Chicken with Mustard and Prosciutto. (GF, DF)

An elegant French-inspired chicken dish easy enough to make on a weeknight, and show-stopping enough to serve to company!

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See that?
That’s pure culinary enchantment, friends.  And a perfect Valentine’s Day dinner idea. Because French food is automatically romantic and inviting.

This is an adaptation on a French classic: tender chicken nestled into a savory mustard and herb sauce. With prosciutto. A very Italian ingredient. Sooo, this is really more of a French-Italian fusion dish, but the prosciutto is important–it’s salty character really brings out all the flavors of the dish. Don’t have proscuitto? No worries, use bacon or pancetta instead.

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If you like the flavor of mustard, you will really enjoy this dish because it uses both a classic dijon and a grainy mustard. The chicken gets coated in it and it’s also used in the sauce. Don’t worry, it’s not overpowering at all, though!

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Thyme is another main ingredient here. I don’t cook with thyme very often, mostly because I never have it on hand, and because the dried version is overbearing to my pallette. In this case, the fresh thyme blended beautifully in the sauce, so if you have any reservations about using thyme, leave those aside and try the recipe as-is. I think you’ll love it!

A few more important notes about this dish:

  1. There are a few steps involved, but none of them are difficult, so don’t let the somewhat lengthy instructions below derail you from making this recipe. It’s a lot of “cook this in the pan, remove it, now add something else, remove it, now add it all back together”.
  2. I used a mixture of both chicken breasts and boneless skinless chicken thighs, but you can use what you want.
  3. You will need a skillet with a lid for this dish.
  4. Cooking nerd here, but one of my favorite steps in this recipe is deglazing the pan! It allows you to get all of the flavor off the bottom of the pan and into the sauce.
  5. If you can tolerate dairy, add 2 tablespoons at the end right before serving for a creamier sauce. Honestly, I didn’t miss it and don’t think it needed it, but I’ll leave it up to you!
  6. This dish is best served HOT and fresh!

Chicken with Mustard and Prosciutto

Ingredients:

For the chicken “marinade”:

  • 2 lbs chicken (I used breasts and boneless, skinless thighs)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (or sweet)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup diced prosciutto (or bacon, or pancetta)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth (low-sodium)
  • 2 Tbsp grainy mustard

1). In a large bowl, combine the chicken “marinade” ingredients well.  Add the chicken and coat evenly in the mixture. Set aside.

2). Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced prosciutto, stirring frequently until it starts to crisp up and brown slightly. Remove from the skillet and put in an empty bowl.

3). In the same pan, add 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and stir until soft and translucent. Add the thyme and after a minute, remove from the skillet to the bowl with prosciutto.

4). To the same pan, add the other 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken for a few minutes until browned on one side, then flip and cook a few minutes more. Remove from the skillet onto an empty plate.

5). Time to deglaze the pan! Add the broth to the hot, empty pan and scrape all of the crispy brown bits off the bottom of the pan using a flat edged wooden spoon. Add the chicken, onions, and prosciutto back to the pan. Cover and cook on medium-low for 15 minutes. Be sure to turn the chicken a few times. Check to make sure it is cooked through before proceeding to step 6.

6). Remove the chicken from the pan to stir in the grainy mustard into the sauce. Add the chicken back to the pan, give it a few quick turns in the sauce, and serve!

Servings: 6. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 246 Carbs: 2g Fat: 11g Protein: 38g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 1g Points+: 7 Recipe adapted from here. Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

Roasted Red and Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary. (GF)

Red potatoes and sweet potatoes roasted together with rosemary make a simple, easy side dish perfect for any meal.

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I recently fell in love with the flavor combination of rosemary and sweet potatoes. There’s something so earth-y and wonderful about the two that make them go together so well. It’s a simple combination, really, but not one that I made at home before, and this dish lived up to all of my expectations. It’s hard to go wrong with potatoes though, am I right?

Even though I 110% adore sweet potatoes, for whatever reason I equally wanted red potatoes when I made this dish, hence the decision to mix them together. This also made my husband happy since he typically prefers red potatoes over sweet any day. All that to say, every potato lover in your family will be happy when you serve them these! You can also use regular white potatoes if you prefer, or even use only sweet potatoes!

Reason #274 why I love this dish: I love any excuse to gather fresh rosemary from our back yard. If you’ve ever wondered if you should plant a rosemary bush, the answer is a resounding yes! It’s so convenient to never worry about running out.

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These potatoes roast low and slow in the oven, leaving you with plenty of time to focus on the main dish while they do their thing in the oven. It’s brutally cold and windy out, and this side dish screams warm and cozy, which is exactly what I want in my life right now! I hope you enjoy it!

Roasted Red and Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary (GF)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter (or olive oil for dairy-free/vegan)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2-2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

1). Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the butter in a 9×13 pan and put it in the oven for a couple minutes to melt the butter. Remove from oven and add the remaining ingredients, tossing well to ensure even seasoning.

2). Roast for about an hour, stirring 2-3 times, until the potatoes are golden and tender.

Servings: about 8. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 159 Carbs: 26g Fat: 5g Protein: 3g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 4g Points+: 4. Recipe adapted from here.

Paleo Italian Stuffed Peppers.

Perfect for a weeknight meal, these paleo stuffed peppers are easy and healthy!

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It’s January! Everyone is looking to clean up their diets this time of year, and this is the perfect recipe to fit any new year’s resolution that is clean-eating related. This dish is paleo, Whole30 compliant, gluten-free, and overall delicious. You won’t even miss the rice that is traditionally included in stuffed peppers.

The real star of this show is the meat. So savory! So flavorful! It was absolutely perfect. There’s a hint of Italian fare from the basil, but it is not overpowering. I added lots of chopped spinach to get as many veggies in as possible.

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Did I mention this recipe is super simple and easy? While the peppers are doing their initial bake, cook the meat and vegetables. Once the peppers are out of the oven, stuff them with the meat mixture. Then you can either put them back in the oven for a few minutes, or, if you don’t mind firmer peppers, eat them as-is. Also, if you don’t mind adding dairy, I think a sprinkle of parmesan cheese would be fabulous here! I’m already thinking of other ways I can use this meat mixture (tacos, perhaps?) because it’s soo good!

Paleo Italian Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 4 bell peppers, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1lb grass-fed ground beef (or turkey)
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, chopped (or 1/2 can diced tomatoes, or 4 small tomatoes)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1). Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Place the bell peppers, cut side down, in a large baking dish. Bake for about 15 minutes.
2). While the peppers are baking, add the oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Season well with salt and pepper.
3). Add the chopped tomatoes and garlic to the pan. Cook for a few minutes and then add the basil and spinach. Cook until wilted. Add more salt and pepper, to taste.
4). Evenly distribute the meat mixture into each pepper half. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or eat!

Servings: 4. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 240 Carbs: 7g Fat: 15g Protein: 24g Sugar: 4g Fiber: 2g Points+: 7 Recipe adapted from here.

No-Bake Chocolate Almond Butter Cups. (GF, DF)

A rich gluten-free, dairy-free dessert without refined sugars! Keep a stash in your freezer to satisfy your next sweet tooth!

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Um, guys?

This recipe is a game-changer. I’m struggling to find the words to accurately convey to you how incredibly awesome these little chocolate almond butter cups are! The flavor. The texture. The chocolate!

They. Are. Delicious!!

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And the best part? This is a guilt-free dessert that doesn’t taste like one. Don’t you hate biting into a “healthy” dessert only to be left wishing for the real deal? Not here. My husband and I were absolutely SHOCKED at how good these were, and not in a that’s-good-considering-it’s-a-paleo-treat kind of way. These are just plain ol’ GOOD. I made these after having eliminated refined sugars for two months and I was on a mission to make something that tasted great but was not full of sugar. The only source of sweetness in these chocolate cups comes from a minimal amount of maple syrup, so they are refined-sugar free. But again, you’d never guess it!

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To make these amazing little cups of yummyness, combine almond flour, a touch of maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond butter. One taste of this mixture and you know things are headed in a great direction. That all gets pressed down into muffin tins.

I used a regular muffin pan, but if you want to make them more bite-sized you can use a mini-muffin pan if you have one.

Then, the chocolate sauce.

Confession time.

I had no idea making chocolate could be this easy! Just mix melted coconut oil, maple syrup for sweetness, and pure cocoa powder. The result? Silky, rich chocolate sauce! Pour this on top of the almond butter mixture, top with flaked sea salt and/or sliced almonds, and freeze for about 30 minutes.

Seeeee? Easy! These are my new favorite dessert.

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You do need to keep these cold so the chocolate doesn’t start to melt, but I love having them in the freezer and pulling one out on occasion for a satisfying dessert made of real ingredients and minimal sugar.

P.S. I know these aren’t traditional Christmas cookies, but I think they’d be a great addition! They would cater to every family member’s special dietary needs (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, etc.) and still taste amazing. Plus, you can make them ahead of time!

Here’s a quick video I made explaining how to make them!

No-Bake Chocolate Almond Butter Cups (GF, DF, Paleo, Vegan)

For the almond butter base:

  • 1 3/4 cups almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup, warmed if refrigerated
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt, to taste

For the chocolate sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup, warmed if refrigerated
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • pinch of sea salt, to taste

Optional toppings: flaked sea salt, sliced almonds, coconut, etc.

1). Line a muffin pan with liners and make sure there is enough room in the freezer for the muffin pan.

2). In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the base. The dough should be a little bit sticky similar to the texture of cookie dough.

3). Equally distribute the dough into the bottom of the muffin pans (I got 9 thick cups). Press down until it is smooth and flat.

4). In a small bowl, combine the chocolate sauce ingredients, whisking together until smooth. Equally spoon the chocolate over the base of the cups. Top with flaked sea salt and/or sliced almonds, coconut, etc.

5). Place the muffin pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes before enjoying. Store remaining cups in the freezer until ready to eat. These are delicious straight from the freezer!

Servings: 9 (large) cups. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 266 Carbs: 11g Fat: 21g Protein: 6g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 8g Points+: 7 Recipe adapted from here.

Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron. 

Butternut Squash Soup (GF, DF, Paleo) — Guest Post

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Today I’m posting a delicious, healthy butternut squash soup recipe over on Vylette. I met Julie, the author behind the blog, at the Maiedae mixer a couple months ago and have stayed in touch ever since! Julie has such a warm, inviting personality and I’m so glad we started chatting at the mixer. She’s one of those people you can instantly connect with. I am honored she asked me to post on her blog. Her posts are always beautiful and inspiring!

Since we’re still in Thanksgiving-countdown mode, I wanted to share an easy recipe you just might not have thought of yet that would be perfect for the holiday: butternut squash soup! I make it several times each fall and it is naturally gluten free, and can easily be made dairy free, paleo, vegetarian, and vegan! Hooray for addressing everyone’s dietary concerns!

Click here to check out the full recipe and see all of the wonderful posts Julie has on her lifestyle blog!

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Questions? Comments? Let me know!