I preface this piece by stating that all of you who are gluten-free people, either by choice or by doctor’s orders, and those of you who are on a no carb diet are seriously my heroes. I do not mean to rub in the fact that you can not eat certain foods. We ok? Good!
So, here we go. I would seriously go into shock if, all of a sudden, I could not have any kind of carb or gluten containing product.
For ten years while I was a vegetarian, I seriously lived on noodles, bread, and potatoes. No joke. I noticed I started gaining a little weight from this carbotarianism. (Yep, it’s a thing. I just made it up.)
At the time a certain diet was very popular in which you give up eating carbs. For a split second, I thought hmmm…Maybe I will give up carbs for a while.
I then busted out laughing at the thought of possibly living without carbs and instead took my chubby vegetarian/carbotarian butt to the on campus gym.
I also decided that I would cut back (a little) on carbs and switch to healthier grains. Since I didn’t want to eat salads all the time and I hadn’t even heard of quinoa yet, I had to be clever with my food.
So here it is-a wrap-less chicken Caesar wrap!
Ingredients for the Wrap (Makes 4 “wraps”)
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
½ Teaspoon of Salt
¼ Teaspoon of Pepper
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
Mixed Baby Greens
Shaved Parmesan Cheese
Ingredients for the Dressing
½ Cup of Light Mayo
1 Clove of Garlic, grated
Juice and Zest of a Lemon
1 Teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
1 Teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
1 Small Shallot, diced
3 Fresh Basil Leaves
A Pinch of Fresh Parsley
¼ Teaspoon of Salt
¼ Teaspoon of Pepper
This dressing tasty and a little lighter since I used light mayo and a little bit of mustard to off set the heavy amount of mayo normally used.
All you need to do is add all the dressing ingredients to a food processor and blend for 45 seconds. Pour it in a bowl and chill it until the chicken is ready.
Season each side of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Tear off two pieces of parchment paper. Place the chicken breast on one of the pieces of parchment and cover it with the other piece. Using the flat side of a meat tenderizer, pound the chicken breast until it is about 1/4” thick.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium/high heat. Add two pieces of chicken to the pan at a time. Sear for a minute on each side, remove from heat, and then place on a plate off to the side. Repeat this for the two remaining breasts. (Keep the pan heated over medium/low heat even thought the chicken isn’t in the pan.)
After about three minutes of letting the breasts cool, skewer the ends of the chicken together with a toothpick. Place all the chicken back in the pan seam side down. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 7-10 minutes.
Let the chicken cool for about five minutes.
In the meantime, mix the baby field greens with about two or three tablespoons of the Caesar dressing and the shaved parmesan.
Take a small piece of parchment paper and cut it into a square. Fold over one of the edges of the parchment paper and place the chicken breast along that edge. Roll in the sides of the parchment to form a kind of cone shape. Fold the tip of the cone up towards the chicken and tuck the tip of the cone into the tight edge along the chicken breast. Think about wrapping a burrito, it’s the same kind of thing.
The parchment will allow easy handling of the wrap. No utensils needed! (Or if you don’t want to do the whole parchment wrap thing, you can stuff the chicken with the salad and eat it with a knife and fork.)
Remove the toothpick and stuff some of the mixed Caesar salad inside of the chicken.
If you like a little extra dressing you can always drizzle some more on top of the chicken too. Voila! A wrap-free wrap! See ya carbs!
Even though carbs and I have an on again and off again relationship, I am still very happy to have them in my life. I find myself just as fulfilled from less toxic and more attractive options.
Next, add the pork and beef to a large bowl. Mix in the egg, breadcrumbs, and all the seasonings using your hands. Be sure not to over work the meat.
Pinch off about a half an inch of meat mixture and roll it into a ball. Continue until all meatballs are formed. Place them on a plate or dish so they can all be transferred quickly to the pan.
Add the olive oil to a large pan and heat over medium/high heat. Add the meatballs in to the pan. Sear them quickly for about a minute to two minutes per side. Cook for about 5-10 minutes total. Remove the balls from the pan and place them on a plate off to the side.
Roll out the crescent dough. Try and pinch all the diagonal seams closed. Cut the dough into 3” x 2” rectangles. Place the pieces of dough into a 6 cavity large muffin tin (or 12 cavity, if that’s what you have).
Place two meatballs in each piece of dough. Slightly turn in each side of the dough to cover the meatballs. Think pigs in a blanket, but better.
Once all the mini meatballs are in the dough and ready to go, place them in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes.
The crescent dough will be flaky and golden and the meatball inside will be perfectly cooked and still tender and juicy.
Top the mini subs with some marinara sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan.
Here you go. A meal for the gigantic, filter-less, baby inside all of us that comes out only (hopefully) when we are sick.
Fresh or Frozen Peas have the most beautiful green color. I wouldn’t call it pea green though. More of a Kelly green. It has taken me a long time to come around to the pea.
For years my mom has put peas on everything. When we were little it was adding them in with her hamburger helper or Polish pork chops. Now it is adding them to almost every fancy pasta dish she makes.
As a child the thought of combining the vegetable side dish with the pasta entrée grossed me out. I wasn’t one of those weird “my food can’t be touching on the plate” kind of kids. But watching my mom combine her peas with her pasta just gave me the willies!
However, I did find a way to combine my mom’s love of peas with my love of a normal pasta dish. Make the peas into a pesto.
Because of their beautiful color they give the pesto that great fresh look. Combine the color with the nuttiness from the pistachios and of course the creaminess of the goat cheese and you have a way to make any dish better.
Ingredients for the Pesto
1 Cup Frozen Peas, defrosted
5oz. Goat Cheese
¼ Cup of Pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
5 Large Leaves of Fresh Basil
The Juice and Zest of a Lemon
½ Teaspoon of Salt
¼ Teaspoon of Pepper
Ingredients for the Panini
2 Mini Whole Wheat Baguettes
10 Slices of Prosciutto
Remove the shell from the pistachios, roughly chop them, and add them to a small pan. Toast the pistachios over low heat for about two minutes.
Add the toasted pistachios, peas, goat cheese, basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper to a food processor. Puree the mixture until smooth and creamy, about three minutes. Note: If you are using this sauce for a pasta, you might want to add some olive oil to loosen it up and puree another minute or so.
Spread the creamy pesto on the top half of the loaf and place five slices of prosciutto on the bottom half. Assemble the sandwich and place it on a slightly oiled panini press for three minutes.
If you don’t have a panini press you can use a grill pan or griddle. Just use a heavy pan to press down on the sandwich from above.
The pesto is great on a warm sandwich, as a sauce for pasta, or even as a filling for ravioli.
It has the ability to make a lover of “peas on everything” and the “don’t combine my veggies with my entrée” person both very happy!
Prepare the brownies according to the basic recipe. Allow the brownies plenty of time to cool before placing the frosting on top. I removed them from the pan and cooled them in the fridge while I made the frosting.
Remove the pit from the avocado and add the flesh to a medium bowl. Squeeze the juice from the lime into the bowl with the avocado.
Using a hand mixer, beat the avocado and lime juice for about three minutes.
Add in one cup of powdered sugar at a time. Mix on low, then switch to high once all the powdered sugar has been absorbed. Beat the mixture for one minute after every addition of powdered sugar.
The frosting consistency will be slightly runny at first. Let the frosting chill in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes before topping the completely cooled brownies.
Beware, I might think of a way to combine 7 layer taco dip and dessert next, and really blow your minds!!
Whether you are a Giants fan, a Patriots fan, a buffalo sauce or fried food fan….or like myself, a commercial and Puppy Bowl fan, you should probably eat some breakfast before heading out to watch the big game and eat yourself into a food coma.
1 Tablespoon of Unsalted Butter
1 Potato, thinly sliced
1 Teaspoon of Salt
½ Teaspoon of Pepper
1 Cup of Half and Half
½ Cup of Crumbled Feta Cheese
3 Cups of Fresh Spinach
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Melt the butter in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced potato. Cook the potato for four minutes until golden brown.
Add the half and half, salt and pepper to the eggs and beat using a whisk until combined.
Place the spinach leaves and feta in the blender, pour the egg mixture over the spinach and feta, and mix for about 30 seconds.
After four minutes, turn the potatoes over to brown the other side. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes.
Use a rubber spatula to bring the sides of the frittata that start to cook towards the center of the pan. Do this for about five minutes.
Place the pan in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
The frittata will be puffy when first removed from the oven. Let it stand for five minutes before serving.
Flip the frittata over on to a large platter or serve it right out of the pan.
Enjoy your semi-healthy brunch. Now go eat as much fried and buffalo coated food as you can!