Chicken Cacciatori

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1 chicken cut into parts (legs, thighs, breasts, wings)
chicken-herb-rub to coat chicken (or simply use salt & pepper)
3 tablespoons butter, ghee, or coconut oil
1 large bell pepper (any color), chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 (28-ounce) package diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup chicken broth (increase to 1 & 1/4 cups if omitting wine)
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives (or 3 tablespoons drained capers)
1 & 1/2 tsps dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves, divided

  • Sprinkle the chicken with chicken herb rub (or salt & pepper) to coat.
  • In a large saute pan, heat the butter or oil at medium high.
  • Cook the chicken parts until just browned — about 5 minutes per side (if all the chicken does not fit in your pan, cook in 2 batches).
  • Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the vegetables are tender — about 5 minutes.
  • Add the wine (if using) and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, olives (or capers), oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, and about half of the basil leaves.
  • Return chicken parts to the pan and mix with sauce to coat.
  • Bring sauce to a simmer and continue simmering (covered) over medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked through — 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken to individual plates or a large platter.
  • If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly — about 3 minutes.
  • Spoon sauce over the chicken, garnish with the remaining basil leaves and serve.

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SIDE NOTES:

~  Technically, you can use any 8 pieces of chicken you have.  In other words, it can be legs and thighs only or any combination of parts — depending on what you have on hand.

~  Always a crowd pleaser.

Enjoy!  =)

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Chicken Parmesan

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2 lbs boneless, skinless, pastured, chicken breast
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 TBSP dried basil
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 TBSP dried parsley
pure salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups (give or take) marinara sauce
fresh mozzarella cheese to taste

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Lightly coat a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter
  • Shred the parmesan cheese (a food processor is convenient for this).
  • Combine the parm with the dried herbs in a shallow bowl.
  • Beat the egg in a separate shallow bowl.
  • Dip each piece of chicken into the egg, then into the parmesan mixture until well coated.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the buttered baking pan, sprinkle with salt & freshly ground black pepper, and cook for roughly 25 minutes (give or take, depending on the thickness of your chicken).
  • Remove from oven (but keep the heat on), dollop sauce over each piece of chicken, add a layer of mozzarella cheese, and a bit more sauce over the top.
  • Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 – 8 minutes – until the cheese is melted.

Enjoy!

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SIDE NOTES:

~   This is a delicious and simple way to prepare chicken.  I almost always have a few mason jars of marinara sauce in the freezer which makes it even easier.

~  For the best flavor, I recommend picking up a hunk of what’s considered the king of parmesan cheese:  parmigiano-reggiano (deli section).  It’s in a class of its own.

~  This time, I used 2 lbs of chicken strips (instead of breasts) because that’s what I happened to have in the freezer.  I thought it would be a little annoying to prepare this way (with such small strips), but it was actually easier and faster.  Instead of dipping in one chicken breast at a time, I put the entire 2 lbs of chicken into the bowl with the egg, and used my hands to combine well.  Then I transferred it all directly to the cheese mixture, and used a large spoon to toss until all the chicken was coated with cheese.  Then I simply dumped it all into my buttered baking dish.

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Meatball Parmesan

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

1 free range egg, lightly beaten
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
1/2 cup high quality breadcrumbs (see below for alternatives)
2 tsps dried minced onion (or 2 TBSP finely chopped fresh onion)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp pure salt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 TBSP butter, ghee, or coconut oil
2 cups (give or take) high-quality marinara sauce (recipe below)
Fresh mozzarella cheese to taste

  • Prepare marinara sauce if using homemade (see below) and keep warm on stove.
  • Lightly beat the egg in a bowl large enough to hold the rest of the ingredients.
  • Mix the remaining ingredients except for the butter (or oil), marinara sauce, and mozz, with the egg.
  • Shape into 1 & 1/2 inch balls.
  • Saute meatballs in ghee (or oil of choice) over medium heat, turning occasionally, for about 15 – 20 mins, until browned on all sides and cooked through.  OR — place the meatballs on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (in this case, you can omit the butter/oil).
  • Add meatballs to the marinara sauce and lightly simmer for a few minutes.
  • Transfer meatballs to individual plates and top with mozzarella cheese.
  • Pour hot marinara sauce over the top to soften and melt the cheese and serve.

FOR THE SAUCE – An easy, 10 Minute Marinara:

2 TBSP butter or ghee
4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
28 oz package crushed or strained tomatoes
1 cup water
1/2 tsp pure salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
fresh basil or parsley, chopped (as much as you’d like)
1 – 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

  • Warm butter or ghee over medium heat and saute garlic for 1 – 2 mins.
  • Add tomatoes, salt and pepper.
  • Add the water to the empty tomato container, swish it around (to collect the remaining remnants of tomato), and add it to the pot.
  • Simmer for approx 10 mins.
  • Stir in chopped basil, drizzle in the olive oil and serve.

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SIDE NOTES:

~  We love this meal.  It is so delicious and satisfying.  Saute some greens (or other vegetables) with garlic on the side, or make a nice big salad for a great meal.  This recipe will yield about 2 dozen meatballs which will feed a family of 4.  Of course, you can transfer the meatballs to a large baking pan and melt the cheese over the top in the oven, but to us, it’s delicious (& very easy) without that step.

~  If you make a large batch of the sauce, and keep it in mason jars in the freezer, it’s really convenient to just pull out and defrost for something like this.  Likewise for the meatballs themselves.

~  It’s easy to make your own, quality breadcrumbs at home if interested (click HERE for details).  I make a big batch every once in a while, and store in a large glass mason jar in the freezer.

~  If you don’t have breadcrumbs on hand and don’t want to make them, instead, tear apart a few pieces of high-quality bread into small pieces (1 cup – packed) and toss the bread with 6 TBSP milk.  Let soak a few minutes until softened and combine with the meat mixture.  (We like this version a lot.)

~  If you’re avoiding grains completely, simply replace the breadcrumbs with an equal amount of almond meal (tip from friend and fellow real food advocate – Sharon Shiner).

~  I know there are tons of variations on how to make meatballs.  You can add 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese to the mix, or vary the spices.  If anyone has any meatball secrets they’d like to share, feel free to comment below…

[box] For those with various food restrictions, this recipe falls into the following categories:

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Nut Free, Sugar Free, Grain Free, Vegan, Raw

If eating gluten free, use gluten free breadcrumbs, and be sure to check labels of packaged ingredients if eating gluten and/or sugar free (omit the Worcestershire sauce if necessary).  If eating grain free, use almond flour instead of breadcrumbs. [/box]


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Grass-Fed Meatballs

1 free range egg, lightly beaten
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
1/2 cup high quality breadcrumbs (see below for alternatives)
2 tsps dried minced onion (or 2 TBSP finely chopped fresh onion)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp pure salt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 TBSP butter, ghee, or coconut oil

METHOD 1 — FRYING:

  • Lightly beat the egg in a bowl large enough to hold the rest of the ingredients.
  • Mix the remaining ingredients except for the butter (or oil) with the egg.
  • Shape into 1 & 1/2 inch balls.
  • Saute meatballs in ghee (or oil of choice) over medium heat, turning occasionally, for about 15 – 20 mins, until browned on all sides and cooked through.

METHOD 2 — BAKING:

  • Lightly beat the egg in a bowl large enough to hold the rest of the ingredients.
  • Mix the remaining ingredients except for the butter (or oil) with the egg.
  • Shape into 1 & 1/2 inch balls.
  • Bake the meatballs on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (in this case, you can omit the butter or oil).

Makes approximately 20 – 24 meatballs, depending on size.

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SIDE NOTES:

~  After frying the meatballs, I sometimes add them to my 10-MINUTE-MARINARA (as shown above). Melting a little natural mozzarella over the top (meatball parm) is delicious.  Saute some greens with garlic on the side, or make a nice big salad for a satisfying meal.

~  It’s easy to make your own, quality breadcrumbs at home if interested (click HERE for details).  I make a big batch every once in a while, and store in a large glass mason jar in the freezer.

~  If you don’t have breadcrumbs on hand and don’t want to make them, instead, tear apart a few pieces of high-quality bread into small pieces (1 cup – packed) and toss the bread with 6 TBSP milk.  Let soak a few minutes until softened and combine with the meat mixture.  (We like this version a lot.)

~  If you’re avoiding grains completely, simply replace the breadcrumbs with an equal amount of almond meal (tip from friend and fellow real food advocate – Sharon Shiner).

~  I know there are tons of variations on how to make meatballs.  You can add 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese to the mix, or vary the spices.  If anyone has any meatball secrets they’d like to share, feel free to comment below!

[box] For those with various food restrictions, this recipe falls into the following categories:

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Nut Free, Sugar Free, Grain Free, Vegan, Raw

If eating gluten free, use gluten free breadcrumbs, and be sure to check labels of packaged ingredients if eating gluten and/or sugar free (omit the Worcestershire sauce if necessary).  If eating grain free, use almond flour instead of breadcrumbs. [/box]


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Pesto Chicken

coconut oil (for greasing the dish)
3/4 cup (give or take) pesto sauce
1 pound pastured chicken breast (cut into strips if you’d like)
salt and pepper to taste
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • Lightly grease a 9 x 11 baking dish.
  • Spread half of the pesto on the bottom of the dish.
  • Lay the chicken over the pesto.
  • Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Spread the remaining pesto over the chicken.
  • Bake for 20 – 30 minutes (until chicken is just cooked through – but not over done).
  • Remove pan from oven and place cheese over the top.
  • Bake for 5 minutes more and enjoy.

Serves 3 – 4

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SIDE NOTES:

~  I almost always have extra pesto sauce in the freezer, so this has become a very easy dinner for me to put together. It’s delicious without too much fuss.

~  The cook time really depends on how big your chicken pieces are.  You can simply remove the pan from the oven and cut a piece in the middle to see if it’s ready for the cheese.

~  We enjoyed this the other day with a big tomato and cucumber salad – straight from the garden.

~  Here are a few pesto options:  garlic-scape-parmesan-pestospinach-walnut-pesto (dairy free)sundried-tomato-olive-pesto (dairy free).  I’ve been using the garlic scape pesto for this because that’s what I have a lot of in the freezer.

[box]For those with various food restrictions, this recipe falls into the following categories:

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Nut Free, Sugar Free, Vegan, Raw, Grain Free

If eating dairy free, be sure to use a dairy free pesto and omit the mozzarella.  (There are nuts in most pesto sauces – whether homemade or store bought.)[/box]


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