Going with the tried and true

We were away for the weekend and that always seems to throw me a little off my game. The best rebound is to go with tried and true favorites. So here is what we are having this week – all recipes that have been posted on the blog.


Tilapia with capers and steamed broccoli


Italian meatballs on polenta (we have meatballs in the freezer)


Spicy chicken pizza (Samantha’s request)


Grilled pesto shrimp with cous cous

Old favorite

My mom got this recipe from a bacon package when we were kids and we always liked it. We discovered a delicious applewood smoked ham from the deli at Graul’s. I”m not usually a big ham fan but this is so good. Fabulous on breakfast sandwiches. It got me reminiscing about this recipe.

Chicken with ham and cheese and bacon

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast per person
  • 1 slice deli ham per serving
  • 1 slice swiss cheese per serving
  • 2 slices bacon per serving
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.  Place chicken breasts between two slices of wax paper and pound with a meat pounder or rolling pin until flattened.  Place a slice of ham and a slice of swiss cheese on each flattened breast.  Roll each chicken breast around the ham and cheese.  Place two slices of bacon per serving on a cutting board and place a chicken breast on top.  Roll bacon around chicken and place each bacon wrapped chicken breast in a ceramic baking dish.  Bake about 1 hour, turning chicken halfway through.  About 5 minutes before serving, remove and pour off bacon fat.  Pour white wine over chicken and return to oven for 5 more minutes. 

Serve with steamed broccoli to lessen the guilt!

Grilled pizza

We tried a new pizza tonight. It called for grilling some of the ingredients and then grilling the pizza with the ingredients on it. There were some elements of it we really liked – the grilled tomatoes and grilled sausage were delicious. The problem was that grilling the pizza with the toppings ended up with the bottom crust being burned. Next time, we will grill the sausage and tomatoes and then put them on the pizza crust and finish in the oven. Instructions below are how I will do it next time:

Spicy Sausage and White Bean pizza

  • 3 links hot Italian sausage
  • 4 plum tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 pizza crust
  • 2/3 cup of grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • Cooking spray

Preheat grill and preheat oven to 425. Spray tomatoes and sausages with cooking spray. Grill tomatoes for about 4 minutes and sausages for 15 minutes. Remove from grill. Slice sausages on the diagonal.

Top pizza with 1/2 of cheese, tomatoes, sausage, beans and then remaining half of cheese. Finish in oven for 10 minutes. Serve

Popular momma

When your 13 year old child enters the kitchen and asks “What’s for dinner?” and you remind her that you made chicken chipotle chili and she says “Yeah!”, it makes you feel good.  This is one of Samantha’s favorites and it is easy.  And as I pointed out to her, once summer really kicks in and it is in the 80s and 90s, we are going to be less inclined to want chili!

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.


I try to make sure that I mix up our meals and that everyone gets some “favorites”.  (Samantha is famous for announcing at dinner “This is good but it’s not my favorite.”)  This sheet pan chicken is one of my favorites – dinner is cooked on one sheet pan, I love the combination of flavors and the whole family likes it.  (And there is a little bit of leftover chicken for a sandwich this week.)

Sheet pan chicken

  • 1/2 lb sourdough bread cut or torn into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 lb slab bacon, diced
  • 1 large baking potato, scrubbed and cut in wedges
  • 8 – 10 shallots, peeled
  • 2 TBs butter, diced
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 3 – 4 TB olive oil
  • Bone-in chicken breasts cut in half (you can use any part of the chicken you like, my daughter only likes white meat)

Preheat oven to 400.  On the sheet pan, combine bread, bacon, potato, shallots, butter, oregano and red pepper with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and spread out so they are even.  Rub chicken pieces with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place on top of other ingredients.  Roast for about 45 minutes.  Bacon and bread should be crisp and chicken should be cooked to 145 or 150.  Enjoy.

This is the sheet pan after Samantha had served her portion.  She took a lot of potato and bacon!

sheet pan chicken

End of week cooking

I find that as the week goes on, my energy level dips.  So I try to plan for easier dinners as the week goes on.  Last night we ended up finishing the leftover pork barbecue from Keith’s smoking experiment.  If anything, it improved from time in the fridge.  That is a definite do-over, hopefully after the pandemic when we can enjoy with some friends.

Tonight we are having pizza.  Keith and I are having shrimp and pesto (and a little Mozzarella cheese) on ours.  Samantha is opting for pesto and a cut up Aidell’s sausages on hers.  Having pizza crusts in the freezer makes for nights that almost feel like I’m taking the night off.

I’ll be back on Sunday with some new ideas for next week!

Why it’s important to take notes

I handed Samantha a pizza cookbook the other night and she picked a pizza with hot Italian sausage and sweet red peppers.  I remember making a pizza inspired by this recipe.  As I read the recipe I was trying to remember what I did the first time.  I usually make notes in my cookbooks about substitutions or adaptations but in this case there were no notes.  The recipe said to boil the Italian sausages and I knew that I would never have done that.  So this is what I did and it is now documented!

Pizza with hot Italian sausage, roasted red pepper and sweet onion

  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • canola oil
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Romano cheese
  • roasted red peppers, cut into strips

Preheat oven to 425.  In a nonstick pan, saute onion in about 2 teaspoons of canola oil until soft and golden brown.  Remove onions to a bowl.  Add additional canola oil to pan and cook sausage until no longer pink.  Remove sausage and drain on paper towels on a plate.  Pour off any oil in pan.

Return pan to heat and add drained sausage, onions and tomato sauce.  Cook for about 2 – 3 minutes.  Top pizza crust with sausage mixture and cheese.  Then top with pepper strips and cook for about 10 minutes.

Here it is before it went into the oven:

pizza with sausage and peppers

Family favorites week

I’m working on using up some of what I stored in our freezer.  Last night was chicken pesto lasagna:

Chicken Pesto Lasagna

  • 1 package lasagna noodles
  • 1 lb. Chicken Scallopini
  • 1 lb Ricotta cheese
  • 1 lb. Mozzarella cheese
  • 8 oz Pesto
  • 8 oz Tomato Sauce
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes, well drained

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions and drain.  Run under cold water to stop cooking.

Pound chicken to flatten.  Spray a nonstick pan with Pam and cook chicken in batches until browned.  Set aside.  When cool enough to handle, slice chicken into thin slices.

Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish.  Top with 4 or 5 lasagna noodles.  Spoon pesto over noodles and top with chicken.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over chicken and top with 4 or 5 lasagna noodles.  Spoon ricotta cheese on top of noodles and top with diced tomatoes.  (I drained thoroughly because I do remember that the last time I made this the tomato juice made it a little too juicy.)  Top with 4 or 5 lasagna noodles, remaining tomato sauce and mozzarella.

Bake it covered with aluminum foil at 375 for about 40 minutes and then uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.  Let chill overnight and then cut into 12 pieces.  Put the pieces on a sheet pan lined with wax paper and freeze overnight.  You can then transfer the pieces into freezer bags and they won’t stick together.

Tonight was one of Samantha’s favorites:

Grilled Hoisin Pork

  • 1 jar of Hoisin sauce
  • 3 TB honey
  • 2 TB sherry
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 pork tenderloin

Combine Hoisin sauce, honey, sherry and sesame oil in a small saucepan and heat, stirring for about 5 minutes until thick.  Let cool.  Use about 1/2 of the marinade on the pork and refrigerate for 4 -6 hours (or overnight).  Grill pork about 10 minutes or until 140 on a meat thermometer.  Heat remaining sauce and serve with pork.

We had this will grilled asparagus and cous cous.  Very easy!

hoisin pork and asparagus

Something for everyone

As with most families, we all have different things we like.  It can be hard to find a way to make everyone happy without expending a lot of effort.  Tonight I finally caught up on my soba salad (originally scheduled for Tuesday) and made everyone happy.  How did I do that?  Keith and I went to the grocery store early today for a few things.  They had beautiful tuna steaks (one of my favorite things).  I thought that tuna would go well with the soba salad.  Samantha doesn’t like seafood but I thought she would really like the soba salad.  Keith isn’t as much of a fan of tuna as I am, but he loves teriyaki (not my favorite.)  We all had soba salad.  I marinated Keith’s tuna in teriyaki sauce and just brushed mine with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Keith grilled the tuna steaks for 2 minutes a side so they were nice and rare in the middle.  Samantha had her soba salad with chicken tenders.  Everybody was happy!  Next time I’ll double the sauce.

Soba salad

  • 1 package soba noodles
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 TB minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 4 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • sesame seeds

Cook soba noodles in boiling water according to package directions.  Two minutes before noodles are cooked, add carrots.  Drain noodles and carrots.

For dressing, heat oil over medium-high heat in a saucepan.  Add ginger and garlic and stir.  Add soy sauce, vinegar, pepper flakes, peanut butter and stock.  Stir until smooth and simmer until thick, about 5 minutes.  Pour dressing over noodles and carrots and stir to combine.  Toss with sesame seeds.  Let cool and serve at room temperature with protein of your choice.

Here it is with the teriyaki tuna:

teriyaki tuna

Samantha’s choice

I wasn’t surprised that Samantha picked this recipe for her choice this week.  I did roast the garlic first as directed below.  This is healthy, delicious and doesn’t take long to fix.  That makes it a weeknight home run!  I forgot to take a picture.

Spicy Chicken Pizza

  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 small onions, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground chili powder
  • 1 lb ground chicken (or turkey – don’t tell Samantha but they didn’t have ground chicken.  I substituted the turkey and she didn’t even notice.)
  • 1 pizza crust
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • garlic to taste (either raw or roasted (wrap a whole head of garlic in aluminum foil and roast at 425 for about an hour.  Squeeze the garlic out of each clove and pour olive oil over it.  Let sit and then drain and use the olive oil to saute the jalapeno and onion)
  • shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • spinach

Preheat oven (with pizza stone) to 425.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add jalapeno and onion and saute 2 – 3 minutes until soft.  Add spices and stir to combine.  Add chicken and cook, stirring until chicken is cooked through.

Spread sauce on pizza crust.  Top with chicken, garlic, spinach and cheese.  Cook 8 – 10 minutes or until done.