Tag Archives: low-carb

Grilled Pesto Chicken Breasts

This pesto chicken recipe takes a three-pronged approach, compliments of Cook’s Country. Starting with a batch of homemade pesto, a portion is thickened with extra Parmesan cheese to make a stuffing for the bone-in, skin-on breasts. A cheese-less portion of the pesto functions as a marinade, flavoring the outside of the meat. Finally, cheesy pesto, thinned out to sauce consistency, is served with the chicken for one final hit of fresh basil flavor.

I am a white meat fan when it comes to chicken, while The Hubs prefers the dark meat which he believes to be juicier. While I can’t always argue with that logic, I do know that with the skin and bones of the breast pieces intact, the more succulent the meat will be.

Our poultry breasts weighed in at 15 ounces or so, a bit more than the 12-ounce pieces listed in the ingredients. In fact, one of them was larger than the other three and actually took an additional 7 minutes to come to temperature, so keep a close eyeball on the internal temps with an instant-read thermometer, especially if they are varying sizes.

Brimming with fresh basil, this recipe was a perfect opportunity to cut it back mid-season from our herb garden, encouraging robustness for the remainder of the season. And while the directions indicate to marinate the breasts in the pesto sauce in a bowl for one hour, I let them get happy in a large glass baking dish for three hours in the refrigerator wrapped tightly with saran wrap.

Results? The Hubs LOVED them! That’s big praise coming from a guy who steadfastly prefers the dark meat of the thighs and legs. He couldn’t believe how moist the white meat remained and how flavorful the overall pesto approach was. “Let’s make this for company” he sang, and I thought yes, let’s!

Note: that the pesto base is divided into three separate mixtures for marinating, stuffing, and saucing the grilled chicken.

Grilled Pesto Chicken Breasts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice, about 1/2 large lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)
  • 4 (12-oz.) split bone-in chicken breasts, trimmed

Directions

  1. Process basil, ½ cup oil, garlic, lemon juice, and ¾ teaspoon salt in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl as needed. Remove ¼ cup pesto from processor and reserve for marinating chicken.
  2. Add Parmesan to pesto in processor and pulse until incorporated, about 3 pulses. Remove ¼ cup Parmesan pesto from processor and reserve for stuffing chicken.
  3. Add remaining ¼ cup oil to Parmesan pesto in processor and pulse until combined, about 3 pulses; set aside for saucing cooked chicken.
  4. Starting on thick side of breast, closest to breastbone, cut horizontal pocket in each breast, stopping ½ inch from edge so halves remain attached. Season chicken, inside and out, with salt and pepper.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon of Parmesan pesto reserved for stuffing in pocket of each breast. Evenly space 2 pieces of kitchen twine (each 12 inches long) beneath each breast and tie to secure breast, trimming any excess twine.
  6. Place stuffed breasts in bowl and add pesto reserved for marinating. Rub pesto all over chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  7. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
    FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-low. (Adjust burners as needed to maintain grill temperature of 350 degrees.)
  8. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place chicken, skin side up, on grill (over cool side if using charcoal). Cover and cook until chicken registers 155 degrees, 25 to 35 minutes.
  9. Flip chicken skin side down. If using charcoal, slide chicken to hot part of grill. If using gas, turn all burners to medium-high. (Our grill is very hot, so I only turned up the heat to medium.) Cover and cook until well browned and chicken registers 160 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. Transfer chicken to platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove twine from chicken and carve meat from bone. Serve, passing Parmesan pesto sauce separately.

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Adapted from a recipe for Cook’s Country

Marinated Beef Kebabs and Veggie Skewers

The beauty of this marinade recipe is that it is used for both the meat and vegetable skewers. We almost always thread the meat on separate skewers from the vegetables because the cooking times are so drastically different. The veggies will take about 20 minutes, while the beef is done in 5-8 minutes, depending on your preference.

And while you can get away with only marinating the meat for one hour (that’s the time limit for your veggies), the flavor penetrates the beef at a much more satisfying taste if you leave it in a ziploc overnight—or say, at least 8 hours.

If you’re not counting carbs, tri-colored couscous makes a fine dining companion for the skewers of meat and vegetables. Make it with beef bullion instead of water for an even beefier taste!

Marinated Beef Kebabs and Veggie Skewers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. top sirloin beef, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper (or 1/2 of each), cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
  • 1 onion, peeled with root intact, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1″-thick rounds
  • 12 large button mushrooms, stems removed

MARINADE

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Sriracha, a few dashes to taste

Directions

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl, then divide into two ziploc gallon-sized bags.
  2. Add the chunks of beef to one bag, seal and refrigerate overnight. Reserve the other bagged marinade for the veggies, store in refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. One hour before preheating grill, put cut vegetables into remaining marinade. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for one hour.
  4. Preheat grill to high on all burners.
  5. Thread beef chunks onto 3-4 skewers. Alternate the vegetables on 4 skewers. Place all skewers on a large rimmed baking sheet. Reserve leftover marinade for basting purposes.
  6. Grill the veggie skewers for 15 minutes, turning and basting occasionally with leftover marinade. Leave on grill until meat is done, continuing to baste with marinade.
  7. Now place beef kebabs on grill, turning and basting occasionally. With an instant-read thermometer, check after 4 minutes for doneness. Ours were perfectly medium-rare after only 4 1/2 minutes!
  8. Remove skewers from grill to baking sheet and cover loosely with foil for 5 minutes allowing the juices to redistribute.
  9. The meat can be removed from skewers onto a platter and passed around the table, while each diner gets one skewer of vegetables.

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Grilled Tuna Steaks with Lemon-Caper Mustard Sauce

There’s just something about grilled tuna steaks that screams summer to me. This super-easy, no-fuss, dinner is perfect for a couple—but if doubled or tripled, fancy enough for company. Because it’s ready in 30 minutes from start-to-finish, you have ample time leftover to chill with a glass of wine, and/or enjoy your guests.

Then, how about a grilled romaine salad as a side dish? Slice a head in half, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place the cut-side down over high heat for two minutes. Dress with grape tomatoes, radish and cucumber slices, sliced scallions and your favorite dressing. I think ranch or blue cheese adds a nice counterpoint to the salty tartness of the butter sauce. Serve immediately.

Completing the meal was some grilled asparagus, making the meal healthy, low-carb, with added fiber and protein—not to mention great taste!

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Lemon-Caper Mustard Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 8 oz. tuna steaks, 3/4 inch thick
  • 2 Tbsp. tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon fresh juice, divided  
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest, grated  
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. capers, drained
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil for tuna
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Vegetable oil for grill grates
  • Fresh parsley for garnish, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat gas grill to high.
  2. Mix together butter, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, capers and a pinch of white pepper. Set aside.
  3. Brush tuna steaks with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with salt and white pepper. Drizzle remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice over fish.
  4. Brush vegetable oil on grates and place tuna steaks over the heat.
  5. Grill, turning once, until firm and opaque at center, about 10 to 12 minutes total for medium.
  6. Remove from heat and divide lemon-caper butter over top of each steak.
  7. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and leftover lemon wedges if you have them.

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Jammy Grape Tomatoes

Lots of grape and/or cherry tomatoes? A great way to use them up before they go bad is to roast them with garlic and olive oil. All you need are tomatoes, olive oil and garlic cloves. However, we happen to have some organic garlic scapes on hand and decided to chop them up and add to the mix. Jammy describes the way these tomatoes collapse, thicken and sweeten when they’re roasted in the oven.

While exact measurements don’t make much of a difference, I sliced up just over a pound of multi-colored grape tomatoes, peeled and smashed about a head of garlic cloves, and chopped 6 garlic scapes. Then arranged in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet, tossed with about 1/4 cup of good olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. The pan went into a preheated 325° oven for 30 minutes, then tossed everything with a spatula and spread back into an even layer. After another 30 minutes in the oven, the pan was removed.

Let cool completely. You can store in an airtight container for up to five days in the refrigerator, or use immediately as a spread on crusty bread, tossed with cooked pasta, or use as an accompaniment to fish, steak or chicken.

As a special treat, we spread some on thick focaccia slices, topped with shredded parm and put under the broiler for several minutes, then topped with a chiffonade of fresh basil from our garden. In a word, divine!

Asparagus with Vietnamese Scallion Sauce

Adding fresh allium notes as well as bright green color to any dish, Vietnamese scallion oil, called mỡ hành, is used as a garnish or condiment on a number of different foods, here we are adding it to cooked asparagus.

This version from Milk Street includes savory fish sauce (or soy sauce), pungent ginger and a little sugar to build complexity. Try it on shrimp, steak, grilled pork chops, corn on the cob or steamed dumplings. Leftover scallion oil can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days; return it to room temperature before serving.

For proper texture and flavor, the scallions should be chopped. Slice them first, then run the knife blade over them a few times to further break them down.

Asparagus with Vietnamese Scallion Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • ½ cup chopped scallions (5 or 6 scallions)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup peanut or other neutral oil
  • 1½ Tbsp. fish sauce or soy sauce
  • 1½ Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. white sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 lbs. asparagus, trimmed and halved on the diagonal
  • 3 Tbsp. water

Directions

  1. In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the scallions, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Using your fingers, gently rub the salt and pepper into the scallions until the scallions begin to wilt.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering, then pour the hot oil over the scallions; the scallions will sizzle. Stir, then stir in the fish sauce, ginger and sugar. Cool to room temperature.
  3. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil until barely smoking. Add asparagus and cook, stirring only a few times, until charred. Add 3 tablespoons water, then immediately cover. Reduce to low and cook, stirring just once or twice, until the asparagus is crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with scallion oil spooned over.

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Recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Roasted Fish and Fennel with Grapefruit Salsa

Looking for a vibrant fish dinner combination? This Roasted Fish and Fennel with Grapefruit Salsa from Better Homes & Gardens caught our attention immediately. And if you lean toward low-carb, keto-friendly dishes, you may want to put this meal in your rotation.

Choose a firm whitefish option like cod, grouper, or hake. These varieties hold up well to oven-roasting—and topping with a tangy, refreshing fruit salsa. Our original intention was to purchase hake, but the local supermarket didn’t have it and we were to lazy to drive to the other side of town to the Asian fish market and get it, so cod it was.

The recipe calls for four fish fillets, but with only the two of us at the dinner table, we simply bought a one-pounder fillet and split it. As far as the fennel, once roasted, it not only dissipates the licorice flavor (which deters some people from eating it), but it takes on a subtle, sweet flavor, which makes a great counterpoint to the grapefruit salsa.

Roasted Fish and Fennel with Grapefruit Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, halved, cored, and cut into thin wedges, plus 2 Tbsp. chopped fronds
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided 
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1-inch thick firm white fish fillets, such as cod, grouper, or hake
  • 1 large pink grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a shallow baking pan with foil. Add fennel wedges. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt. Arrange in a single layer. Roast 12 to 15 minutes or until starting to brown.
  2. Turn fennel and push to sides. Add fish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine chopped fennel fronds, grapefruit, parsley, shallot, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and black pepper. Serve fish with roasted fennel and the salsa.

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Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

Ginger-Miso Filet Mignon

You will adore this lickety-split sauce of butter, green onion, and ginger, which adds an Asian-style final touch to this steak recipe. With its crisp pan-seared exterior and succulent juicy center, and quick cooking time, you’ll find you’ll want to make this recipe often. And you can mix it up by using filet tips like we did.

In the original version from Better Homes & Gardens, the recipe calls for four filet mignon steaks. But we had 14 ounces worth of filet tips in our freezer, which had thick and thin areas, so cooking them was a little tricky. Once the meat was medium-rare, they were plated and covered while the sauce was made; then thinly sliced and laid over a bed of steamed rice. This actually stretched the portions to three with less than a pound of meat!

The most-time consuming portion of this recipe is the wait. The meat has to be seasoned and refrigerated for 2 hours, then taken out to room temperature for another 30 minutes. The actual cooking time is only about 15 minutes. If you are serving rice too, make sure to time it correctly so that is ready when the sauce is.

Omitting any rice keeps the dish low-carb and keto-friendly.

Ginger-Miso Filet Mignon

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 beef tenderloin steaks (filet mignon), cut 1- to 1 1/4-inches thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil 
  • ⅔ cup rice wine
  • 2 Tbsp. white miso paste
  • 2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions (optional)

Directions

  1. Season beef generously with salt and pepper. Place on a plate. Chill, uncovered, for 2 hours. Remove and let stand 30 minutes. Heat a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. To check when hot enough, add a large drop of water (1/8 teaspoon) to the skillet. When it rolls around the pan like a bead of mercury it is ready. This will take 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat; add oil. Swirl to coat bottom of skillet. Return to medium-high heat. Add beef. Cook for 5 minutes or until a crust forms (be patient; the beef will release when it’s ready to be turned). Turn and cook for 2 to 4 minutes more or until done at 135°F.
  3. Remove beef from skillet to a clean plate; cover loosely. Remove skillet from heat. Carefully add wine, miso, and soy sauce (mixture will spatter).
  4. Return to heat. Bring to boiling, stirring to scrape up browned bits and whisking to incorporate miso. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, green onions, and ginger.
  5. Spoon sauce over beef to serve. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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Adapted from a recipe By Colleen Weeden for Better Homes & Gardens

Eggplant Involtini

Here’s a lighter version of Eggplant Involtini that focuses on the eggplant. Baking instead of frying allows you to skip the salting and draining step, since the eggplant’s excess moisture evaporates in the oven, and it means that the eggplant’s flavor and meaty texture are not obscured by oil and breading. This was sooo good, we can’t wait to make it again!

Swapping the usual ricotta-heavy filling for one that’s boosted with a generous dose of Pecorino Romano means we can use less filling without sacrificing flavor. Lastly, make a simple but complementary tomato sauce in a skillet, add the eggplant bundles to it, and finish it under the broiler, which decreases the number of dishes required—always a plus in our book!

Of course we put our own spin on the dish, first by utilizing the pieces of eggplant cut away before planking them. What a waste it would be to discard all of that—about 3 cups worth! So we cubed those leftover pieces into about a 3/8″ dice and sautéed them in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil until softened before adding the tomatoes to the same skillet.

Now here comes the real twist. We added very thin slices of prosciutto on top of the eggplant slices before spooning on the cheese filling. Of course this step makes it no longer vegetarian, but that extra ingredient added even more depth of flavor. And we served ours with a side of gemelli pasta, which negates the low-carb factor, if you’re not concerned with that aspect.

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants (1 1/2 pounds each), peeled
  • 9 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, hand crushed coarsely in their juices
  • 1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 oz. whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ oz. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4 oz. very thin slices of prosciutto, cut in half crosswise (optional)

Directions

  1. Slice each eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick planks (you should have 12-15 planks). Trim rounded surface from each end piece so it lies flat.
  2. Cut up those leftover rounded pieces into a 3/8″ dice and sauté them in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in your large skillet until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Adjust 1 oven rack to lower-middle position and second rack 8 inches from broiler element. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and spray generously with vegetable oil spray. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on prepared sheets. Brush 1 side of eggplant slices with 2 1/2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Flip eggplant slices and brush with 2 1/2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  4. Bake until tender and lightly browned, 30 to 35 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cool for 5 minutes. Using thin spatula, flip each slice over. Heat broiler.
  5. While eggplant planks cook, add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the diced eggplant in same broiler-safe skillet over medium-low heat until just shimmering. Add garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in hand crushed tomatoes and their juice. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Cover and set aside.
  6. Pulse bread in food processor until finely ground, 10 to 15 pulses. Combine bread crumbs, ricotta, 1/2 cup Pecorino, 1/4 cup basil, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl.
  7. With widest ends of eggplant slices facing you, place a half slice of prosciutto, if using, on the wide end of each plank. Next, evenly distribute ricotta mixture on bottom third of each slice. Gently roll up each eggplant slice and place seam side down in tomato sauce.
  8. Bring sauce to simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and broil until eggplant is well browned and cheese is heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Pecorino and let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon basil and serve.

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Adapted from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook for America’s Test Kitchen

Slow-Cooker Vegetable & Chicken Meatball Soup

Aren’t meatballs fun? There are so many options as far as which ground meat to use: beef, pork, veal (or a combo of all three), turkey, and finally chicken, as in this healthy soup recipe. And size is another matter because you can make mini, medium, large or colossal, and serve them as appetizers, in soups, with pasta, as a side, in casseroles, as sliders on buns, or the ever-popular meatball sandwich… the options are limitless. Below are links to over a dozen more meatball recipes.

Here, we’ll concentrate on soup which we know can require a fair amount of prep in chopping all of the veggies, and with the addition of forming meatballs it’ll take about 30 minutes of your time in total. The slow-cooker does all the rest for the next two and a half hours, so your free to indulge in other pursuits.

However, don’t skip cooking the onions for the meatballs. This step softens the onions so they more easily add their sweet flavor to the meatball mixture. And as always, use homemade chicken stock if at all possible for the most flavor. I really think it would be too bland if you use canned or boxed store-bought broth. A few other changes we made included slightly increasing the amounts of most vegetables.

Plan on feeding 4 as an entrée or 6 as a first course.

Slow-Cooker Vegetable & Chicken Meatball Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped 
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • 4 oz. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • ⅓ cup panko
  • 2 ½ Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • Grated parmesan cheese for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add the onions, garlic, salt, and pepper to the skillet; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 minutes.
  2. Remove 1/2 cup of the cooked onion mixture, and place in a medium bowl; set aside. Transfer the remaining onion mixture to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and stir up the browned bits to the pan to deglaze. Stir the stock, carrots, zucchini, green beans, and celery into the slow cooker.
  4. Add the chicken, panko, 1/2 tablespoon of the parsley, and 1 teaspoon of the oregano to the reserved 1/2 cup onion mixture in the bowl; stir gently with a fork to combine.
  5. Shape the chicken mixture into 18 (1 1/4-inch) meatballs. Carefully submerge the meatballs into the chicken stock mixture in the slow cooker without stirring.
  6. Cover and cook on HIGH until the meatballs are done and the vegetables are tender, about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  7. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and 1 teaspoon oregano. Ladle the soup into bowls and top some grated cheese, if desired. And if you’re not counting carbs, serve hot crusty bread too.

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Adapted from a recipe found on EatingWell.com

Related Meatball Posts:

Cellentani with Turkey Meatballs and Homemade Tomato Sauce

Sheet-Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

Meatballs in Almond Sauce

Pork, Veal and Fennel Meatballs

Italian Meatballs with Tomato & White Wine Braise

Ginger-Chicken Meatballs with Chinese Broccoli

Swedish Meatballs

Vietnamese Meatball and Watercress Soup (Canh)

Sweet and Tangy Retro Meatballs

Festoni Con Polpette Di Mamma

Sheet-Pan Meatballs with Red Onions and Artichokes

Cumin Spiced Chicken Meatballs

Lion’s Head Meatballs

Mediterranean-Inspired One Pan Wonder

Treat yourself like company with this Mediterranean-inspired Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Tomatoes, Artichokes and Olives recipe. In less than an hour, this one pan wonder works well for a weeknight dinner. It’s a mash-up from America’s Test Kitchen and Molly Stevens cookbooks. The revised recipe noted below serves six, but we halved it for just the two of us.

Cooking the tenderloins until buttery-smooth is key, and roasting them atop a bed of vegetables buffers the heat to ensure juicy meat all the way through. Rather than searing the meat, it is rubbed with a spice mixture. The Mediterranean seasoning inspires the selection of vegetables: sweet, delicately flavored fennel, earthy artichoke hearts, and briny olives.

After softening the fennel in the microwave, toss it with the other vegetables and olive oil, and spread the mixture into the roasting pan, placing the tenderloins on top. The vegetables are nearly cooked when the pork was done, so remove the meat, add in juicy halved cherry tomatoes and orange zest, and let the vegetables finish in the oven while the meat rests.

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Tomatoes, Artichokes and Olives

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • (12- to 16-oz.) pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp. grated orange zest, divided in 3
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, stalks discarded, bulbs halved, cored, and cut into ½-inch-thick strips
  • 12 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry; or 6 oz. jarred packed in brine
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 18 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450°. Pat pork dry with paper towels.
  2. In a small bowl, combine thyme, 2 teaspoons of the orange zest, cumin, pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Combine thoroughly and rub all over both tenderloins.
  3. Combine fennel and 2 tablespoons water in bowl, cover, and microwave until softened, about 5 minutes; drain well. Toss drained fennel, artichokes, olives, and oil together in bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread vegetables into 16 by 12-inch roasting pan and lay pork on top. Roast until pork registers 140 to 145 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes, turning tenderloins over halfway through roasting.
  5. Remove pan from oven. Transfer pork to cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, stir cherry tomatoes and remaining teaspoon orange zest into vegetables and continue to roast until fennel is tender and tomatoes have softened, about 10 minutes more.
  7. Remove pan from oven. Stir parsley into roasted vegetables. Slice pork into ½-inch-thick slices and serve with vegetables.

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Dak Naengchae

If you’re not fluent in Korean, the title translates to “Korean Chicken Salad (with Pine Nuts). And best news of all, it uses a supermarket precooked rotisserie chicken (at least my version). Other than a bit of chopping and measuring, you only have to use the stovetop to blanch the beans for a few minutes. I’ll toast to that!

Light, creamy, nutty,
and tangy

This Korean chicken salad is made with a traditional pine nut dressing—no mayonnaise. It is light, creamy, nutty, and tangy, and certainly a healthier option for you. Always toast the nuts lightly to bring out the flavor, and then either finely chop or, as in this recipe, grind them in a blender. The gochujang and mustard add robust flavors, while the acidity from lemon juice ties everything together, brightening the taste of the dressing.

A handheld mandoline makes quick work of shredding the
cucumber and cabbage into uniform-sized slices.

The original recipe indicates adding yellow mustard, but I went ahead and used Dijon. Other variations incorporate hot mustard, so it’s up to you which way to go. The Hubs thinks mixing Coleman’s brand hot mustard powder with vinegar would make a good acidic choice.

Korean Chicken Salad with Pine Nuts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 8 oz. green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup + 4 Tbsp. pine nuts, divided
  • 1/4 water
  • 2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. gochujang
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded from a rotisserie chicken
  • 3 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal

Directions

  1. Cook the green beans in a medium sauce pan of boiling salted water until bright green and crisp tender, about 3 minutes.
  2. Drain, then chill in a bowl of ice water for 1 minute. Drain, then pat dry, cut in half and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a dry skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly browned. Let cool.
  4. In a blender, process 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the toasted pine nuts to a coarse paste, scraping sides as needed, about 20 seconds.
  5. Add water, mustard, gochujang, lemon juice and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth and pourable, about 30 seconds.
  6. In a medium bowl, toss together shredded cabbage, green beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, the remaining dressing and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
  7. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter, spoon the chicken over the center and sprinkle with the remaining pine nuts and scallion slices.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe compliments of Milk Streets “Tuesday Nights” series

Honey-Mustard Turkey Cutlets with Arugula, Carrot, and Celery Salad

Tarragon is the secret ingredient in the honey-mustard coating for these quick-cooking turkey cutlets. It adds lovely licorice notes that elevate without overwhelming.

Our turkey cutlets were obtained at Zook’s Meats in the Newtown Farmer’s Market. Inquiring at their meat counter if they had any turkey cutlets, the woman showed Russ a fresh boneless, skinless breast and suggested she could cut it down for us however we wanted. And she did just that at no extra cost.

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Each cutlet was placed between saran wrap and pounded thin.

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Once the cutlets were pounded, I realized they were too big and cut them in half.

I did still pound them down to about an 1/8″ thick. Then they were so large I cut each of three cutlets in half, producing six total. Unfortunately, I also had to make 50% more of the mustard marinade because the original amount only covered 4 pieces. We had enough tarragon growing in our herb garden so it was no bother to go out and cut some more.

To plate, we arranged a larger bed of the salad before placing the turkey cutlet on top. After which we crowned the meat with a smaller helping of salad. I knew I was going to like this dish based on the ingredients, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I did actually like it!

We had three cutlets left over, so the following evening (our usual leftovers night) I made more of the same arugula salad (love the peppery bite), slightly reheated the meat, and we had an instant dinner.

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Ingredients are prepped to make the salad.

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A mustard vinaigrette consists of whole-grain mustard, olive oil, honey, lemon juice, and tarragon.

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After dredging through flour, each cutlet is then washed in the mustard vinaigrette.

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The cutlets are browned for a few minutes on each side in a hot skillet.

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We plated ours with the salad on top and bottom of the meat.

Honey-Mustard Turkey Cutlets with Arugula, Carrot and Celery Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 4 6-oz. turkey cutlets, pounded to 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil; more as needed
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 oz. baby arugula (2 packed cups)
  • 2 medium celery ribs, trimmed and sliced 1/8 inch thick on the diagonal
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly shaved with a vegetable peeler

Directions

  1. Combine the flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, whisk 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, the mustard, honey, 2 Tbs. of the lemon juice, and 2 tsp. of the tarragon.
  2. Dredge each turkey cutlet in the flour mixture and then the mustard mixture. Transfer to a wax-paper- or parchment-lined baking sheet or tray.
  3. Heat 1 Tbs. of the canola oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Add two cutlets and cook, flipping once, until golden brown and just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes total.
  4. Transfer to a clean plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining 1 Tbs. canola oil and the remaining cutlets.
  5. Whisk the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, 1 Tbs. lemon juice, cumin, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper in a small bowl. In a large bowl, combine the arugula, celery, and carrots; toss with enough of the dressing to lightly coat.
  6. Serve the cutlets topped with the salad, sprinkled with the remaining tarragon, and drizzled with any remaining dressing.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe by Ronne Day from Fine Cooking

Moroccan Cod Tagine for Two

The bright colors and flavors literally pop off the plate in this lovely, healthy fish tagine. And with a few tweaks, we bolstered that brightness by doubling the amount of carrots and green olives. Pairing it with a side of tricolored couscous to help soak up the luscious sauce didn’t harm the color palette either!

For a bright, flavorful fish tagine, start by salting chunks of cod to season the flesh and help it retain moisture. Coat the fish in chermoula, a flavorful herb-spice paste of cilantro, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne, lemon juice, and olive oil, just before cooking to season its exterior.

Softening bell pepper, onion, and carrot before adding the tomatoes and fish ensures that the vegetables will be soft and tender by the time the fish has cooked through. Preserved lemon and olives add acidity, complexity, and salty punch to the broth. To produce moist, flaky cod, turn off the heat once the broth is bubbling at the bottom of the pot and allow the fish to cook in the residual heat.

You can substitute red snapper or haddock for the cod as long as the fillets are 1 to 1½ inches thick. Picholine or Cerignola olives work well in this recipe. Serve this dish with flatbread, couscous, or rice.

Moroccan Cod Tagine for Two

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 12 ounces skinless cod fillets (1 to 1½ inches thick), cut into 1½- to 2-inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon table salt, divided
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus 2 tablespoons chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ onion, sliced through root end ¼ inch thick
  • ½ green bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch strips
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and sliced on bias
  • ¼ inch thick¾ cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons pitted green olives, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon

Directions

  1. Place cod in bowl and toss with ¼ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  2. Pulse cilantro leaves, garlic, cumin, paprika, and cayenne in food processor until cilantro and garlic are finely chopped, about 12 pulses. Add lemon juice and pulse briefly to combine. Transfer mixture to small bowl and stir in 1½ tablespoons oil. Set aside.
  3. Heat remaining 1½ tablespoons oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, bell pepper, carrot, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and their juice, olives, and preserved lemon. Spread mixture in even layer on bottom of saucepan.
  4. Toss cod with cilantro mixture until evenly coated, then arrange cod over vegetables in single layer. Cover and cook until cod starts to turn opaque and juices released from cod are simmering vigorously, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and let stand, covered, until cod is opaque and just cooked through (cod should register 140 degrees), 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Cook’s Illustrated

Flank Steak with Salsa Verde Salad

This summery dinner salad is perfect for the dog days of August. While the list of ingredients may seem a bit lengthy, the salsa verde made with scallions, mint, cilantro (or parsley), capers and garlic becomes the marinade for both the steak and the dressing for the greens. A win-win in my book. If you’re following a low-carb diet, this baby is for you.

This meal was one of our Cape Cod vacation dinners for the two of us. (So yes, we had leftovers, yeah!) The NYTimes recipe originally called for skirt steak, but the local grocery store wasn’t carrying any—instead they had some beautiful flank steaks, a perfect substitute.

We also took it upon ourselves to grill the romaine quarters, even though the original recipe didn’t include this step. Slightly charring the romaine, which was brushed all over with olive oil, added an inviting addition to the flavor profile. And what the heck, the grill was still hot and the meat had to rest, after all…

And because when you are in vacation mode and need to adapt without fuss, we used cilantro in place of parsley, because, well, that’s what we had on hand and didn’t feel like making an extra trip to the supermarket. Some folks can’t stomach cilantro, so parsley is your best alternative. We happen to love the herb.

Flank Steak with Salsa Verde Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for romaine
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 romaine hearts
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

  1. If necessary, cut the steak crosswise into large pieces that will fit into a shallow, nonreactive dish such as glass. Transfer steak(s) to dish.
  2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, scallions, capers, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pour about 1/3 of dressing over the steak and turn to coat both sides.
  3. Add the cilantro (or parsley) and 1 tablespoon mint to the reserved dressing, stir, and set aside until ready to use. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3o minutes and up to 24 hours. (If marinating overnight, cover and refrigerate the reserved dressing.)
  4. In a small sauté pan over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, tossing often, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  5. Set the grill to medium-high heat. Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and grill 3 to 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare, 125°. Check with an instant read thermometer.
  6. Transfer tp a plate, sprinkle with salt, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, cut the romaine hearts into quarters. Brush all over with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Grill for a total of 5 minutes, turning once to char both sides lightly.
  8. Arrange romaine in one layer on a large platter, leaving room in the middle for the steaks.
  9. Slice the steak into 3″ pieces, then slice against the grain to cut the steak into wide strips. Place in center of platter pouring any accumulated juices over the meat.
  10. Sprinkle feta, pine nuts and remaining 1 tablespoon of mint over the romaine.
  11. Arrange the sliced steak on the platter, drizzle with reserved dressing over steak and lettuce. Serve immediately.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Lidey Heuck from the NYTimes

Simple Veal Chops Extraordinaire!

Veal chops are a rarity in our house, typically due to the high cost. I picked these up by mistake a while back, (I meant to get pork chops, go figure!) and put them in the freezer until such time we felt like treating ourselves. (Like every day since the lockdown went into effect.)

So on a recent Friday night—when in the good ol’ days we use to dine out—those veal chops came to mind as an “aha” moment. Grilled Veal Chops with Rosemary with Green Beans and Blistered Tomatoes, can’t even tell you how good this combo was; you’ll have to make them yourself.

While this dinner is meant for 6 people, with only two veal chops on hand, we cut the marinade recipe in half and bathed them in it for one hour (you can do up to 4 hours). The grilling was super quick; about 3 minutes per side because the thickness was less than 3/4″.

With little to do, you’ll have more time to enjoy company. In fact, the green bean side dish (absolutely divine BTW) can be made ahead and served at room temperature. Get the chops marinating before guests arrive, and all you’ll have to do is toss them on the grill for a few minutes when ready to eat. Dinner done.

Grilled Veal Chops with Rosemary

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 2 large garlic cloves, pressed, or 1 Tbsp. roasted garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 6 8-oz. veal rib chops (3/4 to 1 inch thick)

Directions

  1. Whisk oil, wine, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper to blend in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Add veal chops to dish and turn to coat with marinade. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour or refrigerate up to 4 hours, turning veal occasionally.
  2. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler.
  3. Remove veal from marinade, shaking off excess. Season veal with salt and pepper.
  4. Lightly oil grill. Grill or broil veal to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to platter. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Green Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Super easy to make and delicious served at room temperature, these green beans pack a ton of savory, spicy flavor. Next time however, we will reduce the “remaining 3 Tbs of coconut oil” by half.

Green Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1-1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 21/2-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbs. soy sauce

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. On a small rimmed baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with 1 Tbs. of the oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Bake until the skins crack, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining 3 Tbs. oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the pepper flakes and stir. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the green beans and soy sauce. Stir to coat the beans, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Uncover and gently stir in the tomatoes. Cook until the beans are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Side dish recipe found on Fine Cooking by Samantha Fore