Low Points – Big Flavor Chicken Cacciatore

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It’s been a long while since I posted anything here but this meal was so good, I decided to it NEEDED to be shared!

I had a taste for something Italian tonight but didn’t want pasta (I’m back to losing a few pounds on WW and wanted a low point meal). I googled some ideas and saw some inspiration for Chicken Cacciatore recipes but as I usually do, I create my own version of things and tonight’s meal with a total home run!


I started off by running up to store to get a good can of whole tomatoes (San Marzano) – and some good cheeses. Since the cheese and chicken were the only points in this meal, I wanted them to be DELICIOUS! I picked up some good quality Ricotta and Pecorino Romano.

I also picked up a few Patty Pan squash, some organic carrots, and red peppers. Patty Pan squash are the large yellow (or green) squash that look like flying saucers. If you can’t find Patty Pan, just pick up the largest yellow squash you can find.


If you haven’t tried any of Mom’s Gourmet Seasonings, you seriously need to. Sally Koepke is the founder and she’s a dear friend of mine. Her seasonings are available nationwide but not every store carries them. Whole Foods, Giant Eagle, and Winn Dixie are a few of the stores that carry it. You can always order it on their website at www.momsgourmet.net.

The one you need for this recipe is “Ciao Down” (it’s an incredible Italian blend). If you can’t find it, you can make your own blend using the ingredients in the recipe below.

I coated the chicken with a touch of olive oil and few healthy tablespoons of Ciao Down. Then a added the chicken to a hot cast iron skillet and browned it on both sides for about 5-6 minutes each side.

I put the veggies (carrots, red peppers, garlic scapes) and when it all browned, I removed everything from the pan to make room for the Patty Pan squash. I browned both sides. You don’t want to put the squash in too early because it will just become mush. You will want some crunch to it.

Add a touch of wine and deglaze the pan. Add a piece of chicken on top of each squash, and then add the rest of the veggies back into the pan.

Add a 32 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes, more Ciao Down, some fennel power, red pepper flakes and some salt and pepper.

Top each piece of chicken with 1 tablespoon of ricotta cheese and spoon some of the tomato sauce on top of it.

With a spatula, scoop a piece of the Patty Pan squash with the chicken on top and scoop out some veggies too. I served it with a leaf lettuce salad.

Load up on the veggies and you will have a super meal. You can also serve it with your favorite pasta.

Chicken Cacciatore with Veggies

This is a super healthy, LOW WW POINTS version of Chicken Cacciatore I made up myself and OMG - it's good!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Chicken, Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 2 - 4 Boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 Red pepper julienned
  • 1-2 Summer yellow squash Patty pan, or other large yellow squash, sliced into 4-8 pieces
  • 1 Large carrot Sliced at an angle for long pieces
  • 1 Can whole plum tomatoes San Marzano are the best
  • 1 Garlic scapes Chopped into 1/4" pieces, or 2 cloves garlic sliced
  • 4 tbsp Ricotta cheese
  • 4 tbsp Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp Mom's Gourmet "Ciao Down" italian seasoning Or mix basil, garlic, fennel, anise, oregano, thyme, black pepper together
  • 2 tbsp Fennel powder
  • 1/2 c White wine
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Add a bit of olive oil to a pan and heat
  • Coat and marinate chicken with Ciao Down spices and olive oil
  • Add chicken to hot plan and let it sear and cook. Flip once cooked to the other side.
  • Julienne peppers, carrots and add to pan.
  • Add garlic scapes or garlic and mix
  • Slice patty pan squash to get large wide pieces. Remove chicken and add squash. Brown on both sides.
  • Add wine to the pan and deglaze to get all the browned bits.
  • Add chicken back and place on top of the squash.
  • Add the can of tomatoes and squish some of them.
  • Add more Ciao Down seasoning and lots of fennel powder. Add salt and pepper as well.
  • Top each piece of chicken with 1 tablespoon of ricotta cheese and spoon some of the sauce on top of the cheese.
  • Sprinkle with a bit of grated pecorino romano cheese. Leave a few larger bite-sized chunks in the pan as well.

Notes

This is only an 8-point WW meal when you have 5 oz of chicken!
5 oz chicken: 3 points
1 oz ricotta cheese: 2 points
3/4 oz pecorino romano cheese: 3 points
 
Adam LapsevichLow Points – Big Flavor Chicken Cacciatore
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Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Arugula Salad

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I’m a total fan of Brussels Sprouts. They are healthy, crunchy and can be served quite a few ways.

At a restaurant this week I had a Shaved Brussels Sprouts salad. It was good, but I knew I could do something a bit better! (If I say so myself!). So tonight I tried, and succeeded.

It’s topped with sweet golden raisins, creamy, salty Roquefort chunks and crunchy pine nuts. It’s simple, tasty and healthy! It went perfectly with my Chicken Sheet Pan dish I made.


Start off by thinly slicing your Brussels Sprouts, after slicing the core off of course. Allow some to be super thin and others to have a bit more thickness to them.

Then just mix the other ingredients and toss with the Dijon Vinaigrette dressing. Sprinkle with some golden raisins and pine nuts and you’ll have a super delicious crunchy salad you should surely enjoy!

One tip: Get a GOOD quality Roquefort. It should be salty, and somewhat creamy, but still be able to be sliced or crumbled. (Coulet Roquefort at Heinen’s is what I love).

Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Arugula Salad

Tossed in a homemade dijon vinaigrette dressing
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 15-20 Brussels sprouts, sliced thinly (core sliced off first)
  • 1/2 c Sliced red cabbage
  • 1 c Arugula
  • 1/2 c Golden raisins
  • 3 oz Chunk of Roquefort or Bleu Cheese (Coulet Roquefort is my favorite)
  • 1/2 c Olive oil
  • 1/2 c White balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Dash Salt and Pepper
  • 1/4 c Toasted pine nuts (optional)

Instructions
 

SALAD

  • Slice of the core of each Brussels spout, then thinly slice or shave each one.
  • Slice about a 1/2 cup of red cabbage.
  • Add 1 cup arugula.
  • Place in refrigerator to keep cold while you make the dressing.
  • Add dressing.
  • Add the raisins and pine nuts and crumble some Bleu or Roquefort cheese on each salad.

DIJON VINAIGRETTE

  • In a Ninja food processor or blender, add 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp dijon mustard and 1 small chunk of fresh Bleu or Roquefort cheese.
  • Add a dash of salt and pepper and blend.
  • Toss the dressing into the salad mix.
Keyword Brussels Sprouts, Salad
Adam LapsevichShaved Brussels Sprouts and Arugula Salad
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The Best Chipotle Salsa in the World

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I’m going to share a secret that I’ve been saving since 1995.

I moved back to Cleveland in 1994, after having spent the previous 12 years in Washington DC and Miami. I went back to school and got a job waiting tables at Morton’s Steakhouse at Tower City.

A gal that worked there with me brought in this homemade salsa one evening when I was working for the staff to munch on. I still remember that first taste. It was the best freaking salsa I had in my entire life… and I’ve been to a lot of places in Mexico and Latin America over the years. I practically drank it. That night she gave me the recipe and I’ve been making it ever since.

Every time I make it for a party, it’s a hit. It’s not that it’s some colossal secret or anything, but I never really shared it, until now!  Follow my instructions exactly and you will never buy store bought salsa again. It take literally 10 minutes to make it, from opening your pantry to cleaning the food processor.

I show it here with some of my other homemade salsas… but we’ll save those for another post!

You can say “gracias” to me in the comments! (and by the way, it’s 0 WW Points!)

Best Chipotle Salsa Ever!

I've served this recipe since 1995 and it is ALWAYS a huge hit. It's super easy to make and tastes so fresh.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Total Time 12 mins
Course Sauces
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 2 Cups (or more)

Equipment

  • Food processor or Ninja Chopper (or blender)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can Whole tomatoes
  • 1 Dried Chipotle pepper (Softened in warm water)
  • 1 tbsp Whole cumin seeds (Toasted)
  • 1 handful Cilantro
  • 1/4 Purple onion (Small)
  • 3-4 Scallions
  • 1 tsp Salt and Pepper each

Instructions
 

  • Place chipotle pepper in coffee mug filled with water and microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until it softens up. Set aside.
  • In a frying pan, toast the cumin seeds until they are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Shake and toss so they do not burn.
  • Add all of the other ingredients to a food processor, and then add the cumin seeds and chipotle pepper. Blend until it becomes a salsa texture, 30 seconds. Make sure the chipotle pepper has blended in.
  • Chill. Will keep for 2-3 days in refrigerator.
Keyword Best Salsa, Chipolte Salsa
Adam LapsevichThe Best Chipotle Salsa in the World
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Super Delish Black Bean Soup

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Yesterday when I was making the chicken burger (with pretzels and sunflower seeds), I was also making a small pot of black bean soup. I never made it before but had a taste for it after reading the vegan cookbook that Christine had bought me.

I do a lot of research when I want to make something different. I try and find at least 4 or 5 recipes and then decide which bits and pieces of different recipes appeals to me… then of course, I “adamize” – which basically means, I make it my own but adding or removing ingredients or change up the way I make it. That’s exactly what I did with the black bean soup recipes I came across.

Even Better the Second Day

Today I heated up a bowl of the soup and one of the chicken burgers and have to say, the soup was even better today! The flavors had time to seriously meld overnight.

This black bean soup recipe is only 3 points on Weight Watchers Green, and is 100% vegan. I added a daub of sour cream though. If you’re looking for a healthy, low point, low calorie meal that is filling and tasty, give it a try.

Super Delish Black Bean Soup

A spicy, rich, and tasty healthy meal. Low in WW Points too!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Ethnic, Lunch, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian
Cuisine Dinner, Lunch
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, pressed
  • 1 Onion - Small
  • 3 Scallions
  • 1/2 c Red and/or Red/Green Pepper
  • 2 cans Black beans with liquid - Reserve 1/2 can
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/2 inch Jalapeno
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp each Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes

Instructions
 

  • Using a food chopper or processor, mix all ingredients, except for oil and beans
  • In a saute pot, heat olive oil and saute the vegetables until soft, about 3-4 minutes
  • Add 1 1/2 cans of black beans to the pot.
  • Take remaining 1/2 can of beans and puree in the food chopper or processor to thicken, and then add to soup.
  • Simmer on low about 20 minutes uncovered. It should thicken a little. If too much, add a touch of water.
  • Serve topped with optional cilantro, jalapeno, or sour cream.
  • Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator overnight for even a better soup tomorrow!
Keyword Black Bean Soup
Adam LapsevichSuper Delish Black Bean Soup
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