Category: One-Dish Recipes

One-Pot Penne alla Vodka

bowl of penne alla vodka pasta with garnish

bowl of penne pasta with garnishbowl of penne alla vodka pasta with garnishOne-pot pasta dishes are so quick and easy to make and it saves even more time without the second pan and the colander to wash. Here’s my version of One-Pot Penne alla Vodka.

There doesn’t seem to be a curated history for Penne alla Vodka. In researching this dish, I found conflicting stories on Wikipedia. Frankly, I think the version that the dish was created to increase sales of vodka seems plausible.

I use red pepper flakes to give the penne alla vodka a little heat and I like to use pancetta for flavor and texture. Some recipes call for peas, which is great for both taste and eye appeal, but husband doesn’t eat them, unfortunately.

The sauce is tomato-based, built on the fat of the sautéed pancetta and some shallots and a little garlic. This is not a dish dominated by any one flavor in my opinion. It’s a lovely meld of creaminess with a slight acidity, saltiness and a touch of heat. The addition of the cream at the end smooths out the sauce and with the starch from pasta, this is indeed a rich and creamy dish!

Note: The most important step is to stir constantly once the liquid comes to a bowl. The pasta sheds starch, which falls to the bottom of the pan and scorches easily. Be sure to have everything in place before cooking – the table set, salad made, bread sliced, etc. The dish is done when the pasta is cooked according to the time on the package.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, pancetta and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the pancetta has rendered its fat. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and stir for 30 seconds.

one-pot pasta recipe

Add the tomatoes, vodka, cream, water and pasta; stir to combine.

one-pot pasta recipe

Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, lower slightly to prevent the liquid from overflowing. Cook for the recommended time on the pasta package for al dente.

Note: The most important step is to stir constantly once the liquid comes to a bowl. The pasta sheds starch, which falls to the bottom of the pan and scorches easily. Be sure to have everything in place before cooking – the table set, salad made, bread sliced, etc. The dish is done when the pasta is cooked according to the time on the package.

one-pot pasta recipe

Stir in the cheese off heat and top each bowl with parsley and/or basil.

one-pot pasta recipe

Watch the Penne alla Vodka video here.
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One-Pot Penne alla Vodka

bowl of penne alla vodka pasta with garnish

A quick and easy one-pot pasta dish great for a busy weeknight.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: Pasta

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups minced onion or shallot
4 ounces pancetta, minced
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon minced cloves garlic (3 medium cloves)
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional more at your discretion)
1 can (15 ounces) fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 cups water
1 pound penne pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for the table                       

Garnish

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley or basil

Instructions

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, pancetta and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the pancetta has rendered its fat.

Add the garlic and pepper flakes and stir for 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes, vodka, cream, water and pasta; stir to combine.

Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, lower slightly to prevent the liquid from overflowing. Cook for the recommended time on the pasta package for al dente.

Stir in the cheese off heat and top each bowl with parsley and/or basil.

Notes

The most important step is to stir constantly once the liquid comes to a bowl. The pasta sheds starch, which falls to the bottom of the pan and scorches easily. Be sure to have everything in place before cooking – the table set, salad made, bread sliced, etc.

 

 

Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

I was recently confronted with an abundance of multi-colored bell peppers. Peppers are a funny ingredient. Unlike zucchini, another prolific crop, which is easily turned into quick breads and muffins, fritters and casseroles, peppers are rarely the star of the dish.

Think sausage with peppers and onions, fajitas come with sautéed peppers and there are so many recipes that call for peppers to be chopped or diced and added to other aromatics such as onions, garlic, celery and/or carrots as the foundation of a recipe. The only time they stand on their own is as a shell for stuffing. And this is where it gets interesting.

Stuffed Peppers

There are so many different ingredients to choose from. Ground meat of any type is suitable and also optional. There are a multitude of grains and beans to choose from. Add chopped vegetables and herbs and moisten with a sauce and top off with some crumbled or shredded cheese and you have a delicious entrée.

Watch the Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers Video Here.

 

Along with the peppers, I also had a few eggplants and decided to go with a Greek-style stuffed pepper. Start by sautéing some ground lamb and diced onion with salt and pepper. Stir in garlic, oregano and just a bit of cinnamon. To keep it moist, I added a thawed pint of tomato sauce I’d made earlier in the season. Cube the eggplant and toss in couple of cups along with more of those bell peppers cut into small pieces. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes. To finish in a traditional Greek style stir in chopped Kalamata olives and crumbled Feta cheese.

Stuffed Peppers

While the sauce simmers, slice off the tops and remove the core, seeds and membrane and season the insides with a sprinkle of kosher salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper.

I intended to freeze the stuffed peppers in batches for future use and needed to
partially cook the yellow bell peppers that would house the filling. The pre-cooking step deactivates the ripening enzymes to ensure that the peppers retain their color, shape and flavor.

Stuffed Peppers

Place the prepared bell peppers upright in a baking dish. and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Pop in the microwave on high for 3 minutes or until slightly softened. Stuff each shell with the filling.

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Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

Use the abundance of vegetables at the farmers’ market to make these delicious and eye-appealing Greek-style stuffed peppers with lamb or to keep it vegan, use a grain such as orzo or quinoa in lieu of the lamb. Keep it colorful and use a variety of colors!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 85 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

  • 8 bell peppers, tops removed, seeds, ribs and stems removed, save tops
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Filling
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 ½ cups minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon minced cloves garlic (3 medium cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers, any color
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) fired roasted tomatoes or a pint of tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish
  3. Lined baking sheet to catch any spills
  4. Season the inside of each bell pepper with a sprinkle of kosher salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper. Place upright in a baking dish.
  5. Note: If you are making in advance and planning to freeze, cover tightly with plastic wrap. Pop in the microwave on high for 3 minutes or just until slightly softened.
  6. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the lamb and onions, using the edge of a wooden spoon to break up the meat into a crumbly mix. Cook until the meat is no longer red.
  7. Stir in the oregano, garlic and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add the eggplant, peppers and tomatoes or tomato sauce and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  9. Stir in the olives and feta off heat and stuff each pepper with the filling.
  10. Cover tightly with foil and place on a lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, one hour for frozen peppers.

 

Cobb Salad

Composed Salad

Cobb salad is delicious for an afternoon luncheon or for a warm weather dinner.

Watch the Cobb Salad Video Here.

Check out our How To Sauté Chicken Breasts  and the “Finger Test” videos.

A Cobb salad is a composed salad. The ingredients are presented in rows, rather than tossed, for an eye-appealing presentation. Pour dressing over everything and serve!

Composed Salad

The presentation creates a lovely balance of color, texture and flavors.

Composed Salad

The salad originated at the Brown Derby in LA, supposedly put together late in the evening at the end of service using what was left in the kitchen.

Composed Salad

This is a quick and easy meal to make ahead; dress at the last minute for a light and refreshing lunch or dinner.

 

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Cobb Salad

Cobb salad is a composed salad, which simply means the ingredients are not tossed together but laid out in a colorful and eye appealing way. Quick and easy recipe for lunch or dinner

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: One-Dish Meal/Salad

Ingredients

Vinaigrette

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup chopped chives

1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard

¼ teaspoon coarse salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Salad

6 cups chopped lettuce (Romaine, Bibb, watercress)

20 cherry tomatoes, halved

4 slices cooked and coarsely chopped bacon

1 pound cooked whole boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 hard boiled eggs, quartered lengthwise

2 Hass avocado, peeled and sliced crosswise

4 ounces blue cheese crumbles

Instructions

Vinaigrette

Combine the oil, vinegar, chives, mustard, salt and pepper in a jar. Close tightly and shake well.

Salad

Strew the lettuce across the bottom of a large platter.

Arrange each ingredient in a row.

Pour dressing over everything and serve.

 

Bacon Spinach Quiche

Quiche

Quiche is simply an omelet in a pre-baked pie shell. It makes for a different presentation than what we usually eat for breakfast and you don’t have to make toast, the crust is a delicious alternative. See our post video on how to blind bake a pie crust.

NOTE: Since taping this video, I now prefer to completely blind bake the crust and not partially as suggested in the video.

Watch the Quiche Video Here:

Quiche is also a wonderful way to use leftovers. Dice up the remains from a charcuterie platter, sharp cheese, salty spicy salami, dice some onions and garlic add in some fresh herbs and you have an improvised quiche. Leftover steamed or roasted vegetables are also great starters for quiche.

Quiche

Use your imagination when you go to the store; look at the fresh produce and select what strikes your fancy and don’t forget some fresh herbs. Pick a cheese, almost any cheese works, that pairs well with your produce or suits your mood that day. The possibilities are endless.

Quiche

Quiche is delicious served hot out of the oven, but it’s also great at room temperature and it travels well. Pack it for lunch for the kids or for yourself at work.

Quiche

Watch the Quiche Video Here
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Bacon Spinach Quiche

quiche

A quiche is simply an omelet in a pastry shell. The possibilities for fillings are endless. Use leftovers or your imagination to create an unending variety!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 mins
  • Yield: 1 ten-inch pie
  • Category: Eggs
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

  • One single pie crust
  • 6 large eggs (1 cup)
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 teaspoons coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ¼ cups diced Gruyere cheese (1/4-inch dice)
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, squeezed dry
  • ½ cup finely diced cooked bacon, about 5 ounces
  • ½ cup minced shallot

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the eggs in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until foamy.
  3. Whisk in the half and half, salt and pepper.
  4. Strew the cheese, spinach, bacon and shallots over the bottom of a half blind-baked pie shell.
  5. Pour the egg mixture over all. And put on a foil line baking tray.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until the custard is set.
  7. Let sit for 10 minutes for slicing.

Notes

Line a baking tray with foil or parchment and place the quiche on this for baking. If the quiche leaks, the baking tray contains the mess and keeps your oven clean.

The quiche needs to rest before slicing to allow the eggs to finish gelling.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 8 portions

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

Quick and easy Tuscan kale and bean soup is a hearty vegan recipe. It’s also dairy-free, gluten-free and fits a paleo diet! If you can’t find Tuscan or Lacinto kale, substitute escarole or any other hearty green.

Chop your vegetables small so a few different pieces fit on the spoon at once for best flavor and enjoyment.

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

Rinse and drain the kale or greens and coarsely chop.

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

Don’t overcook the greens to maintain a vibrant green and slight texture.

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

If you’re family doesn’t favor meatless dishes, simply brown 1 pound of loose sausage in the oil before sweating the aromatics or add 3 cups shredded cooked chicken at the end.

A little grated Asiago cheese makes a delicious garnish.

Watch the Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup Video Here.

 

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Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

This is a quick and easy soup to make. If you can’t find Tuscan or Lacinto kale, substitute escarole or any other hearty green. If you’re family doesn’t favor meatless dishes, simply brown 1 pound of loose sausage in the oil before sweating the aromatics or add 3 cups shredded cooked chicken at the end. Parmesan cheese on top is optional!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeldd
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 two-cup servings
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 6 cups stock or water
  • 1 can (x ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 bunch washed, trimmed and coarsely chopped Tuscan kale, or other hearty green
  • 1 can (19 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • Garnish: freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, with a cover, over medium heat.
  2. Note: If you choose to use sausage in the soup cook in the hot oil until browned, using a wooden spoon to break the sausage in to a small crumble.
  3. Stir in the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper; cover and sweat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Lower the heat a little if the vegetables are browning.
  4. Add the stock and tomatoes, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the beans and kale or other greens, return to a boil, lower the heat and cook another 8 minutes or until the greens are tender, but not soft.
  6. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if you like.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: two cups

 

Chicken Scarpariello

Chicken Scarpariello

Chicken Scarpariello is a favorite dish for both my husband and my daughter Claire. Margot and I don’t have the tolerance for spice like they do, so I’ve never had the courage to order it. For those of you unfamiliar with this dish, it’s chicken (or veal or pork) with hot (and I mean HOT) cherry peppers, fennel and in some instances sausage.

Chicken Scarpariello is also a favorite of our friends Bob & Lynn. I decided I would venture forth and make it for Bobby’s birthday because it’s one of his very favorite dishes, along with the Ricotta Cheesecake that I created for him a few years ago.

This recipe needs chicken parts with skin and bone on. It cooks up crispy and moist.

Chicken Scarpariello

When I opened the jar of hot cherry peppers and took a whiff, I gasped. The heat went straight up my nose and down my throat; I knew I was in trouble, but no turning back!

I seared the chicken, removed to a holding dish and then sauteed the fennel, onions, sweet bell peppers, garlic and oregano in olive oil. Once the vegetables softened, I added white wine and 1/4 cup of the bottled pepper juice and some red potatoes. The chicken went back in the pan with half a jar of the peppers strewn across the pan.

Note: I omitted the sausages because Lynn doesn’t eat them. To include, just give a quick sear to brown in the pan after searing the chicken, then set aside with the chicken. Add back to the pan with the chicken and cherry peppers as instructed above.

The dish can be made ahead up to this point and held, covered, in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Let the pan sit on the counter for an hour before roasting to warm up a bit.

Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes or a little longer if refrigerated. The chicken is done when the internal temperature registers 175ºF on a meat thermometer.Chicken Scarpariello

Remove the chicken to a warm platter and boil the sauce to reduce it for about five minutes. Check your potatoes to see if they need a few minutes more. Add the vegetables to the platter with the chicken.

Stir in the butter off heat and whisk until melted.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and peppers, garnish with fennel fronds.

WARNING

The sauce is very spicy. I served it on the side. The chicken and vegetables are flavorful and have tolerable heat, but the sauce brings the heat to another level; I wasn’t able to handle it. Everyone else couldn’t get enough of it. I though my husband was going to drink it!

 

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Chicken Scarpariello

Chicken Scarpariello has fennel, sweet bell peppers and hot cherry peppers. It’s a one dish meal, just add some potatoes! Cook and serve in the same pot.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 portions
  • Category: Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 whole roasting chicken cut into eight pieces
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sausages, such as sweet or hot Italian or Chorizo
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 each yellow and red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 10 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons dry oregano
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup hot cherry pepper juice
  • 1 pound tiny red potatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 jar hot cherry peppers
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Garnish: Fennel fronds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat.
  2. Season the chicken, both sides, with the salt and pepper.
  3. Sear the chicken for three minutes, skin slide down. Don’t crowd the pan, sear in batches as needed.
  4. Turn and cook for one minute more.
  5. Remove the chicken to a holding dish.
  6. Sear the sausages, if using and remove to the dish with the chicken.
  7. Stir in the fennel, onion, garlic and oregano and sweat for 3 minutes.
  8. Pour in the pepper juice and wine, bring to a boil and deglaze the pan by scrapping the fond with a wooden spoon. Reduce the liquid to one-quarter cup.
  9. Add the chicken stock and then return the sausage and chicken to the pan, skin side up. Add the cherry peppers.
  10. Note: The chicken can be made ahead to this point. Cover and refrigerate. Take out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before roasting.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or a little longer if refrigerated. The chicken is done when the internal temperature registers 175ºF on a meat thermometer.
  12. Remove the chicken to a warm platter and boil the sauce to reduce it for about five minutes. Check your potatoes to see if they need a few minutes more. Add the vegetables to the platter with the chicken.
  13. Stir in the butter off heat and whisk until melted.
  14. Pour the sauce over the chicken and peppers, garnish with fennel fronds.

Notes

Serve the sauce on the side for those who are sensitive to spicy food.

One-Pot Chicken Dinner

This may be the best chicken I ever made! I used a peculiar method of mixing two totally incompatible cooking techniques: roasting and braising. Crazy right? But it worked. And, it’s a One-Pot Chicken Dinner!

Nothing is more satisfying than making a meal in one pot. A One-Pot Chicken Dinner is even better! Cooking the chicken on the bone with the skin on creates a very moist chicken. And using a herb butter mix and both under and over the skin of the chicken delivers outstanding flavor.

I’ve recently come across a few recipes for roasting a chicken in a heavy-duty pot such as a LeCreuset Dutch oven, which is an iron pan with an enamel coating. An excellent braising vehicle. The idea of using it to roast seemed a bit odd at first. Usually you want a roasting pan that has lower sides to allow the heat to reach the chicken and brown the skin. The problem with this method is that the breast is done before the thigh meat and continued cooking makes the breast meat dry.

It’s Really an Uncovered Braise

I thought I’d give this method a try and see what happens. My take is that it’s an “uncovered braise.” Leaving the cover off allows the top to get some color, but the cooking environment is still quite moist and the skin doesn’t crisp all over like a roasted chicken. However, the flavor and the moistness of the chicken is by far the best I’ve ever had! And, most importantly both the thigh meat and the breast are done at the same time. The intensity of the heat from the high sides of the pot accomplishes this beautifully and those high sides also keep moisture in the pot, preventing the chicken from drying out. A win win!

DSCN5059

I chose to use a lower cooking temperature than I saw in some recipes. I did start out at 475 degrees F for the first 20 minutes. The chicken gets a little color on the top and the pan heats up quickly. I then chose 300 degrees F for the cooking time vs. 350 degrees recommended in other recipes. This is more of the braise approach – low and slow.

Add vegetables to this for a one-pot dinner. Start with onions and garlic as the base, some thinly sliced red potatoes and anything else you like. I included some chopped chard, both stems and leaves. Don’t forget some fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and/or parsley, salt, and pepper.DSCN5066

Rub a combination of melted butter, more of the herbs, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper under and over the skin and pop a quartered lemon into the cavity with a little salt and pepper.

DSCN5068

Cooking the chicken on top of the vegetables and letting all the flavors marry is a wonderful way to get dinner done in one pot. Check to make sure your potatoes are completely cooked. If not, finish on the stovetop while the chicken rests and then stir in the coarsely chopped chard leaves to wilt.

DSCN5070

Place the vegetables on a warm platter and top with the carved chicken.

The entire recipe can be prepared in advance, just take it out of the refrigerator an hour or so before roasting to let the pan warm up or add 5-7 minutes to the initial cooking time.

 

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One-Pot Chicken Dinner

Nothing is more satisfying than making an entire meal in one pot. A One-Pot Chicken Dinner is even better! Cooking the chicken on the bone with the skin on creates a very moist chicken. And using a herb butter mix and both under and over the skin of the chicken delivers great flavor.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 80 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 mins
  • Yield: 8 portions
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Roast/Braise

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches rainbow chard
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 large red potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 three to four pound roaster
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lemon quartered
  • Garnish
  • More freshly chopped herbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Wash the chard and separate the leaves from the stems. Trim the stem bottoms and mince. Roughly chop the leaves and save for later.
  3. Grease the bottom of the pan with the butter or pour in the oil.
  4. Add the chard stems, onion, potatoes, garlic, rosemary, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
  5. Combine the melted butter, rosemary, thyme, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Lift up the skin and using one-half of the butter mixture rub all over each breast and on the legs and thighs. Rub the remaining butter on the outside of the chicken.
  6. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with a little salt and pepper and stuff in the lemon quarters.
  7. Tie the legs and place on top of the vegetables.
  8. Place the chicken in the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees F and cook for another 25-30 minutes per pound. The internal temperature of the chicken should register 170 degrees F.

Notes

The recipe can be prepared in advance, just take it out of the refrigerator an hour or so before roasting to let the pan warm up or add 5-7 minutes to the initial cooking time.

 

 

 

Shellfish and Sausage Gumbo

Cajun Cuisine

I was looking for something different to make for dinner the other night and Shellfish and Sausage Gumbo came to mind. I’d never made a gumbo before and did some research. There is a spice mix called Cajun spice mix that I was pretty sure I could find at Fairway. While I was there I picked some petite lobster tails, shrimp, scallops, and sausages.

Any gumbo requires a roux. This is a thickener made of equal amounts by weight of vegetable oil or butter and flour. For this style of Louisiana cooking, a dark roux is preferred for the depth of flavor it brings to the dish. The thickening power is weakened by the long cooking time but that’s easily remedied by adding okra to the pot or sprinkling a little filé powder (dried and ground leaves of the sassafras tree) to each bowl.

Cajun Cuisine

The Roux

There are two ways to make a roux either on the stovetop (30-40 minutes) or in the oven (1 ½ hours). I was in no hurry that afternoon, wanted to do some other things, and opted to make the roux in the oven. The stovetop version requires a little more attention. The oven version you have to stir a couple of times, so I set the timer for 30 minutes twice and gave a quick stir each time.

I diced up lots of aromatics: onions, celery, green and red bell peppers, scallions and garlic for a flavorful base with chicken stock, fire-roasted tomatoes and sausages.

To easily extract the lobster tails, I cut through the underside with kitchen shears before cooking. I wanted the lobster shells in the broth to add flavor and removed them before serving. These went in first for ten minutes followed by the shrimp and scallops and cooked for another 5-6 minutes. Don’t boil or the seafood toughens.

Cajun Cuisine

Mound some rice in a bowl and surround with the gumbo and top with a handful of sliced scallion greens.

 

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Shellfish and Sausage Gumbo

Cajun Cuisine

Don’t skimp on the dark roux – it adds lots of flavor that is typical of a gumbo. Use file powder to thicken the gumbo, let each individual sprinkle over his/her own bowl.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 portions
  • Category: Stews and Braises

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vegetable oil
  • 2 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1 cup sliced scallions
  • 2 tablespoons minced cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun spice mix
  • 4 smoked sausages, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups stock
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) fire-roasted or diced tomatoes
  • 4 petite lobster tails
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 sea scallops
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • GARNISH
  • Sliced scallions

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Whisk the oil and flour together in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 1 ½ hours, stirring 3 times.
  3. Stir in the onion and salt and sweat for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the celery, peppers and scallions to the roux and continuing cooking, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the garlic and Cajun spice mix and cook until fragrant.
  6. Add the sausages, stock and tomatoes; bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. The stew can be made in advance to this point. Thirty minutes before dinner, bring the gumbo back to a boil and then add the lobster tails. Simmer for 12 minutes.
  8. Add the shrimp and scallops and continue cooking on low for 5-6 minutes.
  9. Serve over rice and garnish with scallions.

Notes

Don’t boil the gumbo after adding the shellfish; it gets very tough.

 

 

Spicy Beef Chili

My cousins are driving down from Conesus NY tomorrow for lunch; we’re having Spicy Beef Chili and garlic bread with triple chocolate and pumpkin biscotti for dessert.

They make a round trip in one day, five hours each way! Yes, they’re a little nuts but Linda and Cyndi love road trips and Linda’s husband Dave is a good sport and comes along too. The reason for the short visit is they live on a farm. Not a food farm, a horse farm, and the animals need them back in time for dinner.

The farm has been in the family since I was a little kid. I remember spending many weekends there and learning how to groom the horses and muck a stall. I’m glad my little rascal Lacy is not as labor intensive!

Lacy

I hadn’t given the menu much thought. Lunch is somehow much easier than a dinner party; there were no to do lists or even a grocery list. When I got to the meat counter they had some coarsely ground Black Angus beef for chili and that was my inspiration. I picked up some bell peppers, a jalapeño, a head of garlic, canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes and kidney beans. I didn’t give much thought to the garnishes until later and Eric will pick those up tomorrow am and get a baguette for the garlic bread.

A good rule to remember when chopping vegetables is to look at the size of the ingredients in the recipe. In this case, the kidney beans. Cut the bell peppers into a dice similar in size to the beans. This allows a nice combination of ground meat, peppers, bean and tomato to get on a spoon and you enjoy all the flavors together in one mouthful.

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The jalapeño, however, should be minced. The smaller the cut the more cells that are exposed and more flavor transfers to the chili. Also, you don’t want to be the one to get a large piece, especially if it’s particularly hot!

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Ground beef cooks up quickly, no long braising needed, and this chili comes together in about an hour and a half. Start by browning the meat on high in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and break it up into crumbles with the edge of a wooden spoon.

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Add the onions and cook five minutes. Add the chopped peppers, jalapeño, garlic, and the spices. Stir into the meat; the fat and heat release the essential oils of the all those delicious spices more effectively that liquid. Cook and stir occasionally for five minutes.

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Stir in the tomatoes and stock and simmer for 45 minutes.

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Add the drained beans and cook until heated through, about five minutes.

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Put out bowls of sour cream, shredded cheese and thinly sliced scallions to top off the chili.

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It’s a delicious fall lunch that hopefully will keep them full for their long trek home along with some baggies of biscotti for snacking.

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Beef Chili

Ground beef cooks up quickly, no long braising needed, and this chili comes together in about an hour and a half. Adding the spices into the meat and vegetables allows the spices to bloom in the fat before adding the liquids.

  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Yield: 8 portions
  • Category: Beef

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups diced onion (1 large onion)
  • 1 each red and yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeño, minced (1 large jalapeño)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic cloves, minced (4 large cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon dried, ground ancho chili
  • 1 tablespoon dried, ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon dried, ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried, ground chipotle
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • Garnishes
  • sour cream, shredded Cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese, thinly sliced scallions.

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Add the beef and brown while crumbling the meat with the edge of a wooden spoon.
  2. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the bell peppers, jalapeño, garlic, ancho chili, coriander, cumin, oregano, salt, chipotle, cinnamon, paprika, thyme and bay leaves and cook on medium-high for five minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and stock and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Add the beans and continue cooking another 5 minutes, until the beans are hot.

Notes

Chili freezes well.

One-Pot Meat Lasagna

Back to school dinner idea #3

I recently saw on one of the social media sites a recipe for one-pot pasta. What an amazing idea! Is is possible to make One-Pot Meat Lasagna in an hour or less?

I was intrigued and thought this was a wonderful idea for a quick and easy back to school dinner idea. One of our favorite pasta dishes is lasagna, but that takes too much time for a school night dinner.

It’s kind of ironic that we’ve been programed to cook pasta in tons of salted water to keep it from sticking, drain, don’t rinse to preserve the starch and then finish cooking in the sauce. This one-pot idea accomplishes all of the above and so quickly.

Use a large heavy-bottomed large Dutch oven or saucepot that heats evenly. Place the beef in a hot pan with the oil.

Back to school dinner idea #3

Use a wooded spoon to break up the meat into small pieces as you cook the meat.

Back to school dinner idea #3

Stir in the onions and cook for a couple of minutes.

Back to school dinner idea #3

Add the garlic and Italian herb seasoning and stir for 30 seconds.

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Stir in the water and the tomatoes.

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The pasta emits lots of starch and requires constant stirring or it will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Don’t add the pasta until all pre-dinner chores are done and you or someone else in the family can spend time at the stove. The pasta takes a good 15 minutes to absorb the liquid and is done when the noodle easily yields to the side of a fork.

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Back to school dinner idea #3

Take the pasta off heat and stir in the mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano and the basil. Let sit for 30 seconds and stir again. The dish is ready when the mozzarella becomes a little stringy.

Back to school dinner idea #3

Serve in warm bowls with extra basil or parsley as a garnish.

 

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One-Pot Meat Lasagna

Back to school dinner idea #3
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef (15% fat)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup diced onion (1 medium onion)
  • 6 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning herbs
  • 1 can (28 ounces) either crushed or purée tomatoes
  • 5 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1 pound broken lasagna (break into pieces by hand)
  • 8 ounces small cubed fresh mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil or parsley
  • Garnish
  • chopped basil or parsley

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan on high. Add the beef and break up into small pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
  2. Stir in the onion and cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, herb seasonings, salt and pepper and cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Add in the tomatoes, water and broken lasagna; stir to mix well. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle boil and continue cooking and stirring constantly for the suggested time on the lasagna package. Cook until tender.
  5. Take the pasta off heat and stir in the mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano and the basil. Let sit for 30 seconds and stir again. The dish is ready when the mozzarella becomes a little stringy.
  6. Serve in warm bowls with extra basil or parsley as a garnish.

 

Baked Cheddar Cheese and Ham Omelet

Back to School Dinner Recipe

Mornings are hectic and it’s unlikely that a home-cooked robust breakfast is appearing on the table. Everyone is in hurry to grab a bite and catch the bus or head off to work. This is a very good time to have breakfast for dinner with a Baked Cheddar Cheese and Ham Omelet.

Eggs are nutritious and versatile. You can prepare them simply by frying, scrambling or poaching. Serve with toast and ham or sausage on the side and some steamed vegetables. Simple, quick and easy.

Back to School Dinner Recipe

You can also make heartier preparations like baked omelets. I recommend cooking extra vegetables on the weekend, cut them up and put in a container. Buy a slice of ham and dice it up and save in a container or pre-cook some sausages, dice up and save in a container. Sauté a diced onion and save in a container. Having roasted root vegetables this weekend? Save the leftovers in a container.

Back to School Dinner Recipe

Don’t have leftovers? No worries. Take advantage of the pre-cut vegetables most grocery stores offer these days: thinly sliced bell peppers, little buds of broccoli or cauliflower. Buy a zucchini or some green beans and cut into bite-size pieces. Best of all, there is no need to precook these vegetables. Pick up a package of your favorite shredded cheese and you can prep dinner in 20 minutes or less.

Back to School Dinner Recipe

What to serve on the side: toasted English muffins, a nice crusty bread, muffins or scones; you don’t have to bake, pick them up with your morning coffee!

Warm the bread, muffins or scones in the oven after you remove the omelet, which needs to sit a good 10 minutes to set before slicing. A nice green salad or a side of steamed vegetables rounds out this meal nicely.

Back to School Dinner Recipe

While the omelet bakes you can set the table, or perhaps the kids can do that when they get home from school, check on homework status, get into some comfortable after-work clothes and maybe even have a glass of wine!

You’ve made a delicious, nutritious meal in a very short time with very little cleanup after and it’s economical. If you have any leftovers, send it the lunchbox.

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Baked Cheddar Cheese and Ham Omelet

Back to School Dinner Recipe

Mornings are hectic and it’s unlikely that a home-cooked robust breakfast is appearing on the table. Everyone is in hurry to grab a bite and catch the bus or head off to work. This is a very good time to have breakfast for dinner with a Baked Cheddar Cheese and Ham Omelet.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Yield: 6 portions
  • Category: Eggs
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

  • one dozen large eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup small pieces broccoli florets
  • 1 cup small pieces cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup diced ham

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease an 8- by 8- by 2-inch cake/brownie pan.
  2. Beat the eggs, half and half, salt and pepper until frothy.
  3. Scatter the fillings across the bottom of the pan and cover with the scrambled eggs.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. The omelet is done when puffed, solid in the middle and a little golden on the edges. Let sit 15 minutes before slicing.

Notes

Send leftovers in the lunch box tomorrow.

 

Roasted Vegetable and Ham Frittata

What do you do with leftovers? Repurpose them into a Roasted Vegetable and Ham Frittata.

We had leftover roasted vegetables from dinner and leftover ham from the split pea soup I recently made. I tossed the vegetables and ham together and put them in the bottom of a buttered deep-dish pie pan. It took nine well-beaten eggs with to cover this. I didn’t add any salt and pepper to the eggs because the vegetables were well seasoned and the ham salty. It was the right decision, adding any more salt would have been too much.

We had the frittata for dinner with enough leftover for lunch the next day.

Place the vegetables and ham in the bottom of a lightly greased deep-dish pie pan.

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Beat the eggs and dairy until frothy. Pour over the vegetables.

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Bake for one and one-quarter hours or until the frittata is completely set. Test with the blade of a knife. The frittata is done when the knife comes out clean.

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Roasted Vegetable and Ham Frittata

The vegetables I used were well seasoned and I opted not to season the frittata. Be sure to taste your leftovers before seasoning.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 85 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 portions
  • Category: Eggs

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Leftover vegetables
    4 ounces ham, cut into small cubes
    9 large eggs
    1/4 cup milk or half and half
    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  2. Place the vegetables and ham in the bottom of a lightly greased deep-dish pie pan.
  3. Beat the eggs and milk until frothy.
  4. Pour over the vegetables.
  5. Bake for one and one-quarter hours or until the frittata is completely set.
  6. Test with the blade of a knife. The frittata is done when the knife comes out clean.
  7. Let sit for 10 minutes to solidify.