March 29, 2015

Skinny Tuscan Chicken over Summer Squash "Noodles"


Unseasonably cold weather got you down?  This lightened-up Tuscan chicken is sure to incite thoughts of spring!  It's light, healthy, and full of flavor but without all the carbs.  Boiled summer squash is used in place of pasta and paired with a delicious, creamy, veggie-packed topping spooned over juicy, herbed chicken. 


Ingredients:
Yields 4 servings 

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 c red onion, julienned 
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 8 oz mushrooms, roughly chopped 
  • 1 c tomato, diced 
  • 2 c packed fresh baby spinach 
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp flour 
  • 1/3 c fat-free milk 
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 4 large summer squash (combination of green and yellow)
  • Salt, to taste 
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Butterfly (or pound) the chicken to 1/2-inch thickness and cut into 4 even pieces.  Season the chicken on both sides evenly with salt, pepper, parsley, sage, and rosemary. 

Heat the avocado oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add the onion and cook until soft, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.  Brown the chicken on both sides for 1 minute on each side.  Remove the chicken from the skillet.  Set aside and keep warm.

Add the white wine and butter to the hot skillet.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in the tomato and spinach.  Season with salt and pepper.  Squeeze lemon juice over all.  Cook until the spinach is wilted down, about 2 minutes.  Pour the contents of the skillet into a bowl and set aside.

Using the same skillet, melt the remaining 1 tbsp of butter.  Whisk in the flour.  Stir in the milk and continue to cook until the mixture bubbles.  Pour the set-side vegetables back into the skillet (along with the juices) and stir well to combine.  Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Place the chicken back in the skillet and cover it with the vegetable mixture.  Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Using a vegetable peeler, spiralizer, or mandoline, cut the squash into very thin slices.  Add the squash to the boiling water.  Boil for 1 1/2 minutes, and drain immediately.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Place the cooked squash "noodles" in the center your serving plates.  Top with a piece of chicken and pour the vegetable mixture over all.   Garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Enjoy!
 

March 25, 2015

Baked Sweet & Spicy Cajun Chicken Drumsticks


Let's not talk about how long it's been since I've shared a recipe.  The wheels in the kitchen have certainly been turning, but my motivation wheels for blogging... not so much.  Don't get me wrong, food blogging is one of my biggest passions.  It's just that I've been spread so thin with lots of "things" over the past few months.  I'm not complaining, though.  I wouldn't change a thing about the life that God has blessed me with. 

Now on to the food - my favorite part!  I don't know about you, but I've had enough of this cold weather!  Uncle!  I've recently been craving picnic foods like potato salad, corn on the cob, drumsticks, etc.  Since it's not quite grilling season yet, I decided to bake some drumsticks in a delicious honey and Cajun seasoning sauce.  You have to try these!  They're juicy, sweet, spicy, Cajun-y (yes, I made that word up), sticky, and they fall right off the bone! 


February 27, 2015

Skillet Balsamic Chicken & Rotini


Happy Friday!  Here is another quick and easy weeknight meal to add to your rotation.  It's a skillet version of my Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken over Pasta.  There is a lovely hint of sweet and tangy flavor, but it's not overpowering.  I served this with some freshly steamed broccoli.


February 25, 2015

Busy Weeknight Shrimp & Rice Noodle Stir Fry with Peas


Wednesdays have turned out to be quite the busy day for us this year.  Once school lets out for the day, it's Girls on the Run until 5:00 followed by a mad rush to finish homework.  We then prepare & eat dinner all before dance practice from 6:30 to 8:00.  This is one of my favorite meals for busy week nights.  While soaking the noodles in hot water, the rest of the ingredients are prepped and then sauteed in a skillet.  It's fast and easy, and it tastes delicious!

Note:  I always keep a 2 lb. bag of frozen raw easy peel shrimp in my freezer.  To quickly thaw the shrimp out, place however much shrimp your recipe calls for in a Ziplock bag.  Submerge the shrimp in a large pot of warm water for about 20 minutes, depending on the size of your shrimp.  


February 20, 2015

Pan-Fried Cod with Farro Salad in Champagne Vinaigrette



My husband and I celebrated 11 years of marriage this past Valentine's Day!  We look forward to a romantic getaway every year, but once the celebrating is over, we come to the grim realization that we have to endure the long, bitter winter that just seems to go on and on... and on and on... like a bad run-on sentence.  You know it's brutal out when the school districts are closed because of the low temperatures.  The frigid weather sends me into complete hibernation mode, and all I want to do is bundle up all day with a hot cup of tea.  I'm happy to report that I've already gained my usual 5-pound winter weight, and I justify it by telling myself that the only practical thing to do is embrace the extra layer of insulation.  It takes everything in me to muster up motivation for exercise this time of year.  My daydreams have ever increasingly consisted of playing tennis under the hot son, or running on the trail next to my little sous chef.  

Speaking of running, I enrolled my daughter in Girls on the Run!  It's a program that "inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running."  Once it's completed, she and I will run our first 5K together!  More about that another time.

Because my exercise routine is rather unstable this time of year, eating healthy is a must.  Once a week, I incorporate fish into our meal rotation, and I'm always looking for different ways to present it to my family.  I've been experimenting with farro recently, and I decided to pair the two for dinner.  Farro is a wonderfully chewy and hearty grain that has a delicious nutty flavor.  It holds up well in soups and stews, and is a great substitute for pasta.  Farro is high in fiber, a rich source of vitamins B and E, and can stimulate your immune system and lower cholesterol.

This farro salad is dressed in a delicious champagne vinaigrette and seasoned with thyme, parsley, and rosemary.  A touch of freshly squeezed orange juice is added to brighten up the flavor.  Fresh tomato and artichoke are tossed in along with some minced onion for a little crunch factor.  This is a delicious salad that's hearty, healthy, and full of flavor.  It can can be enjoyed warm or cold.  I can't wait to use farro in my Tuscan Soup next time!    


February 14, 2015

Perfect Crispy Homemade Hash Browns


Every Saturday morning, I cook a big breakfast for my family.  It's one of my favorite parts of the week.  The smell of bacon, the sound of dishes clanging, the warm mug of coffee in my hands, the sight of my family in their PJs... and as an added bonus, the scene of snowflakes falling silently outside the back door.  When I asked my family what sounded good for breakfast this morning, my husband suggested hash browns.  As I got to work on the potatoes, I quickly realized that I've never shared my hash browns recipe.  They aren't the prettiest things in the world to photograph, but they sure are delicious!  This method yields perfectly crispy hash browns... or as my little sous chef mistakenly called them this morning, hashtags!  The potatoes are sliced, squeezed of as much liquid as possible, par-cooked in the microwave, and then fried in a skillet.            

February 1, 2015

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps


Hands down, my favorite part about the super bowl is the naughty food.  Well, unless the Eagles are playing - then it's a whole other story!  Last year, my little sous chef discovered the puppy bowl, which was thee perfect distraction for her while we were watching the big game.  This year, it's the kitten bowl that she's amped up about.  I have to admit - my inner creepy cat lady will claw its way out, and I know I'll be sneaking away to watch it with her quite frequently.  The kittens are seriously adorable.  And the names that they come up with are so cute.  Richard Purrman anyone?  Hilarious!  Okay.  Enough about cats.  You have to try this easy appetizer.  It's so delicious and perfect for your Super Bowl festivities. 

January 26, 2015

Vegetarian Cauliflower Fried "Rice"


We're expected to get about a foot of snow between today and tomorrow!  Since my little sous chef and I were snowed in today and I was able to finish work early, I decided to venture into the kitchen and try something different.  I've been noticing cauliflower being used in place of rice in recipes, and I've wanted to try it for myself for quite some time now.  Today was the day.  I was definitely skeptical at first, but now that I've tried it, I'm a believer.  When seasoned properly, you really can't taste a difference between the two!  This is a delicious, healthy, and satisfying version of fried "rice" that's both low in calories and low in carbs.  It can also be made in under 30 minutes!  


January 16, 2015

Homemade Almond Milk (Step-By-Step Instructions)


Making your own almond milk is so easy!  You just need to plan ahead for it.  It's raw, lactose-free, unprocessed, and healthy.  It's also creamy and delicious!  Simply soak the almonds in water for 12 hours, drain them, and then process the almonds in the blender with fresh water.  You can also add other ingredients such as vanilla, cinnamon and honey.  It's so easy!  

Note:  Homemade almond milk lasts covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.  Use the best quality almonds that you can find for the best results.  Hot water makes the almond milk more creamy.  Also, the longer you soak the almonds, the more creamy your results will be.  


January 14, 2015

Skinny Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds, Blueberries & Bananas


My little sous chef was home sick yesterday with a yucky cold.  The only thing that she wanted to eat all day was oatmeal.  I get it.  It's comforting, it's tasty, and it warms the soul.  There are also so many wonderful health benefits to eating oats, and I have been trying to incorporate them more into my diet.  

Overnight oats have become one of my favorite things to look forward to in the morning.  When I stumbled across Skinny Taste's skinny version, I knew I had to try them immediately.  The oats are soaked in milk overnight in the fridge along with chia seeds and fruit.  When you wake up the next morning, you have a delicious, creamy, and healthy breakfast to enjoy before starting your day.  Give it a try!  If you decide you're not a fan of cold oatmeal, you could always just heat it up.  

Notes:  If you don't like chia seeds, you can leave them out and add an extra 1/4 cup of oats.  The general rule of thumb is equal parts liquid to oats.  Also, I don't typically add the honey called for in the ingredients because the blueberries and banana add just the right amount of sweetness for me, but you can certainly use any of your favorite sweeteners such as agave nectar, maple syrup, brown sugar, etc.  Enjoy!  


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