Tag Archives: italian

Chicken Alfredo

If there’s one thing to know about me, it is that I am not much of a sauce person. I’m not one to order a pasta in a marinara sauce, or make a sauce (although I have a killer red sauce, or gravy, that I should make sometime soon). However, I am a lover of all things cream. I use cream in my coffee in the morning, and if I can make a sauce that incorporates cream (such as a tomato cream sauce) I’ll do it. I figured it was finally time I tried an alfredo sauce.

Alfredo, after speaking with a few colleagues today, is not high on the “Oooh, that’s what I’m craving” list. It tends to be very heavy and laden with sugar and additives. Unfortunately, for things to live on shelves, additives and artificial ingredients are required. What I love about cooking and creating is using fresh ingredients and quality brands. I’ll say time and time again, quality is what matters. I’d rather spend my whole paycheck on items that make me feel good, and brands that stand by their product every single time. To make this alfredo, I used fresh parmesan that I grated (by hand), grass-fed butter, grass-fed cream, sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper. I also added in garlic powder. Simple and quality ingredients to make one decadent and rich (and surprisingly not heavy) sauce.

Let’s talk about the chicken. I took organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs and cut them into smaller chunks. I seasoned with paprika, turmeric (hello anti-inflammatory benefits), sea salt, and garlic powder (I <3 garlic). I let the chicken sit for a while to marinade in the seasoning. The chicken turned a gorgeous golden color as it sat in the spices.

I heated a pan and added olive oil. Layering the chicken into the pan, I set the heat to medium and seared the chicken for several minutes on each side, then quickly tossed each piece around until each piece turned less pink. I poured in chicken bone broth (I love Kettle and Fire) and turned the heat to low. A while ago I purchased these chopped basil cubes by Dorot, and I wanted to use them up so I tossed two of them into the chicken as well. I covered the chicken and let simmer for 35-40 minutes on a low flame, stirring and turning the chicken to be sure it does not stick.

Once the chicken was done cooking, and the alfredo sauce finished thickening, I made the Banza pasta and tossed it altogether in a bowl. I cracked fresh pepper and dried rosemary on top to garnish (even though I should get comfortable using parsley or other garnishes) and it was so delicious. I’m quite proud of how far I’ve come with cooking, and hope you are able to enjoy this meal with family and friends, just like I did! 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.

Brooklyn Eats: Nostro Ristorante

Location: Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn

Cuisine: Napoli-style Italian food; rustic feel; fresh pasta

My husband and I got married in March of 2015. I am a teacher/special education coach and my husband is an accountant, therefore we don’t have many times to go away, let alone a lot vacation like a honeymoon. During this summer in particular, I embarked on a 5-week intensive for an administrative program called LEAP and met some of the most incredible humans that are still my close friends to this day. This only gave us a smaller window for our vacation, August. Where the hell were we going to go in August? Oh wait, Italy sounds like a good idea. We had the time of our lives: eating so much fresh pasta, pizza, drinking loads of vino rosso and enjoying the sights. Our love for Italian cuisine only grew from our 2 weeks of Italian bliss.

Tuscany, Florence

Two years later, our love of Italian food holds strong; it’s probably my go-to when cooking and creating recipes, as well as our order-in cuisine. We stumbled upon a restaurant maybe seven months after it opened, literally up the block from our apartment. We decided to give it a try after hearing raving reviews from our neighbors. We were immediately blown away. Our hearts were singing, our bellies dancing, and quickly became friends with the owner, Romena. Each table is served fresh focaccia bread as guests impatiently wait for their food to be served, and can take in the scenery of the beautiful pictures of Italy around the restaurant.

Since trying this restaurant in 2017, we have gone back more times than we can count, even more so when I “forget to take out chicken to make for dinner.” I have tried almost everything on the menu, and still have more to go. Of course, there are some staples and my favorite items that I’ll share here.

This calamari is some of the crispiest, most delicious serving I have ever had. Ever. Served with cocktail sauce and hot peppers, this is a must as an appetizer. Heck, order two.

Polipo, or Portuguese charred octopus. I must say, I was hesitant when I first ordered, but DAMN does this rock. Tender, juicy, and healthy!

Crostini Burrata: literally heaven on a serving board. Four slices of crostini smothered with pesto, roasted red peppers, topped with the most insanely tasteful burrata. Your taste buds will thank you.

Chicken parmesan: I know, this is nothing fancy; however, this chick parm is cooked to perfection. Tender, perfectly sauced, and oozing with cheese. Pair with pasta, sautéed kale, or with veggies. So. Many. Options.

Fettuccini Amore: Guys, no joke, I ate 3x slower when I had this dish. Squid ink fettuccini tossed with fresh lobster and shrimp, smothered in a pink cream sauce and garlic. MIND BLOWN!

For those who prefer lighter options, like myself 85% of the time, they have delicious vegetable sides, like this mixed veg. Seasonal and available vegetables sautéed in olive oil and garlic, presented in the most precious cup of awesomeness. This actually goes well with anything, so just order it because I say so.

Eggplant parmesan: You can never go wrong with an eggplant parm. Perfectly tender eggplant slices, layered with mozzarella and tomato sauce. It’s on another level. Fo sho.

Phew, now that I am officially starving again, BRB, about to go get me some amore and mixed veg. If you’re in Brooklyn, or even if you’re just looking for quality eats at affordable pricing (also, this place was originally BYOB, but does have wine available too), this is THE place to visit. Buon appetito!

Pesto

Brrrrr, is it cold today in NYC. The wind is howling, the trees look depressed, and my dog had to get a shot. It’s Sunday, and Sunday is for meal prep. I did a lot of cooking, errands, cleaning, food shopping, and prepping foods for my first week on my new reset; I enjoyed every second. Last night, I had a few friends over for a dinner party, and purchased a carton of basil. A concern I have with basil is, it either gets used, or it doesn’t and goes rotten. I am vowing this year to be more cognizant of the foods in our fridge and do weekly “clean out” meals… so tonight is no exception. Hence, the pesto.

Pesto is a blend of herbs, oils, fats, and of course, basil, as it’s principle ingredient. Nowadays, people toy around with varieties of pesto including spinach pesto, kale pesto, walnut asiago pesto; the list is endless. I’m a traditionalist with a lot of recipes (unless I am making things healthier, hence cassava instead of breadcrumb), and pesto is one that I stick to the basics: garlic, basil, olive oil, and grated parmesan cheese.

I have to admit, I’m biased to pesto because I love the color green, and I also really appreciate the taste and aromas of garlic. Garlic is incredibly powerful and nutritious: it helps with heart disease, cholesterol levels, and is a great brain food too! Basil is one of those ingredients you can never go wrong with as well. To start, I pulled apart 3-4 bushels of basil and ripped the leaves into smaller seconds. I placed these pieces into a small food processor. Then I added in the parmesan (I’d say about 1/3 cup of cheese). I pulsed the processor until the cheese and basil combined and became a rice mixture.

Next, I added in the olive oil. BE GENEROUS HERE. First of all, olive oil is one of the most healthiest things to cook with and eat. If you haven’t already, please watch SALT.FAT.ACID.HEAT on Netflix, the FAT episode talks all about olive oil and its properties. I added the oil and blended in the processor until the consistently became smoother. My last step was to add the minced garlic. I used only two cloves and this was plenty. Pulse the mixture again, and you may need to add more cheese, a touch more oil, etc. until the consistency is to your liking. Me? I like pesto be on the thicker, chunkier side.

Pesto is most often tossed with pasta (show here with organic brown rice pasta from Trader Joe’s), but can be added to fish, chicken, on top of lamb skewers, or on bruschetta toast. Enjoy and NOMaste 🙂

Tuscan Chicken with Roasted Red Peppers and Spinach

When you think of creamy, cheesy, rich foods, what comes to mind?  I immediately think of a thick cream sauce or a buttery garlic sauce.  Tuscan chicken does a beautiful job of combining strong ingredients and melding them together to create this perfectly decadent sauce to go atop seared chicken.  Of course, throwing a vegetable in like spinach, basil, and sweet roasted peppers only enhances the dish.  This was my FIRST time making this, and I must say, I can’t wait to try this sauce over other proteins soon!IMG_0380.JPG

In preparing for this meal, I had to really think about what makes a creamy sauce, creamy.  Of course, I immediately jumped to heavy cream and cheese.  This is a very traditional way of making a “tuscan” creamy sauce by combining all the dairy components together, simmering on low, and layering it on top of pan seared chicken.  That is exactly what I did.  I started by taking chicken breasts and seasoning them with a generous amount of salt, pepper, and oregano.  I say generous because when chicken breasts cook, they tend to lose all the tenderness, so over-seasoning can capture the juices and make this particular cut of chicken tender and tasty! I heated a pan and then added in some avocado oil (has a higher smoke point and makes food taste badass) and began to pan sear the chicken.  Each side cooked for approximately 4-5 minutes, the chicken will finish cooking when added to the cream sauce.

For the cream sauce, I started with wilting some fresh spinach in 2 tablespoons of butter.  Once the spinach became soft and dark green, I  poured in the heavy cream and parmesan, stirring and letting the sauce bubble.  Once the liquid started to reduce, I added in sweet roasted red peppers and some sprigs of basil.  I mixed it altogether and sprinkled in n some salt and pepper.  Lastly, I added back the chicken and let the entire dish simmer for a few minutes (around 5-7m).

Served with some mashed potatoes, or homemade fries, maybe some brussel sprouts, and you’ve got yourself an awesome sauce (haha, get it?) meal!  Nomaste 🙂

Tuscan Chicken with Spinach and Roasted Peppers

Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Comfort, Italian
Keyword Chicken, creamy, parmesan, red peppers, spinach, tuscan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg chicken breasts can buy thin sliced already if desired
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan grated
  • 1 pkg fresh spinach
  • basil leaves
  • 2 halves sweet roasted red peppers from a jar, can slice them
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oregano

Instructions

  1. Clean and prep chicken breasts (either filet them or pat dry the already filed breasts).  Season with salt, pepper, oregano on both sides.

  2. Heat a large pan on medium, add avocado oil and let coat bottom of pan.  Add in chicken.  Sear on each side for 4-5 minutes until sides are browned. Taken chicken out and set aside.

  3. In the same pan, add the tbsp of butter and melt.  Add in fresh spinach and cook until leaves are wilted. Pour in heavy cream and parmesan cheese.  Mix together and let come to a gentle boil (soft bubbles form).  Simmer on low.

  4. Add in basil and roasted red peppers.  Stir together.  Place chicken into cream sauce and ladle sauce on top of the chicken.  Let simmer for 5-7 minutes.

  5. Serve with favorite side of potatoes, with rice, or simply roasted veggies.