Zucchini and Chicken Alfredo

GUESS WHAT I GOT!?!?!?! A veggie spiralizer! My friend had a pampered chef party the other week and I saw that they have a spiralizer! Now… I’m mildly obsessed with all things Pampered Chef. It’s a problem… but I FORCED my friend to have a party, just so she could partially benefit from my obsession and need to order this spiralizer. So, because she’s a good friend, she hosted a party and I got it! YAY!

I’ve made this dish 2 times. Once by using the largest side of my cheese grader, and once by using my spiralizer. I did like both, but my favorite version was with the spiralizer. It was just FUN! It made the zucchini the size and texture of noodles. You can make a still delicious version with your cheese grater though if you don’t want to/don’t have the spiralizer.

My husband and daughter thought this was a WINNER!!! My sweet son couldn’t try it because it’s chock full of cheese and dairy… but I’m sure if he could, he would’ve loved it! Who doesn’t love alfredo?! And if you’re gonna splurge, you may as well splurge with veggies so you don’t feel QUITE as guilty!!

My recipe is adapted from this one: Zucchini Alfredo

1474297335689.jpg

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 chicken tenderloins sauteed in a skillet with olive oil, salt and pepper for about 4-5 min. per side (from frozen) and then set aside to rest.
  • 2 large zucchini (or 3 medium to small), spiralized* OR shredded with the LARGE side of a cheese grater
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or gluten free flour alternative for a thickener)
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half OR 2% milk (at the least amount of fat. The cheese won’t bind with the milk to make the creamy sauce if you use skim or rice milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I prefer “Shredded” parmesan cheese over grated. I had run out… but the taset is WAY better, creamier and cheesier)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. As mentioned above, sautee chicken (Unless you’re using leftover rotisserie chicken) and set aside on a cutting board. Let rest BEFORE you cut up.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sautee onions until translucent. Add zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and heated through, about 3-5 minutes; set aside.
  3. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the saucepan. Add garlic, whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.
  4. Gradually whisk in cream, italian seasoning and oregano. Cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk as needed; season with salt and pepper, to taste. (I am pretty generous with the black pepper. I think it makes the alfredo pretty and delicious.)
  5. Stir in zucchini  and the now chopped chicken tenderloins, and gently toss to combine.
  6. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley and a bit more shredded parmesan cheese, if desired.

1474297167820.jpg

And SERIOUSLY enjoy! You’ll be glad you made this one!!!

1474297232112.jpg

And now, for the song of the day:

I can’t help singing to this song every time I hear it!!!

Advertisements

Mexi-Lime-Cilantro Rice with Shrimp

Sometimes I run low on ingredients. I know it seems weird if you’ve even seen my shopping lists… but I only go shopping every 2 weeks (Unless I poorly plan and run out of an essential like butter or milk). So, towards the end of the two weeks, if I have been cooking outside of my meal plan… I don’t always have all of the ingredients for my meal plan! AH! That happened last week and I had to go scrounging on pinterest for a recipe that had shrimp and rice… that wasn’t something I’d made a million times. I found this recipe: Cilantro Lime Black Bean Rice and Shrimp . I of course made my alterations and made my own recipe out of it, especially because I have a food blog… you gotta change at least 3 things to make it your own! The plus side? It took me less than 30 minutes to make! Give this one a try, and ENJOY! You can even make it less or more spicy, to your taste. Throw some jalapenos in there if you want!

wp-1474292735959.jpg

Ingredients

Shrimp
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 pound raw, frozen (wild caught) shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 fresh cracked pepper
Rice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice (depending on how many people you’re going to serve. Adjust according to amount of people you’re cooking for. This is for 4 people. Remember, if you increase amount of rice, also increase amount of water!! 2 parts water to 1 part rice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed + extra
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped + extra

Remaining Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 ripe avocado diced
  • 1/2 can fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1/4 chopped sweet onion
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • diced bell pepper (I used red)
  • 1 TB butter

 

Instructions

Rice
  1. Start this first!! Rinse the rice well either in a bowl or in a mesh colander until the water runs clear. Then put into a rice cooker, or a sauce pan and cook according to directions on package. Once rice is done and completely cooked, pour into a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix in the lime juice, salt and cilantro and set aside.
Shrimp
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    2. Line pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
    3. Drizzle shrimp with olive oil and sprinkle all of the seasonings evenly over the top.
    4. Dollop the butter over the tops of some of the shrimp.
    5. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through, circled up tightly and no longer transparent in the middle. (Depending on size of shrimp. I usually use medium to jumbo shrimp).

Rice Skillet Mixture

  1. Add the butter, black beans, onions, diced bell pepepr, and corn into the skillet. Sautee until the onions are translucent and add the salt, pepper, garlic and the 1/2 can of diced tomatoes with green chilis. Pour in the cilantro lime rice and stir to properly combine. Sprinkle in the fresh cilantro and top with the shrimp once cooked. Garnish with more cilantro and a bit of avocado!

ENJOY!!!!

wp-1474292727200.jpg

 

And now, for the song of the day:

Zucchini “Lasagna” Roll-Ups

Since going low-carb I’ve really missed some classics. I do love Italian food, especially lasagna! I’ve been wondering a good way to make it, without just using “gluten free” pasta, or corn pasta, or whatever. I found this recipe on pinterest: Zucchini Lasagna Rolls . I, of course, changed a few things and made my own version… but it was SO good and satisfying!!! Plus, you get  your veggies, meat AND dairy all in 1 meal!!! Low carb, but I would save some calories for this one… lots of DELICIOUS cheese in this one!!

wp-1473789485309.jpg

Ingredients:
Cheesy Filling
    • 8 ounces ricotta cheese (I used 2%)
    • 4 ounces low fat cottage cheese
    • 3 tablespoons shredded fresh parmesan cheese
    • 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
    • 1 tablespoon fresh basil roughly chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 1 tsp italian seasoning
    • 1/4 tsp oregano
    • Black pepper to taste
Other Ingredients:
  • 3 large zucchini cut lengthwise into 8 (1/4 inch thick) slices
  • 1 lb lean (I used grass fed) ground beef
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (I used Newman’s Own… use your favorite!)
  • 3/4 to  1 cup shredded mozzarella

 

 

Instructions

Cheesy Ricotta Filling
    1. Add all of the ingredients into a small bowl and stir until well blended.
    2. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Grilled Zucchini
    1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. (Lightly salt grill pan if you use one)
    2. While the grill is heating, slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick planks. (Try to get no thicker than this, and try to get all similar. Use a mandolin if you have one)
    3. Brush with extra virgin olive oil (I used some garlic infused olive oil!! YUM!) on both sides of the zucchini planks, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    4. Place the zucchini on the hot grill and cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until the zucchini is soft and pliable. (So that when you roll them they don’t break… but you also don’t want them mushy)
    5. Remove from the grill and cool on a plate with a paper towel (to catch excess liquid) until they can be handled.

Meat Sauce
1. Brown your 1 lb ground beef in a large skillet until cooked through.
2. Drain and remove fat from pan.
3. Add jar of (or homemade) marinara sauce and let simmer on LOW.
4. Remove from heat and set aside.

Assembling the Zucchini Lasagna Rolls
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line a 9 x 15 (Or similar) casserole dish with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray).
  3. Spread a 1/4 cup of the meat sauce evenly over the bottom of the dish.
  4. Blot any excess liquid off of the cooled planks of zucchini with paper towels.
  5. Spoon about a tablespoon of the ricotta filling onto one side of the zucchini and spread it into an even layer.
  6. Roll up the zucchini and place them seam side down in the casserole dish.
  7. Top the zucchini rolls with the remaining meat sauce , shredded mozzarella cheese, some parmesan, fresh black pepper and some chopped basil.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

wp-1473789497361.jpg

And… THIS is what it looks like!!! It will be a hit! Even the kids loved it!!! YUM!

wp-1473789480770.jpg

And now, for the song of the day: I’m sorry… it’s seriously my FAVORITE song right now!!!!!

Chicken Teriyaki with Pineapple!

After we found out about the plethora of allergies my son had, one of the very first sauces I learned to make from scratch was teriyaki. I had been craving it, but didn’t know how it was made, and didn’t trust oils and different things at restaurants to keep any cross contamination of allergens getting into the sauce or food. So… I pulled up some recipes and made teriyaki sauce! SO easy!! I couldn’t believe that I had all of the ingredients just in my house! Now, if you don’t cook often, you may not… but the ingredients last for a long time, so if you like teriyaki… run out and get these ingredients and MAKE some!! It’s so delicious!

wp-1463745697201.jpg

Ingredients
  1. 6 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins
  2. 1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
  3. 4 mini sweet bell peppers, any color, sliced thin
  4. 1/2 to 3/4 of a can of pineapple (or fresh!, whichever kind you like best)
  5. 1/2 small yellow sweet onion sliced
  6. 2 carrots diced
  7. 1 cup frozen broccoli cut into smaller pieces
  8. 1 1/2 cups cooked rice (1/2 cup uncooked… cook as per directions)
  9. salt and pepper to taste

For the Teriyaki Sauce

  1. ½ cup soy sauce
  2. 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  3. 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  4. ¼ cup light brown sugar
  5. 1 Tbsp honey
  6. 1 tsp fresh ginger (I buy it like this)
  7. 1 tsp minced garlic (I buy my garlic like this)
  8. 2 tsp cornstarch+ 1 tsp water, mixed together

 

wp-1463745701638.jpg

Directions:

Start off by making the teriyaki sauce by adding all of the sauce ingredients to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for about 1 minute. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

Cook your rice. I just put water and rice into my rice cooker and hit a button. Either way, start it now.

Prepare your skillet and heat it to medium and coat with 1 TB olive oil. Salt and pepper both sides of your chicken. Add 1/4 cup of the teriyaki sauce to the chicken in the skillet to help cook. Brown both sides of your chicken, remove and dice into bite sized pieces and then add the diced chicken back to the skillet.

While your chicken is browning, chop your zucchini and carrots and slice your onions and peppers. Put 1/4 cup more of the teriyaki sauce into the skillet with the chicken and then add the carrots and onions. Cook until the carrots start to soften, and then add the broccoli, peppers and zucchini and the rest of the teriyaki sauce.

To serve, add rice to each bowl. Top with grilled veggies, pineapple and chicken. ENJOY!

wp-1463745691959.jpg

And now, for the song of the day:

Just because I love Adele and carpool karaoke! 🙂

 

Quick and Easy Low-Carb Dinners

This isn’t going to be an original recipe from me… but this is going to give you a few quick ideas.

I’m in a spring “diet and exercise” accountability group and we are all trying to get ourselves “summer and swim-suit” ready like everyone else! One of the things I’ve found is that I need something “quick” sometimes. That can be hard when you are trying to eat CLEAN and FRESH and LOW to NO carb. So… I’ve searched and found a few great recipes that should be pretty quick to whip together.

From Rachael Ray there is some BBQ chicken wraps:

Barbecued Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Another GREAT option would be to use Quinoa! It has so many great things in it, and I love to use quinoa to boost my protein without necessarily having to add meat to a dish. You can boost this dish with all sorts of veggies too! Giada has a great recipe here:

Giada’s Quinoa Pilaf

 

Another quick and easy idea? FRIED RICE! My kids LOVE fried rice. I do have to skip the eggs for my sweet little boy… but we can have it as a main dish if I’m feeling like taking it easy, or as a side dish with anything from chicken nuggets, to shredded pork, to wings!

Food Network Fried Rice

(I consider rice a good carb… just not in excess… it’s pretty close to it’s natural from in comparison to other carbs)

Lastly…

Grill out! Take your burgers, hot dogs, steaks, potatoes, veggie kabobs, etc… and GRILL! You can wrap your meat in some lettuce, or put it on top of an amazing salad! If you have a gas grill, it’d only take about 15 minutes to grill something! Before you leave for work, pop your meat and veggies in a ziploc with some marinade and then quick toss it on the grill for dinner when you get home! Seriously… 15 minutes later you’ve got dinner!

Need a quick marinade that’d work for meat or veggies?

Universal Marinade

(personally I’d use coconut or soy aminos that taste JUST LIKE soy sauce… but you use what tastes good to you!)

 

Ok… so that’s it for now, good luck cooking!

And now, for the song of the day: