Tag Archives: lactose free

Matrimonial Magic: Smoky Chicken Paprikash

Smoky Chicken Paprikash

Smoky Chicken Paprikash

When I think back on significant life events…certain wonderful memories spring to mind.

  • The first time I rode a horse.
  • My first kiss.
  • The first time I discovered the joys of Excel pivot tables.

As every ying must have its yang, I also have less than pleasant memories seared in my mind.

  • The first time I fell off a horse.
  • The first time a guy didn’t say “yes” when I asked him out (frankly, I’m still shocked)
  • The first time other people realized that I knew how to work Excel pivot tables.

But perhaps no moment was more upsetting, more devastating, more life-changing than the moment my husband unequivocally declared to me those words every spouse most fears hearing:

 “I am lactose intolerant.”

Like any good Yankee I went through the necessary phases of denial, anger, espionage (secretly trying to add dairy to Matt’s meals, convinced it was all in his head) and shame.

Two years later I am proud to say that I have finally processed this reality and am working towards finding ways to peacefully live with it. It does mean that whenever I go out to eat I almost always order something with dairy, or that whenever I host book club the ladies can be assured of a cheese laden menu. There are even moments when I just beg forgiveness and cook something with dairy anyway. But most of the time, I find that my marriage is better if it’s dairy free.

Discovering this Smoky Chicken Paprikash dish was like winning the lottery because it’s healthy, easy, and despite being very creamy and delicious, dairy free.  A perfect weeknight dinner, serve with some brown rice and mixed green salad. Great leftovers too.

Smoky Chicken Paprikash (Adapted from Fitness Magazine)
Serves 4

4 tsp canola oil
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus additional to taste
2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
1/2 cup dry white wine
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dairy free sour cream (such as Tofutti)
1 tablespoons minced fresh dill
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add 2 teaspoons of the canola oil. Season the chicken with the salt and black pepper; add to the pan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes to sear. Turn and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

2. Add remaining oil and the bell peppers and onion to skillet. Saute, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Peppers and Onions

3. Add the garlic and paprika; saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

4. Return chicken to skillet, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.

5. In a small dish, whisk the flour into the sour cream. Slowly add to the sauce and simmer 3 minutes more. Stir in the dill and lemon juice and season to taste with additional salt and black pepper. Serve over brown rice.


Filed under Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Uncategorized

Day 30: Gourmet Meatball Subs

I can be a bit of a snob sometimes.

I don’t mean to be, but there are moments when seemingly out of my control, my East Coast upbringing kicks in and up my nose turns. It might be the result of poor manners, tacky decorating, or bad food. You know what I mean…those meals they served in elementary school like Sloppy Joes or Tuna Casserole? Up until a short period of time ago I would have included Meatball Subs in the shun-worthy category. That is…until I tried the recipe from the “Tartine Bread” cookbook.

Tartine Bread

The book that changed it all

These things are amazing. Granted…the addition of pesto, fontina, and arugula definitely provide for a lift in status, but in addition to that they’re just really dang tasty.

Having reached Day 30 of my “Month of Exploration” these feel like the perfect culinary representation of what I’ve learned: Faster isn’t always better, glamorous isn’t always worth it, and sometimes it’s okay to admit you’re happy with just plain ‘ol good.

Serve these for a casual weeknight dinner with friends paired with a great bottle of red wine, such as a Malbec.

Gourmet Meatball Subs, adapted from Tartine Bread to make a bit easier to prepare and lactose free

Serves 6

3 TB Olive Oil

1 large white onion, chopped

1 lb ground beef with at least 20 percent fat

1 pound ground pork

4 large eggs

2 cups panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

3 cloves garlic, chopped

Two 16-ounce cans chopped tomatoes (splurge on the good, organic option)

6 crusty sub rolls, or one large crusty baguette cut, split in half lengthwise

Good pesto, store-bought (yes, homemade is better, but for a Wednesday, store-bought is just fine)

6 slices fontina

2 cups baby arugula

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9×12 baking dish. To make the meatballs, in a large deep skillet over medium-low heat, warm 2 TB of the olive oil. Add the onions and saute until they are translucent and beginning to color, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. In a large bowl combine the beef, pork, eggs, panko, parsley, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and cooled onions. Mix well to combine. Form the meat mixture into balls the size of golf balls. Add to the baking dish and bake until cooked through, but not overcooked, about 25 minutes.


Ingredients for the meatballs

Meanwhile, in the onion skillet add the remaining 1 TB olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and deglaze the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned residue. Bring the tomatoes to boil and reduce the heat to very low. Add the cooked meatballs to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.

Simmering meatballs

Simmering meatballs

Spread the top half of each roll with the pesto spread. Add the cheese to the bottom half (skipping if you’re making lactose free) and top with meatballs and sauce. Add the top back on and loosely wrap in aluminum foil. Bake until the cheese has melted and the bread is crispy and toasted, about 25 minutes. To serve, unwrap from the foil, top with fresh arugula, and offer extra sauce for dipping.


Filed under Comfort Foods, Lactose Free, Month of Exploration