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Creamy Mushroom-Parmesan Chicken

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Would you like to know the recipe I use from my blog more than any other?  You might be surprised.  It’s Breadless Breading, a gluten-free alternative to breading for meats.  It has such incredible flavor (click the link to check out the recipe and you’ll see why it’s so flavorful) that I use it all the time, usually coating tilapia with it before cooking it in olive oil on the stove top for a 5-minute dinner alongside some microwaved veggies.  This coating is also fabulous on chicken!

This is a super simple recipe but oh so delicious!  The breading does all the flavoring for you–when you have a batch of it in the fridge, you can use it in so many ways and you will always have a delicious meal.  I’m also going to give the “recipe” for the corn in the photo that is my husband’s creation, which is only two ingredients and so incredible!  The heat and flavor of the sriracha is a nice contrast to the sweetness in the corn.

Creamy Mushroom-Parmesan Chicken

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Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
Breadless Breading
Olive oil
1 can reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a skillet, enough to coat the bottom. Lightly coat the chicken chunks with Breadless Breading and add to the heated pan, cooking on all sides until cooked through. Add the cream of mushroom soup, stir, then stir in enough Breadless Breading to thicken and flavor the sauce. Serve hot.

For the Sriracha Corn: add a touch of sriracha (start with a little and add more to taste) to a can of corn and stir together in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until hot and serve immediately.

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Breadless Breading

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Pictured: Chicken in Basil Cream, using Breadless Breading

This is a fabulous low-carb, gluten-free substitute for breading that can be used as a coating for things you’re either going to be baking or frying.  I use it on both chicken and fish (it’s best for mild white fish, though it’s pretty good on salmon too) and have even added it to meatloaf*.  I prefer this tremendously over any other coating I’ve used, as it has so much flavor in comparison to even seasoned breadcrumbs.  The first time I used it on fish, my husband said, “this is like…onion ring-fried fish!!”  While this breading isn’t overly onion-y (in my opinion, it is perfectly seasoned), I will say that if you like onion rings, you’re going to love it as it does lend a similar flavor and texture experience to your meal.  I hope you enjoy!

Breadless Breading

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2 (3.75 oz) jars (2 cups) dehydrated minced onion
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried coriander
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves, crushed
1 ¼ cups grated Parmesan cheese

Place dehydrated onion in food processor bowl and process for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients except the cheese and process 30 seconds. Add Parmesan and pulse to blend. Store refrigerated in an airtight container.

Recipe source: adapted from Suzanne Somers’ Fast & Easy Bake & Fry Mix

*This doesn’t replace bread crumbs in meatloaf because there is nothing in it to absorb moisture the way real bread can, but it does add great flavor!  For a gluten-free meatloaf, you can add in quick-cooking oats along with some of this breadless breading.  You will not need to add onions to your meatloaf if you use this breading because it adds plenty of flavor, but I added a red pepper to mine and it was really good!

A quick and easy meal: coat one side of fish (this is swai) with breadless breading and fry in olive oil until golden.  Flip and cook until the fish flakes easily.  Enjoy your Onion Rings-Fried Fish!

Cranberry Chicken

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Before I get to today’s post, I want to do a quick update for The Postcard Project.  People have started signing up but I want to encourage everyone that is participating to add your name to the list. Many have told me they are sending mail but aren’t on the list yet.  The list is where I’ll be drawing from for the prizes!  Oh, did I forget to mention there are prizes at stake?  My blue ribbon chocolate chip cookies, to be exact!  I’ll be drawing at random from those signed up each Friday this month (winners will be announced each Saturday), then at the end of the month I’ll award a batch to the person who sent the most mail.  So you have a chance to win whether you’re sending 1 letter or 100!  Every letter makes a difference, especially to the person who receives it.  This project will never take over the focus of my blog, but I do intend for it to be ongoing.  I’ve already started on my own goal and it has been so fun writing to people I rarely correspond with.  I can’t wait to share some of the funny cards I got with you guys.  In the meantime, I give you Cranberry Chicken! :)

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Pinterest.  Have you heard of it?  Bloggers have been annoying me with their urgings to get on there for months and I fought it hard, not wanting yet another reason for internet addiction in my life.  Even when I was getting 15,000 views a day on my blog (which is not the norm, I can tell you) because of people “pinning” my cupcake bites on Pinterest, I did not sign up.  I was steadfast and strong in my resolve.  But then a personal friend sent me an invitation to join, telling me I “had to do it” and I guess she was right because I did it, despite myself.  It was almost like some evil force in the universe overcame me and made me forget all my reasons for not wanting to.  An evil force named Tracy.  Oh yeah, girlfriend, I just called you out! :)

So, what does this have to do with cranberry chicken, you might ask?  Well, if it weren’t for Pinterest, I would never have made this cranberry chicken!  I bookmarked it ages ago and forgot about it because I never go back to look at things I’ve bookmarked.  But when I signed up with Pinterest, I decided to use it instead of bookmarking things and I transferred all my favorites into boards on Pinterest.  This chicken was one of the first things I transferred and I could barely remember marking it.  And I made it the same week!

I don’t know if this is how everyone uses Pinterest, but I “pin” things, mostly recipes, that I want to try in the future and it is so much more useful to me than bookmarks.  I can categorize things and then I see a visual picture to remind me of what I wanted to do and when I click the picture, it brings me to the web page I got it from.  It’s very handy, but it is also addicting because I can spend an hour looking at everyone else’s pins and repinning them to my own boards for future reference.  Handy and evil!

OK, so let’s talk chicken.  This recipe is another super-simple one with just a few ingredients and fantastic flavor.  It doesn’t have an overwhelming cranberry flavor, in fact the only cranberry taste comes from the whole cranberries themselves because the sauce has onion and Catalina dressing in it to make a flavor all of its own.  It’s a little sweet, a little tangy, and a lot delicious.  Dennis and I both give it two thumbs up!

Cranberry Chicken

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1 (8 oz) bottle Catalina or French Dressing
1 (1 oz) envelope dry onion soup mix
1 (15 oz) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken pieces (breast halves and/or thighs)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a large casserole dish with oil and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the dressing, soup mix, and cranberry sauce and whisk together until blended. Pour enough of the sauce in the dish to make a thin layer, then place the chicken in a single layer on top. Pour the remaining sauce over the top, making sure all the chicken is well-coated. Bake, uncovered, for 1- 1 1/2 hours.  Serve over rice, ladling extra sauce over the top.

Recipe source: Very Culinary

Garlic Chicken & Bacon Spaghetti Squash Alfredo



I made this recipe in the spring and thought it would be nice to share in the fall when it was starting to get chilly.  Not so chilly that you are ready to dig into the really heavy foods, but are just starting to think about it.  That day has come a lot sooner than I expected!  Does it seem like an early fall is coming on in your neck of the woods as well?

If so, here’s a fantastic meal that seems pretty hearty and is totally comforting while still managing to be quite healthy and diet-friendly.  Debbi, the creator of this recipe, calculated it as only about 200 calories per serving (1/8th of the recipe) so even if you ate half of the whole casserole (which would be quite a feat!), you’d probably still be eating less calories than a restaurant alfredo dish would have, and it’s so much healthier!

I thought this dish was absolutely positively scrumptious and although it takes some time to prepare because you have to pre-roast the spaghetti squash, it’s very simple.  I eat a lot of spaghetti squash, but this is only one of two dishes I’ve ever eaten it in with such gusto.  I don’t even like alfredo sauce, especially jarred, and I L-O-V-E-D this meal.  I really felt like I was indulging because meals this delicious usually have a ton of fat and calories.  Not true in this case–it really is like having your cake and eating it too!

Garlic Chicken and Bacon Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

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1 large spaghetti squash, about 2 1/2 lbs.
1 (15 oz.) jar Classico Garlic Alfredo Sauce
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
9 oz. chicken, cooked & chopped
6 slices turkey bacon
1 onion, sliced
Salt and pepper

Split spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking oil. Place the squash face-down on the sheet and roast in oven at 375 for about 45 min – 1 hour or until tender when poked with a fork on the underside.  Let cool until you can handle the squash without burning your hands, and scrape the squash out with a fork into a 9 x 13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Leave the oven on.

While the squash is cooling enough to handle, cook bacon until crispy and remove to a plate to cool.  Grill onions in the small amount of bacon grease in pan, using additional oil or cooking spray if needed. If you want your onions to get crispy dark edges, let them sit for a minute or two before stirring each time. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  Crumble the cooled bacon.

Spread alfredo sauce over the spaghetti squash in the pan, sprinkle on half the cheese, top with chopped chicken, bacon and sauteed onions, then top with remaining cheese.  Bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

Recipe source: Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

Chicken Shawarma Pita Sandwiches

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I don’t know what to tell you except that these are great and if you like Mediterranean foods, you need to make them! :)  I’ve discovered that no two chicken shawarma recipes are the same, and this one seems very different from all the others I’ve seen.  So I don’t know how typical or traditional this particular recipe is, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The chicken has a unique and potent marinade that includes plenty of acids to tenderize the meat.  I love the combination of the flavorful meat with fresh vegetables and the tahini sauce wrapped in pita bread.  I’ve been making these sandwiches for several months now and only had to tweak the recipe a little to suit my preference.  I hope you enjoy!

Chicken Shawarma Pita Sandwiches

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Chicken
2 teaspoons fenugreek
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tbsp White Vinegar
2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Tahini Sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sugar

Sandwiches
Pita bread
Shredded lettuce
Tomato slices
Cucumber slices
Red onion slices

The night before, combine spices for chicken in a gallon-size Ziploc bag and shake to combine. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, and garlic, and massage the bag to combine. Add chicken, seal, and massage the marinade around (will be thick like a paste) until all the chicken pieces are coated. Refrigerate overnight. You can also prepare the tahini sauce the night before by whisking all the ingredients together and storing in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve the sandwiches.

Grill the chicken breasts until no longer pink in the center. To serve sandwiches, fill pita bread with lettuce, chicken, tomato, cucumber, and onion, and top with tahini sauce.

Recipe source: adapted from Food o’ del Mundo

Chicken in Basil Cream

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My friend, Suzie, shared this recipe on Facebook a while back, and while all the recipes I’ve tried from her rock, this was one I never intended to make.  I make it a rule to shun or lighten all recipes that call for more than a tablespoon or two of heavy cream (except in desserts, of course!), but I recently went through a low-carb phase and ended up making a lot of yummy rich dishes during the two weeks I masqueraded as a carnivorous beast.  I’m usually not a big fan of meat in general, but my husband (the true carnivore between us) and I both loved this dish.

I have to say, the coating (a Suzanne Somers recipe) I used in place of flour on the chicken was tremendous.  I made extra so I could use it again because I’m imagining it encrusting pieces of white fish and think it would be great on any cut of meat.  It has tons of flavor.  Of course the basil cream was incredible, and a very good compliment to the flavor of the “breaded” meat.  One portion of this dish is satisfying enough that you shouldn’t need anything else besides some roasted asparagus or a salad…but if you don’t have to worry about your caloric intake, I hate you I think this would be great over linguine!

Although the low-carb phase was temporary, it reminded me that fat is not the enemy and can be included in my dietary plan, even in large amounts if I reduce calories in other ways, such as serving vegetables alongside this chicken instead of pasta and bread.  It is definitely worth scrimping on the carbs in order to enjoy a meal like this every so often!

Chicken in Basil Cream

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Bake & Fry Mix
1 cup minced onion
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bay leaves, crushed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Chicken and sauce
8 (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 (4 oz) jar sliced pimentos, drained
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place minced onion in food processor fitted with blade attachment. Process one minute. Add remaining mix ingredients, except the cheese, and process another minute. Add cheese and pulse until combined. Place in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Add chicken to the bag and shake until every piece is coated. On medium-high heat, cook chicken in butter on both sides until juices run clear, about 10 minutes. Remove and keep warm. Add broth to the skillet. Bring to a boil over medium heat; stir to loosen browned bits. Stir in the cream, pimientos and basil; boil and stir for 1 minute. Reduce heat. Add the Parmesan cheese and pepper; cook and stir until heated through. Pour over the chicken and serve.

Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 544 calories; 41 g fat; 2.5 g carbohydrates; 0 g fiber; 36 g protein

Recipe source: adapted from Fast & Easy by Suzanne Somers and Suzie S.

Sweet & Salty Salad Wraps (plus Poppyseed Dressing!)

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I probably subscribe to more than fifty food blogs but ranking right up there with my favorite, My Kitchen Cafe, is Our Best Bites, and this recipe comes from them.  (What are your favorites?)  Though I’m still baking, I’m not doing much cooking so I jumped right on this salad wrap when they posted it a few weeks ago.  It is everything the title promises and it is delicious.  You will love it!

Sweet & Salty Salad Wrap
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You’ll need:
Baby spinach
Cooked chicken
Craisens
Crumbled bacon
Feta cheese
Poppyseed dressing (recipe follows if you want to make your own)

In a bowl, toss together everything in the amounts you choose and then wrap in a tortilla, pita, or flatbread wrap.

Poppyseed Dressing

1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon mustard
1 green onion, ends removed (both the “hairy” end and where the green part starts to get floppy)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

In a blender or food processor, combine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and mustard. While the blender is running, add the green onion. Continue running the blender and add the oil in a steady stream and is fully incorporated into the dressing.  Pour the dressing into a serving or storage container and whisk in poppy seeds.

Recipe source: Our Best Bites

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