Friday, April 6, 2018

Chicken & Cauliflower Veggie Stir-Fry

Last night I didn't really have a plan for dinner so I sort of pulled something together based on what was in my fridge that needed to be used. I had a couple packages of Perdue boneless chicken breasts, a bag of Cauliflower Pearls (essentially small diced fresh cauliflower), a small head of fresh broccoli, a bag of carrots, a few green spring onions, and a few very ripe Campari tomatoes sitting on the counter. That became the basis of our meal. I pulled out both of my woks and had them going at the same time to hasten meal prep time.

I diced 2 boneless chicken breasts and sliced 3 green spring onions and tossed them into my nonstick wok after heating a bit of olive oil in it over medium-high heat. While that was cooking, I cut the broccoli up into florets (about 1-1/2 cups). I diced one medium carrot and then diced 3 small Campari tomatoes. I kept stirring the chicken as it was cooking, and then set it aside when done. In my regular wok, I placed the broccoli and diced carrot along with about 1/4 cup of water, covered it and steamed the veggies over medium-high heat for a few minutes.

I moved the veggies over to a plate and wiped the wok dry and then added a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to it and placed it over medium-high heat. I poured the entire 2-lb bag of Taylor Farms Cauliflower Pearls into the wok, seasoned with salt and covered to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring it a few times. I uncovered the wok and turned the heat up to high while stir-frying the cooked cauliflower pearls to let them dry out a bit. I added the chicken, broccoli and carrots to the cauliflower and tossed in the diced tomato, then seasoned with salt and pepper, to taste. Before serving I added crumbled feta cheese because everything is "betta with feta", right? It just added a nice salty little kick. I topped our meal with a few roasted salted almonds to add a bit of crunch. Even though it seems like a mish-mosh of ingredients...and it was, it was really good! We have plenty left for another meal as well. It was an interesting way to combine a lot of veggies and chicken into a meal that was tasty by using what I had on hand. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!






       

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Greek Style Roasting Pan Chicken

This evening I made a delicious and easy "mostly roasting pan" meal. While the chicken was roasting, I prepared a quick stove-top spinach feta topping to top the chicken with near the last part of roasting. It was so flavorful and simple to make. I had a 2-pound package of boneless skinless chicken thighs. I spritzed them on both sides with olive oil and seasoned both sides with Penzey's Greek Seasoning. I placed them top side down on what used to be the skin side so they would begin browning and caramelizing a bit for flavor. I topped each thigh with a slice of lemon and baked them for 20 minutes. I removed them and flipped them over, placing the lemon slice back on top to flavor the chicken and help keep it moist, and roasted for an additional 15-20 minutes. While the chicken was roasting, I quickly wilted 8 ounces of fresh organic baby spinach in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on the stove, then set it aside to cool off. I then cooked 3 sliced green spring onions and sautéed them in another tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet until tender. I pressed the excess liquid out of the cooked spinach and then coarsely chopped it. I mixed the chopped spinach, cooked green onions, 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, generous grind of black pepper and 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill together in the same skillet I sautéed the spinach and onions in. I added another 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then stirred in 2 small diced Campari tomatoes to the spinach mixture. I removed the chicken from the oven and then divided the topping among the 5 pieces of chicken and put a generous scoop of the spinach-feta mixture on top of each piece of chicken and then placed the slice of lemon back on top of each. I roasted everything together for another 5-7 minutes. It was so delicious and roasting the chicken with the sliced lemon on top gave a strong punch of lemony flavor to the chicken...so if you are not a lemon lover, you may not want to use the sliced lemon on top while roasting. We loved it. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!









     

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter - Chicken Divan: Wheat, Grain & Gluten Free

I hope you had a Happy Easter today. It was a busy weekend. Yesterday I did all of my Easter dinner shopping and started the prep for my Chicken Divan which is what we typically have for Easter; it's a family favorite. Several years ago, I made a grain and gluten free version of the traditional recipe that we have eaten since I was a child and that my kids grew up enjoying. I created a wheat free version of cream of chicken soup years back and then substitute almond flour and butter and sometimes some finely grated Parmesan in place of the buttered bread crumb topping. Yesterday afternoon I cooked lots of chicken breast and steamed lots of fresh broccoli and prepared the cream of chicken soup. I actually made 2 large casseroles and one smaller one so that everyone could take home leftovers to eat for a few days. I assembled the casseroles today. My family likes to eat theirs over rice. I had my first big flop this afternoon when cooking the jasmine rice of all things! I don't make rice that often any more but you'd think it's 2 ingredients...rice and water so how could anyone screw it up, right? Well, trust me when I tell you that when you add 12 cups of water when you should have only added 6 cups to the rice is one of the best ways to insure a total fail. Yup...a big pot of paste. Luckily we have a Chinese restaurant nearby that I sent hubby to so he could pick up a few cartons of steamed rice. I don't think I've ever messed up rice before...but there's a first time for everything! LOL I snapped a few photos of our meal below. If Chicken Divan is one of your old favorites and you want to enjoy it...try my version. It's delicious. I snapped a few photos below. You can get to the recipe here:  Chicken Divan - Wheat, Grain & Gluten Free. Enjoy!









        

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spinach & Feta Mediterranean Flatbread - Spanakopita Style

This evening I made the most delicious Spinach & Feta Mediterranean Flatbread. I based it on my basic Spanakopita ingredients but pushed it over the top with the amazing ricotta tomato pesto spread that served as the base layer on top of my Cheese Head Pizza Crust. If 10 stars is the best on the taste-o-meter, this one was easily a 15. Both hubby and I absolutely loved it and I think you will too.

I made my basic Cheese Head Pizza Crust, minus the seasonings (salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning). Instead, I added a scant teaspoon of Penzey's Greek Seasoning but you can omit it altogether. Trust me, the topping is going to be all the flavor you will need.

I baked the crust and then spread it with a mixture of ricotta and sun-dried tomato pesto. Then I topped that with a mixture of wilted and chopped baby spinach, green onions, garlic, lemon zest, olive oil, fresh dill, freshly ground black pepper...and of course crumbled feta cheese. It was over the top delicious. I scattered the spinach-feta mixture over the ricotta spread and popped it in the oven to bake for 8 to 10 minutes. I can't wait to have it for lunch tomorrow! I snapped a number of photos of the various stages of prep and included the easy peasy recipe below. Enjoy! 











Spinach & Feta Mediterranean Flatbread - Spanakopita Style

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces (2 cups) shredded mozzarella (whole milk or part skim)
3 ounces brick style cream cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (powdery style)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Greek Seasoning (I used Penzey's), optional
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil (to press out dough with hands or rubber spatula)

Topping:
1 cup ricotta cheese (I used whole milk)
3 to 4 rounded tablespoons of sun-dried tomato pesto (I used Mezzetta)
8-ounces cooked fresh baby spinach, (wilted, squeezed dry and chopped)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small bunch spring green onions, sliced (about 7 or 8)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Generous grind of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (or more, to taste)
1 to 2 tablespoons of snipped or chopped fresh dill

DIRECTIONS:

To make the crust, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper.

Place mozzarella and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Heat cheese in microwave on high for 45 seconds; stir and heat an additional 30 to 45 seconds or until a hot melty mass of cheese is formed. 

While cheese is melting in microwave, stir almond flour, Parmesan, and optional Greek Seasoning in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and egg to bowl of hot melted cheese. Working quickly, fold and stir mixture together with a rubber spatula until a ball of dough is formed (make sure cheese mixture is hot before adding flour and egg; if necessary, microwave it another 20 to 30 seconds to make it pliable enough to spread out).   

Place ball of dough in center of parchment lined baking sheet or pizza pan. Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil on top of dough and press dough out with rubber spatula (or hands), into the desired shape (round, oval or rectangular) until about ¼-inch thick. Prick holes all over crust surface with a fork to prevent crust from bubbling up. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden (be careful not to overbake so it doesn't burn when returning to oven to bake with toppings).
Remove crust from the oven.

To make the topping, while the crust is baking, prepare the ricotta sun-dried tomato pesto mixture by blending the ricotta cheese and sun-dried tomato pesto in a small bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, add chopped cooked spinach. In a medium skillet, add olive oil and lightly saute the green onions and garlic for a few minutes; add to bowl with spinach (including the olive oil). Add lemon zest and black pepper and stir to combine.

Spread the ricotta sun-dried tomato mixture evenly on the cooked crust. Top with the spinach mixture, scattering evenly over the crust. Scatter the crumbled feta cheese over the spinach layer, then top with chopped fresh dill.  Reduce oven temp to 400 degrees F and bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through. 

          

Monday, March 26, 2018

Make Your Leftovers Pop - Mexican Style Chicken Meatloaf

This evening I was excited to enjoy our leftover Mexican Style Chicken Meatloaf that I made last night. I sent a huge portion home with my son last night for him to enjoy this evening and I had some for my lunch today and hubby and I had it again this evening for dinner. I sliced it while cold and put a few pieces in an oven proof skillet along with some of the pan juices I saved when I cooked it last night. I began heating it on the stove top to heat the bottom of the meatloaf slices while I grated some of my favorite 3-Alarm Colby Jack Cheese that I get at Sam's Club (made by Great Midwest). It's identical to the Boar's Head version I used to get except this one comes in a wheel that you can slice, cube or grate. I topped the meatloaf slices with the grated spicy cheese and then popped the skillet into the oven for about 10 minutes to heat the meatloaf through and melt the cheese. I already had the oven going to roast some cut up baby red skinned potatoes tossed in olive oil to go with hubby's meal. While things were going in the oven, I tossed some halved fresh brussels sprouts into a large skillet with a little bit of water and then covered them and steamed in the skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes. When they began to soften a bit and got bright green, I uncovered the skillet and tossed them around until all water was evaporated, then I added some Kerrygold butter and crumbled 2 leftover strips of bacon I had in the fridge left from Sunday's breakfast and seasoned them with freshly ground black pepper.

I plated the meatloaf and added a big dollop of guacamole, a spoonful of sour cream, some freshly diced tomatoes and added a side of sprouts for my plate (hubby doesn't care for guacamole). I topped hubby's meatloaf with diced tomatoes, added a side of oven roasted potatoes and sprouts. For many of you whose family members aren't interested in low carb eating, you can easily and fairly effortlessly add a side of roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes so you don't feel like you are cooking separate meals for everyone each night. Sometimes that's the hardest part when everyone doesn't eat the same way...you end up feeling like you are running a restaurant. I snapped a few photos below. It's fun to jazz up leftovers and revitalize them. Enjoy!

Mine




Hubby's

     

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Mexican Style Chicken Meatloaf - Low Carb

This evening I made a huge Mexican Style Meatloaf using 3 pounds of ground chicken (2 pounds Perdue ground chicken breast and 1 pound lean ground chicken). Since my son was joining us for dinner, I figured that I would have plenty of leftovers to send home with him and enough extra left for a lunch or 2 for myself this week. I added salsa, onions, Poblano peppers, egg, olive oil, spices and cheese as my binder in place of bread crumbs. It works beautifully and keeps everything so moist and tender. I spread a thin layer of salsa on top before baking the meatloaf. 

My son requested sweet potatoes for dinner so I peeled and cut up sweet potatoes into chunks, tossed them with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, cinnamon and a light dusting of ground chipotle powder, then spread them out on a sheet pan and roasted them until done. I also steamed fresh green beans in a large skillet, then tossed them in some butter and gently sautéed until al dente. You would never know that this meatloaf was made with predominantly chicken breast because it was so tender, juicy and flavorful. Hubby said he thought it was the best meatloaf he'd ever had. Check out a few photos and the easy peasy recipe below. Enjoy!




One of my favorite salsas to add to meatloaf

I spread additional salsa on top before baking


My son's plate

Mexican Style Chicken Meatloaf - Low Carb

Ingredients:

3 pounds ground chicken (I used 2-lbs Perdue ground chicken breast and 1-lb Perdue lean ground chicken)
1 cup salsa, plus extra to spread on top, if desired
1 large egg
2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil (I used 3 T)
1/2 cup diced onion, sautéed until translucent
1 small diced Poblano pepper, sautéed until translucent
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Black pepper, to taste
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon roasted ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
1-1/2 cups shredded Mexican style cheese (I used Sargento's Mexican Style 4-cheese blend)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Transfer to a 2-1/2 to 3 quart baking dish. Bake for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes or until done. If desired, top with additional shredded cheese during the last 10 minutes of baking. Let meatloaf sit for 5 to 10 minutes for cheese to set. Slice and serve.

       

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Sweet Chili Roasted Wild Alaskan Copper River Wild Salmon

This evening I prepared one of my favorites for dinner; wild Alaskan Copper River salmon. I still have a stash in my freezer that I froze last spring/summer. When I froze them, I cut large fillets into individual portions and then tightly double wrapped each piece making sure no air touched them and then placed the double wrapped portions into heavy duty Ziploc freezer bags, making sure to remove the air before sealing. I took 3 pieces out of the freezer before going to bed last night and placed them in the fridge. They were still mostly frozen when I prepared them this evening. I  unwrapped each piece and placed them into individually formed foil pockets, keeping them open on top. I whisked 1 tablespoon of Frank's Red Hot Sweet Chili Sauce with 1 tablespoon olive oil and brushed each fillet and then sprinkled each with sesame seeds. I roasted them uncovered at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, then tested the thickest part with a fork to make sure it flaked and separated and turned the oven off and opened the door. I served them alongside stir-fried Cauli-rice. The sweet chili sauce added approximately 3 grams of carbs and 2 grams of sugar (rounded up) to each fillet, but added a delicious flavor and sticky glaze-like coating that wasn't overbearing. I snapped a few photos below. I can't wait for Copper River season to begin again. Enjoy!




     

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day Breakfast - Corned Beef & Sprouts Hash

Happy St. Patrick's Day! This morning we awoke to a cool and dreary morning. It rained overnight and it's supposed to rain more later this afternoon. That didn't stop me from making a bright and sunny breakfast though! Last night I made a simple dinner of grilled boneless chicken thighs and I roasted a tray of sliced fresh Brussels sprouts and some grape sized red skinned potatoes for hubby. I had a bowl full of leftover roasted sprouts that I decided to use for breakfast this morning. I also had about 1/4 pound left of thinly sliced Boars Head Corned Beef that I used earlier in the week to make my Reuben Roll-ups. I cut the leftover corned beef into thin strips, added 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a nonstick skillet and browned it. When it was browned and had begun curling up (much like bacon), I added my leftover roasted sprouts and tossed them around until everything was heated. While my sprouts and corned beef were getting cozy in the pan, I fried eggs in a separate skillet with a bit of Kerrygold butter. I plated my Corned Beef & Sprouts Hash and topped it with a fried egg and a generous grind of black pepper. For my hubby, I tossed in the few tiny red potatoes that I halved into the skillet with the remaining sprouts and corned beef and served his "potato-sprouts-corned beef hash" alongside his eggs. Everybody was happy...including Spike who had his own fried egg and a few little bites of corned beef. I must say that even though I am not a big corned beef fan, slicing it into strips and browning it was absolutely delicious and I will actually use it in the future to toss in with other roasted veggies for flavor. Try it sometime...it transforms into a milder bacon when prepared that way. It was the perfect breakfast for St. Patty's Day. Check it out below. Enjoy!