Rosemary and garlic

I was out of town for work last night so Keith and Samantha ended up eating out.  I was happy to get home early enough to cook tonight.  I had found a recipe in the newspaper that I wanted to work with.  Since it had rosemary and garlic (two of our favorite flavors), I thought it had promise.  I wasn’t sure that was enough to overcome the fact that it included rainbow chard and chicken things (Keith usually prefers chicken breasts.)  It was greeted with enthusiasm and is a definite do-over.

Roasted chicken thighs

  • 2 bone-in chicken thighs per person (seasoned with small amounts of kosher salt and sugar)
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 5 – 6 sprigs of rosemary
  • butter
  • red pepper flakes
  • rainbow chard, washed, dried and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 450 and place a small roasting pan in the oven.  In a deep skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add chicken thighs (skin side down) and sear for 1 -2 minutes.  Add garlic and rosemary to saucepan (around the chicken) and cook for 5 – 7 minutes.

Remove roasting pan from oven and place chicken (skin side up) in roasting pan.  Top each chicken thigh with rosemary, garlic and a small pat of butter and return to oven for 10 -12 minutes.

With a few minutes remaining until chicken is done, add 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes to oil in skillet over medium heat.  Then add chard and saute, tossing for 3 minutes.

Place a portion of chard on each dinner plate and top with a small pat of butter.  Put two chicken thighs next to chard (along with roasted garlic and rosemary) and squeeze lemon over the plate.


Super Bowl Sunday

For us tonight’s game will be largely about the food and the commercials.  I’d prefer to see the Falcons win but I don’t desperately care and my Super Bowl pool is a pretty low stakes one.  We are having chili and I am making guacamole.  We’re having Keith’s beef chili but here are a few options (along with the guacamole recipe).

Beef and Sausage Chili (courtesy of Keith – adapted from The Silver Palate)

This is the chili that converted me (I was not a fan of chili prior to tasting this one.)  It makes enough to serve 15 – 20 people so you’ll need a good sized stockpot (we use a 12 qt pot).

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 lb of chopped yellow onions
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 lbs sirloin, cut into small cubes
  • 3 tsps fresh ground pepper
  • 1 12 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 TB minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 oz cumin
  • 2 oz chili powder
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 TB salt
  • 2 TB dried basil
  • 2 TB dried oregano
  • 3 lbs canned  plum tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 4 TB lemon juice
  • 1 dash Tabasco
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (5 1/2 oz) of pitted black olives, drained

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot.  Add onions and cook over low heat, until tender (about 10 minutes).

Add sausage meet, ground beef and sirloin cubes and cook over medium high heat until meat is well browned.  Drain as much fat as possible.

Reduce heat to low and add all ingredients except olives.  Stir well and simmer for about 25 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Add olives and heat through.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped red onions and jalapeno peppers (for those who like it spicy) and cornbread.

Turkey Chili (courtesy of Gill)

  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • chili seasoning to taste

Brown onions and garlic in oil.  Add turkey and cook (do not drain).  Add remaining ingredients and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and corn bread.

Chicken Chipotle chili

  • 3 TB canola oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small cubes
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 TB chili powder
  • 1 TB ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained of about 1/2 of liquid
  • 3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
  • 2 cans black beans

Heat oil in a heavy sauce pan and brown chicken cubes (about 5 minutes.)  Remove chicken and drain on paper towels.  Pour off fat leaving about 1 tablespoon in pan.  Add onions and brown about 4 – 5 minutes.  Return chicken to pan.

Stir together flour, chili powder, cumin and salt and sprinkle over onions and chicken.  Stir and cook about 1 minute.  Add stock, tomatoes and chipotles and simmer covered about 30 minutes.  Add black beans and cook another 10 minutes.

Let cool and then refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips.

White Chicken Chili  (courtesy of Julie)

  • 2 cans (15 1/2 oz. each) of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 -2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 4 oz can chopped green chili
  • 1 poblano chili, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Dash of hot pepper sauce
  • 4 cups poached boneless, skinless chicken, cubed

In a large pan combine  the beans with the chicken broth.  In a small saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in oil until soft and translucent.  Add chilis and seasonings and mix thoroughly.  Add onion-chili mixture to the beans.  Add the chicken cubes and cook over low heat about 5 minutes or until chicken is heated through.  Add more chicken broth if needed.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped scallions or salsa.

Vegetarian Chili

  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup small red beans
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large can of plum tomatoes (including juice)
  • 2 – 3 cups of water

Pour all ingredients into a pot and simmer over low heat for several hours.  Serve.


  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB salsa
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro (optional)

Mash avocados, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined.  (This is the part of cooking where toddlers excel!).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  This is one of the few recipes I make where I don’t skimp on salt.  Salt and the chili powder are the two “magic” ingredients that you should consider adding.  Let sit in a bowl with the avocado pits in the guacamole until ready to serve.  (That keeps it from turning brown.)

Menu plan for week of 2/5


Super Bowl!  Chili and the fixings


Veggie pizza


Chicken thighs with greens


Marinated pork tenderloin and baked sweet potato


Broiled tilapia and steamed broccoli

Grill night

Ever since we had the insanely delicious strip steaks from John Brown’s Butchery, I’ve been craving another serving of excellent beef.  We went today to see what they had and bought gorgeous bone-in ribeye steak.  (The steak was enormous so they kindly cut it in half for easier cooking and serving.  It will serve 3 of us.)  I had some dry rub leftover and used it on the beef.  I’m sautéing some spinach in olive oil with chopped shallots and garlic to have on the side.  The other side was a cheat – mushroom risotto from a mix.

Dry rub

  • 2 TB whole allspice
  • 2 TB black peppercorns
  • 1 TB cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 7 whole cloves
  • 2 TB sweet paprika
  • 1 TB chipotle powder
  • 1 TB ancho chile powder
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Toast allspice, peppercorns, cumin, cinnamon and cloves in a nonstick pan over medium heat, tossing frequently.  When fragrant, remove from heat and let cool.  Grind in a spice grinder and place in a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and whisk together.  Keep the leftover in a jar for another time.

About 45 minutes before you are ready to eat, rub both sides of steak with rub.  Let sit at room temperature.  Before grilling, spray with cooking spray and then grill 5 minutes on one side, 4 on the other and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.

Old Faithful

Last night was a completely new invention so tonight is a reliable standby.  This pizza is one of our favorites.  I don’t think I could get my husband to have salad for dinner two nights in a row but by loading this up with arugula, we’re still getting our veggies!

Scallop and Arugula Pizza

  • 2/3 lb sea scallops, rinsed and dried and sliced into thin slices
  • 3 TB pesto
  • 1 pizza crust (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 1/2 TB tomato paste and tomato sauce (tomato sauce alone makes this a little watery and the paste is a little strong – a combination of two is perfect but either alone will do.)
  • 1 cup arugula, rinsed and dried
  • 1  TB Pinenuts
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat ovento 450.  Combine scallop slices and pesto in bowl.  Spread tomato paste on pizza crust and top with arugula.  Arrange pesto scallop slices on arugula and spread any extra pesto on top.  Sprinkle pine nuts on top and bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until scallops are cooked through.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Pesto scallop arugula pizza


I saw blood oranges at the grocery store over the weekend.  They looked so pretty that I had to buy some.  Then I started getting a vision for a salad.  The vision started with a blood orange vinaigrette and it grew from there.  We both loved the salad and it is a definite do-over!  You could easily adapt with whatever toppings you like.

Spinach salad with roasted shrimp and blood orange vinaigrette

  • 1 blood orange, juiced
  • about 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 – 3 TB olive oil
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 2/3 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped red onion (I had extra from last night’s chili)
  • 2 tsp slivered almonds
  • 2 tsp craisins
  • 2 TB crumbled goat cheese

Mix orange juice, vinegar and olive oil by shaking in a jar.  Toss shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 8 – 10 minutes at 425 (until pink).  Place spinach on plates and top with dressing.  Top with shrimp (I halved them after they were cooked), avocado, red onion, almonds, craisins and goat cheese (or your choice.)  Serve.  Delicious, beautiful and healthy!



Roast chicken without stock

I often like to roast a chicken on Sundays and then make stock.  This afternoon we made chili so tonight I wanted something easier.  This is a “one pot” meal since the veggies cook underneath the chicken.  It’s easy and delicious even though there won’t be chicken stock afterwards.

Roasted chicken with veggies

  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 chicken broiler/fryer between 3 and 4 pounds
  • 1 bunch leeks, trimmed, well rinsed, cut lengthwise and then sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 package baby kale
  • 2 – 3 Honeycrisp apples, cored and cut into inch chunks
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in 1/2 inch thick slices.
  • 5 whole shallots, peeled.
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB butter

Mix poultry seasoning and salt.  Using kitchen scissors, cut out the backbone of the chicken (put chicken breast side down).  I will admit that I thought this was going to be very difficult and require butchering skills – it was perfectly straightforward and took about 1 minute.  Then split chicken through breastbone.  Rinse and dry thoroughly.  Rub it with about 1/2 of poultry seasoning mix and butter.  (Save backbone in a freezer bag for making chicken stock!)

Put vegetables in a roasting pan and toss with remaining poultry seasoning mix and olive oil.  Put a rack over vegetables with chicken.  Roast at 450 for about 1 hour.  (After 30 minutes, stir vegetables.)

Here is a picture from a previous rendition.