I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
January 22, 2019
I’ve spent the last year completely overhauling my family’s diet in an effort to eat healthier meals without sacrificing taste. For us, this has meant buying organic, whole foods without added ingredients as often as possible and eliminating wheat and gluten whenever we can. Trying healthier recipes (I’m partial to Paleo recipes) has introduced me to all kinds of substitutes I can use in our traditional favorite meals, and I’m excited to share some of my favorite adaptations with you.
For years, one of my favorite chicken recipes came from an ancient Good Housekeeping cookbook I was given when I got my first job and apartment after college. It was called Chicken Oporto and white port wine gave the dish its signature flavor. The trouble was, white port wine isn’t all that popular and going to the liquor store for a recipe ingredient isn’t something I like to do on a regular basis. I began substituting either cooking sherry or marsala for the port wine, depending on what I had on hand, and while the flavor was different, it was just as good.
Recently, I’ve made more changes to make the dish even healthier and tastier. I’ve switched out white flour with almond flour. I use Crimini mushrooms, which have far more flavor than white mushrooms. And I use the meat from a whole roasted chicken instead of raw breasts. I think a combination of white and dark meat tastes better in the mix. I also abandoned the white rice I used to spoon the dish over in favor of riced cauliflower. And just like that, I’ve transformed this dish into a low-carb, healthy meal that tastes wonderful — My whole family of picky eaters loves it.
If you haven’t used almond flour before, don’t worry — It’s available just about everywhere now. Kroger has even begun making a Simple Truth version. You can find it either in the baking aisle with other specialty flours or in the natural foods section.
You can buy riced cauliflower at the grocery in the frozen section or the produce section — but it’s easy to make it yourself if you’d prefer. Just cut up a head of cauliflower and put a few handfuls at a time in the food processor on low, until it reaches a rice-like consistency. I heat olive oil in a large skillet, add the riced cauliflower, mix it in with the olive oil, cover it, and let it steam on the stove for about five minutes. For this recipe, you don’t need to add any extra ingredients to the cauliflower — The cream sauce and chicken will provide plenty of flavor.
Clean out your skillet and add a stick (½ cup) of butter. Once that’s melted, add a half pound of sliced Crimini mushrooms and cook them for five minutes. Remove them from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set them aside.
When I make this dish, I roast a chicken earlier in the day and use the meat I’ve carved from it. This is a double-duty act for me because I use the chicken carcass to make bone broth, which I use in just about everything. However, you can use a package (about a pound and a half) of any chicken you like — breasts, tenders, thighs, whatever floats your boat — and it doesn’t even have to be cooked. You will prepare it exactly the same way and simply let it simmer in the sauce for 20-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and fork tender.
Mix your almond flour, salt, pepper, and ground nutmeg up in a container and use it to coat your chicken. If you want to make the more traditional recipe, you can use regular flour in the same amount as the almond flour. If you’re using raw chicken, cut it into smaller strips or pieces before coating.
Place the chicken in the skillet and brown it on all sides. Add a little more butter or cooking oil if needed.
Once the chicken is browned, stir in cream, marsala or sherry, and mushrooms and heat the mix to boiling. Turn down the heat to low, cover, and simmer 10-15 minutes — 30 minutes if you’ve used raw chicken.
Spoon over riced cauliflower and you’re done!