Southern Italian Chicken Thighs

My go-to dinner at least once a week = chicken thighs. I usually marinate them in Trader Joe's Soyaki, or make St. Claire's chicken, a family favorite. But, they lend themselves to other big, bold flavors like briny olives and fire-roasted tomatoes. For you low-carb'ers, serve these over a bed of lightly dressed arugula. For you carb-lovers, a bed of linguine will serve as a delicious bed for all the juices. 

I used Cabot sharp cheddar for the recipe because it is naturally lactose free, yes, you heard me right, it's lactose free! Cheddar is obviously not Italian, so feel free to substitute a fresh mozzerella or an aged Parmesan or Pecorino Romano in its place.

southern Italian Chicken Thighs

Southern Italian Chicken Thighs

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup shredded Cabot Cheddar
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 2 shallots sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de provence
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder, onion powder, herbs de provence, salt and pepper. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, spread out the chicken thighs and drizzle with olive oil and evenly sprinkle on the spice mixture, flip and repeat.

Evenly spread out the minced garlic, sliced shallots, olives, canned tomatoes, and cheese. Add the white wine without disturbing the ingredients. On the middle rack, bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and adjust rack higher for broiling. Broil the chicken for 8-10 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve over a bed of pasta or lightly dressed arugula. Alternately, it would make an awesome sandwich on a crunchy Italian loaf.

The seasoned chicken thighs headed into a hot oven!

The seasoned chicken thighs headed into a hot oven!

Slow Cooker Tomatilla Beef

This has quickly become a go-to dinner recipe for our household. The tender, flavorful chuck roast is as good over rice as it is tucked into corn tortillas. I get a little help from Herdez cooking sauce, but in a pinch any salsa will do. Chuck roast, which is widely used for pot roasts, cooks down in the crock pot beautifully. The fat renders and the meat becomes fork-tender. 

slow cooker tomatilla beef

Slow Cooker Tomatilla Beef

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs, beef chuck roast, cubed into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup Herdez "Tomatilla Verde" Cooking Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • salt
  • pepper
slow cooker tomatilla beef

Directions

Preheat large skillet over medium high heat. Remove excess moisture from cubed beef with paper towels. Liberally salt and pepper the beef. In two to three batches, brown beef in skillet. Do not crowd the pan! Remove beef to slow cooker/crock pot as you brown it. 

Add the sliced onions and garlic to the pan and saute 5-8 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add the onions and garlic to the slow cooker, pour in tomatilla cooking sauce and cumin and stir to combine. Cook on low for 9 hours. 

Remove beef, onions and garlic and allow to rest 10-15 minutes before serving. Pour cooking juices into a gravy strainer and remove excess fat. Reserve juice for serving with the beef. Serve over rice and beans or in corn tortillas.

slow cooker tomatilla beef

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

This was a home run meal for my husband and me. It's a good recipe for a lot of reasons: we like to eat lots of vegetables, we like to do some gluten-free options a few nights a week, and I like to eat low-carb almost all of the time. And, once we learned that Cabot Cheddars are lactose-free, recipes like this, that use cheese as a binder, became an option for us.

For my son, this recipe was a big miss. Our 4 year-old really loves cauliflower, especially when it's roasted. But when you start messing around with his pizza and combining the two, that's when he draws the line.

I looked around online for a recipe to start with and stumbled upon this one from Fit Sugar. It was a good starting point, but with a little tweaking of the recipe, you will get a more consistent (and flavorful) "pizza dough". This recipe, when cooked in a pan or on a griddle could be used as a bun too. I'll post more if we end up making any cauliflower buns for our burgers!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Gluten-Free and Lactose-Free (if you use Cabot Cheddar)

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, large
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or shredded
  • 2 cups cheese, Cabot cheddar 
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Using your grater attachment for your food processor, or with a box grater, grate cheese (if you're using pre-shredded cheese you can skip this step), set aside. Grate cauliflower and garlic cloves. Transfer the cauliflower and garlic to a microwave safe bowl and cook 7-8 minutes on high until softened. Cool mixture.

Shaping the "dough"

Shaping the "dough"

Add kosher salt and pepper to eggs, combine. Add egg mixture and 1 1/2 cups cheese to the cooled, grated cauliflower. Stir to combine.

On two parchment lined sheet pans, split the mixture in half. Shape the "dough" into 1/4 inch thick circles, approximately 8 inches in diameter. 

Bake the "dough" for 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking time. Top the "dough" with sauce, toppings, and remaining cheese. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

The more toppings you add, the more likely this will be a fork and knife pizza. We made two different flavors, and one was pick-up-able, and the other not. Regardless of how we got it to our mouths, both were delicious!