Sunday, April 23, 2023

Chicken Zucchini Bake (Low Carb)


This Chicken Zucchini Bake has a great blend of chicken, zucchini, and mushrooms mixed with shredded Italian cheese, (I use a pizza blend) sour cream, red onion, and egg seasoned with basil, salt and ground black pepper.  It is a quick and easy meal for brunch.


  • 8 ounces of boneless chicken
  • 4 ounces of fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups of shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons of dried basil 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. On a cutting board, dice the chicken into bite-size pieces.
  3. Chop the red onion.
  4. Slice the zucchini and mushrooms.  Cut the zucchini slices in halves or quarters.
  5. Melt the butter in a large pan on medium heat.
  6. Add the chicken, zucchini, mushrooms, salt and pepper to the frying pan.  Cook and stir often until tender, about 5 minutes.  Drain in colander.
  7. In a bowl, mix together the cheese, sour cream, onions, beaten eggs, basil, salt, and black pepper, until well combined.
  8. Stir in the chicken, zucchini and mushrooms until well coated.
  9. Spray a 9" pie pan with non-stick spray.
  10. Pour the chicken and cheese mixture into the pie pan.
  11. Bake 35 minutes
  12. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.


Pasta with Lobster and Shrimp Sauce

This dish is amazing.  Lobster, shrimp, heavy cream, wine, pasta...what more could you ask for?  Well, maybe a bit of Creole or Blackened seasoning...that's what!!!

Make sure you check out the drink recommendations at the end of the recipe.  


  • 3 lobster tails
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil, divided
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine (I used Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay.  I don't believe in using cheap wine to cook with)
  • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • 2 Roma tomatoes diced
  • 1 cup of grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of Creole or Blackened seasoning of your choice. (I used Tony Chachere's Original Creole seasoning when I made it)
  • 1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound of fettuccine (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan, for garnish


  1. Heat a deep skillet over high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, carefully add the lobster tails to the pan.
  2. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Cover and cook for 4 minutes.  Add 3 tablespoons of butter to the skillet.  Turn the lobster tails over, then pour in the wine and cook for 4 more minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place the shrimp in a large mixing bowl and toss with one tablespoon of olive oil.  Add Creole or Blackened seasoning and toss to coat.  Heat another skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of butter.  Once melted, add the shrimp.  Cook 3 minutes per side and then remove from heat.
  4. Remove the lobster tails from the skillet and place them onto a cutting board.  Keep the liquid in the pan as this will be used for the lobster sauce.  Remove the shells from the lobster tails and discard.  Roughly chop the lobster meat.
  5. Add the heavy whipping cream, chicken broth, tomatoes and onion to the same pan that you cooked the lobster in.  Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce for 4 minutes.  Stir in the lobster meat and shrimp and cook for 2 more minutes.
  6. While preparing the sauce, bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Cook your pasta of choice according to package directions until al dente.
  7. Combine the lobster sauce and pasta in the deep sided skillet.  Garnish with parsley and shaved parmesan before serving.

Do not be afraid of this dish.  It looks complicated but it is a fairly easy dish to make that looks amazing when it is done...this is perfect for a romantic dinner for two.

Drink Pairings

For this dinner, a dry white wine is definitely what you want.  We enjoyed the rest of the bottle of Kendall-Jackson chardonnay.

If you prefer a beer, I recommend Gateway Cream Ale from Lockport Brewing Company in Bolivar.  If you don't have access to Lockport Brewing Company beers then I recommend that you move closer...seriously though, if you can't get Lockport beers then I would recommend any of the mass-produced cream ales's been a while since I have had a Genesee Cream Ale... 

If you want a cocktail, I recommend a Sazerac cocktail but you really want to go easy if you are enjoying these cocktails...too many of them and you will be staring into a fireplace and spacing out or you may see Aztec temples... :-)









Sunday, April 16, 2023

Smoked Sausage and Fried Cabbage

(Low carb recipe)

This is a very simple dinner, it is loaded with smoked sausage, onions, and tender fried cabbage.  This recipe has definitely become one of my favorites.


  • 12 ounces of smoked sausage
  • 8 slices of bacon cooked and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper


  1. Slice the smoked sausage into thin rounds
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet over medium heat.  Add the sausage to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until sausage is browned on both sides, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until onion is softened.
  4. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan along with the cabbage and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook the cabbage, stirring constantly, until it becomes tender, about 15 minutes or so.
  6. Serve immediately.
As I have said before, I like things a little spicy, so I add some crushed red pepper flakes to kick it up a notch.  Another good choice to add an additional layer of flavor is to add about a teaspoon of smoked paprika.


 Drink Pairings

I would enjoy a Pinot Noir from Decoy with this dish.  This Pinot Noir has aromas of black cherry, wild strawberry, red currant, black tea and sage, as well as rustic hints of the earthy forest floor.  It is a very bright and balanced wine that has a silky finish.  Cost is around $25.00 per bottle here in Ohio.

If I were going to enjoy a beer with this meal (my recommendation) I would go with any German style beer out there; after all, this is a German dish.  Lift from Madtree Brewing is a very good choice as well as Stiegl Pilsner.

A Manhattan is always a good choice with smoked meat.  You will need 2 ounces of Rye or Canadian Whisky, 3/4 ounce of sweet, red vermouth, a dash of Angostura bitters, and a cherry.  We use Luxardo cherries.  Add all ingredients over ice and stir, strain into a chilled glass and garnish with the cherry served straight up. 







Friday, April 14, 2023

Pan Seared Barramundi with Sweet Peppers and Garlic

and The Best Roasted Ranch Cauliflower

(Crack Cauliflower)

These two recipes are two of my wife's favorites.  I'm a Catholic that really only observes "Lent", nothing else but it is my excuse to eat more seafood. :-)

The first time that I ever made the cauliflower, Julie told me to never bother making cauliflower any other way in the I don't.  Happy Wife-Happy Life.


  • 4 Barramundi fillets (approximately 6 ounces each) or any other "white fish" that you prefer.
  • Salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper (cored and chopped)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper (cored and chopped)
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper (cored and chopped)
  • 3 shallots (chopped)
  • 4 large garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Spice Mixture

  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of Sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper 


  1. Take the fish out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before cooking.  Sprinkle with salt on both sides and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the spices to make the spice mixture.  Set aside for now.
  3. In a medium-sized skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking.
  4. Add the bell peppers, shallots, and garlic.  Season with salt and 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture you prepared earlier.  Cook, stirring regularly until the peppers have softened.  Turn the heat to low and stir in the chopped olives.  Leave on low heat as you prepare the fish.
  5. Pat fish dry and season with the remaining spice mixture on both sides as well.
  6. In a large skillet, preferably cast iron, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking.  Add the fish pieces (you can reduce the heat to medium, if needed).  Push down on the middle (thickest part of the fish) for 30 seconds or so.  Cook fish on one side, undisturbed, until nicely browned, about 5 minutes or so.  Use a spatula, carefully turn the fish over and cook on the other side for approximately 4 minutes until nicely browned as well.  Look for browned edges on the fish before you turn it over.  If parts of the fish are stuck, you should be able to carefully scrape it loose with the spatula and turn it.  If the fish is entirely stuck, then it is not ready to turn over.  Leave it for a little bit, it should release when it is ready to be turned.
  7. Remove fish from heat, immediately drizzle with the lemon juice.  Serve hot with the bell pepper medley spooned on top.

Ranch Roasted Cauliflower


  • 30 ounces of cauliflower florets (approximately 2 medium sized heads)
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons of "Hidden Valley Ranch Dry Seasoning".
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (to taste)


  1. Whisk together oil, ranch seasoning, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
  2. Add cauliflower florets.  Toss well in mixture.
  3. Spread onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Bake in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Serve the roasted cauliflower with freshly chopped parsley and parmesan cheese or if you prefer, enjoy it as is.


 Wine pairings: Josh Cellars Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice for this meal. It is described as aromatic and bright with a crisp, clean finish.  It features lemon and kiwi flavors accompanied by scents of green apple.  Most enjoyed in the summer, you can pair this selection with light dishes such as seafood, summer salads and grilled chicken all year long.

If you prefer a "blush", I recommend Aleatico Rose' from Imagery Estates Winery. This exclusive varietal, sourced from Serres Ranch in Sonoma County, creates the perfect Rose' bursting with notes of sweet strawberry and rose petals.  Ripe red raspberries on the palate enhance the elegance of this well-balanced wine.

Beer pairings:  Virtually every type of beer can work well with seafood due to the multitude of ways that it can be prepared.  With this meal, I would recommend a light pilsner or lager.

Cocktail pairings: I would recommend a "Moscow Mule" made with good vodka such as Tito's, Grey Goose or Ketel One or a Gin and Tonic made with Bombay Sapphire and a lemon instead of a lime.  








Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Chicken and Pasta for dinner...what more could you ask for?

Romano Chicken with Lemon Garlic Pasta 

This dish isn't really "light" but it has a light flavor.  This is one of my wife's favorite dishes.  

The recipe below is for two but is easy to expand as needed for additional servings.


Romano Chicken

  • 1/2 pound chicken breasts, butterflied or thinly cut into cutlets. (I substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs for a bit more flavor)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1 egg
  • dry parsley
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • olive oil for frying

Lemon Garlic Pasta

  • 1/2 pound of linguine or spaghetti or other pasta of your choice
  • juice from 1 lemon, or to taste
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of whipping cream, or to taste
  • salt and pepper


  1. Chicken Romano: Place parmesan cheese in a shallow dish.  in another dish, put beaten egg with dry parsley; in third dish put the panko bread crumbs.
  2. Season chicken cutlets with salt and pepper; dredge with parmesan cheese, dip into beaten egg; press the chicken in panko bread crumbs to coat on both sides; shake off the excess bread crumbs.
  3. Heat olive oil in a pan; add chicken and cook on low heat until golden and cooked through.
  4. Lemon Garlic Pasta:  Cook your pasta according to the package directions; drain (reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water)
  5. Add lemon juice to a pan; add garlic, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until liquid is reduced to about half.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and slowly melt into your sauce, while swirling the pan; add the remaining butter and repeat; stir in the whipping cream and about two tablespoons of the pasta water.
  7. Add cooked pasta and toss to combine.  Serve Romano chicken over lemon garlic pasta and enjoy.
You can enjoy more or less lemon depending on your taste.  Don't be afraid of using lemon zest, it truly adds much flavor to the pasta.  Another thing that you might observe is that sometimes the garlic will turn a light shade of blue.  This is due to a reaction from the acids in the lemon juice and it is completely harmless.


 Drink Pairings:

            Wine:  For this dish, I would recommend a light white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc from             Duckhorn or Kendall Jackson.  Crisp and aromatic, with plenty of citrus flavors, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most food-friendly, white wines.  

            Beer: I would recommend a Peroni or a Moretti with this dish.  Any light pilsner type beer works well with this dish.

            Cocktail: A Prosecco cocktail pairs well with this dinner.  This is a fairly simple cocktail made with 4 ounces of Prosecco, 1 ounce of Grand Marnier and a tablespoon of lemon juice.