It's Friday, and I am elbow deep in some baking and in planning for our employee Christmas party tomorrow. I try to cook a spectacular meal as a thank you for their year of faithful hard work. Because we very much appreciate our guys and their supportive girls.
I won't actually do any of the cooking for the party until tomorrow, but today is when I do the shopping and the planning. This needs to be started at this time. The intricate timing dance of any meal. Planning oven times so everything is ready when it needs to be.
I am making a good mix of old favorites and brand new recipes. I always hesitate to try a new recipe on anyone but my BFF or my family. I picked a salad that I've never made before, but that has ingredients I've had in salads before-candied walnuts, red onion, cranberries and goat cheese. It sounds magnificent. I mean, how bad could it be? Worse case scenario?
For the appetizer I am roasting grapes and serving a cheese. Roasting grapes brings out their sweetness. This is a really easy recipe. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar over the grapes and then broil for 8-10 minutes. Can it get any easier? And, I will probably plunk the cheese on a cheeseboard and let everyone slice their own. It seems rather sophisticated (and lazy).=)
The main course will be Scarpariello, lamb, couscous, asparagus and french bread. These are all recipes I've made many times before. And they are all very simple.
The crowning touch is going to be a Black and White Bread Pudding. It has 24 ounces of white chocolate and 12 ounces of semi sweet chocolate. Half the white chocolate and all of the regular chocolate is mixed in white the bread and baked in a custard. The remaining white chocolate goes into a warm brandy sauce that gets served over top the bread pudding. I think it sounds glorious. I will share the recipe if it turns out. If it doesn't turn out, I guess we will all be eating frosted Christmas cookies.
Is your mouth watering yet?
The actual recipe that I have for you today is this Mexican Chicken Lime Soup. It has the comforting aspects of normal chicken soup with a Mexican twist. I am a fan of anything that combines chicken, cilantro, lime and avocado. I made mine without the jalapeño and it was plenty spicy for my palate-and my kids' palates.
It really was simple to assemble. Some chopping, but nothing overwhelming. Shredding the cooked chicken breasts was easy, and made it seem like there was a lot more chicken in there than you'd think.
This recipe is gluten free and dairy free. No carbs from pasta or rice. It is hardy and delicious.
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 stalks celery
2 medium jalapeño
8 cloves garlic
2 pounds chicken breasts
12 cups chicken broth
2 (14-1/2 oz) cans diced tomatoes w/ chiles
2 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp cumin
1 bunch cilantro
-Dice the onion, celery and jalapeño. (scrape the seeds before dicing). Mince the garlic. Cook the vegetables in the oil in a large pot over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
-Add the whole chicken breasts, broth, tomatoes, oregano, and cumin. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and let simmer for one hour.
-After the hour, carefully remove the chicken breasts and use two forks to shred the meat. Return the meat to the pot. Juice the limes and add the juice to the pot.
-Rinse and roughly chop the cilantro. Add to the soup.
-Peel, seed and cube the avocado.
-Serve the soup in bowls, topped with the avocado.