Ancho Chile Soup

We mainly made the Ancho Chile Soup because it seemed like a quick, close-enough substitute for Chicken Tortilla Soup. Plus, it’s always good to try something new. Our verdict? Cook a chicken breast or two, then add it at the end. It needed a little bit more something than the recipe called for. Chicken was our thought, but you might think something else. Regardless, this was quick. We’ll be making it again, with the aforementioned tweak.

Ancho Chile Soup

4 medium ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn
1c boiling water
3T neutral oil
1lb vine-ripened tomatoes, cored
1 white onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1.5t agave syrup
1t salt
1.5qt chicken broth
3c tortilla chips
sour cream
diced avocado
fresh cilantro

  1. Toast chiles in dutch oven over medium heat, pressing and flipping once, until fragrant and darker in color. Transfer to a bowl and add boiling water. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat 1T oil over med-high heat until shimmering. Add tomatoes, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until charred all over, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to blender, add agave syrup, drained chiles, and salt. Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  3. In same pot, heat 2T oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add puree and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darker and thickened, 5-7 minutes. (It will splatter, wear an apron and prepare yourself for cleanup.) Stir in chicken broth and bring to simmer. Taste and season with salt & pepper.
  4. Divide tortilla chips, roughly crumbled, amongst 4 bowls. Ladle in soup. Top with sour cream (I used Monterey Jack cheese – to each their own), diced avocado, and cilantro.

Yes, pasta + potatoes. It’s delicious.

I looked askance at this recipe for a couple of minutes – I mean, pasta and potatoes in the same dish? That’s a lot of carbs. But then my husband suggested it and, let’s face it, carbs are DELICIOUS. So we tried it out.*

Pasta with potatoes, gorgonzola, and fried sage

12oz fingerling potatoes, cut into 0.5″ pieces
12oz pasta (the recipe calls for twisty pasta, but when you’re gluten-free you make do with what you can find)
3T olive oil
0.25c fresh sage leaves
2T white balsamic vinegar (yes, we just used the regular stuff)
3T salted butter
3T chopped fresh chives
3oz gorgonzola (or other creamy blue cheese)

  1. Mix potatoes, 2qt water, and 2T salt. Bring to a boil, cook over high until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer potatoes to colander with slotted spoon. Return water to boil and cook pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. add sage and cook until crisp, about 1 minute. Remove cooked sage with slotted spoon. Return the pan to medium-high heat and add potatoes and 0.5t both salt & pepper. Cook until potatoes are golden, ~5 minutes. Off heat, add in balsamic vinegar.
  3. Drain pasta, saving 0.75c of water. Add pasta to skillet with potatoes, placing over medium-high heat. Add butter and cooking water, toss until creamy. Stir in chives. Sprinkle with gorgonzola, crush sage over the top. Serve.

* Apropos of nothing: the photo on the cover for the Milk Street Magazine that this recipe is in? Looks like it’s out of a 1970s cookbook. A roast with peppers and a hard-boiled egg inside? It might be delicious, but I can’t even with the picture of it. I shudder a little bit inside every time I see it.

Not quite weeknight pasta sauce. Still good.

Pasta with Weeknight Meat Sauce from the ATK How Can It Be Gluten Free is not quite actually a weeknight meal – it takes 45-60 minutes to prepare. Weeknight, to me, says 30-40 minutes for a meal; you might be different, I don’t know.

But this is yummy and it saves into convenient leftovers to take for lunches. So it gets made on the weekends, or on nights when we have time for that kind of thing.

1lb ground beef
2T water
0.5t baking soda
4oz white mushrooms, halved or quartered
1T olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1T tomato paste
2t minced fresh oregano (can sub 1t dried)
0.125t red pepper flakes
1-28oz can tomato puree
1-14.5oz can petit diced tomatoes
0.25c parmesan cheese
12 oz gluten-free penne

  1. Toss beef with water, 1t salt, 0.25t pepper, and baking soda in bowl until thoroughly combined. Let sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Pulse mushrooms in food processor until finely chopped. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and onions and cook until vegetables are softened & well-browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, oregano & red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant. Stir in tomato puree, diced tomatoes, 0.5t salt, 0.5t pepper, and bring to gentle simmer. Add beef mixture and cook, breaking up meat, until cooked through and sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in Parmesan.
  4. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of water to boil. Add pasta & 1T salt to pan. Cook till done. Reserve 0.5c cooking water. then drain pasta & return to pot. Add sauce and toss to combine. Slowly add water as needed for consistency. Serve.

Orange-chili tacos are yummy

The light in my kitchen is weird.

Yes, these are chicken tacos made with a sauce that is orange juice based. Yes, they are delicious. We tend to make them on the weekend because they take just enough time to be annoying after a long day of work.

5 medium guajillo chilies
1.5c orange juice
5 peeled garlic cloves
2T white vinegar
2t coriander
2t honey
1t dried oregano
1t kosher salt
2lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

Heat chilies in large skilled over medium-high heat, pressing with spatula and flipping halfway through cooking until fragrant. Transfer to blender, add orange juice. Let stand for ~10 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, vinegar, coriander, honey, oregano, and salt. Puree until smooth. Pour back into skillet and bring to a boil.

Nestle chicken thighs into sauce, cover and cook over medium-low, flipping halfway through, for 20 minutes. Set chicken on a plate; once cool shred into bite sized pieces. Meanwhile, simmer the sauce over medium-high, stirring, until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Stir chicken into sauce.

Serve with tortillas, radishes, and quest fresco (though we usually just use Monterey Jack).

Once again, this is a Milk Street recipe. If you don’t subscribe, why not? You’re missing out on all kinds of deliciousness. They’re not even paying me to say that, I just like them.

Tapas? This might be a tapas dish

This gem of a weeknight dish is known around our house as “pork bites” and often gets paired with some sort of potatoes (roasted, french fries, probably even tater tots once) for an easy-ish weeknight meal. It has the added bonus of being way more delicious than it should be.

1.5t coriander
1.5t cumin
1.5t smoked paprika
0.75t each of salt & pepper
1lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1″ squares
1T lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
1T honey
1 garlic clove, minced
2T olive oil
1T chopped fresh oregano

Mix spices together, add pork and toss to coat evenly until no more spices remain in the bowl (that is, they’re all stuck to the meat and not sitting in the bottom of the bowl). Let the pork sit for 30-60 minutes at room temperature. In another bowl, mix the lemon juice, honey, and garlic.

Heat 1T olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the meat in a single layer and cook without moving until deeply brown on one side (~3min). Then flip pork until cooked through and browned all over, another 2-3 minutes.  Off the heat, toss with the lemon-garlic mixture until evenly coated. Move to serving platter, sprinkle the oregano and drizzle the last 1T olive oil.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Milk Street Magazine, a cooking magazine I’d HIGHLY recommend, if for no other reason than their Tuesday night section where they give you about a week’s worth of delicious recipes that truly only take 30 minutes to make.

A simple easy dinner for an August weeknight

It’s summer. It’s probably hot, or is going to be hot in the next couple of weeks. It’s also tomato season and if you’re a gardener, you may have too many tomatoes. May I recommend something as simple as throwing some pasta into your next caprese salad?

Our ratios:
1.5 lbs ripe tomatoes, chopped
0.25c extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2T fresh basil, chopped
6oz fresh mozzarella
1lb pasta, cooked
salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a large serving bowl except the pasta, while the pasta is cooking. Add once it’s done. Mix. Eat. Enjoy.

Lime sherbet + graham crackers = key lime pie sherbet? Work with me here.

Many answers to “what am I going to cook?” tend to involve a follow up question: “what food is about to go bad?” In this case, it was limes. It’s summer, we had extra limes that were looking a bit sketchy, and there was leftover heavy cream. Lime sherbet it is!

It turned out fairly well, if a little on the sweet side. So I threw some graham crackers into the bowl and called it Key Lime Pie Sherbet instead.

Lime Sherbet

1T lime zest
1c+2T sugar
pinch of salt
0.666c fresh squeezed lime juice
1.5c water
2t vodka
0.666c heavy cream

  1. Process the sugar, salt, and zest in a food processor until the sugar is damp. Turn processor on and add lime juice and water. Leave on until sugar is fully dissolved, about a minute. Put into bowl, add vodka, cover and refrigerate until mixture is 40F (30-60 minutes).
  2. Once it’s cold, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Then slowly add the mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Immediately start ice cream maker and put juice/cream mixture in. Churn for 25-30 minutes, until it has the texture of soft-serve ice cream.
  3. Transfer from machine to storage container and freeze for 3 hours. (If you don’t do this, I’ve found that the mixture isn’t really cold enough to eat. It melts quickly and you end up drinking more than you eat.)

 

Crepes make delicious snacks

Gluten-free bread is expensive, and flavor is always kind of a crapshoot. It’s never really going to taste exactly like bread and different flours taste different. I like the bread I make from scratch.

But here’s the thing: making bread from scratch takes forever. Even (especially?) gluten-free bread. I’ve got a good recipe – that’s another post though.

So a couple of weekends ago, I was craving peanut butter. Normally, I’ll cut up an apple or cut a celery stalk and have some peanut butter. That was not going to work this time, because it turns out that I was craving a peanut butter sandwich. And of course – no bread in the house. (There’s almost never GF bread in the house.) Peanut butter tastes terrible on corn tortillas – don’t try it, just trust me – and so what to do?

The answer, my friends, is crepes. Crepes are quick to make, quick to cook, easy to eat (I had one with peanut butter while I was finishing cooking the batch, thus sating my craving), and then you have extra crepes around! At least for a bit until everyone else eats them. They go fast.

Gluten-Free Crepes

5.5oz ATK GF flour blend
1.5t sugar
0.25t salt
1.5c milk (the recipe calls for whole, we never have whole in the house, 1% works fine)
2 large eggs
2T unsalted butter, melted & cooled

Start heating a 10″ nonstick skillet over medium heat. We actually have a crepe pan, so if you have one, please use it instead. A skillet is a fine substitute and not having a crepe pan should not stop you.

Whisk the dry ingredients (which includes the sugar this time!) into a medium bowl. Mix the wet ingredients into another bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, whisk until all the lumps are gone.**

Once the pan is heated, pour about 0.25c of batter into the pan and swirl to get a thin, even layer of batter. (This is easily the hardest part of making crepes, and your first crepe is often kind of a mess. It’s ok, even if it looks bad, it makes a nice snack while you’re cooking the rest of them.)

Cook the crepe without moving until the edges are brown (about a minute). Gently slide a spatula around and under the crepe, loosening and then trying to flip. Cook until second side is lightly spotted – only about 30 seconds or so. Then transfer to a waiting plate. Repeat until your batter is done, placing one crepe on top of another.

This is the crepe recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s How to Be Gluten-Free, which is a cookbook I HIGHLY recommend if you’re a gluten-free person like myself.

** Aside: I often mix the wet ingredients together in to a 4c pyrex measuring cup and then put the dry into the wet, to make the batter easier to pour into the pan.

Snack time: granola

One of my big life hacks, it seems, is “make a big batch of something and then eat it bit by bit!” Turns out you can do that with granola as well as soup. I make a batch on Sunday, and then it’s my work snack all week long.

3c rolled oats (Not instant. Instant bad.)
3T brown sugar
0.5t ground cinnamon
0.25t kosher salt

Mix these all together in a big bowl. Heat the oven to 300F.

0.33c honey
0.25c olive oil
1t vanilla

Whisk these ingredients together. I usually do it in a measuring cup, but a small bowl will work too. Pour into oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until everything is well mixed.

Spread it all on a cookie sheet. Cook for 15 minutes, pull it out and stir. Put back in the oven for 5-15 minutes, until it’s golden brown.

Cool the granola on the sheet for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The granola hardens as it cools; also, if you don’t stir it the liquified sugars will cement the granola to your pan. Stirring. It’s important.

1c total various assorted add-ins: peanuts, dried fruit, seeds, tree nuts, whatever

I usually use peanuts, pepitas, and dark chocolate chips. (One-third cup of each, totaling 1 cup.) Put them in a super big bowl. Once the granola is dried, put that in the bowl and mix until well-blended. Store in an air-tight container.

It’s like a pasta-y stir fry

Because I am a working parent, quick dinners are a must. I’m a big fan of making a big pot of soup on the weekends and storing it in individual sized containers.

I’m also a big fan of stir-fries and pastas. This drunken noodle recipe is a bit of a hybrid. It’s an asian-style stir fry that uses rice noodles. Like any stir-fry, it requires some chopping, but it cooks quickly. It’s probably 45-ish minutes from pulling out the recipe to setting the serving dish on the table.

12oz rice noodles
12 oz chicken breast (the packages of chicken breast at our grocery store are 1lb, we just use the whole thing)
1T + 0.25c tamari or gluten-free soy sauce (or heck, if you’re not gluten-free, regular soy sauce is probably fine!)
0.75c packed brown sugar
0.33c lime juice (~3 limes if you’re juicing your own)
0.25c water
0.25c Asian chili-garlic sauce
0.25 c vegetable oil
0.5 head Napa cabbage, cut into 1″ pieces (~6c)
1.5c coarsely chopped cilantro
4 scallions, sliced thin

  1. Cover noodles in very hot tap water. Leave until pliable (~35 minutes, which, if you do this first and then chop the chicken & veggies, is conveniently about how long until you’ll need them again).
  2. Slice chicken breasts into strips 0.25″ thick. Toss with 1T tamari sauce.
  3. Whisk together remaining tamari/soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, water, chili-garlic sauce. Set aside.
  4. Heat 2T oil in 12″ nonstick skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook for ~3 minutes. The strips should be nearly cooked through. Transfer to clean bowl.
  5. Add 1T oil to skillet. Add cabbage and cook until spotty brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with chicken.
  6. Wipe out skillet, add 3T oil, heat over medium-high heat. Add drained rice noodles and tamari mixture, tossing gently until sauce has thickened and noodles are tender. (This typically takes ~5 minutes, but the recipe claims it could take as long as 10. That’s never been my experience.) Add chicken-cabbage mixture and cilantro. Cook until chicken is warmed through. Sprinkle scallions & serve.