This easy, oven bake makes a wonderful, flavorful dinner with plenty extra for leftovers. I only use the breasts, thighs and chicken legs in this recipe. I also cut the breasts in half. The rest of the chicken parts are used for soup stock. If you would like to use the entire chicken for this recipe, then cut it into 12 pieces.
Chicken and Sausage Bake
One whole chicken (about 4 lbs) cut into 8 pieces
1 ½ bs sweet Italian pork sausage cut into 3 inch lengths
Two medium sweet onions, cut into eighths
6 mini bell peppers, seeded and cut in half
½ cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt & coarse black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange the chicken pieces and sausage in an oiled oven-proof casserole dish. Sprinkle all the chicken pieces with sea salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the garlic over all the sausage and chicken. Add the onions and peppers.
Sprinkle the Italian seasoning and red pepper over all the vegetables, chicken and sausage. Drizzle with the olive oil.
In one corner of the baking dish, pour in the chicken broth.
Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook an additional 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve with Italian bread.
Tomato Feta Salad
Don’t forget to let the salad marinate. It will develop great flavor.
1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped sweet onion
4 diced plum tomatoes or a pint of multi-colored grape tomatoes, halved
¼ cup kalamata olives, cut in half
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup cubed feta cheese
In a serving bowl, combine the vinegar, basil and salt. Add onion; toss to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, oil and feta cheese; toss to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for one hour. Serve with a slotted spoon.
My market had chicken cutlets on sale this week, so I took advantage of this sale. Several went into the freezer and dinner that night would be chicken cutlets. I wanted to make something a little different this time and decided on making some type of stuffing. Being economical, I looked to see what was hanging out in the refrigerator and found several slices of prosciutto and a package of Italian Fontina cheese. So that is how my Italian Codon Bleu happened. My husband liked it so much better than the ham and cheese version. Give it a try. You can substitute cooked pasta for the zucchini noodles if you like, but we are trying to each a few less carbs these days and zucchini is a great substitute. Give these recipes a try.
Italian Chicken “Cordon Bleu”
Two 5 oz boneless chicken cutlets
4 slices prosciutto
2 slices Italian Fontina cheese, cut to fit the width of the chicken
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper, divided
2 thin pats of butter
Place the cutlets between pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly to even out their thickness.
Fit one slice of prosciutto over each cutlet. follow with a slice of cheese and then another slice of prosciutto on each cutlet.
Sprinkle each with 1/4 teaspoon marjoram and black pepper.
Roll the shirt sides in over the edges of the prosciutto and roll up the cutlets from the long side. Secure the rolls with several pieces of kitchen string.
Place the rolls in a small baking dish and place a thin pat of butter on top of each roll.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 20 minutes or until the chicken registers 160 degree F on an instant read thermometer.
Serve the chicken rolls on top of the creamy zoodles or cooked pasta.
“Zoodles” In Garlic Butter Cream Sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons salted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or basil
2 small thin zucchini or use cooked pasta
Spiralize the zucchini and place the zoodles on a paper towels to dry a bit.
In a medium skillet, heat the butter and garlic. Add the red pepper and salt. Cook until the garlic softens.
Add the heavy cream, whisk to combine. Once the cream is hot, add the zucchini and stir for several minutes to coat the zoodles in sauce and get them hot.
Add the parsley and remove from the heat.
Lemon Roasted Asparagus
This recipe makes 3-4 servings. I like to make extra because the leftover cooked asparagus are delicious in an omelet the next day.
1 lb asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon flavored sea salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Trim the woody ends from the asparagus spears and place them in a baking dish. Pour the olive oil over the asparagus and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
Bake the asparagus with the chicken rolls. they will both be ready about the same time.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and sprinkle the asparagus with lemon zest. Serve with chicken rolls.
Trying to get back in shape after the holidays or just wanting to eat more healthy foods in the new year, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice eating some of your favorites – especially Italian – a high carb cuisine. I have a few suggestions on how to make your recipes lower in carbs and gluten-free.
Change the coating on your food to a low carb.
Bake your food in the oven instead of frying.
Substitute low carb vegetables for high carb vegetables.
Make your own sauces, so you can control the ingredients, especially sugar.
Low Carb Coatings For Meat And Fish
“Panko” Style Coating
Toast several slices of low carb (or gluten-free) bread. Cut the bread into smaller pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor. Process until coarse crumbs form. Add spices according to the type of food you are making and use to bread your ingredients.
Almond Flour Coating
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup finely ground almond flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Combine all the ingredients in a shallow bowl and use in place of breadcrumbs.
Whey Protein Powder (unflavored) – what you use to make smoothies.
Pure whey protein powder is a dairy product and is completely gluten-free. However, commercially sold whey powders vary widely in what they contain, and some varieties do contain traces of gluten. So check the ingredient list.
Use in place of flour when you need a flour coating. Add spices, salt and pepper.
- Chicken Parmesan
- Roasted Spaghetti Squash
- Balsamic Mushrooms and Spinach
Roasted Spaghetti Squash
1 whole spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Wash the skin of the squash with warm water and dry with a towel. Pierce the squash in several places with a sharp, thin knife.
Rub the skin with olive oil and place in a shallow baking dish lined with heavy-duty foil.
Bake for about 60 minutes until you can pierce the skin and flesh underneath easily with a paring knife. Let cool for a few minutes before you cut into it.
Turn the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare the chicken and place it in the oven.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds in the middle with a big spoon and discard.
Then, using a fork scrape out the flesh. It will look like spaghetti strands. Place a serving on each dish and season with salt and pepper.
Healthy Parmesan Chicken
2 boneless chicken breast cutlets
1 1/2 cups homemade marinara sauce, warmed
1/4 cup refrigerated egg substitute (egg whites) or 1 egg beaten with a little water
1/4 cup unflavored whey protein powder
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup low carb “panko” style breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb seasoning
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon. smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
The oven should be heated to 400 degrees F. Oil an 8″x 8″ glass baking pan.
Pound chicken breasts gently between sheets of plastic wrap with a meat mallet to even out their thickness.
Combine the breadcrumb coating ingredients in a shallow dish
Add salt and pepper to the protein powder and lightly coat the chicken with it.
Next, dip the cutlets in the egg substitute and then in breadcrumb mixture, coating them well.
Place the breaded cutlets in the prepared baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes. Top each cutlet with sauce and then shredded mozzarella.
Bake for another 10 minutes until the chicken is 160 degrees F when checked with a meat thermometer and the cheese is melted.
Place a cutlet with sauce on top of the spaghetti squash.
Balsamic Mushrooms and Spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
10 ounces clean fresh spinach, roughly chopped or frozen and defrosted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic and mushrooms in the oil, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the spinach, and cook, stirring constantly for a few minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the vinegar. Serve hot.
Some of my fresh Florida produce made it into an Asian dish as well. I experimented with a few different flavorings and this recipe turned out well. If you are watching your carb intake make the cauliflower version of the rice and, if not, just use your leftover regular rice.
Szechuan Chicken Stir-Fry
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon chile paste (such as sambal oelek)
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cooked (poached) chicken breasts, shredded
Half of a large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
1 cup diagonally cut snow peas
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup (1-inch) slices green onion
Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside
Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peanut oil; swirl.
Add bell peppers and broccoli and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add the next 4 ingredients (through garlic); stir-fry 1 minute. Add the shredded chicken, stir-fry 1 minute.
Add the sauce mixture; cook 30 seconds or until thickened. Add the green onions. Cook until heated through. Serve with the Cauliflower Rice dish or regular rice.
Asian Flavored Cauliflower “Rice”
10 oz pkg frozen cauliflower rice, defrosted or use the same amount of regular leftover cooked rice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced ginger
Let the riced cauliflower drain in a colander for about 30 minute. Then place it on a paper towel.
In a wide-bottom skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute.
Add the cauliflower rice. Stir-fry until the grains are dry and begin to crisp.
Stir in the rice vinegar, soy sauce and ginger. Stir-fry for another minute or two. Serve with the chicken.
Pop all the dishes in the oven and dinner will be served. While dinner is baking in the oven, you can do something else during this busy season. I like this kind of meal where all the pots can go in the dishwasher. Besides fried chicken is one of my favorites. I always make extra so there are leftovers for lunch.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Oven Fried Chicken
8 chicken thighs
2 cups flour
1 large egg
½ cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Cajun spice
Use a baking sheet with a rack on top. Brush some butter on the rack so the chicken won’t stick.
In a small bowl, mix together all the seasoning ingredients except for the paprika and then divide in half. Dry the chicken thighs with paper towels.
Add the paprika to one half of the seasoning and mix this well into the chicken pieces. Set aside. Can be done early in the day and refrigerate until cooking time.
Take the other half of the seasoning and mix with the flour in a shallow bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg and milk.
Taking one chicken piece at a time, dip in the egg and milk mixture and coat in the flour mixture and set on a plate. Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes.
Coat each chicken piece in the flour again (not the egg) and place on the baking rack.
Drizzle the melted butter over all the chicken pieces.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the chicken pieces are brown and cooked through.
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
8 oz elbow macaroni, cooked al dente and drained
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons flour or cornstarch/arrowroot
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon yellow mustard powder
8 oz 2% milk Velveeta cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Grease an 8×12 inch or 7×11 inch baking dish.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard until smooth and then gradually whisk in the milk. Cook until thickened.
Add salt, pepper and Velveeta. Lower the heat and stir until the cheese melts. Turn off the heat and stir in the cooked macaroni.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the top with the cheddar. The casserole can be refrigerated if you are not ready to bake.
Bring to room temperature when ready to bake.
Place the casserole in the oven with the chicken, after the chicken has cooked for 25 minutes. The macaroni and cheese will be ready after 20 minutes of baking.
Oven Baked Asparagus
½ pound of thin asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Grease an 8 inch baking dish or a dish that will fit the asparagus in a single layer.
Place the asparagus in the dish and drizzle with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place the asparagus in the oven after the chicken has cooked for 25 minutes. Cook for 20 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and drizzle with the lemon juice.
Are any of you old enough to remember Chicken a la King, Tuna Noodle Casserole, Tunnel of Fudge Cake or Beef Wellington? All popular recipes from the past. I thought I would have a little fun this week and cook up some of these old timers.
Holiday Cheese Balls
The cheese ball is an American party food classic that takes you back to the 1960’s. A cheese ball is the kind of thing you can easily adapt by using your favorite cheeses, herbs and seasonings. Here is the classic recipe.
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 finely chopped green onion
1 teaspoon (Tabasco) hot sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 roasted and chopped pecans
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
A few dashes paprika
With a hand beater, combine the cream cheese with the next 5 ingredients ( lemon juice) in a mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.
Refrigerate the mixture overnight. The next day, stir together nuts, parsley and paprika in a large bowl.
Shape the cheese mixture into two balls and roll each in the nut blend to coat completely.
Serve at room temperature with crackers.
Old Fashioned Creamy Tomato Soup
Yes, before the canned version. Don’t forget to have it with a grilled cheese sandwich.
1/4 cup salted butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped carrot
Two 26-28 oz. containers finely chopped tomatoes (undrained)
2 cups vegetable stock
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, heat the butter and cook the onion, celery and carrot in the butter for 2-3 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients except the cream.
Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove the pot from the heat and puree the mixture with a hand immersion blender.
Add cream and black pepper. Return the pot to very low heat and warm gently. Do not let the soup boil.
A chicken casserole dish with broccoli and cheese sauce from the 1950’s that was usually reserved for company dinners. Chicken Divan was the signature dish of aNew York restaurant, the Divan Parisienne. In English, the word “divan” came to mean sofa, from the council chamber’s benches. The owners of the New York restaurant thought it a fitting name for this dish.
2 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb.)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head broccoli, stems removed and florets cut in half
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup half & half
3 tablespoon sherry
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool slightly.
Cut the chicken into four equal sizes and set aside.
Place the broccoli into a large pot, cover with salted water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until barely tender, 2–3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rub the inside of a deep 2-quart casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter; set aside.
Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Gradually pour in stock and half & half while whisking constantly. Cook until very thick, about 10 minutes.
Add salt and pepper, sherry, nutmeg, and 1⁄4 cup of the cheese; stir until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Remove cheese sauce from the heat and let cool slightly.
Arrange the broccoli in the prepared dish in a single layer and sprinkle with the remaining 1⁄4 cup cheese. Arrange chicken evenly over the top.
Pour the white sauce over the chicken. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes.