BALSAMIC MUSHROOM CHICKEN

I realized recently that I AM posting almost daily, but I’m kind of in a rut in as much as I’m just posting the recently successful recipes without much conversation to go with them. I promise to get better. 😀

Eating in general is still a HUGE issue for me (and ALWAYS will be for the rest of my life), BUT I LOVE to cook and my family still needs to eat, so why should they suffer my limitations?  I may only get a few bites of each meal, but I promise they do NOT go to waste.

Hubby swears he HATES cooked mushrooms (little does he actually realize how much I use them in recipes like Bolognese where they are cooked down into the sauce that he’s been eating for years!!!!!!!) so the VISIBLE mushrooms in any recipe end up on any plate, BUT his! 😀 LOL I even sometimes have to cook the mushrooms in a separate pan to keep him happy if he’s hanging around the kitchen while I’m cooking, which if I’m honest I prefer to be alone while cooking.  I seem to be more creative and get better inspiration during “alone” time. 😀

Because of my limitations in eating I rarely eat starches anymore, BUT this recipe is especially good with mashed potatoes to absorb all that glorious gravy!

BALSAMIC MUSHROOM CHICKEN
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup WONDRA flour
FRESH ground Himalayan sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons avocado oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons QUALITY honey
1/4 cup STRONG balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken stock.
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme

  • Generously season chicken breasts with FRESH ground Himalayan sea salt and black pepper, to taste.
  • Dredge through the Wondra flour.
  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add chicken breasts and sear for 2 minutes.
  • Flip chicken.
  • Add onions and garlic to pan sauteing for a minute.
  • Add mushrooms, sauteing a couple minutes.
  • Add vinegar, broth, honey and thyme.
  • Cover and cook 5 minutes.
  • Turn chicken and cook a few minutes more until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove chicken to platter and keep warm.
  • Cook 5 minutes more to reduce sauce.
  • Add butter.
  • Serve over chicken with mashed potatoes and/or your favorite veggies.

CAJUN HONEY BUTTER OR LEMON PEPPER SALMON & SHRIMP

CAJUN HONEY BUTTER OR LEMON PEPPER SALMON & SHRIMP
Sweet and savory pan-seared salmon topped with sautéed shrimp in cajun butter sauce. Salmon New Orleans is an unforgettable meal.

4-6 ounce salmon fillets
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled, de-veined
8 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons honey

LEMON PEPPER & SEA SALT seasoning
FRESH ground sea salt
LEMON pepper
Sweet Hungarian Paprika

OR

CAJUN seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon onion salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
heaping ½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • In a small bowl whisk together all Cajun OR Lemon Pepper seasoning ingredients and set aside.
  • Season the salmon with fresh ground salt and pepper to taste.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add honey and whisk to combine (mixture should be bubbly).
  • Add salmon fillets to pan and cook for 5-6 minutes, then flip and cook another 5-6 minutes until salmon is cooked through, flaky, and browned.
  • Transfer salmon pieces to a platter and cover to keep warm.
  • Add remaining butter to the pan over medium-high heat. Once butter is melted, stir in cajun seasoning.
  • Add shrimp to pan and saute’ until opaque, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Serve salmon topped with shrimp pieces.
  • Drizzle any extra pan sauce over the top and garnish with chopped parsley if desired.
  • Serve immediately.

CINNAMON BUTTER MONKEY ROLLS

It just doesn’t get much better than that these mouth watering warm cinnamon sugar rolls that pull apart into soft and flaky layers after being smothered in a sweet vanilla glaze.  Because of my inability to eat sugar these days I skip the glaze, but they are just as good!

CINNAMON BUTTER MONKEY ROLLS            Servings: 12

12 Rhodes Frozen Dinner Rolls
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

VANILLA ICING (optional)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Place frozen rolls in a 9×13-inch baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Grease muffin tin
  • In the morning, cut each roll into 3 pieces.
  • Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a small bowl.
  • Melt butter in a second small bowl.
  • Roll each piece in butter and then in the cinnamon mixture.
  • Place 3 pieces in each muffin tin, making sure the edges all meet.
  • Cover with a cheesecloth and leave in warm place until double in size, about 2 hours depending on the warmth of your house.
  • When rolls have risen, remove cloth and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 15-16 minutes.
  • Carefully remove rolls from muffin tin as soon as they are finished baking.
  • Brush vanilla glaze over the warm rolls.
  • Serve warm.

LOADED GARLIC BREAD

LOADED GARLIC BREAD
½ stick butter, softened
⅓ cup parsley, finely chopped
⅓ cup green onions, sliced
2 slices bacon, diced and cooked crisp
⅓ cup oregano, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 8-inch baguette

  • Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • In a bowl, combine the butter, herbs, garlic, bacon pieces and cheese mixing until smooth.
  • Slice the baguette in half lengthwise, then spread the butter mixture evenly on the cut sides of the baguette.
  • Place the baguette a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown on the edges.
  • Slice, cool, and serve!

SWEET GARLICKY PORK CHOPS

Honey or sugar based marinades are a WONDERFUL way to bring out the rich flavors of pork especially when they are coupled with citrus juices, Asian flavored oils and vinegars.

SWEET GARLICKY PORK CHOPS
4 1 inch thick pork chops
4 LARGE cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup Bragg’s Amino Acids
Juice of 1 LARGE tangerine
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3/4 tablespoon Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
2 teaspoons FRESH ground sea salt
1 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper
1 tablespoon PURE maple syrup
2 tablespoons apricot pineapple jam

  • Whisk all ingredients together.
  • Reserve 4 tablespoons for later.
  • Pour over pork chops and marinate, turning frequently, for 2-4 hours before grilling.

Another great grilled pork chop recipe is for these grilled chops with Raspberry chipotle BBQ sauce.

  • Preheat grill to medium high heat.
  • Oil the grate.
  • Arrange chops on grill sear 5-7 minutes per side.
  • Heat reserve marinade in a small sauce pan.
  • Brush chops on both sides with the hot marinade as you remove them from the grill and place them on the platter.
  • Serve immediately.

NOTES:

  • If you prefer a thinner chop, be sure and adjust the cooking times!  Thinner chops take considerably LESS cooking time, usually only 2 minutes per side!
  • This recipe is best with FRESH green vegetables like asparagus or broccolini, slaws or salads.  I also like to grill orange slices slathered in the sauce to go with the whole meal.

OVEN BAKED CHICKEN & RICE with SAUTEED MUSHROOMS

This dish has progressed over the years for me with flavor changes and updates. Grams used to call it “CONTINENTAL” chicken for a reason I will never know. LOL 🙂 But, it’s just a sturdy chicken and rice that serves a family well.

OVEN BAKED CHICKEN & RICE with SAUTEED MUSHROOMS

CHICKEN
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon FRESH ground pepper, to taste
6 skinless bone in chicken thighs **

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a shallow bowl, whisk together the avocado oil, parsley, paprika, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.
  • Add the chicken pieces and coat each piece evenly with the seasoning. Set aside, allowing the flavors to absorb into the meat.
  • Spray a large baking dish with nonstick cooking oil spray and set aside.

RICE
1 large VIDALIA onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 cups long grain white rice

  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the broth, water, salt, oil, garlic.
  • Add the onion, garlic, oil, Stir well to combine.
  • Mix in the onions and rice.
  • Add to baking dish.
  • Arrange chicken in a single even layer over the rice, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked right through to the bone.
  • Change oven setting to broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the chicken and crisp rice.
  • When chicken and rice is finished cooking, allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes.

MUSHROOMS
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound button mushrooms quartered or I prefer Beech Mushrooms
1 small bunch green onions, sliced thin
2/3 cup white wine
FRESH ground sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, to garnish

  • Heat butter in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Sauté green onions and garlic until fragrant (30 seconds) and add mushrooms; cook until softened.
  • Add wine and cook until absorbed.
  • Stir in 2 tablespoons of chives and season with salt and pepper.

ASSEMBLY

  • Transfer chicken onto a plate; fluff rice with forks, then mix the mushrooms through the rice.
  • Arrange chicken back onto the rice in the dish, garnish with remaining chives and chopped parsley.

NOTE: If you prefer using chicken breasts or boneless thigh fillets, add them in after 20 minutes dish has been in the oven. The bone-in pieces tend to stay juicier and more flavorful.

ORANGE BRAISED CHICKEN

ORANGE BRAISED CHICKEN
2 bone-in chicken legs
2 bone-in chicken thighs
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup sliced fennel
1 small red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons Bragg’s amino acids
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 navel orange, half juiced – other half sliced into half moons
Fennel feathers for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Heat coconut oil in oven proof skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sear chicken pieces 8-10 pieces until golden on all sides.
  • Transfer chicken pieces to platter and keep warm.
  • Add onions and fennel to sauteing 2-3 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Add orange juice to pan and deglaze.
  • Add amino acids and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add chicken pieces and orange slices and coat well.
  • Place pan in oven for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes or white rice.
  • Garnish with fennel feathers.

PAN SEARED SWORDFISH with LEMON SAUCE

PAN SEARED SWORDFISH with LEMON SAUCE
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons FRESH chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed peppercorns, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon (packed) grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 1-inch-thick swordfish fillets (about 6 ounces each)

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Mash butter, parsley, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon ground mixed peppercorns, and lemon zest in small bowl.
  • Season to taste with salt.
  • Heat butter in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sprinkle swordfish with salt and ground mixed peppercorns.
  • Add swordfish to skillet, cooking until browned, about 3 minutes.
  • Turn swordfish over and transfer to oven.
  • Roast until just cooked through, about 10 minutes longer.
  • Transfer swordfish to plates.
  • Top with Lemon Sauce

LEMON SAUCE
1/3 cup butter
2 green onions, finely minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup FRESH squeezed lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1/4 cup hot water
a couple drops Tabasco

  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
  • Add green onions and sauce a few minutes.
  • Whisk in the paprika, sugar, salt, pepper and cayenne.
  • When well blended add lemon juice, hot water and Tabasco.
  • Add lemon zest just before serving.

GENERAL TSO CHICKEN

General Tso’s chicken is traditionally a sweet, deep-fried chicken dish that is served in Chinese restaurants. It is often seen as  General Tse’s chicken. The dish is named after Zuo Zongtang (Tso Tsung-t’ang), a Qing dynasty statesman and military leader.

This baked version of General Tso Chicken is baked for a lighter and much healthier version that actually tastes BETTER to us than the original version AND it is so much easier to prepare. The sauce is sweet and savory and best of all is poured right over the raw chicken for a one pan supper that tastes better than ANY restaurant quality meal.

GENERAL TSO CHICKEN Yield 4-6 servings

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins or  chicken breasts, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup Hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, finely minced fresh garlic
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (add more for a spicier dish or omit for a mild dish)
¼ cup peanuts
Optional garnish: sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Spray a medium (9×6 or 11×7) baking dish with cooking spray.
    Place chicken in the prepared dish. Sprinkle with cornstarch and toss to coat.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together chicken broth, brown sugar, Hoisin sauce, sesame oil, salt, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.
  • Pour sauce over chicken and stir to combine.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Stir, return to the oven for 5-10 more minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened.
  • Remove from oven, stir in peanuts. Season with additional salt and red pepper flakes, to taste.
  • Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds just before serving.

NOTES:

1) Serve the General Tso Chicken over rice with plenty of extra sauce spooned over top. We love it with steamed broccoli!


2) If you’re just cooking for 2 the ingredients cut in half really well.  I like to prepare it in individual 5×5 Le Crueset baking dishes.

COCOA FUDGE BROWNIES

COCOA FUDGE BROWNIES
These brownies are crisp on top, have a bottom that holds together and are gooey and chewy in the center. They are also super versatile. Add walnuts, heath bar pieces, peanut butter chips or a ribbon of caramel depending on your flavor needs at the moment.

2 sticks butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 LARGE eggs, at room temperature
3 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup QUALITY unsweetened cocoa powder
7-8 ounces roughly chopped chocolate (I use Bakers)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray an 9×9 or 8×10 baking pan with cooking oil spray. Line the pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the melted butter, oil and sugar.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla; beating another minute until light in color.
  • In another bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.
  • Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until JUST combined DO NOT OVER BEAT – this will make them tough if you do and DO NOT OVER BEAT your batter especially after the flour and cocoa powder are added. Doing so creates air pockets in the batter which will give you cake-like textured brownies.
  • Fold in 75% of the chocolate pieces and walnuts.
  • Pour batter into your prepared pan, smoothing the top out evenly, and top with remaining chocolate pieces.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the center of the brownies in the pan no longer jiggles and is just set to the touch (the brownies will keep baking in the hot pan out of the oven). When testing with a toothpick, the toothpick should come out dirty for fudge brownies.
  • Cool for 10 minutes and then carefully remove them from pan.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature before slicing.

NOTES:

  • Store at room temperature for 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. These brownies can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
  • Changing your chocolate flavor can alter your flavors.

CHICKEN PARMESAN CASSEROLE

CHICKEN PARMESAN CASSEROLE
1/2 pound penne pasta
3/4 pound chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
Wondra flour for dredging
Fresh ground black pepper and salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/2 batch marinara sauce (recipe below)
1 1/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 slices Provolone cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 9×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Cook pasta per package directions on the al dente’ side. Drain and set aside.
  • Combine flour and seasonings in a ziplock bag.
  • Heat butter and oil in skillet until sizzling.
  • Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, shaking off the excess.
  • Add chicken pieces to hot oil and quickly sear all sides.
  • In a large bowl gently combine sauce and pasta with the majority of the Mozzarella and Parmesan reserving some for the top.
  • Gently fold in chicken pieces and stir to coat.
  • Spread ingredients evenly into baking dish.
  • Top with provolone slices followed by the remaining Parmesan and Mozzarella.
  • Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes.
  • Uncover and return to oven baking another 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and brown.
  • Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

SAUCE
1 tablespoons avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 small red onion, chopped
24 ounce can whole tomatoes
1 KNORR beef gel
3/4 cup moscato white wine
Juice from 1 lemon
5-6 cloves garlic, finely minced into a paste
3 tablespoons Classico sundried tomato pesto
1 teaspoon fresh ground Himalayan pink salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground red pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

  • Heat avocado oil in a large saute’ pan over medium high heat.
  • Add onions and garlic sauteing until tender.
  • Whisk together the beef gel, wine, pesto and juice from the tomatoes.
  • Add seasonings, blending well.
  • Add tomatoes and gently crush.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 2 hours.

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CREAMY SUN DRIED TOMATO PARMESAN CHICKEN

CREAMY SUN DRIED TOMATO PARMESAN CHICKEN
1 1/2 pounds large THINLY sliced boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 cup sliced mushrooms
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black cracked pepper (adjust to your tastes)
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
5 ounce jar sun dried tomato strips in oil drained (reserve 3 tablespoons of oil for cooking)
3 tablespoons reserved sun dried tomato oil or olive oil, divided
5-6 button mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 – 2 cups spinach (optional)
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley to serve

  • Season chicken with salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved sun dried tomato oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sear the chicken for 2 minutes or so each side, or until golden and cooked through.
  • Transfer to a warm plate and set aside.
  • Add the remaining oil to the pan.
  • Add shallots and garlic, sautéing a minute or so until garlic is fragrant.
  • Add in the sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms if using sautéing 1-2 more minutes to release their flavors.
  • Add paprika and Italian seasoning, stirring to blend.
  • Reduce heat to a medium-low.
  • Add white wine and then the heavy cream, stirring to blend.
  • Bring to a gentle simmer, while stirring occasionally.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese. Allow sauce to simmer for a few minutes until cheese melts and blends into sauce.
  • Add in spinach leaves if using and allow to wilt in the sauce.
  • Add the chicken back into the pan; top with parsley and serve over pasta.

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