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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Chicken

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

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

4 servings

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

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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”

2 servings

Ingredients

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

Directions

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 servings

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

Ingredients

1 lb asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon flavored sea salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions

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.

Dinner Menu:

  • Chicken Parmesan
  • Roasted Spaghetti Squash
  • Balsamic Mushrooms and Spinach

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

1 whole spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

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 servings

Ingredients

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

Breadcrumb Coating
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

Directions

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Serves 4

Ingredients

Sauce Mixture
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

Stir-Fry
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

Directions

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”

Serves 4

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.


 

The Mediterranean countries include France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal along the north; Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Israel on the east; and the African countries of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco on the south. The Mediterranean countries utilize many of the same ingredients but each country has a unique way of creating recipes with those same ingredients. So far in this series, I have written about Mediterranean cuisine in general and about the cuisine in the countries of Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. This series continues with the country of Israel.

The Israeli cuisine has many influences and the traditional food, as with most parts of the Mediterranean, is based on plenty of vegetables and legumes. Tahini (chickpea- tahini dip), falafel (chickpea patties), eggplant dips and a variety of salads are always present on the table. Meat is often the main course but the servings are small and fruit is always served for dessert along with some phyllo based sweets.

Israeli cuisine has adopted, and continues to adapt, elements of various styles of Jewish cuisine, particularly the Mizrahi, Sephardic and Ashkenazi styles of cooking. It incorporates many foods traditionally eaten in the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries, such as falafel, hummus, couscous and za’atar. Other influences are the availability of foods common to the Mediterranean region, especially fruits and vegetables, dairy products and fish.

Geography has a large influence on the Israeli cuisine and foods common in the Mediterranean region, such as olives, wheat, chickpeas, dairy products, fish, fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants and zucchini are prominent in Israeli cuisine. There are various climatic areas in Israel. Citrus trees such as orange, lemon and grapefruit thrive on the coastal plain. Figs, pomegranates and olives grow in the cooler hill areas. The subtropical climate near the Sea of Galilee and in the Jordan River Valley is suitable for mangoes, kiwis and bananas, while the temperate climate of the mountains of the Galilee and the Golan is suitable for grapes, apples and cherries.

Israeli eating customs also conform to the wider Mediterranean region, with lunch, rather than dinner, being the focal meal of a regular workday. “Kibbutz foods” have been adopted by many Israelis for their light evening meals as well as breakfasts, and may consist of various types of cheeses, both soft and hard, yogurt, labneh and sour cream, vegetables and salads, olives, hard-boiled eggs, omelets, pickled and smoked herring, a variety of breads and fresh orange juice and coffee.

In addition, Jewish holidays influence the cuisine, with the preparation of traditional foods at holiday times, such as various types of challah (braided bread) for Shabbat and Festivals, jelly doughnuts (sufganiyot) for Hanukkah, the hamantaschen pastry (oznei haman) for Purim, charoset, a type of fruit paste, for Passover and dairy foods for Shavuot. The Shabbat dinner, eaten on Friday, and to a lesser extent the Shabbat lunch, is a significant meal in Israeli homes, together with holiday meals.

Vegetable salads are eaten with most meals, including breakfast, which will usually include eggs, bread and dairy products such as yogurt or cottage cheese. For lunch and dinner, salad may be served as a side dish. Israeli salad is typically made with finely chopped tomatoes and cucumbers dressed in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Variations include the addition of diced red or green bell peppers, grated carrot, finely shredded cabbage or lettuce, sliced radish, fennel, spring onions and chives, chopped parsley, or other herbs and spices such as mint, za’atar and sumac. Tabbouleh (sometimes considered a salad) is traditionally made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, bulgur and onion and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Some Israeli variations of the salad use pomegranate seeds instead of tomatoes.
Sabich salad may include eggplant, boiled eggs, tahini, potato and parsley.

Chili-based hot sauces are prominent in Israeli food and are made from green or red chili peppers. They are served with appetizers, falafel, casseroles and grilled meats and are often blended with hummus and tahini. Although originating primarily from North Africa and Yemenite immigrants, these hot sauces are now widely consumed in Israel.

Couscous, a type of pasta, was brought to Israel by Jews from North Africa. Couscous is used in salads, main courses and even some desserts. As a main course, chicken or lamb are served over couscous and braised vegetables flavored with saffron or turmeric are served on steamed couscous.

Fresh fish is readily available, caught off Israel’s coastal areas of the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Sea of Galilee or raised in ponds on fish farms in Israel. Fresh fish is served whole, in the Mediterranean style, grilled or fried, dressed only with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Chicken is the most widely eaten meat in Israel, followed by turkey. Chicken is prepared in a multitude of ways, from simple oven-roasted chicken to elaborate casseroles with rich sauces, such as date syrup, tomato sauce, etc. Examples include chicken casserole with couscous, inspired by Moroccan Jewish cooking, chicken with olives, a Mediterranean classic and chicken albondigas (meatballs) in tomato sauce, from Jerusalem Sephardic cuisine.

Israel is one of the world’s leading fresh citrus producers and exporters and more than forty types of fruit are grown in Israel, including oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and pomelit, a hybrid of a grapefruit and a pomelo, developed in Israel. Additional fruits grown in Israel include avocados, bananas, apples, cherries, plums, lychees, nectarines, grapes, dates, strawberries, prickly pear (tzabbar), persimmon, loquat (shesek) and pomegranates.

Pita bread is a double-layered flat or pocket bread traditional in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. It is baked plain, or with a topping of sesame or nigella seeds or za’atar, and is used in multiple ways. They are often stuffed with falafel, salads or various meats as a snack or fast food meal. Baklava is a nut-filled phyllo pastry sweetened with syrup and served at celebrations in Jewish communities. It is also often served in restaurants as dessert, along with small cups of Turkish coffee. Kadaif is a pastry made from long thin noodle threads filled with walnuts or pistachios and sweetened with syrup; it is served alongside baklava. Halva is a sweet, made from tahini and sugar, and is popular in Israel.

Israeli Cuisine

Israeli Falafel Balls

Makes about 40 falafel balls

Ingredients

1 lb chickpeas (dried, not cooked)
1 onion
4 garlic cloves
2 bunches of cilantro
1-2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons table salt
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
Canola or corn oil for frying

Directions

Soak the chickpeas in water overnight. Drain.

Grind the chickpeas, onions, garlic and cilantro in a meat grinder. Add the chili, cumin, paprika, coriander, ginger, salt, flour and baking soda and mix well.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or a frying pan to a medium heat.

Form 1” round balls using a special falafel tool (or simply using a spoon or wet hands) and fry until the falafel are golden brown and are cooked through.

Serve in a pita bread with tahini sauce and Israeli salad.

Israeli Salad

Ingredients

2 Kirby or 3 Persian cucumbers, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, veins removed, diced
10 grape tomatoes, quartered, or 1 beefsteak tomato, diced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Fresh cilantro or additional parsley, for garnish (optional)

Directions

Combine cucumbers, bell pepper, tomatoes, lemon juice, oil, parsley, salt and pepper in medium-sized salad bowl and mix well.

Chill for 1 hour.

Just before serving, garnish salad with fresh cilantro or parsley.

Braised Chicken and Vegetables

Ingredients

3 carrots
½ butternut squash
2 zucchini
1 large onion
2 celery stalks
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 chicken drumsticks
2-3 tablespoons paprika
4 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt
Pepper
Water

Directions

Peel and roughly chop the vegetables.

Sauté the vegetables in the oil for a few minutes and then add the chicken, tomato paste and spices.

Add water until the chicken and vegetables are just covered.

Cover the pan and simmer for 1½ hours. Serve over couscous.

Israeli Tahini Cookies

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup tahini

Directions

Preheat oven to 355 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.

Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder together in a large bowl; add butter and tahini and mix until dough is crumbly.

Roll dough into small balls and press each ball into a flattened cookie shape using your palms. Arrange cookies in the prepared baking sheet and press with a fork.

Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake until cookies are golden, about 10 minutes.

Cool cookies on baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


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

Serves 4-8

Ingredients

8 chicken thighs
2 cups flour
1 large egg
½ cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon paprika

Seasoning Mix

2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Cajun spice

Directions

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

Serves 8

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

2 servings

Ingredients

½ pound of thin asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

Chicken Divan

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.

Serves 6

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.



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