Category Archives: dinner

Pork Chile Verde Stew (Whole30/Paleo friendly)

Last Tuesday was cold and snowy (unusual weather for Charlotte!) and I was in the mood for soup. I was thinking I’d try a Paleo/Whole30 version of chicken posole but couldn’t think of a great replacement for hominy. And I didn’t have any thawed chicken, ha. So I scraped together some random veggies, bone broth, and leftover kalua pig for this loose interpretation of my mom’s White Chicken Chili.

(Apologies for the picture! It was a last-minute snap just before we started eating.)


Pork Chile Verde Stew
Serves 6
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140 calories
15 g
5 g
7 g
6 g
1 g
290 g
369 g
5 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 140
Calories from Fat 61
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 369mg
Total Carbohydrates 15g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 5g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. fat for cooking (i used lard; olive oil or ghee also work well)
  2. 1/2 white onion, chopped
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 8 oz. canned green chiles
  5. 2 tsp. ground cumin
  6. 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  7. 4 cups chicken stock or bone broth
  8. 2 medium turnips, chopped
  9. 4 cups cooked pork shoulder, shredded
  10. 4 oz. frozen spinach (or a few handfuls of fresh)
  11. avocado, for serving
  1. Sauté onion in fat until translucent.
  2. Add garlic, cumin and oregano and sauté until fragrant.
  3. Add chiles, broth, turnips, pork, and spinach and bring to a boil.
  4. After stew boils, reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes, until turnips are cooked through.
  5. Serve with chopped avocado.
audrey steinbach

Ramen Chicken Salad with Cabbage


This chicken salad is purely delightful. I was first introduced to it when I worked at a summer camp in California, and the taste makes me a little nostalgic. Last week I was a little short on dinner plans when I remembered that there was a head of cabbage sitting in the fridge, and I remembered this chicken salad! The part that’s probably already freaking you out is the fact that it has Ramen in it. Ramen? Those cheap, processed noodle things that come in the brightly colored packages that only college students eat because they can’t afford real food? Yep. Ramen. Except in this salad, the noodles are browned and crunchy. Trust me on this. Go buy a couple packages of Ramen- the chicken flavor is best- and sure, feel free to hide it under a bunch of bananas or a head of romaine in your shopping cart if you’re prone to worry that people in the grocery store judge you based on the contents of your cart. Then come home and make this.


First, the Ramen. Lovely Ramen. Smash up the noodles until they’re roughly bite-sized and brown them in a few tablespoons of oil.


While the noodles are getting toasty, mix up the dressing ingredients: oil, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds, garlic, salt and pepper.


Shred up some cooked chicken. I only used about a cup here because we’re majoring on veggies and minoring on meat- but feel free to use more if that’s your thing. When we made this at camp, we used leftover grilled chicken here and OHMYWORD it was amazing.


Pour the dressing over the chicken and let it marinate for a little bit while you work on the veggies.


In a large bowl, mix up your veggies- chopped or shredded cabbage and carrots. I chopped the cabbage here but prefer it a little more shredded; the carrots were grated. You can grate the cabbage, too- I just thought chopping would be a little faster.

Meanwhile, make sure you don’t forget about the ramen- after it starts getting a little toasty, add in the almonds and one of the Ramen seasoning packets. (The packet is totally optional- sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.) Then keep stirring and watching it- those babies will get brown fast!


Add a few green onions.


Transfer the lot to a bigger bowl because the first one wasn’t big enough. (Story of my life!) Add the chicken/dressing and toss. I just popped a lid on this bad boy and shook the whole thing until it looked happy.


Now, if you’re ready to serve right away, add the toasty brown ramen/almond mixture. If not, let it cool and keep it in a separate container until right before serving time- otherwise your gloriously crunchy noodle will get soggy. And there’s not much glory in sogginess.

We ate it on a bed of red leaf lettuce because, like I said, we’re majoring in veggies these days. This is a great side dish for summer BBQs and picnics. It also makes a nice, light meal- pair it with some melon or fruit salad and have at it. While it’s still delicious leftover, the noodles will get soggy after several hours in the fridge. We eat them anyway. 🙂



spinach-artichoke stracciatella soup

We’re big soup fans. There are few things so comforting as a bowl of steamy soup after a long, cold day. In an effort to eat more vegetarian meals, this is a soup that we’ve had several times lately. The first time I made it I wasn’t too thrilled, but this time I made some adjustments and it turned out amazingly good. The recipe’s inspired by Gina at Skinnytaste but has a few twists. It’s quite simple- only a few ingredients and takes only a few minutes to make- but is still delicious and healthy.

Here’s the cast of characters: a pound or so of spinach (I used fresh but frozen would work too), eggs, beans, artichoke hearts, parsley, parmesan, eggs, and orzo. Not pictured: chicken broth. Yes, broth is required for soup making…


Boil 5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock. The wok is optional- I only used mine because my stockpot happened to be at my apartment and I made this at my fiancé’s place. Turns out, the wok is the only other pot at his house that’s big enough to make soup in!

While the stock is heating, grate yourself about 3/4 cup of parmesan and chop the parsley. Mix parmesan and parsley with eggs and remaining cup of stock in a separate bowl.

Chop artichoke hearts into bite-sized pieces.

Once broth is boiling, add artichoke hearts and beans and let simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Pour in egg mixture and stir or whisk so that the egg forms long strands as it cooks.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour in orzo; cook according to package directions. Note: if you’re not planning to eat all of the soup in one sitting, you may want to boil the pasta separately and portion it into individual bowls before adding the soup. Pasta tends to soak up all of the liquid in leftover soup and you’ll end up with spinach-artichoke orzo if you leave it in the fridge for any length of time.

Once pasta is almost al dente but still has a little bite, mix in the spinach and let simmer for a few more minutes until it wilts.

Finish it off with a squeeze of lemon juice. The lemon adds a nice bright note.

Top with parmesan cheese and serve with a nice crusty bread.

Spinach-Artichoke Stracciatella Soup


  • 6 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lb spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 8 oz. artichoke hearts (about 1/2 of a can)
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 15 oz.) white beans (cannelini or Great Northern), drained and rinsed
  • 4 oz. dry orzo
  • lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring 5 cups stock to a boil.
  2. Mix 3/4 cup grated parmesan and chopped parsley with eggs and remaining stock in a bowl.
  3. Chop artichoke hearts into bite-sized pieces; drain and rinse beans.
  4. When stock is boiling, add artichoke hearts and beans; simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Pour in egg mixture, stirring or whisking so that the egg forms long strands as it cooks.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour in dry orzo, cook according to package directions.
  7. When orzo is almost al dente but still has a little bite, mix in spinach and simmer for a few more minutes until it wilts.
  8. Finish soup with a squeeze of lemon juice; top with remaining parmesan and serve with crusty bread.

Serves 4-6.


What We Ate Last Week

I think I’ve mentioned a few times that we’ve joined a group called the Noisy Rabbit and now we get a basket full of produce every Wednesday. It’s so fun! Using up all the produce has been a great challenge and I’ve been forced to be really creative instead of just making the same-old food. It’s also saved me time (and money) grocery shopping- what’s not to love? Here’s our haul from last week.

Would you look at those carrots? Biggest carrots I’ve ever seen, no lie. And I was so ecstatic to see grapefruit!

Here’s what we ate last week:

Sunday: Asparagus and Shallot Risotto with poached eggs.

Monday: Penne with Roasted Cauliflower, Carrots, and Breadcrumbs

Tuesday: Rachael Ray’s Carbonara, Roasted Asparagus, Garlic Bread, Salad, and White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake

The cheesecake was pretty awesome- we’re still eating leftovers!- but a little too sweet for my taste. The pieces I cut were too big and we had major sugar rushes after eating them! I love carbonara, and it seemed like the perfect choice for Valentine’s Day, but it didn’t turn out as good as it has in the past. Clearly I need a little more practice…

Wednesday: Crockpot Baked Potato Soup, via MamaLovesFood

Crockpot meals are great for Wednesdays because we have prayer meetings or small groups every week and James often has meetings from 5:00 until then. I halved April’s recipe and added in some of the leftover roasted cauliflower and carrots from Monday for a little extra veggie boost. It was tasty, but I felt like there was a little too much cream cheese- ended up being all creamy and not enough potato.

Thursday: Celebration dinner at the Lazy Goat! After I successfully passed my graduate recital check, my sweet fiancé surprised me by taking me to dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants. The menu is tapas-heavy, so we typically order three or four items and share them. This time we had some crazy good roasted brussel sprouts with manchego cheese- they were amazing, y’all. The brussel sprouts were crispy, there was this amazing sweet-ish sauce- so good. We also ordered some tasty moussaka and a Middle Eastern take on chocken and waffles with tabbouleh and pomegranate sauce. I don’t have any pictures because a) it was too dark to take good ones and b) I was so busy stuffing my face that I didn’t have time!

Friday: Leftover Baked Potato Soup and Bacon Apple Cheddar Paninis

The baked potato soup made another appearance, and I made some quick paninis to go with it. Bacon, cheddar, a few slices of Gala apple and some Ranch dressing on bread. Tasty, but a little dry and a little too greasy- I felt kind of limited since there wasn’t much meat in the fridge.

Saturday: Spinach-Artichoke Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries with Tomato-Garlic Aioli

I think we’re going to start a weekend tradition involving burgers- we eat pizza every Sunday night, and it’s fun to be creative with the toppings and try to improve it every week. It’s time to do that with burgers! I’m a big fan of Rachael Ray’s recipes- and she has TONS of burger variations. This one was tasty, even though I didn’t exactly read the recipe right and kind of made them the wrong way. I actually put spinach and artichoke inside the burgers as well as on top, and it was tasty! Still working on the sweet potato fries, though… somehow they’re never the right texture. Anyone have a secret technique for perfectly crispy sweet potato fries?

I also made a quick tomato-garlic aioli since we didn’t have any tomatoes to work with and I felt like we needed some kind of spread. The aioli was layered on the burger buns and it also made a great dipping sauce for the fries.


So that’s what we ate last week! How do you plan your menus? Do you have any recurring meals like pizza on Sunday or burgers on Saturday? Are you part of a produce-share or co-op?

Penne with Roasted Cauliflower, Carrots, and Breadcrumbs

There’s something magical about a roasted vegetable. Somehow a few minutes in a hot oven with a little oil transforms even the plainest vegetable into a complex, tasty dish. Our produce basket from last week had a nice head of cauliflower in it and, inspired by this recipe from the Kitchn, I decided to roast it for a filling and tasty vegetarian dinner.

While this isn’t the fastest recipe around, it’s pretty simple and tasty for a weeknight dinner when you’re not too rushed.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Olive oil, penne (or another short pasta- farfalle, rotini) a small shallot, cauliflower, carrots, and breadcrumbs.

Chop the veggies into bite-sized pieces, toss them with some olive oil, and roast for about 20 minutes.

While the veggies are roasting, cook the pasta according to package directions and toast the breadcrumbs. I added some celery salt to my breadcrumbs- feel free to be creative with your favorite flavors here.

After the cauliflower and carrots are nicely roasted, add them to the pasta and breadcrumbs. Top with parmesan and serve immediately.

Penne with Roasted Cauliflower, Carrots, and Breadcrumbs


  • one head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 2 large carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb penne or other short pasta
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450. Toss carrots, cauliflower, and shallot with olive oil and spread on baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until vegetables are tender and begin to brown.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. Toast breadcrumbs in 1/4 olive oil for 4-5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add celery salt. and stir to combine.
  4. After cauliflower and carrots are roasted, combine with toasted breadcrumbs.
  5. Drain cooked pasta and combine with veggies and breadcrumbs. Add more olive oil if pasta looks dry. Salt and pepper to taste, top with parmesan cheese and serve.

Serves 6.

Asparagus and Shallot Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite foods. Like a grown-up version of macaroni and cheese, it’s warm, flavorful, and incredibly comforting. It can be varied almost infinitely and makes a great “pantry meal” to use up whatever random ingredients you might have in your fridge. Many people are turned off by the long and somewhat involved preparation time, but that’s one of my favorite parts. On a day where nothing has gone right, the simple act of standing in front of the stove and stirring the rice, adding liquid, and stirring some more is a manageable, controlled aspect of life. (Yes, I have control issues. Yes, that’s probably a large part of the reason I love cooking so much.) This particular risotto variation includes asparagus and shallots. Here’s what you’ll need: butter, olive oil, a shallot, a green onion, stock, rice, asparagus, and some good parmesan. And yes, I forgot to put the green onion in this picture. I’m deeply sorry.

First, melt your butter and oil together in a nice big pan. Emphasis on “big.” Use a bigger pan than you think you’ll need. Trust me. While the butter melts, chop up your shallot and green onion and then sauté them for a few minutes. It’s best to have your stock warm, so if you’re using canned or refrigerated stock this is a good time to pour it into a stockpot and heat it.

After the shallot and green onion are tender, stir in the rice and mix well. This is one of the unique aspects of risotto- before getting cooked, the rice is toasted in the butter/oil mixture for extra flavor.

Give it a few minutes, then add in your first 1/4 cup of liquid. Many recipes call for white wine at this point- feel free to use that if you’re so inclined. After you add the liquid, stir the rice until the liquid is absorbed.

After that first 1/4 cup of liquid is absorbed, pour in 2 more cups of liquid and stir until absorbed. It’s not necessary to stir the entire time the risotto is cooking, but stirring is an important part of the process so you’ll want to stir it for almost the entire cooking time. I stir for a few minutes and then take a quick break to chop asparagus or grate parmesan.

Once all the liquid is absorbed, add two more cups and continue stirring until you’ve added all the liquid. When you’ve added about half the stock, go ahead and mix in the asparagus.

If, in the course of this process, you discover that your pan is a bit too small, feel free to switch it out for a bigger one. I won’t say ‘I told you so,’ but only because that’s exactly what happened to me.

Keep adding liquid in 2-cup increments and stirring until your risotto looks about like this:

You’re almost there! See the lovely, creamy sauce that’s begun to form? Grab yourself a fork (or a spoon) and give it a taste. You’re checking for just the right texture here- the rice should be cooked but not mushy. If there’s still a little bite to the rice, add more stock and keep going. If the texture is just right, you’re done! Add salt and pepper as needed; then sprinkle a good handful of parmesan over the top to finish.

This makes a great side for fish or chicken. You can also top with a poached egg for a vegetarian meal.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to risotto variations!  Think of that creamy rice goodness as a blank canvas over which you can paint any number of delicious flavor combinations. Try it with green peas, pumpkin purée and crab meat, goat cheese and herbs, or black beans and salsa.

Asparagus and Shallot Risotto


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 2 cups rice (Arborio is best but Jasmine or plain white rice will do)
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
  • 6-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat; add olive oil. Add shallot and green onion; cook until tender. Heat stock to a simmer. Pour in rice and stir until coated with butter/oil mixture, let cook for a few minutes. Pour in 1/4 cup of stock (or white wine); stir until liquid is absorbed.
  2. Add about two cups of stock to pan, stir until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding liquid and stirring. After about half of the stock has been added, pour in the asparagus. Continue to add stock and stir until the stick is all added and/or the rice is tender.
  3. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top; add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 as main dish, 6-8 as side.