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!

 

 

 

Keto Zoodle Pie Redux, only Different.

Yes, I know there I have posted similar recipes. This is the best one of them all.

Most often, the best recipes come from trying to make use of vegetables before they go bad in my refrigerator. This weekend I realized I had three zucchini just sitting there, so one morning I decided they had to be used. What’s easier than zoodle pie, right? (I’m being sarcastic. I know some of you are going, “EXCUSE ME. She thinks everything is easy!” This really is. I promise.)

First thing in any recipe is to assemble the ingredients.  For this recipe, however,  time is needed for the zoodles to sweat out excess water, so the first thing I did was use my handheld vegetable spiralizer to turn the three zukes into long spirals. After this, I laid them out on paper towels and sprinkled a little bit of salt through them. I did the same thing with the tomatoes.

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The longer you let them sit, the more moisture is released. I let these sit there the entire time I was caramelizing one large onion. I think it was about thirty five minutes. The red fleck you see is one eeensy beeensy red pepper I found in my garden. I just added it for a little color. As you can see I’ve got plenty of seasoning in the pan: Italian seasoning, salt & pepper, dried basil, and Trader Joe’s “21 Season Salute”.

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After the onions have cooked, I set them aside to cool. At this point, I blotted the zoodles with a paper towel, then wrapped them (one third at a time) in a clean dish towel. Over the sink, get your frustrations out by squeezing the heck out of them to get rid of the excess moisture. Some people do the same with the tomatoes but I have never had an issue with them.

Here I’ve just laid them out and mixed them with the tomatoes and the cheese. The onions were still cooling. Also, I used kitchen shears to cut the zoodles into more manageable lengths. Zucchini spirals can be two to three feet long; cut them to about the size of spaghetti or even a little longer. This pie works because the zoodles add a really unexpected texture. If you cut the noodles too short, you won’t get the full effect.

By the way, the short white strips you see below are cheese. I used Trader Joe’s blend of shaved Gruyere and Swiss.

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I was impatient so I added this mixture to my pan (pre-sprayed with pan release) before I mixed in the onions. It didn’t make a huge difference. In the photo below you can see all of the ingredients incorporated. I think it looks so pretty!

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Next I poured in the egg mixture. (7 eggs and one half cup of full fat cream). After the eggs have gone in, I use a fork to make sure it’s fully incorporated. Also, gently wrap the pan on the counter top to bring up any bubbles. Once I’m satisfied that everything is fully incorporated, I grated some Asiago cheese over the top.

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This goes into a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. As you will see in the photo, I stayed outside in the garden just a little bit longer than I should have. This is a little bit browner than I’d have liked, but it was still delicious!

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We let this sit on the counter for a couple of hours while we played at the pool. I ate the first slice cold, topped with sour cream, chives and hot sauce. I could have eaten the entire pie.

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This recipe would be great for brunch or a light summer supper. Pair it with fresh veggies or a summer salad! It’s also wonderful for a quick, healthy snack. Hubs and I are doing the keto lifestyle, so I often add half of an avocado as my side dish!

If you make this, please let me know what you thought!


Ingredients:
7 eggs
½ c. full fat cream
3 medium zucchini, spiralized
1 large onion thinly sliced
18-20 cherry tomatoes sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp butter (full fat! Do NOT use margarine, its poison)
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 ½ tsp. pepper
½ salt
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp Trader Joe’s 21 Season Salute
1 Tbsp Asiago Cheese (finely grated)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Lightly grease the bottom & sides of a 9 x 14” Pie Plate

  1. Using a skillet, over medium heat, caramelize the onions in 2 Tbsp. olive oil & 2 Tbsp. butter. Season with a little salt and pepper, plus half of the other dry seasonings. When caramelizing the onions, it’s important to let them go low and slow. Don’t bother them constantly. Turn them once or twice (to coat) when they first get in the pan, then let them sit for ten minutes before turning again. Repeat until desired color & consistency.
  2. While the onions are going, place the zucchini spirals on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Slice the tomatoes in half and place them cut side down on a paper towel that has been sprinkled with salt.
  3. Whisk the eggs and cream together until smooth. Set aside.
  4. When the onions are ready, remove from heat and set aside to cool. Then pat the zucchini dry with a paper towel. Place one third of the zucchini into a clean dish towel and squeeze out the excess water. Repeat with the remaining zoodles.
  5. Combine zucchini, onions, cheese and most of the tomatoes into a bowl. I always add more seasoning at this point. Stir well.
  6. Place it all into the pie pan and then pour in the egg and cream mixture. Using a fork, swirl everything around a little in order to ensure that everything is mixed together. Gently wrap the entire pan on the counter to release bubbles and evenly distribute the eggs.
  7. Top with finely grated Asiago cheese.
  8. Bake 35 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

KETO PEOPLE! Here are your numbers:
1 serving is approximately 1/8th of the pie
4 net carbs
9 grams fat
5 grams protein

 

 

Faux Cheesy Grits Casserole (Keto)

Sometimes the best recipes are born by re-purposing left-overs. This is one of them!

One of the first Keto things I attempted to make was cheesy cauliflower casserole. What is easier, really, than coating cauliflower in a beautiful cheese sauce and baking it in the oven, right? Here it is ready to hit the oven.

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Here it is after having been baked. I’ll be honest, it was good, but it just didn’t hit the spot for me. I’m a bit of a texture weirdo and I really wasn’t into the fact that the cauliflower felt watery while at the same time the delicious cheese sauce was creamy. (Next time, I plan on roasting the florets in the oven prior to adding the cheese sauce and baking. I feel certain this will handle the texture issue for my taste.)

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This casserole was entirely too big for just Charlie and I so we put it back in the fridge until the following morning. In the back of my mind, I was almost certain I’d be throwing it out, because I tend not to like left overs and let’s face it, cauliflower in any form isn’t something one dreams about eating again and again.

That is, until I woke up the next morning wishing I could have a bowl of grits for breakfast. (Don’t make a face. I grew up eating grits for breakfast and I still love them!) Grits are not allowed in the Keto plan so I decided to improvise with the left over cauliflower. (After all, if I failed I’d have a real good excuse to throw it all out!)

It was so simple, it’s almost embarrassing to report. All I did was dump the entire left over casserole into a blender with a little more cheese and two eggs. I also added some smokey Paprika and salt and pepper. Then I poured it into a pretty little casserole dish, topped it with more colorful Paprika and baked it at 350 for thirty minutes.

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Pay no attention to the circles. I was being cute with cutting out cheese circles and it didn’t work AT ALL. It just turned out looking weird. I should have layered them all over. Not to worry, it didn’t affect the taste even a little bit!

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I served mine over zucchini fritters and added hot sauce to the top because I love it. This is something I start to crave just by looking at this photo. Seriously, this is good and if you are having a big Easter function, it would be a great addition to the menu!

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Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. REAL butter
½ cup cream cheese
¾ cup grated cheddar or whatever cheese you like (& more if you want to top the casserole with it.)
Salt & pepper to taste
1-2 Tbsp. water or more cream if you need to thin it down
2 eggs
1-2 tsp. smoked paprika (save half for sprinkling on top)
½ tsp garlic powder

Optional seasonings:
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp paprika
2-4 Tbsp. freshly chopped herbs (your favorite)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Place the cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl, cover, and cook about 3-5 minutes, until fork tender.
Place cooked cauliflower into a clean towel and squeeze out excess moisture. Set aside.

Place the butter and ¼ cup cream into a small saucepan and heat up gently to combine. Add the cream cheese and stir until combined.
When the sauce begins to bubble, remove from the heat and whisk in the cheddar cheese. Add seasonings. Stir until creamy.

Let cool a few minutes. (This is because you are going to add eggs to this mix and you don’t want to scramble them.) If you prefer to temper them over allowing everything to cool first, that’s fine too.

Place cooked cauliflower, eggs, ¼ cup of cream, sauce and whatever seasonings you prefer into a food processor (or blender). Pulse until you reach desired consistency. Grits are tiny specks about the size of pin heads. I took mine all the way down to this size but if you prefer yours larger, by all means do what makes you happy!

Pour into a casserole dish, sprinkle with seasonings, (add extra cheese if that’s what you like) and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.