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maple mustard chicken

We eat a lot of chicken so I am always searching for new recipes, which would seem to be easy, but I find it daunting.   This may be your new go-to chicken recipe!!!  It’s hard to believe that with so few ingredients and so little effort,  it delivers big on flavor!!  I have seen a few different variations on this recipe, but this is by far the easiest and for us, the tastiest.  Try it tonight!!!

•    canola oil
•    4 chicken cutlets
•    ½ cup flour
•    ½ cup maple syrup
•    1/3 cup dijon and stone ground mustard
•    brown rice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in skillet on medium high heat.  Dredge chicken in flour and brown on both sides – about -3 minutes. 

Place chicken in baking dish. 

In small bowl, combine syrup and mustards in a bowl . . .  you can use any mustard you like, but I found the dijon combined with stone ground was perfect. 

Pour over chicken.

Cover and cook for 30 minutes. 

Serve over rice and spoon sauce over.

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lemon rosemary chicken

Not much to say on this one!!!  It took me less than ten minutes to get into the oven, and clean up was a breeze. The flavors are light and fresh and delicious with any side dishes.

•    2 chicken breasts – bone in
•    1 medium or two small lemons – sliced
•    5-6 garlic cloves – peeled and slightly smashed
•    3 sprigs of rosemary
•    olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. 

Place in small baking dish and add lemons slices, garlic cloves and rosemary. 

Drizzle olive oil over all ingredients and spread all over.

Bake for 40 minutes.  Turn on broiler and broil for five minutes.


 Make sure you eat the roasted garlic!!!

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roasted cauliflower soup

I am on a roasting kick lately, pretty much roasting everything with just olive oil, salt and pepper.  I came across this soup on Epicurious last month and have made it at least four times.  It’s a soup you can make anytime because it really doesn’t take a lot of preparation or cooking time, as long as you have this immersion blender .  I know it’s a bit pricey, but you do really get what you pay for.  This is my THIRD immersion blender, and although my first two were not inexpensive, they did not do the job this one does, and were not worth the time using them.  With this one, it actually took less than three minutes to puree the soup into a perfectly smooth somewhat chunky consistency, which I prefer, although you can spend another minute to make it even smoother.  One of the four times I made it in the last month, I used only one cup of half and half, and it wasn’t quite as creamy and rich as it was using cream, but it was still delicious.  This may not be the prettiest soup you will ever serve, but it sure may be the most delicious – the roasted garlic and shallots compliment the cauliflower with every bite.

  • 2 heads cauliflower
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon thyme – chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Cut cauliflower into florets. In a large baking pan, toss cauliflower, garlic and shallots with oil to coat

Roast for about 30 minutes until golden.

In a large Dutch oven, simmer broth, water, roasted cauliflower mixture and herbs for about 30 minutes until cauliflower is tender.

Discard bay leaf.  With immersion blender, puree the soup. 

Stir in cream and salt and pepper to taste and heat through.

Serve

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ribollita – italian vegetable soup

It’s Fall!!

It’s 11:30 a.m. and 65 degrees outside!!

The forecast for Thanksgiving week is low to mid 60s!!

Does it get much better than that?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot – there is not a tree in sight with the true colors of Fall!!!

I have to decorate the house with fake Fall leaves, fake pine cones, fake acorns, and candles with fake scents just so I can pretend and be transported to small cabin in Vermont nestled among the trees all glistening with varying hues of Fall and being warmed by a wood burning crackling fire.

Living in Southern California can be a crap shoot when it comes to Fall weather. Often, at least a third of the Fall season is at least 75 degrees, and that is not a good thing!! This is really the only time I miss living on the east coast. I truly love and appreciate every other season in Southern California, but when it comes to Fall, we really fall short (no pun intended).

One of the best things about Fall for me (besides having several days off from work) is soup. There is something so comforting about a big stockpot of vegetables simmering on the stove.

If you love vegetables, you will love this soup. Even if you don’t love vegetables, you may like this soup. It is easy to make. It is hearty. It is healthy. It is filling. It is delicious. ‘

Try it this weekend!!

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

  • 3 cans cannellini beans

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 4 oz pancetta chopped

  • 2 onions – chopped

  • 3 carrots – chopped

  • 1 cup zucchini – chopped

  • 2 stalks celery – chopped

  • 6 cloves garlic – minced

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 28 oz can of plum tomatoes in puree-chopped

  • 4 cups Savoy cabbage – chopped

  • 4 cups Kale – chopped

  • ½ cup basil leaves – chopped

  • 6 cups chicken stock

  • 4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crust removed

  • 1 3″ rind of Parmesan (optional)

  • ½ cup grated Parmesan for serving

  • salt

Drain the beans and place half in food processor with a little chicken stock.

Puree until smooth.  Set aside with the whole beans.

 Heat oil in heavy large pot.

 Add pancetta and onions and cook over medium low heat for 7-10 minutes,

until onions are translucent.

 Add carrots, celery, zucchini and garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes.

Cook over medium low heat for 7-10 minutes until veggies are tender.

Add tomatoes with their puree, cabbage, kale and basil.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally another 7-10 minutes.

Add bean puree to the large pot, along with the rest of the whole beans. Add 8 cups of chicken stock and Parmesan rind and bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Add the bread to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Taste for seasoning and serve in large bowls sprinkled with Parmesan and olive oil

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chicken and chard

“What’s this green stuff?”   This is what I hear if it’s green and on the plate.  Vegetables are not on my husband’s list of “favorite things” and it can be challenging to serve them.  I have spent years and years of experimenting, begging and resorting to camoufloge.  A few years ago, I was able to not only sneak by the cauliflower au gratin, but he actually had seconds.  To this day, he doesn’t know what he ate. . . that is, until now. . . oops.

My new favorites are bok choy (a later post) and chard.    I get a lot of it with my organic produce delivery Farm Fresh to You,  and rather than substituting it with a more familiar item, I decided to tackle it head on.   After going through several recipes, I found this from Everyday Food and proved to be a perfect recipe to try.  He loves chicken and carrots, so all I needed to do was get him to love tolerate chard.  This is pretty healthy and quick (less than an hour from start to finish) and only takes one pot, so clean up is easy.  The lemon sets it off nicely and I think you will enjoy it.  Bottom line – my husband actually said it was good.

• One whole chicken cut up

• olive oil

• salt and pepper

• 3 garlic cloves – chopped

• 1 bunch of Swiss Chard leaves torn into 2 inch pieces

• 1 onion – diced

• 3 carrots – diced

• 2 teaspoons lemon zest

• 1 ½ cups basmati rice

• 2 ½ cups chicken broth

Season chicken with salt and pepper

Heat oil on high in a large Dutch Oven with a tight fitting lid. Add chicken, skin side down and cook for 12 minutes, turning once.

 Remove to a plate

Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, onions and carrots. Cook until onions are translucent – about 4 minutes.

Add chard leaves, lemon zest and rice – cook about 1-2 minutes.

Add broth and bring to boil.

 

Reduce to simmer and arrange chicken (skin side up) in pan.

Cover and cook about 25 -30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Remove and let set for 5 minutes before serving.  Serves four.

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French Onion Barley Bake

French Onion Barley Bake

 

A good friend of mine gave me this family recipe.  She has always been a really good source for unusual, but incredibly yummy dishes.  I know.  I know.  Canned soup and canned mushrooms?    Are you kidding me?    Have an open mind. I am sure glad she convinced me to try this!!!    Since, I have been on a real grain kick — this was perfect!!   These are those comforting cold weather dishes that pretty much go with everything.  I made this after work one evening, so needless to say, it is very simple to prepare.  

• 1 cup pearl barley

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 2 10 1/4 ounce cans of Campbell French Onion Soup

• 1 4 ounce can of mushroom pieces with liquid

• 1/4 cup of water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in large skillet. Add barley and cook until golden brown.

 

 Add the soup, mushrooms with liquid and water.

Bring to a boil.

 

 Pour into baking casserole dish and cover tightly.

(I used a small Dutch oven).

 

Bake for one hour.

As you can see, the mushrooms float to the top and

make a nice presentation.

 

 Makes 6-8 servings.

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White Bean Provencal Soup

I love soup.  I love soup so much that I still make it when it’s 85° outside, like yesterday when I made this delicious White Bean Provencal Soup.  Often when the rest of the country experiences miserable bone chilling weather, we experience a heatwave.   This occurred a few weeks ago when I warmed the house making my Beef Bourguignon when it was in the 90s.  Hopefully by Christmas, it will be cold again . . . ok ok, cool again.

I prefer brothy soups and thus live in a house divided.  My husband’s idea of soup is anything with heavy cream and his favorite is New England Clam Chowder, which I do not make because Santa Monica Seafood makes it so good.   I rarely get him to try my brothy soups, with one exception  Veggie Beef Soup, which he does love just because it has short ribs in it.  I found this  Provencal soup recipe in my mother’s old recipe box and it brought back those memories of trudging home from school in that miserable bone chilling weather and a bowl of my mom’s soup made it seem like 85 °.  Soup makes everything better.

• 1-2 ounces pancetta – chopped

• 1 pound chicken pieces – bone-in

• 2 14.5 ounce cans Cannellini beans – drained

• 2/3 cups yellow split peas  – such a pretty color

• 2 tablespoons Herbes de Provence

• 1 tablespoon parsley

• 8 cups chicken stock

• 2 cups onions – chopped

• 2 cups celery – chopped

• 6 cloves garlic – minced

• 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

In a large stock pot, heat oil and add pancetta.  Saute for about 3-5 minutes.

Add onions, celery and garlic. Saute 3-5 minutes.

Add chicken stock, beans, chicken, tomatoes and spices. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat and cover. Simmer 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  Remove chicken and pull meat from bone and stir meat back into pot.

Serve with crusty sourdough.

Serves 6

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Farro with Herbs and Cheese

Farro with Herbs & Cheese

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

When I was trying to cut down on carbs, which included pasta, I became intrigued with other grains – Couscous, Quinoa and Farro.   Seemed like healthy whole grain goodness, so I decided to try one of them. Being rather lazy, I picked couscous.   The only good thing about couscous for me was that it as indeed easy to make.  On to Quinoa.

 

Before that experiment, a friend of my mine told me if you don’t like couscous, you won’t like Quinoa, so I moved on to Farro. I was hesitant to try it because the only Farro I could find was not cheap and I didn’t want to end up with an expensive pile of cardboard mush.

 

Then one Saturday morning, when there wasn’t a sporting event on TV and I was able to commandeer the remote, I turned on Food Network. There was Giada making a Farro dish for some of her friends who were loading up on carbs before some sort of 10K or marathon.   Since my running days are over (actually they never began), I almost passed on the recipe, but Giada made it look so delicious.  So I raided the piggy bank, bought the Farro and tried it that weekend.   It almost prompted me to go out and run a few miles . .  . almost.

 

I first made it as a side dish with chicken breasts. Then I made it as a side dish with pork chops. Then I fried an egg and put it on top of the leftovers the next morning. Then I ate the leftovers cold out of the fridge. Get the picture?  This is really good stuff and healthy!!!  It may make you go out and run a marathon!!

 

Directions

  • Butter for baking dish

  • 1 pound farro

  • 4 cups water

  • 4 cups chicken stock or broth

  • 2 tablespoons salt

  • 2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar

  • 2 cups grated mozzarella

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 3 tablespoons Herbes de Provence

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon pepper

  • 4 ½ inch thick slices of multi-grain bread torn into ½ inch pieces

  • olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 and put rack in center. Butter a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Set aside

 

Farro – Bring farro, stock water and salt to boil in large saucepan or stockpot, over medium-high heat.

 

Reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer for about 25 minutes until tender. Drain in a colander.

 

While cooking, mix together the cheeses, milk, Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper.

 

Add cooked and drained Farro and stir until coated.

 

Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish.

 

Arrange bread pieces on top of the farro mixture and drizzle with olive oil.

 

Bake for 20 minutes until top is golden brown. Let sit for 5 minute and serve.

 

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