Bacon wrapped Chicken breast

These are one of my children’s favorites dishes! And so easy to prepare…..

All you will need is:

  • Chicken breast (the recipe uses 1 breast cut in half)
  • sliced Bacon ( I use a 10 oz package)
  • EVO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • Salt or an herbed salt     find some herbed salt recipes here
  • Herbs (optional)

Cut the chicken breast in half and cut out any bone or cartilage in the chicken breast keeping the halves intact.

Cut each half chicken breast almost in half from the back, the side that is least smooth.

Sprinkle the opened half chicken breast with salt, or an herb salt of choice and/or you can add herbs, rosemary, sage, thyme, fresh or dried if you like.

IMG_1356*I use only uncured, no sugar, no additive containing bacon and buy over the counter chicken breasts, I try to avoid as much processed, packaged products possible.

Cut a strip of bacon in half and place on top of the salted area and fold the breast back together.

Wrap each half chicken breast with as many slices of bacon needed to cover, 4 or 5 usually.

Sprinkle with a little more salt and a little EVO.

Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and cook in preheated oven, 350°F for 40-50 mins.

IMG_1359

Turn the breast halves a couple times while cooking so the bacon crisps on all sides.

When they are done cooking let stand for 5 minutes to cool before cutting.

I usually cut the chicken breasts while still in the baking dish so the meat soaks up some of the juices.

IMG_1379

This is great with any side dish, mashed cauliflower, roasted carrots, salad, applesauce, you name it, we love it!

 

Buon Appetito!

Chicken salad

I love roasted chicken and when I wind up with left overs I make Chicken Salad!
I really don’t measure my ingredients, depending on how much chicken I have I toss it all together,

Ingredients:

  • Chicken, skinned, boned and chopped into cubes or small pieces.
  • Celery, chopped, I like my salad loaded with celery!
  • Onion, white, yellow, red, use what you have!
  • Green Onion, gives a great taste, yes, use it along with another onion above!
  • Mayonnaise , this is my recipe, it is super easy and quick and there is NO comparison to the store bought junk!
  • Dijon Mustard, use just a little to give a twist of flavor, (optional).
  • Salt & Pepper, I usually season the chicken before i mix the ingredients together, just a dash or two.

*It’s as easy as that! It only needs a few hours to settle and cool in the fridge.

I love my Chicken Salad topped with hemp seeds or a little gommasio, on greens such as spinach, kale or served in endive leaves.

*In my cover photo, fresh spinach and steamed baby broccoli.

Buon Appetito!

Hunger Games

On the way home during my lunch hour or after my work out I think of the last few leftovers and what ever else I have in the fridge. The creativity that comes over me has a certain way of satisfying my hunger. Strangely even when the fridge is nearly bare I am able to throw together some pretty tasty meals, I love the way they turn out! These are my hunger games. Meal planning isn’t all about fixing 6 lunches and dinners during the weekend, not for me anyway. Its about utilizing the food I buy and preparing it with the time I have. I use some time on the weekends to make something that takes a lot of time or even just poach some chicken breast and clean some greens. In the mornings before work, I  steam or prepare my vegetables or thaw something from the freezer, soup, meat sauce, meat or fish and then my hunger and creativity take over each day.  For example throwing a potato In the oven for an hour in the morning and using leftovers to make a meal is fast, healthy and delicious….

Baked potatoes make awesome lunches & dinners and are a healthy carbohydrate and starch.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/506461-carbohydrates-in-potato-starch/

Scrub the potato, rub it with a little EVO, prick with a fork and throw it in the oven for about an hour at 350F.

I use half of a baked potato per meal.

photo

Half a baked potato w/butter, salt & pepper, pulled pork w/ a tbsp or two of Annie’s BBQ sauce,

a dollop

of sour cream and lunch is ready!

20140330_184558 copy

 

I tried out Annie’s Organic BBQ sauce and everyone seemed to like it.

 This BBQ sauce is a tangy, spicy mustard flavor, less sweet tasting.

(I personally will try making my own sauce in the future, I prefer a slightly sweeter taste.)

I read a few reviews on the sauce, pros and cons, here are a couple;

http://voices.yahoo.com/organic-food-review-annies-naturals-smokey-maple-bbq-876807.html?cat=22

http://www.bbqsaucereviews.com/annies-smokey-maple-bbq-sauce-35/

IMG_8051

The other half of the baked potato,

I mashed it on my plate with a dab of butter, salt and pepper,

I added some poached chicken breast, steamed broccoli and cauliflower,

grated aged cheddar and a drizzle of EVO.

A delicious, quick, nutritious, easy to fix, meal.

Buon Appetito!

IMG_5417

(Photo left)

A baked sweet potato, quinoa, stewed lentils, parmiggiano, EVO, salt & pepper – judifood:)

Spaghetti anyone?

Since the beginning of Autumn I have been enjoying roasting all varieties of squash. Insistently trying to find a similar flavor to the Italian pumpkin I was used to preparing steamed, in bianco, in my minestrones and was the pumpkin I used in my delicious pumpkin & bacon sauce. The pumpkin or “zucca Mantovana” I was familiar with was a green, grey color not very tall, or big, for that matter, with a stern, bright orange pulp.

IMG_1788

   Maybe a Kobocha squash? The taste isn’t quite the same though… maybe all fruits and vegetables don’t have the same taste grown in different places? I believe my assumption to be truth. My basil plant doesn’t have near the aroma or taste as my Italian basil plants did 😦

      Meanwhile, during my hunt I turned to a different squash and decided to give Spaghetti squash the Royal treatment! I was putting this squash to the Test. A sort of bullish expectation, taking out my my nostalgic upsetness on a squash that calls itself “Spaghetti”. Okay Mr.Spaghetti squash, lets just see what you are capable of!

IMG_7410

I roasted spaghetti squash and treated it as if it were real pasta, traditional spaghetti. Yes, the gluten full, wheat product I no longer consider as food for myself, and have come to the point that I do not miss it at all. I feel as if some foods are part of my past and I know how bad they are for me and I remember the bothersome side effects they gave me. No remorse. Serenity, peace and knowledge that I eat food that is good to me and for me 🙂

[How to roast spaghetti squash, here  http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-spaghetti-squash-178036 ]

So Spaghetti squash, time to show me your stuff!

Ok, so, my 1st Test was Spaghetti squash “In bianco” or ” white or plain”. In bianco, is a condiment of butter or extra virgin olive oil. The butter either browned alone, with a few sage leaves or added in small pieces cold (it melts directly on the pasta itself or spaghetti squash in this case). With or without a grating of parmiggiano, you decide.

I used browned butter and sage leaves and yes, parmiggiano. I treated my Spaghetti squash as a plate of pasta. I warmed my previously roasted Spaghetti squash in the microwave for 40 seconds, added a dash of salt & pepper and poured the browned butter & sage on the squash, mixed with a fork and added the parmiggiano on top. (For even more flavor the spaghetti squash can be put directly in the pan of browned butter and sage to warm up.) PASSED!

IMG_7413

Test #2

I made Pesto, a somewhat lighter version, due to flavor as I spoke of above but a Basil Pesto none the less. ( I will take the time to write out my Pesto recipe in the future, I make it without measuring the ingredients so I will have to take some time to measure and write it down next time!) Spaghetti squash with pesto, Passed!

IMG_7570

Test #3

“Al Pomodoro”, w/tomato. To make it a quick try I used what my children call The World’s Best Tomato sauce. After years and hours of pealing and deseeding tomatoes, making my own tomato sauce, which I happen to LOVE, my kids tell me that Mari’s tomato sauce is the best. Ofcourse my next move was to ask Mari her trick! So to find out she uses tomato paste. Yep, just tomato paste. No fresh tomatoes, no sautéed vegetables, not even onion or garlic. Just a tablespoon butter melted in a small pan a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and a little broth, fresh cream or a laddle of the cooking pasta’s water to liquify the sauce enough to serve it over, in this case, Spaghetti squash. A grating of Pariggiano and there it is, The World’sBest Spaghetti squash al pomodoro!! PASSED!

IMG_7420

Test #4

“Alfredo”, with broccoli and shrimp. I sautéed a clove of garlic and a small piece of onion, chopped, in a tsp or so of butter, I added a few broccoli florets and a few shrimp, salt & peppered, then added approximately 1/4 c heavy cream and a grating of parmiggiano. When warm and bubbly I added the spaghetti squash to the pan and cooked at low heat until warmed. Topped with parmiggiano and WOW, delicious! PASSED!

IMG_7576

The next Test? Spaghetti squash and meatballs…. and maybe even with my Pumpkin & bacon sauce 🙂

Buon Appetito!

Fennel Gratin

Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables, both raw and cooked. Fennel’s flavor is subtle and decise at the same time, it is very unique.

There are two types of Fennel, male and female. The male is a plumb bulb like shape that has both a light citrusy and a sweet aromatic licorice flavor. (I personally am not a licorice fan but I do like Anise.) The female is a longer and flatter shape, a lighter taste and is best baked, grilled or braised. The male has a stronger, flavorful taste and is delicious raw, cut into salads or just by itself with a grind of pepper and a little evo, delicious!

http://www.connectionsforwomen.com/article_details.php?article_id=338

IMG_6617

Italian “Finocchio Gratinato” or  “Fennel Gratin ” was one of my favorite dishes.  A crust of bread crumbs, grated Parmigiano, seasoned and toasted under the broiler until golden. I tried it my way, the Judifood way, no gluten and I omitted the Parmigiano. I used almond flour, ghee, thyme, salt & pepper. My Autumn has a whole new feel, deliciously healthy and tasteful with a crisp warm coating!

IMG_6696

My recipe:

Steam the Fennel slices for 10 minutes or until tender.

Turn on the broiler and melt 1/2 tbsp Ghee in a 10″ x 6″ broiler and oven proof dish.

Place the steamed Fennel in a single layer in the dish and drizzle with 1 tbsp Ghee.

Lightly salt the Fennel.

Cover the Fennel with the Almond flour and distribute remaining Ghee over the Almond flour.

Sprinkle with ground Thyme, Salt and Pepper.

Brown the Fennel Gratin under the Broiler for 10 minutes or until golden.

Buon Appetito!

Meal Planner satisfaction!

My companion has come a long way, I’m sure he had NO idea what he was getting himself into when he commited himself to a relationship with me. He knew I loved to cook that I was a healthy eater and preferred homemade to dining out etc but….little did he know that I would get him to cut the diet soda, I would throw away that year supply tub of spreadable plastic he had sitting on the refrigerator door and propose grains, fruits and vegetables he’d never wanted to try nor even heard of before in his meals. FYI, his definition of fruit is applesauce and he hates bananas. How was this relationship going to work? I wondered myself. Meanwhile, I taught him the difference between applesauces and he buys natural applesauce and reads labels.

His first outstanding proof of love was not only saying “yes” to an evening “Dinner for Two” Cooking Course based on Kumquats at Central Market and actually showing enthusiasm and excitement to something I thought to be an incredible way to have fun on a Friday night, also for  the fact he’d never even seen a Kumquat before none the less had any idea it was a citrus. He hates citrus fruits, but he was a good sport and actually looked forward to our evening! (Here is where he gained extra points major time!)

(I was new here in Dallas looking for places to find a few ingredients I couldn’t find at local grocery stores in town and found this “Central Market” Grocery Store that offered some pretty cool things on and off the shelves!) Check it out ttp://www.centralmarket.com/Home

My Mr.Wonderful usually comes with me to Whole Foods grocery shopping on the weekends. When we go, we stop for a bite also and enjoy what is going on, a little music, new foods to sample etc. He seems to enjoy it and has found things he likes or would like to try too!

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/?reloaded=true

Last week at Whole Foods there was a Sale on Tuna steaks!

Tuna $6Jeff agreed that these sounded like a good choice for one of our meals this week! Big step for one who doesn’t like fish either! Our plan was to grill them!

Tuna grillHe prepared the Weber and I prep’d the steaks- Super Easy!

I wet the steaks with Evo and topped them with some herbed salt I brought with me from Italy . Similar to an Herb de Provence salt.

prep'dWe cooked them about 3 mins per side. The steaks were about 1 1/2inches thick.

I steamed some Asparagus, Jeff’s pick of vegetable for our steaks 🙂 (He is really opening up to trying new vegetables!)

I prep’d a quick little sauce using:

  • 100ml Evo, 1/3  lemon squeezed, 1 small clove garlic, parsley and pepper.

I used my hand emulsion blender to blend the ingredients and Ta-da!  Buon Appetito!

P.S. Jeff liked it!

Pan Pizzas

My meals are made with the ingredients I have in the fridge, so to say, many are in the cupboards. But ALL natural ofcourse.

All the ingredients in my Pan Pizzas recipe are ingredients I always keep handy. I buy groceries on the weekends and am inspired by my own hunger at times, lol and by food blogs, recipes, produce isles in grocery stores & the Farmer’s Market.  Only fresh- natural- food. During the week I work a full time job, work out and now am running three times a week.  I love to run!  And eat healthy 🙂

Pan Pizzas

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups riced Cauliflower
  • 2 tsp Ghee
  • salt & pepper

Toppings I used:

  • fresh tomato sauce
  • sliced mushrooms
  • chopped Tropea
  • Kalamata olives

Beat eggs and cauliflower with a fork add a dash or two of salt and pepper. Melt ghee in a frying pan. Using a laddle make small pizzas in pan (like you would making pancakes). Cook on both sides until golden. Add warmed tomato sauce and toppings and serve, Buon Appetito!

Stewed Lentils

Stewed lentils, Lenticchie Stuffate in Italian,  are amongst one of my favorite foods. And are soooo good for me! Lots of protein!

My recipe comes from my life in Italy:

soffrito

Sautee’ the vegetables in the evo until onion is translucent. Add the rinsed Lentils to the pan and let sautee’ a couple minutes.

Put the sautéed lentils and veggies in the crock pot on high and add 3 cups vegetable broth, tomato sauce and thyme.

Cook for approx. 1 1/2 hrs. Add more broth if needed until lentils are soft, mixing occasionally. Lentils 1

http://www.livestrong.com/article/41517-lentil-nutrition-information/

2 Poached eggs, steamed Bok Choy and stewed lentils, for breakfast, lunch or dinner, YUM!

Lentils3

Buon Appetito!

Delicious “Tonno” Salad

Yes, even in Autumn I eat Tuna Salad. My recipe came about with my incredible want to have some good tuna, which is hard to find in the USA. I was used to Italian Tonno. I never thought there would be such a difference. I’m not talking fresh, I’m talking canned. In olive oil, not in water. (Even in water would be great, as long as it tasted like tuna!) Italian canned tuna is pink , American is white. http://www.canned-tuna.com/ Anyway….

I mixed my Tuna with steamed cauliflower and some cappers and voila!, my fresh mayo recipe, and invented the most delicious version of Tuna Salad in this world! Even in Autumn!

Here’s my recipe:

  • 2 cups steamed cauliflower
  • 1 can Genova or Rio Mare Tonno/Tuna in olive oil, strained
  • 1/2 cup fresh mayonnaise (recipe here: https://judifood.com/2013/10/25/e-voila/)
  • 1 tbls cappers
  • 1/2 stalk celery chopped finely (optional)

Flake the tonno, add all ingredients together and mix delicately with a wooden spoon.

Buon Appetito!

*I served my Tonno Salad on Butter leaf lettuce.

Egg Salad Blanc

I love eggs. They are a good part of my weekly meal planning and my protein count.

Here’s a little info:http://www.livestrong.com/article/269623-how-many-grams-of-protein-are-in-egg-whites/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/41005-much-protein-egg-whites/

I was in the mood for egg salad. To hype up the protein I made it Blanc!

It is delicious and very versatile! Yum!

Here’s my recipe:

  • 10 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh mayonnaise (recipe here, https://judifood.com/2013/10/25/e-voila/)
  • 2 tbls chopped red onion
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbls chives
  • 1 tbs parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste

Cut the eggs in half and put aside their yolks

(The yolks can be used for soup or salad toppers during the week)

Chop the egg whites.

Add the chopped egg whites to all other ingredients,

Refrigerate *at least a few hours if not overnight.

Buon Appetito!

photo eggwsalad