Zucchini Parmesan (low fat)

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Adapted from NYT Cooking.

This is a delicious dish that will make a zucchini lover out of anyone. Serve alongside pasta to make it a complete meal.

Ingredients

For the Sauce

  • 1-28 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes (preferably SM brand pictured below)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

For the Zucchini

  • 2 to 2¼ pounds zucchini
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

For the sauce:

  1. To make tomato sauce, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute, and add tomatoes, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and basil sprigs. Increase heat to medium-high. When tomatoes are bubbling briskly, stir and simmer about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in basil.

For the zucchini

  1. Heat oven to 475 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment.
  2. Trim ends off zucchini and cut in half crosswise, then into lengthwise slices, about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick.
  3. Place sliced zucchini in a bowl and toss with olive oil.
  4. Arrange zucchini slices on baking sheets in one layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast for 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the underside and tender (it’s ok if it doesn’t get browned).
  6. Remove zucchini from oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees.

To assemble:

  1. Spread 1/4 cup tomato sauce over bottom of dish.
  2. Arrange a third of the zucchini in an even layer over tomato sauce.
  3. Spoon a third of remaining sauce over zucchini.
  4. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  5. Repeat with 2 more layers, ending with 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  6. Drizzle on little bit of olive oil. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until bubbling and browned on the top and edges.
  7. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
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This is my favorite brand for canned tomatoes

Soba Noodles with Swiss Chard

This is a simple, nutritions, and surprisingly delicious dish that comes together in about 10 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 2 servings Soba noodles, 110g (I like Eden Organic)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 large clove garlic, sliced or minced
  • 1 medium bunch Swiss Chard, stems removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Chicken (or vegetable flavor)
  • Freshly cracked pepper 
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

Directions

  1. Cook soba noodles according to package.
  2. Drain the soba noodles, reserving a little cooking water.
  3. Optional: Stir the noodles with a little butter and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a little oil or butter in a large saucepan or pot.
  5. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook until fragrant.
  6. Add bouillon and 1/4 water; stir.
  7. Add chard and cook until soft and wilted, approximately 5 minutes.
  8. Add the chard and soy sauce to the noodles and toss well. If the noodles seem dry, add a little bit of the reserved cooking liquid.


Whole Wheat Orzo Risotto with Shrimp and Artichoke Hearts (low-fat)

Inspired by Ellie Krieger’s Herbed Salmon and Orzo Casserole with Feta. I love the way she cooks the orzo in minimal liquid. It adds a yummy creaminess.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 (12oz) package frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 3/4 cups water or broth
  • 12 large raw shrimp (21-30 count)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups greens (kale, Swiss chard, spinach)
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Spices – Whatever you like -I like to use lemon pepper, celery salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided), more for drizzling 
  • Parmesan or feta cheese for serving

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Place fresh or frozen shrimp in a single layer. Sprinkle each piece with preferred spices.
  3. Cook for a minute or two and then flip the shrimp. Cook on the second side until pink and no longer translucent. Remove to serving plate.
  4. To the skillet, add another tablespoon of olive oil, garlic and artichoke hearts and cook for a minute or two until artichokes are slightly browned.
  5. Add the orzo, water/broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer; cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove lid and stir; continue to cook 3 more minutes or until tender and all liquid is absorbed. If the orzo is still firm, add a bit more water and cook until tender.
  7. Turn off the heat, stir in greens and a squeeze some lemon juice. Toss until the greens are wilted. Remove from heat.
  8. Stir in the shrimp to heat them up a bit, and serve.
  9. Sprinkle with feta or parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

30 Minute Cardamom-Lime Chicken and White Beans

Photo from Milk Street
Adapted from Milk Street.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2 inch chunks (bone-in would also work, but would need more cooking time)
  • 2.5 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper, divided
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 bunches scallions (2 bunches are plenty) thinly sliced, white and green parts used separately
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (I usually omit this or use just a pinch)
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cardamom (I omit this – too strong of a flavor for me)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I use 1 teaspoon Better than Bullion with 1 cup water)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (approximately 2 limes)

Directions

  1. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high, melt the butter. Add the chicken and scallion whites, then cook, stirring once or twice, until both the chicken and scallions begin to turn golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste, garam masala, cardamom, turmeric, 1.5 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Add the bean liquid, broth, lime zest and juice, then bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a simmer, until the chicken is opaque when cut into, 5 to 7 minutes (I like to cook this, partially covered, for at least 15 minutes to allow the chicken to get really tender.
  5. Stir in the scallion greens and the beans, then cook until the beans are heated through, another 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Tip: Don’t forget to save the liquid when draining the beans. It adds both body and flavor to the dish. If you do accidentally discard it, simply increase the chicken broth to 2⅓ cups. The braising liquid will be thinner, but the dish will still be tasty.


Allspice & Panko Crusted Chicken

My grandma starting making this long before “Shake and Bake” existed. It’s surprisingly delicious. The allspice is essential!

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I prefer Organic Smart Chicken)
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoned Salt
  • 1 egg, beaten (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 convection (if you have).
  2. Mist a wire rack with cooking spray, then set in a rimmed baking sheet. For easy clean up, line the baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. In a skillet, melt the oil or butter and add Panko. Mix constantly until lightly browned. Remove from heat and add flour, allspice, salt and pepper and mix well. Set the pan on a work surface.
  4. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and a spoonful of milk or water. This step is optional, as I usually find the chicken moist enough on their own to adhere to the bread crumb mixture.
  5. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dip both sides of chicken in eggs and then transfer to the Panko mixture. Dredge both sides in the mixture while pressing to adhere.
  6. Transfer chicken to prepared wire rack, spacing evenly apart. Try not to place the chicken too close together. I once tried making a double batch on one sheet pan and they didn’t cook properly.
  7. If you’d like, spray the chicken with cooking oil to enhance browning.
  8. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the chicken is 165. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, change the heat setting to broil and allow to bake another 3-5 minutes. If you’d like the underside to be browned as well, flip and broil a few minutes.

Bone-in chicken thighs work well too, but cooking time will increase to approximately 30 minutes.

The perfect side dish to go with this – they cook at the same temperature for the same amount of time: Smashed Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli or Cauliflower.


Chicken Francese

Photo from Real Food Tastes Good

Tyler Florence isn’t the first person that comes to mind when thinking of easy recipes, but this one is an exception. It’s a great weeknight dinner, but elegant enough for entertaining. Original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients

  • 4 thinly sliced, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 pounds)
  • All purpose flour, for dredging
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 eggs (2 is plenty)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, with rind, cut into the rounds
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Put some flour in a shallow bowl and mix with salt and pepper.
  2. In a wide bowl, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of water.
  3. Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet.
  4. Dredge both sides of the chicken in flour, pat off extra flour, and then dip the chicken into the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off.
  5. When the oil is hot, add the cutlets and fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden, turning once. Remove the chicken to a large platter in a single layer.
  6. Toss the lemon slices into the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  7. Add the wine, broth, and lemon juice, simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly.
  8. I like to tilt the pan and drain the oil before proceeding to the next step.
  9. Roll the butter in some flour and add it to the skillet, this will thicken the sauce. Stir to incorporate and dissolve the flour.
  10. Reduce the heat to medium-low and return the chicken to the pan; place the lemon slices on top of the cutlets.
  11. Simmer gently for 2 minutes to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Turkey & Black Bean Chili

Adapted from Matt Martinez

One of my favorite one-pot meals. This is a quick and incredibly flavorful turkey chili with vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3/4 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt (I use 1/2 tablespoon)
  • 3/4 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
  • 3/4 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped sweet white onions
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped green chilies
  • 1 (14 ounce) can whole stewed tomatoes (I drain the tomato juice into the pot and then chop up the tomatoes into smaller pieces before adding them to the pot).
  • 2 whole chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (I use one pepper and remove the seeds)
  • 1 cup fresh corn (I use frozen)
  • 1 cup finely chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chicken stock (add additional broth or water if using black beans, approximately 3/4 cup, to desired consistency)
  • I like to add 1 can black beans, drained and barely rinsed

Directions

  1. Preferably using a cast-iron skillet, brown the turkey in the oil.
  2. Add all the ingredients, except zucchini and chicken stock; saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetables and stock; cook for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve immediately.

I like to serve this with fresh baked corn bread crumbled on top

*tip – Since you only need one chipotle pepper, separate the peppers in a ziplock bag and freeze for next time.


White Beans in Tomato Sauce

My son’s favorite meal – a very simple dish that comes together in 10 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced (2/3 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce (preferably Hunts)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I like to use 1 tsp better than boullion with 1 cup water)
  • 2 cans cannellini, great northern, or navy beans (or 1.5 cups dried beans)

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a medium pot, Dutch oven or stovetop pressure cooker.
  2. Add onions, salt, and pepper and cook, partially covered, until the onions are completely soft, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, and beans; bring to a simmer.
  5. Cover and let cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you prefer the sauce to be thicker, uncover and simmer until desired consistency is reached.

Pressure cooker instructions: Sometimes, rather than using a regular pot, I’ll prepare this in my stovetop pressure cooker. I let it come to pressure for about 5 seconds and do a quick release. It’s amazing how much of an impact that makes on the final result.

Serve over rice.


Quick Chicken Piccata

From Food Network

Recipe from Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 pound thinly sliced skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large lemon-half thinly sliced, half juiced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup white wine or dry vermouth (I skip this)
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth (I use 2/3 cup since I skip the wine)
  • I like to add 1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed

Directions

  1. Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer on a large plate or a tray. In a small bowl, mix flour, salt and paprika. Sprinkle half of the seasoned flour over chicken. Turn pieces over and dust with remaining seasoned flour.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add lemon slices and cook 1 minute on each side; remove and set aside. Add chicken pieces to pan in a single layer and cook until golden brown outside and white inside but still juicy, 1 to 2 minutes on each side; remove to a platter.
  3. Melt 1-tablespoon butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Pour in wine, broth, and capers and bring to a boil over high heat, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula; boil until reduced by half, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in lemon juice and remaining butter and pour over chicken, garnish with chopped parsley.

Pasta with Cauliflower, Bacon & Breadcrumbs

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.

4 generous servings

Ingredients

  • 3 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large head cauliflower (3 pounds), cored and cut into 1-inch florets
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 pound campanelle pasta (I prefer Fusilli or Rigatone)
  • 5.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I use water)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

Bacon Panko Topping

  1. Cook bacon in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. (I remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat).
  2. Add panko and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until panko is well browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
  3. Transfer Panko mixture to bowl and set aside. Wipe out the skillet.

Cauliflower

I’ve had mixed results cooking the cauliflower the way the recipe is written below, possibly because I don’t have a 12-inch skillet. Instead, I toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt and roast in a 450 degree oven until browned, stirring half way through, approximately 15 minutes.
  1. Heat 5 teaspoons oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  2. Add cauliflower and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is crisp-tender and browned in spots, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

Pasta

  1. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.
  2. Add onion, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened, 4 to 7 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to high, add pasta, broth, and wine, and bring to simmer. Cook pasta (maintaining a boil), stirring frequently, until most of liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. It’s ok if there is a good amount of liquid still in the pot when the pasta is done, as it will serve as the pasta sauce.
  4. Remove pot from heat; stir in parsley, lemon juice, and cauliflower; and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Divide the pasta among 4 plates and sprinkle with bread crumb topping.