Tag Archives: comfort food

Sausage & Orzo Jambalaya

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

On gray rainy days in New York (esp. at the beginning of so-called
“Summer”), there’s nothing better than staying home and cooking up a big pot of comfort food. It seems to make the rain almost pleasant to listen to and watch, knowing that you’re tucked up indoors away from the rest of the world, cooking something cozy and delicious.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

One of my favorite things to make is spicy Cajun and Creole food (New Orleans is one of my fav cities ever..the #FOOD though!) and I had grand visions of creating a kickass recipe this week for my blog. And considering it’s going to be a rainy Memorial Day weekend, why not make a big pot of something wonderful to stay indoors and savor while I’m at it?

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

I had some Aidell’s Andouille Sausage on hand and tons of bell peppers, garlic, onions and tomatoes in the pantry so I decided to make a big pot of Jambalaya for my afternoon project. I also had some Flour City Pasta ‘Bon Vivant Orzo’ I’ve been dying to try, so I decided to whip up a twist on ordinary Jambalaya using that instead of rice. The orzo is multi-colored small pasta that looks like rice, with wild mushroom, saffron, spinach and cayenne – and I thought it would add some more layers of flavor to the dish.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

First I cooked the sausage until lightly browned in a big Dutch oven with a little olive oil. Then I added the vegetables and sautéed everything together with some spicy Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere’s is the bomb!). I also threw in some Kroger brand Zesty Seasoning Blend which is a savory blend of herbs and spices like onion, black pepper, chili pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, savory, marjoram, bay, thyme, rosemary, garlic and cumin and added a dash of hot paprika for an extra kick of spiciness and flavor. You can also substitute some dried thyme and oregano or whatever dried herbs you like instead if you can’t find something similar.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

Then I added the broth and tomatoes and orzo and brought everything to a boil, and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes or so until the orzo was cooked through. The pasta will soak up the liquids and get thicker the longer it sits, so be careful not to overcook it or it will get mushy. If you’re using rice instead, let the ingredients simmer for longer, about 20 minutes.

Once it all comes together with a consistency you like, serve it with some chopped green onions and fresh parsley with a dash of hot sauce (traditional Frank’s RedHot or Crystal are my favs) and freshly ground black pepper for an extra kick.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

All I know is I have a long holiday weekend to savor my delicious Jambalaya, along with lots of naps and Netflix.

Let it rain. J

Sausage & Orzo Jambalaya

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Serving Size: 1 cup

This Sausage Orzo Jambalaya is a twist on traditional Creole Jambalaya using multi-colored orzo instead of rice, with the addition of some corn. It has a medium-spice heat to it with lots of veggies including red, yellow, orange and green peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes - a savory, heartwarming dish for any occasion.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds Andouille sausage cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups bell peppers, chopped (red, yellow, orange, green)
  • 1 cup yellow corn kernels
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere’s)
  • 2 teaspoons Zesty Seasoning Blend (Kroger)- optional
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups orzo
  • Sliced scallions, for garnish
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Hot sauce, for garnish (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oil over medium-high in a large Dutch oven or pot. Add the sausage and cook for about 8 minutes until browned on all sides about 8 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
  2. Add the onions, peppers, corn, garlic and bay leaves along with the herbs and spices and saute over medium-high for a few minutes. Add the broth and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the orzo and reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes until the orzo is cooked through and soft.
  4. Garnish with sliced scallions and chopped fresh parsley and a dash of hot sauce and freshly ground black pepper, to taste for an extra kick.

Notes

Note: you can also substitute traditional white rice for the orzo, just cook it in the pot longer, about 20 minutes instead of 10 minutes.

You can also add chicken or shrimp to the recipe, swapping out 1 pound for the andouille sausage.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living Magazine.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/05/26/sausage-orzo-jambalaya/

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Coffee Marinated Steak

Now that Summer is rapidly approaching, I am so excited about getting outdoors to enjoy the warm weather and especially cooking outdoors with friends and family. Grilling is one of my favorite ways to cook in warm weather months, simply because it’s so easy and a healthy way to cook, and it usually takes place with a group of friends outside making fun memories and laughter to go with it.

I recently went down to Atlanta where I used to live to visit some old friends and we had a blast grilling outside on my friend’s outdoor BBQ grill in her backyard. We sat around the grill and made grilled sliders, shrimp, jalapeno poppers, and wings (with lots of snacks and drinks to go with of course!) It reminded me of the good old days when I used to live there… living and working in NYC we don’t get the opportunity to grill much anymore and it’s a precious occasion when I go to visit my friends and family who live in greener pastures.

One of my favorite things to make is  big juicy grilled steak..it’s always a tasty treat, easy to prepare and everyone loves it…especially with some grilled vegetables, salad, potatoes and a glass of wine or beer while sitting out on the patio dining al fresco watching the sunset.

My go-to Summer recipe is Coffee Marinated Steaks, which I know you’re gonna love. The marinade has a light smoky essence from the coffee (I use Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, an espresso alternative to Nepresso capsules,  with a beautiful dark and rich flavor; some spicy heat from the red chilies and black peppercorns; a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar; and is balanced out with a slight tanginess from the balsamic vinegar, Dale’s seasoning/soy, mustard, shallots and garlic. You simply mix all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor, then marinade the steaks for an hour or up to overnight for some really delicious flavor.

Then simply pop them on the grill for about 8-10 minutes and you have the most juicy, flavorful and delicious steaks you’ve ever tasted in your life. Not to mention, a great idea for Father’s Day to spoil Dad! Click here to see more of my grilling ideas and recipes for Father’s Day.

Ah, Summertime and the livin’s easy…Enjoy J

Coffee Marinated Steak

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4

Serving Size: 1 (12-14 ounce) Strip Steak

My go-to Summer recipe is Gourmesso Coffee Marinated Steaks, which I know you’re gonna love. The marinade has a light smoky essence from the coffee (I use Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, which is an espresso (alternative to Nepresso capsules) that has a beautiful dark and rich flavor; some spicy heat from the red chilies and black peppercorns; a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar; and is balanced out with a slight tanginess from the balsamic vinegar, Dale’s seasoning/soy, mustard, shallots and garlic.

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, room temp
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 cup low-sodium Dale’s seasoning (or dark soy sauce)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon red paprika
  • 3 small red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse Kosher salt
  • 4 (12-14 ounce) boneless Strip steaks

Instructions

  1. In a food processor or blender, add the shallots, garlic, Gourmesso coffee, balsamic vinegar, Dale’s sauce/soy sauce, brown sugar, paprika, chilies, peppercorns, and olive oil and kosher salt and blend together well. Pour half the marinade in a glass dish or large plastic ziptop bag, add the steaks and toss to coat with the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Cover the remaining marinade and set aside in the fridge until ready to grill.
  2. Heat grill to medium-high and lightly oil the grill rack. Remove steak from marinade and discard the remaining marinade. Bring steaks to room temperature before grilling.
  3. Season the steaks with salt and pepper and place on grill. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare (less or more according to desired doneness), basting occasionally with remaining marinade.
  4. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest tented in foil for 5 minutes. Serve with grilled vegetables or a simple green salad dressed with vinaigrette and a glass of wine. Enjoy!

Notes

You can make the marinade up to a day ahead of time and store in the fridge with the steaks in a plastic bag or covered dish.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/05/23/gourmesso-coffee-marinated-steak/

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Great Reads :: Top Cookbooks for Spring 2017

Hey guys, so happy Spring! I haven’t done a post on Great Reads in a while and i have soooo many great books and cookbooks that I’ve read that deserve a big shout out!

Here’s a few of my recent favs that are definitely worth a read:

Salmon: From Market to Plate

Salmon, From Market to Plate by Maureen C. Berry 

For all you salmon lovers out there, this is your book. Seafood advocate and cook Maureen C. Berry will show you how to be sustainable salmon shopper and conscientious cook.

The book goes over the basics of how and where to buy different varieties of salmon and the best tools and essential ingredients for your kitchen to do so. She has 20 easy and delicious everyday salmon recipes included and they’re grouped by “In the Oven”, “On the Stove” and “On the Grill”, making it easy to learn different ways to cook salmon. There’s also some more advanced recipes from chefs and organizations that support sustainable fisheries and ocean conservation at the end.

Some of my favorite recipes in the book are simple and use fresh ingredients..Salmon with Roasted Apples and Walnuts, Farmers Market Salmon Salad, Salmon Corn Chowder, Grilled Salmon with Roasted Beets, Blue Cheese and Pear Vinaigrette, Pan Grilled Salmon with Cilantro-Walnut Pesto…and there’s so many more!

You can find Maureen tweeting @maureencberry and on Instagram @maureenc.berry. She lives in Kentucky with her husband and their feisty wire fox terrier.

Get the book on Amazon

Cook's Country Eats Local

Cook’s Country EATS LOCAL, 150 Regional Recipes

So this is such a fun cookbook and a roadtrip across the country with some of the best regional recipes ever! It actually makes me want to jump in a car and eat my way through every state, just like Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Actually, when I was a kid, my whole family (me, Mom and Dad and my Sister) packed up our stuff into an RV hooked up to my Dad’s truck and drove across the country for five weeks from New York to California and back. We saw amazing things like the Salt Flats in Salt Lake City, the Badlands (we fed the prairie dogs “Twigs” on the side of the road!), Mount Rushmore in South Dakota,  the Redwood Forest in Northern California, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, the Geysers in Yellowstone National Park, panning for gold in an old deserted Western town in Montana..and the list goes on. Ever since then I’ve been fascinated by travel and especially the food that comes from different regions of the country along with the history, culture and stories behind it.

The book breaks up the recipes into four regions featuring some of the top classical recipes in each: New England and the Mid-Atlantic, Appalachia and the South, The Midwest and Great Plains, Texas and the West.

The book includes anecdotes and stories on the history of the recipes and variations on some, along with colorful illustrations, side notes, cooking tips, photography and maps where you can find some of these recipes at popular hot spots across the country.

A few of my recipe favs in the book: Iowa Skinnies (a thinly cut fried pork chop sandwich with lettuce and tomato), St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake (need I say more?), South Carolina Shrimp Boil, Hoppin’ John (slow cooked Southern dish with rice, black-eyed peas and ham hocks), Rhode Island Johnnycakes (crispy corn cakes served with maple butter), Pittsburgh Wedding Soup (a Western PA version of Italian Wedding Soup with meatballs, kale, and orzo), Chicken Riggies (a classic chicken and rigatoni with tomato sauce baked dish from Utica NY), Prosperity Sandwiches (an open face sandwich melt similar to a Hot Brown from the Midwest), Texas Chicken Fried Steak and Chile Rellenos Casserole and Black Bottom Pie (chocolate custard, rum chiffon and whipped cream pie with a chocolate cookie crust) – OMG.

Check out the book on Amazon

Devoured: From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies

Devoured: From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies, Sophie Egan

This is a smart, funny and well-written book that delves into the American psyche of how we eat and why we eat, and sheds a unique light on the current food culture in America. Food writer and Culinary Institute of America program director  Sophie Egan examines the connections between our national values of work, freedom, and progress—and our eating habits (good ones and bad ones).

She explores many topics and questions such as why America is obsessed with healthy, GMO-free and gluten-free food; our obsession with having everything “our way” and instant gratification; our quick substitutes for real food while living such busy, scattered lives; and how American food is being influenced by global culinary trends and flavors. She analyzes workplace food experiences, fad diets, stunt foods, grandiose food marketing, and more.

Thought provoking and definitely worth a read! You can get it online here.

Here’s a few others worth a mention on the list (and all IACP Cookbook Award winners):

Scratch by Maria Rodale

Taste of Persia, Naomi Duguid

Deep Run Roots, Vivian Howard

Molly on the Range, Molly Yeh

James Beard’s All American Eats

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Things are getting Coco Loco for Summer!

Captain Morgan Loco Nut

Hey guys, listen up! Summer is almost around the corner and do I have some exciting news for you coconut lovers around the world! CAPTAIN MORGAN just took a bunch of coconuts and turned them into a delicious new shot, CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut. This super delicious shot is made with Caribbean rum, coconut liqueur, spice and natural flavors.

Loco-&-Chill

It comes in a coconut-shaped bottle, smells like a coconut and yes,  tastes like a coconut (and a day on the beach in a glass!) LocoNut is affordable too, just $14.99 for a 750 ml bottle, and it’s coming to a store (and a beach) near you. And, on top of that, CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut is also gluten-free!

Loconut2

It’s simply amazing as a chilled shot, but it’s also great simply on the rocks, and a great base for a variety of tropical cocktails or mixed shots, so get creative! I’d love to hear some of your cocktail ideas using LocoNut in the comments below.

Here’s a few cocktail ideas to get your tastebuds singing and a head start on Summer vacay:

Loco & Coco 

3 oz. CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut Coconut Shot

4 oz. Coconut Water

Directions: Combine CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut with coconut water and serve over ice.

—–

Captain & Loco 

2 oz. CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut Coconut Shot

0.5 oz. CAPTAIN MORGAN Original Spiced Rum

Directions: Combine CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut and CAPTAIN MORGAN Original Spiced Rum and serve over ice.

—–

Livin’ Vanilla Loco 

1 oz. CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut Coconut Shot

0.5 oz. CROWN ROYAL Vanilla

Directions: Combine CAPTAIN MORGAN LocoNut and CROWN ROYAL Vanilla into a shaker with ice.

Shake and strain into a rocks glass with ice.

LocoNut

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To learn more about CAPTAIN MORGAN follow us on social media on Instagram (@CaptainMorganUSA), Twitter (@CaptainMorganUS) and like us on Facebook (@CaptainMorganUSA).

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About Diageo 

Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan’s whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information about Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at www.diageo.com. Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource, www.DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.

Follow on Twitter for news and information about Diageo North America: @Diageo_NA.

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and I received a product sample from the client to perform this product review on my site. I was not compensated monetarily and all opinions are my own. #ad #spon

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Shrimp, Basil & Corn Zucchini Noodles w/ Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce

Zucchini Noodles 1

Hello Summer! And hello to the season for lighter food and flavors and quality time at the beach and the pool (READ: also time for shorts and sundresses and to lose a few to fit into the bathing suit!)

Zucchini Noodles 10

I’ve been craving pasta lately because i’ve been cutting down on carbs a bit, but I’ve had this cool Veggetti noodle tool in my pantry for a few months and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make some Zucchini Noodles (AKA “zoodles”), and tie in some fresh ingredients from the season such as shrimp and corn and basil.

Zucchini Noodles 8

This dish screams creamy comfort food, but is balanced out with a clean, citrus-y brightness with a Meyer Lemon cream sauce made with mascarpone cheese, Meyer lemon juice and zest, lemongrass chicken broth, white wine, sweet basil olive oil and garlic. The lightness of these zucchini noodles are also totally amazing, rather than a heavy pasta that will put you to sleep in .02 seconds.

Zucchini Noodles 3

I love Meyer lemons because they are delicate and less sour than regular lemons and almost mimic the flavor of lemon and orange juice mixed together, which you can absolutely do if you can’t find Meyer lemons or they aren’t in season. I ordered mine on Fresh Direct which always has everything in stock and delivers on top of that!

Zucchini Noodles

Prep your zucchini noodles with a Veggetti or Spiralizer on a cutting board or over a large mixing bowl. I suggest squeezing out any excess water from them before sauteing (you can let them sit in a colander to extract water for about 15 minutes or so). You might also want to cut the strand piles in half to make them easier to manage and eat. Sauté the noodles in some olive oil with red pepper flakes and garlic for a few minutes and set aside.

LemonZest-Juice

Zest and juice one Meyer lemon to add to the cream sauce. Look at that vivid color! LOVE.

Prep Shrimp

Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the shrimp and sauté in some olive oil for couple minutes until they are pink and set aside. Don’t overcook them though because you will add them back in to the sauce later on and you don’t want tough rubbery shrimp.

Lemon Sauce Ingredients

Prep ingredients for the Meyer Lemon Cream sauce and add the white wine, chicken broth, Meyer lemon juice and zest to the saute pan with leftover juices from the shrimp. Stir and simmer over medium heat for until the liquid reduces by half.

Meyer Lemon Sauce

Add the corn, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until heated through. I used frozen sweet corn but you can use fresh corn too which might take a little longer to cook (or you can precook the fresh corn and add the kernels into the sauce).

Add Mascarpone, Shrimp and Basil

Stir in the mascarpone cheese and blend together until it turns into a gorgeous, silky and creamy sauce. Toss in the shrimp and basil. Isn’t that pretty?

Zucchini Noodles 6

Serve over the zucchini noodles with additional basil and lemon zest and get ready to DEVOUR.

Zucchini Noodles 7

Alternatively you can toss the zucchini noodles in to the pan with the sauce and shrimp and corn and mix it all together to serve as a one pot dish. I prefer keeping the noodles separate from the sauce so they don’t get too mushy, personally.

Zucchini Noodles 5

Garnish with some extra basil and lemon zest and serve with a glass of white wine (I particularly like McBride Sisters Truvee Chardonnay who were kind enough to send me a sample which I LOVED), and some crusty bread to mop up that yum sauce, if you wish. Light, bright, healthy and delicious!

Shrimp, Basil & Corn Zucchini Noodles w/ Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Serving Size: 1 cup of noodles with sauce

This is a super healthy and totally delicious low carb option to pasta. It features sautéed zucchini noodles smothered in a Meyer Lemon cream sauce with shrimp, corn and fresh basil. It's light and bright and the perfect dish for Summer with a glass of white wine and some toasty bread to mop up the sauce.

Delicious!!

Ingredients

  • Zucchini Noodles:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (7 Barrels Basil olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Shrimp:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Garlic salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Zest and juice of 1 Meyer Lemon
  • 1/2 cup white wine (Truvee Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (Pacific Foods Lemongrass Bone Both)
  • 2/3 cup Mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh Basil, for garnish
  • Additional lemon zest, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the Zucchini Noodles:
  2. Using a Veggeti or Spiralizer vegetable cutter, cut both zucchini into medium large noodles over a cutting board or large bowl.
  3. Form the vegetable pasta into two piles and cut each in half to create shorter, easy to manage strands.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat and sauté the garlic for a minute or so, being careful not to burn.
  5. Add the zucchini noodles, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes to your desired consistency.
  6. Remove noodles from the heat into a medium bowl and set aside while you cook the shrimp.
  7. Prepare the Shrimp:
  8. In the same sauce pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  9. Sprinkle some garlic salt and pepper on to the shrimp, and add shrimp to the pan cooking for about 3 minutes, stirring often so they cook evenly.
  10. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and transfer to a small bowl while you make the Meyer Lemon cream sauce.
  11. Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce:
  12. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the same large sauce pan over medium heat.
  13. Add the additional garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
  14. Add the lemon juice, zest, chicken broth and wine and let simmer down until reduced, about 3 minutes.
  15. Add the corn kernels, salt and pepper and heat through another minute or two, then stir in the Mascarpone cheese until you get a silky, creamy sauce.
  16. Add the cooked shrimp, zucchini noodles and basil; toss to coat. (You can also keep the zucchini noodles separate from the shrimp, corn and basil with Meyer Lemon sauce and spoon it over the noodles in bowls which keeps the noodles from getting mushy in the sauce which is how i prefer serving them.)
  17. Serve with additional basil and lemon zest, and a glass of Chardonnay or dry Italian wine and some crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Notes

This would also be a delicious sauce over any pasta, and if you're a vegetarian you could substitute the shrimp for another vegetable or legumes for some protein. If you can't find Meyer lemons or they aren't in season, simply mix some orange juice into the lemon juice to give it a similar flavor.

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http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/07/16/shrimp-basil-corn-zucchini-noodles-w-meyer-lemon-cream-sauce/
Zucchini Noodles with Shrimp, Basil and Corn in Meyer Lemon Cream SauceZucchini Noodles 9

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Other similar recipes you might enjoy:

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Shrimp and Zucchini with Tomatoes 

Basil Shrimp Zucchini Pasta

Shrimp and Zucchini Risotto

Fettuccine with Shrimp and Zucchini

Note: I received a sample of McBride Sisters Truvee Chardonnay for tasting which inspired me to create this recipe and share with my readers. All opinions of the product are my own and I was not compensated for this post.

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Seriously Delicious Taco Pizza

Taco Pizza

I’ve been on a spicy food kick lately. Maybe it’s the pseudo-Spring weather. Or maybe I’m just addicted. I decided to make a fun twist on pizza and make a seriously delicious Taco Pizza. Yes, TACOS. And PIZZA. All baked into a bubbling pile of goodness. This Taco Pizza is the easiest thing to make, and the best tasting thing on the planet. Like a fiesta in your mouth.

Taco Pizza 2

I had a bunch of Pillsbury Crescent Dough in the fridge, as well as a ton of fresh ingredients I wanted to use up. Yes, I could have made Nachos. Or Burritos. Or Enchiladas. Or even a Taco Salad. But why not make a Taco Pizza? It was Friday after all. And Fridays are made for FUN FOOD, arent’ they?

Taco Pizza_OH 2

The crust is super buttery and flaky and a delicious canvas for this Taco Monster creation.

Toppings 1

The pizza is topped with all the goodies you would make tacos with – salsa, ground beef, taco seasoning, black beans and onions,

Toppings 2

with a layer of fresh veggies like black olives, tomatoes, jalapenos; and of course plenty of shredded cheddar cheese.

Taco Pizza 3

Just layer all the goods on the dough, pop it in a 375 degree oven and bake for about 13-16 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is melty-ooey-gooey.

Taco Pizza 5

Then, top it with some chopped cilantro, a few dabs of sour cream and some wavy corn chips for extra crunch.

Serious YUM. And perfect for a Friday afternoon. With a margarita or two, of course. 🙂

Seriously Delicious Taco Pizza

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1-2 slices/squares

A seriously delicious Taco Pizza made with ground beef, tomatoes, jalapenos, olives, black beans and cheese, topped with sour cream, cilantro and crunchy corn chips baked on a crescent dough crust.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (8 ounce) Pillsbury crescent dough
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped (or 1 tablespoon minced dried onion)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • 10-12 cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup wavy corn chips, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Separate dough into 2 long rectangles and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press perforations to seal into one large rectangle of dough. Repeat for second pizza.
  3. In a large skillet, saute ground beef, onions and black beans until cooked through and meat is no longer pink. Drain grease, and add taco seasoning and 1/4 cup of water, mix together well and keep warm, covered.
  4. Prep the veggies and pizza topping ingredients.
  5. Layer the dough with the salsa, 1/2 cup for each pizza.
  6. Top dough with the taco beef and bean mixture, olives, tomatoes, jalapenos and shredded cheese on both sheets.
  7. Bake for 13-16 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
  8. Garnish pizzas with corn chips, sour cream and fresh cilantro.
  9. Cut each pizza into 6 squares and serve hot.

Notes

You can also substitute shredded chicken, ground chicken or turkey or pulled pork for the ground beef. A regular pizza dough crust can also be used in place of the crescent dough.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/03/28/seriously-delicious-taco-pizza/

All recipes, photographs, copy and content on this post and website are copyrighted © 2010-2015 by Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet. Please do not use, share or distribute this content in any way without expressed permission from me first.

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Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro Bake

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.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/10/16/chicken-zucchini-wild-mushroom-farro-bake/

Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro

 

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Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Summer has quickly arrived and it’s that time of year again to shed a few pounds and hit the beach. I’ve decided to muster up some will power and started experimenting with a low carb diet with grand visions of lazy days on the beach in that bikini I need to fit back into. The bad news is whenever I decide to go on a diet, my brain automatically starts thinking about all the evil foods I CAN’T eat – pizza being one of the first things I start craving.

I decided to make a low-carb pizza using a parmesan garlic cauliflower crust. It sounds weird, but it’s absolutely delicious and healthy and a great substitute for traditional pizza dough when you want a healthier option to cut some carbs out of your diet (while satisfying your cravings for pizza which are absolutely NOT allowed when you’re doing low carb!) I’m absolutely in LOVE with spinach artichoke dip and thought I would make a lighter version mixed with some fresh ricotta, garlic, onion and parmesan cheese to top the pizza.

I found a gorgeous head of bright yellow Carnival cauliflower and simply shredded and chopped it into a fine crumble (you can also do this in a food processor or blender). Then I chopped up some garlic and threw them both in the microwave for about 8 minutes, then drained and let cool.

You simply need to mix in some grated parmesan cheese (or any other shredded cheese you like), an egg, garlic, dried minced onion, herbs de Provence (or dried oregano or basil), a few sesame or chia seeds (optional), some yeast, almond flour and sea salt and black pepper. Then pat the mixture on to a greased pizza sheet or Silpat mat, then bake for about 10-15 minutes until the crust is lightly golden brown.

In the meantime, to make the luscious (and healthy) spinach, artichoke and ricotta topping – simply sauté the spinach with some garlic and olive oil, mix in some chopped up artichoke hearts (precooked), fresh minced garlic, ricotta cheese and shredded parmesan cheese, then top the pizza crust spreading the mixture in an even layer. Top with some additional shredded cheese (I used sharp white cheddar but you can use mozzarella or Monterey jack or any other cheese you like that melts well), and then scoop some light and fluffy ricotta cheese on top of the mixture and bake for another 7-10 minutes until the cheeses are melted and bubbly.

In my experiment I found that you shouldn’t spread the pizza crust out on the pan too thin, as it is more fragile than a traditional dough crust and needs to be a bit thick to hold up the ingredients. So try to keep the crust about ¾” to 1 inch thick evenly all around to the edges or it will burn.

Also, let the pizza cool for about 5 minutes or so before slicing it. Top with additional salt and pepper, red pepper flakes if desired, and grated parmesan cheese.

Devour. Repeat.

Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Preheat the oven to 425. Prepare the cauliflower crust ingredients and pat down on a greased pizza pan.

Baked Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Bake at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until it starts to get golden brown around the edges.

Pizza Ready For Oven

Top pizza crust with spinach artichoke mixture, shredded cheese and ricotta. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Let pizza cool down for 5-10 minutes and cut into slices.

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Garnish with additional salt and pepper, parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Devour.

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Repeat.

Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 (or 1 large 9-10\" pie)

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 ½ cups shredded)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon sesame or chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon herbs de provence (or dried basil or oregano)
  • ½ teaspoon dried minced onion
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Grease a 9-10” round pizza pan or place Silpat mat on a rectangular baking sheet.
  3. Shred and chop cauliflower into fine crumbles (either by hand with a large Chef’s knife or with a food processor).
  4. Mince the garlic and add to the cauliflower in a microwave-safe large bowl.
  5. Microwave covered with plastic wrap for about 7-8 minutes.
  6. Uncover, drain and let cool for about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the next nine ingredients and mix together well.
  8. Bake the crust for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove the crust from oven and set aside.

Notes

In my experiment I found that you shouldn't spread the pizza crust out on the pan too thin, as it is more fragile than a traditional dough crust and needs to be a bit thick to hold up the ingredients. So try to keep the crust about ¾” to 1 inch thick evenly all around to the edges or it will burn.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/06/03/spinach-artichoke-ricotta-pizza-with-parmesan-garlic-cauliflower-crust/

Spinach & Artichoke Ricotta Pizza

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 (or 1 large 9-10\\\" pie)

Ingredients

  • 1 parbaked cauliflower crust (see attached recipe above)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package frozen spinach, defrosted (or 1 bag fresh baby spinach)
  • 1 package frozen artichokes, defrosted (or 1-14 oz can, drained)
  • 1-15 oz container ricotta cheese, divided in half
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup white cheddar cheese (can sub Monterey jack or mozzarella), shredded
  • dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat.
  2. Place the spinach in a large microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cook for about 8 minutes on HIGH.
  3. Mince the shallots and garlic cloves and drain the spinach (pressing out extra liquids).
  4. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the shallots for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  5. Add the additional tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the spinach for another few minutes, mixing all ingredients together. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  6. Microwave the artichokes in a large microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cook for about 5-6 minutes on HIGH and drain. (if using canned artichokes, simply drain).
  7. Chop the artichokes up into small pieces and place into a large mixing bowl.
  8. Add half of the container of ricotta cheese, 1 cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and mix well.
  9. Stir in the spinach, shallots and garlic mixture.
  10. Drizzle or spray some olive oil lightly on to the parbaked cauliflower pizza crust.
  11. Spread the spinach, artichoke and ricotta mixture evenly over the crust.
  12. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes and scoop out a few large tablespoons of ricotta cheese and place on top of the pizza.
  13. Bake at 425 degrees for another 7-10 minutes until the cheeses are melted and bubbly and the crust edges are light golden brown. (Watch crust edges to make sure they don't burn).
  14. Remove pizza from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  15. Slice into wedges (or squares if making rectangular pizza) and top with additional red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.

Notes

In my experiment I found that you shouldn't spread the pizza crust out on the pan too thin, as it is more fragile than a traditional dough crust and needs to be a bit thick to hold up the ingredients. So try to keep the crust about ¾” to 1 inch thick evenly all around to the edges or it will burn.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/06/03/spinach-artichoke-ricotta-pizza-with-parmesan-garlic-cauliflower-crust/

More pizza recipes you might enjoy:

Two Peas and Their Pod Spinach Artichoke Pesto Pizza

Real Simple Spinach and Artichoke Pizza

Gluten Free Spinach and Artichoke Pizza Better Batter

Recipe Girl’s Hawaiian Cauliflower Pizza

Closet Cooking’s BBQ Chicken Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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Rochester-Style Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini

 

Rochester-Style Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini
Rochester-Style Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini

This is an amazing dish that is popular in my hometown in Upstate Rochester, NY. The Italian-American immigrants first introduced this dish in NYC and then migrated Upstate. The recipe stems from the French Veal Francaise or Chicken Francaise dish, which uses lightly-floured thin veal or chicken cutlets, which are then coated with a parsley-parmesan cheese-egg mixture and sauteed until golden brown. The luscious sauce is made with garlic, butter, lemon, white wine or sherry, and parsley which is served over the top of the golden brown chicken. I decided to serve this with steamed broccolini, a Chinese broccoli that is similar to Broccoli Rabe, and topped it with the lemon butter sauce and an extra splash of fresh lemon juice for a light and healthy dinner.

This dish has a lovely tangy and buttery flavor with the lemon, wine and garlic, and the flour coating is super light as I made it with an ultra-fine flour (Wegman’s Pan-Searing Flour) or you could use Wondra, then seasoned it with salt and pepper and a hint of cayenne. If you want to use sherry instead of a white wine, this will give you a sweeter flavor to the sauce. I made my sauce with a Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which is light and fruity and gives it a nice semi-sweet tangy flavor.

Serve the chicken and broccolini with some crusty french bread or some pasta (with more lemon-butter sauce, parmesan cheese and parsley over the top!) and a glass of white wine. Enjoy!

Chop the parsley

Mince the parsley for the egg, cheese and parsley mix.

Prep the wet and dry ingredients

Prep the wet and dry ingredients to dip the chicken in (flour first, egg-cheese-parsley mixture second).

Saute the chicken in olive oil for approx. 6 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Saute the chicken in olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat for approx. 6 minutes on one side.

Flip chicken over and saute another 6 minutes until golden brown.

Flip chicken over and saute another 6 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside, covered in a foil tent.

Remove chicken and set aside. Saute minced garlic for 1-2 minutes.

Saute minced garlic for 1-2 minutes.

Add wine, and bring to a boil.

Add wine, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and bring to a boil.

Add broth and lemon juice and turn heat to high, bringing to a boil.

Add broth and lemon juice and let cook for approx. 5-7 minutes to reduce liquid by half. Stir in cold butter and red pepper flakes.

Return chicken to the pan and bring to a boil, cooking for another 5 minutes to let liquid reduce and infuse flavors in the chicken.

Return chicken to the pan and bring to a boil, simmering for another 5-10 minutes to let liquid reduce further and infuse flavors in the chicken. Throw in some extra chopped parsley. Remove from heat.

IMG_3403

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Insert steamer basket with broccolini and steam covered for about 5 minutes.

Lemon Broccolini

Remove cover and let cook over boiling water for another 5 minutes or so, until broccolini is fork tender but still bright green.

Plate the chicken and broccolini and spoon the lemon-wine-garlic butter sauce over the top of both. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Plate the chicken and broccolini and spoon the lemon-wine-garlic butter sauce over the top of both. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley.

Garnish with fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley.

Enjoy with a glass of white wine and some crusty Italian bread.

Enjoy with a glass of white wine and some crusty Italian bread or pasta (with some of that luscious buttery-lemon-wine sauce over the top).

Bon appetit!

Bon appetit!

Rochester-Style Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4

This is an amazing dish that is popular in my hometown in Upstate Rochester, NY. The Italian-American immigrants first introduced this dish in NYC and then migrated Upstate. The recipe stems from the French Veal Francaise or Chicken Francaise dish, which uses lightly-floured thin veal or chicken cutlets, which are then coated with a parsley-parmesan cheese-egg mixture and sauteed until golden brown.

The luscious sauce is made with garlic, butter, lemon, white wine or sherry, and parsley which is served over the top of the golden brown chicken. I decided to serve this with steamed broccolini, a Chinese broccoli that is similar to Broccoli Rabe, and then topped it with the lemon butter sauce for a fresh and healthy Sunday dinner. It has a lovely tangy and buttery flavor with the lemon, wine and garlic, and the coating is super light as I made it with an ultra-fine flour (Wegman's Pan-Searing Flour) or you could use Wondra, or a regular flour then season it with salt and pepper and a hint of cayenne.

If you want to use sherry instead of a white wine, this will also give you a sweeter flavor to the sauce. I made this with a Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which is light and fruity and gives it a nice semi-sweet tangy flavor.

Ingredients

  • CHICKEN FRENCH:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil/canola oil blend for sauteing (I used Colavita Garlic Oil Blend)
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup of superfine flour (Pan Searing flour or Wondra)
  • LEMON BUTTER SAUCE:
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine or sherry
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Juice from 1 1/2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
  • BROCCOLINI:
  • 1 bunch broccolini, trimmed
  • Lemon Butter sauce (see above)
  • lemon, S&P for garnish

Instructions

  1. CHICKEN FRENCH:
  2. Heat oil in a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, cheese, salt and pepper, cayenne and fresh parsley in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Place flour in another flat bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts, then dredge each one in flour first (left hand), then egg mixture (right hand).
  6. Place chicken into the heated saute pan and cook for 6 minutes on one side. Flip chicken over and saute for another 6 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Remove from pan and set aside, covered with a foil tent.
  8. LEMON BUTTER SAUCE:
  9. In the same skillet, saute the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn.
  10. Add the wine and bring liquid to a boil over high heat, scraping up the brown bits in the pan.
  11. Pour in the chicken broth and lemon juice and red pepper flakes (if using) and let reduce by half, another 5-7 minutes.
  12. Stir in the butter and whisk until it melts.
  13. Add chicken back into the pan with the sauce and let simmer another 5-10 minutes.
  14. Place chicken on serving plate with the steamed broccolini and spoon lemon butter sauce over the top of both.
  15. Garnish with lemon wedges and additional chopped parsley if desired.
  16. BROCCOLINI:
  17. Steam broccolini for about 5 minutes, covered. Remove lid and steam for another 5 minutes until fork tender but still bright green.
  18. Top broccolini with Lemon Butter sauce, additional lemon, salt and pepper to taste.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/03/17/rochester-style-chicken-french-lemon-broccolini/

Other recipes you may enjoy:

Veal Francese

Closet Cooking’s Chicken Piccata

Martha Stewart’s Chicken Paillards in Lemon Butter Sauce

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A lighter and healthier classic comfort food: Vegetable Lasagna

Vegetarian Lasagna
Vegetarian Lasagna

Lasagna is one of my favorite comfort foods to indulge in during the Winter time, but as soon as Spring is approaching, I like to lighten up this classic recipe by substituting lots of fresh vegetables like mushrooms, carrots, zucchini and spinach in place of the ground beef or sausage that is used in the heavier, more fat-laden traditional Lasagna recipes. It still incorporates a traditional red marinara sauce and uses lightened up cheeses to give it great flavor, but somehow I feel a little less guilty taking a big bite of this yummy dish made with fresh sautéed vegetables to satisfy my comfort food fix. Goes great paired with a green salad tossed in a light Italian dressing with a glass of light red or white wine, such as a Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio.

A lighter and healthier approach to the classic comfort dish Lasagna

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Yield: 10-12

Lasagna is one of my favorite comfort foods to indulge in during the Winter time, but as soon as Spring is approaching, I like to lighten up this classic recipe by substituting lots of fresh vegetables like mushrooms, carrots, zucchini and spinach in place of the ground beef or sausage that is used in the heavier, more fat-laden traditional Lasagna recipes. It still incorporates a traditional red marinara sauce and uses lightened up cheeses to give it great flavor, but somehow I feel a little less guilty taking a big bite of this yummy dish made with fresh sautéed vegetables to satisfy my comfort food fix. Goes great paired with a green salad tossed in a light Italian dressing with a glass of light red or white wine, such as a Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio.

Ingredients

  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped fine
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped fine
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped fine
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped fine
  • 3 cups marinara sauce (homemade or prepared)
  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup low-fat Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup low-fat or 2% Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves or parsley, torn for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil salted water in a large pot. Add lasagna noodles and cook according to package directions, drain, separate and set aside.
  3. Heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil on low heat in a large skillet. Cook onion and garlic for three or four minutes and place into a separate bowl. Add another tablespoon of oil to skillet and cook mushrooms, zucchini, spinach and carrots about 5-10 minutes until tender and add to onion and garlic mixture. Add one cup of the marinara sauce to the vegetables and heat through.
  4. Spread one cup of the remaining marinara sauce into the bottom of a 13x9 glass greased baking dish and layer with half of the noodles, vegetables and ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with half of the Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Repeat with another layer of marinara sauce, noodles, vegetables and ricotta cheese, sprinkling with remaining cheeses, salt and pepper. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly.
  5. Let cool for 10-15 minutes, cut lasagna into squares and top with fresh basil or parsley. Serve with a green salad and glass of light red wine.

Notes

Recipe can be made ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator before baking. Can also be kept in the freezer tightly wrapped and reheated in the microwave for leftovers. For a Vegan version of the recipe: omit ricotta cheese and use Vegan soy-based cheese in place of the Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/02/12/a-lighter-and-healthier-classic-comfort-food-vegetable-lasagna/

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