Low Carb Chicken Divan

Low Carb Chicken Divan

 

In the middle of all the craziness of the last few months, I was asked to write an article for a Low Carb Magazine and share a recipe with their readers.  I was very honored and more than a bit intimidated, but since cheese is naturally low carb and since I have stacks and stacks of cheese recipes, I decided to do it.  As I was sorting through my recipes I realized that I love carbs. I really love carbs. My recipes have a lot of carbs! Did I mention that I am prediabetic and should watch my carbs?  Writing the article was convicting.

Things have been a bit crazy starting in September with lots of little things going on. We remodeling the room over the garage.  Elizabeth (my blogging cohort) left to focus on her own business.  My daughter got married.  Our new creamery opened.  Little things like that. Okay, those aren’t little, those are big!  Then the holidays hit so my one month break from blogging stretched into four months.

I missed this so much.  Testing and tasting and sharing are so gratifying.  Writing the article reminded me of why I love sharing.  I’m really happy to be back and I have a bunch of new ideas for recipes that I think you will love!

Because of the article and my pangs of guilt, I was inspired to share a low carb recipe today.  It may be the only one and I will go back to eating lots of carbs, but I’m still basking in the enthusiasm of my New Year’s resolution to eat healthier.  Recipes like this make eating healthy a whole lot easier.

Chicken Divan

Prep the ingredients:

First, cook some chicken and cut it into bite size chunks.  I used boneless, skinless chicken breast, but chicken thighs would be good too.

Cut up chicken

Steam some broccoli.  It will cook more later so don’t overcook it!

Steamed broccoli

Put the broccoli and chicken in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Chicken and broccoli

Make the Bechamel:

Bechamel sounds so much richer than cream sauce, doesn’t it?  Start by melting some butter in a skillet.Melted Butter

Once the butter is completely melted and most of the water is cooked out*, add the flour.  Yes, I said this is a low carb recipe, not no carb.  Please forgive me, I’m doing my best.

*Most butter in the US contains 15-17% percent water, generic brands have the most.    European butter has significantly less.

Cook the flour and butter until the raw flour taste is cooked out.  It only takes a couple of minutes, but it makes a world of difference in the flavor.

Roux

Stir in some half and half.  You can use lowfat milk if you want, I won’t stop you.

Add half and half to the roux

Cook, stirring continually, until the bechamel starts to thicken.  Add the Maasdammer a little bit at a time.  Maasdammer is in the Swiss family and has a lovely flavor that is creamy and sweet, making it perfect for a sauce.

Maasdammer

Grate on a little bit of fresh nutmeg.  This is optional, but highly recommended.

Nutmeg

Put it all together:

Add the sauce to the chicken and broccoli.

Cheese sauce

Mix together.  Doesn’t that look luscious!

Chicken Divan

Grate some Parmesan.  The Parmesan adds a sharp nutty flavor to the divan.

Grated Parmesan

Spread the chicken and broccoli mixture into an oven proof casserole dish and sprinkle Parmesan over the top.

Parmesan

Make that LOTS of Parmesan.

Chicken Divan

Bake until bubbly and golden brown.  Enjoy!

Low Carb Chicken Divan

For your convenience, here’s a printable version.

 

Bacon and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast

On the farm, we tend to make due with whatever we have.  Things are often held up with bailing twine, and that includes a baggy pair of jeans.  When I started doing farm chores, one thing that we were making due with was the lack of brakes on the tractor.  In order to stop, you had to release the scraper blade that was attached to the back of the tractor.  The blade would slam down onto the ground and drag the tractor to a stop. This method worked fine for me because I was painfully slow at driving a tractor. I never got much momentum going so stopping was pretty easy. More often than not, I would stop short of where I wanted to be and had to back up and try again.

After I was too pregnant to comfortably sit on a tractor seat, John and Rich hired a young man to take over for me.  Within a week, they had the tractor in the shop, getting the brakes fixed.  I still wonder about the timing on that. Was a compliment for my excellent tractor driving skill or an acknowledgement of my lack of ability to work at a speed worth worrying about? John pretends that he doesn’t remember, then avoids eye contact. I take that as a positive sign.

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Bacon and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 4 ounces Appel Farms Feta
  • 4 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine feta, bacon, and garlic.  Make a pocket in the chicken breast by holding the chicken flat with the palm of one hand, then make an incision in the thicker side of each breast.  Carefully rotate the knife to create a deep pocket, keeping the side of the chicken breast intact.   Stuff the feta mixture into the pockets, dividing evenly.  Secure opening with a toothpick if needed.

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and oregano.  Place the chicken breasts in a 9×13 baking dish.  Brush olive oil mixture over chicken breasts.

Bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes.

Bacon and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast

Chicken Parmesan with Zoodles

One of the staple cheeses that we have always kept around the house is Parmesan.  Our family loves parmesan!  I’m not talking about that fake stuff in the green can either, I’m talking about handmade artisan cheese.  I was so excited when John decided to start making parmesan.  It was torture waiting the minimum nine months for it to age.   It’s also a bit scary to make a cheese and not know if it’s any good until nine months later.

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I have now thoroughly sampled the Parmesan and can attest that it is wonderful.  But don’t take my word for it, come on in to the Cheese Shop and try it for yourself.

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Chicken Parmesan

Sauce

  • 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. When the oil gets hazy, add the onions, garlic, and bay leaves; cook and stir for 5 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add the basil and crushed tomatoes, cook and stir until the liquid is cooked down and the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes; season with sugar, salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and keep warm.

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Chicken

  • 4 slices chicken breast or cutlets
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs, Italian style
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup Appel Farm Parmesan, finely grated
  • Zucchini Noodles or spaghetti pasta, cooked al dente

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Lay out three pie pans or shallow dishes.  Put the flour in the first pie pan and season with salt and pepper.  Combine the eggs and water, beat until frothy. Place the egg mixture in the second pie pan.  Mix 1/4 cup of parmesan and the bread crumbs in the third pie pan.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high flame. Lightly dredge both sides of the chicken in the seasoned flour, and then dip them in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off, then dredge in the bread crumbs. When the oil is nice and hot, add the chicken and fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden and crusty, turning once.

Ladle the tomato-olive sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with mozzarella and the rest of the Parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve hot with sautéed zoodles or spaghetti.

Zoodles

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In order to make zoodles, you will need a mandolin. I don’t know of any other way to cut the zucchini small enough.  We love zoodles, which are quickly sauteed with light seasoning.  Keep in mind that the zucchini are very moist and can get soggy if overcooked.

 

 

 

Yogurt Gravy

One thing that is tricky when cooking with yogurt is sauces.  Yogurt adds a rich, luscious tang but can be frustrating if not added properly.  Yogurt will separate if heated too quickly or at too high a temperature so proper tempering is essential.  My favorite sauce is a yogurt gravy that I serve with roast chicken and mashed potatoes.

Creamy Yogurt Gravy

  • 2 tablespoons pan drippings
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 cup Appel Farms yogurt at room temperature (or substitute plain greek yogurt)

Put 2 tablespoons drippings in a small saucepan. Stir in the flour. cook, stirring until golden.  Add water and bouillon cube.  Cook until thickened.  Remove from heat.  Spoon 1/3 of the roux into the yogurt and whisk.  Pour the mixture into the pan and heat to serving temperature.

Lemon Roast Chicken

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 roasting chicken
  • 1 stalk celery, cut in 2 inch pieces
  • 1 small lemon wedge
  • 1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a small bowl, beat oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oregano.  Brush entire chicken including cavety with the lemon marinade.  Place celery and lemon wedge in cavity.  Place chicken in a shallow baking pan.  Pour water into pan.  Roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, baste chicken occasionally with pan drippings.  Chicken will be done when the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 165 degrees F.  Serve with Creamy Gravy.
Recipe from Yogurt Cookery (another favorite book) published 1978 by Sophie Kay