I have had to get pretty creative with food since getting my braces on. The first weekend after I had my teeth pulled I ate nothing but smoothies and soup. But that got really boring after 3 days. I started looking online for creative foods that were soft. My main criteria was obviously to be able to chew it, fresh, in-season ingredients, and easy enough that I could make it for just me (with leftovers). I came up with some pretty good stuff and I have to say I haven't missed meat at all.
First up was a Mexican tortilla soup with jalapeno cornbread. I searched the Internet to get the basic ingredients and then made a variation with stuff I had around the house and could eat. You could easily add meat to this by picking up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
1 1/4 cups water
1 can corn, or 2 cooked corn on the cobs
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
chopped fresh cilantro
shredded soft cheese (I think I used Monterey Jack)
1. In a medium stock pot, heat a little olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Stir in corn, chiles, beans, and cilantro. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Ladle soup into bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, and chopped cilantro.
And for the cornbread, who better than the Paula Deen, the queen of butter? Go here for the recipe. It was delicious!
I found the next recipe on The Kitchen and again varied it slightly for my taste. Quinoa is becoming one of my favorite grains. It's hearty enough and full of protein that it can substitute meat and yet delicate enough that you can add a ton of flavors to it. Here is the original recipe for Quinoa Tabbiouleh. Instead of cooking the grain in just water I added vegatable stock and lemon juice for flavor. I left out the mint because I'm not a fan of it in my food and I added toasted pine nuts. I didn't soak the red onion in water because I didn't find it necassary. I think the key here is to make sure the quinoa has cooled to room tempature so it doesn't soak up all the vinaigrette. Another key is very fresh ingredients. My favorite feta is a brand I get at Fresh Market that is imported from Greece and made from sheep's milk. It really does make a huge difference.
And to beef up this meal, I served it with a piece of baked Salmon that I cooked in an aluminun foil packet. I added a little extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and zest, sea salt, pepper, capers, minced garlic, and some parsely and baked it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
I haven't had a chance to make this recipe, but it is next on the list for sure. I found it on my favorite food blog site - Eat, Make, Read. Kelly is always cooking up something amazing in her tiny Brooklyn kitchen. I would love to be a fly on the wall (or maybe a guest at the dinner table!). I cannot wait to try her spicy corn cakes with fresh salsa. If the name of the recipe doesn't entice you than the pictures sure will!
This recipe is perfect for me because it's soft AND it has corn on the cob inside the cake. Corn on the cob is one of my favorite summer treats but with these dang braces it's impossible to eat!