Grilled marinated chicken and eggplant parmesan with fresh tomato basil vinagrette and organic greens

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It’s that time of the year in NY/NJ. Time to get out the grills and start cooking outside. Love to grill marinated veggies. And chicken cutlets (free range, antibiotic free if possible is best). Here’s a simple, quick and delicious way to do it, saving calories and fat by grilling and not frying. A little fresh mozzarella is always best, but feel free to use part skim mozzi if you must.

Make a vinagrette…1/4 cup good aged balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves chopped garlic
about a handful chopped fresh basil. Put this into a blender and puree. Add salt and pepper. You will have one cup total.

Slice up one or two eggplants, about 1/4 inch thick, I peel in stripes.
Pound chicken cutlets till thin as you like them.

Into a bowl put the sliced eggplants and pour in some dressing and mix. Reserve the rest for cooking.

Marinate the cutlets in some of the dressing in a separate bowl for as long as possible. Overnight is good.

Turn the grill to medium high.

Grill the eggplant and make sure to brush with the oil mixture on both sides. Turn over after about 6 minutes, when you see grill marks and brush again with vinagrette, grill until tender and grill marks appear on both sides being careful not to burn.

Grill the cutlets after brushing with vinagrette on both sides about 3 minutes on each side till done.

I used organic colorful cherry tomatoes but you can use any tomatoes you like, such as chopped plum tomatoes raw.

Simply cut them in quarters, put in a bowl with more of the basil vinagrette, salt and pepper.

Layed the grilled eggplant on a baking dish, topped with the chicken cutlets and then added the sliced mozzi. Put back on grill and cooked on medium till the cheese was melted. Took off the grill , plated it and poured the tomato basil vinagrette on top and organic mesclun greens on side.

Smoked applewood chicken with an Apricot, dijon, orange, balsamic glaze

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IMG_5630The first of the seasons barbeque has to be something I’ve been craving since before this terrible winter started. I got out my applewood and soaked for 20 minutes in cold water. Lucky for me my Weber gas grill has a smoker, but you can just wrap the wood in aluminum foil and place on a covered grill.

1 Five pound chicken (free range, antibiotic free, for me)
Make the marinate…in a bowl add 1 tbl dijon mustard, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 2 tbls your best balsamic, 1 tablespoon apricot jam, squeeze of fresh orange juice…Mix together with some ev olive oil.

Make enough to marinate chicken and keep 1/2 for glazing as bird cooks.

Marinate the chicken overnight in this. Take out and sprinkle with some herbs du provence and a drizzle of evoo.

Add the wood to your grill and get it smoking, turn mine to medium high.
Put bird on a baking pan with parchmont paper

While the bird cooks make the vegs in separate pans on the grill, loaf pans work great. I roasted the peppers on the grill, till blackened, then took off let cool and cut into strips, roasted the beets and peeled after. All I did was put a little water in the bottom on the pans, and the veggies steam grilled and smoked on the covered grill. The artichokes I also made like the beets with a sprinkle of herbs du provence and a drizzle of evoo. Bird cooked in about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The last 1/2 hour I kept glazing till brown and crisp. The veggies I took off before that, the beets take the longest, the red peppers are done when blackened, and the artichoked steamed in like 10 minutes.

Sauteed local scallops with tomatoes, light pesto and dijonaise white wine sauce

IMG_5588<img class="size-full" src="http://laurileeshealthycooking.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/img_5588.jpg&quot; alt="Sauteed local scallops with tomatoes, light pesto and dijonaise

I was in a hurry to make dinner. Heres is what I did. Took out a bottle of dry white wine. Dijon Mustard. Garlic. handful of fresh basil. My best extra virgin olive oil. Cherry tomatoes. Parsley. I was in so much of a hurry i didn’t even 1/2 the tomatoes which i normally do. You could also cut up the scallops and make this like a clam sauce. The tomatoes whole burst either in your fork or mouth . Still good.

Cleaned the greens in my mini salad spinner
Cleaned the scallops by simply rinsing them in cold water and taking off the side muscle.
Drying them

Took out a pasta pan filled with water and boiled it.

Into my food processor (my little one) I tossed in some basil leaves, a drizzle of the olive oil and a garlic clove, salt and pepper.. Gave it a whiz and added some lemon zest.

Took out a saute pan. Into the pan I added about 2 tbls evoo. Let it get hot, put in the large scallops and sauteed about 2 minutes or each side. To this I added the pesto and some wine about 1/2 cup along with 1/2 teapoon dijon mustard sauteed

Covered the pan and cooked another 2 minutes till sauce was a little thicker from the dijon and scallops were cooked through. Added fresh parsley and served over spaghetti.

Simple took 20 minutes.

Smothered healthy turkey meatloaf

IMG_5535IMG_5528Hello April.  We welcome the beginnings of spring after a long , hard winter here in NJ.

Today was a cloudy and cold spring day.  Went to Whole Foods and got some organic, free range antibiotic free ground turkey.  Decided to not bother making meatballs since it’s Meatless Monday, and went with a healthy take on meat loaf.  If you have a meatloaf pan , this is very easy.

I roasted a bunch of mushrooms, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, an aged balsamic, sliced onions and sprinkled with oregano.

I glazed the top with a marinara sauce with basil and garlic.

Recipe

Into a metal bowl add about 1 pound of ground turkey

One large egg

1/3 cup of parmesan reggiano grated and some locatelli romano

sprinkle in some italian seasoning (and/or dried oregano)

1/3 cup or so of bread crumbs- use more if it feels like it needs it

a teaspoon of organic ketchup

2 teaspoons of your best aged balsamic vinegar

4 or so cloves of crushed garlic

handful of chopped parsley

Chopped fresh basil (optional)

 

Add about 1 tablespoon of evoo to the pan and spread around (so it won’t stick)

Mix the turkey in the bowl together with some salt and pepper, and when it feels like it will form a loaf in the pan  , put it in the pan however thick or thin you like it.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Spread the marinara on the top of the loaf with another drizzle of evoo.  Another splash of balsamic, add some grated parmesan.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 20- 30 minutes.  After about 20 minutes you will see some gravy forming on the side of the meatloaf , to this add a little splash of water, and then add some baby spinach.

 

Cook until spinach is melted down and it is done.

In another pan put the mushrooms and onions with garlic , oregano, salt pepper as I said above, this will take about 10 minutes to cook.  When done remove.

Add the veggies to the pan and serve the turkey loaf smothered with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and basil sauce.

 

Enjoy.

 

Stir Fried Shrimp with baby broccoli and wild rice

IMG_5400Chop up garlic (3 cloves), scallions, cilantro, sugar snap peas, and get a hunk of ginger ready for grating.

IMG_5402Dust shrimp on both sides with a little rice flour and a sprinkle of 5 spice powder

IMG_5404Get your wok out and heated, add 1-2 tblspoons of grapeseed oil, add garlic and scallions, and grate in some ginger.

IMG_5406Add the shrimp and continue to stir fry about 2-3 minutes till shrimp or crispy looking on all sides.

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IMG_5423Add chicken broth about 1/2 cup or more as needed to make sauce, and quickly add the chopped sugar snaps.

IMG_5428Add some chopped cilantro.  The whole dish will be done in 5 minutes.

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IMG_5437I made the rice in my rice cooker and steamed the baby broccoli in there too!  Another great investment.

 

Served with slivered almonds.

Clay Pot Asian Chicken Soup with Caramelized Vegetables

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Now that I showed you how to do a whole chicken in the Clay Pot, I would like to share another variation I make. For this recipe I use chicken breasts on the bone. I make a layer of veggies to sit the breasts on. Here’s what you’ll need.
Carrots, sliced
Onions, sliced
A whole head of garlic (tips cut off for roasting)
Cilantro-chopped with some stem
5 spice powder about 2 teaspoons
slices of ginger about 2-3 coins
splash of low salt tamari soy sauce

Soak the clay pot for 10-15 minutes in cold water. Sprinkle the chicken breasts on both sides with the 5 spice powder.
Make a layer of veggies on the bottom of the pot.
Add the chicken skin side up.
Fill with broth up to the bottom of the chicken breasts, not going high enough to cover the chicken or skin. Add a couple of splashes of the soy sauce.

Cover the pot and let cook about an hour or less at 400. Take the top off carefully away from your face.
Let it brown about another 10 minutes.

While the pot is in the oven, I caramelized some veggies on top of the stove.
Here’s what I used.
Shitake mushrooms sliced along with white mushrooms
Scallions
Garlic -2 chopped cloves
Butternut squash chunks.
Did a quick stir fry with about a tablespoon of neutral oil (grapeseed) cooked till caramelized, adding broth as needed along with a little tamari.

In another pot boil soba noodles till done, like spaghetti.

When the chicken is done, remove from the clay pot and strain out the veggies. Eat the chicken roasted or as soup. I take the broth and put it into a kettle, pull apart the chicken, add to the pot along with the veggies to make the perfect soup. Add soba noodles and enjoy the soup and the chicken can be used for lunch the next day or just eaten with the veggies.

Roasted Clay Pot Organic Chicken with Veggies and herbs

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I encourage you to make a great investment in your health by purchasing a clay cooker. There are many brands but I have always used the Romentopf with great success. I promise you will never have a better roasted bird. It takes a bit of practice to get it perfect but the thing is, it’s basically a one pot meal. I made one 5 pound chicken the other night, turned it into chicken vegetable soup the next day and chicken salad with the leftovers. It is a simple method of cooking in a very high temperature oven, with no fat needed whatsoever. No basting, no butter.

I saw Rachel Ray and Sara Moulton discussing it’s benefits the other day on Rachel’s show but neither of them really knew much about this method of cooking. It inspired me to blog this for you, so you too can try this ancient , healthful method of cooking. It’s a great tool for these cold winter days and it makes dinner very easy. Once you fill the pot and cover it, you just leave it alone for about an hour. The aromas from the herbs will fill your home, take you back into the kitchen just in time to open the lid (with 2 heavy gloves) and away from your face, and then continue to roast it uncovered another 10 or so minutes till bird is crisp and brown. Then you serve with veggies, I recommend de-fatting if necessary. I sometimes puree the veggies with the broth to thicken the gravy which is extra flavorful with the addition of roasted garlic and butternut squash.