Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Gazpacho Summer Soup

Gazpacho Soup served as an appetizer at my son's house last weekend.
Soup that isn't piping hot has never appealed to me.  Call me a soup snob, cause I probably am one.  But I love a challenge in the kitchen so what the heck!  A few weeks ago I was watching Ree Drummond on Food Network, and she made Gazpacho and it peaked my interest.  Produce is so beautiful right now, and Smiley's Farmers Market is right down the road so I decided to brave it!

Here is a link to Ree's recipe, but if you know anything about me, you know I'm not going to follow it but use it as a blue print and do it my way.  I made her recipe the first time and honestly, I didn't like it very much.  The cucumber overpowered the whole dish and kinda made it too rich for me.  I love cucumbers but they don't love me much.  I can have them pickled but if I eat them raw they "come back on me" for days.... but I've figured out the deal with that!!!  From one of the members of my group at I Love Low Carb I learned that the "burp" factor comes from the skin, and by golly I think she's right!  So for my recipe, I peel the cuc's.  But totally not necessary if you don't want too.

Anyway, here is how I did it!

Ingredients
3 good sized tomatoes chunked up for the food processor.  (reserve about 1/2 of a tomato and dice)
1/2 onion chunked up (reserve a bit to dice)
2 stalks of celery chunked up (reserve a bit to dice)
1 large Cucumber, peeled and chunked up (and guess what?? yep, reserve some diced)
1 zucchini chunked up (you get the drift yet????)
2 cloves of garlic (or more if you want)
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 cup Olive oil or Avocado oil, your choice
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (or a bit more, adjust to your taste)
2 tablespoons of "sugar" and yes of course, I used Splenda
1 to 2 tablespoons of a good hot sauce (I like Franks but I'm out so I used about a tsp of tabasco) ((franks is better))
dash of salt and pepper to taste
3 to 4 cups of tomato juice or use this recipe for homemade V8 juice (really inexpensive way to make it)  For today's recipe I got lazy and bought V8 juice but don't tell anybody.

Add your veggies and half of the juice to a large food processor, or process the veggies in batches adding a bit of the tomato juice to each batch, and then dump it all in a big bowl to mix it up.

Since I have a large Kitchen Aid, I dumped all the stuff in it except the reserved diced veggies.  I tasted the mix and adjusted the seasoning.  Process it till it's blended up.  The size you want the veggies to be is purely up to you!  And the thickness of the soup depends on how much juice you add to it.  For this batch I used 3 cups (1 1/2 - 12 ounce cans of V8) but I love a thick soup. Once you have it blended up to your liking and seasoned correctly, add the diced veggies.  But this is totally a personal preference.  You can blend all of it up if you don't want the veggie chunks in it.

Now this soup can be served several ways.  In my first picture, I added a slice or 2 of Avocado and some shrimp. (I made this as an appetizer at my son's house over the weekend).  But if you want it as just a "salad" type side, serve it with a grilled protein.  This would be perfect with a steak off the grill. Tonight I'm smoking chickens for lunch the rest of the week, and this will be our side.

Well, that's about it! But as a last note, I think I'm going to mess with the seasonings to change up the variety.  Some fresh basil out of the garden would be a great addition to this.  Maybe leave out the hot sauce and add some italian seasoning too.  Lots of ideas!

Hope you enjoy this!  As always, please let me know if you try this and if you have any suggestions.

Showing you the size of my maters.


I truly suck at pictures, but you get the drift.


Now, if you are like me, I like a chunky soup.  That's why I reserved some of the veggies to dice up and add after you process the veggies....   Here is what I did.  I think it's about a cup and a half to two cups of diced veggies....

Added the paring knife and spoon for perspective.
I also had some onion reserved but took the pic before I added it.







Monday, April 17, 2017

Low Carb Chicken Enchiladas

Sometimes, don't ya just get a hanker'n for some good and I mean GOOD Mexican food??  Well I do, and that hanker'n hit me yesterday.  Decided to do some chicken enchiladas and I think they turned out fabulous!!!  I think the secret to it is the homemade enchilada sauce.  I never realized how incredibly easy it is to make!  Never again will a canned version pass my pantry shelves.  Not such a great picture but the only one I have.  Looks sloppy, tasted fabulous.

I decided I had better write the recipe down before I forgot how I did it! So here is the recipe.

Chicken Enchiladas
Cooked 4/16/17

Ingredients for the chicken filling:

4 good sized chicken breasts
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
1 15 or so ounce can of either rotel or diced tomatoes and jalapeno’s (which is what I used)

Season your chicken with Mexican flavors.  I used Arizona Dreaming from Penzy’s.  Add a sprinkling of salt

Place chicken in a crock pot.  Plop the cream cheese on top and then pour the tomatoes over the top.  Cook on high for 4 hours or low 6-8 hours.  If you use frozen chicken give it an extra hour.  When it’s done use two forks and shred the chicken.  Stir it all up to incorporate all the cheese and maters.  Taste and reseason.  I added some chili powder, cumin, more salt, a bit of garlic and some pepper.  (I didn’t really measure exactly)

While the chicken is cooking, make your own enchilada sauce!  I couldn’t believe how incredibly easy it is and how far superior it is in taste compared the canned crap.  This is the recipe I used for the enchilada sauce.  I had to make some substitutions for the exact items I didn’t have.  Example, I don’t keep instant coffee (yuck!) and used a dark cocoa from Penzy’s.  I didn’t have regular oregano but had some Mexican oregano, and instead of ground cloves, I used whole cloves and tried to fish them all out but didn’t quite get them all.  So for all of those who don’t like the click through to get to other recipes, here is the enchilada sauce:

Ingredients
·         3 cups unsalted chicken broth
·         3 tablespoons tomato paste
·         1 bay leaf
·         1/4 cup pure chili powder
·         2 teaspoons ground cumin
·         1 teaspoon dried oregano
·         1/2 teaspoon salt
·         1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
·         1/2 teaspoon onion powder
·         1/2 teaspoon granulated erythritol (I used Splenda)
·         1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
·         1/4 teaspoon instant coffee powder
·         1/16 teaspoon ground clove
·         1/16 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         2 tablespoons ghee, butter or olive oil


Instructions
1.    Put all of the ingredients into a medium to large frying pan on medium heat.
2.    Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the red enchilada sauce has reduced by one cup and about two cups are left. It will be thin but flavorful. It will thicken-up in the oven as the enchiladas cook.
3.    Remember: The enchilada sauce is what flavors the enchiladas, so taste and adjust the seasonings. If the sauce is a little bitter, add just a touch more sweetener. It will help balance the flavors, but go easy with it. Discard the bay leaf before using.

Other Ingredients:

1 can sliced olives
1 bunch of diced green onions
1 package of Low Carb burritos
3 or so cups of cheese of choice. I used a Mexican blend

To assemble, use a 9 x 11 baking pan and put a thin coat of enchilada sauce on the bottom. Lay out the burrito’s and lay a row of both olives and green onions down the middle. Top it with a good line of the chicken filling.  Roll it up and lay seam side down in the pan. Repeat till you fill up the pan.  I think my batch made 7 enchiladas.  Pour the remaining sauce over the whole thing making sure you cover them all evenly.  Sprinkle with more green onions and remaining olives.  Cover entirely with a lot of cheese.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until bubbly hot.

Serve with sour cream, green onions, avocado slices, or whatever you like!

Enjoy!!!!