Tuesday, November 29, 2011 0 comments

Chicken and Rice

It doesn't look very colorful but it's quite tasty.
This recipe is based on one from Pierre Franey's The New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet.

I’ve reduced the meat, increased the rice, substantially reduced the fat and replaced the white wine—which I never have on hand—with a good sherry. This recipe works well with roasted broccoli. Although this recipe may sound similar to the chicken, Swiss cheese and rice recipe I posted earlier this year, they taste quite different from each other.


4 to 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 T butter
½ C finely chopped white onion
1 clove garlic, put through a press (more if you like, which I definitely do)
½ pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 bay leaf
½ good sherry, not cooking sherry
1 C raw white rice (see notes below if you want to use brown rice)
1 ½ C chicken broth or water


  1. In a large skillet that can hold all the chicken pieces in one layer plus the rice, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and brown for about 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the chicken, and add the onion, garlic, mushrooms and bay leaf. Make sure these don’t rest on the chicken but are getting sautéed. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the sherry and cook until it’s almost all evaporated. You may want to turn the chicken pieces during this bit so they all get a nice bath in the sherry.
  5. Add the rice and broth, and make sure the rice doesn’t rest on top of the chicken pieces.
  6. Cover closely and cook for 20 to 30 minutes over low heat until the rice is done.
  7. Enjoy!


  • If you use bone-in chicken, you will need to increase your cooking time in steps 2 and 3.
  • If you use brown rice instead of white rice, you’ll also need to increase the cooking time listed in step 5 to about an hour. You may also need to add extra liquid to the pan.
  • This dish also makes a great side dish if you omit the chicken.

Roasted Broccoli

I get tired of steamed vegetables. This is my go-to option for broccoli any more.


1 head broccoli (or a crown)
Olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Cut the broccoli into flowerets.
  3. Toss with a bit of olive oil. Don’t drown the broccoli—if you have a Misto sprayer, this is the perfect time to use it.
  4. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil (for easier clean-up).
  5. Roast for about 15 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!
Thursday, November 24, 2011 0 comments

Honey-roasted Almonds

Be warned, these won't last long. I made a batch for Saturday night's soiree and they vanished. Then I made a batch yesterday and they lasted about 90 minutes. I'm making another batch today and expect similar results.


12 ounces raw almonds
2 T honey
2 T water
2 t canola oil
1/4 C sugar
1 1/2 t salt

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Place the almonds in one layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes until roasted.
  3. While the nuts are roasting, mix the sugar and salt in a bowl large enough to hold all the nuts, and set aside.
  4. About 10 minutes before the almonds are finished, mix the honey, oil and water in a large frying pan and heat almost to boiling.
  5. Add the toasted nuts to the pan. If the liquid hasn't already come to a boil, the heat of the nuts will make it boil. Stir over medium heat until all the liquid is gone.
  6. Put the coated almonds in the bowl with the sugar/salt mixture and stir until the nuts are entirely coated. You may have some extra sugar/salt mixture left over. You can save it for the next batch of nuts (because there will be a next batch).
  7. Enjoy!
Saturday, November 19, 2011 0 comments

Cranberry Sauce

Just in time for Thanksgiving! This recipe is based on a Food & Wine recipe I found about eight years ago. I never liked cranberry sauce until I made this and now I adore it. Serve the sauce warm or at room temperature; you can make this ahead of time and store it refrigerated for up to two weeks.


½ C port (I've used tawny and ruby port and generally prefer a ruby port)
½ C raspberry juice (cran-raspberry is fine)
12 ounces fresh cranberries
¾ C sugar


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the port and juice and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the cranberries and sugar and simmer over moderately low heat until the sauce is jam-like and most of the berries have popped, about 25 minutes.
  3. Enjoy!
Monday, November 7, 2011 0 comments

Oven Roasted Potatoes

These potatoes cook up easily, require little in the way of prep or attention and you can add carrots, onions, garlic or even nasty turnips or parsnips to them. As pictured, I used just potatoes because I served them with the Sunday Dinner Pot Roast which already had carrots and onions.


1 pound red potatoes, washed and cut into large chunks
About 2 t olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Line a jelly roll pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Toss the potato chunks with the olive oil until they are lightly coated.
  4. Place the potato chunks on the pan and bake for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  5. Add salt and pepper at the table
  6. Enjoy!

Sunday Dinner Pot Roast

I never actually made pot roast as a Sunday dinner but you could, very easily. Actually you can make this for dinner almost any day you have about 30 minutes of prep time in the morning. Your slow cooker does the rest.


2 ½ pounds beef or chuck roast
2 T flour
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (I prefer white onions)
6 to 8 baby bella mushrooms, quartered
1 C carrots, peeled and diced into large chunks
4 cloves garlic, put through a press
1 sprig fresh rosemary or 1 t dried rosemary
Several sprigs of thyme—strip the leaves into the slow cooker OR 1 t dried thyme
2-3 T tomato paste
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes; reserve some of the juice in a small bowl
2 C red wine, like Merlot (boxed is fine)


  1. In a sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Put the roast into a large plastic bag along with the flour. Keeping the bag closed, shake the bag until the roast is lightly coated with the flour.
  3. Sauté the roast in the pan until browned on all sides.
  4. Meanwhile, put the onions, carrots and garlic into your slow cooker.
  5. When the meat is browned, place it on top of the mixture in the slow cooker.
  6. Add the mushrooms to the sauté pan and sauté until done.
  7. Put the mushrooms in the slow cooker.
  8. Add the herbs.
  9. Add the tomatoes and all the juice except what you’ve put in the small bowl.
  10. Stir the tomato paste into the reserved tomato juice and then add to the slow cooker.
  11. Cook on high for about six hours or on low for eight to ten hours.
  12. Cut the meat into pieces and serve with the juices and veggies and possibly the roasted potatoes.
  13. Enjoy!
Friday, November 4, 2011 0 comments

Fra Diavolo Sauce

A week or so ago, Kent enjoyed a Fra Diavolo shrimp dish at a restaurant and decided to create his own version. So he took a basic tomato sauce recipe we love (created by Oyster Evangelist) and tweaked it to come up with his own version.

When I made this the other night, I had some chicken sage sausage on hand so I diced that up and sautéed it and added it in. The sauce is equally good with no meat—it’s got lots of flavor all by itself. Cut down the red pepper flakes and the cayenne if you don’t like things hot.


4 T (1/2 stick) butter
1 small onion, minced (1 cup)
2 t red pepper flakes
1 t cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 C water
2 cloves garlic, put through a press
1 32-ounce can crushed tomatoes and their juices


  1. In a large heavy pan, melt the butter.
  2. Add the onion, red pepper flakes, cayenne powder and oregano, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and cook a few minutes until it begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. 
  4. Stir in 1/2 cup of water, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up any cooked-on bits. 
  5. Add the tomatoes and the garlic.
  6. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Put on your favorite pasta.
  8. Enjoy!
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 1 comments


This is my scratch recipe. "YOAKO-O-LOCO". It's easy to make. Dont let the 30 ingredients throw you off. You probably have most of these ingredients on hand. The Chili has a Tex-Mex flair, with sweet Midwest Barbecue notes. It has a nice finsihing heat, but nothing that sends you rushing for the milk. I made this at Hope Presbyterian Church's Harvest Day Festival and it took 1st place. I hope you enjoy it. Happy simmering!

6 ounces hot turkey italian sausage
1 pound ground sirloin
3/4 pound pork tenderloin (pre cooked to medium then cubed in 1/2 inch pieces)
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup bacon fat
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
2 bay leaves
1/8 teaspoon rosemary
1 1/4 cups Merlot or other fruity red wine
1/4 cup Heinz ketchup
1/8 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce (you can sub this for your favorite)
1/4 cup beer (your favorite brand will do)
1/2 cup beef broth
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
1 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes undrained
2 ounces of unsweetened dark chocolate


  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage, ground sirloin, pork loin, onion, and the next 4 ingredients (onion through jalapeño) to pan; cook 8 minutes or until sausage and beef are browned, stirring to crumble.

  2. Add chili powder and the next 7 ingredients (chili powder through bay leaves), and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

  3. Stir in wine, ketchup, and 8 ingredients through pinto beans; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

  4. Uncover and add diced tomatoes and unsweetened dark chocolate and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaves.

  5. Note: Like most chilis, this version tastes even better the next day. Best if slow heated on the stove top, avoid the microwave.

  6. Garnish: shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese sour cream diced white onion
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 1 comments

Ben's Beefy Chili

This chili is a bit different than the ordinary beans, tomatoes, and no-flavor chili's that many people make. This chili has loads of tex-mex flavor, a complex taste, and some nice back-heat.

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb bottom round beef, cut into cubes
1 lb ground beef
1/4 lb Italian sausage or ground pork
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
1 bottle (12 oz) of a nice dark beer like Guinness
2 tablespoons finely chopped semi-sweet dark chocolate
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 large red onion diced
4 gloves garlic finely chopped
1 Poblano seeded and finely chopped
2-3 Chipotle peppers packed in adobe sauce (less if you want this to be less spicy)
1 teaspoon Ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon New Mexico Chili powder
1 teaspoon Adobe seasoning
2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 can (16 oz) whole tomatoes, pureed (don't drain)
2 tablespoons real maple syrup

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch oven type pan.
  2. Season the cubed steak with salt, pepper, and brown all the sides of the steak.
  3. Sprinkle the steak with the cumin and stir.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the beer, bring to a boil, then add the chocolate, let reduce.
  5. In a separate pan, brown the pork and ground beef.
  6. In a separate pot heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and caramelize the red onion.
  7. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes.
  8. Add the Poblano pepper and cook another 2 minutes.
  9. In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, Ancho chili powder, New Mexico chili powder, Adobe seasoning, onion/garlic/Poblano mixture, Chipotle peppers, and the reduced beer mixture.
  10. Puree this mixture.
  11. Add the mole type mixture you just made to the beef, pork, and steak.
  12. Add the beans.
  13. Add the chicken stock (I used homemade chicken stock so it is unsalted, at this point I add another 2 teaspoons salt, just taste it and see if it needs it)
  14. Add the maple syrup.
  15. Stir and put in a dutch oven or crock pot and let simmer for an hour or two, or longer. It will just become thicker the longer you let it go.
  16. Enjoy!
I made this for a chili cook off we were having at Church, it got 2nd place and as you can see below, this is what happened to the pot I took it in: