Browsing Category


Poultry Soups

Mexican Acorn Squash Soup with Smoky Chicken and Spicy Seeds

Though this is a multi-step, multi-component dish, I would like to say it’s also multi-tasty. Make all of the components–or just some of them, either way you’ll be feasting on a mouth load of flavor.


For the Chicken

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 2 T olive oil
  • s&p

For the Soup

  • 2 small acorn squash (scoop out and save the seeds)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 2 c salsa, homemade or store bought
  • 1 qt chicken/beef/vegetable stock

For the Seeds

  • reserved seeds from acorn squash, cleaned and dried
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 T olive oil
  • salt
  • juice of 1 lime


Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

In an oven safe baking dish, toss the chicken thighs with all the ingredients. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Once cool, pull the chicken into rough strips with your hands or dice/chop with a knife.

In the meantime…

Use a peeler to peel the skin off the acorn squash and remove the seeds. Chop into medium-sized chunks. In a large soup pot, saute the squash pieces, onion and garlic until soft. Add the stock and salsa. Bring to a simmer. Use an immersion blender (an absolutely necessary tool for the serious cook), or a regular blender to puree the soup.

For the seeds

On a baking sheet, toss all the ingredients together and use your hands to mix everything together. Spread the seeds out as evenly as you can get them and bake until you can hear them poppin’, about 14 minutes.

Serve with slices of avocado and a good squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Beef Soups

Melt in Your Mouth Beef Stew

Practically every recipe for beef stew calls for “stew beef.” I’ve seen it in the store. I’ve used it without much success in stew. But really, what the heck is it? After a bit of research, I found it’s typically chuck or round. Chuck is around the shoulder and round is around the rear of the cow. These cuts require lots of time in order to break down and become tender–and I have no problem with that. My issue comes from the fact that I’ve never had a beef stew where these meats actually tasted fall-apart tender and yummy. So what’s the solution? SHORT RIBS! Cheap and just as easy to use in stew as the above ‘unmentionables’. I am not a crock pot fan, so I used a heavy bottomed, enameled cast iron pot. Use whichever you find easier–but if you do use a crock pot, you will have to saute the meat and veggies in a separate pan and then add them to the crock pot.


  • 3 lbs. short ribs (boneless will work if that’s all you can find, but bones add nutrition & awesome flavor!)
  • 3 T butter
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • handful of sage, rosemary and thyme, chopped
  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • 2 cups roasted marinara sauce (I keep some in the freezer at all times) or tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • s&p


Get your oven to 250ºF. In a heavy bottomed, oven safe pot, melt the butter on high heat. Sear your short ribs until you see a nice brown crust on them. Remove and put them on a plate to hang out. Add the celery, onion, carrots, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until they’ve softened. Add the tomato sauce, chicken stock, vinegar and herbs. Place the short ribs back into the pot. Press a sheet of parchment paper onto the surface of the stew and place into the oven. Cook for about 4 hours or until the short ribs pull apart easily with a fork.

Once the short ribs are tender, remove the pot from the oven CAREFULLY. Remove the short ribs and bones. Once the meat has cooled, use your fingers to pull apart the meat–believe me, it’s much, much easier than using a fork. Add the meat back to the pot and serve.

Pork Poultry Soups

Paleo Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

This is a serious multi-tasking kind of recipe. I don’t typically make/write recipes that require dirtying lots of dishes or require multiple steps or too many ingredients, because I know most people (including myself, most days) just want to eat something a.) that tastes good b.) is good for us and c.) doesn’t require washing more than 3 dishes. I absolutely, positively abhor washing dishes. Let me get back on task here, what I’m trying to say is…I’m not trying to scare anyone off, but this should be made on a “I can’t wait to cook an awesome meal” kind of day. We didn’t need a roux for this recipe. I thought I would have to experiment with some arrowroot powder but the okra does a nice job of thickening the gumbo. Oh and let me mention, this makes a TON…get ready for leftovers!


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 4 T butter, cubed
  • s&p
  • 3 leeks*
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 lb. Andouille sausage, chopped
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped
  • 6 c shrimp stock** (any stock will work)
  • 1/2 lb. okra
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 T Old Bay
  • 2 t Quatre épices***
  • 3 green onions


Get your oven to 450°F. The food processor is going to be your BFF for this recipe. Get it out! Cut out the core and leaves of the cauliflower. Roughly chop and, in batches, process the cauliflower until it resembles rice. Place on a baking sheet. Toss it around with the butter and some s&p. Roast the cauliflower rice until it’s a nice pale yellow-ish color and doesn’t taste cauliflower-y, making sure to toss it one or two times while it’s roasting. About 25 minutes.

While the cauliflower is going, add the andouille sausage to a soup/stock pot, at least 5 quarts. Saute until it’s browned, remove from the pan and place on a “holding” plate. Add the chicken and saute until it’s done…if you’re a little shy of done, no worries, it’ll continue to cook in the soup. Remove the chicken and add to the plate with the sausage.

Add the green pepper, celery stalks and leeks to the food processor and blend until everybody is in small, itty-bitty pieces. Add to the stock pot and saute until everybody has softened. Pulse up the canned tomatoes in the food processor too–I don’t like when they’re too big in the soup, I like them evenly sized and textured within the soup. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the sausage and chicken, and simmer until the okra has softened, about 20 minutes. Don’t be afraid to taste the okra for the correct done-ness–soft, but still has a crunch to it.

To serve, place a scoop of cauliflower rice in the center of a bowl, ladle around the gumbo and sprinkle with green onions. You will have more gumbo than cauliflower. So leftovers will be “soup.”

*Leeks are dirty little suckers. To clean them: Cut off the root and to the top where it starts to get really, really green. Slice lengthwise and toss into a bowl of water. Use your hands to jiggle them around and that should remove virtually all the dirt.

**So here’s the deal with shrimp stock: I made the faux-viche one night and used shell-on shrimp. I saved the shells, added them to 3 quarts of water, simmered for 3 hours, strained and discarded the shells. Incredibly easily, and might I add, very resourceful.

*** Quatre épices is a french seasoning mix: white pepper, nutmeg, ginger, cloves. It’s not a necessary component, but it’s a nice addition. I found mine at World Market.

Beef Soups

Mediterranean Beef Stew with Green Olive Pesto

Beef stew, also known as beef bourguignon, is good, but boring–and we personally think it tastes like straight up sour wine and that is not very tasty, especially by the spoonful. So we’ve added a bit of balsamic vinegar and raisins to counter the sour with a bit of sweet. We’re also swirling in a nice, briny, herbal pesto to brighten up the braise. Another change, we’re not using a crock pot! The dutch oven allows liquid to evaporate from the pot, thus creating a thicker, more intense flavored stew. And heck, I would rather eat in 2 hours than in 6 hours, agreed?


  • 2 T fat of your choice
  • 2 lb. chuck shoulder, cubed
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 3/4 c raisins
  • (1) 28 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 c red wine
  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon, sliced and seeds removed
  • S&P

For the Pesto

  • 1 handful of basil leaves
  • 1/2 handful of mint leaves
  • 1/2 c green olives (about 20)
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a dutch oven melt your fat. Salt and pepper the cubed chuck pieces, add them to the pot and let them brown on each side. Don’t fidget with them or remove them until you see a visible brown crust on the meat. Remove and reserve on a plate.  To the pot, add the onion, garlic and carrot. Let them sweat and saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the meat back to the pot, along with the tomatoes, raisins, red wine and balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine. Top with sliced lemons.

Lay a piece of parchment paper of the the top of the pot and press it down into the pot. Place in the oven and braise for 2 hours. Taste the meat, it should be super tender, if it’s not give it another half hour or so.

Once you’re about 10 minutes from the stew finishing; combine all the ingredients for the pesto in a mini food processor. Pulse until everything has come together.

When the stew is out of the oven, take the lemon rinds out, but leave in the flesh…it’ll separate very easily. Swirl in the pesto and serve.