Air Fryer Chicken Kebabs

chickenonrachOne way to meal prep for the week is to do kebabs in the air fryer.  Not only is it fast, but it’s a perfect way to measure out exactly what you’re eating.  Today I made chicken kebabs and put them together with 3 different sides for 3 different healthy meals this week.  These can easily be laid atop a bed of fresh spinach topped with olive oil and salt & pepper, beside a green salad, or on a mound of cauliflower mash.  Except for needing to remove and heat the kebabs separately with the salad, it’s a quick & easy minute in the microwave for a hearty weekday lunch or dinner.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Air Fryer Chicken Kebabs

  • 1 – 12 oz Chicken Breast, Trimmed (I used chicken breast fillets)
  • 1 Medium Zucchini, Cut into 1/2″ Slices
  • 18 Plum or Cherry Tomatoes
  • 6 Bamboo Skewers or metal skewers supplied with rack
  • 3 TBLS Low Carb BBQ Sauce

Cut the skewers (if using bamboo skewers & necessary) with a pair of kitchen shears, down to just short of the length of your Air Fryer Tray.  Soak the skewers in water for 10-15 minutes.

Cut your chicken into about 1″ Chunks and toss in 3 TBLS low carb BBQ sauce.

Thread each skewer with 3 slices Zucchini (About 1 oz), 3 plum or cherry tomatoes, 2 oz chicken breast cut into 4 chunks.  Start and end with a piece of zucchini for stability and alternate pieces of chicken and cherry tomato with a piece of zucchini in the middle.

If you have a rack for your air fryer (for holding skewers), place as many skewers as will fit without crowding (mine holds 3).  Cook for 9-10 minutes at 350° F then remove cooked skewers and finish cooking the rest.  Brush with more BBQ if desired.

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 2 Skewers)

  • 166  Calories
  • 1.2 g  Fat
  • 10 g  Carbs
  • 28 g  Protein

Chicken Bacon Ranch Balls

chickenbaconranchballsAppetizers and small plates are the easiest way to stay on target when I’m trying to lose a few pounds or clean up my diet.  These chicken, bacon, ranch meatballs are perfect with a small salad and a side of cauliflower mash for an easy weeknight dinner and a great way to snack without guilt at tailgate parties!  Low carb, nut free, gluten free, grain free, and, best of all for me, #KetoFriendly!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Balls

  • 1 Pound Ground Chicken
  • 12 Slices Thick Cut Bacon
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Large Egg, Beaten
  • 1 tsp Dried Dill
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F and line baking sheet with foil and baking rack. Lay bacon strips on baking rack in even layer. Bake bacon in oven until crispy, about 15-20 minutes depending on thickness of bacon.  Crumble bacon into small pieces. (Dispose of foil from baking sheet or use second baking sheet.) Decrease oven heat to 375 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. To a large mixing bowl, add ground chicken, crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar, egg, and spices. Using hands, mix together until thoroughly combined. Form mixture into equal-sized balls, about 1 1/2 tbsp of mixture per ball, place on prepared baking sheet, and lightly press down to slightly flatten. Bake until golden brown and cooked throughout, 25-30 minutes.
  3. Remove poppers from oven, allow to cool slightly, and serve with low carb ranch dressing drizzled on balls or on the side.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information – Serving 1 Ball (Makes 16 Balls)

  • 116  Calories
  • 9 g   Fat
  • 0 g   Carbs
  • 9 g   Protein

 

Coconut Lime Cauliflower Rice

Lime-Coconut-Cauliflower-Rice

A new spin on a Keto staple.

This recipe is so versatile that it could be:

 

  • A side dish for chicken, seafood, beef, pork, or grilled vegetables
  • A base layer for a sweet flavored (like Keto Sweet & Sour Chicken) Asian inspired main dish bowl
  • A bed for kebabs
  • A layer in a cold chicken salad
  • A taco or burrito ingredient, or even
  • Chilled and served as a “rice pudding” type dessert.

Tip:  This dish is better a day (or at least a few hours) after it’s been made and refrigerated, then reheated.

Coconut Lime Cauliflower Rice

  • 1 TBLS Butter
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Crushed into a Paste (I use jarred, crushed garlic)
  • 1 Medium-Large Head Cauliflower, Riced (About 6 Cups)
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Lite Coconut Milk
  • 1 TBLS Lime Juice
  • Zest from 1 Lime

Heat the butter and garlic in a skillet over medium heat.

Steam the riced cauliflower in a microwave steamer for 3 minutes.  Add the cauliflower rice to the skillet, sprinkle with salt and cook for 2 minutes before adding in the coconut milk and lime juice. Cook the rice for 8 minutes stirring frequently until the rice has completely softened and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Sprinkle the rice with lime zest before serving.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information per serving – 6 Servings

  • 68 Calories
  • 2.5 g Fat
  • 6 g Carbohydrates
  • 2 g Protein

 

Baltimore Style Crab Cakes

When I am in the mood for crab but don’t want the mess & hassle of cracking shells and digging the meat out, nothing fits the bill like a crab cake.  I’m not talking about a crab cake that’s mostly crappy breadcrumbs and other cheap fillers, I’m talking a cake filled with lush, sweet crab meat and little more.

FandW092018The September 2018 Food & Wine Magazine features their 40 “Best Ever Recipes,” which lured me in with a luscious chocolate cake on the cover, but they hooked me with this recipe for crab cakes, nine pages from the back of the magazine on page 95!

Andrew Zimmern’s Baltimore Style Crab Cakes

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (See note below)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over
  • 20 saltine crackers, finely crushed (See note below)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (See note below)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce until smooth.

In a medium bowl, lightly toss the crab meat with the cracker crumbs. Gently fold in the mayonnaise mixture.   In Andrew Zimmern’s words, if you don’t over mix, and don’t pack your mounds too tightly, you will experience “pure, unadulterated crab cake heaven.”  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Scoop the crab mixture into eight 1/3-cup mounds; lightly pack into 8 patties, about 1+1/2 inches thick. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderately high heat until deeply golden and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the crab cakes to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

  • Tip 1:  If you prefer, you can substitute 1 1/2 tsp yellow or spicy mustard and omit the Dijon mustard and hot sauce
  • Tip 2:  You can substitute 1/2 cup Panko crumbs for the saltine crackers
  • Tip 3:  You can substitute any lightweight oil for the canola oil.  I prefer olive oil.
  • Tip 4:   If you plan to serve these as appetizers you can scoop them with a small cookie scoop, a soup spoon or melon baller – depending on whether you want them to be a 1 or 2 bite app.
  • MAKE AHEAD Crab cakes can be prepared thru Step 2 & refrigerated overnight

The recipe as written serves 4 people 2 patties each alongside a peppery arugula salad topped with diced mango, pineapple & cucumbers with a squeeze of lemon juice & a tablespoon of vinaigrette dressing.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

This recipe was originally published in 2012, and also appears on Andrew Zimmern’s website.  Food & Wine Magazine recommends pairing these crab cakes with a Muscadet#GirlsGoneWine  I’m not familiar with Muscadet, so I looked to my go to wine reference site, Wine Enthusiast, for an education on this brisk, lemony wine from the Loire Valley region of France.  Wine enthusiast says the flavor profile of Muscadet wine can vary from very neutral to tangy and saline.  Basic Muscadet wine is light in body and light in flavor, and may have a little spritz. Higher quality examples lean more towards a tangy saltiness and notes of flinty minerality, with a smooth texture and friendly, approachable nature.   As for specific recommendation, here’s a very affordable option:BougrierLesMartinieres

  • Bougrier Les Martinieres – This crisp, fruity white is an enjoyable accompaniment to shellfish and light appetizers. Its light sweetness adds richness to the light lemon, mineral and peach notes.  Total Wine $10.99

Cantaloupe, Prosciutto & Arugula Salad

Cantalope-Salad-7576_0

It’s been TOO DAMN HOT to cook this week.  When not wearing out my #DoorDash app, I’ve been looking for as many cold dinner solutions as possible.  I found one I love on Emeril Lagasse’s website: www.emerils.com.

It’s quick & easy to throw together and pairs well with pre-cooked, chilled jumbo shrimp or  maybe a sandwich made from a leftover store-bought rotisserie chicken or deli turkey breast.  Add a glass of perfectly chilled Sauvignon Blanc with melon undertones, like the 2014 Westerly Sauvignon Blanc has, and you have a terrific weeknight meal!

Cantaloupe, Prosciutto, & Arugula Salad

  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar or white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or vegetable-olive oil blend
  • 1 tablespoon minced mixed fresh herbs (such as basil, chives, and parsley)
  • 8 ounces fresh arugula, rinsed and spun dry
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cantaloupe, halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into thin wedges
  • 6 to 8 thin slices prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces

In a mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, shallot, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine. While continuously whisking, add the oil in a slow, steady stream until completely incorporated. Whisk in the herbs, and set aside while you prepare the salad.

In a large bowl, combine the arugula and red onion. Drizzle in 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Add more vinaigrette to taste, if desired, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.

Arrange the cantaloupe wedges on a large serving plate, top with the arugula salad and the prosciutto. Serve immediately.

**Tip:  Any unused vinaigrette can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to flipflopwineglass2 days.

A nice big pile of this salad and cold glass of Westerly Sauvignon Blanc in my sassy Lolita wine glass is sure to make me feel instantly cooler! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Chicken Saltimbocca with White Wine Sauce

chickensaltimbocaVery reluctantly, I’m back from my week of culinary indulgence. I gorged myself while sipping on every delectable wine I could in Napa and Paso Robles, so it’s back to the kitchen (& the gym) I go.

I adore veal saltimbocca, but have greatly cut back my intake of red meat, even the lighter pink/milky white young beef that is veal.  With this recipe, I’ve kept the flavors, cut some of the fat by using a lean chicken breast, and even snuck in some vegetables.

Some saltimbocca ([saltimˈbokka]; Italian for jumps in the mouth) recipes are fried in olive oil and rely only on pan drippings for their sauce, which I find to be too dry, while others are covered in a heavy creamy – lemony sauce.  I like to use a combination of the preparation methods and a make a lighter wine based sauce with just a kiss of  lemon and cream to make the whole dish a little less guilt-inducing. #GirlsGoneWine

Chicken Saltimbocca with White Wine Sauce

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 oz each)
  • 4-8 thin slices of Prosciutto ham
  • 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach
  • 16 whole leaves fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3 TBLS olive oil
  • 1 TBLS all-purpose flour (use finely ground almond flour for keto)
  • 5 ounces artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1/2 ounce capers
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 TBLS butter
  • 2 TBLS fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • freshly ground salt and pepper
  1. Pound the chicken breasts to flatten so they are all roughly the same thickness (3/8 to 1/2 inch).  Lightly salt and pepper.
  2. Squeeze the thawed, frozen spinach to remove the excess water.  In a small bowl, toss the spinach with salt & pepper and 1 tablespoon of oil to coat.
  3. Sprinkle flour on one side of first chicken breast and place flat on your work surface.
  4. On one half of the unfloured side of the chicken, spread 1/4 of the spinach in an even, thin layer. Sprinkle 1/4 of the Parmesan cheese over the spinach and fold the empty side of the chicken over the filled side. chickensamb
  5. Wrap the sliced Prosciutto around the floured side of the chicken, placing leaves of sage between the chicken and the ham as shown.
  6. Follow same steps with remaining chicken breasts until all 4 are ready to cook.
  7. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
  8. Add the butter. When it melts add the wine and lemon juice and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  9. Add the cream, chicken broth, artichoke hearts and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  10. Prepare your Angel Hair pasta while the chicken is simmering.
  11. Remove the chicken & artichoke heart pieces from the pan and cover to keep warm.
  12. Simmer the cooking liquid over high heat until it is reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Season the cooking liquid with salt and pepper, to taste.
  13. Serve the chicken breasts on a bed of Angel Hair pasta topped with the reduced sauce and garnish with capers if desired.

Enjoy with a chilled glass of the wine you used to make the sauce. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Tart & Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

It’s finally cool enough in California, at least once the sun goes down, to justify getting the stock pot out to make a hearty soup that can serve as dinner with a big salad & crusty bread that can then live on as a couple of workday lunches too!  Great for the wallet AND the waistline!  This soup is so rich, and has such depth of flavor, that it seems like a cheat meal, which is a plus during the non-stop holiday feast season.

Tart & Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1  –  2 to 2+1/2 lb Butternut Squash (Peeled/Seeded/Chopped into about 1″ Cubes)
  • 1  –  Large Granny Smith Apple (Cut into about 1″ Pieces – seeds/core/stem removed)
  • 3  –  Large Ribs Celery Chopped
  • 3  –  Carrots (Peeled/Chopped into about 1″ Pieces)
  • 1  –  Medium Yellow Onion (Peeled/Chopped into about 1″ Pieces)
  • 4  –  TBLS Butter
  • 1  –  32 oz Container Organic Chicken Stock
  • 1+1/2 Cups Water
  • Freshly Grated Sea Salt (To Taste)
  • Freshly Cracked Pepper (To Taste)
  • Freshly Ground Nutmeg (1/4 tsp)
  • Cinnamon (1/2 to 1 tsp)
  • Cayenne Pepper (Pinch to 1/8th tsp)
  • Chopped Parsley (if desired)

Melt the butter in a medium stockpot and add the onions, carrot and celery.  Sauté over low heat about 10 minutes.  When onions just start to brown, add the squash, apple, salt, pepper, chicken stock and water.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring just to a boil.  When bubbles appear at the edges of the pan, reduce heat to low.  Cover pan tightly and simmer soup for 45 minutes until squash is completely softened.

Remove soup from heat and either process soup until smooth using your blender (I use my Vitamix) and returning to the pan after processed or an immersion blender as shown in the video.

Once soup is smooth, add the Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Cayenne.  Adjust spices to taste.

I came across a video that uses the same technique I use to make my soup, with slightly different measurements, and it’s much prettier, so I’ll give the standard #ShoutOut and #HighFive to Simply Recipes for producing a great (and quick) video that I can also use to demonstrate how to assemble my soup!

I’ve already been remiss at keeping up with my blog, so not having to produce a video is a definite bonus! #ThisGirlLovesToEat