Turkey Tortilla Soup.

I basically don't cook anything but soups in the winter. Yes, I'm believing that spring is right around the corner, but let's be honest - this past weekend was cold and wet. And soup just seems so easy and hearty and warm for weather like this. I love a good mug of this stuff - I top this recipe with a healthy dose of sour cream (or Greek yogurt!), shredded cheese, diced avocado, cilantro and tortilla chips. Of course, if you're being a little healthier, you can skip some of the rich toppings and this is still a great dinner option. Or lunch option. Or anything option. I love making a huge batch of this stuff and living on it for a few days.

- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1.5 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 diced green bell pepper
- 1 diced red bell pepper
- 32 oz. chicken stock
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 can other beans of choice (kidney, pinto or great northern)
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 3 tbsp. cornmeal

- Diced avocado
- Shredded cheese
- 1 dollop sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Diced cilantro

1. Heat 1 large stockpot over medium and add olive oil. Once evenly heated, add ground turkey meat and begin browning, stirring occasionally.
2. Add onion, red pepper, green pepper and garlic and continue cooking until soft, about 3 minutes.
3. Add all the spices, continuing to stir to combine.
4. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, beans and diced tomatoes.
5. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 45 minutes.
6. Add cornmeal and stir into soup immediately.
7. Turn off heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
8. Ladle into bowls (or mugs - I prefer a mug), and top with tortilla chips, diced avocado & cilantro, sour cream and cheese.

Happy soup night, friends! I hope you love this recipe as much as my family does :)

Pork Chops & Spiced Apple Sauce (a Whole30 recipe!)

This is one of my favorite recipes from doing Whole30 last year. I am gearing up in my mind for doing another round of Whole30 (not anytime soon, in a few months) so I wanted to unearth a few of my favorite recipes that are easy and delicious and don't feel like diet food. That's what I really loved about Whole30 - everything we ate on the program was real, fresh whole foods. Lots of veggies, protein and healthy fats. This pork chop is no exception - it's super simple to cook (pork chops used to intimidate me), and the apple sauce is really easy and really makes the dish pop with flavor. Stevie asked for this one over and over when we were on Whole30, and we've continued to make it since coming off the program, too!

- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 2 bone-in pork chops (about 1 pound total)
- 3 tbsp. oil olive
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 1/2 cup apple cider (in a pinch you can use no-sugar-added apple juice)
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 2 generous handfuls of arugula (or frisee or spinach, you can see the spinach pictured here)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the salt and pepper in a small bowl and use it to season both sides of the pork chops.
3. Melt oil oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the olive oil is hot, add the pork chops and sear until you see a golden-brown crust, about 2-3 minutes. Turn over and sear the other side for 2 minutes.
4. Transfer the pork chops to a baking dish and roast in the oven 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness. (If you have an internal meat thermometer, you want the temperature to reach about 140 degrees).
5. While the pork is roasting, combine the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil and onion in the same skillet. Cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the apple, apple cider, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. Cook until the apples soften, about 5 minutes.
6. Optional step - transfer the apple sauce to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. I say this is optional because we have eaten this recipe with both smooth apple sauce and chunky, and it's delicious both ways.
7. Dress the plates with your green of choice (mine is arugula, because it's the perfect pinch of spice), and top with the pork. Dollop the applesauce on top and bon appetit!

And there you have it! It's really simple to execute this meal and it feels so hearty and wholesome. Also, a word on apple sauce - it is perhaps the most versatile food ever. I love finding new ways to serve it, bake with it and prep different dishes with it. Last month I shared about the different ways I make apple sauce, and included this wonderful spiced version. Let me know if you decide to try this recipe out and what you think of it! Happy cooking, friends!

P.S. - If anyone has done Whole30 while breastfeeding, I would love to hear from you! I'm interested in learning how to safely do the program without sacrificing my milk supply. Give me a shout in the comments with any advice or tips! Many thanks :)

My 12 Favorite Summer Recipes.

Summer is the time for light fare and alfresco dining. Picnic meals, juicy bites here and there; snacks consisting of drippy popsicles and garden-fresh tomatoes and icy watermelon. I savor summer cooking and eating, incorporating those tantalizing fusions of citrus and pepper, barbecue and cilantro, acai and avocado. These ingredients are tailored for the messy canvas that is the summer kitchen - smeared cutting boards and smoky skillets and hissing barbecue creations with taste that lingers playfully on the tongue. I eat it up. Literally.

I'm grateful to finally, finally, be able to cook again. It's been a long three months of eating grilled cheese and English muffins and little else. With my renewed sense of appreciation for taste, I am gleefully flipping through my favorite old summer recipes, eager to savor everything sun-ripened and juicy-frozen.

Sharing a few of my favorite with you today. Happy tasting to you, friends. :)

Pulled Barbecue Chicken Tacos (in the slowwwcooker!)

I love this recipe because it's for the stupendously lazy. There are some days where you just don't want to chop, prep or cook. This is a meal for one of those days. This is virtually a 5-minute fix it and forget it recipe, and you will laugh when people take a bit and simultaneously trip over their words, complimenting this easy and yet somehow delicious meal. It's fool-proof. I'm serious.

- 1.5 lbs. of chicken breasts or chicken thighs (or a mix of both!)
- 1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce (I love Annie's Organic Original BBQ Sauce.)
- 1 chopped white onion (or if you're uber lazy, you can just quarter it and call it a day.)
- 1-2 tsp. minced garlic (I buy the jar of minced garlic, because I can't be bothered with the press anymore - who has the time??)
- tortillas (or if you're on the Whole30 train, you could swap these for lettuce wraps)
- salt and pepper to taste

- Cole slaw
- sliced radishes (so peppery and crunchy!)
- sliced avocado (so creamy. so right.)

1. Dump your chicken into the crockpot.

2. Generously salt and pepper the meat.

3. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic and entire bottle of bbq sauce.

4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4. I find that this chicken pulls apart easier if its cooked on low, but its still delicious either way.

5. Once it's ready, just shred with a fork (it should come apart easily) and dress atop a tortilla with assorted toppings. Enjoy!

I love this meal because it usually lasts us a few days (and a few meals!) and tastes better with each passing day. I also love that it can be easily converted into a Whole30-compliant dish with a few minor switches (swap the tortillas for lettuce wraps and make sure the bbq sauce you choose doesn't have any sugar in the ingredients), and I mostly love that it's just so easy and yet tastes indulgent. I love it so much that I'm making this for my people on Easter Sunday. Seriously. The Easter Bunny eats barbecue in the South, yall.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas.

I have been searching high and low for my favorite chicken enchilada recipe. I've tried everyone's - Giada's, Ree Drummond's, Jessica Alba's, a zillion people on Epicurious and Allrecipes.com. But I haven't found THE ONE. Until now, that is. This recipe is a blend of trial and error (a lot of error - there have been batches lost to too much spice, too much cheese, too much sauce, too little sauce, etc.) I am excited to share this with you! I hope you love it as much as my family does :)

- 3-4 boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts
- 4 32-oz. boxes of chicken stock
- 1-2 package tortillas (I prefer flour)
- 2 15-oz. cans red enchilada sauce
- 1 can green chilies
- 1 can diced black olives, drained
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 24 oz. Mexican-style cheese, shredded (this could be 3-4 packages)
- 1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup, plus 1/2 cup more, cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 tbsp. diced garlic
- salt & pepper, to taste
- paprika

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place the chicken and 1 tbsp. diced garlic in a large stockpot and cover with the chicken stock. Toss in a bit of salt and pepper for good measure. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and let the chicken cook for about 20 minutes, or until cooked all the way through. It should be white and easy to slice through (that's how you will know it's done!)

3. While the chicken is cooking, you can prep everything else. In a smaller stockpot, pour the 2 cans of enchilada sauce and the 1 can of green chilies in and heat over medium-low. Let it slowly heat up. Make sure to stir every few minutes.

4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine 18 oz. of the shredded cheese, the drained black olives, and the chopped cilantro. Mix well. Set aside.

5. Go ahead and de-seed and dice up the green pepper. Dice the yellow onion.

6. Once the chicken is finished cooking, remove from heat and drain out the broth. Move to a large plate or cutting board and shred the chicken meat.

7. Heat a large deep skillet over medium. Add some olive oil to the pan and allow 1-2 minutes to heat. Add in the diced onion and green pepper. Toss in a bit of salt and pepper, for funsies. After 3-4 minutes, when things are getting soft and slightly browned, toss in the shredded chicken. Then add the magic ingredient: the cream cheese. Allow the cheese to melt over the chicken, and mix everything well, so the chicken, cheese, onion and green pepper make a creamy situation. Yum. Yum yum yum. Lower the heat. 

8. Now it's time to dress your tortillas! Lay your tortilla flat and add some of the chicken mixture down the middle. Then top with the cheese, olive + cilantro mixture. Roll the tortilla up and place seam-side down in a large glass oven-safe pan. Repeat this with all the tortillas until your pan is full. Note: I had enough ingredients to make 1 large 9x13 pan and another 8x8 pan.

9. Pour the enchilada sauce over the top of all the tortillas in the pan, making sure to completely saturate the tortillas.

10. Top the tortillas with another 8 oz. of shredded cheese.

11. Bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

12. Top enchiladas with 1/2 cup of cilantro. Dress with sour cream, black beans or green onions - or nothing at all! These enchiladas can stand alone and stand proud.

Serves 6-8.

I really really REALLY love this recipe. It's taken me a good bit of trial and error to get here, so I am proud to share this with you. I hope it warms up your home on these days that are getting chillier and chillier :) Happy yummy dinner to you and your family!