Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuscan Chicken Stew

Fall. That magical time of year full of wonderful smells, delightful foods, and fuzzy warm clothes. In the south, especially near the ocean where we live, we rarely get the enjoy the cool, crisp air and watching the leaves change to beautiful rich colours. This year is an exception, we are actually having a fall on the coast. Cool weather has fallen upon us and my taste buds are screaming for homemade soups, stews and warm breads (gluten-free, of course). Today was one of those days: cool, chilly, rainy sweater and boots weather. Out came my crock pot and a new stew recipe. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family.

Tuscan Chicken Stew

1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded
1 package of smoked sausage, sliced
1 small onion, diced
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 garlic cloves. minced
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can northern white beans, drained and rinsed
3 bay leaves
2-3 Tbsp Italian seasoning
4 cups Chicken broth
2 Tbsp EVOO

-->Boil chicken on med-high, remove from heat and shred, place to the side.

-->Chop, dice, and mince the vegetables and place in the crock pot on high. Season with EVOO and 1/2 of Italian seasoning. Add 1 Cup of Chicken broth.

-->Add stewed tomatoes and white beans with 1 cup of Chicken broth. Stir together.

-->Add smoked sausage and chicken with remainder of chicken broth. Season with bay leaves and remainder of Italian seasoning.

-->Cover and cook for 2-4 hours on high, reduce heat to low for 1 hour.

-->Serve with your favorite bread. Happy Eating!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Turkey Salad

Left over turkey...there is nothing sweeter or better the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas than left over turkey. Well, it's July and I have decided to buy turkey legs. Unbeknownst to me, even though I have known this man for 12 years and have seen him eat turkey before, my husband tells me he can not stand turkey legs. I look at him with a puzzled look on my face and think, what am I going to do with these turkey legs then. So I looked in my pantry and came up with this recipe.

Turkey Salad

1 lb shredded turkey meat
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 avocado, diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 TBSP mayonnaise

-->Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Chill and serve with avocado and tomato slices. Happy Eating!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stuffed Chops with Vegetable Kabobs

Summer. The perfect time to try new recipes on the grill and in the home. This recipe is a great one to try on the grill. I did make this in the stove because, I think it was raining here in the "sunny" south at the time. Either way, this meal is a delicious, low carb, yet fulfilling meal. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Stuffed Chops with Vegetable Kabobs

2 1 inch thick boneless (or bone-in) pork chops
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2-3 julianned sun dried tomatoes per chop
3-4 leaves of  spinach per chop
1 Tablespoon EVOO
salt and pepper to taste
Italian seasoning to taste

-->Preheat oven to 375*.  Make a pocket in the chops going almost to the bone.

-->Start stuffing them with mozzarella then sun dried tomatoes, and lastly, spinach leaves.

-->Squish them together and secure them with either a water soaked toothpick or a metal baking clip.

-->Sprinkle with EVOO, S&P, and Italian seasoning. Place on a baking sheet and set to side while we get the vegetables ready.

Vegetable Kabobs

18 pearl onions, peeled
18 slices of yellow squash 
18 slices of zuchinni
18 cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup EVOO
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
Italian seasoning

-->When using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 1 hour prior to use.
In a large bowl, combine EVOO, S&P, Italian seasoning, and Red wine vinegar. Place vegetables in bowl and coat very well.

 -->Add 3 of each vegetable to the skewer, making a total of 6 skewers. 3 per person. Place on the baking sheet with the pork chops and into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

-->Serve with your favorite white wine and a nice French bread. Happy Eating!

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs

When I was a child, my favorite meal was baked spaghetti that my grandmother made in her very old skillet. There really was no specific recipe that she used, she just poured everything in the skillet and let it cook. Seriously, I saw her make it one night and I was shocked that it was that easy to make. Spaghetti, sauce, and ground meat. The ground meat and sauce was on the bottom with the noodles on top. One of those childhood favorites that I thought I would never be able to have again because of the gluten allergy and going low carb/low sugar. 
Thank goodness for all the gluten-free products and natural foods that are on the market right now. I have tried gluten-free pastas and really like them; but I can't eat them all the time because I don't want all the carbs. Every now and then, I will eat high carb meals; but for the most part, I want to stay on the lower side of carbs. Hence, we decided to try the spaghetti squash. 
Now, a few tips in baking said spaghetti squash: 1 Like most varieties of the squash family, except zucchini and yellow summer squash, the spaghetti squash has a very hard exterior. Thus, splitting the squash in half is somewhat of a challenge. Truthfully, I have not found an easy way to split the squash. I use the score and saw method. Score the squash with a very sharp knife and saw away.  2. The squash can be a little temperamental to bake. I sprinkle it with salt and olive oil. The trick is to bake the squash upside down on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. It's like it steams the squash instead of roasts it. 3. Do not over cook or under cook it. Overcooking it makes it really mushy. Under cooking the squash makes it crunchy. As I said before, squash can be temperamental. Baking it at the right temperature and for the right amount of time is essential.   
Don't let these little challenges get in the way of enjoying your squash. Once you have baked it and it comes out perfectly, all the little "hardships" of preparation will seem worth the challenge. Hope you enjoy this meal as much a we do.

Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Meatballs

1 medium spaghetti squash
Salt and Pepper to taste

1 lb ground turkey
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1/4  grated parmesan cheese
basil, oregano, thyme, parsley,rosemary
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/8 cup table red wine

-->As best you can, slice the spaghetti squash in half length wise. Remove seeds. 

-->Preheat oven to 400*. Sprinkle EVOO and S&P on seeded squash, place on a foiled baking sheet, upside down. Bake for 2 hours. 

-->While the squash is baking; mix together meat, cheese, 1 clove of minced garlic, s&P, and 1/8 tsp of the herbs. In a large skillet on med-hi, heat up the EVOO and start sauteing the meatballs.

-->When the meatballs are just about done, add onions, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes.

-->Saute for 5 minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and red wine. Stir and simmer until the squash has finished baking.

-->When the squash has finished baking, pull the strands out with a fork. They should be tender and easy to remove.

-->Place the meatballs and sauce over the spaghetti strands and enjoy with your favorite glass of red wine and Italian bread. Happy Eating!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mexican Chicken

I don't know about you, but in my house I am always looking for new ways to cook chicken. This recipe came about when I had leftover chicken thighs and left over taco seasoning. So, I just got creative and threw this recipe together one night. Isn't funny how recipes like that end up becoming one of your favorite go to recipes? This one has become one of ours. Disclaimer, if you don't like super spicy food, leave out the jalapeno and hold back on the taco seasoning. This dish can be as mild or spicy as one prefers it to be. We tend to like ours a little on the spicy side, my husband even added extra Texas Pete hot sauce to his. Hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do.

Mexican Chicken

2 Chicken thighs, cubed
4 small sweet peppers, Julianne style
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of diced green chilles
1 jalapeno pepper, Julianne style with seeds and ribs
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
2 Tbsp of EVOO
1/2 pack of taco seasoning
1 cup of yellow rice, cooked per package

-->In a large skillet on medium heat, add EVOO and chicken. Let the chicken brown for a couple of minutes on both sides.

-->Add onions and peppers to the chicken; saute until the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft.

-->Add black beans and green chiles, stir and simmer for 5 minutes.

-->Add diced tomatoes and taco seasoning, stir and simmer for 5-10 minutes. 

-->Serve with yellow rice (not pictured, my husband wanted stuffing with it that night.)

-->Happy Eating!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Baked Tilapia and Chickpea-Avocado Salad

I am a southerner, as most of you have already discovered. I also live near the ocean and enjoy many of the perks that living here has to offer. One would think that (a,) being from the south and (b,) living near the ocean, I would post more blogs on seafood and sea fare. Let me tell you a little secret; not everyone who lives near the ocean likes seafood, and some of us are allergic to certain types of seafood. (Yes, I am talking about myself.)
Having decided to work our meals from an actual menu two weeks at a time, I committed to indulge my husband with a fish-y affair for one of our meals.So far, Tuna steaks have been the only fish that I could tolerate before today. They had to be cooked in a very precise way and served over a salad for me to even look at it.  Today, we decided to give Tilapia a try. First off, I don't even know how to cook fish; so, I called my sister and she gave me some helpful hints. Secondly, what to serve with said fish was also a mystery to me. My husband and I wanted something light to compliment, so I made a Chickpea-Avocado Salad. This light combo is a perfect welcoming to warmer days ahead. Enjoy!

Baked Tilapia and Chickpea-Avocado Salad

4 Tilapia fillets
1 Tbsp Asian seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
cooking spray
1/2 lime

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium size cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 ripe avocado, cubed
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Asian seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste

-->Preheat oven to 425*. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with the cooking oil. Place the Tilapia on the baking sheet and season with S&P and Asian Seasoning. Top with lime wedges. Cover the fish with foil and seal the edges. Bake for 15-17 minutes

-->While the fish cooks; combine cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados, and chickpeas in a large bowl. Mix gently.

-->Add lime juice, olive oil, S&P, and Asian seasoning. Mix gently.

-->Remove Tilapia from the oven. To test if the fish is fully cooked, use a fork and gently pull the fish apart. If it comes apart easily, it is done.

-->Serve with a chilled white wine to your favorite person. Happy Eating!!

Turkey Balls and Saute Cabbage

I have fallen in love with new ways to make and eat meatballs. Since going low carb and gluten free, there are several substitutes for pasta and bread that I have found that satisfies my craving for meatballs. This is one such substitute that is surprisingly refreshing and delicious. I hope you will enjoy this dish as much as my husband and I have.

Turkey Balls and Saute Cabbage

 1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Italian herb blend
1 slice bacon, fully cooked and diced
1/2 head of purple cabbage sliced
1/3 head of green cabbage sliced
1/2 large onion, sliced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 Tbsp seseme seeds
3Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth

-->In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, bread crumbs, cheese, S&P, Italian herb blend, and bacon. Roll into golf ball size balls and place in preheated cast iron skillet with 1 Tbsp Olive oil.

-->Cook fully, around 20 minutes. Move turkey balls to outer edge of the skillet, leaving a round area. Add 2 Tbsp Olive oil to skillet. Add cabbage, onions, and celery.

--> Saute until cabbage is soft and onions are translucent. Adding a Tbsp at a time of chicken broth when needed. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

-->Serve turkey balls over cabbage with your favorite white wine. Happy Eating!!