Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Combining Flavors for Impact

First of all, let's just say, "CHEESE, GLORIOUS CHEESE"!! Think about it... when the cheese provides all the flavor to a dish, you know it's going to be amazing. What happens when you combine three independently strong flavors of cheese? A creamy flavor explosion, that's what!!

Three Cheese Chicken & Asparagus Bake
6 Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 cup Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Sour Cream
3 oz. Goat Cheese, soft
3 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
1/2 cup Sharp White Cheddar, finely grated

1) Season chicken thighs on each side with salt and pepper. Preheat a medium to large skillet and the olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken thighs to skillet and brown on each side until cooked through.

2) Remove chicken from the skillet and place in an oven proof casserole dish.

3) Trim ends of asparagus to remove the woody part of the stem. If you start breaking a stem from the bottom up you'll feel where the woody part stops as it will snap instead of just break. Trim all stems an equal distance up from the bottom. Once all stems are trimmed, cut diagonally in 2" pieces.

4) Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Once rolling, place asparagus in the pot and boil for 3 minutes. Set a timer to be sure you don't go over 3 minutes! When the timer goes off, strain the asparagus and place immediately in a bowl of ice water. This stops the cooking and keeps the bright green color.

5) Place the asparagus over the chicken, keeping the majority towards the center.

6) Using the chicken broth, deglaze the pan that the chicken was cooked in, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen anything that has stuck to the bottom. Simmer until reduced to approximately 3/4 cup.

7) Turn off heat and quickly whisk in sour cream. Add the goat cheese and Parmesan and stir until cheese has melted and sauce is creamy. Pour sauce over asparagus and chicken. Sprinkle grated cheddar on top.

8) Bake in 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until sauce is bubbling and cheese has melted. Check at 20 minutes as over cooking will cause sauce to separate. Although still just as delicious, it won't be as pretty!

This is a wonderfully rich and flavor packed comforting dish that will end up on the menu quite often! I'm going to experiment with different vegetables like broccoli and green beans, maybe even shredded brussel sprouts, but the cheeses will remain the same!






Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mac & Cheese Done Right

Why do tastes change? Why do we not like something for so long then all of a sudden be like "Oh my gosh, I have to have that now, like right now"? I find it strange and bewildering sometimes!! I've never like macaroni and cheese other than in college when I lived off the stuff because it was only 25 cents per box and fed me for two days! Since then, I've never been a fan so not sure why, all of a sudden when I can't have pasta I'm "craving" macaroni and cheese! Well crave no more, not only did this satisfy every bit of craving, it's a new favorite!


Cauli & Cheese 
(Serves 4-6)

1.5 lb Cauliflower (1 lrg head)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
2 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder

1) Remove core from cauliflower and cut florets into small bight sized pieces. Keep them about the size of macaroni, maybe a little bigger. Only keep a minimal amount of stem on the floret as they don't soften at the same rate as the florets.

2) Fill a large pot of water about 1/2 full of water and add salt. Bring to a boil and add cauliflower to the pot. Boil evenly for 5 minutes or until crisp tender. Pour into a strainer then back into the pot to keep warm.

3) In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a gentle simmer. Whisk in the cream cheese and mustard until smooth and blended. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese a small portion at a time until melted, then add another small amount. Continue adding cheese and stirring until all cheese is melted and sauce is smooth and creamy.

4) Pour sauce over cauliflower and gently stir to coat cauliflower evenly. Pour cauliflower into 10x10 casserole dish and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese over the top.

5) Bake in 375F oven for 15 minutes until top cheese is nice and golden and casserole is bubbling. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Calories: 403
Fat: 34g
Carb: 10g  Net Carb: 7g
Protein: 18g


I can't wait to experiment with this and see what delights I can come up with! Some lobster will definitely be added for a full entree, and of course some Spam needs to get in there, and oh, perhaps a pork rind sprinkling on top for some texture! I'll come back with some updates soon!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Real Deal

So when you go shopping, you find a pair of tennis shoes, you try them on and they're the best shoes you've ever tried on in your life. You buy them and after a couple days you just say to yourself, man, I wish I would have found these shoes a long time ago, my feet have never been more comfortable in their life! Well, that just happened with dinner tonight!! Why have I ever in my life, made lasagna with pasta? One will never know!!



Cheese Noodle Lasagna 
(Serves 4)

Noodles:
2 large Eggs
4 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Basil
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Onion Powder


Filling
1 lb Ground Beef, 85% lean
1 1/2 cups Rao Marinara Sauce
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Basil
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded

Noodles:
1) Preheat the oven to 375F and line a 9"x13" (or larger) baking dish with parchment paper. Using a mixer, blend together the eggs and cream cheese until nice and smooth. Add the Parmesan and spices and blend until combined. Add the mozzarella to the mixture and fold it in with a wooden spoon or spatula, don't use the mixer.
2) Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before cutting in half.

Filling & Assembly:

1) In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Add spices and marinara sauce and stir to combine. Simmer for 10 minutes.
2) Put 1/3 of the beef mixture in the bottom of an 8"x8" baking dish. Top with 1/2 of the noodle sheet. Layer another third of the sauce on the noodle. Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella and the Parmesan over sauce. Top with second 1/2 of the noodle. Use the remaining meat sauce to cover the noodle and sprinkle remaining mozzarella on the meat sauce. Sprinkle with parsley for added color if desired.
3) Bake at 350F for 20 minutes until bubbly and hot.  Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Calories: 540
Fat: 38g
Carb: 5  Net Carb: 4
Protein: 39

This lasagna is seriously the best lasagna you will ever eat! The texture is amazing, the flavors are spot on and the cheese noodles stand up to the test! Italian eating is no longer off the menu, in fact, it'll definitely be on there more often!
















Sunday, January 21, 2018

Let's Call This Dreamy Shrimp

There are things in this world that belong together and should never be separated, especially in the kitchen! Cream, garlic and butter should come on the shelf at the grocery store right next to each other, in a little package, all nestled next to each other, ready for your next creation! It would make your grocery list shorter because you would just put "Dreamy Kit" at the top!


Creamy Garlic Butter Tuscan Shrimp
(Serves 8)

2 lbs Shrimp, raw, large
4 tbsp Butter
3 cloves Garlic
1/4 cup Sundried Tomatoes
1/4 cup Dry White Wine
1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
4 oz Cream Cheese
4 cups Baby Spinach Leaves
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Onion Powder
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Note: Leave the tail on or remove depending on how you want the dish presented.

1) Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp and garlic and saute quickly until all shrimp are no longer translucent, about 5 minutes. They should be a nice bright pink and white! Remove from skillet and set aside.

2) Add sundried tomatoes, white wine, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper to taste, simmer for about 1 minute. Add cream cheese and stir until fully melted and incorporated.  Add heavy cream and simmer until slightly thickened for about 3-5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

3) Add spinach to skillet, placing it on top of the sauce. Not necessary to stir, just place the lid of the skillet on for a minute and the spinach will steam enough to wilt slightly. Remove lid and stir spinach into the sauce.  Add the shrimp back to the skillet and heat through for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to over cook the shrimp. Remove from heat.

4) Serve over steamed rice for children and guests, all by itself for you so you get more of the creamy goodness!! I eat mine with a spoon!

Calories: 227
Fat: 16g
Carb: 2g
Protein: 30g
Carb: 2g  Net Carb: 2g

Sometimes it's fun to be in the kitchen all day, melding flavors, prepping ingredients, skillfully slicing and dicing and basically hiding from the chaos of the world! Other times, like when you have a new grandbaby wanting your snuggles, it's nice to quickly, masterfully prepare something everybody thinks you slaved over! This is a quick, 20 minute masterful dish!  

Enjoy! 


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Creamy Garlic Goodness

The title alone is enough to have me all warm and comfy inside! Comfort food is different for everybody and when you find a new way of eating finding new comfort food is oh so important! I have now found mine and couldn't be more satisfied!


Creamy Garlic Chicken & CauliMash
Serves 4

4 Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless
8 oz Mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
6 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
3 cups Cauliflower, chopped

1) Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add chopped cauliflower to the boiling water and cook until soft. You can't overcook like potatoes so don't worry about them too much!

2) While cauliflower is cooking, heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place in the skillet. Cook thighs until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Slice mushrooms and mince garlic while chicken is cooking! Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

2) Lower heat to medium and add garlic to same skillet. Stir for about 1 minute until fragrant.  Add the mushrooms to the skillet and saute until they have wilted nicely, about 5 minutes.

3) Add the chicken broth to the skillet and scrape up all the little bits and pieces that didn't come up from the mushroom moisture. Add 2 oz. of the cream cheese and stir until it's all melted. Add the heavy cream and stir until all mixed and creamy.  Turn the heat to low and let simmer gently until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

4) While sauce is simmering, strain cauliflower, shaking out as much water as possible.  Place in a food processor with 4 oz of cream cheese and process until creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5) Add Parmesan cheese to skillet and stir until completely melted. Add chicken thighs back to the skillet and spoon some gravy over them. Let simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes.  Serve chicken and gravy over CauliMash, sprinkle with parsley and enjoy!

Calories: 318
Fat: 26g
Carbs: 9g  Net: 6g
Protein: 12g

This will be my Go To Comfort Food meal, my Quick Company is Coming meal, my Family Dinner Night meal and my Oh My Gosh Look At The Time meal! It's also pretty versatile with pork chops, chicken breasts and cube steaks (beef broth instead of chicken broth) so experiment and find your comfort pleasure!






Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Old Favorites

I've finally gotten to a solid vintage house for Christmas and I know it's because of the feeling I get from old favorites. The comfort of old favorites is always the best feeling, whether it's music, friends, memories or food!

This old favorite is no different whether I'm dining out or dining in!

Keto Cashew Chicken (Serves 4)

4 Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless
1 tbsp Baking Soda
1 tbsp Corn Starch
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Cashews, raw
1 tbsp butter
1 medium Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 cup Celery, sliced 
2 tbsp White Onion, diced
1 tbsp Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Chili Garlic Sauce
1 tsp Sesame Oil
Sesame Seeds
Green Onions


1) Dice chicken thighs into bite sized pieces and place in a medium bowl. 
    Sprinkle with baking soda and corn starch then mix until evenly coated. 
    Add soy sauce and mix again until all chicken pieces are coated.  
    Set aside while preparing cashews and vegetables.

2) Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat.
    Add cashews and cook until fragrant and turning brown, flipping or stirring frequently.
    Set aside.

3) Rough chop green bell pepper in similar but not identical bit sized pieces. 
    Rough slice celery in similar but not identical slices. 
    Dice onion in small pieces. 
    Mince garlic.

4) Add coconut oil to skillet and heat on medium to medium high heat. 
    While skillet is heating, rinse chicken thighs under cold water in a colander.
    Rinse until all traces of marinade have been removed. 
    Shake well to drain as much water as possible.

5) Place chicken thighs in hot skillet and cook until all pieces are done (3-5 min).

6) Add prepared vegetables and cook until desired doneness (around 2 min).

7) Add ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce and sesame oil and stir until combined.
    When liquid liquid starts to evaporate (1 min or so) add cashews and stir to combine.

8) Plate servings in a fancy plate or bowl or paper plate or cup!
    Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds if desired and enjoy!

Per Serving:
Calories: 454  
Fat: 35g  
Carbs: 8g
Fiber: 2g   
Sugar: 2g   
Protein: 23g 


This is a fast and easy dinner, especially if you pre-chop and dice all the veggies. You can come home from the daily grind and have dinner on the table in about 20 minutes!

And just as an FYI, I have found that eating this dish with chopsticks is necessary or as usual, I'll make myself sick on it!! 



Tuesday, December 26, 2017

New Year - New Lifestyle

It's almost a new year and for once I'm going into it already well on my way to good health! The week of Thanksgiving, hubby and I decided to take the leap and begin a Ketogenic lifestyle and we've been going strong ever since! Both of us now have more energy, less medical problems and are losing weight on a nice and steady pace.

Now it's time to return to the blog and try to keep track of some of the amazing dishes we are enjoying! 

So far, our favorite dinner has been White Chicken Chili! The flavor is amazing and since it's packed with chicken and cheese the lack of beans isn't even noticed. 

White Chicken Chili
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, ground
2 cups chicken broth
4 tbsp butter, salted
4.5 oz can green chiles, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup Pepper Jack cheese, shredded

1) In a Dutch oven (or large pot), season the chicken with cumin, oregano, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste.  Sear both sides of the chicken over medium heat until golden on each side.

2) Add the chicken broth to the pot, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. Adjust the cooking time depending on the thickness of the chicken to ensure it is fully cooked.

3) While the chicken is cooking, melt the butter in a medium skillet. Add the chiles, diced jalapeno and onion to the skillet and saute until the veggies softened a bit. Add the minced garlic and saute an additional 30 seconds and set aside.

4) Once the chicken is fully cooked, shred with a fork and return back to the pot. Add the sauteed veggies to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.

5) In a medium bowl, soften the cream cheese in the microwave until you can stir it easily. Add the heavy whipping cream to the cream cheese and stir to combine.

6) Quickly whisk the heavy cream mixture into the pot with the chicken and veggies. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese to the pot and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

7) Top each serving with the remaining cheese and an avocado slice if you have some on hand!

It's a quick and easy dinner that will fill you up and keep you that way for quite some time! Although only hubby and I are enjoying the Ketogenic lifestyle, this is a crowd pleaser in our family!