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!

30-Minute Coconut Curry Chicken

Super Simple and Super yummy! This recipe mimics the traditional Thai curry but without so many hard to find ingredients. It’s so easy that it is perfect for a weekday meal.

Ingredients:

10 oz. of Organic Jasmine Rice (found in a 3-pack in the freezer section of many grocery stores like Trader Joe’s)

13.5 oz. can coconut milk

1 Tbsp. curry powder

2 Tbsp. fish sauce

2 oz. butter or ghee

1 lb. skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized chunks

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus four sprigs

1-2 mini red peppers, sliced (optional for garnish)

Procedure:

  1. Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add coconut milk and curry powder. Stir until combined, then add the fish sauce and butter. Stir until the butter is melted.
  2. Add the chicken and bay leaves. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. After the chicken has simmered for 10 minutes, remove the lid and simmer for an additional 15 minutes until the liquid had reduced by 50% and the chicken is cooked through (no longer pink in the middle).
  4. Stir in the fresh cilantro and remove pan from heat.
  5. Pop the bag of rice in the microwave for 3 minutes or as directed on the package.
  6. To assemble, add 3/4 cup of the cauliflower rice and 1/2 cup of the curry mixture to individual bowls and place a fresh cilantro sprig on top.

Blueberry, Feta and Carmelized Onion Flatbread

 
I recently went blueberry picking for the first time while visiting my sister and her family in VT over the summer.  We stumbled upon the Organic Sunshine Valley Berry Farm right off the Vermont Route 100.  They gave us  a blue bucket and pointed us to the rows of blueberries just ripe and ready for picking.

You may not know this but blueberries have several health benefits along with being a tasty treat.  They boost memory, support heart health and are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and fiber.  That little adventure to the Berry Farm inspired me to share one of my favorite pizza recipes that boasts beautiful and sweet blueberries.  This savory pizza is oh so good!  I often make it for special occasions during blueberry season because it both pretty and tasty.  But don’t feel you have to reserve it for just special times – It’s easy, has just a handful of ingredients, and is delicious too.

Blueberry, Feta and Carmelized Onion Flatbread

DFTSI Blueberry Feta and Onion PizzaIMG_3771

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 naan flatbreads
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • kosher salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • micro  greens or baby arugula

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the naan/flatbread on the baking sheet and lightly spray or brush with water. Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium low heat. Add the onion and season with a pinch of salt to taste and red pepper flakes. Cook the onions until it is wilted, about 3-5 minutes and stir in the honey, and continue to cook a fe more minutes letting the onions caramelize. Remove from heat.
  • While the onions cook, stir the ricotta and feta cheese in a small bowl. Spread the ricotta mixture over the naan/flatbread, and top with the honey caramelized onions. Sprinkle the blueberries on top.
  • Place the naan pizzas into the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the blueberries are just about ready to burst, the cheese has softened, and the naan is toasted. Remove from oven, cut into squares or slices, sprinkle with arugula and enjoy immediately.
 
 

Mom’s HomeMade Chicken Stock

So many delicious soup recipes include chicken stock as the base for the broth. You can buy it in a box at the grocery store but in my opinion, homemade stock takes your recipe up a notch. It takes a bit of planning/preparation, but I think it is a game changer. Here is my go-to chicken stock recipe. It is my variation of Ina Garten’s but I make it in smaller batches. Try it out. It just might become your favorite too.

Yield: 2 quarts

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time 2-4 hours

Ingredients

1 whole roasting chicken (or 3 bone in chicken breasts)

1 large onion, quartered

2 carrots unpeeled and cut into thirds

2 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds

5-6 sprigs of fresh parsley

5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme

5-6 sprigs of fresh dill

4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise

2 tsp Kosher salt

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

Directions

Dump all ingredients in a large stockpot. 

Add about 3 quarts of water to the pot (at least enough water to cover all of the ingredients).

Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 2-4 hours.

Strain the contents in a colander and discard all the solids.

Chill the stock overnight or use in your favorite soup recipe.

You can also pack in freezer safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

Italian Sausage Soup

As the weather starts to change, so does my cooking.  Warm hearty soups replace summer’s repertoire of grilled and barbecued fare.  This cozy soup recipe will warm you up this fall.  It’s both satisfying and comforting.

Italian Sausage Soup

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 lb. Italian sausage – mild or spicy (broken up out of skin or sliced with skin on)
1 large onion (cut into ½ inch dice)
4 cloves minced garlic (or more if you like)
1-16 oz. can crushed Italian tomatoes (or plain crushed tomatoes with a few shakes of Italian seasonings)
32 oz. chicken broth (Homemade if you can.  See my favorite recipe here)
2 large (or 3-4 medium) zucchini (cut into a ½ inch dice)
2 T fresh basil  (Use just 1 T if using dried Basil)
1/4 cup pasta noodles (like elbow macaroni)
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

1.  Brown sausage with onion and garlic in a medium frying pan (drain fat).
2.  In a large pot, add crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, zucchini, basil, and pasta noodles.
3.  Add sausage, onion and garlic mixture to the pot.
4.  Simmer slowly for 1 hour.  Enjoy!

Psst!  Soup can be frozen for up to 2 months and then reheated for a quick weekday meal.

Guilt-Free Creamy Tuscan Chicken

IMG_1468

Low Carb Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Low Carb Creamy Tuscan Chicken is rich and satisfying with lots of sun-dried tomatoes and spinach.  I love the parmesan cream sauce. It is one of my very favorite low carb meals and it is perfect for the keto diet.

Prep Time 10 minutes / Cook Time 15 minutes / Total Time 25 minutes / Servings 4 / Calories 495 

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine or chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup  sun-dried tomatoes (approximately 1/2 of a 4 oz jar )
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-3 cups baby spinach
  • 2-3 medium zucchini squash, zoodles (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.Season chicken with lemon pepper.
  2. Add chicken to skillet and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.Remove chicken and set aside.
  3. Add onion to skillet and cook for about 3 minutes to soften.
  4. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.
  5. Add white wine or chicken broth and cook until reduced just a bit and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  6. Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer for 1 minute.Add Parmesan and stir until melted.
  7. Add sun-dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.Stir in spinach. Cook and stir until spinach is wilted.Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Optional:  Many italian dishes are served over a bed of pasta.  I like to avoid the carbs and use zoodles instead.  Make the zoodle noodles with either a mandoline or zoodle maker.  Place on a paper towel to remove some of the excess water.  Add 2 T of olive oil to a pan and heat on medium heat.  Add zoodles to pan, and add salt and pepper to taste and stir for about 2 minutes.  Add more slat/pepper to taste and stir again for two minutes or so until just a bit limp.  Place zoodles on a plate and then add the chicken and sauce and serve.
  9. Enjoy!

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

IMG_9342

This colorful side dish is packed with flavor and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cored, broken into large florets, florets sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 onion, peeled, thickly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow madras curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat oven, line baking pan with foil: Pre-heat oven to 425°F with a rack on the top third of the oven. Line a large rimmed baking with foil.

2. Whisk together garlic, lemon juice, oil, curry, cinnamon, salt: Put the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, curry powder, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk vigorously until well combined.

IMG_9338

3. Coat floret slices with curry mixture:  Add the cauliflower and onion slices to the bowl with the curry and toss to coat. Spread the cauliflower and onion slices on the baking sheet in a single layer.

IMG_9340

4. Roast in oven: Roast in oven at 425°F for 25 to 30 minutes until well browned. Check halfway through the cooking, and rotate the pan for more even cooking.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Source: Simply Recipes

Apple Vichyssoise

DFTSI - Apple Vichyssoise_6495My dear sorority sister shared this festive holiday soup recipe with me.  Vichyssoise is usually served cold but this is terrific served hot, cold or at room temperature.  It is a perfect first course for your next holiday gathering.  You can have a pot simmering on the stove and your guests will  be coming back for more.  Thank you Teddy for sharing this yumminess!  It is my new favorite!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Makes  approximately 10 cups (serves 6-8 in bowls or 20 in small appetizer glasses)

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 3 medium leeks (white and light green parts only, thinly spliced crosswise)
  • 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes (the smaller the chop, the faster they cook)
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 cups of apple juice or cider
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 cup heavy whipping cream (unwhipped)
  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish
  • 1 apple, julienne (cut into sticks) for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

1 Melt butter: In a large (6-quart) pot or saucepan, heat the butter on medium high heat until it melts and foams up.

2 Sauté leeks and onions: Toss in the sliced leeks and onions and salt. Stir to coat with the butter. Cook for several minutes, reducing the heat to medium, until the leeks and onions are translucent and softened.  Then stir in white wine and simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated.

3 Add potatoes, water and apple juice and bring to simmer. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook, partially covered for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are completely cooked through. Remove from heat.

4 Purée until smooth: Purée using an immersion blender or working in batches, blend in a regular blender. (Careful! With hot liquids only fill the blender 1/3 of the way full, and hold the blender top on with your hand while blending.) Purée until completely smooth, then return the soup to the pot.

5 Cool and stir in sour cream and heavy cream: Allow to cool a bit before stirring in the sour cream and heavy whipping cream.  Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally.  Add more liquid if needed for desired thickness.  Season with more salt if needed.

6 Serve warm in bowls or glasses: If serving warm, pour into bowls or glasses and garnish with chives and julienned apple on top.  As an alternative, allow to cool completely and chill in the refrigerator if desired.  The soup can be served just below room temperature (maybe 65°F or 18°C).

Enjoy!

PSST!  You can swap out heavy whipping cream for 1/2 & 1/2 for a lighter version of this rich and delicious soup with no loss in taste.

Gluten-Free Holiday Chex Mix

1Makes 8 cups

I’ve added my own little twist to the old time favorite Chex Mix around the holidays.  This party mix can even be enjoyed by your guests with dietary restrictions or gluten free preferences.  It’s a modified recipe from the original Chex Mix.  I nix the Wheat Chex, use gluten free pretzels, and also add my own little twist.  Your guests will be coming back for more so you might want to make two batches!

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion power
2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup pretzels (gluten-free versions available from Snyder’s or Snack Factory)
1 cup fancy mixed nuts
3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal

Instructions

1. Melt butter in a 13X9 in baking dish in a 250 degree oven.
2. Remove dish from oven and stir in the seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
3.  Add cereals, pretzels and nuts and stir until coated.
4.  Bake @ 250 degrees for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes or so.
5.  Remove from the oven and cool (if you can keep your family from nibbling)
6.  Store in an airtight jar or large ziplock bag.