Tag Archives: homechef

Ma’s Chicken Scampi

It’s my husband’s birthday on November 20th, and ever since we’ve moved in together 6 and a half years ago, I’ve made this dish for him every birthday.  This recipe is called Ma’s because it’s my mom’s recipe. I always loved when she made it, and I’m so grateful to have seen the women in my life duplicate it so I can have it etched in my memory forever.

I have a love-hate relationship with this one, because it tastes so damn delicious, but it takes forever to prepare.  Sure, I can go the easy route and just bread cutlets and cut them up afterwards, but where’s the fun in that?  The term “Scampi” actually refers to tiny shrimp from the seas, but nowadays, the term Scampi refers to the style of cooking: a light fry in a shallow pan in oil until golden.  Traditionally, this dish is made with garlic, butter, and white wine, with a pinch of parmesan and cream.  I leave out some ingredients and stick with the big guys: garlic and crap-ton (yep, it’s a word) of buttah!fullsizeoutput_1066

Let me start by saying the trick with this dish is pacing – you have to be cognizant about timing the chicken and the pasta water, and how long the pasta cooks so it all finishes at roughly the same time.  I start out by taking 3 meaty chicken breasts and slicing them into “nugget” form.  I dip the chicken nuggets into the beaten egg, then into breadcrumbs (no skimping out on the carbs here), and set aside.  Olive oil is the choice of fats for frying the chicken, but start out with a small amount, just enough to coat the bottom (the oil with sputter if it’s not evenly distributed).

Fry a few pieces at a time and, this is important, be quick with the chicken.  They’re small pieces so they’ll burn fast.  Each piece takes about 2m per side.  As the second batch of chicken cooks, I turned the pasta water on to boil. This dish is always best with fresh pasta, which we’re grateful for at our little Italian market that opened up the block.  The water boils, add in salt, and dump in the pasta (we used Rigatoni).  Continue to fry the chicken and set aside on a paper-towel-lined plate.

Once all the chicken is done, take the garlic (3 cloves roughly chopped) and add to the pan with 3 (yes THREE) tablespoons of butter to melt.  I really feel like garlic and butter are the perfect combination for any recipe, especially as a sauce.  This dish calls for a lot of oils and butters, which thankfully is part of my diet on the regular, so no difference to me.  Mix around with a spoon and scrape the bottom of the pan to get the remnants of the chicken mixed in as well. *Wipes drool from mouth*.  Throw in the chicken to mix around in the butter-garlic sauce, strain the pasta (about 9-10m until al dente), then add the pasta directly to the sauce/chicken.  Stir together until all noodles are coated.  If you need more butter, DO IT.

Serve immediately with garlic bread, some roasted veggies, and top with a dollop of ricotta. Buon Appetito!

Ma's Chicken Scampi

Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Chicken, italian, pasta, scampi
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Resting time for chicken 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Chicken breast or 3-4 breasts
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 pkg (16 oz) pasta fresh is better!
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic rough chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pan or skillet, drizzle the olive oil into the pan to coat the bottom.

  2. Clean the chicken breasts, trim of excess fat, and slice into "nugget" style.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

  3. Pour breadcrumbs onto a plate and crack and beat the eggs in a separate bowl.

  4. Create your assembly line: (left to right)

    Chicken - Egg - Breadcrumbs.

    Dip the chicken into the egg and then into breadcrumbs, coating both sides well.  Put breaded chicken nuggets on a separate plate.  Repeat until all chicken is breaded.

  5. Turn stove on for the pan with oil to medium.  Place 6-7 pieces of chicken in the oil at a time, monitoring the chicken as it cooks.  Chicken will cook quickly; turn chicken pieces over when sides are lightly brown (about 2m).  repeat for all chicken and set aside on paper towel/plate.

  6. Meanwhile, take a large pot and fill with water.  Place on stove. Turn flame onto high to boil water. Add salt pasta to boiled water and cook for time described on package (9-10m).  Drain pasta and set aside.

  7. Take chopped garlic and 3 tbsp of butter and add to pan that chicken cooked in.  Heat on medium-low flame and melt butter, sautéing the garlic.  Add chicken back into garlic-butter sauce and stir.  Add in pasta and stir to coat all noodles. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

We used fresh ricotta to add to the pasta on top, if this fits your fancy, feel free to do so!

Kale with Sausage and Onion

I’m one of those people that has a love-hate relationship with kale.  Sometimes I’m craving it, but other times I want nothing to do with it.  Kale can be so versatile: sautéed, steamed, made into chips, tossed with some oil and lemon, or layered in a sandwich.  My personal favorite: sautéed for sure.IMG_3808

This recipe is so delicious and perfect for lunch and meal prepped.  I’m totally one of those ladies who will #mealprep on Instagram and be all proud I took care of my food for the week, and this one never fails me.  For the sausage, I never skimp out – I always use pork, but it has to be good quality.  I like Niman Ranch or Applegate (or even Vermont brand has quality nitrate-free uncured sausage).  The snap that the sausage has on it when it’s cooked is great and takes seasoning very well.  I cut the links into 1/4in thick circles and chop the onion into slices as well.  The onion goes in the pan first and will cook until translucent and fragrant (who doesn’t love the smell of cooking onions in a pan?).  Then I add the sausage and sauté until the sausage browns on the sides.

I like a traditional Old bay seasoning, but didn’t have any so I opted with a Mexican blend.  It acted as a nice little twist to the dish.   After the sausage is pretty much browned on both sides, add in the kale and stir it in by layering the onions and sausage on top to wilt the leaves.  Continue to do this and add as much kale as you’d like!  I also added a bit more oil to saturate the kale and get things nice and seasoned.  This could be done with a varietal of foods like spinach instead of kale, chicken sausage, peppers AND onions (mind.blown), or stick to the recipe!  The choice is yours 🙂 Happy cooking!

Kale with Sausage and Onion

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg sausage
  • 2 bunches organic kale - rinsed; just the leaves
  • 1 medium onion sliced thin
  • 3 tbsp olive oil I used avocado oil
  • Seasoning such as Old Bay or your choice!

Instructions

  1. In a large sauce pan, heat the oil on a medium heat.
  2. Slice onions into long strips and set aside. Chop the sausage links into 1/4in thick rounds and set aside.
  3. Add onions to the pan and sauté until fragrant and translucent
  4. Add in sausage to the onions and begin to sauté until browned.
  5. Season the onions and sausage with choice of seasoning and stir.
  6. Layer in the kale and stir in as needed. Add in a bit more oil as desired.
  7. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Swap out pork sausage for chicken as desired. Use spinach instead of kale if thats' what you prefer!

Bolognese with Sweet Potato and Garlic Butter Zucchini

Alright, I must admit, this is not my recipe. *GASP*.  It’s my husband’s recipe and in fact when he makes it, his version always tastes better (you’re welcome babe.) Bolognese is something that can’t be done in 15-20m, but it’s possible in an hour.  The slow simmer of the meat and sauté of fresh veggies filling the air with scents that remind me of vacation in Florence.  The faint scent of sweet potato in the oven brings so much happiness to my belly and to my pooch who LOVES sweet potato (side note: sweet potato is one of the best starches for all species, more on that in a different post…)

What’s fun about bolognese is that it can be done with a variety of ingredients. We’re rather traditional and like our meat sauce to be marinara or tomato-based with fresh garlic (I throw in minced garlic too for the flavor), oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder.  I start with browning the meat first as traditional bolognese sits on a low flame for hours and grows saturated with all the flavors.  I prefer to cook with grass-fed beef.  My reason? The quality, the taste, the COLOR is so much richer than conventional beef, and the animal it comes from is treated in a humane way and literally only fed grass, as they’re supposed to.  I usually buy my beef/chicken from Whole Foods or ButcherBox and their grass-fed beef is 10/10 every time.  I brown the meat in some oil with minced garlic and then add some jarred low sugar marinara sauce, stir it around and then add spices (oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and sea salt – can either be fresh or dried.. I use dried). Once this simmers for 15 minutes, I add my parmesan and creamer – this will thicken the bolognese and make it creamier! I like to use coconut creamer from Trader Joe’s because it just has a nice smooth texture with not a lot of coconut flavoring.  Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. note: the bolognese can get salty and oily quickly, mind your oil and salt here!

I’m a sucker for zucchini in all forms, but sliced, sautéed in butter with garlic is my ultimate favorite.  I try to stick with organic or local produce as much as possible.  I am a firm believer that local is better and supporting small farms in the area really benefits more than just my family, but theirs and our community. These are from Whole Foods and were perfectly crisp as I sliced them. I sautéed in butter (#kerrygoldFTW) and sprinkled garlic powder right when they turned translucent (approx. 10m on med-low heat, covered).IMG_3649

The last few months I have tried to stay away from rice and pastas (heavier carbs and I are not BFFL anymore) so I find alternatives…alas, the sweet potato!  I love the bright orange color and how this potato is versatile: mashed, sautéed, fried, baked, the possibilities are endless!  I start with slicing them rather thin (1/4in), then cut the slices into quarters – they bake easier.  I toss in some avocado oil, lay on a pre-oiled pan, sprinkle some sea salt, and place in the middle rack of the oven.  I suck at timing things, but I’d say it takes about 15 minutes (on 325*) to really get the potatoes just soft enough to taste awesome. Enjoy this recipe y’all.. it’s one of my favs 🙂

 

Bolognese with Sweet Potato and Garlic Butter Zucchini

Bolognese with Sweet Potato and Garlic Butter Zucchini
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 lb grass-fed or whatever you have available beef
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes sliced then quartered
  • 2 medium zucchini sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 2 tbsp oil for beef
  • Cooking spray for pan for sweet potato
  • 1 jar low-sugar marinara sauce
  • 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c cream or nondairy creamer
  • Oregano - to taste
  • Red pepper flakes - to taste
  • Garlic powder - to taste for beef and for zucchini
  • Sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add beef and break up into smaller pieces/to your liking. Stir the meat until 90% is browned. Here, add minced and chopped garlic. Continue to stir. Pour in marinara and stir around to coat the ground beef. Mix in your seasonings (red pepper flakes, salt, garlic powder, and oregano) and stir it all in! Let simmer for 15 minutes on medium low heat. After 15 minutes are up, pour in your creamer and parmesan cheese.
  2. Turn oven on to 325 degrees. Rinse and slice your potatoes to 1/4in circles, then cut the slices into quarters. Throw into a bowl and toss with your favorite oil (I like avocado or EVOO). Pour over a pre-greased pan and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 15 minutes on 325 (can lower heat if it's cooking too quick to 300) in middle rack of oven.
  3. Turn another pan onto medium heat with 3 tbsp butter to melt. Place zucchini slices into pan, toss to coat zucchini evenly. Let sauté for 5 minutes, toss again. Cover pan and let sit. Continue to check on zucchini ever 2-3 minutes as it will become translucent fast and start to burn. When most rounds are see-through, add garlic powder and turn down heat to low. Cover and cook for another 5-7 minutes, checking every so often to toss and stir. Once most pieces are tender, turn off flame and plate separate from the bolognese and sweet potato.
  4. Assemble bolognese with sweet potato at bottom, ladle two scoops of bolognese on top, and sprinkle with garnish such as cheese, more grated parm, or leave as is 🙂 Bon Appétit!

Recipe Notes

You do NOT need to add creamer if you don't want to! Please make this recipe your own. Add in different spices like coriander or maybe even cinnamon to give it a different taste. Making dinner for a larger family? Double the recipe (2lbs of meat instead of 1, etc.)

Cassava Flour Chicken Parmigiana

What comes to mind when you think of chicken parmigiana?  The crispy, buttery, breading-coated chicken cutlet, adorned with drool-inspiring fresh mozzarella cheese topped with marinara sauce and draped in basil.  *wipes drool from face*.

This version is a modernized and healthier twist on the classic Chick Parm. It doesn’t have breadcrumbs, it does use loads of butter and avocado oil, and fresh made “summer sauce” like my mom used to make.  It starts with the tomatoes.  I always choose fresh, organic Roma tomatoes to stew down in some oil and garlic, to bring the aromas to life.  They stew for at least an hour to allow for the skins to break away from the meat of the tomato.  I like to add in some chopped basil towards the end of the simmering tomatoes as it adds beautiful aromas and color, as well as basil tastes great so why not?  After a solid 40 minutes of the tomatoes simmering, the skins should be pretty much pulled back and will look like a “sauce” – this is what you want!  This will layer on top of the chicken and mozzarella too.

What I love about using cassava flour is that it is ground yucca root and while it is a bit carb-y, it’s still paleo friendly and digests quicker than other flours and obviously better than using breadcrumbs.  I will always love a good cutlet, but cassava flour really makes the chicken ultra juicy and tender.  My preferred brand of cassava is Otto’s Cassava Flour: I just find it to be super milled and light, it has a very mild taste as well and I like to put the flour in a large mason jar with some dried oregano, rosemary, and parsley to add the “italiano” flavorings (Thank you to my incredible friend and mentor Andrea aka The Enlightened Culinist for showing me how this is done.

*sidenote, if you really want to be uber inspired I recommend going over to her instagram account @theenlightenedculinist for incredible food and her journey*

Battering the chicken with this flour could not be easier as you just filet the breasts (I tend to use Bell and Evan’s organic chicken breasts and filet them to make two from one) and then place them in the flour on a plate.  Let them absorb the flour as much as possible and let them sit for a few minutes.  I usually cut the mozzarella at this time so that once the chicken is done cooking, I can layer the cheese on top and allow it to slowly melt on the chicken, hence the “parmigiana” of the dish.

After the chicken is done, assemble the parm!  First, lay the mozz down, then ladle a generous amount of the summer sauce on top of the chicken.  You can pair this with sautéed zucchini (as pictured) roasted broccoli, cauliflower, pasta even!  I love this dish as it’s so versatile and is done rather quickly.  I’m ready for dinner now…bon appetit!

Cassava Flour Chicken Parmigiana

Cassava Flour Chicken Parmigiana
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 3

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs organic chicken breast
  • 1/2 c cassava flour I like Otto's Cassava Flour --> found on Amazon
  • 1 ball of fresh Mozzarella cheese - sliced
  • 3 tbsp butter more if needed for frying
  • 6-8 organic Roma tomatoes - sliced in four
  • 4 tbsp avocado or coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic - sliced
  • Basil - handful
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Pour oil of choice into a deep frying pan. Turn heat onto medium to let oil heat up. Slice tomatoes into four (oblong shape) and place tomatoes in the pan. Stir tomatoes around until they're nice and coated with oil. Cover and let sit on a medium low flame for 20 minutes. Peel and slice up three cloves of garlic and add the garlic after the tomatoes stew for 20 minutes. Chop and add the basil.
  2. Rinse and filet the chicken breasts so that they are thin. Trim the fat off the breasts. Season the chicken with a generous amount of salt and pepper (I use pink himalayan sea salt and fresh cracked pepper). Pour the cassava flour onto a plate and gently place the chicken breasts one by one into the flour. Turn the chicken over and repeat to other side. Place on separate plate or at one side of the flour plate. Let sit.
  3. Stir and "smash" the tomatoes so they become soft and more like a sauce, the skins should be off the tomatoes at this time. Let sit for another 20minutes and stir occasionally to ensure it does not burn. Add salt if desired.
  4. In a medium fry pan, add the butter and melt over a medium heat. Add two pieces of chicken at a time, 7-8 minutes on each side (you want the chicken to really resemble 'breadcrumbs' so the chicken being a little dark is totally fine.). Repeat for the remaining chicken and place on a dish. Add the sliced mozzarella (one slice per chicken) so it begins to soften.
  5. Ladle the tomato sauce on top of the chicken and serve with your favorite veggie or pasta. Add a little extra basil for garnish if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

I tend to eyeball with measurements so if you need more oil, add more. If you need more butter for frying the chicken, do it.