Lemon Zest and Pepper Baked Low-Fat Chicken

Today I felt like posting one recipe that I feel I could eat everyday. This is not about the fact that it’s healthy, low-fat, low-calorie or good for you; it’s about the fact that I love to eat this and so does my Husband.
We love everything that has to do with chicken I love it grilled, steamed, rotisserie, fried and baked. Of course the way I mainly eat it is grilled or baked they are easier, healthier and probably my 2 favorite ways of eating it. If I’m grilling or baking it I always drizzle with some olive oil, dash salt and pepper and then at times add some rosemary, or sage or thyme whatever seems to be available. This time I added lemon zest and the flavor was so delicious I had to post it. I accompanied the dish with quinoa (another of our favorite ingredients) you can learn all about it’s nutrition facts and how to cook it here. As for the vegetables well I made a variety, asparagus, sundried tomatoes and artichokes. This was a delicious meal fully packed of vitamins and minerals with amazing flavors. I hope that you enjoy it and remember that healthy is delicious.

This dish is perfect for trying to stay in shape but really getting the maximum benefits of what you are putting into you body. Chicken as well as Quinoa are great protein sources to keep you lean and fit. You choose what you want to accompany this dish with and remember that there are so many sides that are healthy and this chicken will compliment anything. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Serves 2

2 skinless chicken breasts

1/2 lemon, zested

Extra Virgin Olive oil

Chili flakes (optional)

Salt and Peppercorns to taste

Preheat your oven at 400°F (200°C)

In a baking dish add your chicken breasts, drizzle with some E.V.O, sprinkle lemon zest, and rest of ingredients. Bake for 20 minutes or until poked and liquid is clear. Serve.

If you would like add some rosemary or other herbs to dish. Your choice!

Light, Healthy, Skinny Recipes to help you get that Summer Body

Summer is right around the corner and if you are scrambling to get that latest diet or what have you to help you get in shape I suggest you to just start eating healthy.
This means more seasonal fresh foods, like vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts. I live and eat these food groups; and I seem to be doing just fine. The thing about this lifestyle is that you don’t have to constantly be thinking about what you can eat  and what you can’t, how you are going to feel the next day, if your shorts are a bit too tight (or if you’re bulging out of your bikini).
The summer is tough enough already trying to keep yourself hydrated, cool, comfortable, tanning, hair, skin, etc… the last thing you need is to be stressed out about some sort of diet! How many calories, carbs, fat, non-fat, this n’ that. Just eat healthy fresh foods. They provide you with the energy, hydration and beautiful radiant skin to show off; not to mention a smaller waist.

I have a lot of different salads and ways I like to eat my vegetables and of course it’s not hot yet so a salad might not be something that you want to eat. If you start eating healthy now and leave out as much junk food as possible (i.e. artificial sweeteners, sodas, chips, fried foods, prepackaged foods & sweets, along with anything you can’t pronounce) you are going to be in fantastic shape by the summer. It’s really simple you just need to train your body to eat healthy. It’s a chain reaction; once you cut out the bad stuff your body will not crave it anymore. Trust me!

There are billions of ways you can make salads or healthy foods. They aren’t complicated and they don’t have to be boring. I know that the winter isn’t quite over yet and I know a salad might not always give you that warmth of comfort food that you are craving so I have a nice warm healthy recipes here that are simple and delicious.

Warm Bibb Salad w/ Roasted Asparagus and Feta

  • 1 medium head of Bibb salad, washed and pulled apart
  • 10 Asparagus
  • 1/2 lb Feta
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • E.V. Olive oil
  • Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven at 400°F (200°C). Get a baking dish lay out your Asparagus, drizzle with a little e.v.o. and sprinkle salt and pepper and red chili flakes. Place baking tray in oven and bake for 15 min.
In a medium pan, drizzle some olive oil, allow to heat over medium heat and then add your garlic; once golden add your bibb lettuce season with salt and pepper and carefully mix. You don’t want it to burn or break, just allow it to wilt and then turn off.

Let’s begin plating. Lay your asparagus, top with some wilted lettuce and then sprinkle feta evenly on top and enjoy!

Warm bibb salad with roasted asaragus and feta

Pulled Chicken Breast with Pinto Beans and Avocado
Serves 2

  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 cups Pinto Beans, boiled *
  • 2 Chicken Breasts, steamed & shredded**
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 1 Chilli, fresh & diced (optional)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • Handful Parsley and Cilantro, washed
  • 2 tbsp. E.V.O oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pan add the e.v.o. heat over medium flame and then add the garlic; cook to golden add your tomatoes, chili and beans. Simmer for about 5 minutes then add about 1/2 of your parsley and cilantro then salt, pepper and continue to cook for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

Let’s begin plating. Lay your chicken and add the beans on the side. Cut your avocado in half and slice lay on top of food and serve with remaining parsley and cilantro. Sprinkle some salt over avocado. Enjoy!

*You can use a canned beans, just make sure to drain and rinse well. ** For the Chicken, Place in steamer and cook until fork inserted and liquid runs clear. Cool and pull apart. You can boil it too. Season with some salt and pepper.

Pulled Chicken w/ Pinto beans and avocado

Sesame Crusted Tuna on a bed of Cucumber & Arugula topped w/ Avocado
Serves 2

  • 2 6-8 oz Tuna Steaks
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 cups Arugula
  • Sesame seeds, (enough to coat tuna)
  • E.V.O. oil
  • 1/2 Lemon, squeezed
  • Drizzle of Light Soy sauce (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Salt and Pepper your Tuna steaks, now coat in sesame seeds and set aside.
Grab a mandolin and slice you cucumber, peel and all. (You can peel if you want I liked the texture of it on). Place on the plate one by one creating a nice flat base pattern.

Place a medium pan over medium flame, drizzle some e.v.o and when hot add the tuna steaks, cook for about 2 minutes on each side and quickly on the corners as well. Remove allow to sit for 2 min and then slice or leave whole.

Get you Arugula and toss in some e.v.o, 2 tbsp. of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place a bit at the center of each dish. Place the Tuna steak on the bed of arugula.
Slice Avocado in half, slice again into thin pieces and place on top of tuna topping with a drizzle of soy and remaining lemon. Enjoy!

Sesame crusted Tuna over cucmber and arugula topped with avocado

Shaved Asparagus & Radish w/ Shrimp in a Multi-Lettuce Salad
Serves 2

  • 1/2 lb Shrimp, cooked and deveined
  • 8 Asparagus, washed
  • Handful Radishes, washed
  • 4 Mushrooms, cleaned
  • 5 cups Italian lettuce, (radicchio, romaine, arugula, etc…)
  • 4 tbsp. E.V.O. oil
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Place your salad in a large bowl. Grab a mandolin start slicing your asparagus long-wise, now start slicing your radishes and mushrooms, add all these ingredients to salad bowl as well as shrimp.

Whisk together last 4 ingredients, drizzle over salad and toss until completely combined and serve. Enjoy!

Shaved Asparagus and Shrimp salad

And there you have it. Options for your healthy eating. It seems so hard to eat healthy, but in all reality it’s easy and a pleasure. I hope that you enjoy these recipes and feel free to substitute with other vegetables or protein. They are simple, fun, delicious but most of all light and nutritious. They will give you energy and help you feel great and ready for the summer. Happy cooking. Let me know what you think and also try to incorporate a little physical activity to give you that extra boost you need to get you feeling sexy. Ciao

P.s. remember I am not a nutritionist, dietician so please consult your doctor before you go on any diet or change any lifestyle.

Gourmet Valentines? Try this: Pollo alla Cacciatora – Chicken Cacciatora

You may know by now that I am a savory kinda girl. So instead of posting a dessert I decided that I would post one of the most mouthwatering, amazingly delicious dish I have ever had the pleasure of eating for my Valentines Day recipe. I love this dish and it requires no time so you can still get all dolled up and ready for dinner while the house is filling with this amazing aroma of Pollo alla Cacciatora.

This is a perfect deep luscious red, sophisticated, amazingly gourmet but yet simple, healthy, effortless and delicious dish. This is a perfect dish if you have/want to impress anyone or if you want to finally feel proud that you can actually put something this delicious, succulent and amazing on a dish!
I bought the famous Artusi cookbook not too long ago “La scienza in Cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene”, “The science of cooking and the Art of eating well”. He’s known for the best Italian recipes bringing us back to the way it was prepared once upon a time. He’s cookbook was published back in 1891 and perfected in 1911 with a total of 790 recipes (for more click on above Artusi link). So, this is a recipe I got from there, only difference is that I used a shallot instead of an onion.

It only requires 4 ingredients (besides salt and pepper of course) and really is just delicious. I for some reason wasn’t able to get any good pictures because the smell that filled the house made both my husband and I incredibly impatient and extremely ravenous. But make this and I promise that you will not be disappointed.

I think that it would be a perfect dish to serve for Valentines Day if you are planning on cooking something for your love. It won’t leave you feeling heavy…wink, wink; and will leave you and whomever you served it to feeling that it was much better to stay home and eat this than go out and eat something crappy, not delicious set-menu because it is Valentines Day. No way! This will knock your socks off.

I got some fresh baked bread so that we could do ‘scarpetta’ which is used in reference to cleaning up the sauce on your plate with bread. Accompanied by a nice green salad dressed in olive oil.
However, you could accompany this dish with polenta, rice, potatoes, or whatever you like.

I hope that you truly enjoy this dish as much as we did. Happy Valentines Day. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 Shallots, chopped finely*

1 small Chicken, chopped in pieces

½ cup of Red wine, pick SanGiovese or at least something good (this is the secret to this dish)

½ cup Tomato Sauce

Salt and Pepper to taste

Put a medium to large skillet on medium-high flame with about 4 tablespoons of Olive oil, once the oil is hot add your shallots and allow to get translucent. Now scoop out the shallot and transfer to a plate, set aside.

Get your chicken, and place skin down onto the skillet, salt and pepper and once skin is golden flip and salt and pepper as well, cook for another 5-8 minutes and then add your shallot back in the skillet, followed by the wine and the tomato sauce. Mix around a bit, cover and allow to cook for about 40 minutes flipping the chicken once.

Now remove the lid and cook for about another 10 -15 minutes. Your chicken should be cooked, tender and juicy and your sauce thickened. Serve.

*If you don’t have shallots you can use one onion

Homemade Cesar Salad with Polenta Croutons and grilled Chicken

It was something that we were both craving: a nice cesar salad with a twist, I wanted to make it a little healthier with still the delicious flavor. It’s such a heavy salad and with all the heavy ingredients I feel like you could just eat a plate of pasta instead. So, yes I tweaked it and it was delicious. I decided that polenta was going to replace the white flour bread croutons that famously go with this salad, and the dressing was going to be lighter and healthier. Yum!

Here in Italy we obviously don’t have Cesar salad contrary to the popular opinion of people thinking that this salad is Italian. It’s actually originally from Mexico, Tijuana named after the Chef Cesar Cardini an Italian immigrant who invented it in 1924. The original recipe doesn’t contain anchovies. However there are many variations of this salad with some recipes including different ingredients such as mustard, egg, avocado, tomato, bacon bits, garlic cloves or anchovies. I do like this salad and so I added an ingredient of my own. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of Polenta Croutons (recipe below)

2 Chicken breasts, grilled and chopped

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped*

1/3 cup 0% Greek yogurt

2 tbsp Olive oil

2 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

1 clove Garlic, minced

Juice form 1/2 a lemon

2 Anchovies, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Place your chicken breasts on the grill, and allow to cook for about 15 minutes turning once, or until the juice from inside the chicken is clear.

Meanwhile place your chopped romaine in the bowl. Whisk the yogurt, olive oil, parmigiano, garlic, lemon, anchovies and pepper in a bowl until smooth. Add salt at the end and be the judge of how much you need.

Get your chicken slice it into strips. Toss the lettuce with the dressing and start plating.
Place the salad down first, then the chicken strips followed by the polenta croutons. If you choose, shave some parmigiano on at the end.

For the polenta croutons:
Follow the recipe on the box for one serving. Once ready pour onto something flat and lay out evenly about and inch thick. Allow to cool. Slice into cubes. Place a nonstick pan over medium flame and drizzle some olive oil place the cubed polenta and allow to get golden, flip and allow the other side to get golden continue with all sides. Set aside and then serve. Simple as that.

* Instead of Romaine you can use whatever you like. I used 3 different versions of radicchio

 

 

Sage wrapped Low-Fat stuffed Chicken Breasts

The winter is well on its way and I feel like heart-warming meals without all the added calories and heavy ingredients. As you all know by now there are 2 things that I absolutely love 1. Chicken (especially my husband, he literally could eat chicken everyday) 2. Veggies (I will find a way to incorporate them in all my meals).

During the summer it’s always grilled chicken. It’s light , tastes delicious and most of all easy and fast. However in the winter I feel more like staying inside away from the cold and also don’t really crave a grilled anything for that matter. It’s hard sometimes to try to make chicken inside on the stove top without it tasting absolutely boring. I’ve decided that no matter what I won’t cave in to millions of ingredients in one dish just to give it flavor, there are so many natural herbs and spices that can give your meals incredible flavor and bring out the best of your meals, without overpowering a dish.
The other morning I was craving stuffed chicken breasts and thought that I would need to go to the store for some cheese and whatever else inspired me to put in it. However, the thought became an absolute ‘no way am I going out in this cold for some cheese and stuff’, like always I opened the fridge and saw that I had some sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, some artichokes in olive oil and some fresh sliced mushrooms. Perfect this was going to work. I will say that I did have some Parmigiano Reggiano but I opted to leave out the cheese and see how a stuffed chicken breast with no cheese would taste.

I also have a wonderful Sage plant outside and I love the warming, eloquent, subtle flavor it gives when added to food. It has wonderful health benefits, it helps cure gastrointestinal disorders, muscle spasms and cramps, gingivitis, it helps regulate blood sugar and improves digestion. It’s full of Antioxidants that help with the aging process. And it’s an Anti-inflammatory agent for people with inflammatory issues such as but not limited to Rheumatoid arthritis. So yeah, it’s good for ya; and I decided that it would be the only seasoning herb for the chicken.
Here in Italy people incorporate it to meals quite a bit, whether its soups, sauces, meats, stews, etc… let me say that it really does compliment a dish when used correctly.

I hope that you enjoy this recipe it’s really simple and so delicious. Accompany it with whatever you like, a salad, roasted vegetables, steamed vegetables, rice, quinoa, couscous, potatoes or anything else you can come up with. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 boneless skinless Chicken breasts

8 Sun-dried Tomatoes, in Extra Virgin Olive OIl

8 Artichoke quarters, in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

8 slices of Mushrooms

2-3 fresh sprigs of Sage, or 14 leaves

2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 pieces Parchment paper, big enough to wrap each breast individually

8 pieces cooking Twine, about 4in. long

 

Preheat your oven at 350°.

Grab your chicken breasts and butterfly. Sprinkle some salt and pepper.  Now layer 4 pc. of sun-dried Tomatoes, followed by 4 slices of Mushrooms, followed by 4 pc. of Artichokes. Now close your chicken, cover the top nicely with half the sage leaves, salt and pepper.
Get 4 pc. of Twine and carefully slide one by one under the breast and then tieing at the top until the whole breast is securely tied. Lay one piece of parchment paper out and place your chicken in the center, drizzle 1 tsp of Olive oil and then close your parchment paper as if making a little doggie bag. Place in baking tray and repeat the same with other breast.

Bake for 25 minutes and then carefully open the paper, start with sides as some steam may leave and you’ll get burnt. Cut twine off and place nicely on dish. Buon Appetito

Healthy Chicken My-Way with Sundried Tomatoes and Mushrooms

I know I have mentioned before how much my Husband and I love chicken. It’s the perfect ingredient for anything healthy….it can be difficult at times to have ideas for skinless chicken breasts especially when you want to keep it healthy, but still tasty.

I love to grill it and then accompany it with any vegetable I have in the house i.e. zucchini, eggplant, green beans, spinach, broccoli or of course fresh vegetables salad.
But then the fall comes along and you start feeling like you want to eat something warm and a little more; how can I put it heartfilling. So anyways, most fall/winter recipes include heavier ingredients and aren’t as healthy as one would like. I find it though easy because I just like to throw whatever vegetable I find in my fridge that I could also use in a salad raw, and cook it. In this case I had sliced mushrooms (I love to add those raw to a green vegetable salad), and some sundried tomatoes in olive oil. Perfect I knew exactly what I could do so here the recipe follows.
Enjoy this heart-warming meal you can accompany it with other vegetables, roasted potatoes, or with brown rice, quinoa, cous-cous, and whole grain pasta. You pick that.

Ingredients:

2 medium sliced skinless Chicken Breasts

1 handful Mushrooms, Sliced

10 Sundried Tomatoes, drained

1 clove, Garlic minced

Handful Parsley, chopped

3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

1/5 cup Water

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large saucepan heat the olive oil, and add your garlic, add your mushrooms and allow to cook for about 4 minutes, in the meantime chop your sundried tomatoes and then add to your mushrooms, add the water and allow to simmer for 3 minutes.

Add chicken breasts to the pan with the ingredients, cover and allow to 10 minutes, turning the chicken over once. Add parsley, salt and pepper cook for about another 3 minutes and then serve.

My Go-To Healthy Dinner – Grilled Chicken and Asparagus

One of my favorite all time healthy, Low fat and Low Calorie Meals is the classic chicken and vegetables. I personally love asparagus so whenever in season they are always on my dish. The other thing that I love is to use the grill as much as possible it keeps the meal low fat but with amazing flavor.

My Husband is the one that grills he loves it and I love the fact of cooking together. It’s like our little time together and it makes us enjoy each other more. Most of the time it’s me cooking and him just waiting around pouring the wine, trying his best to stay out of the way; but when we do cook together it’s both of us doing the work and we both compliment each other in the part that the other one cooked. It’s nice and I particularly appreciate his help and enjoy the fun moments that come from it.

My husbands favorite meat is Chicken, he could honestly eat chicken about everyday or every other day so as soon as grilling season comes along (or even way before), we are definitely grilling chicken breasts. Accompanied generally by a vegetable and quinoa or cous-cous. The other night we had the delicious grilled chicken breasts with asparagus and it was so good I thought that I should share the simple recipe with you. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 Chicken breasts, sliced thin

1 lb Asparagus

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

1 sprig Rosemary, fresh (removed form stem)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Turn on your grill and let heat. Get your chicken and drizzle 1 tbsp. of olive oil on it, along with the rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix together and let sit.

Get your asparagus and wash, put it in a large saucepan over medium heat and drizzle remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil cover and allow to steam stirring occasionally; add salt and pepper to taste after about 5 minutes and cover. Should take about 15 minutes to be completely cooked.

Put your chicken on the grill and cook each side for about 10 minutes. In the meantime check on the asparagus if you can pinch with a fork it means that they are ready,* remove from heat. By now your chicken is ready so plate. Enjoy

*I like my Asparagus with just a little snap to them, not soggy but you cook to your desired doneness