Weekday dinner inspiration: Mexican Chicken Posole Soup and more

Special New Year's Week Edition

Mon | Holiday hangover

Okay, you can do it. One more big push and you can stick a fork in the 2013 holiday season. Celebrate the impending end and a return to normalcy with meatless Rice and Beans Stuffed Tomatoes. Add a can of rinsed and drained pinto beans to cooked brown rice, then stir in minced Italian parsley and mint. Prepare tomatoes by slicing off top and scooping out insides. Slice a tiny disc off the bottom so they will sit squarely in a baking dish. Fill tomatoes with rice mixture and top with feta cheese. Bake about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Marinated veggie salad on the side.

Tues | Midnight madness

One of the best parties I ever threw was a New Year's Eve bash when we ate Mexican Chicken Posole Soup around a big table at about 10 p.m. By the time we'd finished the meal, dessert and all, it was almost midnight. I put out dishes of garnishes, among them chunks of avocado, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, crunchy tortilla strips and sliced scallions, and everyone got to add what they wanted to their bowl of tomato-chicken-hominy soup. In Mexico, posole is often eaten on New Year's Eve. Oh, and we also drank margaritas on the rocks. Maybe that's why we had so much fun.

Wed | Rotisserie New Year

Starting with the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville (Georgia vs. Nebraska) at noon and ending with the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., (University of Central Florida vs. Baylor) at 8:30 p.m., there will be about 12 hours of college football on New Year's Day. Make your fans Rotisserie Chicken Subs by slathering rolls with Caesar dressing and layering with sliced pepperoni, rotisserie chicken pieces, Colby-Jack cheese blend, plus tomato, lettuce and sliced red onion. Serve with chips and macaroni salad.

Thurs | Buckling down

Since Halloween we've been snacking on sweets and party food, and just generally overindulging. And now, we get serious. How about a low-cal dinner of Grilled Shrimp Tacos With Apple Slaw? Make the slaw by shredding Granny Smith apples, skin and all, and dressing with lime juice, a splash of olive oil and diced jalapenos. Set aside. Sprinkle a Cajun seasoning mix on shrimp and grill. Heat corn tortillas and layer in shrimp and slaw, and top with just a few crumbles of queso fresco, or even feta. Serve with smashed black beans mixed with salsa.

Fri | Eating better, Day 2

Resolution still intact? Keep it going with Salmon and Salad. Poach a piece of salmon in broth (or grill) and serve over a big green salad with lots of veggies. Watch the dressing. Vinaigrette is better than a creamy dressing, and a little is always better than a lot. Consider a dressing with an Asian vibe, like sesame and soy.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at jkeeler@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8586. Follow @RoadEats on Twitter.

>>MODERATE

Mexican Chicken Posole Soup

3 large poblano chiles (1 pound total)

6 garlic cloves

1 large onion

2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) white hominy

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons chili powder

Garnishes: sliced avocado, lime wedges, cilantro sprigs and sour cream

Preheat broiler. When hot, broil poblanos on a baking sheet until blackened, turning as needed, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, whirl garlic to mince. Cut onion in chunks and pulse with garlic until chopped; set aside. Drain hominy; set aside.

Cut chicken into 1- to 1 1/2-inch chunks and sprinkle with salt and 1 teaspoon oregano. Heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat. Brown half the chicken lightly, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Reduce heat to medium-high. Add onion mixture and remaining 1 teaspoon oregano to pan and saute until onion is softened, 3 minutes. Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, microwave broth until steaming, about 3 minutes. Add chili powder to onions in pan and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds.

Add broth, hominy and chicken to pan. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer to blend flavors, about 10 minutes.

Remove stems, skins and seeds from poblanos and discard; chop poblanos.

Stir poblanos into posole and cook 1 minute. Ladle into bowls; top with garnishes.

Serves 4.

Source: Sunset magazine

Weekday dinner inspiration: Mexican Chicken Posole Soup and more 12/27/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 27, 2013 6:00pm]

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