Chicken & Veggie Reset Soup

This time of the year seems to have everyone feeling a bit under the weather. Regardless if it’s because of the flu or simply because it becomes much easier to stow yourself away in your house during this time of the year, February is full of less smiles than I am used to seeing. I especially have been feeling the low-points of the season recently. Making it to the gym is harder, making plans after work seems impossible, and I am still juggling about twelve other things that I have already dedicated myself to. Don’t get me wrong, I love having a million different projects in the works at a time but it can wear a woman down.

This week, I decided that my worn down body deserved a treat from my also-exhausted brain.

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I have to admit, when I was a kid, I liked one soup and one soup only. Chicken noodle. As I got older, the noodle part stopped playing such an important role, while the chicken and veggies took centerstage, especially during those time I was to ill to crawl from the bedroom to the kitchen for something as simple as a cup of tea.

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This WAS, however, where the idea for a ‘reset’ soup was born. I wanted something simple, healthy, and sure to provide me with nutrients. While there are plenty of recipes online for soups that are thought to “cleanse” you, I just wanted something that had whole, easily attainable ingredients, that would not only be satisfying when my immune system seems to be on its last leg, but that could also be used for those weeks that followed after I had treated my body more like a garbage disposal than my own proverbial temple.

While this recipe can easily be thrown together in a soup pot, I chose to make it in my deeply-loved crockpot. The more recipes that appear on this site, the more you will realize where a crockpot lives on my list of priorities and belongings.

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To begin with, I needed to get the ingredients into the pot that would take awhile to cook. I coated the bottom of the crockpot with light oil and then proceeded to dice the garlic, onion, and celery. I then grated the ginger and combined all of those ingredients into the pot. I left them covered for around 15 minutes.

While the first ingredients cooked, I washed the chicken breasts, patted them dry, covered them lightly in salt and pepper, and put them into the crockpot. I then poured half the chicken broth into the pot as well. Now it was time to wait about 3 hours.

IMG_1743When the time had passed, the next step was to add the frozen peas and broccoli. I added the whole bags. After all, it’s a reset and I can use as many veggies in my meals as possible.  I also poured in the remaining chicken broth, covered and let the soup set until the broccoli was tender.

And that was that. Soup ready, reset to come.

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Chicken & Veggie Reset Soup

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  1. Turn on your crockpot and begin heating the oil in the bottom of it. Add the chopped onions, celery, ginger, and garlic. Cover crockpot for 15-20 minutes. While this happens, rinse the chicken breasts, pat dry and cover in salt and pepper. Then add the chicken breasts, one quart of the broth, carrots, and one teaspoon sea salt.
  2. Cover and let simmer for 3+ hours, until the chicken breasts are cooked through.
  3. Add the broccoli, peas, the second quart of chicken broth and parsley to the pot. Continue to cook covered to soften the broccoli. Once the broccoli is tender, taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm. Easy as can be.

Snow Day Carnitas

Normally Mondays wouldn’t allow me to enjoy myself so much. But I woke up this morning at 9am and there was a fresh white blanket of snow on the ground and the smell of the rosemary tree by my bed as soon I opened my eyes. I put my Leon Bridges vinyl on the record player, took a look in the fridge and staring back at me was a beautiful pork shoulder. There are few things I love more than a simple crockpot meal. Not only do they take a minimal amount of effort but they also make the entire house smell like magic. It also doesn’t hurt that a pork shoulder is a large enough piece of meat that I can make meals out of it for the rest of the week. So in the spirit of cold winter days spent home alone, I got cookin’.

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To get started, I wanted to make sure I had everything I needed. I didn’t have any lime juice but I did have an abundance of limes (because I have a problem passing by brightly colored fruits at the grocery store), and with that it was time to start prepping the meat.

I went ahead and plugged in the crockpot and turned it on high. I poured enough cooking oil in the bottom of the pot so that it was just covered enough. Now it was time to make the marinade.

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First I peeled the onion and the garlic cloves. I cut the onion in half (save half for the crockpot) and place both half the onion and the four cloves of garlic in the blender. I then added the oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper, and the juice of the four small limes and blended it into the marinade paste.

I then took the meat out of the package and prepped it with kosher salt. Using a cooking brush, I smeared the marinade all over the meat and used my hands to work it into the pork.

I then refrigerated it for an hour. Depending on your schedule, you can marinate it for as little as 30 minutes or for as long as a day. I was itching to get this baby in the crockpot and therefore couldn’t wait any longer.

 

While the meat was allowing the marinade to set, I cut the other half of the onion into thin slices and added it to the hot oil in the crockpot and allowed them to start cooking. Once I could not longer wait, I removed the meat from the fridge and placed it in the crockpot on HIGH for 8 hours.

Once the time has elapsed, you have plenty of beautiful tender carnitas to incorporate into a number of meals throughout the week. I added mine to a bright bed of fresh spinach, mango, and cashews with a honey lime vinaigrette. What are you going to pair with yours?

Stay warm, my friends. And enjoy!

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Snow Day Carnitas

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 6-8 hours

Snow Day Carnitas Ingredients

  1. Add half the onion, the garlic, oregano, chili powder, lime juice, salt, and pepper to a blender or food processor. When fully combined, you will be left with a hearty paste.

  2. Remove the pork shoulder from its wrapping and sprinkle a thin layer of salt all over the outside of the piece of meat. Rub the marinade you have prepared all over the pork. You can use your hands or a marinade brush. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes – 24 hours.

  3. When ready to cook, add the remaining enough oil to crockpot so that the bottom is covered in a thin layer. Add the pork shoulder and the other half the onion ( sliced thin) to the pot.

  4. Place the lid on top of the crockpot and leave for six to eight hours. Feel free to stir occasionally.

  5. Once the time has passed, the pork should be ready for you to enjoy. Shred the pork in the pot and mix in with the juices as you do so. Depending on how long you have let the pork cook, very little shredding may be necessary. You may need to add some additional salt and pepper so that the pork is to your liking. Squeeze a little lime juice over the top and add fresh cilantro before serving.

Welcome to Thick as Thieves Kitchen: Passion Projects

Cooking hasn’t always been something I was good at, or even interested in.

As a kid growing up with a single mom, and busy schedules, it was infrequent for us to have a meal around a table together unless a special occasion came about. Christmas, birthdays, family visits, called for connection over sustenance, wholeness, richness, a familial force to be reckoned with.

Moving forward

The older I became, the more I treasured these moments. In college, there wasn’t much to be done. Ramen and frozen pizzas occupied my kitchen more often than not. After that I moved to a small ski town, and worked for a healthcare non-profit, where paying the bills became my number one priority and I relied on the kindness of others to eat. Throughout these times there were brief moments of light, all of which began at a table with the people I loved.

Spreading the wealth

I promised myself that as soon as I could, I would bring that light to others. Bring the wholeness that comes with gathering and laughter, food and fulfillment. And so that is where this blog comes in. I want to have a place to reminisce, I want to have a flesh and blood copy of the way my heart springs to life each time I put my soul on a table for the people I love.

These are the important things in life. These are the things that transform people from strangers to friends to thick as thieves.