Month: May 2019

Frittata with Chicken Sausage, Spinach and Onions

If you’re looking for a quick and easy meal to throw together using whatever leftovers or vegetables you have on hand, the frittata is the way to go.

It’s like an omelet, but instead of placing fillings inside the eggs and folding them over, you cook everything in the pan together, then top with cheese at the end. In a way, it’s easier and more forgiving. You don’t have to worry about tearing the omelet as you’re folding it, etc.

So, in addition to eggs, you start with some basic ingredients, such as vegetables, meat and cheese. In this case I’m using Chicken Sausage with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil, fresh organic spinach, sliced Vidalia onion, and shredded parmesan cheese.

The first step is to melt some butter in a small skillet, then add the onions.

After about 5 minutes, when the onions are soft and slightly browned, add the diced sausage.

Then add the fresh spinach.

It only takes a couple of minutes for the spinach to wilt. Then you’re ready to add the beaten eggs, with a little salt and pepper.

It helps to tilt the pan slightly to get the eggs evenly distributed. At this point, cover the pan and lower the heat. It only takes about 7 minutes for them to set.

So once the eggs look pretty firm, you can add the cheese. Turn off the burner and cover the pan again to let the cheese melt. Alternatively, you can place the frittata under the broiler for a minute, just until the cheese browns.

Frittata with Chicken Sausage, Spinach and Onions

Servings:  1

  • 1 tablespoon organic butter
  • 1/2 cup sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 link (from a 10-ounce package) nitrate-free chicken sausage (sun dried tomato and basil), diced
  • A handful of fresh spinach leaves (approximately 1 cup packed)
  • 2 eggs, organic and free range
  • 1/8 teaspoon each, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


Heat a small (8-inch) nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the butter.

Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, until soft and beginning to caramelize.

Add the sausage and spinach to the pan and cook until the spinach wilts.

Place the eggs in a small bowl along with salt and pepper and whisk to combine.  Pour the eggs into the pan, and tip to distribute them evenly.  Lower the burner to medium-low and cover the pan.

After about 7 minutes, the frittata should be almost set.  Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top, turn off the heat and cover the pan for 5 more minutes.  Or, if you prefer, you can place the pan under the broiler for a minute to brown the cheese.

The frittata can be served hot or room temperature.

Variations:  Add different vegetables such as broccoli, mushrooms or bell peppers, different sausages such as Italian or Andouille, bacon, and/or different cheeses such as cheddar, pepper-jack or mozzarella.

Healthier Chicken Parmesan

Who doesn’t like the popular classic, cheesy, rich and delicious chicken parmesan?

My only problem with it, when it’s served in restaurants, is all the breading and possibly deep-frying that is done to it. Now that I’m trying to cut back on starchy carbs, I don’t want all that heavy breading on my chicken.

And it’s not necessary! This version is just as good, in my opinion, without being overly breaded, greasy and filling.

It’s also super quick to prepare. Just pound some boneless skinless chicken breasts until they’re thin, season them generously with salt, pepper and oregano and place in a heated skillet. Don’t worry, they don’t have to look perfect. Later they will be covered with cheese and sauce anyway.

Since they are pretty thin, they cook very quickly and only need about 3 minutes on each side.

Once they are browned on both sides, place them in an oven-proof tray or dish. Begin by placing provolone cheese over each piece. (Feel free to substitute mozzarella, if you prefer.) Just tear the cheese to fit the size of the chicken pieces.

Next, grab some warm marinara sauce, preferably homemade, but jarred sauce will work, too. Spoon a couple of tablespoons on top of each piece and spread it so it reaches the edges.

Finally, sprinkle on some shredded parmesan cheese (or romano, or mozzarella), and pop it into the oven for just a few minutes until the cheese melts and the chicken is fully cooked.

Here is the finished product, served alongside some fresh green beans. I prefer fresh vegetables or salad as a side, instead of starchy pasta.

This chicken would also be great with broccoli, spinach, asparagus, or spaghetti squash.

Healthier Chicken Parmesan

Servings:  4

  • 2 boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts, approximately  8 ounces each
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil, or olive oil
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/2 cup prepared marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Slice each chicken breast in half lengthwise to make 4 thin medallions.  Place wax paper over the chicken and pound it to about 1/2 inch thick.  Season both sides of the chicken with the salt, oregano and pepper.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil and brown the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side.

Remove the chicken from the pan and place it in an oven safe dish with enough room so the slices do not overlap.

Add one slice of provolone cheese to each piece of chicken, tearing the cheese to fit evenly. 

Add 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce to each piece, and spread evenly to cover.

Finally, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese on top of each piece of chicken.

Place the chicken into the oven and bake for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the chicken is fully cooked.

Variation:  This recipe can easily be adapted for the barbecue grill.  Just grill the chicken for 3-4 minutes per side (or until fully cooked), top with cheese and warm marinara sauce and close the lid just until the cheese melts.

Asian Fried (Cauliflower) Rice

Growing up, my family loved to order Chinese takeout, as I’m sure many of you did (or still do). I remember having egg foo young, chop suey, and of course, fried rice. It was delicious and satisfying, with the little bits of egg, onions, peas and the salty tang from the soy sauce.

Fried rice is one of those dishes that many people give up when trying to eat healthier, low-carb meals. I know that for a time, I would only eat plain steamed rice to avoid excess fat. Now that we know fat is not the enemy, but instead excess starchy carbs, I realized that I can enjoy all the flavors of traditional fried rice, by just substituting riced cauliflower for regular rice.

I actually started making this for breakfast, since it’s a nice alternative to an omelet or traditional scrambled eggs. And I don’t always use riced cauliflower, but leftover cabbage, eggs and whatever vegetables I have on hand.

The key to getting the delicious Asian flavors is very simple: soy sauce (or coconut aminos), toasted sesame oil, and a bit of Sriracha hot sauce. Of course you can add other spices such as ginger and garlic, but it’s still very tasty with just the bare minimum of seasonings.

Feel free to experiment and add what you like. It’s a great way to use up leftovers! You can add meats, chicken, shrimp, spinach, broccoli, water chestnuts, sugar snap peas, etc.

Here are the ingredients I had on hand for today’s recipe: frozen riced cauliflower, eggs, green cabbage, frozen peas, carrots and green onions, as well as the soy sauce, sesame oil and Sriracha.

I popped the bag of riced cauliflower in the microwave for 5 minutes. In the meantime, I started by scrambling 2 eggs in a large nonstick skillet.

Next, I removed the cooked eggs to a plate.

Note, there’s no need to clean or wipe out the egg residue from the pan, just add a bit more oil and throw in the cabbage and carrots (or any vegetables that need a bit longer to cook).

Next add the cooked riced cauliflower. After microwaving, it could have excess moisture that you want to eliminate.

After a few minutes, add the peas and green onions, and just cook until heated through.

Finally, add the scrambled eggs back to the pan, along with the Tamari, sesame oil and hot sauce, and mix thoroughly. Of course, the hot sauce is optional. Be sure to taste it once everything is combined. You may want to add more salt or other seasonings.

I know that this recipe has a few steps and involves chopping up several vegetables, but it really comes together quickly, in only 15-20 minutes. You will be happy that you took the time to make it. It can be served for breakfast, as a side dish with other Asian stir-fry components, such as beef, pork, chicken or fish, or you can add the meat directly to the fried rice and serve it as the main course.

Asian Fried (Cauliflower) Rice

Servings:  4

  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen riced cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive oil), divided
  • 2 eggs, organic and free range
  • 1 cup chopped green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup slivered carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari soy sauce, low sodium
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot pepper sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Cook the riced cauliflower in the microwave for 5 minutes.  Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and quickly scramble the eggs with a pinch of salt.  Remove the eggs to a plate.

Add the remaining oil to the same pan, and saute the cabbage and carrots for about 5 minutes, until crisp-tender and starting to brown.

Add the cooked riced cauliflower to the pan and saute for a few minutes, to allow any excess moisture to evaporate.  Add the peas and green onions and cook for 1-2 more minutes. 

Add the scrambled eggs, Tamari, sesame oil and Sriracha, and stir to combine thoroughly.  Taste to adjust seasonings and serve.

Variations:  Add chopped beef, pork, chicken or shrimp.  Add different vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, or peppers.  Add some fresh ginger or garlic.

Bean Free Turkey Chili

Even though I’m cutting back on starchy grains and beans, I still enjoy a hearty bowl of chili, In fact, many people would say that beans don’t belong in chili at all. I love that you can vary the ingredients and toppings, and everyone can have it the way they like it!

There are so many variations in chili recipes. You can make it with chunks of meat rather than ground, you can soften and blend whole dried chili peppers, add beer or broth instead of tomatoes, add cinnamon or chocolate, or serve it over macaroni.

In my version, I keep it pretty simple, using the basic chili powder blend that you can find in any grocery store. Note that this already has salt added, which is why I only add a small amount of salt in addition to the chili powder.

I start by sauteing 2 pounds of ground turkey. Then I like to bulk up the vegetable content by adding minced mushrooms, diced onions and roasted red peppers. Fresh garlic and a jalapeno pepper go in next.

Then I add the dried spices, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, as well as 2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, which give it a smoky, spicy kick. I also add 2 cans of diced tomatoes and 2 small cans of tomato sauce. You can substitute broth or beer for the tomato sauce if you prefer, or add less to make a thicker chili.

One tip for using canned chipotle chilies…plop the whole contents of the can in a blender, then portion it out into tablespoon-size servings and freeze. Then whenever you need some spicy chili flavor you can take a frozen chunk and add to whatever dish you’re making.

One more tip…all chili recipes benefit from simmering for at least an hour so that all the flavors have time to develop. It even tastes better the next day, and freezes well so that you can make a big batch and have it ready anytime you have a taste for it.

Bean-Free Turkey Chili

Servings:  8

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 pounds ground turkey, preferably organic
  • 1 (8-ounce) package of button mushrooms, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 3 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
  • 2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce from a can, minced
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil and ground turkey.  Saute for a few minutes until starting to brown.  Add the mushrooms, onions, and jalapeno and continue cooking until soft, and liquid has mostly evaporated.   Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.    

Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour.   

Serve with toppings of your choice:  shredded cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, scallions, or hot sauce.

Variations:  Use a blend of meats, ground beef or pork.  Use less tomato sauce if you like it really thick, or substitute beer for the tomato sauce.  Add cayenne or more chilies if you like it spicier.

Chunky Guacamole

Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals, plus fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.

They are great mashed and made into guacamole, or simply sliced or diced and added to salads, on top of burgers, chicken or fish. They can also be used in sweet recipes, such as chocolate mousse.

In honor of Cinco de Mayo coming up in a few days, I am including my highly praised, go-to dip for parties, and pretty much any occasion.

It can be a bit tricky choosing an avocado at the store. You don’t want them too soft, which means over-ripe and probably brown inside. If I have a few days before I need to use them, I will buy ones that are still hard, and let them ripen on my kitchen counter. You can also put them in a paper bag and they will ripen faster.

It’s very important when cutting into an avocado that you do it on a cutting board, NOT while holding it in your hand. I have seen people on TV holding one half of the avocado and jamming the blade of their knife into the pit to remove it. Instead, just use a small spoon to scoop the pit out.

So now on to the guacamole recipe. The basic recipe is very simple…just mashed avocado, salt, and acid, such as lemon or lime juice. But I like to add a bit of chopped onion, jalapeno pepper and cilantro.

It’s best to make sure everything is very finely chopped, then mix it all together. And I don’t mash the avocado too much. I think it’s better kept a bit chunky.

You can make the guacamole ahead of time, (just an hour or two), and place it in a bowl with plastic wrap touching the surface so that it doesn’t brown.

You can serve it with carrot sticks, celery, chips, or on top of Zesty Turkey Taco Salad.

Chunky Guacamole

Servings:  2-4

  • 1 large or 2 small avocados
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons minced jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste


Slice the avocados in half lengthwise and scoop out the pits with a spoon.  Discard pits and scoop the flesh into a bowl.  Mash with a fork, leaving it a bit chunky.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Taste to adjust seasonings.  Add more lemon juice or salt, if necessary.

Variations:  Add finely diced tomato, and/or minced garlic.