Creamy Garlic Chicken

I think I have finally found something I am passionate about. I mean truly passionate about. I love playing golf, I love gardening, I love traveling and exploring; but what gets me really excited is food. It only took me around 20 years to figure out that I get super excited about the experience of and being around food. I mean it has not always been this way trust me but I definitely can see that I have become more excited at the prospect of getting into a restaurant that is impossible to get in, finding a hidden gem by accident and staying for hours,  seeing/meeting a famous chef or even a chef that came in second on Chopped; yeah that really happened.
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My daughter wanted to go to a restaurant the runner up was cooking at in Washington DC; so we were in the city and went for lunch, I mentioned to our waiter we were here only because my daughter saw him on chopped. He said he was cooking out back and then proceeded to tell him without our knowledge. A chef was coming towards us; came to our table and chatted with us, more like me, my daughter was chef shocked and could barely speak. Same thing happened when she came face to face with Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian on a flight from Japan to the US.
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Last year my daughter and I went to a taping of a radio show featuring ex iron chef Mario Batali, this week I am dragging 9 of my foodie family and friends to a fundraising dinner and I paid extra for my ticket for a meet and greet with Iron Chef Alex Guarnascelli.  I am currently waiting “patiently” to see if my name is pulled to make a reservation to the Lost Kitchen in Freedom ME; which is only taking names via 3×5 index cards mailed in for reservations.  Also a couple of years ago my husband and I along with another couple made a reservation to a restaurant in Montreal Canada that had a 4 month waiting list; which by the way is a 4 hour drive from us. Not to mention I am heading into my fourth year of writing a weekly food blog. I think you get the gist now!

I love that I am sharing my passion with my husband and kids and that they are just as much a foodie as I am. Having dinner together at the table every night together IS important! What my husband said about this dish “knocked it out of the park”

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced or chopped up like I did
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken broth
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1 cup chopped spinach
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

season chicken with salt and pepper, in a large skillet cook the chicken until cooked through and browned on each side, remove chicken and set aside.
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Add the garlic for and cook for 30 seconds, do not let it brown. add the chicken stock and using a wooden spoon get all the browned bits up off the pan, cook for about 3-4 minutes to almost half of the stock is gone.
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Add the heavy cream, seasoning, cheese and whisk over high heat till it thickens. Add the spinach and tomatoes and bring to a simmer until the spinach wilts.  Add the chicken to the sauce.
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serve over pasta if you want – I served it over linguine and it re-heated beautifully the next day!

Macros – chicken and sauce only
484 Calories 57 g Protein 34 g 23 g Fat 9 g Carbs

Macro friendly weekly Frittata

Happy Easter!

Meal prep is such a buzz word all over the internet, it seems there are hundreds of ideas out there that people are sharing. I do like the idea behind it but I don’t think one size fits all and are you going to plan/eat the same thing every single day? Probably not! Could you for a couple or a few day I think so!
IMG_2700My daughter and I have made several versions of mason jar salads, my all time favorite was the orzo, mozzarella, tomato spinach salad but there is only so much of it one can eat in a week. Variety is the spice of life or so goes the saying.  Though the convenience of having lunch already made and my upbringing to not waste food, the saying when I was a kid growing up was there were people starving in Africa eat your meatloaf – yuck! Meatloaf is still my nemesis!
IMG_2692Working on being a little more self conscious of what I put in my mouth I find it a whole lot easier to prep at least my breakfast, lunch and snacks for the work week. I try to do this on a regular basis, when I don’t I actually miss it so I am getting better at it.
IMG_2693IMG_2694My staple for breakfast is the frittata I make every Sunday and once cooled I put 5 pieces in a container and bring it to work with me.  It solves a few problems; one I’m not a morning person, so making a healthy meal every morning just not going to happen, two I am never hungry when I wake up, I generally don’t eat till around 9:30, three is the portions are already pre-set and I have already calculated out the macros – if you are watching them.  
IMG_2695IMG_2696This has been going on for months now and I am have not once been like ugh more eggs! Which is saying something because i’m not a huge fan of eggs I generally only like them poached but this is working for me, so I thought I would share it with those people who might need a little help for at least the morning.
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My Macro Friendly Frittata

16 ounce container of egg whites – or 8 large eggs – 1 container of egg substitute – you be you!
1 Large or Extra Large egg – it does make a difference
3 ounces cubes ham
1 small onion diced
1 ounce fat free feta cheese
5 florets broccoli chopped
1 green onion diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
6-8 grape tomatoes – halved
Kosher salt and black pepper
Sriracha sauce – a must if using egg whites
IMG_2699I heat the olive oil in my cast iron pan, saute the onion and ham.  Add the broccoli for another minute or so. In a small bowl I combine the whites with the egg and season with salt and pepper plus the hot sauce.
IMG_2698Pour the eggs over the ham, onion and broccoli then add the cheese and tomatoes. Sprinkle with the scallions, salt and pepper and let it cook the bottom of the frittata for about 3-5 minutes on medium low heat. Finish off under the broiler till set and browned.

Let it set up for about 5 minutes before you remove it from the pan. I run a spatula around the edge and try to lift it off the bottom of the pan, just so it won’t stick. It’s happened. Slice it and enjoy!
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Serves 8
Approx Macros – for the egg white and 1 egg 
80 Calories – 2 Fat – 2 Carbs – 12 Protein

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

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.

Quick and Easy Turkey Chili

There is nothing really too exciting about ground turkey; It doesn’t have a lot of flavor, once cooked it isn’t pleasing to the eye but the health benefits mean it has become a staple in my home and I need to figure out how to use it.

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I traded the red kidney beans for a can of black soybeans to lower the carbs a little in mine

I recall my mother trying to pass off ground turkey in her “ground beef“ shepherd’s pie when I was a either a picky teenager or young adult I can’t remember how old I was – I’m sure she’ll chime in here if she reads this.  I remember it NOT tasting or looking like her “normal pie”. I am fairly certain I didn’t finish my plate that night.

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My husband was a little take a back by the look of the kale at first but really liked the chili 

While I am not AS picky as I used to be, I have come to appreciate that there are ways to cook and eat a little more healthy and NOT lose flavor or eye appeal. I don’t know about you but I know I get excited to eat when my plate looks and smells delicious!

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The spices helped liven up the color of the turkey

In this recipe towards the end of the browning of the turkey I added the spices to the pot so to help “color” the ground turkey it changed it from drab to fab.
IMG_2601.JPGIngredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons chipotle powder – I used 1 leftover chipotle pepper from my fridge chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 cups water
1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 – 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 – 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed – I used black soybeans instead
2 cups kale, ribs removed, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and Freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

In a heavy bottom pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and the turkey to the pot breaking up the turkey into small pieces. Season with salt, cook till browned, push turkey to the side of the pan and add the chili powder, cumin and chipotle into a little of the olive oil, add another tablespoon if needed. Finish cooking the turkey while working in the spices.

Add the onions and pepper season with salt and pepper. Cooking till they are soft and the onions translucent.  Deglaze the pan with the water scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, beans and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until the chili thickens a bit.

Stir in the kale and season with salt and pepper, cook for another 5-7 minutes.

Approx Macros = 2 cups per serving – recipe feeds 4
717 Calories – 39g Fat – 41g Carbs – 57g Protein
Recipe: Clinton Kelly on the Chew

Portuguese Paella

I know I’ve mentioned a few times in the last three years of writing this blog that I google my blog when I want to make one of my recipes. While this is not how I started out saving recipes, it really is faster than looking through the hundreds of printed pieces of papers or trying to decipher my terrible handwriting. Even though I do try to keep the papers organized, it truly is organized chaos.

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My daughter said Anne Burrell would be proud of my Misen en Place!!!


Last week New Orleans celebrated Fat Tuesday aka Mardi Gras – here in NH it was going to be just another day or so I thought! We had dinner with some friends who had a master plan to throw a Fat Tuesday party right here in the North. Well of course we are always up for a party – even on a school night.
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It’s funny how plans can change super quickly. We held ours on Monday night, it was supposed to be at our friends house but was changed last minute to mine and the number of people kept growing. In the end it all worked out beautifully. Fun was had by all, the food was excellent and the wine was flowing the only thing we didn’t have was mardi gras beads.
img_5783.jpgThe initial menu was a case of oysters and my daughter was going to Beignets – I contributed by making a Paella; it is a Portuguese Paella and I really love making and eating it. So back to my initial statement I googled me for the recipe and it didnt pull up, how could I have not shared this with you yet? I hope you enjoy it!
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Portuguese Paella
Ingredients

8 Boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite size pieces
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and Freshly cracked black pepper
Vegetable oil
1 link Portuguese chourico, sliced into rounds
1 cup chopped onion
1 red bell pepper chopped
2 cups arborio rice
2 plum tomatoes diced
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
1 pound large, peeled and deveined shrimp
Bunch of asparagus, cut diagonally
½ cup frozen peas, thawed

Pre-heat oven to 400’ F

Season chicken with salt, pepper and rosemary
Heat oil in a large oven proof pan over medium heat
Add chicken and cook on each side until lightly browned
Remove chicken from the pan
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Add Chourico, brown on each side, add onion and the pepper cook stirring constantly for about 5-7 minutes. Add rice, tomato, paprika, saffron and garlic. Cook for a minute or so; return the chicken to the pan add broth, season with salt and pepper. Cover pan and bake for 10 minutes.
Stir in shrimp, asparagus and peas. Replace cover and make for an additional 5 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through.

Approx Macros = 1.5 cups per serving
336 Calories – 5g Fat – 47g Carbs – 23g Protein

recipe adapted from food.com

 

Chocolate stout chili

Just the name of the recipe intrigued me.  I have never cooked with chocolate; baked, eaten and eaten even more chocolate but never cooked with it. And to be perfectly honest I still really haven’t.
IMG_5711I didn’t want to run out to the store so I used a beer we had in the fridge that I thought most identified with what they were looking for in the recipe I was trying. This recipe also piqued my interest because I have never made a chili without beans. When I mentioned this to the fam they were all curious as well.
IMG_5713The taste of this chili is deep with flavors and to be perfectly honest a little too spicy for my taste buds but I loved how it went together and the flavors were excellent so I will be making this again, just going to lay off a little on the chipotle in adobo sauce. That little tiny can packs a wallop of heat let me tell you.
IMG_5701I’ll give you the recipe how I made it and you decide how hot you want it!

Ingredients

1 ½ tablespoon ground cumin
1 ½ tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
2 ½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon cinnamon
3 pounds beef chuck cut into ½ inch pieces
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes and their juice
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 chipotle plus 2 teaspoon adobo sauce from the can
2 tablespoon packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon coffee extract – I just used coffee
Olive Oil as needed
1 large yellow onion diced
1 ½ tablespoon garlic chopped or minced
12 ounce chocolate stout

Directions
In a large bowl combined the cumin, salt, chili powder, oregano and cinnamon.
Add the beef and coat the meat with the spice mixture. Let the meat sit out for about 30 minutes.
IMG_5706In your blender combine the tomatoes, paste, chipotle in adobo, sugar, coffee and a teaspoon of salt. Puree scraping down the sides as needed.
In a dutch oven or heavy-duty oit heat the oil; once hot add the beef in batches. Brown the beef on all sides transfer the meat to a bowl or plate and continue the process until all the beef is browned.
IMG_5716Lower the heat to medium and add the onion cooking till soft and translucent scraping up any browned bits left in the pot. Add the garlic stirring for about 30 seconds and then add the beef to the pot. Stir in the blender mixture along with the beer. Bring to a boil and reduce to low and simmer with the cover slightly ajar for about 3 hours.

You can eat it right away or wait a day or two for the flavors to get even better.
Enjoy with grated cheese, sour cream, not hot enough add some pickled jalapenos.


Another wonderful recipe from Fine Cooking