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.

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

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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!

Leftover Turkey Tuscan Orzo Pasta

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray for a slimming friendly version
  • 1 onion , finely diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 55 g | ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes , rinsed for slimming version
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 150 g | 1 cup dry orzo pasta
  • 300 g | 10½ oz leftover cooked turkey or chicken , diced small
  • 2 tbsp white wine or stock to deglaze pan, optional
  • 500 ml | 2 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 240 g | 1 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 60 g | 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve (optional)
  • Lemon zest , to garnish (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to season to taste

Process

STEP 1. Heat a tablespoon of oil (from the sun-dried tomatoes jar for extra flavour!) in a large frying pan.

STEP 2. Add the onion and stir to coat in the oil and cook the onion over  low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the onion to soften but not burn.
STEP 3. Stir in the minced garlic, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and paprika. Sauté for a few minutes.

STEP 4. If the pan is getting a bit dry you can deglaze it with a splash of white wine/ vermouth (or chicken stock).
STEP 5. Add the orzo pasta and stir to toast in the oil and seasonings.

STEP 6. Stir in the diced turkey (or chicken).
STEP 7. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan (orzo may have a tendency to stick).

STEP 8. Add sour cream and stir to combine. 
STEP 8. Cover the pan and cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring halfway.

STEP 9. Uncover the pot and use a wooden spoon to give it a good stir. The orzo should be cooked and the dish creamy and delicious. Add handfuls of fresh spinach, stirring into the creamy orzo until it wilts.


STEP 11. Grate some fresh Parmesan over the dish, check the seasoning and serve. SOOOO YUMMY!

Greek Chicken with Lemon Potatoes

 

Greek Chicken with Lemon Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (smaller breasts cook faster)
  • 1 T kosher salt
  • 2 T  fresh rosemary
  • 2 T fresh oregano,
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb fingerling potatoes, halved or quartered lengthwise
  • 1 onion, cut in either slices or wedges
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • chopped fresh oregano for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Lightly oil a large roasting pan or line it with foil.
  2. Place chicken pieces in large bowl. Season with salt, and spices (if you don’t have fresh rosemary and oregano, you can substitute with dried herbs but only use one tablespoon of each instead (half of the fresh amount). Add fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. Place potatoes in bowl with the chicken; stir together until chicken and potatoes are evenly coated with marinade.
  3. Transfer chicken pieces, skin side up, to prepared roasting pan, reserving marinade. Distribute potato pieces among chicken thighs. Drizzle with 2/3 cup chicken broth. Spoon remainder of marinade over chicken and potatoes.
  4. Place in preheated oven. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Toss chicken and potatoes, keeping chicken skin side up; continue baking until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 25 minutes more depending  on size of chicken pieces). An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Transfer chicken to serving platter and keep warm.
  5. Set oven to broil or highest heat setting. Toss potatoes once again in pan juices. Place pan under broiler and broil until potatoes are caramelized, about 3 minutes. Transfer potatoes to serving platter with chicken.
  6. Optional: Place roasting pan on stove over medium heat. Add a splash of additional broth and stir up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Strain; spoon juices over chicken and potatoes. Top with chopped oregano.

Favorite Salsa Verde Chicken

This 30-Minute One-Pan Salsa Verde Chicken is perfect for a busy weeknight.  It’s healthy, tasty, and super easy.

This Salsa Verde Chicken needs only a few basic ingredients and a casserole dish.

I always keep a jar of my favorite salsa verde from Sprouts in my pantry.  Trader Joe’s has a yummy version too, but I prefer the Sprouts version as it has a little more kick (from Jalapenos).

You can use either bone-in chicken thighs (my favorite) or boneless skinless chicken thighs works too.

Perfect over rice, tortillas, or chips.

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PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOK TIME 20-40 minutes
TOTAL TIME 30-40 minutes
Serves: 4
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 lbs.  chicken thighs (bone in or skinless & boneless)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin’
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 jar (16oz) salsa verde
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • Garnish: fresh cilantro leaves and lime wedges
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Wash and chop the garlic, onion and red pepper.
  3. Wash and towel dry the chicken and then season with salt, pepper, cumin and oregano. Lightly brush the top of each piece with olive oil and sprinkle with the minced garlic. Set aside.
  4. Pour the jar of salsa verde in a casserole dish.
  5. Place the chicken pieces in the casserole dish next and add the onion and peppers to the dish and position around the chicken pieces.
  6. Roast for 20-40 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center. (Larger chicken pieces will take longer).  Do not overcook.
  7. Serve over rice (or with tortillas) and garnish with cilantro and lime.

Skinny Lasagna

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Thin sliced zucchini instead of lasagna noodles turns this into a delicious yet hearty low carb meal.  You won’t even miss the pasta!

Skinny Lasagna

Cook Time: under 60 minutes        /            Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
  • kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 – 24 oz jar tomato basil pasta sauce ( I like Bertolli)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil (plus a few leaves for garnish (optional)
  • 5 shakes of italien  herbs (about 1/2 tsp.)
  • 1 large or two medium zucchini (sliced 1/8″ thick using a mandolin)
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1-2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

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Moroccan Lamb Meatballs

I  stumbled upon this recipe for Moroccan Lamb Meatballs and made it last night after browsing Pinterest and I will definitely make these flavor packed meatballs again.  These lamb meatballs are simple to make and there are some fabulous spices in them.  I served them with a simple salad and homemade yogurt sauce.  Store-bought Tzatziki is great too.  Shout out to Claire @Sprinklesandsprouts for the recipe.

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Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion (I used a red onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice of white bread ( I used a slice of whole wheat bread)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 500 g /1.1lb lamb mince (ground lamb)
Instructions
  1. Peel the onion and garlic and place them in a food processor, then blitz until you have an onion mush. Use a spatula to push the mixture down from the sides.
  2. Crack in the egg and pulse mix until you have an egg mush.
  3. Remove the crusts from the bread, rip it into small pieces and add it to the food processor.
  4. Measure in the cinnamon, oregano, parsley, cumin, allspice, paprika, smoked paprika, black pepper and salt, then pulse chop until everything is well mixed. Remove the blade.
  5. Place the ground lamb in a medium bowl.  Add the mixture from the food processor using a spatula. Use your hands to squish and squash the mixture together until it is well mixed.
  6. Once the mixture is well mixed, use two teaspoons to measure out a ball of mixture. Roll it around in your hands and then set the ball aside on cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.

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  1. I aim for 36 meatballs.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan. Once it is smoking hot, reduce the heat to medium and add the meatballs. (Use a screen to prevent splatters and ease in cleanup).
  3. Cook for 2 minutes and then roll them all about to cook the other sides. They will take about 5 minutes in total to cook.

Hint: I have a pretty packed spice cabinet so I had all the ingredients.  If you don’t, you can take a shortcut and buy spice mix.  Williams-Sonoma has  Ras El Hanout in a jar that has a similar but not equal combination of moroccan spices that you could use instead.  Just replace the cinnamon, cumin, allspice, paprika and smoked paprika and pepper with 1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon of Ras El Hanout.

 

Yum Yum Lobster Tails

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This was my first time making lobster tails and it DEFINITELY  wont be my last. It is easy peasy and oh so yummy. You can make these for a special occasion or to make an ordinary occasion special.

BAKED LOBSTER TAILS WITH GARLIC BUTTER

INGREDIENTS

4 lobster tails
5 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c. grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
4 tbsp. Butter

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix together garlic, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, and melted butter and season with salt.
2. Using kitchen scissors, cut the the clear skin off the lobster and brush the lobster tails with the garlic butter seasoning.

3. Place the lobster tails on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake the lobster tails for 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Italian Marinated Chicken

This moist and delicious chicken is marinated in yummy Italian flavors and is perfect for both grilling on the BBQ or pan roasting on the stove.
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ITALIAN MARINATED CHICKEN 

PREP TIME: 10 mins
COOK TIME: 10 mins
TOTAL TIME: 20 mins
SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 lb. (around 6 pieces) chicken thigh fillets, skinless and boneless
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp. grapefruit balsamic vinegar  (I like 41 Olive)*
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2½ tsp mixed Italian dried herbs (either a packet mix or mix herbs like basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary and thyme)
  • 1 tsp dried red chili flakes (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Place all ingredients except for the chicken, in a small jar and shake well to combine.
  • Put the chicken in a ziplock bag and add the Dressing Marinade. Massage / mix to coat the chicken. Set aside to marinate for at least 20 minutes. Ideally it should marinate for 3 hours or overnight.
  • Grill/BBQ Method: You shouldn’t need any oil, but if you are concerned, brush your grill with oil. Heat the grill on medium high and cook the chicken for around 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
  • Stove Method:  Preheat ½ tbsp oil in a large non stick fry pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook each side for around 4 to 5 minutes, or until dark golden brown and cooked through.
  • When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the grill/fry pan onto a plate, loosely cover with foil and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Serve the chicken with your favorite tossed salad and toasted bread.
* You can substitute with chardonnay or apple cider vinegar, or even lemon juice if you prefer.

Note: This can be made with breast fillets too, but just be careful with the cooking time as you don’t want to overcook it.