Arroz con Pollo

Arroz Con Pollo in a Dutch Oven

Ingredients

For chicken:

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon dried Greek oregano

For dish:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ stick unsalted butter
1 medium onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups long grain rice like Mahatma brand
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1-2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
½ cup pitted green olives
½ cup roasted red pepper strips

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional garnish: chopped cilantro or parsley leaves

Preparation

Put chicken thighs in a nonreactive bowl and season with a pinch of salt, a grind or two of black pepper and the olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano. Let marinate while you’re organizing the rest of your ingredients, no more than half an hour.

Melt butter with olive oil in a Dutch oven or large lid pot then sauté onion over medium heat until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook just until you can smell its characteristic aroma and it turns opaque. Add the rice and stir well so the grains are coated with the fat. Let it sauté for a minute. Add the tomato paste and the broth. Stir well to mix. Add the remaining condiments. Taste the liquid. It should have a piquancy from the capers and olives. Add salt now if you think you need it.

Nestle the chicken thighs into the rice, adding any reserved marinade or juices. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover the pot and cook either on top of the stove over low heat or in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until rice has absorbed all the liquid and chicken is cooked through. Taste for seasoning.

Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley leaves.

Serves 4-6.

Watermelon Gaspacho

I love this tangy and refreshing soup in the summer! You can serve it as a light lunch or serve it as an appetizer at your next summer BBQ. This is my version of the recipe I recently found in The NY Times from Chef Brian Streeter at Cakebread Cellers. Here it is!

Serves 8 (or 12 if appetizer portions)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped*

3 cups watermelon, cut in 1 inch cubes

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

1/2 large red pepper, coarsely chopped

1/2 bulb fennel, coarsely chopped

1/4 – 1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped

2 T. Extra virgin Olive Oil

3 T sherry vinegar, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3 T finely diced watermelon (optional for garnish)

PROCESS

  1. To make tomatoes easy to peel, fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Fill a separate bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes to create an ice bath while water boils. Make a small X with a sharp knife in the bottom of the tomatoes just enough to penetrate the skin. Gently place the tomatoes in the boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Remove the tomatoes from the pot and place in the ice bath. You can now easily peel the tomatoes. Next, seed and coarsely chopped them and place in a large bowl. Place all the other fruits and vegetables in the large bowl together.
  2. In a blender, in batches, puree all the ingredients except the last two ingredients (salt and watermelon garnish). add a little bit of ice water (about 1 cup) to achieve a soup-like consistency. Season with salt, taste and add a little more vinegar if necessary. Chill Thoroughly.
  3. Divide the soup among eight cold bowls or 12 small appetizer cups. Garnish each serving with a spoonful f diced watermelon. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil if desired and serve.

3 Step Lentil Soup

What could be better than an easy and savory soup that’s chock full of vitamins and nutrients? It’s low in fat and high in fiber and protein too. Sometimes I modify this recipe and toss in a handful of cherry tomatoes while cutting in half the amount of crushed tomatoes. I make up a large batch and store it in the fridge for a quick but satisfying meal during the week. It also freezes well.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped in 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 T fresh)
  • 2 cups dry lentils (I like red)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Step 1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.
  • Step 2. Stir in lentils*, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until lentils are tender, at least one hour.
  • Step 3. When ready to serve, stir in spinach and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper; taste and adjust as needed.

* Don’t forget to rinse the lentils well before placing in the pot as this removes some of the indigestible sugars that can cause you to feel bloated and gassy and also removes any dirt or debris.

Nutrition Facts 

Per Serving:

Lentil Soup Nutritional Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 8
Calories: 349

% Daily Value *

Protein: 18.3g 37 %

Carbohydrates: 48.2g. 16 %

Dietary Fiber: 22.2g. 89 %

Sugars: 3.3g 

Fat: 10g 15 %

Saturated Fat: 1.4g 7 %

Vitamin A 85 %

Niacin Equivalents: 5.7mg 44 %

Vitamin B6: 0.5mg 33 %

Vitamin C: 13.3mg 22 %

Folate: 333.7mcg. 83 %

Calcium: 98.1mg 10 %

Iron: 6.2mg 34 %

Magnesium: 104.4mg 37 %

Potassium: 969.5mg 27 %

Sodium: 130.5mg. 5 %

Thiamin: 0.4mg 39 %

Calories From Fat: 90.1

Lemon Chardonnay Chicken

This is an easy weeknight dinner recipe that is also pretty enough to serve guests at a small casual dinner party. The citrus sauce is the perfect combination of savory and sweet. The leftovers (if you have any) are great for lunch the next day too! Enjoy!

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

4-6 boneless chicken breast cutlets (see notes)

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup Chardonnay (or you can use white cooking wine)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 green onions (white and half of green section, chopped)

4-6 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely chopped

6-8 Tablespoons butter (divided)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation

For Chicken:

Pat the chicken with a paper towel to dry.  Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Lightly flour chicken and place into a large frying pan with approximately 3-4 T. butter melted in the pan and fry until golden brown about 5 minutes per side.  Be careful not to burn the butter.  Chicken will not be fully cooked.  Place chicken in a warm oven while you make the sauce.

For Sauce:

Add 3-4 T butter to pan. Saute the onions and garlic in the butter on low heat.  Add wine and lemon juice.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken to the sauce, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes more or until fully cooked.   Serve over rice. Yummy!

Notes:  

Chicken – you can purchase chicken cutlets or chicken breast fillets in your local grocery store or you can cut them yourself but slicing a boneless chicken breast in half to form thin patties.

Flouring Chicken – Place about 1/4-1/2 cup flour in a shallow baking dish.  Dip and flip the chicken fillets into the flour to lightly cover them before cooking. This ensures that chicken stays both moist and tender.

Best Ever Dumpling Sauce with Dumplings

This tangy sauce provides the perfect balance of heat, acidity, savoriness and sweetness to dumplings. It can also be used over noodles, wontons or mixed with fried tofu. My dear friend Bini taught me how to make home made dumplings for Lunar New Year several years ago. It’s a lot of work but oh, so fun to do with a big group of friends. I cheat and buy frozen dumplings in the freezer section of my grocery store to save time. They are not as delicious as Bini’s but ALOT easier. Freezer-section dumplings come in chicken, pork or vegetable varieties and are the key to an easy weeknight meal (or a great party appetizer).

Pair the dumplings with this tasty sauce and you’ll be hooked!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time:15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Serving 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (I like the low sodium variety)
  • 2 tbsp water or broth from dumplings (if boiling dumplings)
  • 1 tbsp Chile garlic sauce (I use “Tuong Ot Toi Vietnam” or you can use Go Chu Jang which is a Korean chili pepper sauce)
  • 1/2 tbsp chili oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar 
  • 2 tbsp chinese black vinegar (or Worcester sauce)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds 
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • chopped fresh scallions (cut on a diagonal)
  • chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 12 pieces store-bought or handmade dumplings

Instructions

  1. Wash and chop the fresh ingredients (cilantro, scallions, garlic)

2. Mix all except the last ingredient (dumplings) together in a small bowl.

3. Prepare handmade or store-bought frozen dumplings based on your preference (steamed or pan-fried). The package often tells you how to prepare them. Check out the process at the end of this post on steaming and pan frying dumplings.

4. Pour the sauce over the plated dumplings and garnish with more scallions and cilantro. You can also dip the dumplings into the sauce if you prefer. Adjust the chili oil or chili garlic sauce to your heat preference. Enjoy!

Preparing Chinese Dumplings

Boiling (option 1)

  1. Fill a pot two-thirds with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the dumplings, so they can fit in a single layer.
  3. Cook them until they float (about three minutes)
  4. Fish them out of the pot and drain them.

Pan Frying (option 2)

Using a small amount of oil, you can pan fry frozen dumplings. Cooking frozen dumplings is a process that takes between 20 and 25 minutes and is best done with a non-stick pan with a thick heavy bottom to distribute the heat better.

  1. Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to a pan and heat on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the frozen dumplings and cook for 2-4 minutes on each side. Don’t move them too much. You just want them browned.
  3. Add boiling water to cover half the height of the dumplings and bring to a boil.
  4. Cover the pan and let the dumplings steam until their bases are golden and the water has almost evaporated.

SPICY THAI COCONUT CURRY STIR-FRY with Gluten Free Noodles, Cilantro & Peanuts

You’ll go nuts over this one-pot vegan noodle dish that offers both a rich aroma and a flavorful sauce of coconut curry. It’s perfect for those with a Keto lifestyle or are diabetic and are looking to cut not only carbs, but reduce calories, sugar, gluten and dairy. It satisfies, both the sweet and savory pallet and is so easy you can serve this weeknight meal for two in just about 30 minutes. You can add chicken breast strips too if you want to pack in more protein and aren’t on a vegan-restricted diet.

Spicy Thai Stir Fry

Total Time

25 minutes

Prep Time

10 minutes

Servings

2

INGREDIENTS

1 -2 Bell Pepper (Red, Yellow or Orange, your choice)

1 Lime

4-6 oz Gluten Free (dry) Ramen Noodles

(I personally like Healthy Noodles brand Plant based carb substitute. They are pre packaged for two and pre-cooked and oh SO easy)

1 oz Veggie Pho Stock Concentrate  

4-8 oz Button Mushrooms like cremini

1⁄4oz  Cilantro (roughly 10 sprigs) 

5 oz Coconut Milk (shake or stir as it often separates in package)

1 oz  Sweet Thai Chili Dipping Sauce (I like Thai Kitchen brand)

1 Clove Garlic 

1⁄2oz Peanuts (roughly chopped)

1 1/2 tsp  Curry Powder 

1 TBSP Olive Oil

1/4 tsp Salt

Pinch Pepper

1 PREP 

  • Wash and dry produce.
  • Halve, core, and thinly slice bell pepper into strips. Trim and thinly slice mushrooms. Peel and mince garlic. Quarter lime. Roughly chop cilantro. Roughly chop peanuts.
  • Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil to prepare the noodles. If using soy-based Healthy Noodles, simply rinse and drain the noodles in the pre-measured package and skip step 3.

2 COOK NOODLES 

  • Once water is boiling, add Ramen Noodles to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 1-2 minutes.   
  • Drain and rinse noodles under cold water for at least 30 seconds. Toss noodles with a drizzle of oil; set aside. (Keep empty pot handy for next step.) 

3 COOK VEGGIES 

  • Heat 1 TBSP oil in empty pot over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and mushrooms; season with 1⁄4 tsp salt  and a pinch of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, 5-7 minutes. 

4 MAKE SAUCE 

  • Add a drizzle of oil to pot with veggies and reduce heat to medium. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant,
    30 seconds.
  • Stir in chili sauce, stock concentrate, half the coconut milk (you’ll use more later), and curry powder.

5 FINISH STIR-FRY 

  • Add drained noodles. If needed, stir in  a splash or two of remaining coconut milk until everything is thoroughly coated in sauce. 
  • Remove pot from heat; stir in juice from half the lime. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. 

6 SERVE 

  • Divide stir-fry between two bowls. Top with cilantro, peanuts, and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve with any remaining lime wedges on the side. 
Gluten free, dairy free and vegan

Lemony Chicken Rice Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes            Cook Time: 40 minutes          Total Time: 50 minutes

Serves 6

298 calories/serving

Ingredients

2 sticks celery chopped finely

2 medium carrots peeled & chopped finely

1/2 medium onion chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoons flour

6 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1.5 pounds uncooked chicken breasts

1 cup uncooked white rice (or orzo if you prefer)

3 tablespoons lemon juice or to taste

1 tablespoon chopped parsley or to taste

Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Sauté the celery, carrots, and onions in a large soup pot with the butter and oil over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the flour and cook for another minute or so.

Pour in chicken broth and stir until the flour has dissolved, then add the Italian seasoning and chicken. Bring the soup to a boil.

Cover the soup (lid slightly ajar), and reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the orzo and cook for another 10 minutes or until the orzo is cooked through. I keep the lid off and stir it fairly often because it tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Take the chicken out of the pot and cut it up, then add it back in. Add the lemon juice, parsley, and season the soup with salt & pepper as needed. ( I like to add even a little bit more lemon juice but you decide).  Serve immediately.

This soup can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months and simply thawed and reheated on the stove.

Gaby Inspired Pan-Roasted Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1/4 to 1/3c. olive oil
  • 1.5 lb. baby eggplant (Japanese or Baby variety), sliced in half lenghthwise and diced into 2-3 inch pieces if Japanese and larger variety of eggplant
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Vinaigrette-
    • 2 T. lemon joice
    • 1/2 c. olive oil
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 c. grated Pecorino (or your favorite hard cheese. I like Spanish Manchego)
    • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
    • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Process

  1. Make your vinaigrette and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add eggplant and turn often for about 15 minutes. Add more oil if eggplant starts to burn- you want it to caramelize.
  3. Transfer eggplant to a large bowl and toss with (more oil!) about half of the vinaigrette.
  4. Save the rest of the vinaigrette for your salad.
  5. Sprinkle with more Pecorino if desired and serve.

Caprese Chicken

Yield: 4 servings

recipe note: Balsamic vinegar comes in many forms. I recommend a higher quality one to get the fullest flavor. Many balsamic vinegars found in grocery stores are very thin – like water. Higher quality ones often found in specialty shops are aged longer and are slightly thicker (not as thick as balsamic glaze, but somewhere in the middle of the two). 41-Olive offers many choices.

ingredients:

4-6 skinless boneless chicken thighs (or breasts if you prefer)
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I mix it up with the colorful heirloom variety)
10 large basil leaves, finely chopped
4-6 oz fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced in 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices
balsamic vinegar, to taste (My newest favorite is BlackCherry from 41-Olive)

directions:

Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken thighs or breasts and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken, cover pan, and cook for about 10 minutes. Flip chicken breasts and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked thoroughly (or has reached an internal temp of 165°F).

While chicken is cooking, in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and continue sautéing until tomatoes skin starts to soften/wrinkle, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Set aside.

Once chicken has reached desired doneness, top each chicken piece with 1-2 slices of mozzarella (depending on how thick you sliced it). Pour tomato mixture on top. Cover pan with lid once more and let the mozzarella melt, about 1-2 minutes.

Lastly, drizzle with a splash of balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.

Thai Marinated Cucumber Salad

This sweet and tangy salad is a perfect side dish all year around.  It is super easy to make and the flavors get even more delicious as it marinates.  Allowing it to marinate at least 10 minutes is key.  If possible, allow it to marinate over night as I think it is even better the 2nd day. 

 Makes: 4 Servings

Time: 20 minutes to overnight

  Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Cucumbers
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 2-inch Piece Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Small Bunch of Thai Basil (optional)

Instructions

1.Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and mince the garlic and ginger.  Trim off and discard the ends of the cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers lengthwise and then again so that the cucumbers are spears.  Then cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Peel, halve and thinly slice the onion; place in a small bowl with the vinegar and set aside.

2. Assemble & marinate the cucumber salad:

In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, sesame oil, sugar, garlic and ginger, and as much of the onion-vinegar mixture as you’d like. Stir to thoroughly combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and let marinate, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes.

3. Finish & serve your dish:

Transfer the marinated cucumber salad to a serving dish; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pick the Thai basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves and add to the salad just before serving.  Enjoy!