Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

 Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

If you love Chicken Bryan at Carrabba’s you will love this dish, its my little copy cat recipe. To make it even more authentic add Sun dried tomatoes to the sauce, either way it is delicious.

Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 T Italian Seasoning

Salt and Pepper

2 T Olive Oil

1 large shallot chopped fine

8 oz white wine ( I used Pinot Grigio)

2 oz Lemon Juice ( About 1 lemon)

1 T heavy Cream

12 T cold unsalted Butter cubed ( 1 1/2 sticks)

1 T chopped fresh basil

4  1 ” slices of goat cheese

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large pan then add chicken cooking about 4 min on each side. turn to low and cover until chicken is cooked all the way through, use a meat thermometer to check doneness. Remove chicken from pan.

Heat a small sauce pan over high heat. Add Shallots, wine and lemon juice, bring to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced to about 2 T. Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

Reduce heat to med high. Whisk in cream. Add Butter 1 T at a time whisking constantly and removing from heat as needed. Continue adding each tablespoon of butter and whisking until all have been added and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper

and stir in basil.

Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

To plate chicken breasts, top with goat cheese, drizzle with lemon sauce, garnish with more basil if desired. Serve immediately.

Lemon Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese

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Root Beer Glazed Pork Chops with Fresh Apple Salsa

Root Beer Glazed Pork Chops with Fresh Apple Salsa

I’m getting Fall fever, even if it is still 90 degrees here in Florida. I drank my first pumpkin beer this week, I’m going to get my fall decorations out this weekend and I made my first seasonal dinner.  You can never go wrong with the combination of pork and apples so when I saw a recipe in my Tupelo Honey Cafe Cookbook for Root Beer Pork Chops with Apple Salsa I knew I had to try it. I loved the idea but made some changes to the recipes to fit my tastes.

Root Beer Glazed Pork Chops with Fresh Apple Salsa

4 Boneless Pork Loin Chops

1/4 c molasses

6 oz root beer

1 T oil

Combine Root Beer and Molasses in a ziplock bag or shallow dish add pork chops and refrigerate 4 hrs-overnight, turning occasionally. Heat oil in a large skillet over med high heat and add pork chops. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until seared with some dark brown coloring. Turn chops and repeat on the other side. Add remaining root beer mixture to pan  with chops and bring to a boil. reduce heat to low and cover, cook for 4 more minutes or until desired doneness. ( use a meat thermometer if desired)

Root Beer Glazed Pork Chops

Fresh Apple Salsa

2 large crisp apples, (I used Fiji, Granny Smiths would be good also)

1/2 c chopped onion

1/4-1/2 t minced jalapeño pepper

1 T lemon juice

2 T honey

1/4 t salt

1 T chopped fresh parsley

add all ingredients to a bowl and stir, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. This makes more than needed for the pork chops, use the leftovers for wraps, chicken salad, or peanut butter would be great, or also as an accompaniment with a cheese plate or with cinnamon sugar pita chips.

Fresh Apple Salsa great on top of pork or chicken

Root Beer Glazed Pork Chops with Fresh Apple Salsa

Go Green: Enchiladas Verdes

Enchiladas Verdes

Mmm, I love the green enchilada sauce, to me it is so much better than the red. I love the tart, tangy flavor of the tomatillos. If you are unfamiliar with tomatillos, check out a previous post I wrote Tomatillos 101.  I don’t know why I don’t use them more often. I made this dish using a store bought rotisserie chicken to save me time and effort, a great weeknight cheat. These would also be great with any left over shredded meats like pork or beef.

Enchiladas Verdes

1 lb fresh tomatillos, husks removed an quartered

1 Jalapeño pepper halved with seeds and membrane removed

1 onion peeled and cut into 1/8s

1 T olive oil

1 t chopped garlic

1 T fresh cilantro 

1/2 t cumin

10 corn tortillas

4-5 c shredded or chopped chicken

1 c shredded Monterey jack cheese

Optional for garnish

1/2 c crumbled queso fresco cheese

chopped onion

chopped cilantro

sour cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, place tomatillos, onion and jalapeno pepper on a rimmed baking sheet, toss with oil. Bake for 15 min or until soft and blistered in areas. 

Enchiladas Verdes

Scrape mixture into a food processor or blender bowl, add garlic, cilantro, and cumin. Puree until almost smooth, I like a little bit of chunk in my sauce. 

Enchiladas Verdes

Add 2 T sauce to the bottom of a 9×11 baking pan. Then take a tortilla and spread a light coating of the sauce with a spoon or spatula on top, add chicken on top (about a 1/4 c) and roll up, place the tortilla seam side down in the baking pan. Continue with the remainder of the tortillas and chicken.

Enchiladas Verdes

Enchiladas Verdes

Top with remaining sauce and cheese ( you may want to reserve a small amount of the sauce to top finished enchiladas with. 

Enchiladas Verdes

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Enchiladas Verdes

Let cool for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to serve. Top with any remaining sauce, onion, queso fresco, chopped cilantro and sour cream.

Enchiladas Verdes

The Veggie Mother-load: Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

As I noted in an earlier post, we are trying to eat less meat in our house. Which is fine with me, I love veggies, all kinds. However, I am finding that a lot of the vegetarian dishes just aren’t as filling as the good old meat and potato dinners. I also don’t want to just add a ton of other fats or bread just to compensate. So I was looking for some new ideas and a friend let me borrow her Forks Over Knives Cookbook. I loved it so much, I bought my own. The recipes in the book are no fat, vegan strict, uber healthy which is great and all but I feel like our baby steps are at least in the right direction and I know me (and my family) and there is no way I could stay on that strict of a diet. However, I love the ideas in the Forks Over Knives cookbook so I have been using their recipes and then tweaking them a little to fit my families needs and tastes. I am a sucker for cream sauces so when I saw their recipe for the much healthier Cauliflower Béchamel I was sold. I made a filling and delicious Vegetable Lasagna with it. Ok I may have cheated a little with some cheese on top but like I said baby steps.

Cauliflower Bechamel ( adapted from Forks Over Knives by Del Sroufe)

3c Cauliflower florets

Unsweetened plain almond milk

1 med yellow onion chopped

2 cloves chopped garlic

2 t minced thyme

1/4c chopped fresh basil

1/4 t nutmeg

salt and pepper

Add Cauliflower to a large sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until super tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Meanwhile sauté the chopped onion in a small pan until soft with a little olive oil, add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. 

Add cauliflower, onion mixture, thyme, basil, nutmeg and salt and pepper to a food processor or blender. Pulse until Cauliflower is broken up, add Almond milk about 1-2 T at a time, pureeing in between until it has a smooth and creamy texture, about that same as a ricotta mixture. Taste and season again with salt and pepper if needed.

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

 

Use this sauce for stuffed shells, lasagna, or even as a base for macaroni and cheese. 

To make the Lasagna, start with a layer of the Cauliflower Bechamel sauce, then layer cooked Lasagna Noodles, Sauce, Vegetables ( I used thinly sliced zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, shredded carrots, spinach and halved grape tomatoes), and continue finishing with the sauce on top, and here is where I also added some shredded cheese. Cook at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes and then serve.

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

 

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Either of these recipes are great on their own but they also go great together. Impress your family and make their favorite take out entrees at home. 

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice


Orange Glazed Chicken

1 1/2-2 lbs chicken ( use your favorite cut, thighs, wings, breast but leave the bones in and skin on)

Salt and pepper

1 c orange juice

1 T corn starch

1/2 c ketchup

2 T honey or brown sugar

2 t vinegar

2 T soy sauce

2 t hot sauce

Preheat oven to 450,  place chicken on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper,  cook for 20 minutes skin side down, then turn and cook 20 minutes more. Chicken should have crispy skin and be golden brown. ( this is for thighs, cook longer for breasts, shorter for wings). Meanwhile add orange juice and cornstarch to a medium sized sauce pan and whisk together, add ketchup, honey, vinegar, soy and hot sauce and whisk again, bring mixture to a boil over med high heat and then turn to low, whisk mixture until thicken to a glaze consistency. Keep Warm.

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Dip cooked chicken into glaze and coat well, place back on baking sheet and place back into the oven for 4 minutes or until chicken starts to get dark spots.

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Serve with any remaining orange sauce.

 

Vegetable Fried Rice

4 c cold cooked rice (great for left over rice, or make the day before for best results)

1/4 c soy sauce

1/4 c rice vinegar

1 T sugar

2T oil

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 c broccoli florets

3/4 c sliced carrots

1/2 c chopped scallions

2 t chopped garlic

1 T minced ginger

1/2 c frozen peas

2 T chopped basil

 In a small bowl mix together, soy, sugar and vinegar. Heat 1 T oil in a large pan or wok, add carrots, broccoli and scallions, cook 2-3 minutes, add garlic, ginger and peas, cook 2 min more, add cooked rice and soy mixture. stir together and cook over med high heat until all rice is coated and brown, make a well in the center of the wok/pan and add remaining oil and beaten eggs, stir vigorously and then mix with rice mixture until egg is cooked, add basil and stir. Serve.

Vegetable Fried Rice

 Vegetable Fried Rice

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

 

 

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Smokey Roasted Cauliflower

IMG_9150

 

Here’s a little trick, use smoked paprika to get the smokey taste of bacon without the mess, fat or calories. Also great to use in vegetarian dishes. I used it here with this roasted Cauliflower to enhance the roasted taste and add some depth of flavor.

Smokey Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower broken into florets

1-2 T olive oil ( or substitute your favorite oil)

1 T lemon juice

1/2 t salt

1/2 t-1t smoked paprika

Preheat your oven to 400. Toss Cauliflower with oil and lemon juice until well coated. then sprinkle on salt and paprika and toss again. lay on a baking sheet and put in the oven. cook for about 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and starts to brown.

 

Leftover Avocados ?… Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Sometimes I am terrible at judging how much produce to buy, I usually err on the side of too much. This has happened to me several times with avocados. Avocados have such a short window of perfect ripeness so I am sometimes forced to make something on the fly with my extras. This is how this recipe happened today at lunch. Now I may purposely buy too many avocados so that I can treat myself to this decadent creamy dish more often. Also depending on what type of pasta you use this dish is vegan friendly, and if your not vegan and/or don’t have almond milk in the house you can easily substitute cow’s milk.

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

1 avocado peeled, and chopped, pit removed

3 T almond or cow’s milk

2 cloves garlic chopped

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1/3 c grape tomatoes halved

2 c cooked pasta of your choice

more salt and pepper to taste

Place the avocado, milk, garlic, and salt in pepper in a bowl and blend into a puree with a hand held blender, or toss those ingredients into a regular blender until smooth. Toss with warm drained pasta and tomatoes, season with desired amount of salt and pepper and serve.

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Pinspired : Whole Foods Steak and Corn Kabobs with Arugula and Parsley Pesto

Pinspired : Whole Foods Steak and Corn Kabobs with Arugula and Parsley Pesto

This is another recipe that I found while combing Pinterest, it is from Whole Foods and I loved the simplicity of it. It is a great Summertime recipe because it is great on the grill and uses Sweet Summer corn. I only tweaked this recipe slightly using ingredients I had on hand. The original recipe can be found here or on my Pinterest board “To Try”.

Whole Foods Steak and Corn Kabobs with Arugula and Parsley Pesto

1 1/2 Top Sirloin Steak

1 T Montreal steak seasoning (optional)

1 lb small yukon gold potatoes

3 ears of fresh corn cut into 1 1/2 inch rounds

1 c arugula

1/2 c fresh parsley

1/4 c  light olive oil

1 t Worchestershire sauce

1 t dijon mustard

1 clove garlic

1/2 t white or champagne vinegar

Place potatoes in salted water and bring to a boil, simmer for ten minute or until they are tender, but not falling apart. remove potatoes from water and add sliced corn, bring water back to a boil and cook corn for 2 minutes. Remove corn and let cool.

In a food processor or blender combine arugula, parsley, oil. Worchestershire, mustard, garlic and vinegar. puree until it is the consistency of pesto. set aside.

Cut Steak into 1 1/2 ” cubes and sprinkle with steak seasoning. Thread skewers, (if using wooden ones soak in water for 1/2 hour prior to threading), alternating steak, potatoes and corn.

Whole Foods Steak and Corn Kabobs with Arugula and Parsley Pesto

Pre heat a grill to med high, then place the kabobs on the grill for 6 minutes, rotating them so that all side are cooked, these will be med-med-rare, cook longer if desired.

Remove from grill, drizzle with pesto. I served mine with a simple salad and rice.

Whole Foods Steak and Corn Kabobs with Arugula and Parsley Pesto

Strawberry Margarita Popsicles

Strawberry Margarita Popsicles

Summer is almost gone but there is still time for POPSICLES, especially ones with tequila. These are yummy and refreshing and great for a cookout. I made these for book club, our book was Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen. A fun Summer read whose main character eats a lot of popsicles, so I decided to go with that but jazz it up with a little booze. Be careful when adding tequila or any other alcohol to your popsicles, if you add too much they will not freeze.

Strawberry Margarita Popsicles

6 c Simply Limeade ( found in the produce/juice section of your grocery store)

1-2 T agave syrup ( you could use sugar)

1 t lime zest

1 T chopped cilantro ( optional)

1/4 t salt

1/2 c tequila

sliced strawberries

add all ingredients, except strawberries to a pitcher and stir to incorporate. pour into popsicle molds or small paper or plastic cups. Place in freezer.

Strawberry Margarita Popsicles

Check after about 1 hr and every 1/2 hour after that. When the mixture is frozen to a slushy state. take out and add 2 sliced strawberries to each pop. Push them down with a popsicle stick or butter knife to desired position.(If you add them at the beginning they will float to the top and won’t be as pretty)  Then place a popsicle stick in each pop and place back into the freezer for a couple of more hours. 

Strawberry Margarita Popsicles

 

 

 

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Shh I’m going to let you in on a little secret…. I am slowly replacing some of my families meat laden meals with healthier vegetarian options. Some of us have higher blood pressure and cholesterol than we should  (not naming names). One of my families favorites is taco night, and while we usually use chicken or turkey, I thought why not go all the way and just use beans. Canned refried beans are not the healthiest and my motto is that homemade beats processed any day. My younger son who is starting to take more interest in cooking was up for this challenge so he and I made this tasty recipe that would be great as a side or a filling for tacos, burritos and tostadas.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

2 cans of beans, I used one Pinto and one black. (check the labels here many canned varieties add sugar, salt etc… I used an organic variety that was free of sugar)

1 t olive oil

1/4-1/2 c chopped onions

1 clove garlic chopped

1 t cumin

1 t salt

1 cup vegetable stock ( you can use any stock or water if watching your sodium)

add oil to large skillet over med high heat, add onion and sauté until soft, add garlic and beans and cook for about 3 more minutes. Add stock, cumin and salt. reduce heat to low and cover.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Cover and cook 10-15 minutes over low. Use potato masher to mash beans to desired texture, add more stock if needed.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Add to your favorite dish or serve as a side.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans