Chicken With Lemon And Capers

This is one of my go-to meals. I served this chicken the other night with whipped potatoes and an arugula salad. It’s a great way to stretch out your chicken. I usually buy my chicken in bulk and freeze it in meal size portions. I had 2 thick chicken breasts, so I sliced them in half lengthwise to make 4 thinner breast pieces. They’re easier to cut if they’re still a bit frozen in the center (of course you can always buy the thin cutlet pieces to save a step). Pound each piece out so they are about 1/8 inch thick. This helps them brown evenly. Just place each breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound away. Once they’re all finished, set them aside on a plate.

I always set up my breading station before I start cooking, because the process all comes together quickly once you start cooking the chicken. Crack the egg and whisk with 1 tbsp warm water. This keeps the breading from being too eggy. In another bowl, combine both breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. I use two different kinds of breadcrumbs because the regular crumbs coat well, and the panko add nice texture. Mix well with your fingers.

Next, combine the chicken broth, lemon juice, and capers in a glass measuring pitcher. Now the sauce is ready to go as soon as the chicken is finished cooking. Set up the breading station right by the skillet so it’s easy to keep the process moving.

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook chicken, 2 pieces at a time, until browned on both sides and cooked through the center (Add more oil to cook the second batch).

Set chicken aside and tent with foil to keep warm. Time for the sauce! Lower the heat to medium and pour the liquid mixture into the saucepan to deglaze the pan. Scrape up any brown bits with a wooden spoon. Slowly sprinkle in the flour while whisking so no lumps form. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce is thickened. The longer it simmers, the thicker it will get. Plate the chicken and drizzle the sauce on top. Sprinkle with fresh parsley for a pop of color. Enjoy! 

Chicken With Lemon and Capers

Serves 4

2 chicken breasts (or 4 thin cutlets)

1 egg

1 Tbsp warm water

½ cup fine breadcrumbs

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

zest of 1 lemon

1 ½ cups chicken broth

juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp capers

2 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp fresh parsley

Use a serrated knife to slice chicken breasts in half lengthwise. You should have 4 chicken breast pieces. Layer each piece of chicken between plastic wrap and set on a cutting board. Pound each piece out to about 1/8 in thick. Set them aside. In the meantime, set up the breading station. Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk with 1 Tbsp warm water. In a separate bowl combine breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Next, prepare the sauce mixture. Pour chicken broth, lemon juice, and capers into a glass measuring pitcher.

Once everything is ready, heat a large saucepan to medium-high. Coat the bottom with a thin layer of olive oil (about 2 tbsp). Use tongs to dip the chicken into the egg and then the bread mixture. Place chicken into your saucepan. You may have to cook the chicken in 2 batches. Cook until brown on both sides and cooked through the center.

Once chicken is cooked through, move to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Pour the chicken broth mixture into the saucepan to deglaze the pan. Scrape with a wooden spoon to get the brown bits off the bottom. Lower the heat to medium. Slowly add flour to the saucepan, whisking constantly until dissolved. Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Simmer about 10-15 minutes until sauce is thick. Plate the chicken and top with sauce. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

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Café Borgia

I grew up in a small town in NJ, and there was this amazing whole in the wall coffee shop. My mom and I would go there together all the time. My favorite drink was their Café Borgia. It had espresso, milk, orange, and cocoa. It was amazing! I decided I would try to recreate this to enjoy at home! Stew was my guinea pig. We had this on a chilly rainy afternoon. It came out so delicious that I had to share! We used an espresso machine to froth the milk, but if you don’t have one, no biggy! Just whisk the milk on the stove to dissolve the Nutella. It will be just as delicious! Hope you enjoy.

Orange Mocha Latte-serves 2

1 cup strong coffee

1 cup 2% milk frothed

1 Tbsp Nutella

2 tsp orange zest

whipped cream

chocolate shavings

Brew one cup of strong coffee (I use 1 cup water with 2 tbsp coffee grinds). In the meantime, froth your milk in an espresso machine. When the milk starts to heat up, turn off the machine and whisk in 1 Tbsp Nutella. Continue to froth until the milk is foamed on top. If you don’t have an espresso maker, heat the milk over the stove and whisk in 1 Tbsp Nutella until dissolved. Set a few pieces of orange zest aside to use as garnish. Divide the remaining zest into two glasses. Pour ½ cup coffee into each glass. Then top each with ½ cup milk and spoon the froth on top. Top with whipped cream, reserved zest, and chocolate shavings.

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Nest Eggs

Nest Eggs are one of my favorite breakfast dishes. They brings back memories of when I was a kid. This was my dad’s specialty. It was the only breakfast he knew how to make. It’s so simple, yet so delicious! Start off by buttering two slices of whole wheat bread on both sides. You can change up the bread if you’d like. You can even use rice bread and make it gluten free. I use my coconut butter instead of regular butter, but you can use any butter you’d like. Then take a glass and cut circles into each slice of bread. These are your “nests”.

Crack one egg into a glass measuring cup with a spout. The spout makes it easier to pour into your “nest”. Heat your skillet to medium low and grease with coconut butter. Place your “nests” and bread circles into the skillet. Pour the first egg into the nest and then crack your second egg and pour into your second nest. Sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper. Once the white part of the egg sets, flip your nests and the bread circles. Cook until eggs are done but the yolks are still runny. Cook the rounds until they are crisp.

The bread circles are used for dipping into your egg. Once those are all used up, cut into the nest. It’s a delicious mix of egg, bread, and salt. The flavors blend perfectly together! 

 

Nest Egg –Serves 1

2 pieces whole wheat bread

2 eggs

coconut butter

salt

pepper

Spread coconut butter or regular butter evenly on both sides of the bread slices. Use a glass with a diameter smaller than your bread slice to cut rounds into each slice. This is your “nest”. Heat your skillet to medium low. Grease the pan lightly with coconut butter. Place the nests into the pan, along with the two bread rounds. Crack one egg at a time into a small bowl or measuring glass with a spout. Pour each egg into the center of the “nests”. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper. Cook until the white of the egg starts to set. Flip and cook until the yolk is runny.  Flip the two rounds to brown on the other side.  Use the rounds to dip into the yolk. Enjoy!

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Mexican Salad

I started a supper club with some of my close friends a few months back. Us girls used to teach elementary school together. We’ve all gone our separate ways but still have so much fun together. It’s nice to get together once a month and catch up. Our husbands even hit it off. How perfect!

Each month there is a theme set by the host. They are in charge of making a main coarse.  Not only does the food fit the theme, but our outfits do too! It’s a good thing our husbands get along; otherwise they wouldn’t agree to dress up for some of these themes! The other couples are responsible for a side, a dessert, and a drink. So this month we were in charge of the side. The theme was Snowed In and the main coarse was white chicken chile with corn bread. My challenge was making a side that went along with the main coarse. Chile’s one of those meals that can stand alone. So I thought a nice fresh salad to highlight the flavors in the chile would do the trick!

I used a bowl that’s pretty flat because all of the toppings are layered in strips over the lettuce. The best part of this salad is the presentation. Simple ingredients are transformed into a thing of beauty. I started by making my own corn and black bean relish. It couldn’t be easier. You add corn, black beans, red onion, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lime juice into a bowl and mix it up. You’ll have left overs, which is a good thing. You can put it on chips, in quesadillas, even in eggs!

The dressing I made can really be used on any salad, but it’s perfect with this one. The cider vinegar makes it crisp, while the chile in adobo gives it a smoky and spicy kick. You can add more or less chile depending on your taste. Put all the ingredients in a jar and shake it up. 

As for the salad, layer the toppings in three sections: avocado, tomatoes, and corn & black bean relish. I top with some chopped parsley. The colors are incredible. Taking the time to prepare your food makes it so much more fun to eat. After all, we do eat with our eyes first!

Chile Dressing

3 tbsp cider vinegar

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp chopped parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

½ chipotle chile in adobo, minced

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined.

Corn and Black Bean Relish

11 oz frozen corn, thawed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ red onion, diced

2 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt

pepper

Thaw frozen corn and drain excess water. Dice the red onion. In a bowl combine all ingredients and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mexican Salad

Serves 8

1 head iceberg lettuce

2 avocados

1 cup corn and black bean relish

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

3 scallions

lime wedges for garnish

Rinse and dry iceberg lettuce. Dice lettuce into small chunks. Layer lettuce in the bottom of a large bowl or serving dish. The toppings will cover the lettuce in three sections. Halve the avocados and remove pits. Score the avocado, just to the skin, into bite-sized pieces with a knife. Then, using a spoon, scoop avocado pieces out onto the first section of the lettuce. Halve cherry tomatoes and dice scallions. Combine the two in a separate bowl. Pour mixture down the center of the lettuce. Finally, spoon the corn and black bean relish over the last section of the lettuce. Place some lime wedges around the edges. Pour the salad dressing over and mix well. Enjoy!

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Chai Tea

I remember when chai was the new thing. I was never a big fan. I guess I had to make it myself to fall in love. I love drinking tea, but this mixture of tea, almond milk, and spices just calms every nerve in my body! It’s perfect on a chilly winter night when you’re snuggled up on the couch! It’s also great poured over a glass of ice in the summer! Enjoy.

Chai Tea LatteServes 1

1/2 cup water

1 black teabag

3/4  cups almond milk

1/4 tsp ground clove

1/4 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cinammon stick

2 tsp maple syrup

whipped topping (optional)

Combine almond milk and spices in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and turn off the heat. Let the spices steep, covered, in the milk for 5 minutes. In the meantime, boil the water and pour over teabag. Let sit for 5 minutes and discard teabag. Fill mug halfway with tea. Pour milk mixture through a mesh sieve. Fill the mug with the milk and spice mixture. Stir in the maple syrup. Top with whipped topping and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Use the cinnamon stick as stirrer.

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Veggie Wrap

This is one of those “use up what’s left before it goes bad” meals. I made it as a quick lunch, and it was absolutely delicious! I had some collard green leaves which are perfect for wraps! I hold the thick stem with one hand and pull the leaf away. Only pull the thick part away, otherwise you won’t have a wrap. The bottom half will have a gap where the stem was. Set the leaf down with the short side facing you. Put a handful of arugula on the half without the gap. Then pile on the avocado, mango, and red pepper. Drizzle some lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper over the top. Then fold the two short sides over the vegetables. Start with the long end and roll, just like a wrap. Cut in half on an angle and serve seam side down. 

Veggie WrapMakes 2 rolls 

2 collard green leaves, stems removed

1/2 cup arugula

1/2 avocado, sliced on a bias

1/2 mango, sliced thin

1/2 red pepper, sliced thin

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

salt

pepper

Fold the collard green leaves in half and gently tear the large fibrous part of the stem out. Leave about 3/4 of the stem in tact so you create a bed for the vegetables. Lay the leaves down with the short side facing you. Place half of the arugula, avocado, mango, and pepper on each leaf. In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice and olive oil. Drizzle the mixture over each leaf. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tuck the shorter sides over the vegetables. Begin rolling starting with the longer end. Cut on a diagonal and serve seam side down. Enjoy!

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Granola

This is a staple in my house. It’s so incredibly easy to make. I don’t even know why I buy cereal! Just throw all of the ingredients into the bowl of your mixer and mix it on low until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Using a standing mixer is key because it evens out the flavors. 

I love to have it as cereal or with yogurt and fresh fruit in a parfait. It’s especially good right out of the oven! Enjoy! 

Granola-4-6 servings 

2 cups quick cooking oats

1 cup mixed nuts, chopped (I used almonds and pecans)

1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, pomegranate, raisons, etc)

pinch salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ cup sweetened condensed milk

2 tbsp honey

¼ cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all the ingredients in your mixing bowl and mix on low until combined. Turn mixture out onto a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Mix with a spatula halfway through to keep edges from burning.

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Green Juice

I made this juice on New Year’s Day. What a way to start the New Year! 

Green Juice-makes 7 cups

2 handfuls spinach

7 granny smith apples

5 carrots

1 bunch celery

2 cucumber

3 limes

In your juicer, press spinach leaves into the feed tube. Then, using celery sticks, press the spinach through the juicer. I usually do the greens followed by a watery fruit. That helps all the greens get through the juicer. Then run the rest of the vegetables and fruit, except for the lime, through the juicer. Pour into a pitcher. Squeeze the juice of 3 limes into the pitcher and stir. Keep it in a glass container covered in the fridge. The longer it sits, the more nutrients it loses. Drink within 72 hours.

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Sausage Tortellini Soup

This is one of Stew’s favorites. I love the flavor of the hot Italian turkey sausage. It’s less greasy than pork and it adds great flavor! 

I wait to add the zucchini and tomato until after the sausage cooks, because if you add it too early, it turns to mush. They only need to sauté for a few minutes, because when you simmer them with the broth they continue to cook.

Add the tomato sauce and broth and let the soup simmer, covered, for at least 20 minutes. The longer it sits, the more the flavors marry. Taste to see if you need more salt. I added a few teaspoons. It’s a big pot of soup!

I time it so I start cooking the tortellini when the soup is just about ready to serve. They only cook for about 7 minutes. Another trick is to add the tortellini to each bowl, rather than the large pot. When the tortellini sit in the broth, especially if you have left overs, they absorb the liquid and get really big! Top with a touch of parmesan right before serving! Perfect for a cool winter night.

Sausage Tortellini Soup

Serves 6-8

3 links hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed

½ yellow onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

8 oz can tomato sauce

4 cups vegetable broth

8 oz package whole-wheat cheese tortellini

2 tbsp dried Italian herbs

salt

pepper

grated parmesan for garnish

In a dutch oven or large pot, sauté onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. In the meantime, remove the casings from the sausage. Put them in the pot and break up with a spatula. Keep breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks, about 10 minutes. Once the sausage is cooked, add the tomatoes and zucchini. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian herbs. Sauté for another 5 minutes until vegetables start to soften. Add the tomato sauce and vegetable broth. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. In the meantime, cook the tortellini according to the package instructions. Ladle the soup into bowls and add tortellini to each bowl. Top with grated parmesan cheese.

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Chocolate Avocado Pudding

I know you’re thinking, “avocado??” but you wouldn’t know if I didn’t tell you! Avocado is one of those amazing healthy fats. It’s packed with omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, potassium, and folic acid. It also doesn’t have a strong flavor, so you can mask it with other ingredients. This is the perfect way to get more of this super fruit into your body! 

I definitely recommend a vitamix for this since you can use the tamper to press the food down while mixing. If you are using another high speed blender, just pause and use a spatula to scrape down the sides. You also may need a bit more liquid in another blender to keep it moving. 

It comes out looking silky and smooth like this  Looks good doesn’t it!? It tastes just as good! Make sure to taste it before you dish it out so you know if you need to adjust anything. Guilt free and delicious! 

Chocolate Avocado Pudding-Serves 4

2 ripe avocados

¼ cup cocoa powder

pinch salt

tsp vanilla extract

1 cup agave nectar

2 tbsp maple syrup

½ cup water

2 tbsp coconut oil warmed to liquid

Put all ingredients, except coconut oil, into a high speed or Vitamix blender. Blend on high until smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides. While blending, stream in coconut oil to emulsify. Pour into serving glasses and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

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