Pesto Chicken

This is a quick week night recipe which incorporates veggies, a lean protein and pre-made sauce for a quick 20 minute meal.  Pesto sauce can be refrigerated for 7-10 days and used again the following week for another quick meal.


  • 1-2 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 jar pesto sauce
    • I have tried both basil pesto and a walnut pesto depending on ravioli
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 1/2 sweet onion, 1-2 carrots, 1 celery stock finely chopped
    • ***zucchini and mushrooms can also be added, chop into larger pieces so when you add to skillet they cook evenly with the above
  • 2 TBS pine nuts (optional)
  • Italian seasoning
  • Fresh pasta such as orecchiette or stuffed ravioli
    • Recommend 1/4 LB pasta per person

Heat a skillet over medium heat, add grapeseed or olive oil until pan shimmers.  Add salt and pepper to chicken breast, cook until the chicken is no longer pink (at least 5 minutes), remove from heat and set aside.

Add the vegetable mixture, cook for about 5-7 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently. (Recommend chopping veggies in advance to save time).  Add the pine nuts and italian seasoning, and add the chicken back to the skillet; turn burner to low, stir frequently while the water for the pasta boils.

Cook the pasta according to directions, fresh pasta is done once it has cooked for 3-4 minutes and rises to the top of pan and floats.

Drain the pasta and add 2-4 TBS pesto and 1 TBS olive oil.  Stir to coat the pasta and add vegetable and chicken mixture.  Serve warm.

You can also add an additional vegetable such as green beans or steamed/baked broccoli.

Chicken Cacciatore

This is the fourth recipe that will use any leftover chopped tomatoes from the stuffed peppers and leftover peppers and onions from previous weeks recipes. The white wine can also be re-used from the tuscan chicken stew, and if you bought a package of chicken thighs, use up any leftover thighs for a new recipe. Sometimes I divide the chicken package evenly between this and the tuscan stew to change up the flavors.  If you just want to make this recipe and have leftover, you can use most or all chicken package.


  • 6-10 chicken thighs (with skin is more greasy, try both)
  • 1 TBS paprika (I like the bright, sweet)
  • 1 two ounce slice prosciutto, about 1/4 inch thick)
    • **Can substitute bacon, but beaware this will be more greasy
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine such as pinot grigio or dry vermouth
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) chopped tomatoes (if not making all the chicken you can use less, make sure you have at least 14oz)

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and paprika. Add oil to a skillet, add chicken in batches, skin side down about 4-5 minutes each side on medium heat until golden brown. Skin should release easily when ready to flip.  I often use a spoon to flip the chicken. The chicken doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through as it will simmer later, but aim for golden brown and only flip once.

While chicken cooks, cut up the prosciutto (dice). Once the chicken is complete, remove to a separate plate and add prosciutto, peppers, onions to the pan to cook, about 3-4 minutes. Once the vegetables have softened, add the wine and work to release the brown bits. Then add tomatoes, let come to a boil and then add the chicken.  Reduce heat, cover, and cook (simmer) about 45 minutes until chicken is opague at the bone.

Remove the chicken from the pot and tint with foil to cool.  Keep the sauce in the pan and bring to a boil, cook 10 minutes longer stirring often until thickened.  Make sure sauce is not too hot and not burning at bottom of the pan. Serve warm with your choice (1 cup) pasta noodles and add additional vegetable choice.  I often add carrots to also cook with this dish.

Tuscan Chicken Stew

I adapted this recipe from a Braises and Stews cookbook but often I don’t have fresh sage leaves and instead buy whats on sale or use what dry ingredients I have in my cupboard.  The fresh sage leaves do provide a unique flavor I recommend trying as that is my favorite part of the dish.


  • 4-10 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2-3 bell peppers (red, orange or yellow)
  • 6-8 mushrooms
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup marsala, or dry sherry
    • **You can also subsitiute a dry white wine, but recommend trying the marsala wine at least once to see if you like the flavor.
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sage leaves
  • **Can substitute sage leaves for whatever you have in the kitchen, but recommend trying it once to see if you like the flavor.

Cut the chicken into 2 inch pieces and cut the bell peppers into quarters and then thin strips removing seeds. Cut up mushrooms into small pieces, set all vegetables aside.

In a dutch oven (or skillet for chicken only), add enough olive oil to cover the pan.  To speed up the cooking, I added olive oil to a skillet and cooked the chicken separate until browned and no longer pink, and added the vegetables to the dutch oven (see below).

Once oil shimmers in dutch oven, add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and peppers, be careful not to have heat up too high or garlic will burn. Cover the pot and cook, stirring every few minutes until peppers are soft.

Add chicken to the vegetables and pour in the marsala wine, let come to a boil, add salt to taste. Add the mushrooms, cover the pot, reduce to low and cook until vegetables are tender, 20-35 minutes.

Serve with egg noodles (up to 1 cup), and a side vegetable.

**This should make enough for leftovers the next night if you make enough chicken. I recommend buying the boneless thighs in a package, you usually get a discount versus buying behind the counter.


Stuffed Peppers

Second Recipe of the week, incorporates leftover taco meat as the lean protein for this dish.  Fresh meat can also be used but must be browned with onions prior to assembling this dish.


  • Instant Rice or Jasmine Rice
  • Leftover ground beef, 1/3 – 3/4 LB
  • 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 jar tomato sauce, or chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 3-4 stuffed peppers
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped carrots

Cook rice according to package instructions.  Combine ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, 3/4 of tomatoes or tomato sauce, pine nuts and seasoning in a bowl. Spoon mixture into peppers, and place in a dutch oven.  Add extra tomato sauce around the peppers, add the chopped carrots.

Cook at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.

Easy Weeknight Tacos

If I am in a hurry, these quick tacos are great weeknight meal, and leftover meat can be saved for a quick entry the next day.



  •  1 – 1.5 lean meat, (grassfed, 90% lean)
  • McCormick Original Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • La Banderita Fajita taco flour tortilla

Vegetables & fruit add ons for tacos

  • Add avocado, tomato, fresh corn
  • lime (juice, add at end for flavor)
  • Shredded Cheese
  • unsalted black beans

Cook the meat according to the McCormick taco seasoning, add the onions for extra flavor.  Add toppings in tortilla and serve warm.

Veal Paprikash


Grape seed oil (1-2 Tbsp)
1-2 lbs lean veal tip round roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup sliced sweet onion
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
1 ounce garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp paprika, sweet
1/2 Tbsp paprika, hot
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup chicken broth (low sodium recommended)
1 cup beef broth (low sodium recommended)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup sour cream (Do NOT use fat free or low fat)
3 cups uncooked egg noodle pasta or spaetzle
Chopped parsley (optional)


Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven coated with grape seed oil medium-high heat. Add veal; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove meat from pan; set aside.

Add additional grape seed oil if needed and then add carrot, onion, and garlic, sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour, paprika, salt and pepper. Add broths, wine, and bay leaves; stir well. Return meat to pan, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until tender, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream. Cook over low heat 5 minutes or until throughly heated. Serve over noodles; garnish with parsley, if desired.

Adapted from the below recipe:

Vegetable Pasta and Sun Dried Tomatoes


I love this recipe because even in winter months, it brings a touch of color and summer to my plate!  I like to combine the oven roasted taste of the broccoli and asparagus with the garlic and olive oil sauteed vegetables.   This dish is a quick meal, but recommend chopping the vegetables in advance of starting your cooking.  This way you can saute vegetables, cook pasta and roast broccoli at the same time so everything comes out at once!


  • 2 cups  broccoli rinsed, cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces
  • Spices: Garlic, pepper, salt to taste
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, stems removed
  • 1 zucchini, cut into circles, 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 squash, cut into circles, 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • Mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 medium sized red pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like things)
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped (about 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped)
  • 2 ounces sun dried tomatoes,  roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces penne pasta (or other favorite short pasta)
  • 1/2 ounce freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • More salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pine Nuts

Preheat oven to 400 and bring large pot of water to a boil, for the pasta.  In an oven proof dish, line with tin foil, and place cut up pieces of broccoli in the dish.  Drizzle grapeseed oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, pepper and salt. Once the oven is preheated,  bake for 15 minutes.  About the same time the water should come to a boil;  add pinch of salt (let it dissolve) then add penne pasta. Once the water begins to boil again, cook for about 10 minutes or until pasta is el dente.

Once the pasta is in the water, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan on medium to medium high heat. Add the chopped garlic and the red chile flakes. Cook until the garlic just begins to brown at the edges (about 2 minutes). Then add zucchini, squash, mushrooms and any other desired vegetables to the pan.  Toss to coat with the olive oil, chile flakes, and garlic. Sprinkle with salt.

**I have sauteed or oven roasted the asparagus and red pepper , choose whichever option your taste buds prefer!

Cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes, until just tender. Stir in the chopped sun dried tomatoes, cook for another 5 minutes. When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the vegetables. Sprinkle everything with black pepper and the grated Parmesan cheese. Toss to combine.

Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from:

Baked Chicken Parmesan


I love chicken parm, but have found it difficult to find a recipe that isn’t loaded with calories.  I love this version because it still has the crunchy outside layer and still uses pasta and tomato sauce.  I also recommended the panko bread crumbus versus the regular and def add the fresh basil at the end!

I also reduce the amount of pasta I eat and make extra vegetables.  I have found sauted spinach goes great with this recipe!

One aspect that is extremely important for this receipe is to buy chicken cutlets and ensure they are 1/2 (no more than an inch) thick.  It allows you to cook the chicken more quickly without burning the breadcrumbs.  Also, make sure to add the tomato sauce at the end so the chicken breasts do not come out soggy.  Enjoy!


Cooking spray
1 egg
1/2 cup  panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus 4 teaspoons
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 chicken breasts cutlets
1/4 cup marinara sauce, either homemade or store-bought
Fresh basil, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and spray a glass or stone pan lightly with cooking spray.  (Don’t recommend aluminum pan).
  2. Set out 2 shallow bowls or plates. In 1 bowl, crack your egg and whisk well. In the second bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Dip 1 piece of chicken into the egg wash, then the panko breadcrumb mixture, and toss well to coat. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet and spray with pam for easily cleanup. Repeat with the remaining chicken cutlets.
  4. Spray the breaded chicken lightly with cooking spray (or add a small pat of unsalted butter), and bake for 25 or 30 – 40 minutes, until coating is golden and the chicken breasts are just cooked through.
  5. Remove from the oven and spoon out a tablespoon of marinara sauce over the top of each piece, then sprinkle a teaspoon of Parmesan on top of each piece. Place back in the oven for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the sauce is hot and cheese is bubbling.
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Recipe adapted from:

Chicken Marsala

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
2 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in halves and pounded thin
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups sliced mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shiitake)
3/4 cup Marsala
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped chives, for garnish
Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Pound the chicken breasts to 1 inch thick.  Combine the flour and Essence in a bowl and stir to combine thoroughly. Quickly dredge the chicken breast halves in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook the chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter to the pan and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden brown around the edges and have given off their liquid. Add the Marsala wine and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Lower the heat to medium and return the chicken breasts to the pan and continue to cook until they are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, add salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with chopped chives and serve immediately

Adapted from:

Sirloin Fettuccine Alfredo

  • 1 12 ounce box  fettuccine
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pound grass-fed sirloin steak (about 3/4 inch thick)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    – Parsley (optional)
  • Directions:
    1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil over high heat. Cook pasta following package directions, 11 to 12 minutes. Add peas during last 1 minute of cook time. Drain and return to pasta pot.
    2. While pasta is cooking, begin sauce prep.  Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, then slowly whisk in half-and-half. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the nutmeg. Bring just to boiling, stirring frequently, 8 minutes.
    3. While the sauce cooks, season sirloin with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak and cook 3-5 minutes.
    4. Remove sauce from heat; whisk in Parmesan. Turn steak and cook another 3 minutes or until desired doneness. Pour sauce over pasta; toss to combine. Transfer to a bowl. Slice steak; fan over fettuccine and top with parsley as a garnish.
  • To reduce calories: test using 2% milk but the sauce will not be as creamy.  Also, limit the spoonfuls or pasta and sauce and substitute an extra helping of pasta with vegetables.  Recommend limiting pasta intake to 1 cup and sirloin to 4-6 oz.
  • Recipe adapted from: