“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

 

For Goodness Sake, It’s 13 Degrees Blueberry Crumb Cake

I'm trying to save the last piece of blueberry crumb for my air warrior, but it's tough. This time, I got it perfect and I'm a harsh baking critic. The recipe calls for 45-50 minutes baking. If it feels a little soft @ 45, leave it in for 5 more. Mine took 50 exactly.

Also, here is the secret for GREAT crumbs. MELT the butter, then combine with the rest of the ingredients (brown sugar etc). Let it set in fridge 15-20 minutes, then crumble across the cake, varying the size of crumbs. You'll see. Click here for the recipe.

 

Eat cake – 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, purĂ©e 2-3 cups and stir back in the pot. We were big babies as kids and refused beans with skin. My mother purĂ©ed 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

 

 

Game Day Baked Goods

And by game day, I mean Ohio State vs anyone.

Never underestimate a food manufacturer’s test kitchen. You need not use the brand names, but the following recipes are all winners, as was the team on Saturday. I sent the photo out Saturday – now recipes to match. The links to each are below.

**As a special note – our family sympathies are with the family of the Ohio State player who recently lost his life. It’s a terrible tragedy.

https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/29677/original-nestle-toll-house-chocolate-chip-pan-cookie/

http://www.grandmasmolasses.com/recipes/old-fashioned-gingerbread/

http://www.ghirardelli.com/recipes-tips/recipes/classic-chocolate-brownies

Eat – B

P.S. Go Bucks! O-H…

Betsy Karetnick

 

 

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

 

 

Any Night Stuffing!

Why wait for Thanksgiving? Give this savory confection a chance. It took less time than I thought (mostly in the oven) and gave me the benefit of feeling virtuous for not chucking some stale ciabatta. I highly recommend a gravy sidecar.

4 cups stale bread, 3/4 inch cube. 10-15 minutes in a 300 degree oven can help stale fresh bread.

4-5 ounces baby Bellas, mixed mushrooms or whatever you can find. Cleaned & chopped

Veggie or olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 egg, whipped

1 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted & cooled. Plus room temp butter for pan

Teaspoon of dried sage or thyme (optional cuz I forgot this time)

Salt & pepper

Prepare baking dish – mine was a 2 quart CorningWare but any should work – by rubbing every surface with butter. Preheat oven 375.

Slick a medium pan on medium heat with about a tablespoon of oil. Add onions and a few pinches of salt and some grates of pepper. Cook for 5, add garlic. Give a few stirs, add mushrooms and cook, moving occasionally until most liquid evaporates. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool.

Combine bread and vegetables, optional spices. Stir in melted butter and egg. Then slowly add enough broth so whole thing looks moistened but bread isn't falling apart.

Cook in prepared pan for 30 minutes covered, then at least 10 without cover to crisp the top.

Eat – B

*note: sausage is always optional. Remove from casing, and brown before the veggies. Set aside and add later to bread. 1/2 pound should do you for this recipe.

*second note: doubling down is encouraged.

 

 

Granola Redux

For my cousin who dislikes morning mush and all other Little Rascals appreciators.

Ingredients

4 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup sliced almonds or another shape, same size is better

1 cup raw not roasted sunflowers

1/2 cup raw sesame seeds if possible (wasn't for me today)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup veggie or olive oil

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons corn syrup (optional)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Add ins:

Big handful dried apricots chopped

2 big handfuls dried cranberries

Any dried fruit you like

Any size chocolate chips you like – 1/2 to 1 cup

Mix all dry ingredients. Bring oil and syrup to a simmer in small pot. Add corn syrup and vanilla to pot. Turn off heat. Mix wet ingredients with dry. Let soak 10 minutes. Spread on baking paper on baking sheet. Cook for 40 minutes or longer for more toasty tasting granola. Let cool and add the extras.

Eat – B

 

 

EZ As…Well, Frankly, Easier Than Pie

This crust is from one of my all time fave fruit based dessert cookbooks. I've filled it with fruit from just about every season. It is not hard to roll out. Just remember to flour your surface and rolling pin. Mistakes can be patched with extra dough. No judgement.

Galette Dough

Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson

One 10 inch galette

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 T granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (I used Kosher)

3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, in 3/4 inch cubes

3 T ice water, more if needed

1 t fresh lemon juice

Combine flour, sugar and salt, freeze at least 10 minutes. Toss butter in flour. Blend butter into flour mix with pastry blender, food processor, mixer or your hands until it's a course mix. Stir water and lemon juice together, then drizzle over dough. Toss or pulse until it holds together. Turn it out and and press and fold a few times to hold the dough together. Flatten into a circle, wrap and chill at least an hour or up to 3 days.

Filling: about 3-4 apples, peeled, seeded and cut in 1/8ths, 2-3 tablespoons flour, 1/3-1/2 cup sugar – less with sweet apples, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, a squeeze of lemon, pinch of salt and a few small knobs of butter (optional).

Roll out the dough on floured surface or floured baking paper, about 12 inches. Slide onto baking pan before filling. Spread apple mixture evenly but leave a couple inches from the outside free. Fold and pleat crust over the apples. You can brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar if desired.

Chill 20 minutes. Preheat oven 400. Bake 25-30 minutes. Lower heat to 350, bake another 20-25 until filling bubble and apples are easy to pierce.

Filling note:

More or less of any ingredient won't change the dynamic. If you don't believe me, try baking the filling in a casserole without a crust. It's delicious topped with granola and or ice cream. If you use stone fruit (juicier), think about corn starch as a thickener instead.

Eat – B