book club read.  Alice is a brilliant professor at Harvard (a fact that is repeated over and over). As a Linguistics professor she travels and speaks all over the world. In her later 40's Alice begins forgetting things--she blames it on the stress of a very busy life. While on her daily jog she forgets where she is at and how to get home. She seeks medical helps and is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's.
As an almost 60 year-old I found myself making armchair diagnosis to almost all I know! A bit scary I admit. This book was believable--the author does have credentials, I assume she knows what she is talking about.
Alice deteriorates rather rapidly and soon she has to resign from teaching. I thought it was very interesting how others treated her. Some thought if she just tried harder she could remember, a few family members were compassionate and still others just ignored her.
I came away from this book with a heightened awareness. How would I treat someone with EOA? How would I help them maintain their dignity. Would I be content to be their friend knowing their limitations? I certainly hope so. This book made a great discussion. I think it scratched the surface of a condition we may all be exposed too. Knowledge is good when it helps us be more aware.
Still Alice was worth reading, it does include a few words that I do not care to read. I would give it a solid B+.

An Invisible Thread--A
This was my choice for Book Club this year. It is the true story of a remarkable relationship between a busy New York Sales Rep and a homeless 11 year old panhandler. He was asking for spare change, she kept walking. Something stopped her in her tracks and she went back. She continued to go back again and again. They met up weekly for years and built a life-changing friendship that has today spanned almost 3 decades.
This was an excellent book to discuss. Are we compassionate? How do we reach out to others, could we be a little kinder? You never know when a simple kindness will change a life. Excellent book, it just might be my favorite book this year--but the year is still young!

Boys on the Boat--A
A very interesting, true story about the US Rowing Team of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. I don't think I really knew that rowing was a sport until I read this book. Coming from land locked Utah I don't know much about water sports. This 8-man team of underdogs originated from the University of Washington. Eight amazing young men each with a unique background.
I do love a good true story. I like to learn about real people and their real lives. If you liked Unbroken you will most likely enjoy Boys on the Boat. I enjoyed listening to this book on Audible.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks--A
Another true story (do you see a pattern) that I read with disbelief. A poor black tobacco farmer has cancer. Henrietta Lacks is known in the scientific world as HeLa. Her cells were taken without her knowledge in 1951 These cells were to become a very important tool in the medical world. They were vital in developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping and more. Her cells have been bought and sold by the billions.
I read this book with so many questions about ethics, race and medicine. This was a common practice in 1951. Was it right--I don't think so, but was it beneficial--yes. I hope we have learned from the mistakes of the past.
I listened to this on Audible--it is narrated by Cassandra Campbell, she is the best. This would be a great book club read. There is so much to discuss.

Divergent--B+
Divergent is labeled as Young Adult Fiction. If you are a fan of The Hunger Games you will probably like Divergent. The is the first book in a series of three, it has also been made into a movie (which I have not yet viewed). This is the story of a futuristic society that is divided into five factions. I listened to the Audible version and quite enjoyed it--but not enough to finish the series. I will listen to the rest of the series--just not now.

A Year on Ladybug Farm--B-
This is the light hearted story of three friends that leave their comfortable lives in the suburbs and buy a run down mansion in the middle of nowhere. I want to think most women are smarter than these three friends. But this is a work of fiction after all! It is somewhat amusing. It is the kind of book I have on my phone to read at the Drs. office or while I am waiting in line at Sonic for my half price Fresh Lime Diet Coke.
This book is not life changing nor is it a book club read. It is an airplane or beach read. Enjoy it for what it is. This is the first book in a series, I bought the second one for 1 cent as a used book. It is in my bag waiting for my next trip to the beach!!

The Deer Hunter's Oath--A+
This delightful memoir is written by my brother Jeff Lindstrom. If you love a good deer hunting story this will make you smile. Jeff started writing his history in a way his grandchildren would love to read. That is just a good story. 98% true, and 2% writers license.
 I am a non hunter by choice but I know the location--I lived at the farm, the end of civilization for two years. I also know the players so this book really came to life for me. Jeff has the ability to describe people in such a way that if I saw them at the Fruitland Store I would certainly know them.

 Jeff describes this as a collection of light-hearted and entertaining stories. Tales of family, friends and deer hunting from the perspective of a young boy growing up in the 60's - his first deer camp at age eight, the competitive teen years, antics with his brothers, and concluding with the ramblings of an old man. A humorous look at the education of a young and impressionable outdoorsman by the older, more experienced deer hunters, who administer the deer hunters oath.
You will laugh as you read this, if you are a hunter you can see yourself over and over. It is fun my 23 year old was laughing out laud and our 10 year old granddaughter said she loved it.
Any outdoors man would love this.

Outlander--D
I read a good review on this book but I didn't study it near enough. It began as a fun romance, I do like a good romance. But it wasn't long before the fun left. Bad language was common and the story line just went down from there. I classify this book as something I could not share with my mother or daughters.....if there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy we seek after these things...

Well friends there are my read for the first 3 months of 2015. Please let me know what you are reading. I'm always looking for a new read.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Creamy Chicken Picasso




I have had this delicious looking chicken dish pinned for ages. I found it on Let's Dish--one of my favorite blogs, Dani has some awesome recipes. This chicken dish was no exception. Candise was visiting and we made this for Easter dinner. It might not be your typical Easter Dinner, but it was colorful and fresh. Perfect for a spring meal.
The chicken was tender, the onions and peppers were yummy. We spooned the tomato cream sauce over angel hair pasta. And we tried not to lick our plates because it was Easter. Please don't wait till next Easter to make this dish. I will add it to the 'make often' recipe list.


Creamy Chicken Picasso
4 tablespoons butter, divided
4  boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, sliced
2 peppers (red, orange or yellow), cut into rings
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
pinch nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups Monterey jack cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper, melt  2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet and brown the chicken lightly on each side. Transfer to a greased 9x13 pan. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet, add the onions, season lightly, and cook until soft and browned.  Arrange the onions over the chicken.  If needed add the last tablespoon of butter to the skillet, add the peppers, season lightly, and cook until softened.  Add to the 9x13 with the chicken and onions. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  To the garlic add the tomatoes, broth, cream, salt and pepper, and nutmeg.  Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables.  Cover with foil and bake 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove foil.  Top with grated cheese and return to the oven, uncovered, until cheese is golden brown and chicken is cooked through. Serve with pasta if desired.
Printable Recipe




Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pork Tenderloin with Pan Sauce



Can I just tell you right now that this is the best meat I have ever eaten! I made it three times in March and it will probably go on the menu again this week. It is tender and delicious. The pan sauce is what dreams are made of! Please make it soon.
Pork tenderloin is usually sold in a package of two, each tenderloin weighs close to a pound.  You can figure 4 ounces per serving so each tenderloin serves 4. This is a perfect weeknight meal for hubby and I. Leftovers make a gourmet lunch--the only way to 'brown bag'. 
Don't be tempted to over cook the tenderloin. It will cook in 20 minutes or less. I love my quick read thermometer. Your meat will be tender and delicious cooked to 145 degrees. Tent with foil and let is rest for five minutes.
So I just might make this again tomorrow!

Pork Tenderloin with Pan Sauce

Marinade
1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
juice of one lemon
1-2 Tbsp Worcestershire
1-2 Tbps chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp dried mustard
freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 lb pork tenderloin, silver skin removed

Combine all marinade ingredients and reserve 3 tablespoons. Place pork tenderloin and marinade in a Ziploc baggie and let marinate for at least 3-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a hot skillet over medium-high heat sear each side of the tenderloin for 2-3 minutes. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes until meat has reached 145 degrees.  Remove from oven and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Pan Sauce
Pan scrapings from pork tenderloin
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. reserved marinade
1-2 Tbsp. butter

Meanwhile, place the skillet back on the stove on medium heat. Add the chicken broth and whisk to de-glaze the pan of all the yummy bits left after you browned the tenderloin. Add the marinade, bring it to a boil and reduce 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the butter.  Stir until the butter has melted. Pour over the tenderloin and serve.
Printable Recipe
Thank you Chef Mommy for this delicious dish!