Spanish Chicken Salad

Spanish Chicken Salad

Paprika is used to garnish many foods we prepare. Like soups and deviled eggs, also for flavoring potato and pasta salads. It is also used in BBQ. Most of the prepared seasonings that are store bought for marinating meats have paprika in it.

The paprika we are accustomed to using is the sweet Hungarian paprika. Paprika comes from the pods of Capsicum annuum peppers that are dried and crushed to form the powdery spice.

The sweet red chili peppers are originally native to North and South America. But today, most paprika comes from Spain, South America, California and Hungary.

Besides the sweet Hungarian paprika that is commonly used , there is the Spanish Hot paprika or smoked paprika. Dose it make a difference in your recipe the use of paprika (the classic sweet) to smoked paprika?

Yes it does matter. Most recipes use the sweet paprika that we reach for in our spice cabinet. It is derived from the sweet red chili peppers and labeled “paprika”. But smoked Spanish paprika requires the peppers be smoked, usually with oak wood, prior to processing.

Smoked paprika has a distinct flavor after being smoked. As an example smoked paprika is essential for Mexican chorizo sausage. If you used regular paprika, the chorizo would not taste the same.

Paprika as for any spice has a two fold purpose when we use them. One side is the flavor spices give to our recipe and the other side is for health reasons. Any spice including paprika when consumed stimulates enzymes in our digestive system to fight off inflammation as will as bad bacteria, just to name a few good healthy reasons.

If you are interested in making your own home-made Smoked Paprika click here to find out how: How to Make Smoked Paprika.

Now for the featured recipe Spanish Chicken Salad and here is what you will need:

ingredients-for-Spanish-Chicken-Salad1/4 cup olive oil + 2 tsps.

3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. paprika, Spanish smoked

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

16 oz. mix lettuce greens

4 cups cooked chicken

2 roasted bell pepper slices, cut into smaller slices

toasting-slivered-almonds-for-Spanish-Chicken-SaladIn a frying pan over medium heat, warm 2 teaspoons of oil. Add the almonds and toast, stirring until they are crisp and golden. This should take about 5 to 7 minutes. When you start to smell them toasting, remove the pan from the burner. If you continue to toast them, they will burn.

plating toasted almonds - putting aside - Spanish Chicken SaladWhen you remove them from the burner, transfer them to a plate and set aside.

preparing-chicken-breast-for-the-Spanish-Chicken-SaladTo prepare the chicken breast, pour one cup of chicken broth and one cup of water into a medium stock pot. Place 4 chicken breasts into stock pot and cook on medium heat until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 to 170 degrees.

Remove from pot, set aside and let cool. Once cooled chopped chicken into 1 inch chunks.

whisking-in-oil-gradually.jpgIn a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, smoked paprika,vinegar, mayonnaise and option 1/2 tsp. salt, pinch of pepper. Gradually whisk in the 1/4 cup of oil and mix up until well incorporated.

slicing-roasted-red-bell-peppers.jpgSlice the roasted red bell pepper and set aside.

Mixing-the-coated-chicken-toasted-almonds-with-the-greens-to-make-Spanish-Chicken-SaladIn the bowl with the vinaigrette add the chicken, and roasted bell peppers and stir to coat evenly.

Spanish Chicken SaladPlate and serve.

You can plate to the side some shredded Jack cheese and sliced roasted bell pepper, for extra toppings.

Read more about spices at the Health News Library: Spices – Useful for More Than Just Culinary

Sources:

eHow Logo

Types Of Paprika

Paprika Vs. Smoked Paprika

theKitchen.com

 

Spicy Chorizo and Bean Soup

Spicy Chorizo and Bean Soup

When we were living down in Mexico, I learned to love chorizo. That was a time before we all knew what processed foods were really doing to us. But since a few years ago, we have learned to eat healthy, and we really try to walk that road. Though you can splurge a little now and again. That piece of so wanted “Double Fudge Cake” is okay to eat.

The point I guess I am trying to make, is chorizo isn’t really good for you. It’s really overly greasy, and a heart attack waiting to happen. But today we splurged, we had been saving up, and the chorizo was our piece of “Double Fudge Cake.”

There can be some good to say about that chorizo though, and here it is.

The Mexican style chorizo in this soup provides 24.1 grams of protein per 3.5 ounce serving, and because chorizo is made from animal sources — beef and pork — it contributes essential amino acids required for tissue repair and food breakdown. One serving of chorizo sausage (3.5 oz.) contains 0.6 mg of thiamine, or vitamin B-1. The thiamine in this food allows your body to more effectively use certain amino acids, and it helps convert food to energy.

To boost your intake of this vitamin even more, serve chorizo with a side of lentils, pinto beans or black beans. The 3.5 oz. serving of chorizo also has 2 mcg of vitamin B-12, a nutrient that plays an important role in nerve function.  A serving of chorizo contains 21.1 mcg of selenium, a significant portion of the suggested intake of 55 mcg per day. The selenium available in the sausage creates antioxidants, which ward off damage often triggered by free radicals.

Here is what you will need to prepare the soup that is very nutritious and sure to warm your insides:

ingredients for Spicy Chorizo and Bean Soup

1 large white onion, finely sliced

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp. of smoked paprika

2 celery stalks, cut into fine slices

2 roman tomatoes, quartered and cut into chunks

1-16 oz. can pinto beans, drained

Black pepper

4 cups chicken stock

½ lb. beef chorizo, torn into small chunks

2 tbsp. of olive oil

chopped tomatoes, onion, celery and garlic

First dice the onions and celery. Then quarter and chop the tomatoes, and mince garlic. Set all of that aside.

pulling apart beef chorizo with hands

Remove the casing from the chorizo and pull it apart into small pieces.

frying beef chorizo

In a medium stock pot over medium-high heat, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil. When heated, add chorizo and fry until crisp about 2 to 4 minutes.

soaking up fat from chorizo

Using a slotted spoon, spoon out chorizo onto a paper towel lined plate, and set aside.

adding tomatoes

Lower the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat. Now add the chopped onion, and celery. Fry while stirring until tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Next add chopped garlic and smoked paprika and mix in well, frying another 1 to 2 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and mix in well.Fry for another minute.

adding beef broth

Next add the beef stock and chorizo. Bring to a boil, turn heat down, and simmer for 10 minutes.

adding pinto beans

Next add drained pinto beans, and cook for about 5 minutes.

Serve warm in soup bowls and spoon sour cream on top and sprinkled with chopped cilantro.

What’s your favorite not so healthy food to splurge with now and again?

 

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How to Use Herbs in Cooking

How to Use Herbs in Cooking

An important part of cooking is also to know the flavors of herbs and spices and how to use them. Seasonings are the key to making a great meal.

If you are not familiar with different herbs, experiment. Get to know the flavors and how herbs work to flavor your food.  Also be aware herbs are not just for flavoring foods, but also have nutritional value as well as medicinal traits.

The following are the most popular used herbs.

Basil: This herb has a very aromatic odor and some can even be sweet. It can be fresh or dried. The herb goes well with lamb, fish, roast, stews, ground beef, vegetables, dressing and omelets. Basil should always be added after cooking your recipe dish, as heat chances the color and texture of basil.

Basil is also best used as whole leaves or torn. Do not use kitchen shears to cut basil as this will brown it. Smaller leaves at the top of the bunch are the sweetest.

Chives: This herb is part of the onion family. Though it can be sweet, and does have a mild flavor. They can be used dried or fresh. They go well with salads, fish, soups and potatoes.

Cilantro: It has a lively aromatic flavor. It looks similar to flat-leaf parsley, though it is not parsley. This herb originated from the Middle East and goes well with Asian, Mexican, and Indian dishes. It is also used in salsas and chutneys.

Cilantro is best used fresh. If you do grow this herb in your garden, note that the leaves become bitter after the plant flowers. The dried seeds of cilantro are the spice called coriander, which is popular in use with making Chai Tea.

Dill: This herb is very aromatic. The herb has grassy and feathery like leaves. It is used in pickle brine, as well as fresh in tuna salad, omelets, vegetables, seafood dishes, yogurt dressings that use cucumbers, and herbed vinegars.

Marjoram: Though not a popular herb, it is used either dried or fresh. It is used to add flavor to fish, poultry, omelets, lamb, stew, and stuffing.

Oregano: A very strong herb with a strong aromatic odor. Be careful when using this herb, as it is strong, adding to much will over power other flavors you will use in your recipe preparations. Oregano is unforgiving. If you have added more than the recipe calls for, there really is now way to fix it.

It can be use fresh or dried. It is added to recipes using fish, eggs, pizza, omelets, chili, stew, gravies, poultry and vegetables.

Rosemary: This herb has a pungent aroma like smell or pine flavor. It goes great with Mediterranean dishes, lamb, poultry, fish, and breads. Fresh sprigs or finely chopped leaves can be added to long-cooking stews.

It is noteworthy, that when grilling, sturdier stems of the plant make good skewers for broiling or BBQ dishes. Adding flavor to the meats and vegetables placed on the skewers.

Paprika: This spice works well when marinating steaks, in use with vegetables, soups or as a garnish for potatoes, salads and deviled eggs. The Paprika we are familiar with using is Hungarian and is sweet. There is also Smoked Paprika that is used in Mexican dishes. Most of the paprika we buy today is grown and processed in California.

Thyme: This delightful herb can be used fresh, though it is popular used dried. The leaves are dried than crushed, and can be sprinkled on fish or poultry before broiling or baking.

Here’s a tip using thyme as a meat smoking agent if you’re grilling fish or poultry: Place a few sprigs directly onto coals shortly before meat is finished grilling.

Rules to Using Herbs

The basic rule to using herbs is ¼ teaspoon for every 4 servings. Also, if you are using whole dried herbs, crush them before using to release their flavor. The rule of thumb is to use 3 times more fresh herbs if substituting for dried.

When preparing your dish, dried herbs should be added at the beginning and fresh herbs should be added just before serving the dish.

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