Lemony Chicken and Spinach Pasta

Whew, I don’t know about you guys, but I am SO glad to have today off. I definitely needed an extra day this weekend to get things done around the house, do some work, and catch up on some of the sleep I lost over the last two weeks while I battled the plague! I am finally feeling mostly better, but I still have a bad cough and my asthma has really been acting up. And the fact that is is cold here certainly doesn’t help! I’m hoping that I will have kicked this cough before I have to fly back to Cali later this week!

So, this pasta. Remember last week how I complained about how crazy crowded my grocery store always is? Yeah, well, my original plan for this pasta was to use chicken sausage and kale. However, due to the madness at the grocery store, they were out of both the sausage and the kale!! What the heck?!! So, I had to change things up. I sauteed some chicken and used spinach instead which worked really well in this dish, but you could easily swap out the chicken for any sausage or even fish. And as for the veggies, I just used spinach, but this would be great with any combo of spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, kale, etc.! So many possibilities! And you all know my love for lemon, so this pasta was a winner in my book!

Lemony Chicken and Spinach Pasta

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

– 1/2 lb. pasta (I used Dreamfield’s penne to keep the carbs down)

– 1/4 cup chopped onion

– 2-3 garlic cloves, minced

– 3/4 cup skim milk

– 1/2 cup chicken broth

– 1 tbs. flour

– 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

– 1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

– 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

– 2 lemons

– 3 cups fresh spinach

– 1 lb. cooked chicken, diced or sliced into thin strips*

– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a pot, cook pasta according the the package instructions. While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan on medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 1-2 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the flour and toss to coat all of the onion and garlic.

2. Add the broth, milk, juice of one lemon, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Stir until well-mixed. Add the spinach and chicken. The sauce should thicken. Remove the pasta from the water, drain, and then add to the pan with the sauce and chicken. Toss to coat. Add the zest of one lemon, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and serve with additional lemon wedges (I squeezed even more lemon juice on top of mine!)

Notes:
– You can cook your chicken however you would like to cook it. I made my Lemon Balsamic Chicken to use for this recipe!

Berry Citrus Bread

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m so excited because today you can find me posting over at A Culinary Journey with Chef Dennis! I was ecstatic when I received an email from him and I am so honored that Chef Dennis asked me to do a guest post for him!

I decided to share my recipe for Berry Citrus Bread. It’s delicious and healthful and it’s packed with fruity goodness! So please hop on over and check out my recipe and say hi to Chef Dennis!

Whole Wheat Margherita Flatbread Pizza with Balsamic Reduction Sauce

Ok, I think I know one of the reasons I don’t like going to the grocery store. It’s the hoard of people. Perhaps it’s the small town that I live in, but seriously, my grocery store is always packed when I go. So packed that I can barely get down the aisles. WHY?! Is there nothing better to do here than go to the darn grocery store?! And let me just say that I don’t like crowds. I don’t like people being all up in my grill!! And why, oh why is that that whenever you get to where you want to be, someone is always in the freaking way of the food I want to grab. For example. I wanted to get some mozzarella cheese for this pizza. It took me at least 5 minutes to finally get to it because a couple just stood in front of all the cheese and were discussing what types of cheese they needed for the week. I stood there thinking, “DUDES, I know what cheese I want, get the heck out of my way! BLARGHHGHGHGHGHGHGH!”. I know, I have zero patience. I’m like the scrooge of the grocery store. And of course, it didn’t help that I was still pretty sick this weekend. Within 5 minutes of walking in, I was getting all sweaty. BLARGHGHGHGHGHGH! Ok, I’m done with my rant and my BLARGHGHGHing.

I hope you enjoy this pizza. It’s good…and stuff…

Whole Wheat Margherita Flatbread Pizza with Balsamic Reduction Sauce

Flatbread Recipe from How Sweet It Is

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

– 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

– 1 tsp. baking powder

– 1/2 tsp. salt

– 1/4 tsp. black pepper

– 1/2 cup water

– 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing

– 3 garlic cloves, minced

– 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

– 2 medium sized tomatoes, sliced thin

– 2 tbs. fresh basil, chiffonade

– salt and pepper to taste

– 1 cup balsamic vinegar

– 1/4 cup brown sugar

Directions:

1. In a sauce pan, dissolve the brown sugar with the balsamic vinegar. Bring the balsamic vinegar to a light simmer. Simmer until the vinegar is reduced by half (about 15-20 mins). Let the vinegar cool and it should thicken. You can make this reduction sauce in advance if you would like.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, water, and olive oil with your hands until a dough forms. Then place the dough on a floured work surface. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. You do not have to worry about rolling the dough out into a perfect circle or square! I think the odd shape makes it look nice and rustic :). Place the dough on a baking mat or on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Bake for about 5-7 minutes just until the dough just slightly starts to crisp up. Remove from the oven.

3. Brush the top of the flatbread with extra olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Distribute the garlic, then the cheese, tomatoes, and the basil evenly over the flatbread. You can also sprinkle the top with another pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle about 1/4 cup of the balsamic reduction over the pizza. Bake for another 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the remaining balsamic vinegar if desired.

Notes:
– You do not need to use all of the balsamic reduction if you don’t want to! Feel free to use as much or as little as you like!

Low-Carb Chocolate Shortbread Cookies


I know, I’ve been a horrible blogger lately. I haven’t been updating enough. And if you’re a fellow blogger, I haven’t been reading and commenting. First, I was traveling for the holidays, but as soon as I got back to Florida last week, I have been oh so sick with the flu which then turned into a sinus infection. Needless to say, having the flu doesn’t really make a person want to jump in the kitchen to cook and even worse, eat! My diet last week and this weekend mostly consisted of toast, applesauce, chicken soup, and tea. And forget about being on the computer! Just looking at the screen made me so nauseous! I am slowly recovering though and was able to get back in the kitchen on Sunday to make these quick and easy cookies! Baby steps, people, baby steps!

Low-Carb Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

From Kalyn’s Kitchen

Makes about 16 cookies

Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

– 2 cups almond flour

– 6 tbs. Stevia or Splenda + 2 tbs. brown sugar*

– 1/2 tsp. salt

– 1 tsp. vanilla

– 3 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder

– 1/2 cup semi-sweet or sugar-free chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, add the softened butter, almond flour, Stevia and brown sugar, salt, and vanilla. Mix together with a hand mixer or stand mixer until well-combined. Add the cocoa powder (and chocolate chips) and mix until well-combined.

2. Line a baking sheet with a non-stick mat or parchment paper. Scoop out batter about 1-2 tbs. (it really depends on how big you want your cookies to be!) at a time and roll into a ball. Place the dough balls on the baking sheet leaving enough space to smash the cookies down. Using the back side of a fork, smash the cookies down so they are about a 1/4 of an inch thick. Bake for about 35-40 minutes. Let cookies cool completely before serving.

Notes:
– If you want to make these completely sugar-free, replace the brown sugar with two additional tablespoons of the sugar substitute of your choice.
– Be careful when handling and storing these cookies. The almond flour makes them extra crumbly!

Banana Cream Pie

Banana Cream Pie

Over the holidays, my youngest brother decided to pass along an illness so foul, it’s like it came from another planet entirely. It’s also totally possibly that my little brother is from another planet entirely. Don’t get me wrong, I love him so, but this is illness is so bad. It all started with him, patient zero. Then he somehow managed to pass it along to every single person in my family including aunts, uncle, cousins, grandparents, and even a dog. Yes, he gave this thing to a dog. You’re probably saying that wouldn’t happen, but it has my friends. You gotta love little brothers….and pie!

What pies are a must at your holiday parties? In my family, it’s usually apple pie and pumpkin pie, and banana cream pie. We sometimes throw in other pies like lemon meringue or my brother will make his key lime pie, but those three are always on our holiday dessert tables.

When it comes to pie, banana cream is always my stepdad’s top choice. Now banana cream pie is always on our table for special occasions. Banana cream pie is one of my faves too. I’m totally madly in love with bananas and this pie just tastes like home to me. It’s perfectly creamy and dreamy and it’s so comforting to me.

Lemon Oregano Chicken

Happy New Year!! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Though I am back in Florida, I have been at my Mom’s house the past few days. We celebrated New Year’s Eve by having fake Christmas since we were all apart on Christmas day. I was planning on heading back up to my place today (4 hour drive), but I woke up this morning with a nice fever! My little brother, Nick, is sick too so I’m not sure if he gave me this lovely gift or if I got it while traveling. Either way, it really stinks! I spent most of the day sleeping.

Due to having the plague, I am going to share another wonderful recipe from my friend, Amanda. This recipe is light and perfect for those of you who made a resolution to eat healthier in 2012! Hopefully by the end of this week, I will be back in my own place and back to normal cooking and blogging!!

Lemon Oregano Chicken

From The Sopranos Family Cookbook

Serves 4

Ingredients:

– 2 lemons

– 1 3 1/2 pound chicken, quartered (or if you would prefer, you can just use chicken breasts)

– 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges

– 1 tbs. olive oil

– 1 tsp. dried oregano

– 2 garlic cloves, chopped

– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Squeeze the juice from one lemon and slice the other one. Put the chicken and potatoes in a baking pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with the lemon juice, oil, oregano, garlic and salt and pepper. Turn the pieces to coat evenly, then turn the chicken skin side up. Tuck the lemon slices and potatoes in between the chicken pieces.

2 .Bake the chicken for about 45 minutes. Baste with the pan juices. Continue to bake, basting occasionally for 15 to 30 minutes longer or until the chicken is browned and the potatoes are tender. Transfer the chicken, potatoes and lemon slices to a serving platter. Tip the pan and skim off the fat. Pour the juices over the chicken and serve.