my KETO journey – chicken bundles

Are we weary yet of chicken breast fried, baked, braised, roasted, fricasseed or chicken legs and thighs coated with crushed pork rinds and baked?  Are ya?  This keto challenge can be daunting when meal planning is on the agenda.  Can’t have this, no, can’t eat that, whatever happened to the nice side dish of brown rice or pasta?  Hmmm, out of necessity, new recipes are born.

I have always loved porcupines.  That was my grandmother’s name for cabbage bundles she created with ground beef and rice or ground pork and rice.  Of course by the time she added the onion, herbs and spices and then simmered those bundles in a zesty tomato sauce, all hands were on the dinner table waiting impatiently for her bowls of porcupines.  Served with a slice of homemade bread – Lord, it don’t get any better than that.

Ground chicken!  Yep, that’s right.  Grandma’s recipe can be just as delicious with ground chicken, a meat about half the price of ground beef.  With the keto plan we are no longer limited to lean breast meat.  No, just go ahead and enjoy the fat-enhanced flavor of dark chicken meat.  Of course, organic is a nice choice, but, we can’t always choose the organics which usually cost twice as much.

HERE ARE THE INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lb ground chicken preferably dark meat and breast meat
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can finely diced tomatoes
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped including leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 4 large outer cabbage leaves (for 2 servings)
  • 3-4 tbs butter (yes, I said tablespoons – butter is now our friend)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 12 toothpicks
  • salt and pepper to taste

If you have fresh herbs, that’s wonderful.  Just remember to adjust your amounts.

DIRECTIONS
  1. Start with the cabbage by carefully removing intact 4 of the outer leaves
  2. Place them in a steamer basket and steam until barely tender.  You want the leaves to be pliable but not mushy.
  3. In a bowl mix the chicken, onions, garlic, carrot, celery, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper.
  4. Place the butter to melt in a medium sized saucepot.
  5. Take each cabbage leaf, spoon 1/4 of the meat mixture onto the leaf and wrap into square bundles with the denser rib section as the last overlap.  Insert 3 toothpicks into each bundle.
  6. The butter, having melted over a medium high heat, is now ready to saute the bundles about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the bundles to a plate and add the tomatoes, the basil and oregano to the saucepot allowing the mixture to come to a boil.
  8. Return the chicken bundles, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook 30 to 45 minutes, basting a few times with the tomato sauce.

35

GABBY COOKS-stewed chicken breast

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.  It serves 2.

I have always preferred dark chicken meat, legs & thighs, thinking it to be more flavorful.  But, chicken breast with skin and bone intact is a healthy alternative  and equally delicious.  I believe it cooks up moister and more tender than skinless & boneless breast.

When my recipe uses crushed garlic and herbs, I sprinkle the crushed garlic on my cutting board with the herbs and a pinch of salt and then chop vigorously.  The resulting blend works nicely in any recipe, especially when one of the herbs is dried rosemary.  

These are the ingredients

 

  1. (1) plump chicken breast with skin and bone
  2. (1) 14oz can of diced tomatoes
  3. (4) medium-sized red potatoes, unpeeled and diced
  4. (1/2) cup diced onions
  5. (2) strips bacon sliced into bite sized pieces
  6. (1/2) cup diced pepper, green or any color
  7. (2) TBSP butter
  8. (2) TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  9. (1/2) tsp dried rosemary
  10. (2) cloves garlic smashed
  11. salt & pepper to taste
  12. optional 1/2 TBSP dried parsley
  13. optional 1/2 tsp dried thyme 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. in a heavy stew pot render the bacon and drain excess fat 
  2. add the butter and olive oil and heat till butter is melted
  3. place the chicken breast skin side down in the oil and butter and brown lightly
  4. remove the chicken breast
  5. add the garlic and onions and saute till golden, do not scorch the garlic
  6. add the potatoes and green pepper, stirring to coat and allow to cook about 4 minutes
  7. add the seasonings and the can of tomatoes, stir to mix all the ingredients
  8. place the chicken breast, skin side up, atop all and cover with tight lid
  9. reduce heat to barely bubbling, you want this to cook slowly
  10. check often and stir to prevent scorching
  11. tomatoes and potatoes should add enough moisture, you want this a thick stew-like consistency, but add water or broth if necessary
  12. cook for about 45 minutes

TO SERVE

Remove the chicken breast to a cutting board and allow to set about 5 minutes.  Remove the skin and meat from the bone.  Slice the meat.  This can be eaten as a plate entrée or a bowl-style stew.  If plating it, spoon a generous helping of potato mixture on the plate and top with the chicken slices.  If serving as a stew, spoon a hearty helping of potato mixture into the bowl, add the chicken slices and blend.