Cheesy Chicken Florentine (Low Carb, THM- S Friendly)

Someone ask me the other day if I ever had bad days in the kitchen. I just laughed as they  ( my many bad days) all came flooding back to me.  So to answer, I tucked the most embarrassing ones back in the dark corners of my mind for another time and confessed some of the others.  Hey, I need to keep some mystery about me don’t I ? Of course!

Looking back several of those memories cause me to giggle but there are some that make me CRINGE when I think about look and taste of them. I won’t subject you guys to all of my recipe bloopers yet (maybe in the future) but to get a glimpse just imagine my waffle maker that took my husband  days okay a whole week to get clean! Yep, bless his heart he is my biggest supporter and he graciously tackles dish detail in our home. Trust me, taking on a food bloggers kitchen is no easy feat. Some weeks there is a bottomless sink of dishes at all times during the day! Poor guy, but he enjoys when I pay him with the finished treat.

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Thankfully, my latest botched trial for a recipe turned out to be a nice surprise instead of an embarrassing moment that I would like to forget. This creamy and rich casserole was meant to be something TOTALLY different but I got half way into making the dish and realized that I had somehow forgot to purchase some items to finish it. So that recipe just didn’t work out that night but “tada” a nice new family style meal that is so satisfying and super easy to make.

Oh this casserole isn’t going to win any trophies in the “oh so fancy” category but it does score major gold for the “no special ingredients” and “freezer meal” categories. I don’t know about you, but those two trump fancy with this busy girl any day of the week!

My Table of Three Recipe

Now, let me tell you more about why this casserole is a smart dinner option. Remember  earlier I said it was super easy, man did I tell the truth! You just add all the sauce ingredients into your food processor and blend until smooth. After you have blended and set aside your sauce you can then work on the “Florentine” component of the dish but don’t let that fancy word fool you for a second. In this recipe it just means that spinach is involved. I use 10 ounces of fresh cooked spinach that has been sauteed, drained very well and then added to the casserole mix. See, nothing fancy about spinach. I prefer cooking my own spinach from fresh because I think it has a milder taste.  You can absolutely use frozen if it is easier for you also. If you totally are against the spinach you can use kale or even leave it out if you want. In any case just make sure you squeeze all the excess water out of your greens before adding it to your mix or it could become a watery mess.

Oh and word to the wise if you cook your own instead of frozen, wait until it cools completely before squeezing the water out. OUCH! Yep, I am speaking from experience.  In my defense  I was in a hurry to get the casserole done to feed my hungry family and again my zonked brain was lacking energy at the time. It had been a long day but ended well.

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Once you have your spinach cooked and drained you can toss it in a big mixing bowl with your shredded chicken, 4 oz of your shredded cheese and half (1/3 cup) of Parmesan. Next pour your sauce mixture into the big bowl and add in the spices. Once it is all added just stir the mixture up until all ingredient are incorporated. Lastly, pour your mixture into your 13×9 baking dish and top with the remaining cheeses. Bake and serve!  You can find the full recipe and baking temperature below in the recipe section of this post.

If you are making this as a freezer meal you would add it to your pan and top with the remaining cheese. Cover it tightly and put it into the freezer. When you are ready for your meal just thaw it in the fridge the day before and bake it for dinner the next evening. You could bake it straight from frozen but that would add about an hour or more to the cook time, so I highly recommend thawing first. I also love using disposable pans for my freezer meals for faster cleanup later and my hubby thanks me for that each time I do, haha!  I hope you enjoy this casserole around your table as much as we do!

Side dish suggestions: I would suggest a small serving of a nice green salad or other green non-startchy veggies since the casserole has some carbs already from the spinach and sauce. I typically eat about a cup of this as a serving.  It is very filling and satisfying.


 Cheesy Chicken Florentine (Low Carb, THM-S Friendly)

Oven Temp: 350                                   Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz.  Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup  Daisy Cottage Cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Duke’s Real Mayo
  • 2/3 c  Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided equally
  • 8 oz.  Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided in half
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1  (14.5 oz) jar of Prego Artisan Three Cheese Sauce
  • 12 oz. Thawed Spinach (drained and squeezed dry)
  • 2 lb. shredded chicken
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
*Note: When buying your cream cheese, mayo and jarred sauce try to look for the brands that have 1-2 carbs per serving or LESS to avoid over doing it on carbs. The brand I suggest in the recipe are the lowest I have found.

Directions: In a food processor add in your cream cheese, Prego Sauce, cottage cheese, mayo and eggs. Blend all the ingredients in your food processor until it is smooth. In a large mixing bowl add in your shredded chicken, spices, thawed and drained spinach (remember to squeeze extra water out), 4 oz of the Mozzarella and 1/3 cup of the Parmesan. Pour your sauce mixture into the bowl with the the other ingredients and stir until it is all completely incorporated. Once your mixture is ready pour it into a 13×9 baking dish and top with the remaining cheeses. Bake the casserole in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes and serve with a lite salad or non-starchy veggies like green beans.

Cashew Chicken Recipe Review (THM-S)

Chinese food is one of my favorite types of food and if you haven’t been around the blog enough to know that tidbit, you can hop over to my Chinese Pork and Broccoli and my Low Carb Chinese Fried Rice posts to get a glimpse into my love affair. In those posts you will find out that Chinese take out doesn’t love me as much as I love it. Those darn MSGs and processed carbs do a number on me and that has speared me forward on my search for easy and healthier DIY recipes for my favorite Chinese inspired dishes.

 

My Table of Three, Trim Healthy Mama Cashew Chicken, Recipe Review

Thankfully, for those times when I don’t feel like creating my own recipes there are dishes like this “Cashew Chicken” from the new Trim Healthy Mama cookbook out there that can easily satisfy my cravings. This tasty recipe can be found in the book’s “Family Skillet Meal” section on page 65. We love this recipe and I have made it several times now. With this recipe severing 6-8 people it is great for our small family of three with leftovers for our lunches the following day. There are a couple of ingredients that my family doesn’t like so I just leave them out. You might spot which ones are missing if you compare my pictures to the lovely photo in the book but I don’t always cook and tell.  The recipe page in my book has a permanent “dog ear” marking it for easy access.  Although, I have made it enough now to almost remember the recipe without the book, lol.

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This easy recipe is a great way to change up chicken when you are “stuck in a chicken rut”. Yep, there are those mad rhyming skills of mine again, lol! With the recipe falling into the “S” category you can use white or dark meat, making this an easy recipe to adjust to what you have on hand or what is on sale. I love recipes like that, don’t you?  I use boneless and skinless breast meat most often but strictly because I prefer it over the dark. I  have heard some rumbling from my husband about the lack of dark meat in my dishes lately so I plan on using some boneless and skinless thighs or combining the two varieties next time I cook this. I am really glad the ladies included this “S” meal in the cook book but with a few adjustments to the recipe I am thinking you could make it into an “E” dish if you wanted to have it with brown rice. I would suggest looking over the ingredient list carefully and adjusting the items with fat if you choose to convert it. Check the THM Plan Book for guidelines in the “E” fuels. One thing to remember is that in an “E” meal you need to keep your fat grams per meal at 5 or less.  I have not attempted to adapt this recipe myself because I really enjoy the flavor of the Sesame Oil in this dish.  I also save my energizing meals for my breakfast so I don’t see any such changes coming for us.

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There are a few steps to this recipe but they all are pretty simple, not to mention the recipe cooks up fairly quickly once you get all the components prepped. If I had to pick my least favorite part of making this recipe it would be the chopping of the meat and veggies but that isn’t hard for lazy mama to forgive when I taste the finished product. Yum!

I have learned to do some prep the night before while I am cooking dinner so when I go to cook it the next night it goes even faster, yay for faster meals! I have also made this as a freezer meal and it works nicely. I just cook my veggies until they slightly tender (you don’t want them to be mush when you reheat them).  Next, I cook my chicken thoroughly. Then I combine it all, except the sauce, and put it into a 9×13 disposable pan, cover with foil and freeze. When I am ready for the meal I put it in the fridge the night before and let it thaw until I am ready to reheat it for dinner time the next day. As you heat it through just throw the sauce together in the blender. Add the sauce to the “Cashew Chicken” and cook for 5 minutes or so. It tastes just as good pulling it out of the freezer. Win!!

Speaking of taste,this recipe is wonderful just as written but like I mentioned you can adjust the it if there are some ingredients that you or your family don’t like. I was even reluctant myself at first to try it due to the use of Gluccie as the sauce thickener. If you happen to have read my review on the Zapple Crumble then you might already know of my general feelings for Gluccie. The “slimy” feel that this thickening agent lends to my pallet is not one I wanted to taste again.  Yuck to Gluccie has been my motto for a while now.  Yes, I may be weird. I know this (I embrace it!) and I also know there are some of that say it isn’t slimy at all. So I was willing to try again. I am certainly glad I did because it is not overly detectable to me here which surprised and delighted me at the same time!

So if you are like me and you can admit that you are weird are not a fan of Gluccie take a chance on this one like I did. I don’t think you will be disappointed. However, if you don’t want to try Gluccie or if you don’t have any on hand I am confident that the dish would be just as tasty even without any thickeners. Your sauce may not coat your meat and veggies as much since it would be a looser consistency but not a deal breaker in my book.

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So if I wanted to express my feelings on this dish in Chinese I would say to you “它很美味” (Tā hěn měiwèi) and then I would thank Google for helping me look so smart, ha! But since I am just a little southern girl rambling in English I will just say “It is delicious”.

I am sure no matter if you eat it just as it is written in the book or if you make some adjustments to suit your family, you will agree that this is another great recipe from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook. Thanks for stopping by my table today for this recipe review. I hope it inspires you to get in your kitchen and get cooking!

If you have a recipe you would like me to try and review please leave me a comment below and I will see what I can do!