Valentine's Day is right around the corner and traditionally, we celebrate this lovely day with flowers and chocolate. 💐🍫 Don't get me wrong - I love flowers and I have a borderline unhealthy obsession of chocolate, but this year - I'm thinking Chicken, Salsa Verde and Tortilla Casserole instead. I'm not even kidding - it's THAT good. (And for me to put it ahead of chocolate is really saying something.) So sweetheart - if you're reading this - you can skip the flowers and candy this year and make this for me instead. 😉 #subtletyisnotmystrength
I think my daughter said it best when she commented "I didn't think that I was going to like it because it's green, but it's actually really, really good." 😂Her honesty is refreshing ... sometimes. 😉
I assembled this scrumptious concoction the day before I served it. I don't know whether the extra time that it spent in refrigerator gave the flavors more time to meld or allowed the tortillas to soften or the excess juices to seep out but I do know that it worked out perfectly. Ironically, my reasons for making this in advance had absolutely nothing to do with any of those things. Time was really the driving force behind my strategy. ⏰ 💁🏻♀️
If you're working within time constraints to get dinner on the table, like I was, remember that you can make these ahead of time and put the assembled casseroles into the refrigerator and store them until you're ready to bake. I took my casseroles right from the frig to the oven and added about 5 minutes to my cooking time.
Chicken, Salsa Verde and Tortilla Stack
1/2 pound poblano chilies
1 (28 ounce) can tomatillos
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 Tablespoon oil
1 chicken breast
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup frozen corn kernels
4 (6") corn tortillas
1/2 cup Mexican crema or creme fraiche (Do not use sour cream)
2 cups shredded monterrey jack cheese
1/4 cup cotija cheese, grated
1 Tablespoon pumpkin seeds, chopped
Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Let rest 30 minutes to 1 hour. Run knife around edges to loosen from pan. Remove foil and sides of pan.
If you don't have mini springform pans - double the recipe and assemble it in a standard 9" springform. If you don't have a springform pan, I would assume that you could bake this in a 9" cake pan with high sides without any modifications. If you bake it in something other than a springform - submit a comment describing your experience. I feel like there are people out there who could benefit from your experiment - including me.
I knew that there was no way that I could reproduce the same type of heavenly perfection that we enjoyed at our hotel - at home, but after a week of indulging in extreme cinnamon roll decadence, I anticipated some serious cinnamon roll withdrawal when we got home. Boy was I right. We are craving some serious cinnamon sweets in the morning this week. 😅
I'm not trained as a french pastry chef so I don't even want to compare my homemade cinnamon rolls to those of a professional but when it's all we've got - Amy's homemade cinnamon rolls will do. How's that for a recipe pitch? Clearly, I need to work on my strategies for promoting my recipes. 🤦🏻♀️ Let me give this another shot. These cinnamon rolls are delicious. They're buttery and light and full of warm cinnamon goodness. They might not be nestled in vanilla custard but they ARE smothered in cool, creamy, vanilla icing.
1/2 cup whole milk
3 Tablespoons bread flour
2/3 cup cold milk
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons bread flour
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1 - 2 Tablespoons cream
If you're like me and your value your sleep - you can make these cinnamon rolls before you go to bed at night. Put the sliced rolls in the baking dish, cover the pan and put it in the refrigerator overnight. When you wake up in the morning, take the pan out of the frig, uncover and let the rolls rise for 1 an hour before you bake them. Hot, homemade cinnamon rolls without having to wake up at the crack of dawn - oh yea. 🙌🏻
Sooo, we did a thing last week. We left our sweatshirts and raincoats behind and headed to the beautiful island of the Dominican Republic! I feel like I'm a better photographer than I am a writer - so I'll just let my pictures tell the story of this fabulous vacation.
A good dose of vitamin D was exactly what this girl needed this month. My better half secretly planned this amazing vacation for us and he did an exceptionally good job of keeping it a complete surprise from me until Christmas morning. 🤫 To say that I was excited would be an understatement. I'm pretty sure I was ready to start packing my suitcase on Christmas morning. ✈️
I'm normally a pretty healthy eater but this vacation, on top of the holidays, really did me in this year. 😬The trays of warm, gingerbread cookies, the endless holiday sweets and treats and the never ending Caribbean buffets got the best of me. 🧁 Can you blame me, really? Who could resist that kind of temptation? 😅 My healthy eating went right out the window.
Now that I'm back at home - it's time to get myself in gear. Turns out, having squeeze to this very pale, sugar addicted body into a bathing suit in the middle of January, was exactly the motivation that I needed to get my healthy diet back on track. 👙😂
Normally, when I'm eating healthy, I steer clear of any recipe with the word "gravy" in it. Traditional gravy is made by adding the rendered fat from cooked meat to stock or water along with some seasonings. It's normally high in fat and not typically what I'd classify as a "healthy" food. I've actually tried to make gravy that was lower in fat but it comes out tasteless and bland every time.
Leave it to America's Test Kitchen to come up with a way of making gravy that's super rich and flavorful but lower in fat. 👍🏻 The combination of vegetables, white wine, and fresh herbs really makes this sauce stand out from the rest. I'm not trying to dismiss the fact that this gravy is made with a tablespoon of butter but I feel like it's healthier than most. After all, the goal is to ease myself back into a better eating plan. 😉
Grilled Chicken with Gravy
4 pound chicken
1 1/2 teaspoons oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
4 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon flour
Carve chicken and serve with gravy.
It's amazing how quickly I slip out of the habit of preparing nutritious meals and how much effort it takes to get myself back into a healthy eating routine. Recipes like this juicy and delicious grilled chicken make it just a little bit easier to get myself back on track though. Hope you enjoy.
I got the best surprise in my mailbox this week - A box of beautiful Meyer lemons and satsuma oranges from the kids! The best part is - they picked them from the fruit trees in their own backyard! 🍋🍊#southgeorgialiving Freshly picked citrus in the middle of winter? - yes, please.
The moment that I opened the box and saw that delicious fruit, I instinctively went into menu planning mode. My brain automatically started generating ideas about what I would make with this precious gift. Pastas tossed in a buttery lemon sauce, fish cooked in a lemony wine sauce and of course breads and desserts bursting with bright lemon flavor. 🤩 So many lemon recipes - so little time.
One Pot Shrimp Piccata Pasta was the lucky recipe to be chosen as the first recipient of a South Georgia Meyer Lemon. The inspiration for this decadent dish came from America's Test Kitchen.
I love the idea of treating the pasta more like a risotto that absorbs the rich sauce that it cooks in. Cooking the entire dish using just one pot and having fewer dishes to wash is pretty appealing too. Who doesn't love fewer dishes?
One Pot Shrimp Piccata Pasta
1 pound extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve shells)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled (5 smashed, 1 minced)
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups water
3 1/2 cups (12 ounces) orecchiette pasta
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Stir vigorously 1 minute. Serve with parmesan cheese.
I didn't specifically identify this recipe as dairy free but guess what dairy free friends? This recipe is perfect for you! Unlike most lemon sauces, this one has NO butter and only a sprinkling of parmesan over the top if you like. But trust me when I tell you that you will never miss the butter or the cheese in this super delicious shrimp and pasta dish.
Snow!! ❄️ I used to dread the winter when I lived in the Northeast. Winter meant and snow and snow storms meant shoveling, bundling up uncooperative babies and dangerously icy roads. But ... now that I live in an area that only sees snow once every couple of years, I miss it. Turns out - snow is way more fun when you don't have to shovel or drive in it. 🛷⛄️ ⛷ ⛸
Last week we drove up to Ohio to visit my parents and we were hoping to see some wintery precipitation while we were there. ❄️Much to our dismay, other than a few piles on the side of the road and a few flurries swirling around the air, there wasn't much snow to be found. Although our visions of bundling up and careening down a snow covered hill on a toboggan didn't become a reality - we did have a manage to have a snowball (aka. iceball) fight in the driveway. 😅
Don't be fooled by the lack of precipitation in Ohio last week. It was C.O.L.D. 🥶 This girl who moved South 18 years ago isn't used to those bone chilling temperatures anymore. I think I drank more tea and hot chocolate that week than I do all year in Georgia. 😅🍵 I've learned that the best way for me to warm myself up is from the inside out. Hot tea, hot coffee, hot chocolate, hot soup - the sooner it get's in my belly - the quicker I warm up. 🍲
I'm going to be honest - It's NEVER occurred to me to squeeze fresh grapefruit juice into my homemade chicken soup. And that is exactly the reason that I HAD to make this Chicken and Lime Soup. I figured it was either going to be really, really great or just really wrong. Either way - I had to find out. 💁🏻♀️
Chicken and Lime Soup
2 Tablespoons oil
3 pounds bone in, skin on chicken breasts or thighs
2 white onions, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 bunch cilantro, stems minced and leaves chopped
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 quarts chicken broth
3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
3 Tablespoons lime juice
Tortilla Chips, for serving
Turn off heat and stir in grapefruit and lime juices. Season with salt and pepper.
There was a split decision on this soup. Before I added the lime and grapefruit juices, I decided to make a couple of "test bowls." I let my 22 year old be the judge. She tasted both the "juiced" and the "unjuiced" soups and she very politely (and quickly) told me that she preferred the soup without the citrus. 😅I, on the other hand, really liked the soup with grapefruit juice and trust me - no one was more surprised about this than me. Chicken soup with grapefruit juice - who knew?
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