Bacon, Kale and Mushroom Frittata

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A healthy, Paleo friendly frittata that makes a perfect make-ahead breakfast for busy mornings. 

The most challenging part of my 30 day Paleo adventure (you can read more about it here) is that most convenience/take-out foods are no longer options. This means I’m cooking, or planning what to cook, all.the.time. Breakfast bars, yogurt, sandwiches, pasta and pizza are out (sigh), so that means lots of chopping, peeling, slicing and dicing. Which I generally enjoy, but can require time I just don’t have. Especially in the morning. Tired of my little portion of nuts and a piece of fruit, I decided to make a healthy and hearty frittata this weekend to have for quick breakfasts during the week. A warm breakfast on a hurried weekday morning just makes me feel…better. And serves as a nice reminder that slow mornings over extra coffee are around the corner.

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Of course, frittatas can be made with whatever vegetables and meat  you have sitting in the fridge. This time around, I took advantage of the fact that bacon is a Paleo approved food and paired it with meaty sautéed mushrooms, earthy kale and sweet caramelized shallots. I prefer the veggies in my frittata to have a little color on them, so there is some time spent here stirring the shallots and mushrooms as they brown. However, this is pretty mindless work that can be done while  you tidy up the kitchen, prep other meals or simply read a magazine at the counter. The method for a frittata is simple- cook your meat and veggies as desired, scramble some eggs and pour them into the hot skillet. As soon as the eggs on the bottom start to set, transfer the frittata to a pre-heated oven to cook through. Once the frittata is cooked through, run a spatula around the skillet and under the bottom of the frittata to release it from the pan, then transfer to a cutting board and slice into wedges.

While I prepared this frittata as a make ahead weekday breakfast, it would also be a wonderful addition to a weekend brunch. Cheese is not on the list of Paleo approved foods, so I left it out this time. In the future, and definitely for a brunch, I think some goat cheese, gruyere or even parmesan would be totally delicious here. And don’t limit yourself to breakfast- served alongside a salad, this frittata would make a light and delicious lunch or dinner!

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Bacon, Kale and Mushroom Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced cremini (or white) mushrooms
  • 2 medium shallots, sliced thin
  • 2 cups lacinato kale, chopped
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk eggs with water, salt and pepper until well blended and set aside.

Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium high heat. Add bacon to skillet and cook until crisp, 10-12 minutes. Remove bacon from skillet with slotted spoon and pour off all but 1 Tbsp of bacon fat. Return skillet with reserved fat to heat and add mushrooms and shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms and shallots have browned, about 1o minutes, adding a small amount of reserved bacon fat if the skillet seems especially dry. Add kale to skillet and cook 3-4 minutes, until softened and slightly wilted. Add bacon back to skillet and pour eggs over all ingredients. When the bottom of the eggs starts to set, about a minute, transfer skillet to preheated oven and cook for 10-12 minutes until eggs are cooked through and frittata is slightly puffy.

When skillet is removed from oven, place an oven mitt or piece of foil on the handle as a visual reminder that it is hot (you only make that mistake once…) Run a silicone spatula around the sides of the skillet and under the frittata, to loosen it from the pan. Carefully slide frittata from skillet onto cutting board and cut into 8 pieces.

Serves 8.

Cheesy Bacon Guacamole Chicken

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By the time I’m halfway through the work week, I need all the help I can get. Is anyone available to do my laundry, pick up my dry cleaning, clean my house and maybe just do my job for me, too? No takers? Darn. I don’t know how those of you with kids do it. I’m lucky if my shoes match by Wednesday. Luckily I have a few simple and tasty last minute dinner recipes up my sleeve to save me from the after work hangries (hunger + anger, for those of you lucky enough to be unacquainted.) This chicken, for example, is ready in a snap and checks enough delicious boxes to keep me going until Friday. Cheese? Check. Bacon? Check. A heaping pile of guacamole? Ohhhhhh, check. Served over a bed of greens dressed with olive oil and lime juice, this is a delicious, relatively healthy low carb dinner. Served with tortilla chips and margaritas… can I come over?

This recipe has a lot going for it even beyond deliciousness. It’s done in 30 minutes and leaves virtually no dirty dishes in its’ wake. Start by lining a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and bake the bacon in a hot oven. No greasy splatters and the bacon grease can be rolled up in the foil and thrown out once you’re done. While the bacon sizzles away in the oven, prepare the remaining ingredients. Chicken cutlets are a favorite of mine for a quick weeknight protein. They’re easy enough to make yourself with a chicken breast, a sharp knife and a steady hand, but if you’re really pressed for time they are also easy to find in the grocery store. While the bacon is cooking you’ll have plenty of time to season the chicken, shred some cheese and mix a quick guacamole. The chicken is baked on the same sheet you use for the bacon, then topped with shredded cheese and bacon and popped back in the oven until the cheese and bacon melt into the chicken in a gooey delicious mess. Top each chicken cutlet with as much guacamole as you please and you are DONE! You could also use shredded cheese and store bought guac to make this even more of a time saver. Enjoy this quick and easy mid-week dinner and keep your chin up. There’s light at the end of this tunnel.

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Cheesy Bacon Guacamole Chicken 

Ingredients:

  • 8 chicken cutlets (either purchased as cutlets or 4 chicken breasts cut in half to make cutlets)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 heaping cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 ripe avocados, mashed
  • ½ tomato, diced
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of 2 limes
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450. Line rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place a baking rack inside of sheet. Spray baking rack with cooking spray. Place bacon on rack and bake for 15 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from rack and chop when cool enough to handle.

While bacon is cooking, season chicken cutlets with chili powder, cumin, 1 tsp kosher salt and black pepper. When bacon is done, wipe excess grease from sheet with paper towels and place chicken on baking rack. Cook chicken 3-4 minutes, then remove from oven. Divide bacon evenly over chicken cutlets and top with cheese. Place chicken back into the oven for 2-3 minutes.

While bacon and chicken are cooking, prepare guacamole. In medium bowl, mix avocados, tomato, onion, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, remaining 1 tsp kosher salt and black pepper.

Once chicken is completely done, spoon guacamole on top and serve.

Serves 4, 2 cutlets per serving.

Caramelized Onion, Smoked Gouda and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts

 

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I have to tell you, being a grown up is not nearly as fun, liberating or glamorous as I anticipated it would be when I was 10. 10 year old Diane was going to grow up to be the next Celine Dion, live in a ridiculous mansion and have zero obligations. She would always have a bowl of raw cookie dough in the fridge for snacking and would have a massive pool in the backyard for her pet dolphin. Naps would be abolished. Not to disappoint my younger self, but I am decidedly NOT the next Celine Dion (that’s still Celine.) My house is not a mansion and I alone am responsible for all cooking, cleaning and laundry in my little corner of the world- but only after a full day of work. If I want some cookie dough, I’m going to have to buy the ingredients, pull out the mixer and make some. I get to do the dishes, too.

But, it’s not all bad. I’m married to a hunk of a man even more handsome than Zack Morris (10 year old Diane is thoroughly impressed.) Naps are now an infrequent but divine indulgence. While I still don’t have a pet dolphin, I do have the two sweetest kitty cats who have ever laid little jellybean toes on this earth. And, now I get to decide what we have for dinner. No more sloppy joes! Sorry, Mom. This caramelized onion, smoked gouda and bacon stuffed chicken is the kind of dinner that takes some of the sting out of being grown up.

Tender, juicy chicken breasts are stuffed with sweet, jammy caramelized onions, luscious smoked gouda cheese and bacon. It’s a decadent, delicious combination that will make it easy to clean your plate, per Mom’s orders. There are a few moving parts, between crisping the bacon, caramelizing the onions and shredding the cheese, but they’re all no brainers. If you caramelize the onions and crisp the bacon on the weekend, this would come together quickly on a weeknight. Or pour yourself a glass of wine and cook yourself a leisurely dinner. Go ahead and pour a second glass, too- you are a grown up after all.

Stay tuned tomorrow for some killer butter roasted potatoes to serve as a side with this chicken!

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Caramelized Onion, Smoked Gouda and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet onions, such as Vidalia, halved then thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp dry white wine
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

Start by making caramelized onions*. These may be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Heat butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, sugar and salt to pan. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally. After about 10 minutes, add 1 tsp thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized. Onions will require more attention as they near the end of cooking. Once brown bits start to stick to bottom of pan, add wine and scrape up brown bits. Entire process will take about 40 minutes. Once onions are done, remove from heat and place in small bowl.

While onions are caramelizing, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Season chicken breasts with kosher salt and pepper. Beginning at the thickest part of each chicken breast, use a paring knife cut a slit about 2 inches wide, taking care not to cut all the way through. Carefully use knife to deepen the pocket toward the top and bottom of the chicken breast, trying not to cut a hole all the way through. The idea is to maximize space for the filling while keeping the pocket neat enough to contain it. Place chicken breasts on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Preheat oven to 350. Once onions are prepared, stuff chicken breasts. Add 1 Tbsp each onions, cheese and bacon to each chicken breast, working the filling all the way through the pocket, toward top and bottom of each piece. Top each chicken breast with 1 Tbsp smoked Gouda and remaining 1 tsp thyme.

Place chicken breasts in oven and bake about 30 minutes or until meat reaches 160 at thickest part. Remove chicken from oven. Preheat broiler. Drizzle remaining 1 Tbsp oil over chicken breasts and return to oven, under the broiler. Broil 1-2 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Some cheese will ooze out during cooking- just scoop it up and serve with the chicken.

Allow chicken to rest 5 minutes, then serve.

Serves 4

*This will make more caramelized onions than you need for this recipe, but why not make some extra while you’re at it. Store in the fridge and put on sandwiches, in omelets or, let’s be real, eat straight from the container.