Pesto Turkey Pasta

I need to start by saying I try to keep my online media presence pretty low key, well actually I do the same in my day to day “real” life as well. I think I share just enough information about me and also about my family. I try to not “offend” or “overshare” too much and I don’t normally talk about the 3 hot topics; money, religion and politics. At least that was the top three while I was growing up.  Today it seems there is nothing off limits; more and more things are coming out of the shadows everyday.

I was very saddened to hear about the tragedy of Kate Spade and now Anthony Bourdain. I initially wrote the word suicides but I took it out and replaced it with tragedy because it sounded too harsh to me. I was brought up to not talk about anything too personal and I really don’t. Thankfully my daughter does not follow the same rules as I do. She needs help she asks, maybe someday I’ll be more like her.
IMG_2852.JPGI am a firm believer and have said it many many times that no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. My heart breaks for their families and I hope that something positive can come out of these tragic losses. I felt I needed to say this as I have been thinking about it constantly. Depression is real if you need help please ask
US National suicide prevention line: 1-800-273-8255.

IMG_2848I don’t really know how to lead into the recipe I want to share with you so here it goes. My daughter made some delicious Basil Pistachio Pesto last weekend and what we didn’t eat with crackers I thought about using the rest for dinner. I also had some turkey cutlets that I needed to cook up and so it screamed pasta night. This would also be great if you had any leftover turkey though most people I know only eat turkey around Thanksgiving which is kind of a shame.  Who knows maybe you’ll want to try this and make a turkey leg or breast.
IMG_2849Pesto Turkey Pasta

2 large eggs
½ cup pesto – make fresh or buy your favorite brand (my “norm” recipe below) 
Box of pasta – farfalle, egg noodles, gemelli or similar
1 Tbs olive oil
1 lemon zested
1 medium onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 cups chopped cooked turkey meat (cutlets or leftovers)
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Boil water for the pasta and cook according to the package, drain reserving some of the liquid.
IMG_2851.JPGIn a medium bowl add the pesto along with the eggs and the lemon zest.

Saute the onions along with the garlic, add the chopped turkey cook through, or add the already cooked turkey.  
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Add the pasta to the onions and turkey. Pour the egg pesto mixture over the pasta turkey. The heat will cook the egg – similar to carbonara.  


Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If needed add some of the reserved pasta water to lighten up if needed.

Basil Pesto
6 Ounces of washed and dried basil leaves, stems removed
4 Ounces of pine nut
6-8 Cloves of Garlic
2 Ounces of grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil – Salt and Pepper
Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor or blender, pulse to combine. Add olive oil until you get the consistency you like, finish by adding the Parmesan cheese a little salt and pepper pulsing until combined.  Enjoy with and/or on just about anything.

 

Thai chicken breast lettuce wraps

The other day I went to my local grocery store with my usual shopping list bread, milk, lunch meat, lettuce, tom’s etc. and they didn’t have romaine or iceberg lettuce. My husband loves lettuce on his sandwiches so I brought home some butter lettuce also known as boston bibb lettuce. Well the lettuce was still in the fridge a week later, he probably looked in the drawer, didn’t see the “norm” and had lettuce free sandwiches all week. His loss!
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So me being well me I needed to use up what was in the fridge before it goes bad. Butter lettuce is perfect for lettuce wraps. I had some chicken breast that needed to be cooked up and it seemed like my fridge wanted me to make chicken breast lettuce wraps. They are simple, light and quite tasty.
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If you do not have thai sweet chili sauce of some sort in your pantry or fridge, you really should put it on your shopping list for next week.  It is simply divine; sweet and spicy. You can use it to top a taco, sandwich add to a salad. I fell in love with it dipping my fried dumplings in. Buy some you won’t regret it!
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Thai chicken breast lettuce wraps

3-4 boneless skinless chicken wraps
½ cup sweet thai chili sauce
⅓ cup soy sauce
1 lime juiced
3 Tbs olive oil
1-2 Tbs sriracha
2 tsp ginger – freshly grated or in a squeeze tube like mine
3-4 cloves garlic minced
1 small red onion – sliced thinly
1 carrot – julienned

In a bowl add chili, soy, lime, olive oil, sriracha, ginger and garlic. Stir and add chicken. Marinate for about an hour or less.
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In a pan cook the chicken till done, no longer pink.  Let it rest for about 10-15 minutes then slice thinly.
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Take a piece of lettuce add some chicken and top with red onion and a few carrots. It won’t be needed but you could also top with a little more sweet Thai chili sauce – just saying!

Zucchini Ravioli

I am not sure if it is the weather or my schedule of late but I havent really spent my usual amount of time planning the garden for this year. I was letting the dog out the side door just yesterday (Monday – i’m writing this one early as I am away this weekend) and noticed my asparagus was already 3 feet tall UGH! I hadn’t even cleaned out the debris from last year. I immediately went out and dealt with the situation and had some of the “normal” sized stalks for dinner – they were delicious as I knew they would be .
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Last year my zucchini was such a disappointment i am hoping for better this season. I realize people tend to use the oops I didn’t get to the garden in time sized squash that went from perfect to damn how did I miss that one; it’s the size of a Softball bat. For when they want to make zucchini lasagna; even though most times they are very seedy. But if you are looking for something to make with the cute little ones, this will fit the bill. Plus they are super cute and really easy to make.
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I actually have been trying for a month or so to make these. It started when I saw the crop of squash at the store, they were so cute so I grabbed a bag full. I forgot to go back to the other end of the store for the ricotta – fail. Then the next trip I grabbed some ricotta and thought I had some squash at home – fail. Finally I was going to make it happen – nope another fail timing is everything and it got away from me. Now I was determined and finally pulled it off. They don’t take long at all but I definitely could have used a few more to fill the pan I chose to make it in. I know just use a smaller dish – I know I know I have issues! Regardless I was very happy I finally made it happen, they are tasty, easy to assemble, quick and worth the wait.
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4-6 small Zucchini – for a 9×13 pan
1 large container Ricotta
2 eggs
1-2 tablespoon dried Parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesean Reggiano
1 cup mozzarella
Kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1 jar marinara sauce
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Either make your marinara or use your favorite jarred sauce and doctor it up as you normally would, or not.
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In a medium bowl combine the ricotta, eggs, parsley, parmesan, mozzarella, salt and pepper. Mix till combined.
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Using your vegetable peeler, slice lengthwise till you can’t anymore. I didn’t do this but think it would be easier to leave the stem on to use as a handle.
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Depending how large you want your ravioli layer 2 slices side by side then top with two more slices going the opposite direction.
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Put a dollop of the cheese mixture in the center and fold into a little package.
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Layer as you would a lasagna. Sauce, ravioli, cheese and repeat.
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Bake for about 30 minutes until the top cheese layer is brown and bubbly
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Rice Pilaf plus plus

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!!!!!

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Let me start by saying there is nothing wrong with using some pre-packaged items from pantry. I have a few staples that I use, albeit probably not very often but not because I don’t want to, I really kind of forget to open the cupboard. We are meat and potato kind of people so I sometimes space that I have rice in many forms on hand.
IMG_2729 - CopyThe other night I was going to cook up a pasta and veggie kind of side but opted for using a packaged rice pilaf but knew I wanted to use up a few small peppers and tomatoes that were about to go south fairly soon.
IMG_2727 - CopyIf you have never doctored up a plain ole box; again nothing wrong with it; but a few other ingredients you already have on hand and you will not be disappointed. My daughter was funny and asked if I made this up, I cannot take full credit as I was served something a little similar years ago it just had different ingredients.
IMG_2728 - CopyThere is no set rule of what you can add; again I wanted to use up some fridge items and then added a handful of spaghetti that I broke up and chopped up some marcona almonds along with my peppers and tomatoes. My fam loved it!
IMG_2734Package of rice pilaf
1 small onion diced
Small hand full of spaghetti broken into small pieces
Hand full of cherry tomatoes halved
1 medium pepper sliced, seeded and chopped
2 cups Chicken stock or water
Slivered or chopped almonds
Scallions or chives sliced
IMG_2732 - CopySaute the onion, pepper till soft. 4-5 minutes, add the spaghetti and brown a bit, add the rice and it’s packet. Add the stock, stir and cover. On low for about 20 minutes. Check to make sure the rice is done.  Add the sliced tomatoes, cover and let sit for 5 minutes or so. Just before serving add the almonds and top with scallions.

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