Many new things are happening in my life now. I just got a new job (PRAISE!!!) with my wonderful friend Christine Rios, I am going to be leading a Life Group at our church Every Nation Tallahassee for the first time ever, and with our financial situation looking bright I am starting to dream of the future in ways that I haven’t before.
All these changes are good, but they are also a little intimidating. Sadly, with a longer commute, I have not been able to cook as much as I like or put as much effort into my dishes. I really want to continue to grow as a cook but lately I’ve ended up cooking the same old things. Maybe right now with all the other changes in my life familiar dishes are just what I need.
I think sometimes I struggle too much with what other people think of me. I feel like I need to prove myself, even if I have already been accepted. I guess it’s the curse of being a people-pleaser. In my new job, for instance, I’ve noticed myself getting very nervous about my performance even though no one has given me any negative feedback. I’ve been thinking: Maybe I just need to chill out and be myself. There is a reason why my new company hired me, so I don’t need to try to reinvent myself in order to keep my job.
This is a lesson I am trying to learn in other areas of my life as well. I am a good cook. I don’t need to be the best in the world or make something new and spectacular every day to know that my stuff is good and people like it. I am accepted by God, I don’t need the approval of every person on the planet. I am accepted by my friends, family and husband and they never expected me to be perfect, just to be who I am.
OK, time for some comfort food: two old recipes, nothing too spectacular about them, just some things that have been sitting in my recipe book for so long I know them by heart.
LEMON GARLIC CHICKEN
This chicken is good as a base to make chicken soups, chicken salads, casseroles, dips; anything that requires little tender pieces of chicken. You can also serve it mixed in with rice. When it is done cooking it literally falls to pieces. 🙂
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Juice of one lemon (less if desired)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup chicken broth or bouillon plus H2O to make one cup
Oregano, salt and pepper to taste
2 T EVOO
1. Trim thighs of fat if needed. Season on both sides with salt, pepper and oregano. Brown in EVOO in a skillet for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
2. Put chicken in a crockpot with lemon juice, garlic and broth and simmer 2-3 hours on high or 4-6 hours on low.
3. Drain well and serve with rice, in chicken salad, dips or casseroles, or use the whole pot’s contents as a base to make chicken soup.
NATALIE’S CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
(It makes a TON. Take some to somebody who’s not feeling good or freeze half for later.)
Lemon Garlic Chicken, whole pot including broth (skim off fat if needed)
One can of Rotel
One can of corn
One cup diced onion
One diced bell pepper
1-2 stalks of celery
Fresh cilantro, about a handful, plus a little extra for garnish
Cayenne pepper, optional (add about 1/2 tsp at a time)
Salt, pepper and cumin
Tortilla chips, sliced avocado, sour cream, cheese and sliced limes: optional garnish
1. Sautee onions and pepper until soft in a large pot.
2. Add chicken with broth, cans of Rotel and corn (both with juice), celery, and chopped cilantro. Throw in the celery and some water if desired to get the soup to the consistency you want.
3. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1-2 hours, tasting and seasoning with salt, pepper, cumin, & cayenne pepper if desired as the soup cooks. If you add cayenne it will get spicier as it cooks! Take out the celery before serving.
4. Garnish as desired with fresh cilantro/ sour cream/cheese/ chips/ avocadoes/limes.