"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Mexican Chicken, Corn and Black bean Stew

The weather is changing, nights are getting pretty cold and a good hot, stick to your ribs stew is always welcome at the table.  I made this last night to harken back to summer with it's warm Mexican spices and tender black beans and corn.  I served with blue corn chips and a torn red romaine salad with a lime-avocado dressing.  Enjoy!


Serves 4 



4 Tbsp+ olive oil

2 Chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut into 2-inch cubes

1 yellow onion, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 Jalapeño pepper, stem and seeds removed, minced

1 Tbsp Chipotle in Adobo, chopped (this can be very spicy, so add less or more to taste)

1 15 oz. can chopped tomatoes 

2 ears Corn, husk removed and kernels cut from cob (Frozen works just as well)

1 15 oz. can Black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 C. Apple cider

juice of 1 lime

1/2 C. Cilantro, chopped 

2 bay leaves

Spice mix:

 2 Tbsp. Garlic powder

 2 Tbsp. Onion powder

 1 Tbsp. Smoked paprika

 1 Tbsp. Oregano 

 1 Tbsp. Cumin

 1 Tbsp. Chili powder

 1 tsp. Salt and ground black pepper

1 Tbsp soft butter

1 Tbsp flour



Garnishes

Sliced avocado

Sour cream

thinly sliced green onion



Place cubed chicken in large mixing bowl, add 2 Tbsp oil and half the lime juice, season generously with spice mix; mix well and reserve on the side at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. 



Please a large heavy bottomed pot on range top (I like to use glazed cast-iron) over medium high heat. Once hot, add remaining oil. As soon as oil starts to smoke, carefully start adding chicken, being careful not to crowd the bottom of the pot. Sear all sides until browned, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Remove seared pieces and reserve on a play on the side. Repeat this step until all chicken has been seared. Reduce heat and add onions and jalapeño pepper, stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until vegetables start to soften. Add garlic, stir and cook another minute. Add chipotle and tomatoes, cider, corn kernels, and bay leaves. Add chicken and any juices from the plate back to pot  Stir, increase heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to simmer; add black beans, the rest of the lime juice and spice mix. Cover and cook slowly for 20 minutes until chicken is fully cooked and corn is tender. 



Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine butter and flour and with a fork mix together so flour is completely incorporated into the butter (congratulations you’ve just made a classic French Beurre manie for thickening without lumps). Add beurre manie to stew, stir to incorporate, add cilantro and cook another 10 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning with salt and ground black pepper. Remove and discard bay leaves.  Serve stew over rice (I served it over roasted spaghetti squash) and garnish with avocado slices, sour cream and thinly sliced green onion. Enjoy!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Swiss Chard and Mushrooms with Mustard Sauce


I really like the ways theses greens and earthy mushrooms match with the sweet-sour play of the mustard and sugar in this preparation.  I matched this with a spinach stuffed chicken breast and it worked beautifully.  Enjoy!  

2 Tbsp. Olive oil

4 cups Swiss chard washed, stems thinly sliced, leaves shredded

1 C. Portabella mushrooms, washed, sliced

1/2 cup diced sweet onion

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 Tbsp. yellow mustard (can substitute Dijon if you prefer)

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 Tbsp. cider vinegar

1/4 C. Chicken stock

Salt and pepper, to taste



Place large pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil and get hot. Add onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add stems of the Swiss chard and mushrooms. Season with a pinch of salt to help mushroom release their liquid, stir and continue to cook until mushrooms are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add garlic and chard leaves, stir; add remains ingredients, stir to incorporate. Lower heat, cover and cook until sauce has thickened and vegetables are soft, about 10 more minutes. Taste, correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Braised Spanish Pork with Chorizo, Tomoato and Chickpeas

I had some left-over, already cooked, barbecue baby back ribs from the weekend, so I decided to make a Spanish inspired stew served over rice.  This made a tasty, comfort-styled dinner that was terrific for warming us up on this cold autumn evening.  Don't have left-overs, no worries use boneless country pork ribs (please note cook time is 2 1/2 hours if raw).  The recipe below assumes they are in their raw state.  If using cooked left-overs add to stew once thickened and then cook for 5 minutes just to heat up and meld into the dish. I served with a simple leaf lettuce salad tossed with a honey-lemon and thyme dressing. Enjoy!

Serves 4

2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1/2 C. yellow onion, diced
1/2 C. Red Bell pepper, diced
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 1/2# Pork Rib Meat (boneless country ribs work great for this)
4 oz. ground chorizo sausage
1 C. chopped stewed canned tomatoes with juice
1/2 C. dry white wine
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 C. Chicken stock
1 Tbsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 can chickpeas, washed and drained
1/2 C. chopped cilantro
kosher salt, to taste
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat; add oil and get hot.  Season pork ribs liberally with salt and black pepper, add to pot and sear on all sides until browned, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove ribs and reserve on a plate on the side.  Carefully discard the fat from the pot.  Replace pot on stove and reduce heat to low; add chorizo.  With a kitchen spoon break up sausage and brown; once nicely browned use a slotted spoon and remove sausage, add to rib meat and reserve.
Increase heat to medium-high and add onions and bell pepper.  Stir and cook until vegetables start to wilt, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic; stir and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.  Add flour and stir to incorporate well.  Let cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes.  Add wine, tomatoes, rib meat, sausage and any juices from the plate to the pot.  Add paprika, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and bay leaf, stir. Then add enough chicken stock to just cover the ribs.  Cover pot and cook until rib meat is tender 2-2 1/2 hours.  Check a few times during the cooking to make sure there is enough liquid, you may need to add some additional stock.

Once meat is very tender, remove with slotted spoon and reserve on the side.  Once cool enough to handle break into fork-sized pieces.  Check the consistency of the liquid in the pot.  If too thin, increase heat and reduce to thicken.  If too thick, add small amounts of stock to get to a stew-like consistency.  Once to your liking, remove and discard bay leaf, add chickpeas and return meat to pot.  Add cilantro and correct seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to incorporate let warm for five more minutes.  Serve over rice and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Cauliflower Tator Tots

I'm always looking for ways to substitute vegetables for carbs in our diet.  Being wheat intolerant, I've cut out bread and pasta out of mine (very sad, I know but mother nature can be cruel).  This is a fun preparation that was surprisingly satisfying (no, nothing will take the place of the real thing), but if you are looking for something a little bit healthier, this works nicely.  Enjoy!


1 head cauliflower, broken up into medium florets
1 medium onion, diced fine
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F


Line a sheet tray or cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with Pam, reserve.

Put olive oil in a skillet and heat. Add onions and stir frequently until they start to become golden in color. Remove from heat and reserve on the side.

Heat a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Carefully put cauliflower into the water and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl to cool. Once cauliflower can be handled, either using a potato masher or food processor, mash. To the mashed cauliflower add Parmesan cheese, cooked onions, egg, and Panko breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roll out some plastic wrap and lay flat on the counter. Place some of the mixture on the wrap and roll into a 1-inch log. Unwrap then with a knife cut tots. Place tots on your prepared sheet tray and put into the hot oven. Let cook for 20 minutes then remove and carefully turn the tots. Place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, tots should be browned and crispy. Remove and serve with ketchup, dill yogurt or ranch dressing. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Goat cheese Frittata

Monday's are meatless (mostly) in my house and this week I served up a frittata (fancy name for omelette).  I did use bacon in the dish, but it can be omitted (a shame, but can do it).  This time of year I also like to incorporate the beautiful squashes available that the Fall harvest has for us.  I served this with a baby greens salad tossed in a honey-lemon vinaigrette.  With the addition of the potatoes this was very tasty and satisfying as a (mostly) "Meatless Monday" dinner.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

8 eggs, room temperature and scrambled in a bowl
1/2 sweet onion, skin removed and chopped fine
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped minced
1/2 C. defrosted frozen chopped spinach (I've used kale or swiss chard to substitute)
4 oz. Bacon, coarsely chopped
4 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 C. Butternut squash, diced small
1/4 C. Yukon gold potatoes, diced small
4 oz. Goat cheese, rough crumble
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Crusty Bread to serve with

Preheat oven to 425°F

In a mixing bowl combine squash and potatoes.  Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and toss well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a baking sheet (I like to use parchment paper on the bottom of the rimmed sheet).  Place sheet in oven and roast vegetables for 20 minutes until browned and cooked through.  When done, remove and reserve on the side.  Now, turn oven to high broil.

While waiting on vegetables to roast, heat a large non-stick pan (with oven safe handle) over medium heat.  (If you don't have an oven safe pan, no worries.  Don't use the broiler, you will cook entire dish on top of your range)  Add remaining olive oil to warm, add bacon and cook to golden brown, about 8 minutes.  With slotted spoon remove browned bacon and reserve on the side.  Add onions to hot pan, stir and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic, cook for a minute, stir and add spinach. Add cooked squash-potato mixture and cooked bacon to pan, stir and add scrambled eggs.  Add thyme and season with salt and pepper.  Stir to incorporate.  Let heat for a minute or two to set the bottom.  Dot the top of frittata with goat cheese and place pan under the broiler for 3-4 minutes.  You are looking for frittata to expand and cheese to get golden brown.  Once done, remove and let rest for a couple minutes.  Serve with crusty bread and Enjoy! (this can also be served at room temperature)


Tilapia Scampi




(4) 6 oz. filets Tilapia, rinsed and patted dry (any firm white fish could substitute)

½ stick Butter

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

8 cloves Garlic, peeled and halved

1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic

1 Tbsp. Flat leaf Parsley, chopped fine

1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon juice

¼ C. Dry White wine

Pinch red chili flake

Salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Warm Crusty Bread



Preheat oven to 400°F



Drizzle rimmed baking sheet with olive oil, place fish on top of oil and reserve in the refrigerator.

Heat medium pan over medium heat.  Add butter and melt.  Add garlic and poach for 5 minutes until garlic becomes fragrant, but be careful not to brown.  Increase heat and add wine, reduce volume by half, then add parsley, lemon juice, chili flake, salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and with slotted spoon remove garlic halves.  Remove fish from refrigerator and pour butter mixture over fish, sprinkle with minced garlic.  Place into oven and cook until fish turn translucent, about 15 minutes.  Remove and let rest for 5 minutes.  Plate, spooning butter sauce over fish.  Serve with bread so you're able to soak up the buttery sauce and enjoy!

Menu 10/14-10/18

Monday-
Butternut Squash, Bacon and Goat Cheese Frittata
Baby Green Salad with Celery Root, Tomato, tossed in a Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette

Tuesday-
Tilapia Scampi
Spaghetti Squash and tomato concasse
Sautéed Swiss Chard, Celery Root and Raisins

Wednesday-
Brined and Grilled Pork Chops with Apple sauce
Oven Roasted Carrots with Thyme and Honey
Oven Roasted Asparagus

Thursday-
Cedar Planked Salmon with Shallot Butter
Sauteed Kale
Delacatta Squash with Shallots and Maple Syrup

Friday-
Aged NY Strips with Roasted Mushrooms
Cabernet Demi-glace
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze
Sweet and Spicy Carrots