Stupid Old Boyfriend-Near Life-Sized Signs

Here is the part where all of you question my sanity. I’m okay with that.

Once upon a time I had a boyfriend who made the frustrated declaration, “Oh Bobbe, you think everything is a sign. Not everything is a sign from God!” This was twenty nine years ago and I can still hear his words ringing in my ears. I know exactly where we were, what the weather was that day; I even remember what I was wearing.  I was completely flabbergasted. (Don’t you love that word?)

I have navigated my entire life by spiritual guideposts and feelings and I guess when he said that to me, it was the first time I realized that other people don’t. (I know there is more to life planning than floating about watching for signs. That’s not what I mean here.)

For instance. Last week was the first time in eons I started posting my spirituality blogs. I’d been feeling for some time that this is the direction I wanted and needed to take. I prayed a tremendous amount of time over it as well. I haven’t started talking about it here yet, but a strong part of my spiritual roots in later life, comes from my devotion to The Blessed Mother. (Yes, Mother Mary.)

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I am on Facebook every evening and in ten years not once have I ever seen a post from anyone (but me), regarding messages from The Blessed Mother. Yet, on Thursday evening, I ran into the following post from “The Medjugorje Web”:

Message to Mirjana Soldo of August 2nd, 2018.
Dear children,
With a motherly love I am calling you to open hearts to peace; to open hearts to my Son, so that in your hearts love for my Son may sing, because only out of that love peace comes in the soul. My children, I know that you have goodness, I know that you have love – a merciful love, but many of my children still have a closed heart. They think that they can do it without directing their thoughts towards the Heavenly Father who illuminates–towards my Son who is always with you anew in the Eucharist and who desires to listen to you. My children, why do you not speak to Him? The life of each of you is important and precious, because it is a gift from the Heavenly Father for eternity. Therefore, do not ever forget to keep on thanking Him: speak to Him. I know, my children, that what is to come afterwards is unknown to you, but when your hereafter comes you will receive all the answers. My motherly love desires that you be ready. My children, by your life keep putting good feelings in the hearts of the people whom you meet, feelings of peace, goodness, love and forgiveness. Through prayer, hearken to what My Son is saying and act accordingly. Anew, I am calling you to prayer for your shepherds, for those whom my Son has called. Remember that they need prayers and love. Thank you.

Why is this significant? Because earlier that very day, I shared some of my very personal conversion story with a dear friend of another faith. I don’t mind saying that every time I relate my  story, it’s a little bit frightening, because it’s so personal. She was so moved by it she encouraged me to pursue writing about it in depth. (Those closest to me know this has been a dream of mine for almost thirty years. It’s a dream I am currently, very seriously revisiting.)

Every part of that message up there speaks right to my heart and it’s what I’ve been putting in to practice daily for as long as I can recall. I saw it on Thursday. I saw it again on Friday. And on Saturday, an interesting thing happened on the way to the grocery.

Charlie and I wanted to go to visit Aldi’s to see if it’s a place we want to include in our regular shopping circuit. (It’s not, by the way.) We were driving along a beautiful street lined with pretty houses with well manicured lawns. I was enjoying the ride very much when we drove past a house with a huge picture window in the front. Imagine my glee when standing in that window I saw an almost life-sized statue of The Blessed Mother! I was so excited, I cried a little bit. I felt just like Mary herself had just given me Her nod of approval.

Blessings.  They are coming to us all every moment of every day. The secret is to keep an open heart and mind and to accept them for what they are. Remember when I was talking about tuning into the heart? This is part of it.

We are not alone here. Whatever it is you’re struggling with or need help with or want to share, open your heart and talk to God about it. You will be heard.

Ask. Believe. Receive. Say Thank you.


Dearest Lord:

Today I want to pray for those among us who are struggling in this life with issues regarding faith, hopelessness, courage, self worth and even direction. I know that there is never a time when You are not present with us, listening to our prayers and loving us. Please help us all to begin recognizing the multitude of signs of Your love, mercy and grace.

Thank you for the gift of Your Beautiful Mother, who I love, adore and hold so dear. 

Help us all to remember to practice putting good feelings in the hearts of the people we meet, feelings of peace, goodness, love and forgiveness and to pray for our Shepherds and Leaders, regardless of whether or not we agree with them.

I love you.

Amen.


 

“And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” Revelation 12:1

The Struggle is REAL.

A long time ago I used to counsel people on how to find purpose in life. Now it’s my turn.

Does anyone else out there struggle with decision making? I am the absolute WORST lately. One minute I’m convinced I am turning this blog into a “food only” blog and then the angel on my shoulder whispers, “You are good at that, but it’s not your calling”. (Insert expletive here.) Then I sit for hours contemplating how to merge my inspirational/spiritual musings with my recipes. What would that even look like? Arch Angel Food cake, Angel-haired pasta, Heavenly potato chip casserole, Celestial peanut butter cookies, Saintly Sour cream cake, etc?

Um. No.

I seriously do not want to write two separate blogs, so what’s a girl to do? Insert this book right here:

(You can click on this photo later if you are interested in reading more about the book or if you want to order a copy through Amazon.)

I ran into this great book, “Crushing It!”, by Gary Vaynerchuck, via someone’s Instagram story and was inspired to see what it was about. (I’m happy I did. I have had such good luck finding great books via recommendations on IG.)  The book relates all sorts of stories about people who finally learn to turn their passion into a life. He says to stop worrying about numbers, followers, algorithms and to just be who you authentically are. The rest will follow. (Oh and the other part that I just adore is that he says Altruism is of the utmost importance. I could not agree more.)

This is the stuff I’ve actually been preaching about for years:

Authenticity: Leading and living from the heart.

Altruism: Doing Unto Others. Random acts of Kindness. Giving of oneself.

The thing is, I look around the Internet, especially on Instagram and YouTube, and see that it appears practically every person and her brother are aspiring Internet Gurus. I absolutely cannot stand Instagram stories where it’s nothing but 15 second segment after 15 second segment of someone opening a gazillion boxes of free stuff in exchange for free advertising. I admit, it overwhelms me and sometimes if I take a very large step back, it can make me a little bit sad. Is this what we’ve become?

I don’t want to be one of those people. (She says to herself while at the same time contemplating updating her YouTube Channel.) What happened to giving and sharing from the heart simply for the sake of putting goodness out into the world?

When I’m on Instagram looking at stories, or on here reading blogs, the people I consistently enjoy and who I always read, are those who are actually sharing real snippets of daily life or love or both! Two of my favorite Instagram-ers (is that a word?) are twenty-something Yogi’s who are best friends in real life. I haven’t the least bit of interest in Yoga, other than to marvel at the discipline/talent these girls and their other followers display, yet I watch every story they post from beginning to end. They are each unique, yet the same. One likes to film her fur babies and the other likes to film herself drinking tea and playing with her boyfriend. Both share their yoga practices, but also family life and a bit of their social life too. I watch it all and feel nostalgic for my twenties. Why? They are being authentic on their feeds.

One of my favorite bloggers here is a 30 year old woman who’s blog is entitled, “Damn Girl, Get Your Shit Together”. It’s the same with her; she’s successful because she’s being who she actually is. (Seriously, go read her latest blog, “A Very Stabby Birthday”. It’s great stuff.)

A gazillion years ago when I used to blog daily on MySpace (yes, I’m that old), I think people related to me because I was always writing from my heart about my real life. I wasn’t trying to fit into a box or aspiring to gain a certain number of followers. I was just writing about what was going on at the time. Some days I was feeling hopeful; some days I was feeling silly; other days I might have been feeling low or worried about life. What mattered was that I was putting myself out there because in real life, it’s who I am. I always felt that whatever I might have been going through at the time; someone else out there was also going through. Who doesn’t feel better knowing she isn’t going it totally alone out here?

Somewhere along the line I found myself in a strange state of writing paralysis because I couldn’t decide what box to cram myself into. If I write only about spirituality, I might lose my foodies; if I write only about food, I might lose my other followers; if I write about family, they might get mad; if I write about work, I might upset non-churchy people. I have even gone so far as to believe that my time has passed. I’m fifty four now, maybe the window on my meaningful blogging has closed. You see the dilemma.

I have always felt that when I really need it and I pray hard enough, God will send me pretty unmistakable signs in order to help me find my way. Lately there have been lots of them, including, but not limited to, the “Crush It” book up there.

“Hello reality, thank you for the slap in the face.”

Here is the fact: I don’t fit into a box, nor do you.

Or you.

Or you.

So, I’ve decided to stop being so hard on myself and just be me, which of course means this blog will be reflective of that. I really am not an aspiring cookbook writer. I just love creating pretty food. Hubs and I cater on the side, so sharing recipes is something I genuinely like to do to be helpful. I will continue to do it here, but I’ll be mixing in more of myself as well.

This of course means the occasional angel story, dream interpretation, prayer, complaint, inspirational story or even a silly home video and I can’t guarantee it won’t all happen on the same page sometimes!

PS- Speaking of Altruism: I am holding a #Giveaway on my Instagram page and there is still time to sign up. See that pretty red, enameled, cast-iron skillet (by Lodge). Someone is going to win a brand new one (comes with lid). I will announce the winner on Wednesday, May 16th, via Instagram. I am NOT being paid for this. This is coming from my own pocket because this skillet seriously IS one of my favorite things in the world and I want someone else to have one too. I got this for my Birthday back in March and I use it every day. They are NOT cheap and I know not everyone can afford a cool kitchen thingie like this! So this is me, trying to do something nice for someone else.

If you are interested, just click through the link to my Instagram and find this picture. Click on it and you will find the instructions on how to enter. It’s that simple.

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PSS: (Insert Angel Stuff here. hee hee)

I used to love to sit with my deck of angel cards and pull one as inspiration for each day. So here is today’s card which is perfect for where I am in life right now. I share this here because somewhere out there, someone else needs this message as well. ((hugs))

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Power:   The power of your Creator is within you. It doesn’t matter if you’re facing a situation that seems larger than life or something that is a small hurdle, the angels and God want to help you overcome it all!

The key to finding resolve in so many of life’s circumstances is to stay in the right frame of mind. You have the power of your Creator within you, all of the His greatness brings into focus who He is; faithful, righteous, good, honest and it diminishes the negative problems you are facing.

You have all the power of Divine love it is unlimited allow yourself shine. He is the one who with just his voice spoke the world and universe and cosmos into being, yet he is interested in the smallest and most intimate details of your life.


 

Love to all!

Clutter Clearing, causes Spirit Cheering.

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If you’ve been around my blog for any length of time you already know that I’m a foodie in every sense of the word. My parents think I am crazy. My father often remarks that Charlie and I are obsessed with food. (It’s true. We ARE! We are not ashamed!) It’s the first thing we talk about in the morning and the last thing we talk about at night. Our most frequent outings involve seeking out new markets and grocery stores and the most watched channel in our home is of course, The Food Network.

One of the Blessings in our life is being able to creat the Fellowship meal for Crescent Hill Baptist Church once per week. (Having grown up Catholic, I seriously think our religion missed out by not adopting this practice.) I love the fact that once per week, the people of this church meet together to share a meal and fellowship. They probably don’t stop a lot to realize this, but it’s a beautiful practice and I love witnessing it. This Wednesday we’ll return to the kitchen after having had the month of July off and we are ready! In fact, only a select few of them will know it, but we are DOUBLE ready!

Bear in mind that a church, is a church, is a church. Think about the times you have cleaned your home and have found items that you feel still have life and that someone could use? Where do you think about taking them? The church? Yup. Speaking for “THE CHURCH”; it’s always appreciated, but it can get overwhelming. (Example: Once upon a time we had a bunch of last generation Big box big screen TV’s taking up HUGE space in the basement. They still worked! WHO could fit one into a tiny apartment or afford to have it moved?)

And the church kitchen? It’s just about impossible to keep the refrigerators and freezers free of random packaged items that people drop off, afraid to throw away, certain that someone out there can use it. Our cabinets have been stuffed to overflowing with donated plastic containers, cutlery, napkins, etc. for as long as I have been there. We share the space with a school and since the first day I started cooking there, almost seven years ago, I’ve always wanted to go through and organize and clean every single cabinet. I had to wait, however, until it didn’t seem too presumptuous. (LOL!) This past Friday, six+ years into our catering, I finally decided to do it.

Friday Charlie and I cleared our schedules in order to tackle defrosting the Industrial freezer, cleaning out the refrigerator and clearing out about ten years worth of “stuff” from four very large, sprawling cabinets. Both of us worked the entire day, yet we couldn’t finish it all. Monday I went right back in there and tackled the rest and I still didn’t get 100% finished.

Oh, but what we have accomplished makes my heart sing with glee. The entire feeling of the kitchen has changed. I was so grateful when a co-worker walked in and said, “You can literally FEEL the difference in here.” It’s absolutely true!

I am a huge advocate for clearing the energy of a space simply by eliminating clutter and giving it a good old fashioned cleaning. Do you ever feel restless, irritated, or uncomfortable in your home, office, car, or in any other space? Chances are good that you’re existing within trapped energy. You may in fact be tapping into stagnant or even blocked energy, which can have an adverse affect on your spirit. (The church kitchen definitely felt stagnant to me before we cleaned and organized.)

I recently heard the greatest quote from a friend who said, “Turns out, we’re all a little like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown.” We were discussing energy and how even though we don’t see it with the naked eye; we’re constantly walking around in a cloud of particles and we’re unconsciously leaving bits and pieces wherever we may go! Think about the last time you walked into a room just after something negative had happened? You felt it, right? The same goes for starting out in a bad mood and running into someone or something that instantly lightens your spirit. We feel things long before and after we ever say a word.

Now imagine a place like the kitchen I just cleaned. Every nook and cranny had some form of something that was placed there by who knows who? Each little baggie or piece of plastic ware or roll of paper towels arrived already laden with energy. Then it was shoved into a cabinet where it co-mingled with a plethora of other things. Every time a new person used the kitchen or passed through, even more stagnant energy piled up on top. Sounds pretty gross, doesn’t it? (Go on admit it, you’re in the mood to get up and clean house now, aren’t you? ha ha.)

The entire point of my writing this out is to illustrate that if you are experiencing any type of blockage of spirit; an easy and free remedy is right in front of you: Clear your corners! (Translation: clean and organize your space!) When I am at home, I like to burn white sage throughout the house and as an exclamation point, I pull out the Holy water to Bless every room.

Go on. Give it a try.  You can thank me later.

Love,

Bobbe

 


Dearest Lord,

Thank you for the Blessing of reflection. So often lately I am presented with opportunities for growth and learning. I find myself looking back in time fully able to see where I have come from and how I have grown and changed. I strive every day to work for you whether it be ministering to others or simply to get on my knees and clean a cabinet.

Thank you for all of the beautiful people I share this Universe with, especially my family, friends, and the multitude of strangers I encounter, who stir something in my heart.  I know the stirring of my heart is your hand upon on my soul. I love you. Thank you. 

Amen.


“Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40

 

Confessions of a Spiritual Foodie.

I have a confession to make.

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I have a confession to make. As much as I adore cooking and sharing my recipes, there is something I adore sharing more and that’s who I am on the inside. Every time I come to this blog and post a recipe, I am pleased, but I have a secret sense of guilt because I’m not doing what I truly want to do. I go away asking myself what I really want to say and then I end up talking to God about it every morning on my drive to work. Quite a while ago I put a filter on myself for a stupid reason.

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I became worried that if I wrote about who I truly am on the inside, I might offend someone. How stupid is that?

This morning on my drive to work, I had a profound sense of knowing that it’s time to take off that ridiculous filter.  Undoubtedly this is coming as a result of a thousand and one walks around the Sanctuary where I work, talking to God and trying to be silent enough to hear what is said to me.

For the past four weeks I’ve been working hard on my self image and that includes being on a very strict keto diet. I joined a secret group of good friends who are also doing the keto way of life and with discipline and their support, I’m starting to feel a little more like myself each week. Yeah. It might surprise a lot of people to know that I’ve not been happy with myself for years. I am finally weary enough of saying, “I used to “insert whatever thing of the past I no longer am, no longer look like, or no longer do“.

It’s over.

The question, “What have you got to offer the world” comes to my heart a lot. The answer is always the same. I can lead almost anyone to a greater sense of spirituality and faith in God. So what am I doing turning this blog into an exclusively FOOD blog when I have so much more to offer the world?

At my workplace, which happens to be a Baptist Church (I am a practicing Catholic), the most frequent phrase I hear from members of the church is, “I have no idea how you do all that you do.” I usually smile and say, “me either”, but the truth is that I know perfectly well how I do what I do. My strength comes from my unwavering faith and constant communication with God. Period. (Don’t start unsubscribing yet. I am still going to post recipes!)

I can’t recall there ever being a time in my life when I didn’t have a lifeline connected to the Holy Spirit. I used to share this part of my life openly. The reason I did so was because it helped cement things in my heart and the bonus prize was that others would read and relate to it. Although it seems foreign to me, there are tons of people out there who are reluctant to share what’s going on in their hearts. Sometimes through sharing what’s in mine, the by-product is that it gives others courage and validation to really look at what’s taking place in their own.

Today my heart is calling upon me to post this blog. It’s been sitting in my drafts folder for over a month waiting for me to make my move.

Before I do here is my prayer for today:

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my unwavering trust in You. It is amazing to me that the You would take time to listen to me and to care about what I say, but time and time again it’s been proven to me that it’s true. I ask that through my sharing, others may experience Your profound love, support and guidance, just as I do on a daily basis. Help us all to see with open eyes and to feel with understanding hearts, that You are a living presence among us and that we are to turn to You for guidance when needed. 

Thank you for all of Your Blessings, especially the ones we don’t readily recognize or understand.

Amen


Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

 

 

 

Hot Brown Casserole ala Bahbah (That’s Me!)

Here in Louisville, Kentucky, it’s Kentucky Derby week. Hubs and I are catering a Derby party next weekend, so last night we tested and perfected one of my new favorite dishes, The Hot Brown Casserole.

For those who are not from here, The Kentucky Hot Brown is a famous dish born long ago at Louisville’s historical “Brown Hotel”. (Google it, if you are interested.)

I confess that I have not been a fan of this dish in the past. I think when it was originally made by it’s Chef creator, it was probably delicious. Every rendition I have ever had, however, has left me feeling like something was missing or “watered down”. For this dish to be truly great, one really needs not to skimp on or take short cuts on the ingredients. This means taking the time to grate your own cheese, bake a fresh turkey breast (or a whole bird if you wish), seek out the best thick bread slices and seasonings!

Hot Brown Casserole ala Bahbah

Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices thick bread, toasted (I used Texas toast)
  • 2 lbs turkey thinly sliced
  • 8 slices bacon crumbled (I used Wilson’s thick cut BBQ)
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1/4 cup butter (real full fat butter!)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Lots of freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (I used Bourbon smoked)
  • 1 1/2 cup freshly diced tomato
  • 2 teaspoons freshly minced parsley

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, whisk in flour and let the flour cook about two minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in milk and cream. Stir 6-8 minutes until it lightly boils and becomes thick. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, beat the egg then whisk in 1/2 cup to 1 cup of sauce. Return to pan whisking constantly. Add in 1/2 the cheese, salt and pepper and keep whisking until incorporated. Add in 1/2 the remaining cheese & repeat. Return to the heat, but Do NOT BOIL. IMPORTANT: Taste this until you get the desired cheesiness /creaminess. Also, If it gets too thick, add more cream, but remember to season again if you do. Remove from heat.

Grease a 9 x 13″ casserole dish. I pre-slice the toast on the diagonal, then arrange it in the bottom of the pan. Layer the turkey slices over the toast, sprinkle some of the tomatoes and the bacon over the turkey, salt and pepper, add the sauce all over. Sprinkle with Paprika, bacon crumbles and the remaining cheese.

Bake 20-25 minutes uncovered.

Top with freshly chopped tomatoes and parsley.

Enjoy!

Zucchini Roll-ups ~ Lasagna-style!

If you liked my Chicken Alfredo Zucchini Roll-ups, you will love these zucchini lasagna roll-ups!

Whenever I make meatballs, I always seem to make enough sauce for an army of people. Since it’s just Charlie and I (and I hate left-overs), that’s not a great thing. Because I loved the Chicken Alfredo Zucchini Roll-ups  I made a few weeks ago, I decided to make up some zucchini lasagna roll-ups using the additional sauce. I did look around Pinterest for recipes but in the end, I made up my own.

These little things are really tasty and you will not miss the pasta. However, be warned, they are a little bit of a pain in the butt to put together. This time I ended up doing them “assembly line style”, which meant I figured out how many I would need to fill a row (four for my little dish). I then laid my zucchini out across the counter top so I would be making four roll-ups at a time. It shaved off some time and made it easier to get them into the baking dish. Try it.

First make the zoodles and yes, if you follow my blog you’ve seen this photo before. I didn’t feel like taking a new one since a zoodle is a zoodle is a zoodle. They always look like this.

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Here are two of them before I spread the mixture out across the zoodles. I did four of these at a time.

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Here is what they looked like in the pan. The red flecks you see are sauteed red peppers I had leftover in the refrigerator. They were an after thought because I wanted the dish to look prettier. I did NOT include the peppers in the recipe below, but if you want to, feel free.

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At this point, I just filled in the empty spots with more sauce.

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Then the last step is the cheese. What you see here is just a thin layer. I wasn’t sure how much cheese I wanted at this point, so I baked it with a little bit, then I took it out and added more. (You don’t have to do what I did. I am a freak. I own this.)

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Poof. When it comes out of the oven, it smells spectacular and it looks like this:

And THEN, it looks like this:

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Ingredients:
5-6 medium zucchini
1 (15 oz.) can artichoke quarters, drained and chopped
10 oz. fresh spinach, sautéed. (Frozen works well too. Thaw and drain it.)
3-4 cups prepared marinara sauce
3 cups ricotta cheese
1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
1 Teaspoon pepper (or to your taste)
½ Teaspoon salt (or to your taste)

Directions:
Preheat Oven to 375
Using a vegetable peeler, create the zucchini ribbons. (You can use a mandolin set on “thin”, but the peeler really works best for me.)

Drain and chop the artichokes and the sautéed spinach. Place both into a clean dish towel, twist tightly and smash out as much liquid as is humanly possible.

Mix together the ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, 2 cups Mozzarella, 1 ½ cups of marinara sauce, eggs, and seasonings. Add the artichokes and spinach to the bowl and mix again. IF it is too wet, add a little bit more Parmesan & Mozzarella.

Spread about ¼” of sauce into your baking dish. Keep in mind that you will need this much sauce to support the roll ups vertically.

On a clean surface, lay 2-3 pieces of zucchini down slightly overlapping each other. I made mine to be about 2 & ½ inches across, so depending on the size of the zoodle, I either used two or three slices. Spoon & spread a thin layer of the ricotta mixture over the slices. Roll up tightly and place vertically in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining zucchini.

Top with the remaining sauce and cheese.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is brown and bubbly.

NOTE: I had leftover sauteed red peppers and onions in my fridge, so I cut up some of the peppers and stuffed them into the tops of the rolls to make them look pretty. You do not have to be as crazy as I am OR you can make these rolls your own and add whatever else you like to them. They are very forgiving!

PS-If you like my recipes, I would love for you to please subscribe to my blog. Thank you in advance!

Chicken Charlie Alfredo w/ Bacon & Sun-dried Tomatoes!

The recipe has ruined me for all other Alfredo dishes!

Okay people prepare to be dazzled. Prepare to have your spouses and your family and friends drop to their knees and bow their heads in your presence. This dish delivers everything but dollar bills from your Grandma’s purse. I promise!

By the way. Meet Charlie Alfredo. He really has nothing to do with this recipe. I just like to call him, “Charlie Alfredo” and share this photo whenever possible. (hee hee. HI CHARLIE!)

 

Charlie Tortellini

This recipe starts off in the most delicious way possible! Let’s fry some bacon! Six pieces will definitely do!

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While the bacon is cooking, I grate almost a full cup of Asiago cheese and chop up about 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes. You may wish to add more tomatoes, but they have carbs, so I limited them in my recipe.

Once this bacon has delivered on making your home smell delightful and it’s reached the desired brownness, remove it from the pan and set aside but do NOT do a THING with that bacon grease! You want that!

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Here are my ingredients (bacon, cheese & sun-dried tomatoes) getting ready to be added to the pan. This is prior to my crumbling the bacon. I find if I do this at the last minute, it keeps the bacon crumbles from detouring to my mouth.

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To the grease, add in a couple of garlic cloves, minced. They will sizzle quickly, so be prepared to add the chicken almost immediately. Prior to cooking this chicken, you will want to rinse it and pat it dry, then season liberally with Salt and pepper and I also used Trader Joe’s “21 Season Salute” (I adore that stuff!), but you don’t have to. Here you are just aiming to brown the chicken on both sides. No need to try to cook it through. This takes about 2 or 3 minutes on each side. When it’s brown, remove it and set it aside.

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When the chicken is removed from the pan, add in 1/2 cup of chicken stock and with a wooden spoon or whisk, scrape up all the lovely bits of flavor. Here is where I cheated and used store-bought Alfredo sauce rather than make my own. Hey. This is a week night dish. Cutting corners is totally acceptable except for one thing. IF you are keto or low carb, you will want to read the label of your preferred sauce. Most of them have too many carbs for my taste, so I choose to use Rao’s because it doesn’t. (It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it to me.)roas

Whisk continually while you add in the sauce and then keep whisking as you add in the cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and all but one piece of chopped bacon. IF the sauce appears to be too thick, add in some more chicken stock. Bring up to a slow simmer.

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While your chicken is simmering, spiralize three zucchini. I pulled out another large cast iron skillet and sauteed the zoodles in butter, olive oil, salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Just as they were getting tender, I sprinkled in half a cup of Parmesan cheese to give it body.

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Lastly, season again with salt and pepper. Add the chicken back, cover and let simmer for twenty minutes. When you are ready to serve, stir in one Tablespoon of butter (use the real stuff!), sprinkle the remaining bacon and whatever fresh herb you prefer. Here I have added basil and parsley.

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All that’s left is to dish up your zoodles and top it with a piece of chicken and lots of sauce. I don’t add my zoodles to the sauce prior because I feel the zoodles get soggy. By all means, do what you like to do here. This would be delicious over Alfredo noodles, too.

Bonus: If you eat bread, a nice, crusty piece of garlic bread would be wonderful!


Chicken Charlie Alfredo with Bacon & Sun-dried Tomatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 pieces of bacon, crumbled
1 15oz jar of Rao’s Alfredo Sauce
¾ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (more if you don’t care about carbs)
1 cup chicken stock (possibly more if your sauce is too thick)
1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
½ teaspoon salt (Asiago cheese is very salty)
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped Basil
1 Tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
1 Tablespoons butter

Optional: If you have it, you can add additional seasoning your chicken with Trader Joe’s “21 Season Salute”, but it’s not necessary.

For the zoodles:
3 medium zucchini spiralized
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Teaspoon granulated garlic
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions:

Prepare the chicken by rinsing, patting dry and seasoning both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Assemble the ingredients: grate the Asiago cheese, chop the sun-dried tomatoes, chop the garlic, chop the herbs and then set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet set to medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy, then remove and set aside. Quickly stir in the chopped garlic letting it sizzle only for about 30 seconds, then add in the chicken.

Cook until browned on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side). No need to cook the chicken all the way through at this step. Brown it and remove it from the pan. Do NOT drain the bacon fat.

Deglaze the pan by whisking in ½ cup of chicken stock making certain to pick up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the jar of Alfredo Sauce, then whisk in the cheese, tomatoes and all but one piece of the crumbled bacon. Bring up to a simmer and then add the chicken back to the pan making sure to coat both sides. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked through, just prior to service, stir in 1 tablespoon butter and the fresh herbs and then top it with the remaining bacon.

Serve over zoodles or pasta or alone with a side of lovely Asparagus!