Chicken Fajita Pasta

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I have to say, that this is hands down, one of the best meals I have ever made!  Tender chicken, crispy peppers and onions, pasta and a delicate sauce all come together to create this warm and inviting, fast and easy one pan dish!

Let’s get started with how to make it!

Start by cutting three chicken breast into bite sized chunks and seasoning with 1 1/2 tablespoons of taco or fajita seasoning mix.  Now, I used my own homemade taco seasoning.  You can totally tell difference between homemade and store bought.  Homemade is 1000x’s better and I can control what goes in it.  I make big batches of it and store it in a air tight container.  Here is the the recipe I use: Homemade Taco Seasoning.

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In a large skillet with a cover, heat olive oil on high heat.  When the oil is very hot, add the chicken in a single layer and cook (without stirring) until one side is seared and browned. Then flip the chicken over and brown the other side . Remove the chicken to a plate.

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Add a tad more oil to the skillet and let it heat on high again.  When it has heated through, add the peppers and onions and another 1 1/2 tablespoons of taco/fajita seasoning and cook, stirring every so often until the veggies start to blacken.

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Turn the heat to low and add the minced garlic and cook for a few seconds until fragrant.  Add the veggies to the plate with the chicken.

Turn the heat back up to medium high and add the broth, cream, diced tomatoes, and uncooked pasta to the skillet stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes until the pasta is tender and the liquid is mostly absorbed.

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Add the chicken and veggies back in, stir to combine  and until heated through, about 3 minutes.

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Serve with a nice salad and you have yourself a quick and delicious meal bursting with multiple flavors!

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Enjoy!

Yield: 4 Servings

Chicken Fajita Pasta

10 minPrep Time:

15 minCook Time:

25 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons taco or fajita seasoning (I used Homemade Taco Seasoning)
  • 2 cups diced onion (about 1 whole onion)
  • 2 cups diced bell peppers (2-3 bell peppers)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 (15.5oz) can Diced Tomatoes (with or without Chili's)
  • 8 oz (about 3 cups) penne pasta
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and season with 1. 5 tablespoons taco seasoning.
  2. In a 12-inch skillet with a cover, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat.
  3. When the oil is hot, carefully add the chicken in a single layer and cook without stirring until one side is seared and browned, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Flip the chicken to the other side and cook until browned.
  5. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  6. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet with the heat still on high.
  7. When the oil is very hot again, add the onions, bell peppers, and remaining taco seasoning.
  8. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are slightly blackened.
  9. Turn heat to low, add minced garlic, and stir until well combined.
  10. Remove the veggies to the plate with the chicken.
  11. In the same skillet with heat turned to medium high, add the broth, milk, diced tomatoes, uncooked pasta, and salt.
  12. Stir to combine and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 15 minutes until pasta is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed.
  13. Add the chicken and veggies back into the skillet and stir to combine until heated through.

Notes

21 Day Fix = 2 Y, 1 R, 1 G, 1 TSP

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/09/chicken-fajita-pasta/

 

“Skinny” Fettuccine Alfredo

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If you head to the Olive Garden and order a bowl of Fettuccine Alfredo, how many calories do you think you would be consuming?  A whopping 1100 calories for one bowl of pasta.  Add the salad and breadsticks, because you know you ate those too, you are looking at an approximate total of 1400 calories for one meal.  Give or take 140 calories for how many breadsticks you consumed.  One meal!!!!

Now what if I told you, I found a way to lighten up that calorie overload while also keeping all the flavor?  Well, I have!!

Introducing…Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo! 140 calories for the sauce and added to one serving of whole grain pasta, 340 calories for one serving!

You’re welcome.

The husband is a huge alfredo lover.  Anytime we go somewhere and it’s on the menu, that’s what he orders.  Especially seafood alfredo.  Me? I could take it or leave it. I don’t dislike it, but it’s not the first thing I am going to order off the menu.  Unless, someone says you absolutely have to try this.

Gone is the not-so-good for you heavy cream, butter and cream cheese base.  Instead it is made with olive oil, garlic, flour, chicken broth (or Vegetable if you looking to go vegetarian), low fat milk and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  I actually used unsweetened cashew milk to make mine.  Yep, you read that right!  You don’t taste it at all!  Only 35 calories for the one cup that you will use.

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Even better?  It all comes together in less then 30 minutes!  Paired with a nice salad, this meal can satisfy the pickiest of alfredo eaters without sacrificing their waist line!  I served ours with some fresh steamed broccoli!

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Yield: 4 Servings

Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo

10 minPrep Time:

12 minCook Time:

22 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 12 ounces fettuccine
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth to make vegetarian)
  • 1 cup any low-fat milk (I used unsweetened cashew milk)
  • 3/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Instructions

  1. In salted water, cook pasta al dente according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add garlic and saute one minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
  4. Sprinkle with flour, and stir.
  5. Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Slowly add the broth, whisking to combine until smooth.
  7. Whisk in the milk, and bring the mixture to a low simmer.
  8. Let cook for an additional minute until thickened, then stir in Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg until the cheese melted.
  9. Reduce heat to medium-low until pasta reaches al dente.
  10. Drain pasta, then immediately add to the saute pan with sauce.
  11. Toss to combine.

Notes

21 Day Fix= 2 Y, 1 B, 1 TSP

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/09/skinny-fettuccine-alfredo/

 

 

Peanut Butter Blender Mini Muffins (Gluten Free)

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These little mini muffins are my kids favorite!  They pop them for snack, breakfast or when we are going to be in the car for awhile.  And the best parts? They are healthy, quick and easy to make!  Everything goes straight in the blender and you blend!  Done in 30 seconds with the flip of a switch!

Woohoo!

You just combine eggs, bananas, peanut butter, honey, vanilla, and baking soda in a blender and blend.  When that’s done, stir in some mini chocolate chips.  I went with dark but semi-sweet or milk is fine too.

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These muffins are gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, dairy-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, and they come in at under 100 calories each based on  my calorie calculator.  Even less if you don’t add the chocolate chips but that’s not going to happen in my world.

Because there’s no flour to fluff them up and provide the normal amount of cakiness found in a muffin, I was a bit worried that they may turn out like a thick fudge, but I was wrong. The egg, baking soda (remember the post about what baking soda does?) and banana did the trick to give them the cakiness and bounciness you want in a muffin.

I used oragnic, regular peanut butter for this recipe.  I am not sure how natural peanut butter would make these turn out since it tends to be more runny and oily then regular peanut butter.  It can also separate in baked goods. But if someone tries it, please let me know!

I baked the muffins in my mini muffin pans and they only took 9 minutes to bake. I filled the cavities to a solid 3/4 full. Don’t be surprised if they’re nicely domed in the oven, but fall a bit as they cool.  Kind of like the picture below.

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I haven’t tested the recipe as full size muffins yet but I am sure it can be done. You’ll probably get about 7 or 8 muffins and I’d start watching the clock at about 14 minutes and go from there.

***Warning***

You may want to just double the recipe.  They go very quickly!  The muffins freeze beautifully and you can keep them in the freezer to toss into lunches or for an easy snack when your peanut butter and chocolate cravings hit!

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Peanut Butter Blender Mini Muffins (Gluten Free)

The fastest and easiest homemade muffins ever made!

5 minPrep Time:

10 minCook Time:

15 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter (I recommend using classic store bought peanut butter)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 medium sized very ripe bananas
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup optional toppings of choice: dark mini chocolate chips, coconut, raisins, craisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare mini muffin pans by spraying very well with cooking spray or grease and flour the pans; set aside.
  2. In the canister of a blender, add first 6 ingredients and blend on high speed until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add chocolate chips and stir in by hand.
  4. Using a tablespoon, form 1 rounded tablespoon into prepared pans. Each should be filled to a solid 3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until the tops are set, domed and springy to the touch.
  6. Allow muffins to cool in pans for about 10 minutes or until they've firmed up and are cool enough to handle.

Notes

Muffins are best fresh, but will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

21 Day Fix: 2 Muffins= 1 Y, 1 tsp

Calories: Approx 99 with chocolate chips Approx 65 without

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/09/peanut-butter-blender-mini-muffins-gluten-free/

 

Homemade Cream of ….. Condensed Soup

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Sorry I haven’t updated in a few days!  I have been battling fall allergies and migraines and staring at a computer screen when you have a headache is painful.   Darn weeds!  I will be glad when it all goes away with the cooler weather.  Luckily, that cooler weather means my favorite season; Fall!  The colors, temps and smells are the best!  And of course with cooler weather comes the casseroles and with those casseroles comes the powerful “cream of” soups.  So…

On to today’s recipe!

Cream of (whatever) condensed soup!  It sounds like a time consuming process but it is actually really easy to do and so much better for you than that cream of crap you get from a can.  They have tons of preservatives,  ingredients you can’t pronounce,  processed everything.  Even an unbelievable amount of sodium.  I am trying to go by the rule, if i can’t can’t pronounce it, we’re not eating it.

Now a lot of you are going to say, “but it’s so much easier to open a can of soup and throw it in the casserole!”  Yes, that is easy but think about what you are actually putting in your food!  This only takes ten minutes to make, you control the ingredients and it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.  Make it over the weekend or a night you have a few minutes, let it cool, pour it on a jar and throw it in the frig!  It’s easy and tastes so much better than the canned stuff!

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This recipe is the base for whichever “cream of” soup you need.  It is very easy to adapt.  Add small chunks of chicken for cream of chicken, celery seeds and small pieces of celery for cream of celery and chopped mushrooms for cream of mushroom.  Also, for the cream of celery or mushroom, I sometimes use a vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.  You don’t have to though.  All you need for this is FOUR ingredients!  Yes, you read that correct.  All that you really need to make condensed homemade cream of soup are four main ingredients: stock, milk (you can use any kind), thickener (flour), and a few seasonings.

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To make the soup, whisk together your milk and flour until the flour is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Then bring your stock to a boil in a saucepan.  Slowly add in the milk mixture, whisking to combine.  Then whisk in your seasonings and let the mixture come to a low boil for a couple minutes or until it has thickened.  Then you stir in chicken, mushrooms or celery pieces if you’d like.

See!  How easy is that!?! You can even change up the spices to whichever ones you prefer!  The soup thickens more as it cools.  You can either use it right then or store it in the frig, after its cooled, in an air tight jar for up to 10 days.

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I used my soup right then for my slow cooker chicken and dumplings.  Enjoy!

Yield: 2.5 cups or approx 2 (10oz) cans of soup

Homemade Cream of ….. Condensed Soup

5 minPrep Time:

10 minCook Time:

15 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or vegetable if you are making celery or mushroom soup
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp. celery seed (optional if making cream of celery)
  • 1/8 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup finely diced cooked chicken, mushrooms or celery

Instructions

  1. Add chicken stock to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and flour until the flour is dissolved.
  3. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the boiling chicken stock, whisk to combine.
  4. Whisk in remaining seasonings.
  5. Reduce heat to medium low and bring the mixture back to a low boil, stirring constantly so that the bottom of the pan does not burn.
  6. Let the mixture boil for about 2 minutes or until thickened.
  7. Then stir in the chicken, celery or mushrooms (if using), and remove pan from the heat.

Notes

Either use the condensed soup in a recipe immediately, or transfer it to airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

***This recipe is NOT meant to be consumed as-is. It is a concentrated soup, which means that it either needs to be diluted to be eaten as a soup, or mixed into a recipe that calls for condensed soup.***

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/09/homemade-cream-of-condensed-soup/

 

Baked Tilapia

 

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I’m not going to lie.  Fish is not one of my favorites.  Well let me rephrase that, fish that tastes “fishy” is not a favorite.  I am trying my hardest to incorporate it more into our diet.  As a kid, I spent my summers’ in Tennessee with my grandparents.  My grandfather did a lot of cat-fishing so whenever he made fish, that’s what it would be.  In my opinion, it’s a very fishy tasting fish so I would dread fish nights.  Well, mostly.  He also made fried cornbread or hush puppies to go with it and his were the best!

At home my fish exposure was tuna.  Again, very fishy and usually served with mayo (yeah, I just gagged a little writing that).  So, needless to say, my fish experiences weren’t broad. That is until I went to England for the first time.  Pub style fish and chips (drooling).  Best thing ever, if you over look the mayo they try to serve you to dip your “chips” in!  I was fortunate to find a pub style fish batter in Wegman’s UK section that we love.  This however, is a consume on a very rare occasion kind of thing.

Over the years I have been introduced to many other types of fish but my favorites are tilapia and halibut.  Not an overwhelming fish taste and you can do pretty much anything with them.  I’ve already shown you how I bake the fish for fish nachos but this is how I bake it for fish tacos and when we eat it without making it into some form of a Mexican dish.  We prefer it breaded but breaded doesn’t have to mean fried or unhealthy!

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With the help of my handy dandy divided bowl I whisk one side with some egg beaters and some water.  In the other side, I combine a mixture of toasted breadcrumbs, garlic powder, paprika, some parsley, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and pepper.  You dip the fish into the egg wash and let the excess drip off.  Then add the fish to the breadcrumbs and push the breading into the fish a bit.

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Place the fish on a baking sheet covered with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 425* for about 15 minutes! So easy!  We used our fish to make tacos that night!

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Serving Size: 1 Fillet

Baked Tilapia

10 minPrep Time:

15 minCook Time:

25 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4-5 tilapia fillets
  • Egg Wash
  • 1/4 cup egg beaters or 1 egg
  • 1/4 water

Instructions

  1. Spread bread crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and place into the oven.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F, toasting bread crumbs while the oven preheats, about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Remove the baking sheet when bread crumbs are lightly golden, stirring once (watch carefully so crumbs don't burn).
  4. Whisk egg wash ingredients in a flat bowl or deep plate.
  5. Combine toasted breadcrumbs, lemon zest, garlic, paprika, parsley and salt and pepper in another flat bowl or deep plate.
  6. Pat fillets dry with paper towels.
  7. Dip fillets one at a time into the egg wash. Let excess drip free.
  8. Coat both sides of fillets by pressing into crumb mixture in the bowl and then place them onto a foil and greased baking sheet.
  9. Press remaining crumbs on top of fillets.
  10. Bake until fish is opaque and flakes easily, about 15 minutes.

Notes

Per Serving: approx. 220 calories

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/09/baked-tilapia/

 

Steak & Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad

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Now, before you all go “ewww” on me, I ask that you give it a chance.  I am not a huge fan of brussel sprouts BUT I really like this salad. Mostly because it doesn’t taste like brussel sprouts.  Ironic.  The husband is a huge fan though and I made it for him.  Hence the reason I am eating a steak too.  As I have previously stated, I rarely eat beef BUT it’s been very hot here in upstate NY and steaks were on sale and I wasn’t about to stand over a hot stove/oven and cook.  It’s September.  It’s not supposed to be 90* in NY.  We are supposed to be drinking pumpkin spice lattes, picking apples and watching leaves change colors.  Not sweating…

Not complaining though.  That’s what the AC is for!  Winter will be here soon enough.

Okay back to the salad.  It’s actually a very easy salad to assemble.  The sprouts are raw.  Yes, I said RAW.  No cooking required.  The only danger is the shaving of them.  You can buy them already chopped but the salad really doesn’t taste the same.  You can use a mandolin to slice this thin or if you have an slicer attachment to a stand mixer,  you can it it that way.  I started with the mandolin but the husband walked in as I was slicing them super fast and had a mini heart attack.  He gently reminded me of my thumb that is missing part of its side (sadly, that’s not from just one experience) and went and got the attachment down and started to slice them for me that way.  Alright by me!

Once the brussels are thinly shaved/sliced,  I added chopped almonds, dried cranberries, turkey bacon and mixed it all up.  I then drizzled the salad with a dressing of orange and lemon juice, their zest, apple cider, minced onion and olive oil.  I tossed that around and added coarsely grated parmesan to it and topped with the perfectly grilled and sliced steak!  So easy and very tasty!

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That being said, I do have to warn that the salad isn’t very good as a left over.  The sprouts get soggy and flat tasting.  Sorry, this is a dish best enjoyed right when it is made.  It is easy doubled and is very popular are gatherings.  Must people don’t even realize they are eating brussel sprouts!

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To grill the steak, about 20 minutes before grilling, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let sit, covered, at room temperature. Heat your grill to high. Season both sides with with salt and pepper and place the steaks on the grill and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes on each side.  Remove from the grill and cover the steaks with foil and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Yield: 4-5 Servings

Steak & Shaved Brussel Sprouts Salad

10 minPrep Time:

10 minCook Time:

20 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • For the dressing:
  • juice of one lemon and 1 teaspoon zest
  • juice of one orange and one teaspoon zest
  • 1- 2 tablespoons apple cider (not vinegar)
  • 1/4 onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the salad:
  • 2 dozen brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
  • 3 slices cooked turkey bacon, crumbled or chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Steak, Grilled

Instructions

  1. Combine the lemon juice, orange juice, zests, apple cider, and onions in a bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil in a stream and whisk for a minute or two, until it becomes creamy-looking.
  3. Slice the brussels sprouts as thinly as possible with a mandolin or stand mixer attachment,(watch your fingers).The thinner the shreds, the better the salad!
  4. Toss the shreds so they separate and fluff a little bit.
  5. Toss the brussels sprouts, almonds, bacon, cheese, cranberries and dressing together.
  6. Top with sliced steak.
  7. Serve immediately or within a few hours of tossing.
  8. To Grill the Steak:
  9. 20 minutes before grilling, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let sit, covered, at room temperature.
  10. Heat your grill to high.
  11. Season steaks with salt and pepper.
  12. Place the steaks on the grill and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes.
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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/09/steak-shaved-brussel-sprout-salad/

Baked Caprese Chicken

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Savory, cheesy, sweet, tangy, refreshing…just a few of the words you could use to describe this mouth watering dish.  What could be better than cripsy but tender chicken baked to perfection, topped with fresh mozzarella, garden ripe tomatoes and fresh basil.  Add the sweet and tangy balsamic reduction and you have a wonderful, easy chicken dish that everyone will love!

I think the trick to this dish is the cast iron skillet.  it crisps the chicken breast nicely.  Quick side note, that cast iron skillet that you see in the picture below, was my great grandmothers!  It’s been passed down to me!  I use it all the time and love how I am using something that she used to help cook meals for my grandfather and his 11 brothers and sisters.  Needless to say, it’s well seasoned!

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I start by creating a “rub” consisting of olive oil and Mrs. Dash’s garlic and herb table blends.  I massage the oil and seasoning into each chicken piece (I almost said breast again but stopped myself because I know how some of you are laughing right now).  Sounds gross but it works the seasoning into each piece.  I am using bone-in chicken breast because it was on sale.  You totally don’t have to.

To the hot cast iron skillet,  add some coconut oil and sear (cook at a high temp till caramelized) the chicken on each side for a couple of minutes.  Drain any fat, then put it in the oven for about 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place a slice of fresh mozzarella over the top.  Broil on high till the cheese has melted.  Add fresh tomatoes and basil and drizzle with the balsamic reduction!

Voila!

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Serving Size: 1 Chicken Breast

Baked Caprese Chicken

Tender, crispy chicken baked with fresh mozzarella and topped with garden ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and balsamic reduction!

10 minPrep Time:

30 minCook Time:

40 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Mrs Dash Garlic Herb blend (or similar spices)
  • 5 Chicken Breasts, bone-in or boneless
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 5 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 5 slices
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade
  • FOR THE BALSAMIC REDUCTION
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. To a small saucepan over medium heat, add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.
  3. Bring to a slight boil and reduce by half, about 6-8 minutes; set aside and cool.
  4. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and seasoning.
  5. Using your fingers or a brush, work the mixture onto both sides of the chicken.
  6. Melt coconut oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat.
  7. Add chicken and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side; drain excess fat.
  8. Place into oven and roast until the chicken is completely cooked through (175 degrees F) about 25-30 minutes.
  9. Top each chicken with mozzarella and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
  10. Top with tomatoes, drizzle with balsamic reduction and garnished with basil.
  11. Serve immediately.
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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/09/baked-caprese-chicken/

 

Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats

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Zucchini Boats seem to be all to rage this summer.  I am seeing them everywhere!  Buffalo chicken zucchini boats, Philly cheesesteak zucchini boats, spaghetti squash boats and of course, my chicken parmesan zucchini boats.  It’s basically a way to take an unhealthy version of a favorite and make them healthier!

In this version of chicken parm, gone is the unhealthy breaded fried chicken over a huge serving of pasta.  You replace the fried version for organic sautéed ground chicken served in a hollowed out zucchini.  It gets the chicken parmesan “essence” from mixing homemade pasta sauce into the chicken.  And, of course, the whole thing gets covered in low fat mozzarella and parmesan cheese and baked!  If you wanted to still have some whole grain pasta with it, you could slice the boat after it’s cooked and serve it over the top.  OR, which I think I will do next time, is add some cooked whole grain orzo right into the sauce so the pasta is completely mixed in! The options are endless!

To make this recipe, start by cutting the zucchini in half.  Use a spoon or melon baller to scrape the seeds and the middle out of the zucchini, creating zucchini “boats.”

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Next, brown some ground chicken in a large skillet.  Stir in some garlic and homemade pasta sauce.  Then, spoon the mixture into the zucchini boats. Cover the zucchini with the shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan cheese.  Cover, and bake until the cheese is melted and the zucchini is soft.

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So easy and delicious!

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Serving Size: 1 half of a Zucchini

Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats

10 minPrep Time:

35 minCook Time:

45 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Optional: fresh parsley for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Heat large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add the chicken and saute.
  4. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic to the chicken. Cook 1 minute stirring often.
  6. Add the pasta sauce. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. As the chicken cooks, cut the zucchini in half, lengthwise. Use a spoon or melon baller to scoop the seeds and center out of each zucchini half, leaving a ¼ inch thick zucchini boat.
  8. Place the zucchini in the baking dish cut-side up.
  9. Spoon the chicken mixture into the boats. Press the mixture down into the zucchini using the back of the spoon.
  10. Sprinkle the zucchini evenly with the parmesan, then the mozzarella cheese.
  11. Cover the baking dish with foil. Bake for 35 minutes.
  12. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.
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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Scones

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Anyone that knows me well, knows I am a sucker for scones.  I LOVE SCONES!!  They are perfect with a nice cup of coffee or hot tea.  Guess I should have been born in the UK instead of Germany.  Luckily there are only a couple of places around here where a person can get scones and clotted cream and I avoid those areas at all costs.

Scones are not as hard to make as many people believe them to be.  Although it took me about four tries to get this recipe right (healthier eating ingredient wise), they really are pretty easy to make PLUS they incorporate zucchini!  Getting those veggies in at breakfast! Yeah!

There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re making these scones. First up: the zucchini. You’re going to want to grate the zucchini then drain the heck out of it just like we do in most of the baking items that contain zucchini. This is because zucchini is full of moisture.  Scones tend to be more on the drier side (think biscuits) so moisture and scones aren’t going to go well together.  You’ll want to squeeze as much of that moisture out before adding it to the scone batter. You can do this by adding the zucchini to a fine-mesh strainer and letting it sit for about 15 minutes, then pressing as much moisture out as you can OR you can wrap the shredded zucchini in a clean hand towel and squeeze it all out. Either way will work just fine.

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The second thing you need to note is the butter.  This recipe does have a tiny bit of butter in it but the butter needs to be very cold butter and quickly incorporate it into the dry ingredients using a fork, a pastry cutter.  You can also use your fingers but please note if you use your fingers you’ll need to work as fast as possible. Your fingers contain heat that will begin to warm the butter.  If it looks like it’s getting soft, stop working it and pop the bowl into the freezer for a few minutes. The main thing to remember here is you want that butter to stay cold. It’s important for flakiness.  I actually freeze my butter and use a grater to shred the butter and get smaller pieces so it’s easier to incorporate.

scone

Once all of the ingredients have been added to the mix you’re going to dump the  mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead it together. This is going to take a few minutes but the dough will come together.

Cut the scones into 8 even triangles, arrange them on a a silpat mat or parchment paper on the baking sheet, brush them with an egg wash and pop them in the oven!

Healthy, delicious scones to enjoy with your morning coffee!

Serving Size: 1 Scone

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Scones

These Chocolate Chip Zucchini Scones are healthy and full of flavor!

15 minPrep Time:

20 minCook Time:

35 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, very cold and cubed or shredded
  • ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons non fat milk (almond milk works fine as well)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup shredded zucchini, patted dry
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • For the egg wash:
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F
  2. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  4. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or the back of a fork until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  5. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
  6. Stir in the Greek yogurt, maple syrup, milk, and vanilla extract.
  7. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
  8. Pour the shaggy dough out onto a clean, floured work surface and shape the dough (you will have to work/knead it quite a bit to get it together) into an 8-inch circle.
  9. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and carefully transfer them to the prepared sheet.
  10. Lightly brush each scone with the egg wash.
  11. Bake at 425°F for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden.
  12. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Notes

Scones are always best eaten the day of, but will keep, in an airtight container for 3 days.

The zucchini must be removed of excess moisture.

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/09/chocolate-chip-zucchini-scones/

 

Homemade Chicken Stock

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Many of you are probably saying or thinking, chicken stock?  She’s really posting a recipe for something that can easily be bought at the grocery store.  Why yes, yes I am.  Let me explain to you why I am and why I make my own.   The terms “stock” and “broth” are pretty interchangeable but typically, stock refers to the homemade version, while broth refers to purchased varieties.

First of all, it’s incredibly easy.  Really, any one can do it.  Second, nothing compares taste wise, to homemade stock.  There really is a huge difference. Things made with it just taste better. Third, the sodium.  I like to control the amount of salt that my family eats.  Even low sodium stock has quite a bit of salt in it.  For those who don’t know, salt works on your kidneys to make your body hold on to more water.  This extra stored water raises your blood pressure and puts strain on your kidneys, arteries, heart and brain.  That’s bad.  See a science lesson and recipe all in one!

The fourth reason is the cost.  Since we are eating healthier and buying more organic things, I like to make those grocery dollars stretch as far as possible.  I either buy a raw organic chicken or I get an organic rotisserie chicken already cooked.  I roast it (if it hasn’t been already) and serve it for dinner.  After dinner, I remove the rest of the chicken meat from the bones to use for future meals, then take the chicken bones and make homemade broth. You are literally using up every bit of that bird which is great because when you are paying per pound for whole cuts of meat, the bones are always included but often overlooked.

Some people like starting with raw chicken pieces to create the broth.  You certainly can do it that way.  I just don’t care for the boiled chicken afterwards and to throw it out means I am wasting a whole chicken.  I would rather enjoy mine roasted before hand.

Now, I am going to include in the recipe what I add to make my stock.  Please know that you do not have to stick to these.  You can add or take away anything you want.  Just try to avoid strong tasting vegetables like broccoli.  I like to add a combination of celery, carrots, onions, garlic and parsley.  I try to keep it as simple as possible and limited to what I always have on hand.

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All you do is put the chicken carcass in the bottom of your largest pot. Add the vegetables you desire along with some peppercorns and a pinch of salt. Then add just enough water to cover the contents by one inch or so and cook on a low simmer for 3-4 hours. Strain the cooked stock through a fine-mesh strainer or colander set over a large bowl then discard the solids and let the stock cool.  When it’s cooled, skim the fat that’s risen off with a spoon and discard.  Use the broth immediately, jar it and put it in the refrigerator or put it in freezable containers and freeze for up to three months!

Yield: Approx 14 cups

Homemade Chicken Stock

5 minPrep Time:

4 hrCook Time:

4 hr, 5 Total Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1 (5-7pound) roasting chicken carcass
  • 1 large yellow onion, unpeeled and quartered
  • 2 carrots, unpeeled and halved
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
  • 6-7 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 16 cups of water (4 quarts)

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, garlic and seasonings in a large stockpot.
  2. Add 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer, uncovered on low, for 3-4 hours.
  4. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and discard the solids.
  5. Chill the stock then remove the surface fat.
  6. Use immediately or pack in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
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