Monthly Archives: March 2018

Chicken Divan – a little lighter

Last week I unfortunately ate WAY too much of the Texas sheet cake I blogged about; it was SO good I’m going to have to hold off on making it again anytime soon, eventually it is going to be shorts season again; once all this snow melts.
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My husband has a childhood memory of chicken divan, he never calls it chicken divan it’s always my mom’s chicken and broccoli casserole so when I made my first divan he was like yeah that’s it. Wel after making it for several years now I have come to realize even though it’s filled with broccoli the other things around the broccoli are kind of crazy bad for the waistline if you know what I mean. Cream of chicken soup, cubed bread, shredded cheese and butter. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE the old casserole but I wanted to try to lighten it up just a bit.
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I am all about flavors and was a little nervous to change it too much that it is unrecognizable. So I stuck with building layers of flavor so I wouldn’t miss all the richness of cream of soup, bread and cheese.  I hope you like this “lighter” version of my husband’s’ childhood chicken divan.
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Chicken Divan

Ingredients
2-3 heads of broccoli, chopped
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bulbs shallots, minced
3 tablespoons flour
2-3 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup of chicken broth
1 cut fat free milk
¼ cup white wine
6 oz shredded low fat cheese
¼ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions
Steam or blanch the broccoli just till slightly tender and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350’F and grease a 13×9 baking dish

Chunk up chicken into bite sized pieces.  Season liberally with salt and pepper on all sides.
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Heat a medium skillet on medium high heat, add some of the oil and cook the chicken till it is slightly browned and just cooked through. Remove the chicken and set aside.
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In the same skillet add more oil if needed and saute the shallots and garlic; saute till soft and translucent. Sprinkle with flour and the curry powder whisk till smooth.
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Stir in the broth, milk and wine and bring to a boil allowing the flour to help thicken the sauce.
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Remove from the heat and add half of the shredded cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fill the bottom of the casserole dish with the broccoli, pour half of the sauce over the broccoli, cover with the pieces of chicken and then the remainder of the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese, the grated Parmesan and the breadcrumbs. Spray a little cooking spray on top and bake for about 30 minutes.

Serves 6
Approx Macros
340 Calories – 13 Fat – 20 Carbs – 34 Protein

Texas Sheet Cake

I briefly looked into why this is called Texas sheet cake but there was no evidence to where or when this originally got it’s name that I could find. I did share this recipe a few years ago but I thought it needed to make another appearance. 
IMG_2673.JPGI honestly do not care what it is called or where it came from but thank you to whoever started it. It is very moist, tangy, chocolaty, easy to make and just plain delicious! I strongly suggest you make this cake at least once in your life, though if you do, you will be making it again!
IMG_2656.JPGThe only ingredient that I needed to grab from the store was buttermilk. I do wish I could find a pint of buttermilk but all I have ever seen is it by a quart. Since I don’t love wasting food I will find some other uses for it, like buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk biscuits or buttermilk fried chicken. I was actually thinking of trying to make an Irish Soda Bread since this weekend it St Patrick’s Day and I have never made it before.
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I usually make this cake in one sheet pan and add nuts but I was invited to friends for dinner and wasn’t sure how the nuts would go over and I wanted to make it a little festive so I added green and white sprinkles. I used two sheet pans just cuz no reasoning. I hope everyone likes it!

Preheat oven to 400’F

In a Saucepan add the next 4 ingredients and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes
1 Stick of Butter
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
4 TBS Cocoa
1 Cup Water

Sift together and pour the chocolate sauce over and mix well
2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar

Add to the above
½ Cup Buttermilk
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
Mix well and pour into greased jelly roll pan
IMG_2664Bake for 20 minutes
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While baking make the frosting as it needs to be poured onto the cake while it is still hot.
In a saucepan – you can use the same one just clean it while the cake is in the oven
1 Stick Butter
1/3 Cup Buttermilk
4 TBS Cocoa

Bring to a boil for a minute or two
IMG_2665.JPGAdd the following
1 Box of Confectioner’s Sugar (roughly 2¾ Cup)
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
¾ Cup Chopped Walnuts or pecans or sprinkles be creative
IMG_2669.JPGOnce cooled – slice and store in airtight container

Cabbage Soup – EASY

I don’t know about you but I have already been thinking about the plants I am going to put in my garden this year.  It might have had something to do with the warm February we had but them mother nature had a different plan and decided we really needed another foot of snow. If nothing else it was absolutely beautiful around here.

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I added the Edamame as I had a small bag in the freezer – cleaning out the fridge kind of soup

I literally made this soup because I had a hunk of cabbage left in my fridge since harvesting it in from my garden sometime in the Fall or Autumn whatever you call it. I needed the space but I would never throw away perfectly good food. It’s not in my nature to waste but we don’t really eat a lot of cabbage but I grow enormous ones and they last once wrapped in plastic wrap for a VERY long time.

IMG_2592Believe it or not I still have some red and yellow onions, shallots and garlic that we are still using from my garden. If you have never grown any vegetables or herbs you should try; at least grow some herbs in a pot, or a patio tomato. It doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming a little soil, sun and water and you are good to go.
IMG_2629Cabbage Soup with ingredients on hand

2 stalks Celery – diced
2 Carrots – peeled and diced
2-3 Tomatoes – chopped
1 large Onion – diced
Head of Cabbage – chopped
2 cloves Garlic – minced
1 cup Edamame
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 Bay Leaf
Kosher Salt & freshly cracked black Pepper – to taste
Sriracha – to taste
Chicken Stock – enough to cover veggies

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I added a little sweet Italian Sausage that I browned and added at the end – Just a little more love

In a slow cooker I chopped and added it to the pot, set it on high and left it for about 4 hours.
You can make it on top of the stove as well using the same method.

Honey Oatmeal Cookies – Healthy?

The recipe I found said Healthy Honey Oatmeal Cookies and while the recipe uses whole wheat flour and more oatmeal than anything else. I have become a bit of a skeptic and here is my reasoning. There are SO many diet trends out there, healthy in a recipe all depends on what you are counting. Calories, Carbs, Fat, Protein or whatever else you might be watching. img_5768.jpg

You can also tweak a recipe results just by the portion size. Say you make a recipe that tells you it make 30 cookies but when you go to make them your lucky to get 15 maybe 20 out of it and I am not saying you make yours gigantic just a regular 1 inch ball sized cookie. Is that too much to ask for a regular size cookie. I use the same small ice cream scoop for pretty much everything I make that needs to be in a ball.  I literally just used my scoop to make Arancini aka fried risotto balls.
IMG_5758The point I am trying to make is don’t get hung up on the title of a recipe, I feel confident if you are following a food blog, you already have an idea what works for you. So you do you and be happy!
IMG_5759I do have a little funny to share. I have made this recipe a few times now and I realized that the first time I made them I forgot to add 1 tablespoon of water. I totally understand that baking is based on science – I get it!  So I had to laugh at myself that the next time I made them I added 1 little ole tablespoon of water and my cookies ended up spreading out more on the flat side than the chunky ones I had before.  It didn’t change the taste just the look and I for a split second was baffled, well maybe that’s a strong word it was more like hmmm? Yes Donna the water will react with the butter and even the egg to make a flatter cookie.
IMG_5760I hope you try these or some form of them, use your own imagination add nuts, currants, dates, chocolate chips, raisins. Replace the sugar with another sweetener, use an egg beater instead. Replace the butter with apple sauce. 

Ingredients

3 tablespoon butter, room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup honey
1 egg
1 tablespoon water – or omit for a chunky cookie
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups rolled oats

Directions
By hand or a mixer, mix the butter, sugar, honey, egg and water thoroughly.
Sift flour, soda and salt then add the oatmeal. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. If you are adding anything else do that now.

Drop by scoop or teaspoon onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

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sorry for the blurry picture

 

Approx Macros = 2 Cookie – roughly 20 cookies
166 Calories – 5.56 g Fat – 31.54 g Carbs – 4.2 g Protein


Recipe adapted from geniuskitchen