Crowd Pleasing Chicken

After asking 5 children 16 to 26 for their thoughts on dinner, I got chicken. And so did they. Doubling the recipe took a little extra time, but chicken piccata is a great weeknight option. I also only used one pan, cooking the chicken in batches and keeping it warm in the oven. At the end I threw it all back in the sauce with no one the wiser. No pressure, but I served it with pasta in vodka sauce. Recipe to come.

Click here for the chicken recipe, courtesy of Epicuriois.

Eat – B

 

 

You Will Eat Your Vegetables! Fregola

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…with pasta. Fregola, or fregula, is just another word for what children and adults like best. This Sardinian import is typically semolina dough rolled into teeny balls and toasted in the oven. It’s like the Mini Cooper of pasta – so cute your reluctant veggie eaters will dig into broccoli before they know what they’re doing.

Ingredients:

1 bag fregola available in some markets and specialty stores

Florets from small head of broccoli, small pieces

1 bell pepper any color but green, ½ pieces

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

½ cup water or chicken stock, halved

1 Tablespoon Olive oil

Salt & pepper

1/3 cup parmesan * optional

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Cook ½ package or 8 ounces of fregola according to directions (10 minutes for me). Drain when done.

Meanwhile in large heavy weight skillet over low to medium heat, warm olive oil. Cook onion with a few salt pinches 5 minutes, add pepper and garlic. Cook 3-5 more. Add broccoli, stir a minute. Add ¼ cup liquid and steam 3 minutes with lid on. Add fregola, tossing. Add ¼ cup more liquid and let soak into fregola. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Sprinkle with cheese.

 

Eat – B

 

Note: Fregola is usually more expensive than your on sale pasta, BUT, it’s way less expensive than steak, fish, chicken etc.

Note 2: Add boccoccini or a vegan sub and make it a meal. Sautéed chicken works too – Season chicken filets with salt and pepper – garlic too if you prefer. Cook first, cut up and toss into pasta at the end.

 

 

“Remember Summer” Greek Chicken & Salad

Don't you hate when you know everyone expects a dinner but nobody has a suggestion about what it should be? Not helpful! How about pasta bolognese? Or beef stew? Or even meatloaf for goodness sake?!

I did get “something lighter” as a suggestion from the love of my life last week. I took that to mean chicken. This is what we call a no recipe, recipe. Most ingredients are approximate and flexible except the chicken.

Ingredients

2 lbs chicken thin cutlets

1 lemon, halved

3-4 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon oregano

Olive oil

Salt pepper

Combine 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, juice from half a lemon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, healthy dose of pepper, chopped garlic and oregano. Marinate chicken a couple of hours in the fridge or 30 minutes counter top. Either way leave on counter top 20 minutes before cooking.

Heat 1 or more tablespoons of oil in heavy duty sauté pan over medium heat. Less if non stick, more if metal. Add chicken in 2 batches (or use 2 pans) when it shimmers. Flip chicken when edges turn opaque. Cooking takes about 3 minutes per side if thin. Meat thermometer should show 165. Squeeze other lemon half over finished chicken.

Serves 4

Salad

2 Persian cucumbers, halved, quartered and sliced

1 pint cherry tomatoes – yr best winter option, halved &/or quartered

Bell pepper, chunked in smaller pieces

Big handful hearty lettuce leaves like romaine, chopped

2 tablespoons dill, chopped

2 scallions sliced

1/2 cup crumbled feta

1 lemon

Olive oil

Calamata olives (optional)

Salt & pepper

Combine all vegetables. Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and juice from half the lemon, a few pinches of salt, pepper to taste. Toss and combine feta and olives if using. Adjust olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Carb appreciators add bread or pita. Hummus on the side. I make mine (EZ!) – don't feel compelled.

Eat – B

 

 

Eat Your Veg

It's the “It” vegetable of the day, but don't let that deter you from making this dish at home. I will also say – unless you're meat free, ordering cauliflower as a main while dining out is a big fat…well, you know. It's a pretty big markup for little investment. Do it if the chef is your bestie.

For all others consider, click here for the 1-2-3 recipe.

 

Eat – B

 

A Christmas or Anytime Morning Casserole

Ok, so I skipped the pepperoni as our meal was closer to breakfast than lunch. And I forgot to garnish with scallion which I diligently chopped. But I guarantee this is a no fail recipe. Waking up Christmas morning, I also remembered I forgot to set the strata the night before. No matter – an hour on the counter and the deed was done. Click here for the recipe from Food and Wine.

BTW – in a perfect pairing world, champagne (or prosecco) works regardless of time of day.

Eat (& drink) – B

 

 

I Bean Making Soup

I couldn’t make lunch with my friend 😦 so I made soup. I had a mixed bag of legumes from my local Italian specialty store, but feel free to mix and match from the pantry. Use what you got – beans, barley, lentils, they all play nice.


And give yourself plenty of lead time. Beans sit on the shelf a while, sometimes years. I cooked this soup three hours and it could have gone longer. It freezes well too.

If you want some extra thickness, purée 2-3 cups and stir back in the pot. We were big babies as kids and refused beans with skin. My mother puréed the whole – baby food for her babies.

Ingredients

2 cups of mixed legumes (look for a package in the bean and/or soup aisle)

1 big onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 parsnips, chopped

2 stalks of celery (or the heart!), chopped

3-4 nuggets garlic, chopped

15 oz can Diced tomatoes

Veg or olive oil

2 bay leaves

Salt & pepper

In large heavy soup pot, warm 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, parsnips and celery. Season with salt & pepper. Soften 5-8 minutes. Add garlic, cook 2-ish minutes. Add tomatoes, bean mix, bay leaves and 6 cups of water. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer 2-3 hours. Add 2 or more cups of water as it gets absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.

Note: most of my salting takes place at the end with this soup. Don’t eat bay leaves.

Eat – B

 

 

Wings Take Flight

Funny thing happened over the weekend. My overzealous TYPE A nature bent enough to give the grocery list to the husband who offered. 3 pounds of wings (game day!) was on it. And 3 pounds were delivered…frozen. So we both learned something. I learned to write the word fresh if that's what I want. He learned I'm just as nuts as always. BTW the frozen wings work just fine as promised by the Perdue family – just use a sided baking sheet for the extra moisture.

Ingredients

3 lbs of wings, fresh or frozen, but cut into flats and drumsticks. If using fresh, save those little meatless extra pieces for stock.

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup orange juice

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 Tablespoon-ish Sesame seeds (optional)

2 pinches pepper flakes (optional)

Salt & pepper to taste

3 scallions, chopped (optional)

Pre-heat 400 degree oven. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly oiled.

Cook wings 15 minutes, flip and cook 15 minutes more (or less if they're browning and look almost done.

Meanwhile combine all the other ingredients minus scallions. Separate glaze equally in two. Toss the wings in half, return to oven. 10 minutes or until they start to crisp. Flip, glaze with other half and broil 2-3 minutes. Decorate with scallions.

Eat – B