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Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro Bake

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Baking, Cheese, Chicken, Comfort Food, Entrees, Fall Recipes, Healthy Cooking, Italian, Italian Dishes, Italian Food, One-Pot Dishes, Rice/Risotto/Orzo, Savory Dishes, Uncategorized, Veggies, Winter Recipes | 0 comments

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Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro

 

Fall is here and all of a sudden the craving sets in – Comfort. Food. I love chicken casseroles with veggies and pasta and all that naughty creamy goodness. But I’ve been trying to cut down on sugar and white carbs lately so I thought I would make a healthier version of a chicken casserole to keep it light but satisfy my craving for a baked pot of goodness.

Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro

I used an Italian Farro that I had on hand with Porcini mushrooms, and mixed in some sautéed zucchini, garlic and minced onions with a lovely Basil olive oil I have from 7Barrels.com that gives a fresh, herby flavor to go with the nuttiness of the farro. Farro is an organic semi-pearled whole grain that cooks easily and is great in place of white rice or pasta in casseroles. The good news is it’s high in protein and fiber and also low gluten and has a low glycemic index too (plus it’s super tasty too!).

Toasted Farro

First I sautéed some garlic and dried onion in the olive oil and then added the farro to toast it slightly to bring out the nutty warm flavors before adding the water and Sazon seasoning to cook the farro until plump and slightly chewy.

Sauteed Zucchini

Then I sautéed the zucchini with more Basil olive oil and garlic until it was lightly browned.

Seasoned Chicken Breast

Next I sautéed some seasoned chicken breast in brown butter, and mixed the farro and zucchini mixture together with some grated Parmesan cheese.

Prepare the Casserole

After the chicken was lightly browned, I topped the farro and zucchini with the chicken breasts and drizzled a little bit of the brown butter on top and popped it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until the casserole was baked through.

Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro

For finishing touches, I sprinkled some dried thyme, Wild Mushroom crystal sea salt, and some red pepper flakes on top.

Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro

The flavors are absolutely spectacular and it’s a healthy alternative to fat-laden creamy casseroles we’re use to. All it needs is a lovely dry white Italian wine (like a Pinot Grigio) to go with it and you’ve got a happy, Fall day. Enjoy.

Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro Bake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Porcini Mushroom Farro:
  • 1 tablespoon Basil Olive Oil (7 Barrels)
  • ½ tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced dried onion
  • 1 9.1 oz package Tuscan Fields® Farro Ai Funghi
  • 1 small packet of Sazon seasoning
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
  • Sautéed Zucchini:
  • 2 large zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into half moons
  • 2 tablespoons Basil Olive Oil (7Barrels)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Sautéed chicken:
  • 3 large chicken breasts (approx. 1.75-2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt or poultry seasoning (Instant Gourmet Original)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Wild Mushroom crystal sea salt flakes (FalkSalt), for garnish
  • ½ tablespoon dried thyme, for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Mushroom Farro:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven and sauté the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add the minced dried onion and farro, and sauté for another 3-5 minutes to toast the farro.
  4. Add water and seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook farro for about 18-20 minutes until farro is plump and slightly chewy.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Prepare the Zucchini:
  7. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat and sauté garlic for one minute (be careful not to burn). Add zucchini and sauté for another 5-7 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  8. Saute the Chicken:
  9. Thoroughly wash and pat dry chicken breasts, rub seasoning well on both sides of the chicken.
  10. Reheat the large sauté pan over medium high heat, add butter and let melt and get slightly brown.
  11. Add chicken breasts and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes total, turning once, until chicken is lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  12. Prepare the casserole:
  13. Place the cooked farro and zucchini in a ceramic casserole. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese into the mixture and stir together well.
  14. Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the farro-zucchini-Parmesan mixture and drizzle some of the browned butter on top.
  15. Bake the casserole at 350 degrees uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes until chicken is no longer pink and cooked through.
  16. Garnish with Wild Mushroom crystal sea salt, dried thyme and red pepper flakes, and additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve hot, with a green salad and a light, dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio.
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Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro

 

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The Perfect Beach Bash + An Amazing Shrimp & Veggie Salad w/ Lemon-Herb Dressing

Posted by on Jul 10, 2014 in Dressings/Marinades, Grilled Recipes, Healthy Cooking, Holiday, Holiday Recipes, Pasta, Product Reviews, Salads, Savory Dishes, Seafood, Seafood Recipes, Side Dishes, Special Occasion, Spring Recipes, Summer Recipes, Things I Love, Uncategorized, Veggies | 0 comments

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TableHeroShot_Crop

Summer is here and it’s absolutely my favorite time of the year! The sun is shining, the trees are in bloom, and everyone is outside enjoying the weather making it prime time for entertaining family and friends with barbecue and cocktails by the beach, lake or even in the backyard by the pool. I’ve put together some party planning and decorating tips for the perfect summer outdoor beach party, along with some menu ideas featuring lots of fresh seafood, finger foods, and refreshing fruits and veggies.

ShrimpPastaSalad-RecipeShot

One of my favorite recipes to make for a summer outdoor beach party is a Shrimp and Veggie Pasta Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette. It has a light, lemony herb dressing with fresh basil and tarragon, lots of veggies including cucumbers, celery, roasted red peppers, grilled corn and scallions for some extra crunch, and fresh sautéed savory shrimp. It goes perfectly with grilled chicken, burgers, skewers and fresh fruit like watermelon, pineapple and mango.

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I made this amazing summer salad using my KitchenAid® 3-Speed Hand Blender – check out the full post on KitchenEnthusiast.com for the full recipe and all my fun tips on creating the Perfect Beach Bash this Summer!

CLICK HERE FOR PARTY PLANNING TIPS AND THE FULL RECIPE! http://blog.kitchenaid.com/tips-perfect-beach-party-recipe/

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Sunday Supper: Pan-Roasted Chicken w/ Rosemary & Caramelized Garlic | Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine

Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Baking, Chicken, Entrees, Gluten-Free Recipes, Healthy Cooking, Italian, Italian Dishes, Italian Food, One-Pot Dishes, Sauces, Savory Dishes, Side Dishes, Spring Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Dishes, Veggies | 3 comments

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Rosemary Chicken and Asparagus

Last Sunday on a cold rainy night last week, I started craving some homey pan-roasted chicken. And since I had some fresh asparagus from the farmer’s market I wanted to make some roasted asparagus to go with.

I found a recipe on Food.com‘s website by Rachael Ray for Garlic Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon that looked pretty delicious and decided to make my own version by tweaking the recipe and the cooking method a little bit.

Pan-Roasted Rosemary Chicken

Rachael’s recipe uses boneless chicken breasts and lemon along with the rosemary and garlic, and is roasted in the oven for about 25 minutes. It’s a simple recipe but I wanted to change it up a bit by using boneless chicken thighs for a richer, meatier flavor, and I added some paprika and cayenne pepper for some extra zing and savory flavor. I started out by pan-searing the chicken and garlic cloves in a Rosemary-Garlic infused olive oil for 20 minutes until they got caramelized and browned, then added the rosemary and finished the dish in the oven for another 20 minutes or so until cooked through and a lovely, golden brown. Then I made a savory pan sauce made with chicken broth, wine, lemon juice and butter to top the chicken, giving it a silky luscious sauce to bathe in.

Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine

I also made some lovely roasted asparagus to go with it simply made with olive oil, salt and pepper, some fresh lemon juice, sliced toasted almonds and a dash of dill seasoning and lemon zest to give it some bright flavor at the end.

The result? Crispy, savory chicken with tons of roasted caramel-y flavor and a fresh, lemony side dish of spring green asparagus topped with crunchy almonds and a hint of dill. Perfect for a Spring Sunday Supper!

Rosemary Chicken and Asparagus 2

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Caramelized Garlic

Ingredients

2 tablespoons Rosemary Garlic infused olive oil

4-5 boneless chicken thighs

6-8 cloves of garlic, unpeeled

2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of sweet paprika

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 475 degrees and heat olive oil in a cast iron or large skillet.

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, cayenne and paprika, and sear over high heat skin side down for about 2-3 minutes. Lower heat to medium-high, add the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs; cook for another 10 minutes until golden brown.

Turn off the heat, turn chicken over in the skillet, baste with some of the pan juices, and broil in the oven for another 10-12 minutes until chicken is crispy and cooked through.

Turn chicken over once more (skin side up) and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so.

Remove chicken, garlic and rosemary sprigs from the skillet, reserving the drippings in the pan. Add chicken broth, white wine, lemon juice and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until sauce has reduced by half. Swirl in the butter at the end to make a silky sauce. Serve sauce over the chicken and caramelized garlic.

Serves 4.

Rosemary Chicken and Asparagus

Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine

1 bunch of fresh asparagus, thick woody stems trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt
White pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh or dried dill seasoning
1/2 cup unsalted almonds, thin sliced
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Wash and trim asparagus and place on a roasting sheet or in a baking dish.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add lemon juice and dill. Add sliced almonds over the asparagus

Roast in the oven for 7-10 minutes until asparagus and almonds are a toasty, golden brown. Sprinkle some additional lemon zest for garnish, if desired, and serve immediately with the Pan-Roasted Rosemary Chicken and Caramelized Garlic.

Serves 4.

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Going Low-Carb & Healthy for Spring! Grilled Parmesan Zucchini Beef Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Squash

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Beef, Diet, Entrees, Gluten-Free Recipes, Grilled Recipes, Healthy Cooking, Nutrition, Salads, Savory Dishes, Side Dishes, Spring Recipes, Summer Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Dishes, Veggies | 0 comments

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Spring Flowers in Bloom

Spring Flowers in Bloom

Well, Spring is FINALLY here and the weather in NYC has been absolutely gorgeous this past week. I get so motivated when the weather warms up to go walking in the park, get moving around town, and most of all start eating healthy and maybe drop a few pounds or two to get ready for Summer. Plus, with all the gorgeous fresh fruits and veggies at the farmers markets – it’s hard to resist dreaming up some healthy, light recipes to get excited about making.

I know what you’re probably thinking – sometimes “low-carb diet” is a taboo word. And I’ve tried a few of them that have worked in the past (Atkins and South Beach Diet), but once I started eating normal again, the pounds just came back. So I’m making over my diet for the long term with foods that are good carbs – fresh green non-starchy veggies, low-glycemic fruits like berries and melon and citrus, light dairy including cheese and Greek yogurt, and healthy lean proteins across the board with omega3-enriched eggs, turkey, chicken, fish, beef, pork and seafood. My main goal is to cut out sugar and refined carbs like flour, pasta, bread, crackers, processed foods. Oh, the sugar cravings start kicking in the first few days, but once I get through the first week – it’s amazing how those cravings just go away. And my palate changes to crave all the good, healthy foods that actually keep me full and keep those cravings at bay. Yes, I will miss chocolate dearly. And crackers, and bread and pasta. But at the end of the day, once I start eating healthy low-carb, I actually FEEL better. And SLEEP better. And my allergies and body aches GO AWAY.

I’m not talking about living on cheeseburgers, bacon and eggs my whole life. Just cutting down on the bad carbs that make me cranky. And tired. And have mood swings and blood sugar swings. It’s crazy how good I feel and hey, it doesn’t hurt to lose a few pounds along the way. So here goes – Day 1 of my Get Into Shape Low-Carb, Feel Good Diet for Spring. Let’s see if I can keep this going for a few weeks – who knows. I might not miss that chocolate as much as I think I will. And if I feel like cheating? Well a square of dark chocolate here and there (or a glass of wine!) might just have to happen. And I won’t feel guilty one bit. Especially when I’m feeling amazing in my bikini on the beach this summer :)

Parmesan Zucchini Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Zucchini

Parmesan Zucchini Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Zucchini

I whipped up this tasty recipe today for some grilled Parmesan Zucchini Beef Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Squash. The burgers are made with lean beef (but you can substitute ground chicken or turkey if you like), finely minced zucchini, egg, grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes, then grilled to perfection, served over an arugula salad with a light vinaigrette dressing. I sauteed the zucchini and yellow squash in a lemon-infused olive oil, with some crushed garlic cloves, a pinch of dill and red pepper flakes, and that’s it! Light, healthy, filling and totally delicious. I think I could do this all the time. Enjoy! (and wish me luck!)

Going Low-Carb & Healthy for Spring! Grilled Parmesan Zucchini Beef Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

  • Burgers:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, diced fine
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste (about 6 grinds for me)
  • Arugula, dressed with a light vinaigrette, for serving
  • -----
  • Zucchini Squash:
  • 2 tablespoons lemon-infused olive oil
  • 2 small-medium zucchini, sliced and halved
  • 1 small-medium yellow squash, sliced and halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dill (dried or fresh)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (a few grinds is good, but adjust to taste)

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill over medium-high heat.
  2. Place all the burger ingredients into a large bowl and mix together well with hands, make 4-6 burger patties.
  3. Grill burgers for 4-6 minutes (depending on how well done you like them).
  4. Add a slice of melted provolone cheese on top and some hot sauce, if desired.
  5. Serve burgers over arugula salad dressed in a light vinaigrette dressing.
  6. -----
  7. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
  8. Slice zucchini into small moon-shaped slices, peel and smash garlic.
  9. Saute zucchini and squash and garlic cloves for about 5-7 minutes until soft and cooked through (but not mushy).
  10. Add red pepper flakes, dill, sea salt and pepper, stir together.
  11. Serve immediately with burgers and arugula salad.
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Parmesan Zucchini Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Zucchini Squash

Parmesan Zucchini Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Zucchini Squash

 

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Spring is here! Spring Canapes & Cocktails Party with KitchenAid

Posted by on Apr 12, 2014 in Appetizers, Cocktails, Drinks and Cocktails, Food and Cooking How-To's, Food Styling & Photography, Gourmet Food and Drinks, Healthy Cooking, One-Pot Dishes, Savory Dishes, Spanish Food/Tapas, Spreads/Dips, Spring Recipes, Summer Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Dishes, Vegetarian, Veggies | 0 comments

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Spring Canapes & Cocktails!

Spring Canapes & Cocktails!

Spring is here, and there’s nothing better than gathering a few friends together for a casual get together with some canapés and cocktails featuring the fresh produce of the season. Fava Beans, Baby Garden Peas and Strawberries are a few of my favorites that start popping up in April and May with the first bloom of Spring.

I love to use my KitchenAid® 13-Cup Food Processor for making quick and tasty dips and spreads – I simply toss all the ingredients in the bowl of the food processor and give it a few whirls to make easy canapés and appetizers for sharing with friends.

An easy, fun idea is to serve crostini with a spread made of baby garden peas and fava beans, mixed with roasted garlic, mint, greek yogurt, feta cheese, lemon zest and olive oil. The flavors are bright, and it’s a light and healthy appetizer, perfect for spreading on toast and serving with fresh veggies for dipping. I love to serve them with some light Spring cocktails made with vodka, lemonade, fresh strawberries, mint and soda – perfect complement for the bite sized crostini! You can also make crostini with different veggies such as roasted red pepper, artichokes, avocado, olives – whatever you’re in the mood for!

Check out my post on KitchenAid’s Kitchenthusiast Blog for recipes, party ideas and how-to’s to get your Spring party started!

Spring Ingredients

Spring Ingredients

Minted-Pea-&-Fava-Bean-Crostini

Minted Pea & Fava Bean Crostini

Strawberry Mint Vodka Lemonade Cocktails

Strawberry Mint Vodka Lemonade Cocktails

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Cheesy Baked Pasta w/ Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, Ricotta & Mozzarella

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014 in Baking, Cheese, Entrees, Ethnic Recipes, Healthy Cooking, Italian, Italian Dishes, Italian Food, One-Pot Dishes, Pasta, Pork, Savory Dishes, Spring Recipes, Uncategorized, Veggies, Winter Recipes | 0 comments

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CheesyBakedPasta1

Spring is on the way, and there’s nothing I love to cook more than fresh greens. Broccoli rabe is one of my favorites, also known as cime di rapa (meaning “turnip tops”), rapini, broccoli di rapa and broccoletti in Italy. The young leaves of the plant are used in cooking along with the clusters of green buds that resemble small heads of broccoli. The flavor of the vegetable is slightly nutty, bitter and pungent and has tons of vitamin A, potassium, calcium and iron, with its peak season from fall to spring.

Broccoli Rabe

I decided to incorporate it into a cheesy baked pasta dish made with fresh sweet Italian sausage and three cheeses (ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano and mozzarella), along with some fun mushroom flavored pasta, tossed in truffle oil. I picked up some fresh broccoli rabe at the farmers market and sautéed it with some garlic, red pepper flakes and extra virgin olive oil until aromatic, then tossed it into a big casserole dish with the pasta, cheeses and a dash of nutmeg and lemon zest, and baked it into a big pot of golden bubbly brown goodness.

Sauteed Broccoli Rabe-Sausage

Pasta

Ready for Oven

The dish is a perfect light one-pot dish, and is  superb served with a glass of crisp Italian white wine, a simple Arugula salad tossed with lemon, S&P, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and crusty Italian bread with olive oil and red pepper flakes for dipping. Andiamo a mangiare!

Baked Pasta Dish

Ingredients

Kosher salt
1 bunch broccoli rabe, stems removed, chopped into large pieces
1 pound of pasta (dried ziti or penne, or chunky pasta of your choice)
2 tablespoons white truffle oil
Extra Virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced or sliced
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 pound ground sweet or hot Italian sausage
1 (15 ounce) container whole milk ricotta
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 egg, whisked
A dash of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest
Fresh ground black pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9”x13” or 10” round casserole dish and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and set up an ice bath in a large bowl to the side. Cook the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for 1 minute and immediately remove and plunge into ice bath to cool for another few minutes. Pat dry and set aside. Add the pasta to the boiling water and let cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse pasta in cool water to stop cooking, while reserving ¼ cup of hot pasta water. Toss with white truffle oil and set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan with olive oil and bring the pan to a medium heat. Sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes for about a minute or two, until soft and aromatic. Add the broccoli rabe and toss with olive oil, add salt and heat through. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, heat more olive oil over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and sauté for about 3-5 minutes until soft and light golden brown. Add ground sausage and cook until browned, drain off any excess fat.

Return the cooked pasta and broccoli rabe into the large sauté pan with the sausage and onion mixture.

Toss the ricotta cheese with whisked egg, nutmeg, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Add to the cooked pasta, broccoli rabe and sausage-onion mixture in the large sauté pan, mixing ingredients together well. Stir in ¼ cup of pasta water to make a light sauce.

Place the pasta mixture into the greased casserole dish. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and additional grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish.

Serve with a glass of crisp Italian white wine, a simple Arugula salad tossed with lemon, S&P, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and crusty Italian bread with olive oil and red pepper flakes for dipping.

Serves 8.

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