Enjoy Italian cooking with low carb options


This week, our food travels take us to Italy. I know we love all the pasta dishes the Italian cooking is famous for, but let's explore some low carb options.


Low Carb Italian Chicken Cacciatore

2 pounds skinless chicken breasts (boneless-)

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

4 ounces green bell pepper (about 1 med to large)

4 ounces red bell pepper (about 1 medium to large)

4 ounces onion (about 1/2 of a medium)

2 cloves garlic (large)

1 tablespoon garlic (& herb seasoning blend)

1/3 cup sherry

1 cup chicken broth (or 1 cup water with bouillon)

1/3 cup olive oil (divided, or bacon grease)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons water

Wash the peppers and place together with the onion and garlic. Put a large dinner plate near the stove for the chicken and mushrooms. Ready two cutting boards - one for the chicken and the other for the vegetables. Have the sherry and chicken broth ready.

Dry the chicken breasts. Slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise, then cut into strips on the bias. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil over the chicken strips and mix. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of seasoning blend over the chicken and mix oil and seasoning into the chicken.

Put a large saute pan over medium heat and let it get good and hot. Add 2 tablespoon of oil and roll it around the pan to coat. Add 1/2 - 1/3 of the chicken strips and brown in batches, cooking all the way through. Add oil to the pan before the next batch, if needed. Remove the browned chicken strips to a large dinner plate. Make sure to get them nice and brown - the bottom of the pan should have a nice golden brown color when finished.

Next, add 1-2 more tablespoons of oil to the pan and begin browning 1/2 of the mushrooms. Brown both sides. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, adding them to the chicken. Add more oil and brown the remaining mushrooms. They don't need babysitting, so this is the time to thinly slice the peppers, onions, and garlic, putting them together in a bowl, or on a plate, or just leaving them on the cutting board. Remove the last of the mushrooms to the plate and add the vegetables to the pan.

Pile the vegetables over the parts of the pan with the most browned bits. They will steam a little as they cook and it will be easy to begin scraping-up all of that caramelized goodness. Move the vegetables around the pan and cook them half way through. The onions will begin to soften and the peppers should still be firm. Add the chicken broth, then the sherry, stirring the vegetables and scraping any remaining brown bits (fond) off of the bottom of the pan.

Add the chicken and mushrooms back to the pan and cover loosely with a lid, a piece of foil, or a sheet pan, to bring the mixture up to a simmer. Mix two teaspoons of cornstarch with two teaspoons of water to make a slurry. Uncover the pan and add the slurry, stirring it in quickly. Add the salt and let the liquid simmer for a 1 minute to thicken.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve.


Low Carb Italian Chicken Roll-Ups

1/2 cup cream cheese

2 tablespoons dried tomatoes (chopped sun-)

1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning

black pepper

1 pound chicken breasts (thinly sliced)

olive oil spray

8 ounces tomato sauce (canned)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup grated cheese

fresh oregano

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Prepare the filling for the chicken roll-ups by combining cream cheese, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning and black pepper.

Place a spoonful of the mixture at the end of thinly sliced chicken breasts. Roll them up and place them in a baking dish that you have sprayed with some olive oil.

Mix together the tomato sauce with the dried oregano and pour it over the chicken.

Roast for 30-40 minutes or until an internal temperature of 180F has been reached. When the chicken is at 170F or so, sprinkle with grated cheese, then return to the oven until the chicken has finished cooking.

Spoon some of the sauce over the chicken when serving. Garnish with chopped fresh oregano or basil.


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