Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

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I am such a weakling when it comes to cold weather. It dropped down to 65 degrees F last week in Los Angeles, and I was busting out all of the blankets to put on the couch. My feet were freezing and I was wearing ponchos in the house. My DH thought I was crazy.

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Still, I’d take cold weather over scorching hot ones any day. I love staying in and cuddling with a cup of tea. Throw in a bowl of soup and I’m done for. Soup is actually one of the dishes that I feel comfortable cooking (and that’s saying a lot!). It’s lot a crockpot on the stove. Throw the ingredients together and let the soup simmer for a couple of minutes. Done.

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This was a warm and hearty soup. The lemon flavor truly shines through and meshes wonderfully with the orzo and chicken. Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups (2 cans) chicken stock
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 8 oz (1.5 cups) orzo pasta
  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice,and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the shredded chicken and orzo to the pot and cook for about 10 minutes, until the orzo is tender.
  4. Discard the bay leaf and stir in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
http://lovintheoven.com/2014/11/lemon-chicken-orzo-soup.html

Panasonic #MicrowaveOnly Challenge and Giveaway

I am taking part of Panasonic’s #MicrowaveOnly challenge. What exactly does that entail? Well, for one day, I have to create all of my meals in the microwave! It’s actually a lot easier than I thought it would be.

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For this challenge, I’m using Panasonic’s Full-Size 1.6 cu. ft. Genius Prestige Countertop / Built-in Microwave Oven with Inverter Technology, aka Model #NN-SE782S.

Since living in an apartment, I’ve always been a little frugal with my microwave. I figured that since my living situation was only temporary, I shouldn’t buy a “good’ microwave because I’ll end up moving and selling it anyways.

I was thrilled when Panasonic sent me a microwave to use for this challenge. Heck, this microwave is even better than “good,” it’s awesome. With a cooking power of 1250 watts, you can heat up things in no time! My little microwave before this took forever just to heat up water for some tea. With this, well, you’ll see…

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For breakfast, I made Creamy Oats with Apple, Cherry, and Walnuts. I adjusted the recipe from Panasonic by using almond milk rather than apple juice for that extra creaminess.

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The result was a hearty and fulfilling breakfast that kept me full all morning.

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Creamy Oats with Cherry and Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Quick-cooking oats
  • 2 tbsp Dried Cherries
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon, ground
  • pinch of Salt
  • 1/4 cup Greek Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Walnuts, chopped

Directions

  1. Combine the oats, dried cherries, almond milk, cinnamon, and salt in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Cook on P10 for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until thickened.
  3. Top with yogurt and sprinkle with brown sugar and walnuts.
http://lovintheoven.com/2014/04/panasonic-microwaveonly-challenge.html

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Since the oatmeal kept me pretty full, I wasn’t starving when lunch came by. I decided to stay on the healthy track and eat a sweet potato.

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Thanks to Panasonic’s inverter technology, my sweet potato cooked evenly and kept it’s texture and taste. The inside of the potato was just as warm as the outside, so there were no cold spots anywhere!

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Microwavable Sweet Potato

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Rinse and scrub the sweet potato.
  2. Pierce the potato all over with a fork. Wrap the potato in a damp paper towel.
  3. Microwave for 4 minutes. Turn it over and microwave for another 4 minutes.
  4. Be careful removing from the microwave when it's done-- it'll be hot! Unwrap the potato and cut it in half. Dollop with the greek yogurt and sprinkle the cinnamon on top. Serve warm!
http://lovintheoven.com/2014/04/panasonic-microwaveonly-challenge.html

For dinner, I admit that I heated up some leftovers along with a bag of microwavable popcorn. #guilty You really have to keep an eye out on your popcorn when using different microwaves– with this Panasonic, I only had to do it for a minute and twenty seconds rather than almost two minutes!

For other recipes and cooking tips, check out Panasonic’s website here.

Now for the good stuff! I’m giving away…

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That’s right.. I’m giving away a full size Panasonic microwave along with a product pack (as pictured above)!! All you have to do is tweet a picture of your own #microwaveonly meal with a short description to @HomePanasonic and @kimberlywyn to win! You must also follow @HomePanasonic in order to be qualified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored post, but the opinions expressed are my own.

Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake

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Can you imagine waking up to a big pan of this on your birthday morning? How glorious would that be? Give me a chai tea latte and you’ve got my perfect breakfast. Working as a flight attendant, coffee cakes are my achilles heal. I can bring them with me in my luggage and I can eat it on the go– no utensils needed. That makes it convenient and delectable.

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Chinet sent me over some disposable bakeware to try out, and I thought this Meyer lemon coffee cake would be the perfect thing for the 8×8 inch pan. I hardly ever bake with disposables, so I was eager to see how it compares with regular heavy duty baking pans.

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The pan itself is actually rather light. It’s made of a paper/cardboard feeling material and is textured. The inside is coated with a dark layer and the outside remains white. All of Chinet’s bakeware comes with a lid, making it easy to take with you to a party or just for transferring in general. The only issue was that the top didn’t actually “snap” into place. It loosely covers your baked good and moves around on its own. I just used some tape to keep it shut while transporting it.

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It sure looks pretty, though. It’s nice to be able to take a coffee cake to someone and not worry about bringing the bakeware back. One and done.

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I was very impressed with how evenly the cake baked in the pan. There was no sinking in the middle and it seemed as if the edges browned normally. There was no “weak spot” of the pan.

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I was also curious as to how the bakeware would keep its shape, but sure enough, it proved me wrong. There was no sagging, bending, or melting (wouldn’t that be terrible?!). It was sturdy. I could hold it from one end and it wouldn’t fold.

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Bottom line is that you should definitely bring a cake to someone… for breakfast! Let them celebrate in the morning instead of having to wait all day for celebrating in the evening.

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I have to be honest about this lemon coffee cake. I didn’t try it because I don’t like lemon desserts. I actually packed it up and brought it with me to work so that my coworkers can enjoy their mornings. I even left it on the counter in the communal area for everyone to enjoy. From the feedback that I got, the cake seemed to be a hit with everyone. It wasn’t too strong in lemon flavor.

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This streusel recipe made a lot and I only used 2/3 of it. I’m saving the rest to top off some muffins. Recipe is slightly adapted from Martha Stewart.

Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake

Ingredients

  • Streusel:
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
  • Cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 3-4 Meyer lemons)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • juice of half a lemon

Directions

  1. First make the streusel by cutting together the butter and the rest of the ingredients until crumbly. I used a food processor for ease.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in the lemon zest, eggs, vanilla, and yogurt.
  4. Gradually stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined.
  5. Pour the batter into an 8x8 pan and top with the streusel (I only used 2/3 of it).
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let cool completely before mixing the powdered sugar and lemon juice together and drizzling.
http://lovintheoven.com/2013/09/meyer-lemon-coffee-cake.html

*This is a sponsored post by Chinet, but the opinions expressed are my own.*