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.

 

Parmesan Asparagus with Poached Eggs

Spring is such a lovely time of year.  The moment when the sun breaks through the clouds in a serendipitous shower of light is all it takes to lift spirits after months of rain here.  The flowers are starting to bring bright color to our world and the Bellingham Farmer’s Market just opened with their traditional “tossing of the cabbage.”  I love each season for different reasons and with Spring, it’s the beauty of new growth and the bounty of fresh local produce. The first produce that we seek out in the spring is asparagus.

We gorge ourselves on local asparagus as soon as it’s available.  We heap our plates with tender green spears fresh picked that morning and grilled to a tender crisp on the barbecue.  Seriously, we could live on grilled asparagus.  Add some Parmesan melting on top and a sprinkling of capers and I am in heaven.

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Parmesan Asparagus with Poached Eggs

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup Appel Farms Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons capers
  1. Preheat the oven to the lowest setting.
  2. Wash and trim the asparagus and toss with melted butter.  Place asparagus on a preheated grill.  Grill until cooked but still crunchy (the time will vary depending on the thickness of the asparagus and your grill).  Watch it carefully because they cook fast.  Arrange the asparagus in 4 oven proof dishes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and place in the oven to keep warm.
  3. Fill a wide pot with water 1 inch up the side. Add vinegar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. 
  4. Crack the eggs into the simmering water, leaving plenty of space between them, and poach until the whites are set but the yolks are runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove each egg from the water, blot thoroughly dry with a paper towel and set on the asparagus.
  5. Sprinkle with capers, add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with toast, if desired.

Adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe in Food and Wine Magazine.

Parmesan and Chive Gougeres

I started to make gougères a few days ago because I wanted to share the recipe with you.  Gougères are cheese puffs made using a cooked dough called pate à choux.  They are a big favorite at our house and are very easy to make so I thought you would like them.  As I started the pate à choux, I realized that 1) My son ate all of the parmesan and 2) my chives were limp and sad.  I looked in my fridge and noticed the heavy cream.  Then I looked in my pantry and noticed the dark chocolate.  Pate à choux + heavy cream + dark chocolate can mean only one thing: cream puffs!

The gougères waited for another day, and here they are.

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Parmesan and Chive Gougères

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon salt*
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Appel Farms Parmesan, shredded
  • 1/4 cup chives, chopped

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a rolling boil.

Remove the pan from the heat, and add the flour all at once.  Stir vigorously using a wooden spoon or spatula.

Return the pan to the burner and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns glossy and pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Remove the pan from the stove, and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes. Place the mixture in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (the mixture will still be warm) and beat on low speed for 1 minute.

Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing for 1 full minute between each addition.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all of the ingredients are mixed evenly. The batter will be smooth and glossy after the last egg is added.  Beat for 2 minutes after adding the last egg.  Stir in the parmesan and chives.

Drop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 1/4-cup mounds. Space the mounds about 3″ apart, to allow for expansion.

Bake the pastries for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 20 minutes, until pastries are a medium golden brown. Don’t open the oven door while the pastries are baking.

Turn off the oven and remove the pastries from the oven. Make a small slit in the top of each, and return them to the oven for 5 minutes, to allow the steam to escape. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

*omit the salt if using salted butter

gougeres-(11-of-41)

If you decide to leave out the parmesan and chives and make cream puffs instead, go ahead.  I won’t judge.

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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.

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Butter and Parmesan

I had three goals in mind for this blog post.

 

Goal #1: Linda at Sound Harvest gave me a wonderful gluten free Sweet Potato Gnocchi recipe.  I know many people, and you probably do to, who for one reason or another are abstaining from gluten.  My goal was to pass this recipe on to you!  Unfortunately, when I ran to the store to get the ingredients, I totally forgot the gluten free flour.  Since that time, I actually went to the grocery store two more times, but forgot the flour on each trip.  So here it is with all-purpose flour and a note on Linda’s gluten free version.

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Goal #2: To let you know about Sound Harvest Delivery.  Chuck and Linda pick up all sorts of food items directly from farms and small businesses and if you live in Whatcom County, they will deliver it right to your door.  How great is that?  Their list of groceries is growing all the time and changes from season to season.  They are also the nicest people, I really love working with them!  I encourage you to take a look at what they have to offer, it’s really a blessing to so many people!

Goal #3: I want to let you know that we started making Parmesan!  Our first batch is aged 9 months and we are thrilled with how well it turned out.  We have it at our Cheese Shop and it will hopefully be available through Sound Harvest very soon.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Butter and Parmesan

  • 2 – 3 sweet potatoes, I like the white skinned variety, but any will work
  • All-purpose flour (or substitute Gluten Free*)
  • 2-3 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 12-15 leaves fresh sage, sliced thin
  • Appel Farms Parmesan, grated

Bake the potatoes until soft.  Allow them to cool until easy to handle then slip the skin off.  Mash the potatoes until smooth.  Add the rosemary and salt and mix well.  I found that one teaspoon of rosemary and salt per cup of mashed sweet potatoes came out perfect.  Amounts vary depending on the size of your sweet potatoes.  Add the flour a little at a time, the amount will also vary.  Keep adding flour until you get a stiff dough.  Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

Make the sage butter while the dough rests.  Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook, stirring, until the butter develops brown flecks and smells nutty. Watch it closely to keep the butter solids from burning. Remove from the heat and stir in the sage, set aside.

Place a small amount of gnocchi dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into thin “worms.”  Cut off 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces.  You can cook them at this point or roll them on the back of a fork to get that signature “gnocchi” look.  If you have a gnocchi board, that’s even better!

gnocchi-
Lightly flour the back of a fork and gently press and roll the dough down the back.  The impressions catch and hold the sage butter or sauce.

Working in small batches, drop them into boiling water and cook until they float, about one to two minutes.  Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and toss them in the sage butter.  Keep them warm as you cook more batches.  Top with freshly grated Parmesan and serve warm.

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*Linda uses Namaste Gluten Free Flour.