Creamy Tuscan Beans With Mushrooms and Kale

21 05 2014

This rustic Tuscan bean side dish is deliciously creamy and loaded with both flavor and nutrition! It whips up pretty quickly too. Get some chicken or steak on the grill while you prepare this, and before you know it you’ll have a lovely weeknight meal ready to enjoy.

Creamy Tuscan Beans With Mushrooms and Kale

The following serves 4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Pinch kosher salt to taste
  • 1 (8 oz) package sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of low-sodium, reduced-fat beef stock
  • Kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 2-3 oz fontina cheese, cubed (you want to use fontina because it melts really well)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

In a medium saucepan, heat a few Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until beginning to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring, a minute or so. Add rosemary, red pepper flakes and just a pinch of salt. Next add the mushrooms and cook until beginning to brown, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans, stock, olives and cheese. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cheese will melt nicely into the stock, creating a nice creamy dish.

Meanwhile in a large saute pan, heat some oil and saute kale until wilted and cooked, 5-10 minutes. You can make as much as you like, I filled the pan (remember it shrinks when it cooks). Transfer sautéed kale to the beans and finish cooking together the final 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Dish out beans, top with parsley and enjoy alongside a protein of your choice. I served with grilled chicken breasts.


Chicken Cacciatore With Lemon-Herb Pasta

19 05 2014

Cacciatore refers to the way this chicken dish is prepared, which is typically braised in tomatoes, onions, peppers, spices and wine. In Italy, the wine used depends on the Region you’re in. The south uses red wine while the North tends to use white, making this versatile…and of course, tasty! Use the crockpot to help make Sunday supper or your weeknight dinners much easier.

Chicken Cacciatore With Lemon-Herb Pasta

The following serves 2-3 (adapted from Cuisine Slow Cooker Menus):

  • 2 whole pieces of quartered, bone-in chicken (leg/thigh), skin removed
  • Salt and pepper
  • Whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for pasta
  • 3/4 cup dry wine, either red or white will work
  • 1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • Handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 package (8 oz) sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • Half a pound of whole wheat wide egg noodles
  • Lemon zest and juice
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter or butter substitute
  • Fresh herbs, such as parsley or oregano
  • Parmesan, grated

After removing the skin, season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Brown chicken on both sides in 2 Tbsp hot oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a slow cooker.

Deglaze pan with wine, cooking until liquid is reduced by half. Transfer wine to the slow cooker.

Add tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, garlic, Italian seasoning and bay leaf to the slow cooker. Cover cacciatore, cook until chicken is tender 3 and 1/2 hours. During the last 30 minutes, add bell pepper, season with a little salt to taste and cover. Cook until pepper is tender.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add noodles and cook to al dente, according to package instructions. Drain pasta, add back to the hot pot and toss with 1 – 2 Tbsp of lemon zest and juice, red pepper flakes, the butter, a good drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and chopped parsley.

Serve up the pasta with the chicken cacciatore and sauce on top. Garnish with more fresh herbs and parmesan.

Soba Noodles With Shitakes and Chicken

17 02 2014

This is a tasty, quick meal with notes of bright herbs and a little spice – great for a busy weeknight!

Soba noodles are a Japanese buckwheat noodle, made with wheat flour and buckwheat. High in fiber and protein, they offer a nuttier taste then their look-a-like, spaghetti noodle. They can be found in the Asian, or ethnic food aisle at the grocery store.

Soba Noodles With Shitakes and Chicken

Soba Noodles With Shitakes and Chicken

The following serves 3 (compliments of Food Network Magazine and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • Kosher salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 12 oz shitake and baby bella mushrooms (I used a combo, you could use one or the other), stemmed and sliced
  • 12 oz soba noodles
  • 1 bunch cilantro (about 2 cups leaves)
  • 1 bunch mint (about 1 cup leaves)
  • 1 bunch scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha (Asian chile sauce)
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with a little salt and a dusting of cayenne pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove to a large bowl. Add the remaining vegetable oil to the same skillet and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the chicken.

Add the noodles to the boiling water. Cook until the noodles are al dente, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and add to the bowl with the chicken and mushrooms.

Pulse all but a few cilantro leaves, the mint, scallions, 2 Tbsp water, the soy sauce, vinegar, Sriracha and sesame oil in a food processor until roughly chopped. Toss with the noodles, chicken and mushrooms. Top with remaining cilantro. Can be enjoyed warm, at room temp or even cold.

Tuscan Skillet With Chicken, Beans, Shrooms and Greens

14 02 2014

Whipped this one skillet beauty together by rifling through my fridge and pantry for goodies to cook with! It may not be fancy for Valentine’s Day, but in true Tuscan fashion, this dinner is simple and delicious. It’s all about building flavors one layer at a time.

Tuscan Skillet With Chicken, Beans, Shrooms and Greens

Tuscan Skillet With Chicken, Beans, Shrooms and Greens

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • Herb salt
  • 4 pieces of turkey bacon, chopped
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 large
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package (10 oz) baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • Dry white wine
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 oz arugula
  • 8 oz dry orzo
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Optional: lemon oil and red pepper flakes

Bring a pot of water to boil.

Season chicken liberally with a herb salt (or whatever seasoning and dried herbs you like, I use a combo of kosher salt, rosemary, garlic powder, paprika and lemon zest). Heat a Tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add chicken. Saute, stirring occasionally until heated through and starting to brown, 5-6 minutes. Remove to a plate.

In the same skillet add the bacon. Cook until to browned and crisp. Remove to another plate.

Next, add a little more oil and the shallots and garlic to the same skillet. Cook another minute or so until beginning to softened and fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook until starting to brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

While the mushrooms saute, cook the orzo according to package directions in the pot with the boiling water. Save a little of the cooking water, then drain. Return to the pot you cooked it in and toss with a little lemon oil.

Once the mushrooms are starting to brown, add some white wine to deglaze, a good turn of the pan, scrapping up all the browned bits on the bottom. Add the beans, chicken and orzo, stirring everything together. Add a little of the cooking water, cook a few more minutes until beans and chicken are heated through. Remove from heat and toss in the arugula to wilt slightly.

Dish up and top with bacon crumbles just before serving. Garnish with parsley, parmesan and red pepper flakes (if you like a little heat).

Baked Chicken Milanese With a Mushroom, Spinach and Sherried Tomato Ragu

30 01 2014

Milanese is a breaded meat cutlet that is traditionally dredged in an egg, flour and breadcrumb mixture and pan-fried. I’m offering a healthier version on this Italian classic. By only dredging in oil and panko, and baking verses frying, you can still achieve a deliciously, crunchy coating.

You’ll find milanese often served with an arugula and/or tomato salad on top. But in addition, I was craving something a bit warmer on this cold night. This mushroom and spinach ragu pairs very nicely with the chicken cutlet. Overall, this is a delicious meal that you can feel good about enjoying! 🙂

Baked Chicken Milanese With a Mushroom, Spinach and Sherried Tomato Ragu

Baked Chicken Milanese With a Mushroom, Spinach and Sherried Tomato Ragu

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and Cuisine For Two):

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied open
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 3 containers (8 oz each) sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup diced fresh tomatoes, use whatever you have
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 bag (9 oz) baby spinach
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme, or a dusting of dried thyme
  • Arugula
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To butterfly the chicken, cut breasts in half lengthwise almost to the end, just be careful not to cut all the way through. Unfold the top half to lay flat. Whisk 1/3 cup of olive oil with the lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add the cutlets and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450.

Combine the panko and parmesan in a shallow dish. Dredge the marinated chicken breasts in the panko mixture, pressing the chicken into the mixture to adhere. I eyeball the measurements here – you can always add more panko and cheese if needed to completely cover all the cutlets. Transfer to a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake chicken for 20-25 minutes, or until browned on both sides and cooked through, turning half way through.

While the chicken bakes, work on the ragu. In a large saute pan over medium heat, saute shallots in the leftover flavored oil you used to marinate the chicken in until soft. Increase heat to medium-high, add the mushrooms and saute until brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, broth, sherry, vinegar and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Wilt in the spinach and season ragu with salt and pepper to taste. Finish with parsley and thyme.

To serve, plate the ragu and top with a little parmesan cheese. Add a piece of chicken, garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh parsley. Top with a little arugula dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and a salt and pepper to taste.