Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One Pan Chicken and Sausage Bake

When browsing recipes the term "one pan" typically gets my attention. My first thought is less dish washing but more often than not, I love the melded flavors of fresh ingredients roasting, simmering, coexisting together. Think of this recipe as a Sunday chicken bake with a little something extra.

One Pan Chicken and Sausage Bake

1 large onion
5 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons English mustard (Coleman's) or 1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 lemon
1 (3-4-pound) chicken, jointed into 8-10 pieces (I've used 8 chicken thighs too)
6 Italian sausages

Peel and cut the onion into eighths, and put into a freezer bag with the oil, mustard, garlic cloves, dried thyme, a good grinding of pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Cut lemon in half, squeeze juice into bag, and then cut the halves into eighths and add them. Sqeeze everything around to mix (the mustard needs help to combine) and then add the chicken pieces. Leave to marinade in the refrigerator overnight, or for up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature in its marinade. Arrange the chicken pieces in a roasting pan skin side up with the marinade and tuck the sausages around them. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the sausages several times throughout the time to brown them evenly. I typically roast some potatoes in the oven at the same time and viola - toss a bag salad together and dinner's done!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Chocolate Pear Pudding Cake

I've grown quite fond of recipes that can be made using pantry items. This Nigella Lawson recipe transforms me into superhero - where I sneak into the kitchen and emerge with a pan of freshly-baked gooey chocolate deliciousness. This cake is a pared down version of a molten cake with some juicy pears nestled underneath a blanket of warm cake. Pears and chocolate do live together in harmony - trust me. go light your ovens!

Chocolate Pear Pudding Cake

1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more, for greasing
2 (14-ounce) cans pear halves, in juice
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and grease an 8x8 ovenproof dish with butter.

Drain the pears and arrange them on the base of the prepared dish. Put all the remaining ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you have a batter with a soft dropping consistency.

Spread the batter over the pears, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 or 10 minutes then serve warm.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Comfort Food Take Two

Ah, Paris in the Spring...with this meal one can imagine dining at a cozy little French bistro. Pour some good table red, toss a simple salad and try this hearty French classic. Passport not required. This version is simplified (thanks again to the Real Simple foodies) but my American taste buds don't mind.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tomato, chopped, or one 8-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 15-ounce cans of great Northern, cannellini, or navy beans, drained and rinsed
5 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the sausage until well browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Remove and drain on paper towels; set aside. Pour out the excess oil from the Dutch oven. Add the chicken broth, vegetables, beans, thyme, salt, pepper, a third of the garlic, and the sausage and return to heat. Mix well, scraping up any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour, until thickened and the vegetables are tender. Heat oven to 400° F. In a bowl, combine the bread-crumbs, parsley, butter, and remaining garlic. Sprinkle evenly over the cassoulet and place in the oven. Bake, uncovered, until the crust is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Turkey Meatloaf

When work is crazy, kids are crazy, life is just plain crazy - we all need a little comfort. Normally, I'd suggest a nap and some trashy magazines but nothing recharges the family like a good comfort meal. Even better when someone makes it for you! My mother-in-law dropped off this fantastic meatloaf yesterday so all I did was micro some baby potatoes and steam some peas. Voila! After eating this moist yet flavorful meatloaf, I felt energized to take on the world...or at least the laundry. Lastly, because it makes two, you can share with friend or freeze a little bit of comfort.

Turkey Meatloaf

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
5 slices day-old bread
1 onion chopped
1 Tbl. oil
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper (can substitute cayenne for part of the 1 tsp. just to give it a little spark)
2 lb. ground turkey
2 tsp. lemon juice
½ c. ketchup

Preheat oven to 350. Thaw spinach and squeeze out excess liquid. Grease 2 loaf pans.
Process bread into fine crumbs. Cook chopped onion in oil until soft, about 3 min. Whisk eggs with milk, basil, salt & pepper. Add spinach onion, turkey, bread crumbs & lemon juice: mix well. Divide mixture into two and form into two loafs – turning them into greased loaf pans. Brush with ketchup. Bake 55-60 min. until well browned.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ode to the Chickpea

Despite this depressing time in our economy, I must remind myself to be thankful for the little things in life. Not getting that speeding ticket (although I deserved it), warm socks from the dryer, the smell of bacon and the humble chickpea. I have a new love affair with the chickpea and particularly when I make this soup. This soup is sophisticated but frugal and I am one exotic yet sensible mama when I serve this for dinner. And since it's easy to stock up on chickpeas, I've thrown in an extra super simple salad recipe today as well.

Viva la chickpea!!

Spiced Chickpea Soup

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 large onion, medium diced
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika
1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
3 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1 quart vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (5-ounce) package pre-washed baby spinach
optional - cubed sweet potatoes

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until the onions begin to turn translucent; lower heat if browning starts to occur. Add spices and saute a minute or so. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, broth, and sugar and sweet potatoes if using. Season with a couple pinches of salt and 10 grinds fresh pepper. Stir well. Chickpeas should be just covered with liquid. If level is shy, add some water so the chickpeas are just covered. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to low and gently simmer for 45 minutes.

Remove soup from heat. Use immersion blender or a potato masher to mash up some of the chickpeas right in the pot. Stir in the spinach and let heat through until wilted, just a couple minutes. Season again, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve soup, drizzled lightly with extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.

Simple Chickpea Salad

1 can rinsed and drained chickpeas
couple of handfuls of arugula
fresh Parmesan cheese - shredded - to taste
juice of about one lemon
olive oil

Just toss together chickpeas, arugula and desired amount of cheese. Lightly spritz lemon juice over salad and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and salt/pepper to taste. Great served along side any grilled meat.