Saturday, December 14, 2013


This past summer, we were in Columbus, Ohio for a brief visit and while there made our way to the North Market. In a little spice shop I purchased some Za'atar mainly  because I had never heard of it and was curious to give it a try.

A little background about what it is comes from the blog Serious Eats:

What is Za'atar?

Za'atar the spice blend is a mixture of dried herbs, sesame seeds, and sumac, and often salt, a centuries-old mixture dating back to the 13th century, at least. What those herbs are and how all those ingredients are proportioned vary from culture to culture and family to family. In much of the Middle East, za'atar recipes are closely guarded secrets, and there are also substantial regional variations. In Jordan, the za'atar is particularly heavy on the sumac, so it looks red. Lebanese za'atar may have dried orange zest; Israeli za'atar (adopted from Arab communities much like the American adoption of salsa) often includes dried dill. Unsurprisingly, these variations are a matter of extreme national pride.

There are some standards: the most common herbs are thyme and oregano, and they make up the bulk of the blend. Marjoram, mint, sage, or savory are also common. 

Za'atar is most frequently used as a table condiment, dusted on food on its own, or stirred into some olive oil as a dip for soft, plush flatbreads. That spread is often applied to the bread before baking, which lends incredible depth of flavor to the herbs and sesame seeds. Za'atar also makes a superb dry rub for roast chicken or lamb, as well as on firm or starchy vegetables like cauliflower or potatoes.
In Lebanon, za'atar is most associated with breakfast, a cue well worth taking. Try dusting some on eggs, oatmeal, or yogurt (especially labne). Or add some to your next batch of lemon cookies—lemon, thyme, and sesame are a trio on par with tomato, basil, and mozzerella, perfect in sweet and savory foods.

Many people eat za'atar as-is, out of hand, and it's strangely addicting. When paired with popcorn, even more so. Za'atar's uses are practically limitless and as flexible as its ingredients. But anything goes with this stuff. Fairy dust wishes it tasted this good.
I subscribe to an email newsletter from NPR's Splendid Table radio show. Each week, along with some food trivia they send a great recipe. Of course when I saw a recipe using za'atar I knew I had to try it. I have to say this was a mighty tasty way to serve up a chicken!
The following recipe comes from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi
Roast Chicken with Za'tar and Lemon

1 large chicken, cut in pieces. Be sure to cut the breasts into 2 or three pieces if they are very large.
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 T olive oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 T sumac
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 cup of chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 T za’atar
4 tsp butter
6 T pine nuts
4 T chopped flat leaf parsley


In large bowl, mix chicken with the onions, garlic, olive oil, spices, lemon, stock, salt and pepper. Leave in the fridge to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400. Transfer chicken mixture and its marinade to a baking sheet large enough to accommodate all the chicken pieces lying flat and spaced apart. I line mine baking sheets with parchment which allows for easier clean-up! Chicken should be skin side up. Roast for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in small frying pan, and te pine nuts and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until they turn golden. transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb fat. 

Transfer the hot chicken mixture to a serving plate and finish with the chopped parsley, pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serve with naan, or  pita bread and some garlicky yogurt.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Talk about lucky!

A mother is always happy when her son has had the sense to marry a wonderful woman. But seriously, he got very lucky cause she can really cook! Recently, I have been the happy recipient of just a few of the dishes that she whips up. So, eat your heart out as you see what I've been enjoying and I haven't lifted a finger! Happy Mother-in-Law :-)

Homemade popovers!

Delicious Hot & Sour Soup

Bi Bim Bop!

Shepherd's Pie

Mexican Brunch: scallion potato pancake, bean/salsa tortilla, and mushroom swiss chard saute´

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Got Portobellos? Stuff 'Em!

I had a large package of large portobellos and in the pantry I also had half a bag of Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing--so stuffed mushrooms it was!

Preheat oven to 400

6 large portobellos, stems removed and scoop out the gills with a spoon.
Put mushrooms in baking pan and bake for 10  minutes, then turn for ten more.

In the meantime chop 1/2 and onion and a stalk of celery and sauté in a medium saucepan and then add 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil and add two cups stuffing.

Stuff the mushrooms, and drizzle some jarred marina sauce over each stuffed mushroom and sprinkle a bit of mozzarella cheese on each. Bake for 20 minutes.

Chicken Vesuvio

We eat a lot of chicken and this recipe is a winner. It's quite tasty and quite easy to put together. I modified a recipe I found from the Food Network--thank you Giada!

Chicken Vesuvio
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

4 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken thighs with skin and bones
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, halved
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
8 ounces frozen artichoke hearts 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat the oil in large ovenproof pot over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches if necessary, cook the chicken in the pot until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl. Carefully add the potatoes to the same pot and cook until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the broth, oregano, and thyme. Return the chicken to the pot. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Cover and bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Arrange the potatoes around chicken. Add the artichoke hearts to the sauce in the pot. Cover and simmer over high heat until the artichokes are tender, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Turn heat to low. Stir in the butter. Pour the sauce over chicken and potatoes, and serve.


This is a pretty good jambalaya recipe from Emeril if you have the time to make jambalaya from scratch and aren't taking a short cut and using a mix. This really does just feed four so you might want to double the recipe if you wanted to have leftovers!

Cajun Jambalaya
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

4 servings

12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
4 ounces chicken, diced
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, recipe follows
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3/4 cup rice*
3 cups chicken stock
5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
Salt and pepper
In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning, and work in seasoning well. In a large saucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning.

Per Serving: Calories: 402; Fat: 16g (Saturated Fat: 4 grams); Protein: 24g; Carbohydrates: 38g; Sugar: 4g; Fiber 0g; Cholesterol: 97mg; Sodium: 800mg

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

*we used brown rice so if you do that you need to cook it longer and add more liquid--we also threw in some green peas for good measure!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Put an Egg on it!

When you want a fast, delicious lunch and you happen to have leftover Korean spicy pork in the fridge and a package of Gourmet Spicy Shin Ramyun in the pantry you're in business.

To the package of ramen you add the leftovers, any green veggies (we had brussels sprouts), some chopped mushroom, green onion for garnish---and of course--don't forget to put an egg on it!!

I'm Back!

I have been very lazy about keeping up with this blog! Lots of cooking has been going on the past several months and I have taken some pictures so I will try to post some dishes in the coming days. No promises though-Ha!

Here is a dish that my daughter-in-law made and it's so so so good!

Miso Black Cod---adapted from Nobu
2-3 black cod fillets (about 1 lb)
For the marinade:
1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup mirin
4 tablespoons white miso paste
3 tablespoons sugar
  1. Mix the marinade ingredients thoroughly in a plastic container (with lid) and set aside. Save some for plating purposes.
  2. Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels and put them into the plastic container with the marinate. Cover the lid and leave to steep in the refrigerator overnight or for 24 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degree F.
  4. Preheat a skillet
  5. Lightly wipe off (with fingers) any excess miso marinate clinging to the fish fillets but don’t rinse it off. Place the fish in the skillet and brown on one side for two minutes.
  6. Transfer the fish fillets to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to grease the fish pan and put the fish brown side down. Cook until it flakes easily--don't overcook.
  7. Add a few extra drops of the marinade on the plate and serve hot.
Cook’s notes:
  1. You can substitute black cod for see bass or salmon or any kinds of flaky fish fillets.
  2. There are many different kinds of miso (red, brown, white, and more). Make sure you get white miso.
  3. I like my miso cod more intense with the flavors of sake and miso, and that being said, the marinade sauce might be too watery for plating purposes as one of my readers pointed out. Heat up the sauce to thicken it if you wish to use it for plating. Or if you like, you can reduce the amount of sake and mirin to slightly less than 1/4 cup each.
  4. Use 5 tablespoons miso if you prefer a deeper miso flavor.
She served it with sautéed baby bok choy with garlic, ginger, onion and chopped mushroom and finished with sesame oil, white pepper, and some oyster sauce. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Get Grillin

I am in seventh heaven right now because my son and his wife are visiting. I truly lucked out when my son had the good sense to marry someone who was not only smart, kind, and beautiful but also a fantastic cook! We are eating well and it's such a treat to have a guest chef in the kitchen!

Until just recently they were in Asia for quite some time so one of the things they were craving was burgers. My daughter-in-law saw this dish on the food network and adapted it for us. Very yummy indeed!

Stuffed Burgers with Sharp Cheddar, Bacon and Caramelized Onion

1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
salt and pepper
Frank's Hot Sauce (or your favorite)
Chunk of sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 onion, diced
4 slices of bacon, diced
4 whole wheat hamburger rolls
Butter for buns

Put meat in shallow dish and salt and pepper, some hot sauce and mix gently. (don't overwork the meat)
form 8 patties

Meanwhile, in skillet, brown bacon--remove to drain on paper towels. Remove all but a tablespoon of bacon grease. Sauté onion in bacon grease until translucent.

On four patties, place some cheese, bacon and onion and then top with remaining patties, sealing the edges all around. Grill on hot grill about 4 minutes per side. Remove burgers and let them "settle" for about five minutes while you grill the buttered buns.

Enjoy with anther decadent treat, sweet potato tater tots--The brand is Alexia--look for them at your grocery store--they're darn good :-)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Leftover Chicken? Make Tacos!

I saw a recipe for fish tacos from Sara Moulton, cookbook author and former executive chef at Gourmet magazine. I didn't have any fish but I did have leftover grilled chicken so I switched it up to fit my needs. Most fish tacos have some sort of cabbage mixture and this is a good one. The real stand out, though, is the avocado cream topping--whoa--we're talking tasty. Enjoy!

1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into eighths
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 and1/2 cups shredded savoy or napa cabbage
1/2 cup coarsely shredded carrot
1/2 cup coarsely chopped radishes
1/4 cup white wine or cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
Hot sauce, to taste
2 grilled chicken breasts sliced thinly
Four 6-inch corn tortillas
Sliced fresh jalapeno peppers, to serve
Chopped fresh cilantro, to serve

In a food processor, combine the avocado, buttermilk, 1 clove of garlic, lime juice and salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, then set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the cabbage, remaining garlic, carrot, radishes, vinegar, sugar, lime zest and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. Set aside.
Heat a heavy skillet (such as cast-iron or stainless steel, but not nonstick) over medium heat. One at a time, place the tortillas in the skillet and toast for about 30 seconds per side. As the tortillas are toasted, stack them on a sheet of foil. Wrap the foil around the tortillas, then place them in the oven to keep warm. 

To serve, top each tortilla with a bit of the avocado puree, then slices of chicken. Drain the cabbage mixture, then mound some of that over each portion. Serve with jalapeno slices and cilantro on the side.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cowboy Caviar!

This past weekend we visited family in Ohio and my sis-in-law, Marty, made her signature dish, "Cowboy Caviar" and it was so, so good. It's great as a dip but honestly I could (and did) just put it in a bowl and eat it with a spoon! This recipe makes A LOT.

1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 package frozen baby lima beans
1package frozen shoe peg corn (or yellow corn)
1 can petite diced tomatoes with chilies
1 can petite diced tomatoes with sweet onions
Green pepper finely chopped
1 cup celery finely chopped
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Heat marinade until sugar is melted
Directions :
Mix all together. Refrigerate until ready to eat, serve with tortilla scoops 
or Frito scoops

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tasty Summer Side

I always forget that I have quinoa in the cupboard. Today I remembered and threw this together early in the day so the flavors would have some time to develop. Super easy and healthful!

Quinoa (keen-wa) with Mint and Lime

1 cup quinoa (cooked according to pkg directions)
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 green onions, sliced
2 T olive oil
Juice of two limes
Salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
Handful of mint and flat leaf parsley

Put cooked quinoa in medium bowl-throw the rest of the ingredients in and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.

This dish would be great with sliced radishes, chopped cucumber or whatever sounds good.

I served it with grilled chicken and baked sweet potatoes. Yummy!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Clean Out the Fridge Pasta!

So I knew I had enough of the makings for a pasta dish tonight. I just had to scrounge a bit and it was totally worth the scrounge! The end product was so darn good I need to remember to make this on purpose some time :-)

Roasted Cauliflower and Eggplant Pasta

1 head of cauliflower, broken into fairly uniform medium pieces
1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into large dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
some olive oil
some crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
6 oz. whole wheat spirals
3 plum tomatoes, diced
Parmesan cheese
flat leaf parsley, chopped (4 sprigs)

Preheat oven 425

Prepare 2 jelly roll pans ( I use parchment paper for all my baking)

In large bowl toss cauliflower and eggplant with olive oil, garlic, red pepper, salt and pepper and divide between the two pans.

Roast 40 minutes-rotating pans and turning the veggies after 20 minutes.

During last 20 minutes of veggie cooking time, cook whole wheat pasta according to pkg directions--reserve one cup of pasta water-drain pasta.

When veggies are cooked, turn into pasta bowl, add pasta, chopped tomatoes and sprinkle on some Parmesan--add reserved pasta water to your liking depending on whether you want the dish wetter or dryer. I added maybe 1/4 cup water. Sprinkle on fresh parsley and offer more cheese at the table for those who are cheese heads.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pasta Tonight!

If you like goat cheese, then read on. I made a really really good pasta tonight. And, of course, many of the ingredients could be changed given your particular preferences. The pasta I made tonight included what I had: fresh tomato and 1 lb roasted asparagus--but many other veggies would work just as well.

6 oz. whole wheat spiral pasta

1 lb roasted asparagus--I had roasted this the night before (20 min at 425 oven-tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper) Chop asparagus in one inch pieces
2 plum tomatoes chopped
bunch of fresh basil sliced thinly
6 oz goat cheese (fresh--not the already crumbled kind)
olive oil
1/2 lemon
lemon zest
black pepper

Put the water on to boil. Cook pasta according to pkg.

In a large pasta tossing bowl, put the chopped tomato, the asparagus, crumble goat cheese on top, sprinkle with pepper, drizzle with olive oil, squeeze a half lemon over this mixture and add some lemon zest and sprinkle on fresh basil. Toss all this business around a bit.

When ready to drain pasta, save out a cup of the pasta water. Drain pasta. Turn hot pasta into the bowl and toss with tomato/asparagus mixture. Add some of the pasta water to help make a sauce--the goat cheese will melt making a really nice pasta sauce--that is, if you like goat cheese. But if you don't like goat cheese--why are you reading this? Cause I already warned you in the first sentence.

Ok-this was really tasty!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Crock Pot in May!

I usually find that I think of using my crock pot in the fall and winter when I'm wanting some cozy dishes that cook all day. Today, it was 85 degrees here in Ann Arbor but I still pulled out the crock pot this morning for two reasons: I was going to be gone until right before dinner time and I wanted to make a slow baked dinner but didn't want the oven on all day heating up the kitchen. Crock pot to the rescue!

This is a pretty tasty chicken stew and is nice served over brown rice.

Artichoke Chicken and Olives

pkg of chicken thighs
1 can diced tomatoes
1 pkg frozen artichoke hearts
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 cup sliced Nicoise olives or 1/4 cup of capers, drained
1 red pepper, chopped
3 t curry powder
1 t dried thyme
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper

In the crock pot, combine all the ingredients except the chicken and the red pepper. Stir well. Add the chicken and mix well to get it covered. Cover,  and cook on low setting for 7 to 8 hours. During the last hour, add the red pepper and turn to high and cook for last hour.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Greens and Goat Cheese!

Sometimes you find random things in the fridge and it's fun to figure out how to make it into dinner. So, I had some nice goat cheese, a bunch of kale and some spinach and I thought about trying to make some sort of crustless egg "thing"--I guess a quiche of sorts? The final product was pretty dang good and the ingredients could be switched around quite easily depending on what you have lurking in your fridge.

6 oz. goat cheese
2 oz mozzarella shredded
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 cups half and half
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
1 large handful of spinach
5 oz of deli ham chopped (not needed but I had some that needed to be used in the fridge)
5 green onions sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
oregano, dill, salt and pepper, dried red peppers

Need 10 inch pie plate

Preheat oven 350

In a large lidded skillet, heat some olive oil and put in the greens to wilt--(putting lid on pan can help them steam)--when the greens are wilted add the onions, and garlic and the spices-like a teaspoon of each. Stir and let that mixture cool.

Put eggs, yolks and half and half in bowl and whisk together.

To assemble, spray pie plate with Pam or whatever, put in the greens mixture (if greens mixture seems a bit wet, drain well) Next, sprinkle on ham (if using) then crumble on the goat cheese and mozzarella and lastly pour the egg mixture over all.

Bake 50 minutes.

Let cool at least 20 minutes as it will cut better.

I served with a green salad.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cinco De Mayo!

How about Tuna Tacos? YUM!

1 fillet of Ahi tuna

4 flour or corn soft tortillas
chopped romaine lettuce
chopped tomato
Mexican or Cajun spice mix to season fish
a little olive oil

8 oz of Greek yogurt or sour cream
a couple chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
2 T lemon or lime juice
1 T lemon or lime zest
1 t cumin
1 t salt

Mix all the sauce ingredients together and refrigerate a couple of hours before dinner.

Rub some olive oil on fish and season with spice mixture--taco seasoning, cajun--or salt and pepper-whatever you have around.

Grill tuna on hot grill 3 minutes per side for medium rare. I overcooked my fish a bit but it was still very tasty.

Spread some sauce on tortilla, add some lettuce, add some chunks of grilled fish and some tomato and then wrap up your savory little fish package :-)

I served with a side of rice and corn.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Slow Roasted Round Steak

The other day I was thinking about a dish my mom used to make with round steak and, of all things, a can of tomato soup! She called the dish "steak with tomato gravy" and she always served it with mashed potatoes and dang it was good. So I was thinking about it and decided to make a version of my own. It's really not all that much like the dish she made, but it did make the house smell heavenly as the round steak roasted in the oven today.

Beef top round
olive oil
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato soup
6 carrots, peeled and chunked
salt and pepper
some dried italian herbs

preheat oven 350

In oven proof casserole with lid, brown meat in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. When brown, remove and brown the celery and onions a bit, add all the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil--throw the meat back in the casserole and spoon sauce over--place lid on casserole and put in oven for 2 hours. Would go well with rice, buttered noodles, or mashed potatoes.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quick Shrimp

I always have a bag of frozen cooked shrimp in the freezer because it provides a really quick dinner. All I do is quickly defrost the number of shrimp I need in a pan of cold water--takes just a few minutes. I usually take the tails off before adding them to whatever dish I'm making. Tonight I experimented with one of my new favorite spices: smoked paprika. If you don't have this spice-go get it! So dinner was thrown together so so fast using the shrimp, a quick sauce, Santa Fe flavor quick Uncle Ben's Rice (another pantry staple--rice in 90 seconds) and broccoli.

16 medium frozen shrimp (defrosted and tails removed)
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 T white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T butter
2 T olive oil

Melt butter and heat olive oil in skillet. Add garlic and swirl around--remove from heat cause you don't want to burn the garlic, throw in the shrimp to get them heated up sprinkle on the paprika, salt and pepper and the wine and lemon juice and heat briefly to get it all warm. Serve over some rice.

Pretty tasty :-)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spicy Stuffed Baby Bellas

I saw a couple packages of nice baby portobello mushrooms at the market and thought they wanted to be stuffed with something. I wanted them to be hearty enough for a meal so was thinking of a meat stuffing. In looking around at various recipes most of them called for browning the meat first and then stuffing the 'shrooms. I decided to try something a little different because I wanted them to hold together better. You can make a lot of substitutions in this recipe depending on what you like.

8 baby portobello mushrooms, washed and stems removed
1 lb bulk sausage
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
small package of frozen spinach, cooked, drained and excess moisture squeezed out
1/2 small onion diced
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 T dried Italian herb mix
1 egg beaten
small jar of favorite spaghetti sauce
Parmesan cheese

preheat oven 400

I use parchment paper on my baking pans--so much easier to clean up! Use a large jelly roll pan (baking pan with a lip)

In large bowl mix well: sausage,  all seasonings, spinach, onion, bread crumbs and egg. Divide mixture evenly among 8 portobellos and bake for 50 minutes.

While mushrooms are baking, heat spaghetti sauce. Serve mushrooms topped with some sauce and Parmesan cheese. Add a side salad of romaine, shredded carrot and chopped avocado drizzled with balsamic dressing and a piece of garlic bread and you're good to go!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Easy Stuffed Peppers

Here's a really easy way to make stuffed peppers.

Preheat to 375

4 red peppers, cut in half
3/4 lb ground beef or turkey
1 pkg taco mix
1 cup shelled edamame
6 scallions, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar
Greek yogurt

Brown meat in skillet, drain extra fat,  add taco mix and water called for in directions, throw in the edamame and the scallions and some of the cheese. Spoon into peppers and cover with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Uncover and top with rest of cheese and put back in oven for 10 minutes.

Good side is roasted cauliflower which can bake at same temp. for about 30 minutes.

Top peppers with some Greek yogurt if you wish.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ragu of Chicken

I was at the grocery store and noticed a great deal on a large package of chicken thighs. When I got home I started hunting for a recipe and adapted one of my own from several that looked pretty good. This recipe makes a big pot of ragu which you can use if you need to feed a crowd or you can freeze portions which is what I plan to do. I served it over Trader Joe's Pappardelle Pasta (which I highly recommend). Would also be good with most any kind of pasta, mashed potatoes, or rice.

Chicken Ragu

Large pkg of thighs (4 lbs)
3 14 oz cans of tomatoes, I used two cans of diced and one of stewed.
2 onions, chopped
olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper
1 T of oregano
1 t crushed red pepper
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup Kalamata olives (optional)

preheat oven to 350
Brown the chicken thighs in some oil in batches in large dutch oven or oven proof casserole. Salt and pepper while browning. Set chicken aside and brown the onions. Add the chicken back into the pot along with the garlic and the wine and cook a little, then add the tomatoes and the spices--stir around. Put lid on the casserole dish and bake at 350 for 1 hour 15 minutes. Take lid off for last 15 minutes. When ready to serve, put a couple of the chicken thighs into each serving bowl and shred the chicken, add the pasta and spoon some of the juice from the casserole into each bowl and toss a bit--top with some grated Parmesan and add some bread and you have a tasty dinner.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Fish!

While I was flipping through one of my magazines, I noticed an Easter dinner that featured a glazed ham with horseradish cream as well as a roasted salmon with mint caper pesto. When I was reading the directions, it was mentioned that the horseradish cream also went well with the fish so I  thought maybe our Easter dinner would be: Fish with Two Sauces?  As always I usually change recipes a bit from how they're written. Not because I think I'm such a hot shot but usually because I don't have all the right ingredients. Then, it's a challenge to still make the dish with what I have on hand. Hey, we all get our kicks different ways, right? I have to say that today's effort was a success--this dish really tasted like spring! We here in Michigan can always hope that spring really will arrive sooner or later.

Roasted Salmon with Spring Onions

1 lb salmon
olive oil
bunch of green onions, keep whole but slice long ways
salt and pepper
2 lemon wedges

Horseradish Cream

make early in day to let flavors meld

1 cup non-fat greek yogurt
1 T dijon mustard
1 T prepared horseradish
salt and pepper
1 T cider vinegar

Mix all together and refrigerate

Mint Caper Pesto

Can get this all prepared but don't process until time to serve.

2 cups fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup drained capers
2 T chopped almonds

Put all ingredients in food processor and purée before ready to serve.

Preheat over to 400

Toss green onions with some olive oil, salt and pepper and spread on baking sheet. Put into oven for about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, rub salmon with some olive oil, salt and pepper--heat a heavy oven proof skillet and when good and hot sear/brown the salmon for a few minutes to give it some color. You can remove the green onions and let them sit and put the fish skillet into the the oven and finish roasting for about 20 minutes (depending on thickness of your fish). While fish is cooking, whirl up the pesto.

Serve fish garnished with onions, lemon wedge, and the two sauces. I also roasted some asparagus while the fish cooked. Nice with a sliced baguette and a dry white wine.

This was delicious!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Passover Brisket

    • My mother-in-law always made the best brisket and I was a little intimidated to try one but I took the leap and was rewarded for the effort! She always said to buy "first cut" which I did. She also said to make at least a day ahead so you can slice the meat and put back in the juices. The fat also congeals after refrigeration so  you can more easily remove that as well. Also, it makes dinner easy as the main course is already prepared and you just need to reheat. I served roasted carrots and turnips and fresh green beans along side. This brisket was quite "toothsome" if I do say so myself. 

    • 1 tablespoons tablespoon sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian
    • 1 tablespoon hot paprika
    • 1 tablespoon tablespoon kosher salt (or 2 teaspoons regular salt)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 4-pound beef brisket, patted dry
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
    • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
    • 2 cups water

  • Preheat oven to 350°F 
    Mix together paprika, salt, cinnamon and pepper and rub all over brisket. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wide ovenproof 6- to 8-quart heavy ovenproof pot over medium heat and brown meat on both sides, about 10 minutes. Add onions, garlic and water, then bring to a simmer. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Braise until meat is very tender, about 3 hours. I used a large roasting pan and covered with foil.
    Brisket always tastes better if made up to 1 or 2 days ahead. Cool meat uncovered in sauce, then slice meat and transfer to a 13- by 9-inch baking dish and top with sauce. Chill, covered. Reheat in a 350°F oven, about 45 minutes.
    This makes a lot and unless you have many mouthes to feed, you can freeze for later (which is what I did)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

It all started with a bag of slaw........

I had a bag of slaw in the fridge and I wasn't feeling like making cole slaw. So, I rummaged around in the fridge and pantry and determined that I would put together a soup and it actually turned out quite tasty.

3 carrots, diced
1/2 onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
bag of slaw
1 and 1/2 cups broth (I had beef, but veggie or chicken would work)
1 large can of  peeled tomatoes
1 14 oz can of tomato sauce
1 cup farro  (barley would also work)
some dried thyme 1 t
some dried sage 1/2 t
salt and pepper
some Tabasco sauce 2 t or more if you like spicy.

Sauté onions and carrots in olive oil in large soup pot. Add garlic, all the spices. Stir in slaw, the tomatoes, the tomato sauce, one 14 oz can of water, and the broth. Stir and bring to boil then cover and simmer and hour. This makes a thick soup--you can always thin with more broth if you prefer.

Friday, March 1, 2013

How Do You Like Your Ramen?

There are so many ways you can jazz up a bowl of Ramen. Here I used chili flavor Ramen and added a cut up leftover pork chop, some scallions, and a sunny side up egg. Delish! Served Trader Joe's Pot Stickers first.  As my daughter-in-law says, "When in doubt, put an egg on it"! And, don't forget the Sriracha sauce, either :-)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chicken and Artichokes

Here's a great easy recipe if you like chicken thighs and artichokes. I buy packages of frozen artichokes at Trader Joe's and Meijer and always have them at the ready in the freezer. They are so easy to throw into a dish and somehow make it seem more special than other vegetables. I served this over brown rice and it was quite good.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  •  2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 package  frozen artichoke hearts,
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled or mozzarella (I had mozzarella)


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper; add to skillet, and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium; add garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper, vinegar to skillet. Add red pepper and artichokes and about a cup of water. Put lid on skillet and simmer 20 minutes. When ready to serve, sprinkle cheese over each serving.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Twice Baked Potatoes

My mother used to make these "fancy" potatoes every now and then when we'd have company. She said they were too much bother for just family. Ha!

2 medium baking potatoes
some butter
some plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
chopped green onion
salt and pepper
shredded cheddar

Bake potatoes at 400 degrees for an hour (longer if using large potatoes)

When potatoes are done, carefully remove a large oval from potato and with a teaspoon, spoon out the potato into a bowl leaving the shell intact. Mash the potato with fork adding butter and yogurt, salt and pepper and onion. Spoon mashed potato back into shells, sprinkle on cheese and put back in the oven to heat and melt topping.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Baked Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

I have a very large cast iron skillet which I love. You can cook on the stove top and then finish dishes in the oven. I also just like how it looks :-)

Tonight's dinner was pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself.

whole chicken, cut-up
bunch of Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved length-wise
package of sliced mushrooms
1 shallot sliced
1/4 cider vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven 350

Rub olive oil on chicken and season with salt and pepper
Brown chicken in 1 T olive oil in oven proof skillet in batches--about six minutes per side or until brown enough for your tastes
Remove chicken and brown Brussels sprouts, shallots, and mushrooms--don't cook too long--just long enough to give hem some color
Mix water, vinegar and mustard and pour over vegetables. Place chicken pieces on top of veggies and slide into oven and bake 30 minutes.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Quick Fish!

Here's a dinner that you can put together in 20 minutes flat. Especially if you cheat with your rice and use a package of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice that you nuke for 90 seconds. I used the Brown Basamti Rice and served this with peas. The sauce is good with the rice--yum and quick!

Moroccan Fish With Tomatoes, Capers And Cinnamon

3⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoon cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 (15-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, chopped

1 1⁄2 tablespoons drained capers

1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 pieces firm white fish (I used Tilapia)

Heat cumin in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in tomatoes, capers, cinnamon, and 1⁄4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
Pat fish dry and sprinkle with 1⁄4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, then add to skillet. Cover and simmer until fish is just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside

When the temperatures go below zero, I think SOUP! This one is really easy to throw together and it's mighty tasty, too.

Spicy Sausage Soup

1 pkg of turkey kielbasa, sliced into bite size pieces
some olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 quart chicken broth
1 bunch broccoli rabe chopped
1 pkg. butternut squash cubes (you can peel and chop your own but I'm a wimp and buy it already prepared)
1 can white beans, rinsed
1 T rubbed sage
2 t red pepper flakes

Sauté the onions and chopped turkey sausage in the olive oil in a large soup pot and then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for an hour. It's that easy and that good.