Healthy and Hearty

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!

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!

Shrimp Scampi

Finally, the weather is catching up to the changing seasons. April is upon us and while it started out rather dreary, it’s starting to grow warmer, days later, and sun shining stronger. A perfect example of this is getting sunburnt just sitting out in the sun for one hour. Literally, ONE hour. I digress. Part of my journey this week for fish week is to try out new recipes that I have been yearning to try, which obviously includes shrimp. We had a slight mishap with flounder (which went rancid way too quickly…) and so I resorted to shrimp a day early.

Shrimp is one of those proteins that I feared cooking with. I always get nervous about over-cooking it, or under-cooking so that it’s practically raw. This was my moment, to try and make shrimp that tastes really delicious in a sauce I know I can make with my eyes closed: Shrimp Scampi. The amount of butter, garlic, and lemon juice used for this recipe may sound like a lot, but in fact, with the shrimp on a low simmer in the scampi sauce, the results were perfect. Tender pieces of shrimp, cooked to perfection, with a side of broccoli rabe and on a bed of Banza rice (we all know my obsession with Banza. If you haven’t tried Banza yet, you can find it here!)

I started making this dish by defrosting shrimp in the sink as I went to work. I was actually very surprised to see that when I came back, the house didn’t smell like shrimp, which already meant I was winning. I rinsed the shrimp and decided to cut it into smaller pieces, I tossed the shrimp with salt and set it aside. In a large pan, I added two tablespoons of butter and layered the shrimp into the pan, heat medium. I let the shrimp sit for two minutes then flipped over, adding in chopped garlic.

I continued to cook the shrimp and toss with the garlic, butter, and added in two tablespoons of lemon juice. I lowered the flame to low heat and simmered the shrimp for another three to four minutes. Simultaneously, I made my Banza rice (cooked similarly to orzo). Once the shrimp were done, I took a scoop of the rice and plated the shrimp on top, and sprinkled fresh grated Parmesan cheese for finish. I must say, this was a home run. Round two, I will be sure to add some more green, like fresh basil or parsley. NOMaste 🙂

Shrimp Scampi

Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian, Seafood
Keyword butter, easy, garlic, italian, scampi, seafood, shrimp
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 15-20 medium Shrimp wild, cleaned, deveined and peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped, but not finely.
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup banza rice (or regular rice)

Instructions

  1. Start by cleaning shrimp and pat dry.  Cut shrimp into smaller bite size pieces and toss with salt.  Set aside

  2. Heat a large pan on medium heat, and add the butter to melt.  Place shrimp into the pan and sear for two minutes. Turn shrimp over and continue to cook for another two minutes.

  3. Add in the chopped garlic and lemon juice.  Turn heat to low and continue to cook the shrimp, tossing and flipping regularly.  Let simmer for five minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, prep Banza rice or regular rice as package indicates.  Take some of the scampi sauce and mix with the rice.  Layer shrimp on top of the rice and season with sea salt and cracked pepper.

Pan Seared Salmon with a Lemon Yogurt Dill sauce.

It’s fish week! No, for those inquiring, this does not mean I dress as a shark and go swim in the ocean. “Fish week” is a week where I test recipes all focused on various fish. I happen to love (most) fish, but didn’t always. I loathed, like LOATHED fish when I was growing up. When my grandmother made salmon I would get violently mad, cry, and stomp my feet. No joke. I’m not really sure when the transition happened, but I started to grow fond of fish; coincidentally liking probably the most fishiest one of all: salmon. Up until a few years ago, I had no clue how to make it. What happens if it sticks to the pan? Do I start by cooking it on the flesh side? Skin side? How long does it cook? The beauty of cooking is all about trying things out, and if you fail, try again. Tonight was a perfect example of trial and error, and being patient with heat.

Whenever I can, I buy wild fish. The reason? Wild fish are never caught and farmed with antibiotics or feed that is contaminated or in pellet form. Wild fish are packed with nutrients and have a very distinct dark coral color. Don’t believe me? Read for yourself here. Doing research on what you put in your body does wonders for how you spend your money, and where you shop. I am not saying go spend $300 at Whole foods every week just for 5-6 items, but be conscious of your choices, and when available, buy wild fish. Anyway, the cut I chose is the Chinook, or King salmon. I like the flavor better than Sockeye, as it is more subtle and takes on flavor easier. I started by lathering the salmon with avocado oil and bulletproof brain octane (more high quality fats, aids in brain function, cognitive development, and weight loss). I sprinkled salt and pepper and let sit. *I should have added more salt and pepper but that’s for trial #2 next week*

In the meantime, I created my dill sauce. I LOVE dill. The color, the smell, the texture, and flavor bring back many memories for me. I know lots fo people do not like this herb, but trust me, paired with salmon it tastes really great. The sauce is easy:

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sprigs of dill (chopped)

Mix together and set aside. Now comes the even easier, but patient part: cooking the salmon. Start with a hot pan on medium heat, add a drop of oil. Add the salmon skin-side down to crisp the skin. Let sit for around 10 minutes, then check under the skin to see if it comes up easily. If not let sit for two more minutes. When it can come off the pan, flip onto the flesh side for approximately five minutes. Turn heat off and plate the salmon and spoon some of the yogurt sauce on the salmon, to taste. Paired with your favorite veggies (mine: brussel sprouts – recipe here!) and you’re ready for a super healthy, and delicious meal! NOMaste. Fish week, night one, SUCCESS!