Dinners

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!

Pizzadillas

This recipe literally came to me while I was watching HGTV the other night. I saw an ad for Domino’s pizza – which let’s be honest – is kind of OG college pizza (cheesy bread? don’t even get me started), and I got the idea to make quesadillas with the filling being that of what goes onto a pizza. I wish there was a better story behind them, but nope, just my belly saying “DO IT!”

I’m also really glad that I had leftover sauce from the meatballs I made last week, which if you missed, the link is here. I used most of the leftover marinara sauce for the filling of the ‘dilla and layered in some mozzarella cheese, sprinkled oregano, and quaintly placed some slices of pepperoni.

I’m still learning how to use my stove and oven, so one of the bottoms of the pizzadillas did burn, but I’m cool with that. Here’s the deets on the ‘dillas:

  • Start with a package of tortillas (we used Mission just for testing recipe purposes – I’ll make these again with Siete)
  • Get all ingredients out and ready prior to beginning.
  • You’ll need:
    • 1 package sliced pepperoni
    • Dried oregano
    • Mozzarella cheese (grated)
    • Tortillas
    • Really good marinara (I recommend making your own or Rao’s – less sugar and good ingredients)
  • Heat a pan and add the tortilla to the pan, letting it crisp and warm up
  • Spoon some marinara onto the tortilla and spread around
  • Sprinkle oregano, mozzarella, and layer in pepperoni
  • Cover the top with a second tortilla and flip.
  • Repeat for as many pizzadillas as you’d like (my ingredients yielded 4 pizzadillas and we were definitely full!)

I love quesadillas and am looking forward to making more varieties and sharing them with you soon! NOMaste 🙂

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!

Black Bean and Charred Pepper Quesadillas

Some of the best food ideas come from inspiration of others. This one is no exception. I love Mexican food, and I have a soft spot for quesadillas. I think the reason behind my adoration for ‘dillas, is the ability to make it a handheld and of course, the combinations of flavors. I tend to be simple with my ingredients, but as I try to focus on more plant-based meals lately, I decided to keep this guy a vegetarian-friendly option.

I love making tortillas from scratch (which is super easy to do, and I’ll make that recipe this summer in the new digs.. oh yeah, WE’RE MOVING!), but for this go round, we used Siete brand tortillas. Siete is a family-operated and owned company that makes grain free tortillas, tortilla chips, queso, and hot sauce! They boast quality ingredients in their products, and I must say, they are no joke. I love them. You can find them here!

To start, I chopped all of my peppers and charred them on the burner, yep, like flat out burnt the sides of the peppers right on the flame… #ballin. I diced and chopped them up and sprinkled a bit of paprika, set them aside. Next, I drained and rinsed the black beans and began to warm the tortillas. I used a regular size 12″ frying pan (with no oil, you want the outside of the tortillas to crisp) and let the side get hot. I added in the peppers, black beans and Mexican cheese blend (I bought at the store) and began to assemble the quesadilla.

I let the tortilla sit on each side to brown for approximately 30 seconds, but I would use a spatula to check underneath occasionally. I used a plate (or my hand, which resulted in a burn) to flip once I added the second tortilla to the top. You will hear the sizzle of cheese and if you lip a side of the quesadilla and it doesn’t come off quick, you’ll know you have one to two more minutes until it is done.

Repeat for the remainder of the tortillas (I used eight, making four mini quesadillas) and use a pizza cutter to make the perfect triangles. Served with guac, sour cream, and a drizzle of hot sauce and you have an awesome dinner (or snack!) NOMaste 🙂

Zucchini Lasagna

Lately, I have been trying to incorporate as many vegetables as possible when cooking. Whether its sautéing all the older veggies in the fridge and throwing them into pasta, or adding them as a side to a nice piece of steak. Either way, getting our vegetables in on a daily basis is important for overall health. As it is passover week, we are steering clear of bread products, and I decided it was time to recipe test a fan favorite, lasagna. Only, this lasagna, is made solely from zucchini. BOOM. (mic drop)

Zucchini happens to be one of my all time, OG vegetables. It is versatile, easy to cook, and a slow-resistant starchy vegetable. It’s also predominately made out of water, so it can be very filling due to the water content. Nevertheless, I decided that tonight was the night to make lasagna using zucchini as the noodles. Granted, it definitely does not taste the same as regular noodles, it was still rather yummy. I also don’t have a mandolin, so I had to make sure my slices were fairly thin, but not too thin that they would break easily. I should mention here, that I laid the zucchini out with salt to wick the moisture out, as I stated zucchini holds a lot of water (even after baking, there was still a good amount of water).

The lasagna is assembled much like a regular one would. Start with some marinara on the bottom of the pan to hold the zucchini in place. Then, add in the first layer of zucchini (I used a 13×9 pan and fit six zucchini slices across the bottom). I added ricotta and smoothed it across (as best as I can) to coat the zucchini. Next, dollops of marinara sauce, followed by a thin coating of mozzarella cheese. I repeated this until I had no more zucchini left (approximately equal to 4 layers).

I topped off the final layer with a generous serving of cheese, and baked this in the oven for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. Towards the end, about 3-4 minutes, I turned the oven to broil. Let cool down for a bit before serving, especially as the zucchini will let out a lot of moisture so this will help everything set. This is such a good party dish, although it is a bit difficult to assemble. Still, very tasty, and healthy 🙂 NOMaste!

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