Italian

Paleo Chicken Nuggets

Hi my name is Morgan and I am a five year old when it comes to chicken nuggets or tenders. Whenever hubby and I go to Citi Field for a Mets game (LGM!) I always get the same. exact. thing: Chicken tenders and french fries with a shake (from Shake Shack because duh…). I’ve ventured off the beaten path once and got a sausage and peppers, and the game wasn’t the same. What’s not to love about tenders and nuggets? They’re crispy, fried, juicy, and honey mustard makes for the perfect pairing. No questions asked.

I love using cassava flour to make nuggets, tenders, and cutlets because not only is it grain/gluten free, it’s provides such a depth of flavor from the yucca root itself. I use Thrive Market’s Cassava Flour – found here (also if you use the banner, you can get $20 shopping credit when you sign up for a membership!) and love the texture of it. Cassava is also super versatile and is usually a 1:1 ratio for subbing out AP flour when baking. The way the chicken crisps up when battered in cassava flour is very similar to using breadcrumbs.

Here’s what you’ll need for these paleo nuggets:

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Thrive Market Non-GMO Cassava Flour (or preferred brand)
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried rosemary
  • 4 tbsp avocado/olive oil
  • 3 tbsp grass fed butter
    • having a blend of healthy fats to shallow fry the chicken in helps with the crispiness and less splatter.
  • dipping sauce of choice
    • we used Cedar Foods tzatziki sauce.

For these nuggets, it’s as simple as a four-step process:

  1. Rinse and pat dry your chicken. Slice each breast into bite size pieces.
  2. Pour the cassava flour and dried spices into a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Add chicken pieces to the flour and mix together to fully coat each piece.
  4. Heat a skillet/large pan with oil and butter on medium heat and begin to place several pieces into the skillet. Let each piece sit for 3-4 minutes per side. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.

I swear this will become a family favorite, and will definitely be a weeknight go-to as this is one simple and quick dinner to pull together, especially if you have the chicken cut ahead of time. This could be delicious as chicken alfredo, thrown in with some broccoli for a stir fry, or just as is with a dip and veggies on the side!

Easy Baked MAC (Mac-n-Cheese)

It’s the holiday season, and there’s nothing better than seeing family, friends, and eating a ton of different foods. It’s the third night of Hanukkah, and while I didn’t make latke’s this year (which you can find my recipe from last year here), I did toy around with something anyone celebrating any holiday would love, MAC AND CHEESE.

There are a ton of different ways to make mac and cheese (or as I simply call it MAC), and I usually start by making a roux. A roux is a base for sauces such as a cheese sauce: you take chopped onions and butter, sauté until fragrant and translucent, then add flour and it makes a paste. Then, you pour in some cream/milk/alternative to milk and stock, and bring to a boil. This will thicken; turn the heat off and layer in the shredded cheese until fully blended and combined. Yeah, this recipe is labeled EASY MAC for a reason, because we skip the roux step. We use four ingredients and it’s done in one pot. You heard me, ONE POT.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb or box of pasta – I used Banza’s wheel shaped pasta (this is a chickpea flour pasta and it is delicious – find it here)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp grass fed butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mixed shredded cheese – I used Organic valley cheddar, sharp cheddar, and mozzarella.
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Breadcrumbs – to top off prior to broil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Cook your preferred pasta to the desired doneness, since Banza is gluten free I cooked two minutes below the recommended time on the box as I prefer to have pasta more al dente. Strain and rinse.

Add back into the same pot and turn the heat onto medium. Pour in the milk and butter, stirring the pasta in and coating. Have patience here, the butter will take some time to melt. Sprinkle in the cheese a little at a time, stirring to combine frequently. Keep the heat between medium and low, so the cheese melts and coats all the pasta.

Set the oven to broil. Pour the MAC from the pot into an oven friendly casserole dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, plus a pinch more shredded cheese bc #yolo. Broil for three minutes, check after three because it can go from nicely brown to “OMG I BURNT IT” in a matter of minutes. Serve immediately and scarf down because this baby will go fast at your dinner table! NOMaste and Happy Holidays! <3

Baked Ziti

Happy fall everyone! Gosh, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here blogging but I have had a pretty good excuse… I’m 15 weeks PREGNANT! Which then means, for my first trimester I was having a significant problem with keeping food down and even wanting foods other than bagels, pizza, and snacky foods. Now that I am cruising into the second trimester, I am slowly getting back into cooking and experimenting with a variety of different foods, and have always wanted to create a simple but delicious version of Baked Ziti.

This recipe features two of my favorite products from Organic Valley, a company that I hold dear to my heart. I love their values and mission to ensure all of their coops are pasture raised and do not cut corners, which is clear when you drink their milk or use their eggs. For this particular baked ziti, I opted for regular pasta, marinara, some dried seasonings (oregano and parsley) and ricotta and eggs from Organic Valley.

To start, I boiled a pot of water and cooked the pasta to al dente, about a minute less than what the box suggested. I strained the pasta and added it to a 9×13 pyrex baking dish, pre-lined with some marinara. I mixed in the ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and more sauce. I repeated this step until it was fully coated with sauce and ricotta. One thing I’ve learned from experimenting with baked ziti in the past is ensuring that there is plenty of sauce and ricotta so that it does not dry out.

Preheated the oven to 375 degrees. I dolloped some ricotta on top, sprinkled my Organic Valley cheese on top. Once the oven preheated, I baked the ziti for 15 minutes, then turned the oven to broil and broiled the ziti for 7 minutes just into most of the cheese turned brown. My husband, who is a pasta aficionado, even commended me for this one. Looks like I’ll be making this again soon. NOMaste 🙂

Baked Ziti

Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword baked food, baked ziti, pasta, traditional
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 2 containers Organic Valley ricotta cheese
  • 1 box Pasta (I used mezzi rigatoni)
  • 1 24oz jar Rao's marinara
  • 2 cups Organic Valley shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt to water and pour in pasta. Cook to desired doneness or box directions. Once done, drain pasta.

  2. Line a 9×13 pyrex baking dish with marinara sauce.

  3. Pour drained pasta into dish. Pour more marinara sauce, scoops of ricotta, and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese into the pasta and mix well.

  4. Continue to add marinara and ricotta until the pasta is fully coated and wet. Sprinkle with dried oregano and parsley.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  5. Spread mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

  6. Turn oven to broil and broil for 7 minutes until cheese is melted and browned. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Use gluten free pasta if you desire!  Banza works very well!

Paleo Chicken Francaise

We’re rounding out week two at the new casa and I am really digging my new appliances, countertops, and all the natural lighting. Grateful is an understatement, I am so thankful for this home and the memories we’re making here, and the delicious meals I am starting to create. My husband loves chicken francaise, and I happen to be a fan of it as well. I thought about making this a little lighter with cassava flour instead of regular flour, and be mindful of the quality of ingredients I use for the butter/garlic sauce. I’ve been chatting with a girlfriend about the quality of ingredients versus restricting foods altogether. At the end of the day, we make choices with our mouths and forks at least three times a day, so it is vital to know what we consume and where the food comes from.

I started with buying organic chicken breasts, slicing them very thin, and seasoning with a generous amount of fresh cracked black pepper and pink sea salt. Then, using my cassava flour (with a blend of dried parsley, basil, and oregano) I coated each piece and set aside. I love using cassava for cooking because it does not have a taste, and is a 1:1 for all-purpose (or AP) flour. I set the chicken aside and heated up a large skillet.

I used Lucini Italia extra virgin olive oil and it is so delicious and actually Whole30 approved (I don’t follow Whole30 but it’s a good brand of EVOO so I decided to try and will certainly buy again). I added in chicken in batches (I made six cutlets in total) and let them cook until both sides were lightly browned.

Once all the chicken finished cooking, I placed them on a plate and began simmering my sauce. Traditionally, this sauce involves four ingredients: butter, garlic, white cooking wine, and lemon. I added my stick of unsalted butter (leave out to get to room temp!). Once melted, I added sliced lemon to let the citrus blend with the butter. I used 1/4 cup of cooking white wine and a scant amount of chicken stock to add more liquid, Last, I chopped three cloves of garlic and threw into the pan and turned the flame to low. Layer in the cooked chicken cutlets and let sit for a while (maybe 20m) so that the chicken starts to absorb the sauce.

Pair this dish with some pasta (I prefer Banza because I can’t really stomach regular pasta anymore…sad, I know) and fresh veggies; you’ve got yourself a yummy, HEALTHY, and satisfying meal!

Homemade Meatballs

It has been a whirlwind of a few weeks. We have packed up seven years of our Brooklyn one-bedroom and moved to our beautiful cape on Long Island last week, and we are starting to settle in and unpack our boxes. Moving into our first home is nerve-wracking and exciting all at the same time. Of course, I could not wait to buy food for our fridge and freezer, and whip up dinners immediately. I had wanted to try making meatballs for some time and figured that it would be a very easy and hearty meal to break in the stove and oven on our first night cooking in the kitchen.

There are so many different ways people make meatballs, and I used to think that adding a medley of seasonings was the trick. In fact, I think the reason this recipe tastes so great is because of the simplicity of the ingredients. I kept it pretty traditional, but ensured that I used a generous amount of each flavor so that it was well balanced. I used grass-fed beef found at the store, and made a quick red sauce on the stove using tomato sauce and one can of crushed tomatoes (which simmered for a good 45 minutes to an hour; I added salt and pepper, basil leaves, and one packet of stevia for sweetener). I have a recipe of simmered Sunday red sauce that I’ll make in the fall, but for now, this one worked impressively well.

I started by taking the meat out of the fridge and letting it get to room temperature, Then, I aded the beef to a bowl, along with two eggs, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion salt, and oregano. Literally, THAT IS IT. I loosely formed the meatballs, eyeballing each size and pulled a little here and there to make sure I had an even 24 balls.

I preheated my oven to 325 degrees. After lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil, I sprayed it down with avocado oil and added the meatballs one by one, leaving some space between. The meatballs baked for 25 minutes, which is fine because they became a perfect brown and soft enough to put into the sauce as it simmered. I transferred the meatballs to the red sauce and let them finish cooking for a good 30 minutes more.

I served this with roasted cauliflower and broccoli and did not even miss the starchy pasta that usually accompanies meatballs. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did, and we’ll never forget our first dinner together in our new home — NOMaste!