Chipotle Picadillo with Chili Lime Cauliflower Rice

I’m sure at this point in the year, most people are tired of hearing about how cold it’s been and how ready everyone is for warmer weather!  I recently took a VERY brief trip to San Antonio for work (<24hrs!) and thought I was going to get a little reprieve from this cold, but was I ever surprised!  Of course the day I arrived the cold front had moved in and made the temperatures plummet from 70’s-80’s the day prior to windy with highs in the low 40’s while I was there!  And of course, silly me all I packed was a leather jacket.  BRRRR!

Not only was I very disappointed by the weather, I was almost more disappointed when the restaurant we visited for dinner explained that their picadillo was just plain old ground beef taco meat.  I was expecting a delicious flavor mash up of spices, vegetables, and tomatoey sauce to coat the beef.  So, upon learning this was not the case, I ordered shrimp instead!!! LOL

Ever since then, I have been thinking about it so over the weekend, I used whatever I could scrounge up to create my own! I didn’t expect it to turn out super great since I literally only used things I already had at home.  But, oh my, I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised!  Another great thing about this recipe is that it just proves that you can really use just about anything, depending on what you routinely keep around or whatever you flavor preferences or dietary needs are!

My version starts with the typical starting point of ground beef, seasoned with some traditional spices such as cumin and paprika.  I would have used oregano, but I was out at home so I did without.  Then I added in the vegetables aka FLAVOR.  Again, started pretty traditional with onions, garlic, jalapenos, and tomatoes.  But then, to kick things up some more, I added some additional frozen vegetables along with some chipotle peppers that I had in the freezer! Let it all simmer together and get nice and cozy, and dang, let me tell you, the flavors were on point!

To serve it, I went with some frozen riced cauliflower which I pretty much always keep on hand.  Then seasoned it with some dried spices, such as dried cilantro, chili lime seasoning, and jalapeno seasoning.  I also happened to have an errant lime in the fridge so I squeezed that over top as well!  I probably would have used fresh cilantro if I’d have had any on hand, but using the dried kind worked out well and really cut down on prep time since I didn’t have to chop it up!

Chipotle Picadillo Pot

Finally, I topped it with some diced avocado and it was dang delicious!  Minimal chopping involved, uses a lot of things you probably have on hand, but if not, feel free to improvise!  Smoky, a little spicy, and super flavorful!  The meat mixture can be made in one pan so clean up is easy peasy as well!

Make this tonight.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Chipotle Picadillo Topped

Chipotle Picadillo with Chili Lime Cauliflower Rice

Servings:  6 (smallish) or 4 (larger)         Time:  30-45 minutes

Ingredients:

Picadillo
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (I used ~95%)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil, butter, ghee, or cooking oil of choice
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos (more or less to taste), ribs and seeds removed, finely diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 chipotles in adobo, canned, diced
  • 1 14.5oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 – 1.5 C frozen, mixed vegetables (such as carrots, peas, corn, and green beans)
  • 1/4 C quick oats, optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Avocado, for serving, if desired
Cauliflower Rice

Instructions:

  1. For picadillo, in a large sauce pan or stock pot, heat oil or ghee over medium-low heat.  Add onion and a little salt and saute for a few minutes until slightly softened. Add minced garlic and jalapeno and saute a little more, about 1 minute.
  2. Add ground beef and  cook until slightly browned.  Break it up into smaller crumbles while cooking.  Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika.  It doesn’t need to be fully cooked as it will continue cooking as remaining ingredients are added.
  3. Once mostly browned, add in frozen vegetables, chipotles, and canned tomatoes. Stir thoroughly to combine.  Cover, reduce to low, and let simmer while preparing the cauliflower rice.
  4. For cauliflower rice, heat oil or ghee over medium-high heat.  Add riced cauliflower and saute, stirring frequently for several minutes until warmed through.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Optional:  check on picadillo mixture.  If it is still quite liquidey, add 1/4 C quick oats, if desired.  Stir thoroughly to combine and recover pot until ready to serve.
  6. To serve, spoon out cauliflower rice onto plate or bowl, top with picadillo mixture, and diced avocado, if using.  Enjoy!
Nutrition Info (approximate based on 6 servings and excludes avocado or other toppings):
250 total cal, 8.9g fat, 21 g carb, 21g protein

Recipe notes:

  • I like the picadillo meat mixture to be thicker, not soupy, which is why I add the oats.  If you prefer not to use oats, you could first drain the canned tomatoes before adding them to the mixture.
  • Most picadillo recipes includes potatoes.  I didn’t have any so I didn’t use any.  But feel free to experiment with either fresh or frozen diced potatoes.  If you use fresh, I would dice it small to ensure they cook all the way through or microwave slightly first.
  • I initially just intended to use a carrots and peas frozen mixture, but upon searching my freezer, only found the mixture mentioned above (carrots, peas, corn, and green beans) which I happened to quite enjoy!
  • For canned chipotles in adobo, rarely does a recipe call for the whole can.  In order to reduce waste, if I open a new can, I’ll generally divide any remaining peppers into baggies with 2-3 peppers each and freeze them for future use.  These can be quickly defrosted by submerging the baggy in a room temp/slightly warm bowl of water.
  • If you prefer things on the spicier side, you can add additional chipotles or leave the ribs and seeds in the jalapenos, since that’s where most of the heat lives!
  • I’ve mentioned this before, but a garlic press makes mincing garlic soooo much easier!  This isn’t the brand I have (mine is Pampered Chef, which was a gift from my mom for Christmas one year), but here’s a link to a highly rated one from Amazon:  garlic press.  You don’t even have to peel the garlic first!  But if you’re mincing several cloves at once, peeling it first helps.
  • This recipe is easily modifiable for various dietary needs.  For instance, if keto, use less starchy or lower carb vegetables, less lean (higher fat) ground beef, and omit the oats.  For paleo or whole30, again, adapt the vegetables used and be sure to utilize compliant spice mixes and omit the oats.

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave me a comment letting me know how you like it!  Also, tag @ceceonthego and #ceceonthego on social media!  I love seeing your recreations!

 

Note:  CeceOnTheGo participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  The products linked are products actually used by the author or are recommended based upon reviews, as indicated.


Tom Kha – Thai Shrimp Coconut Soup

Tom kha is one of my favorite soups!  It’s rich, creamy, salty, savory, tangy, and a bit spicy.  I’ve tried many many many times to make a batch that somewhat rivals that of one of my favorite local Thai restaurants to no avail.  But this time I think I finally nailed it.  It’s surprisingly easy and despite what I previously assumed to be the reason why it wasn’t turning out to be as good as Lulu’s, it doesn’t require a trip to the Asian market.  While the traditional version uses galangal, Thai basil, and lemongrass, I was able to create a more approachable version using ginger and lime juice.  This soup comes together quickly and is perfect for a night spent cozying up on the couch! And of course, it’s full of a variety of vegetables, with spaghetti squash instead of noodles or rice, which keeps it lower carb but no less filling!

It does require a few items probably not normally in your pantry, but not to worry!  They’re still pretty easy to find at your local grocery store!  They also add tons of flavor while keeping the ingredient list to a minimum.  So, what are these secret ingredients?  Thai red curry paste and fish sauce!  Both add intense flavor and really give the broth the most satisfying touch of tang and spice!

Additionally, if you utilize a fish sauce that doesn’t contain sugar, this soup is both paleo and whole30!  I used Kame brand because that’s what I was able to find at the store, but Red Boat makes a version without sugar.  While the fish sauce smells a bit funky, you absolutely cannot skip this ingredient!  It was the ingredient that I had been missing on my previous attempts and the flavor it adds is not replicable!  It adds saltiness and tanginess, along with umami (savory) flavor.  It’s made from anchovies, which, if you didn’t know is also the key ingredient in Caesar dressing!  Because of the fair amount of fish sauce used in this recipe, no additional salt is necessary.  And I even cut down on the sodium further by using a low sodium chicken broth.  I also highly recommend using fresh ginger and garlic.  I’m just not sure that dried or powdered versions would bring quite the flavor punch necessary to really make the broth for this soup sing!  And really, the broth is what it’s all about, so don’t skip out on it!

Alright, so besides the insanely delicious broth, I mentioned that this soup is full of vegetables and I wasn’t kidding!  Bell peppers, onion, green onion, chilis, and spaghetti squash are all swimming around in there, and shrimp adds a good bit of protein to help keep you full and satisfied!  For additional flavor, add some fresh cilantro and freshly squeezed lime juice.

tom kha veggies

 

tom kha soup

Tom Kha – Thai Shrimp Coconut Soup

Servings:  4          Time: ~ 45 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 serrano chilis (or Thai chilis if you can find them!), halved and thinly sliced, optional
  • 3 limes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 14.5oz can light coconut milk
  • 1 14.5oz can reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 rounded tsp red curry paste
  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails off
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Halve spaghetti squash lengthwise, scrape out seeds, and rub cut side with a bit of olive oil.  Place cut side down on a foil lined baking pan.  Pierce skin with a fork several times.  Bake in oven 20-25 minutes until softened and strands scrape out easily.  *Don’t overcook as it will continue to cook a bit once added to soup.
  • While squash cooks, over medium heat in a large dutch oven, add ghee (or oil/butter of choice) and melt.  Add shrimp and cook about 2 minutes per side, until almost cooked through.
  • Add regular onion, chili, and green onion (reserve about 2 tbsp. green onion for garnish later, if desired) and saute a couple minutes until lightly softened.
  • Add ginger, garlic, and red curry paste and continue to saute, stirring continuously, for about 2 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk, chicken broth, fish sauce, and juice of 2 limes (tip – gently roll the limes on the counter before slicing to release the juices) and bring to a simmer.
  • Add red bell pepper to soup.
  • Once squash is done and cool enough to handle, scrape out strands and add to soup.  Continue simmering for 5 minutes or so until everything is combined.
  • Serve with chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges
Nutrition Info:

315 total cal, 13 g fat, 23 g carb, 27 g protein

 


Flank Steak with Basil Vinaigrette

As the weather turns cooler, I’ve been craving more hearty and rich dishes.  A few weeks ago, the weather was just starting to hint at the cooler temperatures to come, and rather than using the flank steak in my fridge for a salad as I planned, I decided I wanted something more comforting than a salad.  As I dug around trying to decide what else I could potentially make, inspiration hit.  This dish transitions perfectly from the end of summer into fall and winter.  It can be paired with just about any combination of vegetables, depending on what is one season.  But each time I’ve made it, I’ve stuck to both riced cauliflower and mushrooms and then mixed in a third vegetable based on what I had on hand – squash and zucchini, sauted kale, green beans and onions, and most recently, roasted brussels sprouts.

You can grill the flank steak in the warmer months, or cook it in a cast iron skillet, as described below, in the colder months.  The vegetables can also be prepared in your favorite way – grilled, roasted, sauted. Just keep the seasonings simple and let the basil vinaigrette shine!

Flank steak basil vinaigrette and wine

This dish could very easily be bland, boring, and basic.  But adding in the fresh herbaceous sauce that only takes a few minutes to throw together really steps it up a notch and takes it to a whole new level.  It takes this dish from an any other day, clean out the fridge, uninspired meal to elevated and elegant, but still super quick and easy!  The fresh herbs and garlic really bring the wow factor!  So, make this dish, fall in love, cozy up with a glass of wine or hot tea, and share the love with all your favorite loved ones!

Flank Steak Basil Vinaigrette

Flank Steak with Basil Vinaigrette

Servings:  4          Time:  ~30 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1-1.25 lb flank steak
  • 12 oz bag frozen, riced cauliflower
  • 2 pints fresh mushrooms, such as crimini or white button, whole or sliced
  • Additional vegetables as desired
  • 1/4 C fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Couple dashes crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions:
  1. Liberally season both sides of flank steak with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add a small amount of butter or ghee.  Add seasoned flank steak and sear a few minutes on each side until lightly browned.  Turn heat to medium low and cover with lid or piece of foil, cooking for about 6-8 minutes longer or until desired doneness.  I recommend not cooking past medium (about 160 degrees F), as flank steak is lean and can get tough if overcooked.  Remove from heat and set aside to rest.
  3. While steak cooks, prepare vinaigrette.  Place olive oil in small dish, whisk continuously while slowly adding in vinegar.  Once combined, add mined garlic and basil, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste.  Set aside until ready to serve.
  4. Cook vegetables – saute riced, frozen cauliflower in butter or ghee over medium high heat for several minutes until warmed through.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Remove from pan.  Add good amount of butter, ghee, and/or olive oil to same pan.  Add mushrooms, and cook over low heat, seasoned with salt and pepper, until cooked through.
  5. Once steak has rested, cut in thin strips against the grain.
  6. Plate:  add a mound of cooked, riced cauliflower to plate or bowl, pile on cooked mushrooms and additional vegetables, layer on sliced steak, cover it all in a spoonful of basil vinaigrette, and dig in!
Nutrition Info:

365 total cal, 23 g fat, 10 g carb, 30 g protein


Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad

I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately, both for work and for fun, and with the warmer weather and eating out constantly while traveling, basically all I’ve wanted to eat while home is salads!  Most restaurants don’t serve enough vegetables, in my opinion, so I always crave all the vegetables upon returning home!

This salad has been a repeat offender, in the best possible way, over the past week!  It’s full of fresh, crunchy vegetables, easy to prepare boiled chicken, and the most flavorful and delicious Thai peanut dressing.  The dressing is inspired by a Thai peanut sauce that I’ve put over swoodles (sweet potato noodles) in the past.  It’s also partly inspired by one of my favorite noodle dishes (called Rainbow Peanut Noodles) at a local Thai fusion restaurant.  P.S. if you’re in the Kansas City area, I highly recommend you check out Lulu’s Thai Noodle House!  You really can’t go wrong with much on their menu, but I especially love the Rainbow Peanut Noodles, the Drunken Noodles, Pad Se Eu, or of course Pad Thai.

Anyways, back to this SALAD 🙂

It’s super easy to prepare and really allows for various combinations of vegetables to be tossed in to your liking!  I made this a second time using a slightly different mix of vegetables than the first based on what I had on hand and what I could easily find at the store, so like I said, if any of the vegetables listed below don’t appeal to you, feel free to mix it up!  Any vegetables found in Asian dishes could be tried with this – sugar snap or snow peas, cucumber, cauliflower, celery, even canned water chestnut!

The dressing is really the star here, and putting it all in a blender to mix makes it super easy.  I used fresh ginger and garlic but this could easily be made with dried or powdered garlic and ginger as well.  You’ll just need to reduce the amounts to probably around 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. to be equivalent to the amounts of fresh used in this recipe.  Since it’s a smaller amount, I’d recommend using a personal size blender or small food processor.  I’ve used Ninja brand blenders for several years with success.  And in my opinion, you really can’t beat the price.  Either of these models would work well for this recipe – blender, personal blender, and food processor combo or for less money, 2 sizes of personal blender cups combo.  Also, the heat level from the crushed red pepper can be modified or removed all together depending on your liking.

This makes quite a large amount of salad, but since all the vegetables are pretty hearty, they can hold up well to being saved for leftovers, even with the dressing on!  Below is a picture of it being mixed up in the biggest bowl I own :).

Thai Chicken Salad Bowl

This salad can easily be made Whole30 or Paleo as well if you follow those food plans.

So, give this recipe a shot and let me know how it goes!  I’d love to hear what kind of delicious veggie combos you come up with!

Thai Chicken Salad Side Shot

Ingredients:

Servings:  6            Time:  30 minutes

Dressing:

  1.  1/4 C coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  2.  2 T natural, no sugar added peanut butter (or almond butter for Whole30 or Paleo)
  3. 2 T Rice Wine Vinegar
  4. 2 T Olive Oil
  5. 1 t Sesame Oil
  6. 1 large clove garlic, peeled (or approximately 1/4-1/2 t powdered)
  7. 1 thumb-sized knob of ginger, peeled (or approximately 1/4-1/2 t powdered)
  8. 1 dried date, softened in 1-2 T warm water for a few minutes (or 1 t sweetener of choice)
  9. 1/8 t crushed red pepper to taste
  10.  Salt and pepper to taste (use less salt or omit if using soy sauce)
  11. Warm water as needed to thin (use the leftover water from the softened date)

Salad:

  1. 1 14-16oz bag coleslaw mix
  2. 1 14-16oz bag shredded purple cabbage
  3. 1 14-16oz bag broccoli slaw
  4. 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  5. 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  6. 1 orange, red, or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  7. 1/2 C slivered almonds
  8. 4 large chicken breasts, about 2-2.5 pounds, cooked and shredded
  9. Fresh cilantro and sesame seeds to top, optional

Instructions:

  1. Cook and shred chicken.  I use the method described in my Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe.
  2. While chicken cooks, throw all ingredients for the dressing into a blender and blend until smooth, adding small amounts of warm water as necessary to thin to typical dressing consistency.
  3. Chop bell pepper, radish, and green onion and mix with coleslaw, purple cabbage, and broccoli slaw in a large bowl.
  4. Dish up about 1/6 of the rainbow of vegetables mix, 1/6 of shredded chicken, and top with approximately 2 T of dressing, slivered almonds, cilantro and sesame seeds if desired.
  5. Enjoy!

Nutrition info:  383 tot cal, 14 g fat, 25 g carb, 42 g protein


Egg Roll Bowls

I’m always on the look out for healthy, flavorful, QUICK meals.  Since I avoid dairy products, a lot of what I eat regularly is Asian inspired.  In addition to generally not containing dairy, Asian food is delicious!  Stir fries and curries are my flavor jam!  I love just about anything with garlic and ginger.

However, I’ve never been a huge fan of traditional fried egg rolls.  I know, I know…there’s just always been something a little off-putting about them to me flavor wise.  Then add in the often greasy outer fried shell, and it’s a no-go in my books.

Recently though, I stumbled upon this recipe from Peace, Love, and Low Carb that I found intriguing.  Upon looking through the ingredient list, I thought that this was an egg roll variation that I could on board with.

Garlic, ginger, soy, and sriracha form the base of the flavors so what isn’t there to like about it?  I keep many of the ingredients on hand so basically just have to grab the coleslaw and broccoli slaw mixes(and maybe fresh ground pork and ground turkey if I don’t have time to thaw out the frozen stuff) to prepare.

You can also make it both Paleo or Whole30 compliant, so along with being dairy free, many types of eaters can fit this into their eating style!  If you avoid soy or soy based products, you can use coconut aminos.  A little about coconut aminos – clearly from the name, it is made from coconut.  More specifically, coconut sap.  While I do enjoy soy sauce, I try not to consume too much soy based products because of my thyroid disorder.  Coconut aminos is a pretty good substitute and is Paleo and Whole30 compliant.  It is MUCH lower in sodium (about 75% less, which is generally a good thing) and also has a slightly sweet flavor.  It doesn’t taste like coconut, but if you use it in place of soy, be prepared to need a bit more salt in your recipe than if you use traditional soy sauce.

So, back to the recipe:  it comes together really quickly thanks to using convenient items such as bagged coleslaw mix!  And since it makes a pretty large quantity, you’ve got lunch taken care of for the next couple of days!

egg roll in a bowl meal prep

We’ve been enjoying this around our house regularly (at least every other week) for the last couple of months and I don’t intend to quit anytime soon :).  Enjoy!

*Note – you need a pretty large skillet or wok for this!  Alternatively, you could use 2 smaller skillets and split it evenly amongst them.

egg roll in a bowl in skillet

*Second note – if you use a lot of fresh garlic, I highly recommend investing in a good garlic press!  My mom bought me one from Pampered Chef for Christmas, and it’s a total game changer!  You don’t even have to peel the garlic!  Just pop the clove in, press the handle down, and scrape off the perfectly minced garlic!  Remove the skin, and repeat!  Find a similar one here, with great reviews!

egg roll in a bowl served up

Egg Roll Bowls

Servings: 6            Time: 30 min

Ingredients:

  1. 1 lb reduced fat ground pork
  2. 1 lb lean (93% or higher) ground turkey
  3. 5 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 large onion, large dice
  5. 14 oz bag coleslaw mix
  6. 14 oz bag broccoli slaw
  7. 1 T ground ginger
  8. 1 t ground pepper
  9. 4 T coconut aminos or reduced sodium soy sauce (I used 2 T of each)
  10. 3 T rice wine vinegar (I’ve also used apple cider vinegar)
  11. 2 T sesame oil
  12. 3-4 T sriracha (or Whole30 compliant chile/hot sauce)
  13. About 5 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
  14. 2 T sesame seeds
  15. Fresh cilantro for topping, optional

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the turkey and pork and cook until no longer pink.  Drain the fat from the skillet.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and saute a few minutes.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together the ginger, pepper, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sriracha, and soy sauce or coconut aminos.
  4. Add the bag of coleslaw mix to the meat and onion mixture.  Pour about half of the liquid mixture to the skillet, and gently toss it, allowing the coleslaw to cook down a bit and make more room in the skillet.  This is where it gets a bit tricky to keep it all contained in one skillet so be patient.  🙂 Start adding the broccoli slaw mixture, in smaller batches, to allow room in the pan.  It helps to use tongs and just kind of flip portions of the mixture around.  Continue adding the liquid to help flavor and steam the veggies down.  Once it’s all added, test for seasoning and add more sriracha, salt, pepper, etc. as needed.
  5. Portion into bowl, top with green onion, cilantro, and sesame seeds.
  6. Dig in!

Nutrition Info:

380 total cal, 21 g fat, 10 g carbs, 31 g protein