Monthly Archives: April 2014

Chicken stuffed with Zucchini and Mozzarella

Bren and I got some amazing organic chicken breasts from Hillside, so I used them to make one of my favorite chicken recipes of all time. This is a classic Skinny Taste recipe from way back – I’ve made this a ton, and every time I’m reminded of how much I love it. Instead of a traditional egg wash to adhere the breadcrumbs, a mix of lemon juice and EVOO is used, and honestly, it makes such an amazing difference in flavor. Working with raw chicken always skeeves me out, but I just steel myself, because the end result of this recipe is totally worth it. 

CHICKEN STUFFED WITH ZUCCHINI AND MOZZARELLA (serves 4, recipe adapted from Skinny Taste)
– 1.5 lbs chicken breasts, thinly sliced 
– 2 zucchini, grated (leave skin on, but wash these well before you do!) 
– 1/3 C. shredded mozzarella
– 1/3 C. shredded fresh parmesan
– 3/4 C. seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
– 1 tbsp Herbed Butter
– 4 cloves chopped garlic
– juice of 1 lemon
– 1 tbsp EVOO
– Kosher salt & black pepper to taste
– Olive oil non-stick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Rinse chicken, then arrange everything so you don’t find yourself with chicken-y hands and needing to grab something out of a cupboard.


3. Heat butter over medium. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, approx. 90 seconds.


4. Add shredded zucchini, 1/4 C. shredded fresh parm, and stir to combine. Add a little salt & pepper to taste, then cook for approx 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool. When cool, add the mozzarella and mix to combine.


5. Add a thin layer of the zucchini/parm/mozz mixture to coat one side of each chicken cutlet (season chicken cutlets first), then roll each cutlet.

6. Dip each rolled chicken cutlet in the lemon/EVOO mix, then in the breadcrumbs/parm mix. Place seam-side down in a baking dish lightly coated with EVOO. When all of these are rolled, lightly spray them each with the olive oil cooking spray (this will make them a little more golden).

7. Bake 25-30 minutes, then enjoy. We had this with my new favorite salad, zucchini ribbons with lemon, basil and toasted almonds.


Cilantro-Lemon Quinoa Salad with Avocados, Tomatoes and Chickpeas

Quinoa all day, every day. I love it. It’s like pasta without the guilt, it’s packed with protein, and goes with just about everything. This salad mixes avocado cubes, cherry tomatoes and chick peas with a cilantro-arugula dressing…it was terrific and would be great for a summer salad (just add the dressing right before serving).


CILANTRO-LEMON QUINOA SALAD WITH AVOCADOS, TOMATOES AND CHICKPEAS
– 1/2 C quinoa, cooked (this makes a surprising amount)– 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
– 2 C arugula
– 1/4 cup vidalia onion, chopped
– 1 garlic clove
– 1 avocado, diced
– 1.5 C cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Cilantro-Lemon Dressing
– Juice from 1.5 lemons & zest
– 3/4 cup fresh Cilantro
– 1/2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
– 1 tsp Dijon mustard
– 3 tbsp EVOO
– 1/2 tsp ground cumin
– 1/2 tsp kosher salt + ground pepper

1. Make the quinoa – you want to rinse this really, really well so it gets all the bitter tasting dust off. Just when I think I’m finished rinsing, I always give it one more swish, because that dust is yuck. Boil the water and add the quinoa, cook according to package directions.



2. While the quinoa is cooking, put the arugula, the chopped onion and the garlic clove into a food processor and pulse until combined and chopped.




3. In a bigger bowl, add the chickpeas, tomatoes, avocados and cooked quinoa.

4. Combine the lemons, sugar, dijon, cumin, kosher salt & pepper, mix to combine. Add the EVOO & shake it up again.

5. Pour the dressing and the arugula/onion blend on top of the quinoa chickpea mixture and stir well, then add salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for about 10 minutes to let everything combine.


Salmon Baked in Parchment with Spinach and Feta

 This is the easiest way to make fish ever. Ever. It’s pretty, packed with flavor, and healthy for you too. The fish basically steams itself in its own juices and whatever else you add to it, and the end result is incredible. Plus, cleanup is minimal, since you can just eat it right out of the parchment if you want. If you’re not a fan of feta, you can skip it, but why not just try it, because spinach and feta is awesome.

SALMON BAKED IN PARCHMENT WITH SPINACH AND FETA (serves 2)
– 2 salmon filets
– 2 cups spinach, divided
– 4 slices lemon
– curls of basil butter
– 1 shallot, sliced
– 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
– 1 tbsp EVOO, divided
– Couple crumbles of feta
– Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400.

2. Tear off a decent size of parchment paper. Fold it in half so you know which side you’re going to be working on.

3. Rub 1/2 a tbsp of EVOO on the right side of the parchment paper.


4. On top of that, add 1/2 a cup of the spinach, 1/2 a shallot, sliced, then 1 filet of salmon.


5. Cut a couple shallow slices into the salmon, then season it with Kosher salt & black pepper. Top with 2 of the slices of lemon, 1 clove garlic, sliced, & some curls of the basil butter.

6. Crimp up the ends of the parchment paper so it makes a little pouch. Follow steps 2-6 with the other piece of salmon.


7. Put the parchment packets on a baking tray on the lowest rack of the oven, cook for approx. 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.


8. Open up the salmon packets (don’t toss the juices in the bottom, because they’re the best), carefully arrange the salmon & the veggies on top of some fresh spinach, then add some feta crumbles.  We had this with tuna tartare for one of the prettiest dinners I’ve made in a long time.

Linguini with Baby Portabellos, Spinach & Shallots in a Rosemary Cream Sauce

One of the things I love most about visiting my parents’ house is that you can always find great stuff in the fridge to throw together to make something delicious. Oh, are you starving? Ok, let’s find baby portabellos, shallots, spinach, fresh rosemary, a little heavy cream and good pasta too. That’ll work! This was so easy to throw together and completely allowed me to overlook the heavy cream I added because there was spinach in it, which everybody knows cancels out any fat content in any recipe, ever.

LINGUINI WITH BABY PORTABELLOS, SPINACH & SHALLOTS IN A ROSEMARY CREAM SAUCE 
– 2 cups baby portabellos, washed and sliced 
– 2 cups spinach 
– 2 shallots, sliced 
– 1/3 C. heavy cream 
– 2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (if you don’t have fresh, skip it. Don’t use dried in this recipe) 
– Fresh parmesan, approx. ¼ cup plus more for topping 
– 1 lb. pasta 
– 1 tbsp. butter 
– 1 tbsp. EVOO 
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped 
– Kosher salt & pepper to taste 

1.  Cook your pasta – linguini should cook for about the same time as it takes to make everything else. 

2. In a saucepan, melt the butter and EVOO over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, approx. 60 seconds. 


3. Add the sliced baby portabellos and cook until they’re fairly soft, approx. 5 minutes. These will continue to cook as you add everything else, so don’t overdo it. 


4. Add the shallots, cook until wilted. 


5. Stir in the cream, rosemary and parmesan over medium-low heat. This will look pretty thin, but don’t worry – it’ll cook down a bunch and it coats the pasta really well. I usually stop when it still looks pretty thin before I overdo it and end up with a barely-there cream sauce. If you do that, though, just add a little pasta water to it. 


6. Remove from heat, add spinach and stir well to wilt. 


7. Add the cooked pasta to the spinach – the heat from the noodles will continue to wilt the spinach.

8. Stir everything well, top with a little fresh parm, and give your parents a kiss for being so wonderful.



Tuna Tartare with Guacamole & Mango Salsa

This looks way fancier than it actually is – the key is to have a circle mold, or just to use a measuring cup in a pinch. You can have this for an app or make them bigger and have it for a full meal. It’s completely delicious and really healthy for you, too. Serve this over some micro-greens and watch people freak out at how pretty it is.

TUNA TARTARE WITH GUACAMOLE AND MANGO SALSA
– Ahi Tuna, diced
– 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
– 1 scallion, very thinly sliced
– micro-greens
– Simple Mango Salsa
– Guacamole

1. Assemble the simple mango salsa and the guacamole in 2 separate bowls.


2. Dice the tuna – if you throw it in the freezer for 15 minutes or so it’ll be easier to cut.

3. Combine tuna with scallions and sesame seeds in a third small bowl.


4. Put some micro-greens on a little plate.


5. In either a circular mold or a measuring cup, add a layer of tuna, then salsa, then guacamole. Flip it upside down carefully but quickly on a plate.


6. Remove the mold and top with a couple little micro-greens. Enjoy!

Simple Mango Salsa

   
We’re halfway through April, so it’s almost summertime, right? This winter has been endless. Mangoes make me feel like I’m in the tropics, and they’re also apparently amazing for you – they have health benefits for everything from clearing up your skin to lowering cholesterol. Throw together this mango salsa and then freeze whatever leftovers you have to make smoothies. Mang-oes! Mang-oes! Mang-oes!


SIMPLE MANGO SALSA (makes approx. 2 cups)
– 1 mango, peeled and diced
– 1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
– juice and zest of half a lime
– handful chopped cilantro
– pinch of kosher salt
– 1 tsp. EVOO

1. Peel a mango with a vegetable peeler, then dice it. Add to a bowl.


2. Dice the red onion, chop the cilantro and add to the mango. 


3. Add lime juice & zest, then salt. Mix everything together.

4. Add the EVOO, taste & adjust seasonings, serve either by itself, with chips or as a side – this is great with fish dishes.

Moroccan Zucchini and Chickpeas over Couscous



When I lived in Paris, I basically ate one of two things: Moroccan food or a baguette and a hunk of brie. I think it’s only because we walked everywhere that I stayed skinny, but man, I miss that 21 year old metabolism. This zucchini and chickpea blend has enough of that Moroccan spice to it that it makes me feel like I’m back in Paris again – plus it’s delicious, super quick to make and pretty healthy for you, too. AND, it has the bonus of being made with stuff you probably have in your refrigerator right now. LET’S MAKE IT!!


MOROCCAN ZUCCHINI AND CHICKPEAS OVER COUSCOUS (serves 4-6)
– 1 vidalia onion, sliced
– 2 zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
– 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
– 1 tbsp. butter
– 1.5 cups chicken broth
– 1 cup chunky crushed tomatoes
– 4 diced garlic cloves
– 2 tbsp. lemon juice
– handful chopped parsley
– 1/2 tsp. paprika
– 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
– 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
– 1/4 tsp. ground tumeric
– 1 tsp. kosher salt.
– 1 box of couscous, cooked (leave this out if you want to make this gluten-free)

1. In a french oven (ooh, la la) melt the butter.  Cook the onion over medium heat until translucent, approx. 5 minutes.

2. Add garlic and cook approx. 90 seconds, until fragrant. 

3. Add paprika, cumin, oregano & tumeric and cook for 30 seconds.

4. Add broth, tomatoes & salt. Bring to a simmer and  cook, covered for 10 minutes.

5. Add chickpeas & zucchini and cook, covered, until zucchini is just done (approx. 12 minutes longer). Make the couscous during this step so everything’s ready at the same time.
 

6. Add parsley & lemon juice, season to taste and serve over couscous.
Congrats to everybody who ran the inaugural Scranton Half Marathon this past weekend – what a great day!


Dressed-up Balsamic Vinaigrette

 Seriously, if you’re still buying salad dressing, why not give making your own a shot? I think DIY salad dressing recipes are so much tastier, simpler and versatile than being stuck with 10 bottles of partially-used salad dressing bottles clogging up your refrigerator. This one uses rice vinegar, which I loooove. Add that to a little balsamic, a bit of chopped shallot and a dab of Dijon mustard to bring it all together. I’d eat this on just about anything.


DRESSED-UP BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
 1 tbsp. good balsamic vinegar
 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
 Dab of Dijon mustard
 4 tbsp. EVOO
 ½ small shallot, diced
 Kosher salt & pepper to taste
 1. In a mason jar, add the vinegars, then add the shallot. Let it sit for a little bit to kind of mellow out & absorb the flavors. Add the Kosher Salt & pepper, shake it up a bit to react with the vinegars.

2. Add the mustard and the EVOO. Shake it up.
3. Top a fresh salad with the dressing and enjoy. We had this with ham & my dad’s famous mashed potatoes. My fav.

Shaved Apple & Fennel Salad with Lemon and Toasted Walnuts over Arugula

Oh, Gwyneth Paltrow. She seems to get a lot of shade thrown her way for the Goop blog, the way she can do things like ask her celeb friends not to do interviews with a magazine that’s threatening to expose her, her kids’ names, her “conscious uncoupling”…etc. I get it to some degree, but come on – she’s freaking Gwyenth Paltrow. She’s been in serious relationships with Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck and Chris Martin. She’s an Oscar winning actress. Her mom is Blythe Danner and her godfather is Steve Spielberg. She’s run in some pretty heavy circles probably since she was born, so can we really blame her for thinking it’s normal for everyone get a wood-fired oven in their backyard? I think  her ‘I am who I am” attitude is judged as not apologetic enough, but honestly, if I were her I wouldn’t be apologetic for what I grew up in and what things I enjoy either. I think she just is who she is, and frankly, that seems pretty cool. To summarize: Get it, girl. Now, Anne Hathaway, on the other hand…  Anyway, the recipes on Goop are awesome – super super clean, healthy and delicious. This salad is adapted, and I’m going to be making it alllllll the time. Brendan even said it was the best salad he’s ever had.


SHAVED APPLE AND FENNEL SALAD WITH LEMON AND TOASTED WALNUTS (serves 2-4)
– 1 bulb fennel, top parts cut off (but leaves saved), core removed.
– 1 tart apple
– Juice and zest of 1 lemon
– toasted walnuts, approx. 1/3 cup
– approx. 3 tbsp. EVOO
– kosher salt & pepper
– Arugula (optional)

1. With either a julienne slicer or a Cuisinart food processor with a slicer attachment, shave the fennel bulb and the apple into paper-thin slices (this really makes a difference in the overall salad). Put into a bigger bowl.


2. Over medium heat, toast the walnuts, shaking the pan every minute or so and making sure they don’t burn.


3. Zest and juice the lemon, then add to the bowl with the apple and fennel shavings. Add kosher salt & pepper, mix well to combine.


4. Add EVOO and walnuts, mix. Top with the toasted walnuts and a couple fennel leaves.

5. If using arugula, I just arranged some on a plate, juiced a little lemon over it, then added the apple/fennel salad on top of the arugula leaves. The apple/fennel dressing will work as enough dressing for the arugula.

6. We had this with salmon burgers with a simple lemony dill sauce on avocado toasts. So good.