LIGHTENED UP CHICKEN FRANCESE (by Skinny Taste)

Yes, still in Aruba folks. We have a few days before our last and final crew come. I’m excited for them to get here. This has been a wonderful vacation. In the mean time, we are taking some down time and hanging out. In the mood to cook, I turned to one of my favorites. This Chicken Francese is amazing. It’s also one of my hubby’s favorites.

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While my husband loves this, he doesn’t like it if  it’s “too lemony”. Don’t get me wrong…..I love the extra lemon. In order to have my francese and eat it too, I had to cut back slightly on the lemon. The sauce turned out richly flavored from the chicken broth, white wine, and butter and enough lemon to please both of us. I added some roasted vegetables to round out our meal.

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The recipe below is the exact recipe by Gina Homolka, author of Skinny Taste. She has three cookbooks out. I own all three of them and use them all the time. She is an amazing cook. All of her recipes are big on flavor and light on calories. Check our her cookbooks and do yourself a favor and look her up @ https://www.skinnytaste.com/

CHICKEN FRANCESE LIGHTENED UP from GINA HOMOLKA @ SKINNY TASTE.COM

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 large (32 oz) chicken breast halves, thinly sliced in 3 (12 cutlets total)
  • 1/4 cup unbleached flour*
  • 1/2 cup egg whites, beaten
  • 1 large lemon, juice of (about 3 tbsp) or more, to taste
  • 1/2 lemon sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 15 oz low sodium chicken broth
  • cooking spray
  • salt and fresh pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the flour in a bowl, and the beaten egg whites in another bowl.
  3. Heat a very large non stick pan over medium heat. When hot spray with cooking spray to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
  4. Lightly flour chicken, then dip in eggs and add to the hot pan a few at a time. Saute chicken 2-3 minutes on each side.
  5. When cooked, transfer onto a plate.
  6. Spray the pan again and repeat until all chicken has been cooked.
  7. Once all chicken is cooked, place the chicken broth in the bowl with 1 tablespoon of flour and whisk.
  8. Add to the pan along with the juice of the lemon, white wine, lemon slices, parsley and butter and simmer over medium heat for about 2 minutes so it reduces slightly and thickens. Turn off heat.
  9. Return chicken to the pan to combine with the sauce.
  10. Serve immediately.

*discarded 1 tbsp flour so only calculated with 3 tbsp.

Note: I used one lemon cut in half. Half for the sliced lemon and the other half to squeeze in the sauce. It was a large lemon.

NUTRITION INFORMATION

Yield: 6 servings, Serving Size: 2 cutlets

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Freestyle Points: 2
  • Points +: 6
  • Calories: 216.5 calories
  • Total Fat: 4.5g
  • Saturated Fat: g
  • Cholesterol: 5mg
  • Sodium: 264.5mg
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Fiber: 0.5g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Protein: 38g
All text ©Gina Homolka for Skinny taste
Til next time,
Ciao xoxo
Viki D
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POTATO, SAUSAGE, & KALE SOUP

Well, another Christmas has come and gone. It is my favorite time of year. I’m always a little sad when it ends. I truly love everything about it.

We had a lot of events to attend this year. My birthday is in December and I got treated to a Transiberian Concert in Hershey, PA.; it was amazing. We always have an annual Christmas party at our house. There is a dirty Santa ornament exchange that can get pretty intense, but lots of fun. There are multiple parties to go to as well. It all happens and ends too fast for me!

We attended our last party on the 23rd at a friend’s house. Lots of great food, including oysters, smoked duck, and all kinds of goodies. My contribution was potato, sausage, and kale soup. I also made some homemade bread. EGG BREAD or CHALLAH

This recipe came about because of a soup my husband had at Olive Garden, Zuppa Toscana. He asked me to come up with a recipe for it; so I did. I have to admit, it went over very well at the party. I was asked to give out the recipe and I’m happy to oblige.

Give this one a try. You’ll be glad you did. If you’re a Weight Watcher this soup comes in at 4 PP per 1 cup serving.

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POTATO, SAUSAGE, AND KALE SOUP

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 oz lean Italian turkey sausage, removed from the casing
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, fine dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 slice bacon, diced
  • 4 C fat-free milk, reserve 1 C to the side
  • 2 C water
  • 2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
  • 8 oz red skin potato, sliced thin (I use a mandolin)
  • 2 C kale, cleaned, medium chop
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Splash of Sherry
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • nutmeg, freshly grated

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a 5-6 quart soup pot brown the turkey sausage, breaking it up as it cooks with a spoon or spatula. Drain and remove it from the pan, and place it on paper towels to remove any excess grease. Wipe the pan with a paper towel.
  2. Add the canola oil to the same pan. Saute the onions and bacon. Cook until the onion is softened and the bacon is cooked.
  3. Add the grated garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute or until the garlic is fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. Pour 3 cups of the milk and 2 cups of water into the pan. Add the chicken bouillon granules and bring to a simmer. (DO NOT BOIL) Add the potatoes and continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. With the remaining cup of flour, add the flour and whisk, set aside.
  6. Add the sausage back to the pot and the kale and continue to simmer another 10 minutes.
  7. Add the milk and flour mixture and continue to cook until it is slightly thickened.
  8. Add the splash of Sherry
  9. Taste and season with salt and pepper
  10. Grate a small amount of fresh nutmeg, be careful not to add too much it can over power your soup. It will enhance the flavor of the kale.
  11. Serve immediately. Very good with some grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Til next time

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

RADISH BROWNS AND OVEN BAKED EGGS

When exploring healthy options and lower carbohydrate recipes I discovered radishes. Yes, that’s correct, radishes.  I only used to use them for color in my fresh salads and a little heated bite. I’ve made radish roses for decoration on a crudite’ plate. I never thought of cooking them and using them as a potato substitute.

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The French use them as a nibble with sweet butter and salt and a nice baguette. Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, has a recipe you can find on the web. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/radishes-with-butter-and-salt-recipe2-1945613. While I like them this way, cooking them has been a revelation.

My dear friend at  http://thecoastalcrushstyle.com/ sent me an article about weight gain. It got me thinking about carbs and how I could eliminate them. The article was actually very good. You should give it a read! Check it out on Instagram. (see references below)

I love hash browns. Who am I kidding; I love potatoes. One of my favorite breakfast meals is a frittata. I use Ore Ida’s Potatoes O’Brien for that dish and it’s amazing. That is actually where I got this idea from. I must admit, it made me very happy this morning.

I took a large bag of radishes and peeled them. Then I boiled them until they were just easily pierced with a knife. I strained them and returned to the hot pan, off the burner so it would help absorb the moisture. Once they were cooled I diced them into a small dice. I added some banana peppers from our garden and a bit of diced onion. So this morning Radish Browns were born.

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You will want to make sure your diced radishes are dry. The drier they are the less time it will take to brown them. Keep an eye on them and turn them several times to prevent burning and sticking. The end result is wonderful.

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I topped mine with some cracked eggs and stuck the pan under the broiler. I broiled it until the egg whites were set and the yolks were still slightly runny. Watch it carefully, it only takes a few seconds. Of course if you don’t like runny eggs, leave it under the broiler until they suit you.

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When radishes are cooked they take on a potato flavor. You can also roast or bake them. It’s one of those vegies that has a surprising flavor when they are prepared differently. Don’t take my word for it; give this one a try!

RADISH BROWNS AND OVEN BAKED EGGS

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 16 oz whole radishes, peeled
  • 4-5 banana peppers, seeded and sliced (can use any type pepper you like)
  • 1/4 medium onion, large dice
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 4 eggs

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Boil the peeled radishes for about 5-8 minutes or until a knife inserted pierces the flesh easily.
  2. Drain and return to the hot pan off the burner to absorb some of the moisture.
  3. Let cool and dice into cubes, as for hash browns.
  4. In a medium skillet that is oven-proof, add the olive oil and heat over med-high heat.
  5. Add the radishes, peppers, and onions and cook until the radishes begin to brown. Turn occasionally so they don’t burn and brown throughout.
  6. Once browned, season with salt and pepper.
  7. Spread the mixture flat and crack 4 eggs in different areas over the top.
  8. Place under the broiler until the eggs are set to the desired doneness.

Note: you can also, whip the eggs and add a bit of milk, and cheese and pour over the top instead of the cracked eggs.

A bit of fresh chopped basil would be good on top with any style egg.

Reference:  http://thecoastalcrushstyle.com/

https://instagram.com/shawnakaminski?utm_source=ig_profile_share&igshid=4mfk6eaf651r

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

 

 

 

FRESH GREEN LIMA BEAN SOUP

It’s Fall! Or is it? Hard to tell with the temperatures we’ve had in Maryland. It’s been in the upper 80’s and severely humid. It’s been a boaters paradise to grab the last moments of summer fun. As for me……it’s just too stinking hot!!!!

I’m ready for sweaters, jeans, and colorful leaves. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s ever going to happen. I know it will and I’m really pushing it. I do every year because I love the cooler months. I am truly a Fall and Winter gal.

It’s getting to be that time of year when I am ready for a change in foods too. Soups and stews are two of our favorites. There is nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of yumminess on a cold day.  I can remember going to my Grandmother Pearls in the fall and winter. She would always have some sort of soup on the wood stove. This was a soup she made all the time. It’s quick and easy and very tasty.

Fresh lima beans have a short season. My grandmother used to get them by the bushels and shell them. She would then freeze them for later use. So if you can’t get fresh lima’s, no worries. Frozen limas are just fine for this. Same goes for the corn, I use frozen all the time.

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A nice complement to this or any soup is cornbread or a buttermilk biscuit. (See the posted link for buttermilk biscuits below). You can add a salad if you like. We usually make the soup our main, but anything goes!

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You can make this on the stove-top or in a crock pot. Either way the taste is great and the soup is very filling. I hope you enjoy it!!

FRESH GREEN LIMA BEAN SOUP

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 40oz. fresh or frozen green lima beans
  • 16 oz frozen corn kernels
  • 2 (15oz) cans of fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 6-8 C of chicken broth (depends on the amount of broth you like)
  • 2 pieces of uncooked center cut bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tsp of sugar (more or less after you taste, it depends on the tomatoes)
  • Fresh ground pepper and kosher salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put the first 5 ingredients into a large stockpot on the stove-top.
  2. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer, stir all together until well combined.
  3. Simmer for at least one hour, 2 hours really brings out the flavor.
  4. Add the sugar and season with salt and pepper to your taste.

To use your crock pot repeat the steps above. Set your pot to low for 4 hours.

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS..and failed fried chicken!

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

 

 

BAKED EGGPLANT STACKS

Everybody in my household loves eggplant Parmigiano. Our local farm stand had some beautiful specimens so I brought one home. While I like Parmigiano, I wanted to do something a little different. Baked eggplant stacks became my focus.

These stacks are stuffed with a whipped goat cheese and topped with a smoky tomato chutney and caramelized onions. I plan on making a tarragon vinaigrette and having a nice bibb lettuce salad to go with it. TARRAGON VINAIGRETTE

I sliced the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. I then set up my dipping stations. One bowl was all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. Next I took two jumbo eggs and some buttermilk and whisked them together. The third bowl was a combination of Italian bread crumbs, panko, and grated parmesan cheese.

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Beginning with the flour I coated both sides of the eggplant slices. Then dipped them into the egg-wash and gently shook off the excess. Last, they were dipped and coated in the crumb mixture. I painted the bottom of a foil lined sheet pan with olive oil, using a brush. The slices were placed on the sheet pan and lightly brushed with olive oil on the top. Baked at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes on each side or until they come out a golden brown on both sides. I set them aside to cool.

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While they were cooling I made my whipped goat cheese. Using a combination of soft goat cheese, 1/3 less fat cream cheese and buttermilk. It was whipped until light and fluffy. I stirred in some chives for extra flavor. Then it was put it in the fridge until time to assemble.

The tomato chutney is cooked on the stove top using a cast iron skillet. When finished cooking I allow it to cool. It then gets stored in a mason jar in the fridge for future use. This chutney is exceptional on lamb burgers and also with eggs.

The caramelized onions were done ahead of time too. Once you have everything prepped the assembly is a piece of cake…..or should I say stack!

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Now all you do is assemble and bake as directed. My mouth is watering just smelling them!

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This might look like a lot of steps but it goes quickly. It is well worth the effort too. One stack is one serving. Have a simple green salad alongside. It’s an excellent meal.

BAKED EGGPLANT STACKS

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Print

FOR THE WHIPPED GOAT CHEESE:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 oz softened goat cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese softened, I use 1/3 less fat
  • 1/4 C non-fat buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives

DIRECTIONS:

With a hand mixer, blend the cheeses together with the buttermilk. Stir in the chives. Put in a container and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

FOR THE CARAMELIZED ONION:

Slice one large onion into half moons. Place in a large skillet over medium-low heat and cover with a lid. DO NOT SEASON THEM YET! Check in 10 minutes and turn. Continue to cover and cook checking often. Once they are golden brown, season with  kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Set aside.

FOR THE CHUTNEY:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of grated garlic
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 t Cajun seasoning
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle chili, diced
  • 1 can, fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • Kosher salt to taste

DIRECTIONS: In a Cast Iron skillet

  1. Heat the skillet over medium-low heat and saute the onion til soft, stir in the grated garlic, do not allow it to burn.
  2. Add smoked paprika, Cajun spice, and the tomato paste. Cook on low until the paste begins to darken, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and chipotle chili and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and cook for 30 minutes stirring frequently.
  4. Remove the cover and simmer until thickened.
  5. Season with salt to taste. Allow to cool. Any unused portion can be put in a jar and kept in the refrigerator up to one month. Set aside.

FOR THE BAKED EGGPLANT:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 T kosher salt
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1/4 C non-fat buttermilk,
  • 1 C Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 C panko
  • 1/2 C freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
  • olive oil in a small dish with a pastry brush

DIRECTIONS:

Set up dredging stations:

Bowl 1: Mix the flour and salt and pepper.

Bowl 2: Beat the eggs together with the buttermilk until light and fluffy.

Bowl 3: Combine the bread crumbs, panko, and the grated Parmigiano.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil and brush over the surface with olive oil.
  3. Beginning with the flour dredge both sides of the eggplant slice.
  4. Dip in the egg mixture to coat both sides, shake lightly to remove excess.
  5. Dredge in the crumb mixture, shake lightly to remove excess.
  6. Place the slice on the greased pan and continue with the rest of the slices.
  7. Using a brush lightly dab the top of the slices with olive oil to assist in browning.
  8. Once complete, place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, remove and turn to the other side and continue to bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.

ASSEMBLY:

  1. Starting with a larger slice, place on a baking sheet, put a dollop of whipped goat cheese on top. Using a slightly smaller slice place on top of the first slice and dollop with another layer of goat cheese. Using a slightly smaller slice than the last, top with a dollop of chutney, and a few of the caramelized onions.  Continue with the rest of your eggplant until all of it is stacked.
  2. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot!

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Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

ORECCHIETTE WITH SAUSAGE & BROCCOLI RABE

Aaahhh…..is there anything better than pasta for dinner? I think not! Know what makes it even better? Homemade sausage made by our friends.

We were recently sent some homemade sausage from our friends in Connecticut. Their son, now an avid hunter, brings home all sorts of game. Our friends, in true Italian fashion, make their own sausage. They shipped it to us along with some other goodies. I can not tell you how excited we were to receive it. Tonight, it became part of our dinner.

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I would like to elaborate just a little bit about their son. An American soldier, he was wounded 2 times in Afghanistan and lucky enough to return home. Unfortunately, he suffered from PTSD, or, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He credits his continued recovery to the love of his wife, family, and now, love of hunting.  He was having difficulty when he returned home, and starting shutting himself away. His wife gave him a compound bow. He said he had no idea what to do with it. His wife said “you’re a soldier, you should know what to do.” With that, he started taking walks in the woods and began hunting.  He commented “hunting saved my life. It has such an impact on the human spirit.”

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I personally thank God every day for our military. I thank the military for my freedom. I thank him and his family for the wonderful sausage. This is a very special meal for the Del Grosso household tonight. We send a special prayer and a salute to all those who serve and protect. May God bless and keep all of you!

While I can’t share the sausage with you; I can share the recipe. You can use any type of Italian sausage that you like. Typically I would have used a lean Italian  turkey sausage. If you have a favorite then use that. Whatever type of sausage you use, this dish will be wonderful.

Orecchiette is pasta. It’s name means little ear and is indeed shaped like an ear. It is pretty easy to find in most groceries. You can find it online at Amazon.com. If you are lucky enough to have an Italian market they will have it.

Broccoli rabe is also called rapini. Broccoli rabe has a slightly bitter taste. The crowns, leaves, and stems are all edible. It is in the same family as the turnip. If you can’t find broccoli rabe you can use kale. Remove the leaves and discard the stems. Cook it as instructed for the broccoli rabe.

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ORECCHIETTE WITH SAUSAGE AND BROCCOLI RABE

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large bunch of broccoli rabe, washed and 2″ trimmed off the stems
  • 1 lb lean Italian sausage, removed from casing (your favorite brand)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 oz orecchiette
  • 1 cup fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut the washed broccoli rabe in quarters. Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Add the broccoli rabe and let cook for 1 1/2 minutes, remove to the side with a slotted spoon. DO NOT DUMP THE WATER.
  2. Bring the water back to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. (Al-dente works well here, about 8-9 minutes) Drain.
  3. In a large deep saute’ pan, brown the sausage on medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces. When completely cooked remove and set to the side.
  4. Add olive oil to the pan and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant, DO NOT BURN! This step will take seconds.
  5. Return the broccoli rabe to the pan, mixing well with the garlic and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 1 minute.
  6. Return the sausage to the pan and mix well.
  7. Add the drained pasta to the broccoli rabe and sausage. Reduce the heat and stir for about 30 seconds.
  8. Add the chicken broth, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes (if using). Adjust the salt and pepper and toss another minute so that everything is mixed well and coated in the sauce.
  9. Remove from the heat and divide into 6 pasta bowls.

Additional grated cheese can be added if desired.

Til next time

Ciao xoxo

Photo courtesy of: Barbara Migliaro

Photography: Joseph and Vickie Del Grosso