Chicken Tortilla Soup (Instant Pot Recipe!)

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I use my Instant Pot weekly around here and because it is SUCH a kitchen game-changer, I want to share more recipes that are Instant Pot-friendly! If you aren’t familiar with the Instant Pot, it’s basically a superhero version of a crockpot - you can make sweet potatoes, chicken, rice, you name it - in 20 minutes. If it’s 5pm and you have no dinner plan and only frozen chicken in your freezer, put down the takeout menu - you seriously can have dinner cooked and ready in under 30 minutes! I promise! The best time to buy an Instant Pot is around Labor Day/Black Friday because of the major discounts, but if you are ready to make this dinner tonight, you can snag it here (I use the 6-qt. version for my family and we always have leftovers, FYI).

This is my new favorite recipe to make in the Instant Pot - this super flavor-packed chicken tortilla soup!

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Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:
- 1 package chicken thighs or tenderloins
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 32-oz. box organic chicken stock
- 1 can diced chilies & tomatoes
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 can northern beans
- 1 can black beans
- 1 jar tomatillo salsa
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 packet ranch seasoning mix
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
toppings: diced avocado, tortillo chips (Trader Joes makes an awesome Frito knock-off!), shredded cheese and sour cream

Method:

1. Drizzle 4 tbsp. olive oil in bottom of Instant Pot.

2. Place thawed chicken tenders in bottom of instant pot, separating them as best as possible.

3. Add in all the spices on top of the chicken, including the ranch dressing packet (still looking for a “cleaner” version of this - let me know if you have ideas!)

4. Add 1-1.5 cups chicken stock.

5. Select “pressure cook” and make sure the time is set to 12 minutes. Close and lock the lid and make sure the valve is set to “sealing”.

6. Once chicken is finished with the pressure cook cycle, use a fork and knife to shred the chicken.

7. Then add in the rest of the ingredients! The beans, diced chilies and tomatoes, beans, tomatillo salsa and remainder of the chicken stock.

8. Serve topped with diced avocado, some shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream, along with some broken up tortilla chips. Dinner is served!

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Sweet Potato topped with Pulled Pork & Slaw.

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Whole30 prevails! I’ve been doing my best to keep our meal plan on the Whole30/Paleo train, and it really helps to have some resources that shed light on how to cook this way. I will probably do a second post on that since I have a lot to share in the resources department, but this particular recipe is a mesh of one from Danielle Walker’s new book, Eat What You Love and one from the Whole30 Slowcooker book. This meal is SO GOOD and seriously, it is super easy to make if you don’t make all the ingredients from scratch (which I don’t!) AND you can make this in the slowcooker or Instant Pot, and I’ll include instructions for both!

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Ingredients:
Slaw:
- 1 bag coleslaw or broccoli slaw
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 cup Mayonnaise (I use this Primal Kitchen version because it is Whole30-Approved)
- 3 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. celery seeds
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- diced green onion

Pork:
- 1 (4-lb.) boneless pork roast, shoulder or Boston butt
- 2 cups Chicken stock
- 2 cups BBQ Sauce (I love this Noble Made version)
- 3/4 cup hot sauce (I love this Noble Made version)
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. paprika
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. dry mustard

Other:
- sweet potatoes (1/2 per person)
- diced cilantro
- sliced avocado

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Method:

1. First, cook the sweet potatoes! Pre-heat the oven at 400 degrees and cook the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet for 1 hour. Then set them aside to cool a bit.

2. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, prep the pulled pork. First, trim the fat off the meat. Cut the pork into 4-6 chunks and place in a a bowl. Add the paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, dry mustard and 2 tablespoons salt and toss to coat the meat well.

3. Pour the bone broth into the Instant Pot (here is the version I have and LOVE) and add the pork. Pour bbq sauce, hot sauce and apple cider vinegar over the meat. Secure the lid until it locks, select “pressure cook” and cook on high pressure for 40 minutes.

1. While the sweet potatoes and pork are cooking, prep the slaw! Chop the red onion thinly and toss in a bowl with the slaw. In another small bowl, combine the mayo, mustard, vinegar and lemon juice. Pour “sauce” over the slaw and toss until mixed well. Add celery seeds and toss a bit more. Refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the meal.

5. When the Instant Pot pressure cook is finished, quick release the pressure. Open the lid and remove the pork to shred the meat. Season with a bit of salt and pepper before serving.

6. To serve, layer 1/2 a sweet potato with pulled pork, coleslaw, sliced avocado, diced green onion and diced cilantro. Bon Appetit!

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A few notes:
- To make this in a slow cooker, increase the bone broth to 2.5 cups. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low, then finish the dish as directed.

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This is a great meal to serve a crowd. I recently served this when we had family in town and everyone was shocked at how healthy it was AND how good it tasted! It’s not often that you really strike the balance between those two worlds, health and happy flavors! This is SUCH a great recipe and I hope you love it!

White Pork Chili (a Whole30 Meal!)

Taken and slightly adapted from Danielle Walker's  Against All Grain Cookbook

Taken and slightly adapted from Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Cookbook

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This is my favorite recipe discovery from the past year. My sis-in-law Katie made this White Pork Chili for our family when I had just had Daxton, and it was the BEST thing to have during that cold month and newborn life. So I definitely associate this meal with feeling super loved and nourished. However, I happen to have a penchant for stews. I love one-pot meals, because they're so easy to make, and I especially love a hot bowl of soup. The original, paleo version of this recipe can be found in Danielle Walker's book, Against All Grain, however, I've changed it up to make this particular version Whole30-friendly. Don't let the lengthy ingredient list scare you - this stew is SO WORTH making. I promise you will love it. Omg I think I'm going to have to make more this week after drooling over these photos while I edited them.

Ingredients:
- 2 pork chops, grilled or oven-baked until medium done, cooled, and then diced
- 1 small jar tomatillo salsa
- 1/2 cup cashew butter
- 2 poblano peppers, deseeded and chopped
- 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
- 2 large zucchinni, diced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. ground oregano
- 2 tsp. turmeric
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Method:
1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic together until soft and fragrant.
2. Add the peppers, sweet potatoes and all the spices and saute for another 5 minutes or so, until the vegetables are soft.
3. Pour in the chicken stock, then add the zucchini.
4. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cover the stockpot. Return every few minutes to stir, as the cashew butter will need to continuously mixed in.
5. Once the vegetables are soft and the pork is warmed all the way through, this is ready to eat!
6. Top each bowl with a handful of parsley and a fresh squeeze of lime.

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There you have it! This meal stand alone beautifully by itself. If you aren't doing Whole30, you can add a splash of white wine to the broth. You can also serve it with some delicious baked bread to sop up all the savory goodness. Oh gosh, this is SUCH a great winter stew, I hope you super love it! Let me know if you decide to make it! xx

Whole30 Quick Reference Meal Guide.

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Since I just completed my round 2 of Whole30, I thought I would go ahead and share a quick guide to some of my favorite and most-prepared meals. You can find all my favorite Whole30 meals throughout this blog under the tab "Food & Drink", and then click through all the categories, but I thought I would make it super easy for those of you who want a quick reference for exclusively Whole30 recipes. This is an easy way to find what you're looking for over and over again if you're on Whole30 and needing to cook a lot :) I will continue to add to this post as I share Whole30 recipes that become favorites!

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Whole30 Breakfast:
Chicken-Apple Sausage and Spinach Frittata - (Probably our most-made breakfast during Whole30!)
Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash - (which we've made for lunch and dinner, too!)
Dragonfruit Smoothie Bowl - (omit the granola and honey and make sure the almond milk is Whole30-compliant, otherwise use canned full-fat coconut milk or coconut water.)
Acai Berry Smoothie Bowl - (omit the granola and honey, make sure the almond milk is Whole30-compliant or go ahead and use full-fat canned coconut milk or coconut water.)

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Whole30 Lunch:
Salmon + Caper Spinach Salad - (omit the Parmesan cheese)
Strawberry + Grilled Chicken Salad - (omit the goat cheese)
*We find ourselves eating a lot of leftovers for lunches so that we don't get bored in salad land :)

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Whole30 Dinner:
Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti and Chicken-Herb Meatballs
Pork Chops and Spiced Apple Sauce
Roasted Tomato Soup (omit the white wine and Parmesan cheese)
Lemon & Olive Chicken
White Pork Chili - My newest and favorite stew! Not just my favorite Whole30 stew, my favorite of all time!

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Whole30 Snacks:
Note: snacks aren't encouraged on Whole30 unless you are pregnant of breastfeeding, which I was during my round 2, so these are some of my faves.
Apple Sauce, 2 ways
Boiled Artichoke (omit butter, sub olive oil and extra lemon)
Lara Bar (I love the banana, apple and blueberry bars)
Almond Butter Energy "Milkshake"
Almond Butter Date Round Bites - Coming Soon!

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Like I said, I will continue to add to this post as I keep finding recipes that are winners. If you need some more guidance, feel free check out my Whole30 Diary (Parts 1, 2 ,3 & 4), my reasoning on why I love Whole30, my 3 biggest takeaways from Whole30 and my favorite tools to use in the kitchen. Happy Whole30 prepping/eating/enjoying to you!

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti with Chicken-Herb Meatballs (Whole30 Compliant!)

This is my second time around doing Whole30, and I'm starting to get into the rhythm of cooking in this style of food AKA super insanely healthy. This spaghetti squash spaghetti is a great recipe because it's reeeeeeal yummy, ridiculously healthy and easy to prep. The key is to double (or triple!) the recipe to have leftovers for lunches or another dinner. Or make a ton of the meatballs and freeze a batch of them to have for another meal. This is a great family dinner!

Spaghetti Squash Ingredients:
- 1-2 Spaghetti Squash
- Olive Oil

Method:
1.) The easiest way to cook a spaghetti squash is to place the squash on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Then rotate the squash, and bake for another 30 minutes. Once it's finished, slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp.
2.) After scooping those out, use a fork to "fluff" the noodles out from the squash. Place these in a bowl and set aside.

Chicken-Herb Meatball Ingredients:
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. minced herbs (I used a mix of rosemary, thyme and oregano)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 2 tbsp. olive oil

Method:
1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.) Combine the chicken, egg, onion, garlic, herbs and salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Roll 15-20 meatballs, each one approximately the size of a golf ball.
3.) Heat a large skillet over medium-high and drizzle with olive oil. Once pan is hot, add a batch of meatballs (you might have to do this in several batches, depending on the size of your skillet). Turn each one every 30 seconds, until it is evenly browned all over. This should take about 5 minutes total. Transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven for 8 minutes. Let meatballs rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Top noodles with your favorite spaghetti sauce (after doing the homemade work for the noodles and meatballs, I don't dare prepare my own spaghetti sauce, too. I like to use the Costco or Whole Foods brands because they are Whole30-compliant and delicious.) Top with meatballs and fresh oregano or parsley. Bon Appetit!

P.S. - More about my Whole30 journey here.