Just Wow -One Skillet- Creamy Lemon-Garlic Chicken Over Zoodles

Budget friendly, beautiful & delicious; make this dish your weeknight wonder and wow your family!

I say it all of the time but it bears repeating: most often the best recipes are born out of necessity. I knew I had too much zucchini sitting in the refrigerator; I knew I wanted to make something very low carbohydrate; and I knew I wanted to make chicken. Charlie and I both are citrus and garlic lovers, so this dish was almost a no-brainer, except for the sauce. We are both attempting to limit carbs, so I needed to improvise the sauce in order not to have to use flour for a roux.

First order of business was to assemble my ingredients.

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If the photo below looks familiar, it’s because I’ve used it before. I didn’t photograph the zucchini last night (whoops). This is how we like to make our zoodles. To me, the texture is better than spiralizing. If you like spiralized zucchini, by all means do that. Prepare the zucchini and then set aside for cooking later.

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I like a mixture of olive and avocado oil, so this is what I put in my pan. (I also add about a Tbsp. of butter if I’m being honest.) I prepared the chicken with my favorite new seasoning from Trader Joe’s. By all means go get this if you haven’t tried it! If you don’t have this on hand, just use salt and pepper (or whatever you really like using.)

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The chicken only stays in the pan for about 3 minutes each side. You are not trying to cook it through in this step. You only want to brown it. When it’s a nice color on each side, remove it to another plate. Add a little bit of butter to the pan, then the diced shallots. Cook the shallots for a minute or two, then add the broth mixture. Bring this to a simmer and then go watch TV (or drink wine) for about 10-12 minutes while it reduces.

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As you can see by the video (below), my sauce is a funny looking color. This is because I used organic bone broth. (It’s what I had on hand.) By all means use what you have on hand. If you prefer chicken broth or vegetable broth, that will work as well.

Once the sauce has reduced, the next step is fairly easy. Remove the pan from heat, whisk in 1 Tbsp of butter until it melts, then whisk in the cream until it’s incorporated. Put the pan back on the heat for about 2 minutes to allow it to heat through, then add the chicken back to it.  I have no idea why it didn’t occur to me to photograph this step, but oh well. After this, stir in the capers and then the whole pan goes into the oven for about 5 – 10 minutes to cook through.

While this is happening, saute the zucchini noodles. (This is what it looks like.)

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To the zoodles, I added another one of my current favorite spices: Cilantro lime seasoning blend. I also added the zest of two lemons.

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Once the zoodles are the consistency of egg noodles, I take them off the heat. Then pull the chicken out of the oven, stir in the chopped herbs and plate it up. I garnished with fresh lemons.

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BTW: If you are not a fan of zoodles, this chicken dish stands on it’s own. You could serve it alongside some freshly steamed broccoli or asparagus would be lovely as well! Any type of pasta would work, too!

PS- If you are counting carbs, the chicken and the sauce come to about 4.3 g net carbs, 16 g fat & 33 g protein; one serving of the zoodles is about 4 g net carbs.

I guestimate the calorie count of just the chicken and sauce is around 305 per serving.

 


JUST WOW, Creamy Lemon Garlic Chicken (over zoodles)

Ingredients: (Yields 4 servings)

4 chicken breasts. (I saved time by buying mine already thinly sliced)

2.5 c. bone broth

1/3 c. Cream

2 Tbsp lemon juice

Zest of 2 lemons

1/2 tea. Red pepper flakes (optional)

3 garlic cloves smashed then chopped

1/2 c. Chopped parsley (any freshly chopped herb would work well.)

1 shallot finely minced

2 Tbsp. Butter

3 Tbsp. Olive oil

4 zucchini, (transformed into noodles using a vegetable peeler)

S & P

1-2 Tbsp. Seasonings to taste (see above for what I used.)


Directions 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1. Create the zucchini noodles using a vegetable peeler (use a spiralizer if you like that texture better.) Set aside.

2. Zest the lemons and set the zest aside for later. Then slice the lemons and squeeze the juice into a strainer to catch the seeds & pulp. Into a larger measuring cup or bowl, add two cups of broth, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, red pepper flakes and garlic. Stir and set aside.

3. Pound your chicken breasts to the same thickness. Mine were 1/2″ thick. Season with salt and pepper. (I also used a good amount Trader Joe’s: “21 Seasoning Salute”-use what you like)

4. Over medium high heat, sauté the chicken in olive oil, about 2 -3 minutes per side. No need to cook all the way through, as it will be going into the oven later. You are just looking for good color on both sides. Remove to a plate. Reduce heat to medium.

5. Put 1 Tbsp. Butter into the hot pan, swirl around, then add the shallots. Cook about 2 minutes, then add the broth mixture. Bring up to a simmer. Let it reduce to about a half cup. (Took about 12 minutes)

6. When the sauce has reduced, remove from the heat, whisk in 1 Tbsp. Butter, then whisk in the cream until it’s fully incorporated. Return to heat for about a minute or two to reheat. Stir in the capers if you are using them. (Do NOT allow the sauce to boil.) Add the chicken back to the pan; turning it in the sauce to coat both sides; then put it into the oven for 5-10 minutes.

7. In a separate skillet, over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp. Olive oil, 1/3 c. Broth, zoodles, lemon zest and seasonings. Toss in the oil and broth until fairly wilted. (I hate soggy zoodles, so watch this carefully. It only takes about 3 minutes.) Season with salt and pepper and 3/4th of the lemon zest.

8. Once the chicken is finished, stir in the chopped parsley (basil would be great in this). Here you can plate the noodles and the put the chicken and sauce on top OR you can remove the chicken from the pan, toss the noodles in the sauce and then add the chicken back. I tend not to toss the noodles in the sauce because it can make the zoodles mushy.

9. Garnish with fresh lemon, more parsley and the last bit of lemon zest.

The Easiest Shrimp/Seafood Scampi Ever!

If ever I want to make my husband flip out with excitement, I announce that I’m making this dish. It’s his favorite and I love to make him happy! Here is how easy it is!

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Classic shrimp scampi doesn’t involve marinating the shrimp, nor does it involve tomatoes or basil, but I’m not making classic shrimp scampi here. This is a little recipe I made up in order to make life a little more simple and believe me, there is nothing more simple than this dish!

I usually start with a pound (or more) of Red Rock shrimp (because we like it best). Red Rock shrimp are brighter in color and have a consistency closer to lobster. We buy this at Trader Joe’s, but if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your area and you can’t find it, by all means just use regular shrimp (peeled and de-veined, of course.)

To a one gallon zip lock bag, I add the shrimp, plus a half cup of olive oil, about about six garlic cloves, minced, fresh cracked pepper and just a pinch of salt. Smoosh it around in the bag so all of the shrimp it coated and then set aside for at least a half hour. I leave it right on the kitchen counter. (Shhhh, it’s fine. I promise. You won’t die.)

Next the pasta pot gets filled with water and salt and brought up to a rolling boil. We like to use angel hair pasta for this recipe because it cooks very quickly (about ten minutes), but you can use whatever pasta you love.  Once I’ve dropped the pasta, I prepare a cast iron skillet with two tablespoons of real butter (never use anything but 100% full fat, real butter!) melting over medium high heat.

When the butter has melted, I pour the contents of the shrimp bag, (olive oil and all), right into the skillet. Using a spatula, I quickly distribute the shrimp so they are in a single layer. Shrimp cook very quickly -literally just a couple of minutes- so it’s important to watch them closely and turn them over as soon as they are becoming pink and opaque.

If this were a regular shrimp scampi recipe, wine would be added early  into this mix, but I am not a fan of cooking with wine, so I ignore this step. Instead I like to pop in some pretty tomatoes right after the shrimp goes in and then fresh basil towards the end. Make sure to continue stirring frequently so the shrimp are not over-cooked.

I said this was seafood scampi, correct? This is because my dear husband, Charlie, likes to sneak off to Trader Joe’s and buy things I would never even consider looking at. For instance; this stuff:

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I would never have even looked at this, let alone purchased it, but it made him happy, so he did. I obliged him by thawing it out and adding it right into the skillet at the same time I put in the shrimp. (No marinade for the seafood.)

See how colorful these shrimp are? In this photo, they are about 95% cooked. I love how they retain their pretty color. Regular shrimp do turn pink but not like this!

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Finally, I take the skillet off the heat and give the dish a stir as I add in the fresh basil. You might notice that there is no photo of this step. This is because I didn’t have a lot of the fresh basil this time. Oh and by the way, your tomatoes might not smile like mine. I’m magic. You’re probably not magic. ♥

Once the pasta is finished cooking, it gets tossed in with the garlic sauce and seafood, then plated and sprinkled with a little fresh Parmesan cheese.

Finito!

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Ingredients:

½ cup of olive oil

½ Teaspoon cracked black pepper

¼ Teaspoon salt

2-3 Tablespoons butter

6 garlic cloves, minced

1-2 lbs. Red Rock Shrimp, thawed (peeled & deveined)

1 pkg. Pana Pesca Seafood Mix (Optional. You can sub in any seafood mix you like or don’t do it at all.)

¼ cup fresh basil (torn)

¼ cup Parmesan (finely grated)

10-12 cherry tomatoes (optional & use however many you prefer)

¼ – ½ lb. angel hair pasta

 

Directions:

To a one gallon zip-lock bag add the shrimp, olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper. Smoosh it around making sure the shrimp is coated. Set aside for at least half an hour. I do not refrigerate the shrimp, but you can if you are afraid.

Prepare pasta according to instructions on the box. (Boil water, add salt, and add pasta…yada yada…)

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet set to medium high. When the pan is hot, drop in the contents of the gallon bag. (If you are making seafood scampi-add the additional seafood as well.) Quickly distribute the shrimp so they are in a single layer in the pan. Add the tomatoes. Continue stirring keeping careful watch on the shrimp. They are finished when they are pink and opaque. The whole process takes about 2-3 minutes on each side, but it can happen faster, so watch carefully.

Once the shrimp are just about cooked, I like to add one more tablespoon of butter and the basil, then stir once more and remove from the heat. Add a final pinch of freshly cracked pepper.

Drain the pasta, mix it in with the scampi.

Garnish with grated Parmesan and a little more pretty basil!

Enjoy!

Somewhat Blackened Sword Fish -OOH LA LA!

Every time I make fish at home, I amaze myself. It isn’t because I think I’m a fabulous cook; it’s because I grew up hating all fish. As an adult, I’ve realized I probably hated it because it was never served in our home. (My Mom was afraid of cooking it. ) Sword fish is one of my favorites now. Here is how we prepared it the other night…

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I had assembled this tray (above) with all the pretty vegetables in order to try Delicata Squash for the very first time. Since I wasn’t sure what the squash would taste like (because I’d never made that variety before), I wanted to make something that had a little bit of kick to it.

Ordinarily when we make sword fish, I like to flavor it with cilantro and lime, but since I was in search of “kick”, I opted for a little bit of spice and a little bit of black. Sword fish is very forgiving and almost impossible to screw up!

The first thing I did was melt 3 Tbsp. butter in my little measuring cup. To it, I added some cayenne, some bourbon smoked salt, chili flakes, onion powder, smokey paprika, and garlic. I didn’t measure this, but I will attempt to give you some help.

Let it get all melted and then turn off the heat and let it sit.

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Meanwhile, I’ve had my sword fish filets sitting on the counter for about 20 minutes. I like them a little close (but still cool) to room temperature before I cook them.

Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high. Add 1 Tbsp. REAL butter and 1.5 Tbsp. olive oil. Let it heat to a shimmer and then place in the fillets. Then pour the spiced butter mixture over the top. I had debated on making this totally blackened fish, in which case I would have dipped the fillets in the butter and then coated them on both sides with a dry rub, but I decided on this route instead.

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I let these cook for 5 minutes on each side, then I did the unthinkable: I added MORE butter to the top! You can skip this step if you are afraid. After this, I simply sprinkled more seasoning on each side and poof, this fish is done!

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The finished product!

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Delicious! I should also mention here that if you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, this is a great place to find fish for two. We regularly shop in their frozen fish section because you can buy small portions (usually two fillets per vacuum package) of lots of different fishes. (and no, they did not pay me to say this, it’s just a fact.) We really like the swordfish, salmon, cod and tuna!

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Ingredients:
2 Sword Fish Fillets
4-6 Tbsp. butter (yes, I used that much. You don’t have to if you are sckeeeeeeeerd.)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tea. Smoky paprika
½ tea Cayenne pepper
1 tea. Chili powder
½ tea. Bourbon smoked salt
2 tea. Minced garlic
1 tea. Onion powder
½ tea. Chili flakes

Directions:
Melt 3 Tbsp. butter. Add the spices to it and stir.
Preheat cast iron pan to medium high.
Melt 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil in the pan until shimmery.
Add the fillets.
Pour spiced butter over the top of each fillet.
Cook five minutes each side.
Turn the fish over, sprinkle with a little more seasoning, and cook each side about 2 minutes more. (Optional: add more butter prior to adding more seasoning!)

Delicata Squash & Onions with Tomatoes!

I like to try new things. On a recent trip to Trader Joe’s, I spied a pretty display of different types of squash. My eye kept going to the pretty Delicata Squash and so I picked two of them. Here’s what I did with them.

I have had two delicata squash’ sitting on my counter for the past month (yes, MONTH!). They arrived in my home in much the same way a lot of things do: impulse purchase at Trader Joe’s! Last night I decided I was tired of looking at them, so I did a quick search through some recipes on the Internet to see what to do with them. Nothing appealed to me so I decided to put together my own using ingredients I had on hand.

I have an abundance of fresh herbs in my garden so I picked some thyme and some tarragon. I also had about a quarter of a bag of basil sun-dried tomatoes to get rid of. I hate those things, but my husband loves them, so I indulged him. Next I simply cut the squash in half, cored it and sliced it and then sliced a couple of Spanish onions. (I would have loved to use red onions for their color, but we were out.) Lastly, I threw in the last of a bag of baby Roma tomatoes mostly for color.

Pretty, isn’t it?

If you have never had Delicata squash, it tastes like a cross between butternut, acorn and yellow squash. They told me at the store that it is sweeter, but I found it to be milder. It’s not as dense as acorn and butternut and not as watery as yellow squash. I found it to be a perfect mixture and I love the fact that the skin is so thin, it can be eaten. (No need to peel! Yay!)

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I greased a casserole dish, sprinkled in some of my fresh thyme leaves and a few cloves of garlic and then I put down my slices, alternating between the squash and the onion. Last but not least, I sprinkled on the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and the last of a bag of baby Roma tomatoes.

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Once I was satisfied with how it looked, I melted about 3 Tablespoons of butter and a splash of olive oil along with more thyme leaves and tarragon. I drizzled the mixture over the top of the squash and onions and tomatoes.

I covered it with foil and baked it at 400 degrees for the first 20 minutes, then I uncovered it and baked it 30 minutes more (until it was fork tender.)

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Let me tell you. I am a fan of this squash and this dish. The next time I make it, however, I will come up with some form of sauce to bring it all together. This could have easily been done on a sheet pan with no particular order, but I liked this presentation for the table.

I decided to pair this with blackened sword fish (recipe is coming next ), and roasted green beans and it was delicious.

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Ingredients:
2 small Delicata Squash
2 Onions (use what you like)
10 sprigs (or more) of fresh thyme
10 sprigs (or more) of fresh tarragon
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
4 Tbsp. butter (use REAL butter!)
10 (or more cherry tomatoes) I used baby Roma tomatoes
3 Tbsp. chopped sun-dried tomatoes (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice the squash length-wise. Core and then slice into wedges.
Slice the onions the same size as the squash.
Grease a baking dish. (anyway you like. I used coconut oil spray)
Sprinkle down about ¼ of your fresh herbs.
Crush the garlic and add it to the pan as well.
Put down the squash and onions, alternating between the two.
Add the tomatoes and the sun-dried tomatoes on top.
Melt the butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil with remaining herbs and drizzle all over the top of the vegetables.
Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes.
Uncover and bake 30 minutes more (or until fork tender).

Now say, “Delicata, Delicata, Delicata!” (because it’s fun to say!