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

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

Cod, sausage and fennel cioppino

I am on another trek to try to empty out the fridge and freezer since I can’t fit another thing in any of them (I have another one in the garage) yet I still seem to go to the store and buy more food to make some recipe I just saw. I think I have a problem.
IMG_5744.JPGThis recipe I happen to have had everything on hand. Well mostly everything; I had made clam chowder last weekend so I picked up a few extra clam broth bottles so I had it on hand but I did have to buy the fennel bulb. I tend to always have some flash frozen fish in the freezer, it makes for a very quick meal during the week. I truly wish we had a fresh fish market close by but I have never had a bad flash frozen fish so I can’t complain.
IMG_5734.JPGIf you were wondering what Cioppino means you were not alone, I had to google it so I’ll save you the trouble.  Define cioppino: a stew of fish and shellfish cooked usually with tomatoes, wine, spices, and herbs. They are saying it came from San Francisco and is an Italian-American dish. It doesn’t matter to me who or where I just would like to thank them. The broth is so deep with flavor that I will most definitely be making this again soon!
IMG_5740Cod, sausage and fennel cioppino

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces Italian sausage, casing removed – your choice sweet or hot, chicken, turkey or pork I used sweet pork
1 medium onion diced
1 small bulb fennel, trimmed and cored, sliced thinly – I chopped mine
½ cup dry red wine
3 cups bottled clam juice
1 cup marinara sauce – jarred or homemade
Pinch crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 lb skinless cod cut into 1 inch chunks

Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat, add the sausage breaking it up, add the onion and fennel, cook until the veggies start to brown and the sausage is cooked through.
IMG_5735.JPGAdd the wine and simmer while scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Reduce the wine by half. Add the clam juice, marinara and pepper flakes, bring to a simmer reduce the heat to low and cover, simmer until the veggies are tender about 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the fish into the stew, cover and simmer gently without stirring until the fish is flaky and is just opaque. Takes about 5 minutes.
IMG_5736.JPGI made my broth the day before and reheated it and then added my fish.  


Another wonderful recipe from Fine Cooking

Spicy and Sweet dumpling salad

I have a strange obsession with dumplings which depending on where you are in the world can also be called a potsticker, gyoza or simply ravioli. They generally has a small amount of meat and some vegetables wrapped around a wrapper and you can boil, fry, bake or any combination of the three cooking methods. I have made my fair share of homemade dumplings but I have found a frozen brand that is delicious and I haven’t made a single dumpling since. A friend of mine showed me where there is a dumpling restaurant in Montreal that I’m kind of happy isn’t closer to me.
IMG_5588.JPGI’m sure that I am not off the hook and they are not difficult to make but sometimes a quick and simple lunch or dinner is just what the doctor ordered. Today we have been getting things done. We cut down our tree and it is finally is in place, we’ll need to get it decorated before the weekend ends.
IMG_5571This recipe fits a few of my requirements especially this time of year it is quick, easy, and limits my dumpling eating to a few and not the whole pan 🙂 which I could easily do but should most definitely not.
IMG_5581Sweet and Spicy Korean Dumpling Salad

3-5 dumplings per serving
Lettuce a few leaves chopped
Cabbage a few slices chopped
1 small Cucumber – peeled, seeded and julienned
1 small Carrot – peeled and julienned
1-2 tablespoons oil for pan frying
IMG_5584Spicy & sweet dressing
1 tablespoon Koren chili paste
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sugar in the raw
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Place veggies in a bowl and set aside. Place all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk till combined.
Heat oil in a pan on medium low heat and arrange the dumplings so the bottoms are all touching the pan, you’ll want to brown the bottoms and then add a tablespoon or two to the pan and cover with a lid cook for about 5-10 minutes till the dumplings are cooked thru.
Mix everything when you are about to sit down and eat so the veggies and dumplings stay crunchy.
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Macros = 1 serving – recipe makes 3-4 with 4 dumplings per
227 Calories – 5 g Fat – 36 g Carbs – 9 g Protein

 

recipe adapted from Korean kitchen

Tomato butternut squash soup

Pretty much every Friday at work a group of us order lunch out from somewhere in town. How we decide depends on if someone wants to run out and pick it up; which generally isn’t the case so we end up ordering from 1 of the 2 places that will deliver. If we can get someone to run there are so many more options and it is getting that time of year where most places have soup back on their menus.  There is a marketplace in the center of town that makes a mean tomato cheddar soup.  They are kind of “famous’ for it. Or at least here in town they are.  It is only soup that is on the menu every day of the week.
IMG_5520Many years ago one of my co-worker’s and I used to get a bowl of Tomato Cheddar each and split a loaf of their fresh made french bread at least once a month; we did this for a couple of years. The marketplace was sold and the new owner still made the soup it wasn’t quite the same so we stopped going there.  

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I think this looks pretty cool! It makes me smile…

A couple of weeks ago we decided to give it a try. I ordered a cup and was going to forgo on the bread; still trying to eat a little healthier. When I googled the nutrition of a cup of tomato cheddar soup I was shocked and so disappointed. I could eat that little cup of soup but that would have been pretty much it for the day. I had no idea; if nothing else paying attention to macros-protein, carbs and fat. I am trying to make better choices; but being a foodie I will not compromise eating yummy food.
IMG_5525I had heard and seen people on TV use butternut squash in recipes in place of cheese. I know I too was a skeptic. I hadn’t tried anything until I bought a cup of soup I didn’t feel I should eat. The I was on a mission I was going to make a hearty tomato soup that had the love that tomato cheddar has without taking up so much of my fat allowance.
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1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium or 1 large onion, diced
1 ½ lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons sugar –  optional
chives and pumpkin seeds – optional but a very nice touch!

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent about 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the butternut squash and continue sauteing for another 10-20 minutes stirring a few times.

Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer on low for about an hour.

Puree with whatever you have, I use my immersion blender for convenience
Add salt and pepper to taste.
IMG_5531Bonus is you can freeze the leftovers since there is no cheese or cream

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My husband and I taste tested adding sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds – pumpkin won!!!


Tomato & Butternut Squash soup
Macros = 8 ounce
68 Calories – 2.2g Fat – 10.9g Carbs – 3g Protein

Tomato & Cheddar Soup generic
Comparison Macro = 8 ounce
370 Calories – 28g Fat – 19g Carbs – 15g Protein

Egg Roll in a Bowl

Tis the season for the gardens to be cleaned out and prepped for next year!  It has been a pretty disappointing gardening season for me this year.  My garlic and onions were small, I didn’t get any cucumbers, my pepper and eggplant plants died and I may have gotten 10 squash in total. It wasn’t a total loss I still have a couple of enormous cabbages and I still have some rainbow beets and rainbow carrots that I am leaving in the ground until I need to take them out.
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So processing produce has been kept to a minimum this year and that is OK with me; though who eats that much cabbage? I know we don’t I gave some to my family but they wouldn’t even take one of the huge ones – gosh I can’t understand why…
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I did find a great recipe for Eggroll in a Bowl. Basically it is everything that goes into an eggroll minus the fried wrapper. I know that is probably the best part, this very easy and better for you. The first batch I made it was a little too spicy for my husband so I cut back on the crushed red pepper flakes and it still taste delish. Since I made it twice in a very short period of time, I ended up portioning it out and put them in the freezer. Great when/if you bring lunch to work and have access to a microwave.
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Egg Roll in a Bowl

Ingredients

9 cups shredded or chopped cabbage
1 1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 medium onions, diced
1 1/2 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup beef broth
4 teaspoon Tamari or soy sauce
1 1/2 pound ground or diced chicken – can also use turkey or pork
Scallions for garnish

Instructions

using a large skillet cook the meat till browned, add the onions and sesame oil. cook until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium; add spices and broth and stir well.
Add the cabbage and stir to coat. Cook stirring frequently until the cabbage slightly wilts.
Add carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft.
Add tamari to taste and adjust flavorings as desired.
Serve plain or you can serve over rice
Garnish with green onions if desired.
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Macros – using diced chicken and 1 cup
97 Calories
2 Fat
16 Carbs
5.5 Protein

Pasta e Fagioli – similar to Olive Garden

Soup season came pretty quickly; at least for a couple of day. Nothing like going from 90’ to 40’ within a couple of days to start me thinking of making soup; literally any soup is fine with me. I do have a secret fantasy; well I guess it’s not a secret anymore; but to open a little soup shop. Kind of like a loaf and ladle kind of place. Because having a nice piece of bread with a warm cup of soup is just plain heaven to me.
IMG_5441I remember being in NY City quite a few year ago doing some sightseeing with my husband and we went looking for the Soup Nazi – you know the one that the show Seinfeld made a little more famous than he might have wanted to be. It really was a small hole in the wall kind of place on a side street and I thought it was simply brilliant. I can’t remember the exact wording but the sign said something like know what you want to order, have your money ready, place your order and move all the way to the left. Me being; well me I couldn’t stop smiling so I can only guess he knew I was only there because of the Seinfeld episode. My husband and I stepped up with our order and money ready, placed and paid and moved to the left. Apparently not far enough; or he played along; but we were pointed at and motioned to move further to the left. Still brings a smile to my face.
IMG_5439Anyway I loved how you got your soup, a spoon, napkin, an apple and a piece of bread ripped from a loaf all in  brown paper bag. What a great lunch; I would go there daily if I lived or worked close by. So simple yet so fulfilling.
IMG_5440Pasta e Fagioli Soup makes approximately 12 cups – freezes nicely

Ingredients
1 pound lean ground turkey (your choice – chicken, beef, sausage all would be great)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
32 ounce low sodium beef or chicken broth plus a little more as needed or use water
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
28 ounce can tomato sauce
1 ½ tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried marjoram – or substitute with more oregano
1 cup ditalini pasta – or substitute with another small pasta
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can northern beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and fresh crack Black Pepper to taste

Instructions
Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, crumble in the meat and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Drain fat and transfer to a plate and set aside. Heat remaining olive oil add carrots, celery and onions over medium-high heat until tender, about 6 minutes, add garlic saute another minute or so. Reduce heat to low, add the tomato sauce, broth, tomatoes and all the spices plus the meat back into the pot. Cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes.
Prepare pasta according to the directions on the box. Add cooked drained pasta to the soup along with both cans of beans. Allow to meld for a few minutes. Serve warm with grated parmesan or romano cheese.
IMG_5446Macros = 1 cup using ground turkey
Calories 221
Fat 7.54
Carbs 21.25
Protein 18.2