Chicken Gyros

I’ve noticed a lot of people are creeped out by gyro meat. They don’t get how it’s made and all they see is questionable looking lamb and beef on a spinning stick and won’t give it a chance. My mom is one of those people. But gyros are so delicious. The combination of juicy well seasoned meat with burnt ends, and that tangy tzatziki sauce in a warm pita. Mmm mm!

gyros greece

One of the best moments on my honeymoon was my first real Greek gyro in Santorini. Yes, I mean that. It was so friken good. Mouth is now watering.

Anyways, after doing a bit of research, I tried a recipe using only chicken thighs and by creating our own vertical rotisserie in our oven at home, we were able to enjoy a healthy version that also tastes like indulgent comfort food. And while it may look like a labor intensive recipe it is super easy! Try it for your next game day party! The reviews in our house were top notch.

Photo Cred to my awesome sister and nurse/photographer Lisa Effren Photography


  • 2lbs boneless chicken thighs
  • 4 cups of Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 lemons
  • Fresh dill
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Cucumber
  • 1/2 cup or so of Olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced into 1 thick slice
  • Pita
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Lettuce, chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
  • White onion, sliced very thin for toppings
  • 1 wooden skewer
  • Seasonings: 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp coriander, 1 tbsp paprika, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp cayenne pepper for heat, lots of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

(You can adjust the seasoning amounts as you see fit. These are rough estimates of what I used because I didn’t measure. But don’t be scared of new seasonings. I thought the cinnamon was a bit weird myself. Just trust me, somehow it all blends together for a delicious chicken)

This recipe will make 8 good-sized pitas.


Start by marinating your chicken in a bag or bowl–whatever is easiest for you. Add your chicken thighs, 2 cups of yogurt, juice of 1-2 lemons and olive oil. Then add your seasonings *cumin, paprika, cinnamon, coriander, white pepper, cayenne, salt & pepper) and incorporate well. Let it sit for an hour.


Set your oven to 400 degrees. If you have a fancy oven like my Mom with a convection roast option, use that but put it at 375 degrees. We had to play around with the temperature a bit. You may have to pull a few racks out of the oven and place it on the bottom level to make sure it can fit. I suggest testing it out before you put all the meat on the stick.

Set up a tray with parchment paper, and use a thick onion slice on the bottom of the wood skewer. Then take each chicken thigh and place it through the stick. Keep rotating which way you put the chicken so you are evening out the level. (Photos below of what it should look like)

I made the mistake of trying to be fancy and placed the top of the onion over the chicken. It was a mistake because it made the stick too top heavy and it fell over. ūüė¶ Don’t worry, we used more sticks to prop it up which worked just fine. Don’t be stupid like me- don’t place the onion on top. When you are finished, put the tray in the oven and then make your tzatziki sauce.

Shred one cucumber into a bowl lined with a paper towel. When finished, pick up the paper towel and squeeze all the water out of the shredded cucumber. Add the juice of one lemon, roughly 2 tbsps of fresh chopped dill and parsley, crushed garlic and heavy on the salt & pepper.

Place it in the fridge and let the flavors meld for 30 minutes or until your chicken is done. It’s good to do a taste test here and see if it needs more salt–it likely will.

After an hour and a half to two hours in the oven, your chicken should look like this. Don’t be scared by the blackened edges because they are delicious. The juicy chicken is on the inside.


Take the tray out and let it set for 5-10 minutes while you prep your other ingredients. Put your pitas in the warm oven and take your tzatziki, tomatoes, onions and lettuce out of the fridge.

Slice your chicken as shown below.




Get your gyro bar set up and let everyone dig in! You can use whatever toppings you like but the crunchy lettuce, juicy tomatoes, thinly sliced white onions and the tangy fresh tzatziki are the perfect combination in my humble opinion!






Fold, bite and enjoy with a nice cold beer!


Peanut Sesame Noodles

You know what sucks? When you make the decision to calorie splurge because you’re craving (fill in the blank) and you open up that delivery to-go container, take your first bite, and then get immediately disappointed. This happens to me a lot. When I’m craving something that’s not too good for me, I want it to be WORTH IT! So in an effort to make sure I enjoy my calorie ridden meals I sometimes make them myself. (See some of my comfort food recipes here). This recipe could be a lot worse in the not so good for you department but using the soba noodles and not frying the chicken in a sugar sauce really makes this meal pretty good for you. And it’s packed with protein!

This particular night I was craving cold sesame noodles. I had been disappointed after ordering them a few times recently. I decided to make a version of them for dinner with chicken breast and eat it warm.  You will need…


  • Peanut butter- any kind you like
  • Soba noodles (or any type of lomein or noodle you prefer)
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds
  • 1-3 heaping tablespoons of chili paste depending on your tolerance of heat
  • Soy Sauce
  • Tahini (optional)
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • Chicken breast, cut up into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2-3 stalks of Celery, diced
  • Fresh ginger, grated (optional)
  • Scallions, chopped
  • Garlic, grated

A photo of most of my ingredients here:


  • First start by marinating your chicken in soy sauce, a dash of sesame oil, fresh grated garlic, chili paste (if you like spice) fresh grated ginger and a sprinkle of salt

Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil for your noodles.

Then make your peanut sesame sauce while the chicken marinates.

IMG_4305Place a heaping spoonful of peanut butter in a food processor. Add a few tablespoons of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. You can choose the amount of chili paste to add but I put about a tablespoon. I also only used a tsp of sugar even though most recipes call for more (I prefer more heat and less sweet).

Add a clove of garlic, sesame seeds, a dash of sesame oil, tahini and a few tablespoons of warm water. I know my measurements aren’t exact but you have to go with your gut and use more of the flavors you like and less that you don’t. Blend and set aside. If it’s too thick add a touch more soy sauce and or water. 

Add sesame oil to a hot wok and add in your onions, stir for a minute and then celery. Let cook on high heat for another minute or two. 

Next goes in your chicken and stir. You want to brown all sides of the chicken. 

Shut the heat off your chicken and let sit. It shouldn’t take long to cook because you cut the chicken up into small pieces. 

When your noodles are done, add a dash of sesame oil to keep them from sticking and let them cool for a moment.


Its up to you if you want to combine the chicken with your noodles or keep them separate. I took some photos with and without.  Top your final Bowl with sesame seeds and add scallions. 




Caesar Salad

There are a lot of ways to make caesar dressing and this just happens to be my way. It doesn’t include egg yolks or whole anchovies and it’s not thick and white. My lightened up version is pretty healthy compared to other options (definitely better than store bought) and when you’re just having salad with grilled chicken for dinner, it’s ok to have some calories in the dressing. Plus I don’t use croutons, so throw a little more cheese in there!

This recipe is quick and easy for a healthy weeknight meal. You have to taste test the proportions of ingredients but you’ll get the hang of it. It’s not an exact science. 


  • Juice of 1-2 lemons 
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Squeeze of anchovy paste (optional- about 1-2 tsps)
  • Squeeze of brown mustard (about a tablespoon or less)
  • Dash or two of worchestshire sauce
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese (at least 1 tbsp. Go with 2!)
  • Olive oil, the good stuff
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper 

Put all ingredients except the cheese and oil into a bowl and mix well with a whisk. Then add your oil and whisk some more. Then add cheese which will add a creamy saltiness to it. Mix well and do a taste test to see if it’s balanced. 

It will take some practice to get it right but once you get it, it’s so good. 

Toss on your romaine, and add grilled chicken on top! I recommend washing and cutting your lettuce, put it in a bowl with paper towels in the fridge while you make the dressing and do other things. It will make your lettuce nice and crisp. 

Chicken Tikka Masala

Indian food gets a bad rap. A lot of people including my friends and family say eww curry is gross”, or it “smells bad”, etc. I (regrettably) used to be one of those people but that changed when I actually tried naan, chicken tikka masala and some other delicious vegetarian dishes with chickpeas and cauliflower. It wasn’t love at first taste but now that I’ve had it from good restaurants over the years, I looooove it. A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to make it and so I read some recipes, bought some new spices and (though slightly terrified) went for it! I lightened up the recipe a tad which saves on calories but not flavor. You can find the original recipe here.¬†


8 or so garlic cloves, finely grated

6 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger

8 teaspoons ground turmeric

4 teaspoons garam masala

4 teaspoons ground coriander

4 teaspoons ground cumin

3 cups 1% yogurt (not Greek)

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

3.5 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced

¬ľ cup or more tomato paste

2 tsp cardamom

3 dried chiles de √°rbol

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (you could add another small can- I didn’t have one or I would have)

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup or so vegetable or chicken broth

¬ĺ cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish

Steamed brown basmati rice (for serving)


Put seasonings in a bowl and combine. Reserve half for later.
Put chicken in a bowl with the grated garlic and ginger.

Add yogurt and half of the spices.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 4-5 hours. You can leave to marinate overnight.

For the sauce:

Put the vegetable oil in the pan on medium heat. Add onions, chiles, tomato paste and cardamom.

Stir for 5 or so minutes while the sauce darkens.


Add the other half of the spice mixture and cook for 4-5 more minutes until bottom of pan darkens.

Pour juice of canned tomatoes into the pan. Squeeze the tomatoes with your hands crushing them into small pieces. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes so sauce thickens.

Here is a good time to pause if you aren’t ready to proceed. You can shut the sauce off for an hour or two until you’re ready to finish everything. The rest of the process will take a little under an hour.

Put your oven broiler on high.

Add your cup of cream and chopped cilantro. Combine well and add broth. Let simmer on low stirring and scraping black pits from bottom of pan. (It will thinken over the next 30-40 minutes. Stir periodically. ) While that’s cooking, place your marinated chicken on an oven rack.

Place your chicken in the oven under the broiler until it blackens in spots. About 10-13 minutes.

Let it cool for a few minutes so you can handle it. Slice in to big chunks and add to the pan.

Let the sauce simmer another 10 minutes or so. 

Serve with brown rice and enjoy this rich creamy dish.

Oven Fried Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

In an effort to keep things healthy post January 1, last weekend I decided to try a healthy spin on buffalo chicken wraps–one of my favorites. Whats better than a soft flour tortilla, crunchy fried chicken smothered in buffalo sauce, some mayo or ranch and crunchy lettuce…. amazing. So, how can we make this better? Avoid frying and the calorie ridden flour tortilla. This recipe satisfied my craving. The crunchy bread crumbs and avo pur√©e make this healthy dinner feel indulgent but it’s much more friendly to your waistline.


  • Package of chicken breasts, washed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup or so of Franks Buffalo Sauce
  • 1 cup or so 2% Greek yogurt
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped for topping
  • Bibb lettuce, washed and separated
  • Avocado
  • Fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp White balsamic vinegar


  • For this recipe I cut my chicken into nugget shapes. You can cut them into tenders or anything you want.
  • In a large mixing bowl add your chicken and sprinkle with salt. Add 3/4 of the Greek yogurt and some Franks red hot. Stir everything to combine and then cover with saran wrap and stick in the refrigerator for at least a half hour. (A few hours is fine if you want to get prep out of the way early).

      • Pre heat the oven to 375.
      • Pour panko bread crumbs into a shallow dish and wet with some oil. Coat each piece of chicken with the bread crumbs but pressing them firmly into the chicken, and place on a cookie sheet topped with a drying rack. This will help crisp up the chicken.

      • Bake for about 30 minutes or until they get golden. If necessary broil them at the end to finish browning.


      • You have the option of spraying the chicken with a light olive oil towards the end to ensure the breadcrumbs get nice and crispy.
      • Meanwhile put avocado, the rest of the Greek yogurt, fresh parsley, vinegar and salt and pepper in blender and pur√©e until smooth. I also added a few celery leaves.

      • When the chicken is done, assemble a lettuce wrap with the pur√©e, chicken, celery, ¬†and a drizzle of hot sacue and a dollop of ranch. ¬†Enjoy!

      These also make great chicken nuggets for kids without the hot sauce on top! My neighbors 2 year old ate them right up!

      Updated 3/26/17

      Also make them into tenders and put them over a salad with ranch!

      Baked Chicken Egg Rolls

      I love coming up with game time food during football season. Something about the fall and watching sports on Sunday that really makes me want some delicious homemade food. I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t like an egg roll and I figured it was worth trying some out to see if you can make them with out putting them in a deep fryer. Were they as good? No. But they were still crunchy on the outside and full of flavor in the middle. Plus you can use any ingredients you want–an Italian twist, an Asian twist, a Mexican twist… sky is the limit. I had limited ingredients on hand and certainly wish I had some fresh ginger to add but these were good nonetheless. Try ’em out using your favorite flavors!



      -1 link of organic chicken sausage with casing removed or ground chicken

      -1/2 red onion

      -Fresh cilantro

      -4 Won Ton wrappers

      -Chinese cabbage, sliced thin

      -1 Red pepper, julienned

      For the Sauce:
      -Sriracha sauce to taste

      -Corn starch (optional)

      -Soy sauce

      – 1/2 TBSP honey

      -Salt & pepper


      For the Sauce:
      -Combine a few tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of honey and sriracha (to taste) in a bowl. Mix well. Heat up in sauce pan or in the microwave. Add corn starch to thicken. Set aside for dipping later.

      -Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

      -Saute chicken and onions until the chicken is browned and onions are softened.


      Cut your cabbage and red pepper in thin strips.


      Place the chicken, cabbage and peppers towards the edge of your won ton. Dip your finger in water and wet the edges of all sides of the won ton. Roll the wrapper and fold in the sides as you continue rolling. Pinch the edges and wet again if necessary to be sure they stick together.



      On a baking sheet, drizzle some olive or vegetable oil (I used both). Roll your egg rolls in the oil so they are covered.


      Place in the oven to bake for roughly 15 minutes or until the egg rolls are golden brown. Dip in sauce and enjoy some football! Pretty simple, no?


      Enchiladas Roja

      Who doesn’t love some enchiladas? Shredded meat in a tortilla smothered with sauce and cheese? I’m in! I’ve previously posted a recipe for enchiladas verde¬†and also a very healthy version of enchiladas. And this time I share with you my spicy roja sauce! And for the record, these aren’t terrible for you if you pay attention to the ingredients you buy.



      -2 chicken breasts

      -2 chicken thighs (optional to add, but the dark meat often adds more flavor)

      -2 habanero peppers (only use 1 if you want it mild)

      -3 garlic cloves

      -3 or 4 small sweet peppers or 1 red bell pepper (If you like your sauce sweeter rather than spicy, consider using roasted red peppers)

      -1 large can of tomato sauce

      -Handful of cherry tomatoes (optional but I had them on hand so I threw them in)

      -Tortillas (I bought a package of whole wheat and a package of spinach, they were only 110 calories which isn’t bad for a flour tortilla. In the end, Kyle and I felt the spinach was much tastier. Also, the whole wheat stands up better to the sauce and doesn’t get soggy as the white flour tortillas usually do- unless of course you fry them first which is customary)

      -Manchego cheese, shredded

      -Reduced fat Mexican cheese blend

      -1/2 of spanish onion

      -Fresh cilantro

      -Ancho chili powder

      -Salt & Pepper

      -Olive oil

      This recipe yielded two separate trays of 5 enchiladas. I made one for dinner and placed the other in the freezer for a weeknight when we have no food in the house!


      In a hot saute pan add olive oil, garlic and peppers. Season with salt and let cook for 5 minutes or so.


      Add tomatoes and tomato sauce to the pan and puree using a hand mixer. Bring to a boil.


      Rinse your chicken and place them into the sauce with salt & pepper. Bring to a low boil then cover and simmer on low for roughly 20 minutes.


      Take the chicken out of the sauce and set aside to cool. Turn heat off the sauce as well.


      Using two forks (or your hands which is sometimes easier) shred the chicken apart. When your chicken is shredded, sprinkle salt, pepper and ancho chili powder on top and mix together.


      Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of your baking dish.

      To assemble your enchiladas, put your chicken, chopped onion, fresh cilantro and a mix of each cheese in the tortilla. Roll it very tightly and place in your baking dish.



      Pour a layer of sauce over the center of your enchiladas and top it with the manchego cheese. You can choose to drench them all in sauce but I like my tortillas to remain a little crispy so I do it this way.


      Bake in a 350 degree oven for roughly 30 minutes until the sauce and cheese are bubbling. Top with fresh cilantro.


      Serve with a side of black beans which I cooked with onion, lime juice and salt! Cheesy-saucy-goodness.


      Portabella Pizza

      Want to eat pizza without all the carbs? Instead of using dough, buy some large portabella mushroom caps. They can hold a lot of toppings, they cook well in the toaster oven (or on the grill) and they pair wonderfully with all the traditional pizza ingredients. Tonight’s mushroom pizza was one of my favorites so I thought I would share it. Plus, Kyle loved it, and when he loves something healthy I know I’ve done it right. You can make any kind of pizza toppings and cheeses you can imagine. ¬†While I was making the topping for this pizza I also reserved half to put over whole wheat pasta for lunch the next day. So this recipe can make 4 portabellas or, 2 portabellas and a lunch portion of pasta.



      -4 large portabella mushrooms

      -2 spicy Italian chicken sausages from whole foods

      -2 garlic cloves

      -1 fresh tomato, diced

      -About 1 cup of tomato sauce (you can just use a can of diced tomatoes instead of the combination of fresh and sauce but I didn’t have any)

      -1/4 or so of red wine

      -Fresh chopped basil


      -Parmesan cheese


      Saute your red onions in olive oil in a hot pan until they start to caramelize. Cut your chicken sausage out of the casing and add to the pan. Let it brown on all sides. Using a potato masher will help grind the chicken up in to small pieces. Then add garlic. Let the mixture cook until the sausage is browned and mostly cooked.

      Add the red wine and let reduce. Using your spoon, scrape the grits off the bottom of the plan. They have tons of flavor.

      Get your toaster oven heating up to about 350 on bake.


      Add the fresh tomatoes, basil and tomato sauce. Let simmer for a few minutes. You want it to be a thicker sauce so it holds well in the mushroom. If it is too thin, add some tomato paste.  I used half of the mixture in the photo below to fill two large mushrooms, and saved the other half for pasta the next day. If you choose this option, add a bit more tomato sauce to the pan so the noodles have liquid to soak up. I recommend cooking the pasta now, adding it to the sauce and then putting it in the fridge for lunch the next day.


      Place your mushrooms on tinfoil and using a spoon scrape out the insides so they are easy to fill. Add the mixture.


      Top with your favorite cheeses! I sprinkled some parmesan, some shredded low fat mozz and I diced up some fresh mozz I had on hand. 20130805-201413.jpg

      Cook in the oven until the cheese melts and turns golden brown. The mushrooms will release some liquid which is normal. Use a spatula to take the mushroom off the tinfoil and plate.


      Top with fresh basil and enjoy!!


      Get out your fork and knife and dig in! ūüôā20130805-201554.jpg

      Ancho Chicken Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw and Avocado Crema

      It’s taco night!! Kyle and I LOVE tacos. We have multiple restaurants nearby that serve fantastic tacos: Bodega in Darien, Molcajetes and Tacos Mexico in Norwalk and in Hartford, my coworkers and I love (almost) weekly trips to the Lucky Taco truck parked on Bushnell Park. Tacos are versatile, incredibly flavorful and the best part, are really not bad for you. (Okay, well if you stuff it with fried fish and lots of cheese, that’s another story).

      I’ve made countless kinds of tacos: shrimp, steak, black bean & veggie…I could go on. But this week I was looking for a high protein and low-fat taco to compliment the T25 workout program Kyle and I are doing. So I used a skin less and boneless white meat chicken breast, red cabbage and an avocado crema topping.

      I had to leave the house for a meeting before Kyle got home. I left the tacos out for him to eat and he texted me to say, “I ate 3, is that really bad??” I responded “Haha no; I also had 3”. And his response was “I feel like I was really bad…” meaning no way eating 3 tacos was a healthy choice! So, this proves to you they are delicious and don’t compromise on flavor. Now, let me prove to you that they are good for you.

      For 3 of these tacos you are looking at roughly 450 calories, good fat from the avocado and a fresh vegetable. And you will be full. Kyle may have went on to eat 4 but who’s counting, and he’s allowed more calories. Dig in and enjoy ūüôā



      • 2 boneless and skin less chicken breasts
      • 2 jalapenos (add one more if you like it hot!)
      • Fresh cilantro (maybe 1 cup? – just eyeball it people!)
      • 2 limes
      • 1 avocado
      • 1 garlic clove
      • 1 tbsp reduced fat sour cream (optional ingredient)
      • 1/3 of a head of red cabbage
      • 2 tbsp red or white vinegar
      • Salt & Pepper
      • 1 tbsp or so of ancho chili powder
      • 1/2 tbsp lawrys seasoning
      • White corn tacos



      Avocado Crema:

      Cut the jalapenos in half, lengthwise and remove the seeds and stems.

      Place jalapenos, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, garlic and salt and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth.



      Slice the red cabbage into coleslaw-style strips. Add vinegar and salt and mix.


      Ancho Chicken:

      I marinated my chicken overnight with ancho chili powder, lawry’s, pepper and a bit of extra virgin olive oil just to moisten the ingredients. If you use lawry’s you do not need to add more salt. The overnight marinade is an optional step. If you don’t have time, simply season the chicken before you cook it.

      Sear the chicken on both sides of a hot pan to get a nice crust. Then add chicken broth or a squeeze of lime juice, place a lid over the pan and let cook on low heat.

      When the chicken is close to being finished, remove from the pan and dice in tiny pieces on your cutting board. Then place back in the pan to be sure everything is cooked through.



      Build your tacos with each of the ingredients and enjoy them guilt-free!


      The Real Deal Bolognese Sauce

      A Father’s Day Inspiration…


      This isn’t your typical meat sauce. This isn’t your typical ground beef cooked in a bland tomato sauce.¬†This is the real deal meat sauce; the cook all day Sunday sauce; the shredded, succulent, melt-in-your-mouth sauce that comes gently tossed in a fresh pasta like pappardelle.

      The idea of making this sauce started because I knew my dad loves these kinds of sauces, the ones I often seen in authentic Italian restaurants–the ones that won’t let you put your fork down until the last bite is gone. So I started thinking… how could I make this at home for my dad on Father’s Day?

      Simple: take the barbacoa recipe and insert Italian ingredients–like soffritto (combination of onions, carrots and celery). Also, add some other kinds of meats to inject a lot of flavor into the sauce. Mom and I set out to the grocery store in search of the perfect ingredients to make our version of this sauce. You can use any combination of meats and ingredients you would like and make this recipe your own! Here is (generally) how we made it. As usual, my measurements are rough. You can make this in a dutch oven like I do with the barbacoa, but since I didn’t have it with me at my parent’s house we made it on the stove without any problems!


      • 6 chicken thighs
      • 3.5 lbs boneless chuck roast
      • 1 veal osso bucco
      • 3 carrot sticks
      • 3 celery sticks
      • 1-2 onions (we used a red and a yellow)
      • 8 or so cloves of garlic
      • 2 cups red wine (chianti suggested)
      • Salt & fresh cracked pepper
      • 2 large cans san marzano whole tomatoes
      • Olive oil for sauteing
      • Parmesan cheese (parmigiano reggiano is preferred)
      • 1.5 lb of your favorite pasta

      We made this for 5 people and had tons of the leftovers…just the way we like it ūüôā It was amazing for lunch the next day.


      Start by bringing all the meat to room temperature and seasoning them with salt and pepper. Then saute your meats on high heat to get a nice brown coloring on all sides. If your pan isn’t large enough, sear your meat in batches. They need space to cook.



      Next you will place the veggies in the pan. If you don’t have a pan large enough, temporarily take some of the meat out so your veggies have room to cook. Season the veggies with salt & pepper and let cook 2-3 minutes. Then add the garlic. ¬†(We ended up sauteing the garlic in a separate small pan to really fry and brown them up nice) Let cook for another few minutes.

      Put the heat on med-high and add the red wine; let the liquid reduce by half.


      Using your hands take the tomatoes out of the cans and squeeze them, gently breaking them apart before putting them in the pot. Add the sauce from the cans as well. Season with salt & pepper and add fresh chopped basil. (you can also add some red pepper flakes, which we did) Place the lid on very tight. If you think air can get out, put a sheet of tinfoil on top and then seal the edges of the lid with it.


      Let it cook on low heat (the sauce should bubble slightly) or in the oven at 250 for 4 hours or until the meat can easily pull apart with a fork. Remove the chicken skins and any excess fat you see.


      It’s easiest if you take the meat out of the pot and place on a separate dish. Shred the meat using forks or tongs. Take the chicken off the bones. Place the meat back in the pot and bring the sauce to a low boil for a few minutes while you are preparing the pasta.

      Cook your pasta al dente and pour into the pot to really absorb the flavors of the sauce. Top with more fresh basil and fresh parmesano reggiano cheese. Mangia!


      Basil and Pistachio Nut Pesto Grilled Chicken

      With the arrival of warm weather, the grills start firing up. Walking around my condo complex I can smell the different meats and marinades-it makes my mouth water! The grill is great for healthy eating and it gives flavor to your proteins and veggies that cannot be substituted on the stove.

      While Kyle was out golfing last weekend and the sun was shining, I decided to surprise him with a healthy lunch. My basil plant was overgrown but I didn’t have the traditional pesto ingredients. After looking around my kitchen I came up with a substitute that did the trick.



      • 2 chicken breasts
      • 1 onion cut in 4 thick slices
      • 2 cups fresh basil
      • 10 or so pistachio nuts
      • Salt & Pepper
      • Red Pepper Flakes
      • Juice from 1/2 of 1 lemon
      • Olive oil
      • 1 tbsp of parmesan cheese (or more if you’d like)


      Place all the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth.

      Brush the pesto on the chicken and onions and place on the grill (just a thin layer).


      When your chicken and veggies are done, immediately smother them in pesto so it really takes on the flavor.


      Serve with a fork and knife.

      Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken

      Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to do with chicken. It can get boring. One night after staring in my fridge for a few minutes analyzing ingredients I put together this pretty quick meal. It can be varied with different flavors. I went Greek but you can certainly use any kind of cheese you like. The nice thing about this dish it is pretty healthy as feta is better for you than some of the more¬†fattening¬†cheeses.


      • Thick chicken breasts
      • Spinach
      • Crumbled Feta Cheese
      • Half an onion
      • 2 Garlic Cloves
      • Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper
      • Olive Oil
      • Toothpicks


      • Saute onions and garlic in a pan with a tbsp of olive oil. Cook until translucent. Add spinach and cook for 1 minute. Add this mixture into a small bowl and combine with the feta cheese. Incorporate all ingredients.

      • Pre-heat the oven to 350.
      • Using a sharp knife, cut a slit in your chicken breasts with out going all the way through. Using a small spoon, add the mixture into the center of the chicken. Really pack it in there and close your chicken with a toothpick.

      • Season your chicken with salt and pepper.
      • Turn a saute pan on medium high with olive oil. Sear both sides of the chicken until brown (about 3 minutes per side).

      • Pour the leftover juices from the pan in the baking dish with the chicken. Add some chicken broth if you have it on hand to give the chicken some juices to cook in. You could also use some white wine. ¬†Cover with tin foil and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
      • Serve with rice pilaf and enjoy!

      Mom’s Perfectly Crispy Chicken Cutlets

      Growing up chicken cutlets were a delicious treat for dinner in our house as mom didn’t fry many things. This year for her birthday, Mom had a craving so we made her perfect chicken cutlets and served them in the perfect chicken cutlet sandwich.

      You can use this chicken to make chicken parmesan, you can throw it on a sandwich of your choosing, or you can have it on a plate with a side of your favorite veggies and pasta. It pairs quite nicely with pasta and broccoli. If you really wanted to splurge I recommend a heaping side of mac n cheese or fettuccine alfredo.

      We always make plenty extra of this dish because however you eat it that night, you’ll want to try it a different way the next day.


      • Chicken tenders cut into single pieces and pounded if needed
      • Flour
      • Eggs
      • Milk
      • Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (we add fresh chopped parsley and fresh grated parmesan cheese)
      • Salt & pepper
      • Red pepper flakes
      • Milk (low-fat or 1% is what we use)
      • Extra virgin olive oil/vegetable oil 


      • Wash and prepare your chicken. Season with salt and pepper.
      • Set up paper bags with paper towels on them to help drain the grease from your chicken.
      • Add 2 eggs to a large bowl and about 1/2 cup of milk. Whisk together well to create an egg wash to dip your chicken in. Add salt and pepper. 

      • In another bowl pour your bread crumbs and add a little flour.
      • Turn your pan on medium high to get the oil ready.
      • Dip your chicken in the egg wash and then transfer to the bread crumbs. Don’t be afraid to really pack the bread crumbs on there pushing with your fingers or fork. Transfer to another plate to get ready for frying.

      • When the oil begins to roll place one piece of chicken in and make sure it makes a sizzling sound. Depending on how thick your chicken is you will cook it about 4 minutes per side. The bread crumbs should get a deep golden brown color. If you see a thick white foam come out of the side of your chicken it means its ready (if you see a runny white liquid that means your chicken is still raw).

      • When your chicken is cooked, place it on the paper towels to suck up some of the oil. Then put in a large baking dish to keep warm with the others.

      • We served the chicken with fresh Italian bread, chopped lettuce, and mayo mixed with hot cherry pepper spread. That’s all you need! **Here’s a tip. Get a head of iceberg lettuce, wash it, dry it and then chop it up fine. Place it in a bowl with a paper towel on top in the fridge. When you get it out later, it will be nice and crunchy for your sandwich! Deeelicious.

      Chicken parm and spaghetti!

      Asian Chicken Lettuce Cups

      Chicken lettuce wraps exploded as a popular appetizer/entree mostly because of P.F. Changs. They are delicious and healthy, or at least you would think. Check out the nutritional facts on PF’s version and you’ll be shocked at the sodium content. I made these a few years ago for my cousin’s wedding shower and recreated them again this week for a healthy weeknight meal. They are spicy, crunchy, tasty pockets of flavor. My recipe uses a lot of ingredients but feel free to pick and choose based on your own personal preferences. I also didn’t include peanuts which you will often find in this dish (as I don’t like nuts in my food).


      -1 lb. Fresh ground chicken (I buy organic cage free chicken)
      -1/2 package shiitake or bella mushrooms, chopped fine
      -2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
      -3 scallions, chopped fine
      -1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
      -2 celery stalks, diced
      – small can watercress (adds a nice crunch but optional)
      -Hoison sauce (few tablespoons depending on your taste)
      -Sriracha sauce (1-2 tablespoons depending on how hot you like it. I love it spicy!)
      -Few dashes sesame oil for frying
      -Rice wine (about 1/4 cup)
      -Fresh ginger
      -Few dashes soy sauce
      -1 teaspoon cumin
      -1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
      -1 teaspoon paprika
      -Fresh cilantro for topping (I didn’t have any)



      Wash your lettuce well and select the leaves that will be good for cups. Set aside in the fridge with a paper towel on top. This will get your lettuce nice and crisp for when you are ready to eat. Place any pieces too small for cups in a large plastic bag with a paper towel for use at a later time.

      Put a wok on medium-high heat with sesame oil. Add your chopped onions, garlic, mushrooms, and scallions.



      Add your ground chicken to the center of the pan. Break it up using your spoon and let brown.


      Add Hoison sauce and mix well. Then add Sriracha, soy sauce and let everything cook for 3-4 minutes. Add cumin, paprika and cayenne. Then add rice wine and let the liquid reduce.

      Add fresh grated ginger. This will brighten up all the flavors and it smells incredible. You can’t replace fresh grated ginger.


      When you are almost ready to eat add your celery to the pan and turn the heat to low. I like to add it at the end so it retains a nice crunch in the lettuce wrap.

      Add fresh cilantro if you have it (I forgot it at the store) and enjoy a nice cup of sake!



      Braised Chicken and Potatoes

      Sometimes the best meals aren’t planned. On Sunday I usually plan our dinner ahead of time because it’s really the one day each week when I can make a meal that takes more than an hour to prep and cook. After a long rainy Sunday of being out and about we stopped at the grocery store and I blindly grabbed a few things which is very unlike me. I haphazardly put together a warm chicken stew-like dish that was sweet, savory and warming on this cool and damp spring night. It’s also easy to make and uses only one pot!



      • 4 chicken thighs, washed and seasoned wish kosher salt and black pepper
      • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (roughly, I didn’t measure)
      • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
      • 1 sweet onion, sliced thin
      • 1 can diced San Marzano tomatoes
      • Fresh chopped basil
      • Cheese, fresh grated (I used half Parmesan and half Gruyere)
      • Extra virgin olive oil
      • Sweet red peppers
      • Small potatoes, halved
      • Herbs de Provence, 1 pinch
      • Tomato paste
      Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
      In large dutch oven, heat olive oil until its hot and starts to roll. Add the chicken to the pot, and flip after two minutes. Then add the onions, garlic, salt, pepper, a few fresh basil leaves and a sprinkle of Herbs de Provence.


      Let the onions cook for a few minutes. Then add the potatoes.


      Add the red wine vinegar, tomatoes and sweet red peppers. Season with salt and pepper again and stir together. If you like a kick of spice, add a few teaspoons of red pepper flakes. Bring to a low boil, stir the pot and then cover tightly and place in the oven.

      Check on it once or twice and stir all the ingredients. I added a squirt of tomato paste to thicken the broth a touch.


      Bake this dish for about an hour or so, the chicken will be fork tender and fall apart in the sauce. Top with a sprinkle of fresh chopped basil and grated cheese. Enjoy!

      Healthified Chicken Enchiladas

      My father is on a new diet so last night’s dinner was all about taking a dish I love (see recipe here:¬†chicken enchiladas verde) and making it calorie friendly. ¬†My brother also happened to be home and he is on the opposite end of the diet spectrum. With this dinner we managed to make everyone happy. My father, who is on an 1800 calorie a day diet, consumed 424 calories and the rest of us consumed 614, the main difference being the cheese but he also only had one tortilla (with no cheese) and used lettuce for the rest whereas I had two tortillas. The lettuce wraps are a great way to enjoy a wrap with less calories and an added crunch. We did, however, find a whole wheat wrap with only 45 calories which is a great find! Overall this was a healthy meal with lots of fresh veggies that was delicious and offers you a lot of options when cooking for a diverse group of people.


      Above is a healthy option with the same tasty chicken used in the baked enchiladas below.

      Keep in mind that cheese is about 100 calories per ounce, so you better make sure you want that cheese! It made me think twice about snacking on the delicious, sweet manchego cheese while cooking this meal.


      For the Salsa:

      • Can of whole peeled tomatoes, diced
      • Cucumbers, diced
      • 1/2 white onion, chopped
      • Orange bell pepper, chopped
      • One jalape√Īo, chopped
      • Fresh chopped cilantro
      • Juice and zest from one lime
      • Salt and fresh cracked pepper
      Combine and let the flavors meld for 20-30 minutes


      For the Chicken:

      • 3 lbs boneless chicken breasts
      • 2 cans Trader Joes green chiles
      • 1 jar Trader Joe’s salsa verde
      • 3 garlic cloves
      • 1/2 white onion
      • Fresh chopped cilantro
      • One jalape√Īo
      • 3 tbsp reduced fat sour cream

      Place chicken breasts in a pot of water with salt, pepper, and other seasonings if you have them on hand. I threw in some salt and oregano.  Bring to a light boil and let cook.

      Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

      Saute the garlic,onion and jalapeno in one cap full of extra virgin olive oil until translucent. Add in 1 3/4 cans of green chiles, the jar of salsa verde, the lime and lime zest. Season with salt & pepper.  Add a dash of cumin.  You want this to cook down on medium to low heat until the onions are sweet and all the flavors meld together.


      Shred the chicken into small pieces with two forks or your fingers. Add the chicken and sour cream, salt & pepper to the pan.


      Roll each tortilla with 1/2 manchego and 1/2 asiago cheese and the chicken mixture.  Spray the bottom of your casserole dish with olive oil, place the enchiladas in the dish and then spray the tops of the tortillas with olive oil.  This is a much better alternative to frying the tortillas and they will still crisp up in the oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

      When they are almost done, add the remaining chiles and cheese to the top of the enchiladas. When the cheese bubbles, take them out.

      For the side of black beans:

      • Fresh lime juice
      • Fresh chopped cilantro

      Balsamic Chicken with Tomato and Spinach Penne

      Sometimes I get home late, am very tired and have little in my fridge. On my drive home last night I thought about what was in the fridge knowing the pickings were scarce. I got to scheming and had a plan. I called Kyle to put a pot of water on the stove and after I walked in the door to the time we were sitting down to eat just 25 minutes passed by (which includes some time with my dog and a quick change into comfy clothes)!

      This is a quick, healthy and savory meal! You can certainly adapt it based on ingredients in your fridge.


      -chicken breast
      -cherry tomatoes
      -1/2 an onion (I recommend shallots if you have them)
      -whole wheat penne
      -2 cloves garlic
      -1 tbsp olive oil
      -1/2 cup chicken broth
      -few tbsps of balsamic vinegar
      -salt and pepper
      -Parmesan cheese


      Marinate your chicken in balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and Italian seasonings for a few minutes. Meanwhile add the garlic and onion to a sauté pan in olive oil. Add red pepper flakes for some spice. Season with salt and pepper. Add the pasta to the boiling salted water.

      Put the chicken on a grill pan on medium to high heat. Flip after 4-5 minutes depending on how thick your chicken is.

      Cut the tomatoes in half and add to sauté pan with balsamic vinegar. Let it cook down for a few minutes. Add chicken broth and reduce some more. Season with salt and pepper.


      Add the pasta to the sauté pan then add the spinach and mix well.


      Plate your pasta and chicken and grate fresh parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy!

      The next day:
      I’m not a fan on heating up leftover chicken, I think it has a funny taste. So this morning I cut up the left over chicken, added some chopped celery, and a squirt of low fat mayo. I put it on whole wheat bread on top of a bed of leftover spinach. This way I don’t waste any food and I get a whole new meal out of my dinner.

      Chicken Piccata or Chicken Francese?

      Did I make chicken piccata or chicken francese? Or neither? After looking at Giada’s piccata and Tyler Florence’s francese I’m pretty sure I made a combination of the two. I can tell you the outcome was a delicious blend of flavors and it’s a nice change from the every day grilled chicken. This dish is less healthy but it’s fun to splurge once in a while.

      This chicken recipe with artichoke hearts and capers in a nice lemon, white wine and butter sauce is a comforting and filling dinner for a cold winter night. Serve with roasted asparagus and wild rice.


      • Chicken, pounded thin
      • 1 lemon
      • Flour for dredging
      • Garlic powder
      • Salt & Pepper
      • 1 egg, for dipping
      • Artichoke Hearts
      • Capers
      • Fresh parsley, chopped.
      • Extra virgin olive oil
      • 2 tbsp of butter
      • 1/2 cup chicken broth
      • 1/4 cup white wine


      • Pour the flour in a shallow bowl and add salt, pepper and garlic powder to the flour. In another bowl whisk one egg and squeeze a teaspoon of lemon juice into the bowl.
      • Dredge your chicken in the flour, shake off the excess and then dip in the egg batter.
      • In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 1 tablespoons of butter with olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of your pan). When butter and oil start to sizzle, add chicken and cook about 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.
      • Into the pan add lemon juice, chicken stock and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Add the artichoke hearts and add the white wine and let reduce for a few minutes. Then add the capers and dash of salt and pepper.
      • Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Place some lemon slices on top of the chicken.
      • Remove chicken to plate. Add remaining a little more butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

      Spaghetti with Zucchini, Mushroom and Chicken

      During the busy week I managed to throw together a  tasty pasta dish packed with protein,  healthy fresh vegetables and some cheesy pasta.  This dish is really easy to throw together and it can be modified to your liking!


      • 1 Zucchini
      • 1 package chicken tenders, cut thin and bite sized
      • 1/2 package baby bella mushrooms
      • Garlic (2-3 cloves)
      • 1/4 cup reduced fat milk
      • Extra virgin olive oil
      • 1/2lb whole wheat angel hair pasta
      • Fresh grated parmesan Cheese (few tablespoons)
      • Fresh grated gruyere
      • White wine (half a cup)
      • Fresh parsley
      • Salt & pepper


      • Put a pot of boiling water on. You will cook pasta until al dente.
      • Slice up your mushrooms and zucchini very thin so it will go well with the angel hair pasta.
      • Saute garlic, mushrooms, zucchini and chicken in olive oil on medium-high. ¬†Season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. ¬†After a few minutes add the white wine and let reduce. ¬†(If you want, here would be a good time to add a tablespoon of butter. I didn’t but it sure would add some more flavor.)
      • Add the milk and turn the heat down to very low. ¬†Grate in the cheese (as much as you want to make it nice and creamy!)
      • When the pasta is done add it to your saute pan to let it absorb the flavors of your sauce and mix it together well.
      • Serve topped with some more parmesan cheese and fresh chopped¬†parsley¬†(or basil).

      Chicken Enchiladas Verde

      Saturday night was girls night in after a beautiful snowy day, so Alex and I decided to do some cooking. ¬†We researched a few different chicken enchiladas recipes, compared them with what we had in my fridge and decided to make a healthier version, but trust me we didn’t lose out on flavor. ¬†We paired the enchiladas with a side of black beans with onion, fresh cilantro, garlic and lime juice and the product was a tasty sweet and spicy dish! ¬†And we had fun while doing it ūüôā


      • 2 boneless chicken breasts
      • 2 tomatillo peppers, papery husks removed, rinsed ¬† ¬† ¬†


      • 1 jalapeno (or more if you like heat)
      • 1 jar salsa verde (I purchased this at Trader Joes which was all natural and included basic fresh ingredients I highly recommend it)
      • 1 white onion
      • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
      • 1 Tbsp olive oil
      • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
      • Fresh chopped cilantro
      • 1 Lime and zest
      • Tortillas (I used white flour)
      • 1 can green chiles (I used ¬†a can of Trader Joe’s fire roasted green chiles)
      • Asiago Cheese, Mexican blend cheese
      • 1 can black beans
      • 2 Tbsp ricotta cheese (I would have preferred to use sour cream, puree avocado or mexican crema but we have to go with what we got– this actually worked really well!)
      • Optional: dried cumin and oregano
      1. Place chicken breasts in a pot of water with salt, pepper, and other seasonings if you have them on hand. I threw in some cumin powder and oregano.  Bring to a light boil and let cook.
      2. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
      3. Chop the onions, tomatillos, garlic and jalapeno.
      4. Saute 3/4 of the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add in the tomatillos, 3/4 of the can of green chiles, jalapenos, garlic, 1/3 of the jar of salsa verde, 1/2 of the lime and lime zest. Season with salt & pepper.  Add a dash of cumin.  You want this to cook down on medium to low heat until the onions are sweet and all the flavors meld together.
      5. Put strained black beans in small pot with about 1/4 of the onion, fresh chopped cilantro, 1/2 lime juice and lime zest.  Add salt & pepper and let cook so the flavors meld.
      6. By now the chicken should be cooked through.  Use two forks (or your hands) to shred it into small shredded pieces.  Put the chicken in a bowl with the ricotta cheese, and the rest of the jar of salsa verde. Add salt & pepper and mix well.
      7. Assemble the tortilla with chicken mixture, pepper mixture and top with fresh grated asiago cheese.
             8.  Roll the tortilla up and place seem side down in a casserole dish.  Repeat  until you use up all your fillings.  Spray the enchiladas       using your olive oil misto.  Place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until they start to brown.
             9. Take them out and top with the remaining green chiles with the mexican cheese blend and some more asiago cheese.  Put it back in the oven until the cheese melts.  Top with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
        Plate with your black beans and enjoy!!
      PS.  I heated the leftover enchiladas back up in the toaster oven for lunch the next day and they were still delicious!

      Chicken Fried Rice

      Jews love Chinese food, I’m not sure why but my family has been ordering Chinese delivery since I can remember. Often times however I find it too greasy and I feel sick as soon as I’m done eating it. ¬†Cooking any kind of Asian cuisine at home can be scary but I’ve found a way to satisfy my craving. ¬†On a few occasions I have made fried rice using different vegetables and proteins so feel free to find your own! ¬†Of course using brown rice isn’t typical Chinese style fried rice but it makes it a bit healthier and you really can’t tell the difference.

      Disclaimer: I know nothing about cooking Chinese or Asian cuisine but this is a great recipe for the casual cook who likes to have fun and try new things!



      • Boneless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces with salt & pepper ¬†(can replace with shrimp, beef, or leave out the meat and rely on the egg for protein!)
      • Shiitake and/or crimini mushrooms
      • Zucchini
      • Onion
      • 1-2 Garlic Cloves
      • 1 Egg
      • Celery or Bok Choy
      • Pea pods
      • Soy sauce
      • Brown rice, cooked
      • Chinese seasoning ¬†(I found the one shown above at Home Goods – “Spicy Stir Fry”)
      • Sesame oil (teaspoon at most)
      • Sesame seeds


      1. Heat up sesame oil in a wok if you have one.
      2. Add onion, celery and saute until soft, then add chicken and garlic and soy sauce and stir-fry for 5 to 6 minutes.
      3. Stir in zucchini, mushrooms, pea pods, Chinese seasoning and stir-fry another 5 or so minutes. Then add rice and stir thoroughly.
      4. Finally, stir in scrambled eggs and 1/3 cup soy sauce, heat through and serve hot.

      (Buffalo) Oven Fried Chicken

      What’s better than fried chicken? Nothing. ¬†But let’s face it, fried foods are not good to eat on a regular basis. ¬†I have made many adaptations of Ellie Kreiger’s oven fried chicken recipe but tonight’s was the best! ¬†Really, you can make it any way you want but you have to know the trick- and that is greek yogurt.

      Don’t you love ordering buffalo chicken tenders over a salad topped with blue cheese? Yum. Oh, and a side of french fries will do. ¬†Here’s my healthy twist on the beloved bar food.


      • 1/2 sleeve (about 20) whole-grain salted¬†crackers, pulsed in a food processor until fine (about 1/2 cup)
      • 2 1/2 cups corn¬†cereal flakes, pulsed in a food processor to fine crumbs (about 1/2 cup) ¬†{You can use special K or any kind of cracker. ¬†Tonight I used multi-grain crackers, oatmeal, sesame seeds and whole wheat panko bread crumbs.}
      • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
      • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
      • (can also add fresh parsley or other herb if you have some on hand) I also added some Lawry’s for extra flavor.
      • 2 egg whites
      • 1 cup lowfat, plain¬†yogurt
      • Frank’s Hot Sauce
      • 1/2 teaspoon¬†salt
      • Olive oil misto spray
      • 4 medium sized skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry


      1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with olive oil.
      2. Combine the crackers and corn cereal crumbs, sesame seeds, pepper and garlic powder in a shallow bowl.
      3. In a large bowl, combine egg whites, yogurt, Frank’s Hot Sauce, and salt. Add the chicken pieces and coat thoroughly with the yogurt mixture.
      4. One at a time, dip the chicken pieces in the cracker mixture, packing crumbs onto chicken. Arrange the chicken on a baking sheet and spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray.
      5. Take one russet potato and slice thin (use a mandolin if you have it). ¬†I find it speeds up cooking time if you poach it in boiling water first. ¬†Then put in pan, spray with olive oil, top with S&P and lawry’s and bake in oven with the chicken.
      6. Bake for 45 minutes, or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife.
      7. If you like your potatoes crispy like I do, take the chicken out and leave the potatoes in on broil for a few minutes.
      Serve with a salad topped with celery, tomatoes and blue cheese!

      Chicken Parm w/o the bread crumbs and fryer

      Last night I managed to make a healthy and delicious dinner even in the midst of a hectic election day.  It was very easy to make, very tasty and fillingРa healthy substitute for chicken parm.  No excess of carbs are needed here.  I ate mine with a salad on the side and was full for the night!  The key- the rich tomato vegetable sauce.

      • Chicken breasts
      • Olive Oil
      • S&P
      • Mozzarella Cheese
      • Parmesan Cheese
      • Spinach

      For the Sauce:

      • Garlic
      • Onion
      • Portobello Mushroom (1 large one)
      • Artichoke Hearts (2-3)
      • Roasted Yellow Pepper (1)
      • Cherry Tomatoes sliced in half
      • Can San Marzano tomato sauce
      You can use whatever vegetables you like.  It just adds depth of flavor to your sauce.  A lot of Italians say using carrots helps remove some of the bitter flavor in the tomato sauce.


      1. Saute the garlic, onion, mushroom, artichokes and peppers in a little olive oil. Add s&p. Let cook for roughly 5 minutes. Add can of tomato sauce . Let simmer. The sauce should cook for a least 20 minutes but can simmer for hours.
      2. Use a handheld blender to puree the vegetables in the sauce. It’s up to you how chunky you want your sauce. I like it to be a little thick for this dish!
      3. Heat pan on med-high heat and spray with your olive oil misto.  Then sear seasoned chicken on both sides (2-3 minutes per side). Make sure the chicken has a nice brown crust on both sides. Then remove from the heat.
      4. Take out a casserole dish and lay a bed of spinach at the bottom. Place chicken breasts on top. Pour your sauce over the dish covering your chicken. Cover with tin foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Then remove tin foil, top the chicken with fresh mozzarella and finish baking uncovered until the cheese is melted.  Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil if you have it!
      The result is a moist delicious chicken dish that will warm you up on a cold fall night!  Buon Appetito!

      Chicken Caccitore (I think?)

      This is my “spur of the moment” version of the old Italian dish. Delicious and healthy! Serve over rice or pasta, or add potatoes in the dish! ¬†This recipe is based off what I had in my fridge one night. ¬†I really wish I had mushrooms to add so make sure you include them when you try it! ¬†I didn’t have fresh herbs (shame on me) but fresh oregano or parsley will add a nice finishing touch!

      • Boneless chicken breasts
      • Bell Peppers
      • Garlic
      • Red onion (use whatever you prefer, this is what I had)
      • Can chopped tomatoes (you should always have these stored in the pantry- San Marzano are the best!)
      • Capers
      • Olives (I recommend cutting the olives in slices but since my boyfriend hates them I was nice and left them whole for easy discarding)
      • S&P


      1. Heat up olive oil in hot saute pan. Add seasoned chicken breasts (salt & pepper) and brown on each side. Set chicken aside. (Doesn’t have to be cooked through)
      2. Add peppers, onions and garlic to pan to saute. Pour in can of chopped tomatoes. Let simmer.
      3. Put the chicken back in the sauce and cover. Let cook so flavors meld and chicken cooks through. If you have really thick chicken breasts, I recommend baking them in the oven when you add them back in.  They will stay moist and the end product is delicious!

      Additional notes

      Picture shown served over rice.

      The Best Buffalo Chicken Dip

      This delicious dip tastes just like wings but with out all the mess and fatty skin! It’s so easy to make and great for a party. Since I started making it, people often ask me to bring it to their house for parties.


      Prep time: 15 minutes
      Cooking time: 25 minutes
      Total time: 40 minutes


      • Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
      • Ranch seasoning packet
      • Celery (5-7 stalks- I like to have the nice fresh crunch in there)
      • Scallions (3-5)
      • 3 Chicken breasts
      • Part-skim Mozzarella Cheese and/or Blue Cheese to top (some people don’t like blue cheese, so I put it on half)
      • Franks Buffalo Sauce
      • Whole wheat ritz crackers and/or cut up celery and vegetables to dip.
      • S&P


      Low boil seasoned chicken in water until cooked through and let cool. (If you prefer you can cook the chicken in a slow cooker with the hot sauce on low for 2-3 hours, or you can buy a rotisserie chicken in the store if that’s easier for you.

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

      Chop up celery and scallions and place into a bowl.

      Use 2 forks to pull the chicken apart into small bite sized pieces. Put in the bowl with celery and scallions and add Franks Hot Sauce. (I used about 1/2 the bottle- you can taste the chicken and test the temperature) You have the option to add a tablespoon of melted butter- it sure helps with flavor but not fat ūüėČ


      In your baking dish, mix the cream cheese with ranch seasoning and spread along the bottom of the¬† dish. Add the chicken mixture over the layer of cream cheese. Top with the mozzarella and/or blue cheese. Sometimes I do half and half to please those who don’t care for blue cheese.



      Cook for 25 minutes or until the cheese is nice and bubbly. I like to add a little more hot sauce at the end on top to bake into the cheese. It looks pretty–that’s all.

      Top with more fresh cut scallions for a little color and serve with whole wheat ritz crackers or scoops.


      photo (3)

      Instead of a dip, use won tons!

      Not that this recipe needed changing, but I’ve tried several different versions. We all know how dips can get messy to eat when you’re dressed up and you don’t want to drip gooey cheese or hot sauce on your dress or nice shirt. So, I bought won ton wrappers for the first time. I used mini cupcake pans, put a won ton in each holder, brushed with melted butter, and baked in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until browned. Then remove from the oven, take the won tons out of the cupcake holders and place on a baking sheet.

      Fill the won tons layering first the cream cheese mixture, then the buffalo chicken and top with mozzarella and blue cheese. Then place them back in the oven until the cheese is melted. Serve these tasty individual bite sized snacks hot! I do recommend trying this at home!! Delicious!

      I’ve also stuffed them and closed them and served with ranch dressing (yum!):

      photo (4)