Skinny Chicken Piccata

>> Saturday, February 25, 2017

Skinny Chicken Piccata

The original recipe for this light chicken piccata came from LaaLoosh, a delicious and healthy food blog for people on Weight Watchers. She says one serving is 4 points + in the Weight Watchers system.

I made a few changes, like omitting the wine, since I was making this for our dinner but also taking dinner to a friend who is just recovering from serious surgery.

We don't mind eating lighter as long as it's this easy and tasty!


1 tbsp light butter
1 10oz package white mushrooms, sliced
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp paprika
Dash salt and pepper
1 tsp oil
2 cups fat free chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
2 tbsp capers, rinsed
2 tsp cornstarch stirred into 1 tbsp cold water


Heat the butter in a large frying pan. Saute the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and slightly browned. Set them aside in a separate plate.

Stir together the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika, and place in a shallow plate. Cut the chicken breasts in half, then cut them through the middle to produce 4 thin cutlets. Press them into the flour until they're covered on all sides.

Heat the oil in the pan, then add the chicken and brown on all sides. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thickened.

Serve over rice pilaf or with a side of vegetables.

Serves 4.


Osso Buco

>> Sunday, February 12, 2017

Osso Buco

Our love story begins with the post "He Cooks for Me", on Angela's life blog,

“I’d like to cook for you,” He said, a few months after we started dating. “Why don’t you come over for Easter dinner?”

I was excited. News of his prowess in the kitchen had spread throughout our circle of friends at both churches. My girls, according to the alternating visitation schedule, would be with their dad, and my family was too far away to visit. I was glad I wouldn’t spend another holiday alone.

When I got to his condo, I could smell dinner all the way down the hallway – a rich, garlicky aroma. “It smells delicious,” I said. “What are we having?”

“Osso Buco”, He said, wiping his hands on his personalized apron.

He owns his own apron! I shouted to myself. “Osso Buco, that’s great!”

“Have you heard of it before?”

“Uh, no, actually not.”

“It’s braised veal shanks. A classic Italian recipe.”

I was utterly impressed. Guys took me out to steakhouses or seafood places; when they cooked a fancy dinner for me, it was inevitably a steak, a baked potato, and some wine. No one had ever cooked me a meal I’d never even heard of before.

I watched him sprinkle chopped fresh parsley in a delicate pattern over our dishes, and then serve steaming veal with a thick red sauce onto each plate. There were candlesticks and placemats, and a wine that he had to explain before I even had a taste. Something Italian and as dark red and rich as the meal; he had chosen it to complement the veal. I appreciated the explanation. I was used to $3 bottles of White Zinfandel.

When I could eat no more, I sat back and rubbed my stomach.

“What do you think?” He asked.

“I think I love it,” I said, meaning the meal, the wine, the idea of a man who cooks especially for me. Two years later I married him, and in September we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.

Wiping away Joe's tear after he said his wedding vows.

Joe actually calls this version of his recipe "Fauxo Buco", because it uses beef shanks rather than the astronomically expensive veal shanks. I call it delicious.


2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 cups onion, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 to 7 pounds beef or veal shank sawed into 2 1/2 inch sections
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup beef stock
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp fresh basil
1 tsp fresh thyme
3 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 bay leaves

For the Gremolata (herb topping)

1 tbsp grated lemon peel
3 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced


In a large casserole or Dutch oven, melt half the butter and oil over medium heat. Saute the onions, carrots, celery and garlic until tender. Remove to a separate plate.

Stir together the salt, pepper, and flour, and roll the meat in the mixture. Melt the rest of the butter and oil in the Dutch oven, then brown the meat on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Add the vegetables to the meat.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Pour the wine and broth into the casserole pan, and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the basil, thyme, tomatoes, parsley sprigs and bay leaves; the liquid and vegetable should halfway cover the meat. If it doesn't, add more broth or water. Bring the pan to a boil, then cover and place in the center of the oven.

Braise the meat for about 1 1/2 hours, basting it with the juices occasionally, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is thickened and stew-like. Serve the meat arranged on a serving platter with the vegetables and sauce. 

Alternatively, you can pour some creamy polenta onto individual plates, then arrange a shank and the vegetables over the top. Sprinkle the servings with the gremolata—the piquant garnish of lemon zest, parsley, and garlic.

Serves 6-8.


Aloo Mattar (Indian Pea and Potato Stew)

>> Saturday, February 4, 2017

Aloo Mattar (Indian Pea and Potato Stew)

Aloo mattar (AH-loo mah-tar) stew is a super-easy and filling vegetarian dish full of a lot of complex curry-like flavors. You can make it as spicy or as mild as you like. It was very much a comfort food on a cold day, and our home smelled fabulous while we were cooking it. As simple as the recipe is, we were surprised that it tasted just like the one made in the restaurant by Indians.

My friend Sheilja recommends buying spices like cumin, coriander, and cardamom as whole seeds and then grinding them as you need them, so that they retain more flavor. They really smell amazing when you grind them fresh! She uses a Magic Bullet, but our electric coffee grinder works just as well. Again, try a Hispanic or Asian grocery store for the spices if you have trouble finding them at your supermarket.


4 medium russet potatoes
1 tbsp oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small green chili pepper, minced (bell, jalapeno, serrano, or other, depending on how much heat you want)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp garam masala powder (you can substitute good curry powder, but the taste will be different)
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped


Scrub the potatoes, then cut them into 1" cubes. Boil them until slightly tender, then drain.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil, then add the onion, garlic, and pepper and saute until tender. Stir in the cooked potatoes and the rest of the ingredients except the cilantro  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes and peas are tender and the sauce has thickened. Stir in the cilantro.

Serve over rice with naan or puri flat bread on the side.

Serves 4-6

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