One Pan Chicken Dinner

I don’t think the title is original. I have seen and read many postings for one pan dinners lately. This is my version. I have taken inspiration from various postings, too many to list, so if one of them is you, thank you! The primary inspiration is here.

I have a bunch of lemons leftover from the latest lemon meringue pie birthday. Hubby and I just went grocery shopping and he picked out some small red potatoes. I wanted to do something a little different than the lemon chicken recipes I usually make. So I add paprika. My Anheuser Busch cookbook has a nice crockpot Paprika Chicken recipe but I’m roasting this in the oven.

  • 4 small/medium sized chicken breasts
  • 8 medium sized red potatoes
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • scant 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic (from a jar)
  • dried thyme, a few shakes from a shaker jar
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste at serving

I mixed the juice, oil, and spices in a large bowl while Hubby chopped the vegetables. He cut the carrots into “pennies” which I thought would be too small but turned out perfectly. The other veggies were cut into one inch chunks. Put these into the bowl with the juice and mix to coat.

Oil the roasting pan and distribute the vegetables in it. Reserve the juice. Now put the chicken breasts in the juice to coat them. It will not be a thick coating as the juice mixture is very thin. Nestle the chicken in among the vegetables. Sprinkle with thyme and distribute the lemon slices on top. Hubby suggested pouring the juice on top of this before baking, so I did.

Here is the before baking/roasting picture and then the served dish.

I bake this at 350 degrees F for one hour. The chicken is done. I remove the chicken and Hubby helps pour the juice onto the chicken. I cover this to keep warm while I raise the oven temperature to 450 F and roast the vegetables for another 15-20 minutes.

This was a nice dinner. It had good flavor and not just lemon. The chicken was moist and not overcooked. I think using the juice in the first baking kept the chicken from drying out.

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Spinach, Sausages, and Potatoes

I have collected various cooking/food magazines over the years. While looking for my cookie recipes I found some Eating Well magazines from 2002 and 2003. I have a memory of the time reading these and thinking the recipes were too exotic or different. But when glancing through them now I find the recipes intriguing and simple enough. They are different from the usual Midwestern fare of my upbringing, but now in my cooking that is a good thing. Back then I read the articles for the health and wellness; now I will try out some of the recipes.

This recipe was touted as a warm salad along with other recipes for adding greens to one’s diet. It describes a variety of winter greens and how to cook them. This one was named Warm Salad of Greens, Italian Sausage & Potatoes. And it’s not like I had all these ingredients sitting around my kitchen. But as many of you do, I read the recipe for the idea and the way the ingredients are combined and cooked and put together. And as I was reading this one I thought about frozen spinach (always in my freezer), the venison sausage from my son-in-law’s first buck, and the white potatoes in the pantry. Voila, a recipe is born!

The original recipe calls for kale. I have never cooked kale, nor eaten it to my knowledge. I have heard, who knows where, that it is bitter and tough if not cooked right. Here’s what I used:

  • 4 links of venison sausage, most likely a pound or more
  • 3 medium sized potatoes, washed and diced
  • 1 or 2 cups frozen spinach (I just poured from the bag)
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic from a jar
  • pinch of salt
  • fresh ground pepper

First put the potatoes in a pot of water and bring to boil. While waiting for this, remove skins from sausages. First actually I boiled the sausages for 10 minutes in a pot of water like my son-in-law instructed. So I am removing the skins from these cooked sausages.

Put the fennel seeds in a skillet and cook with the sausages. I had to improvise here because my sausages were already cooked. I added an additional tablespoon of oil to this skillet and sauteed the sausage with the fennel seeds. The seeds did indeed stick to the sausages as reported in the original recipe. When done, I cut the sausages into 1/2 inch thick slices.

When the potato pot comes to a boil, add the spinach and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and add to the skillet with the sausages. Whisk the oil, vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over the sausage-potato mixture and toss to blend. Dinner is served.

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The beauty of this recipe is that it also make a fabulous base for soup for the leftovers. Venison has a rich taste so a little goes a long way. To make soup I sauteed a diced onion and 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables in a tablespoon of oil in the dutch oven. After about 5 minutes I added a can of diced tomatoes and two tablespoons of pesto. The pesto was in place of sauteing garlic with the onion. I had one last square of homemade pesto in my freezer. Now add 3 cups of broth. I used chicken or turkey broth that also was homemade in my freezer. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add the leftover sausage-potato mixture and a can of cannellini beans, drained. Simmer until heated through.

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This is a nice rich soup/stew. We had some for supper, and I have leftovers to bring to work for my lunches.

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted vegetables

We went camping this past weekend and I disconnected myself from the internet for two days. How freeing! But I am concerned that the world may go to hell in a hand basket while I’m not watching, and then what would I do?

Camping weekends are usually rainy and cold. That is just our luck. This one was no exception but the sun did come out for a spell on Sunday morning. We sat around reading real books, the ones where you actually turn the pages. We acted like the old people we are by hitting the sack by 9:00 each night. No time for a campfire!

We did not eat our steaks while camping so we fixed them for our Sunday supper. I roasted the vegetables that I had taken along and added Brussels sprouts. Hubby does not particularly care for Brussels sprouts but I figured roasting them would make them okay.

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This concoction is 4 red potatoes, 2 carrots, 1 onion, and 1/2 package steam-able baby Brussels sprouts. This is dressed with 1/8 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, 3 fresh sage leaves, one sprig of fresh rosemary, one sprig of fresh thyme, and a few snips of fresh parsley. I roasted this at 425 degrees F for one hour, stirring twice during that time.

Hubby grilled the bacon wrapped beef (an Aldi product that is fabulous!) and we had our dinner. Yum! A lovely dinner for the winter-ish spring day!20170507_204434264_iOS

Exotic vegetables!

Just for fun: meet Leo. Hubby and I completely lost our minds after the Thanksgiving holiday and brought home this 80 pound dog from the Humane Society. He’s eleven years old and we decided we could be his forever family for the last few years of his life. He’s old and grey like us!

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In my never ending yet inconsistent quest to eat healthier I picked up some new cookbooks at my local library, one of which was Meat on the Side by Nikki Dinki (2016, St Martin’s Press). I do not know this author; I did not buy the books; this is just me experimenting with recipes in my kitchen.

The recipe I made first was Roasted Grape, Arugula + Goat Cheese Baked Potatoes. Doesn’t that sound intriguing? I had grapes sitting in my fridge that needed using and they were just past good eating but had not turned into raisins.I had a large bag of potatoes and had just bought goat cheese and mixed greens (includes arugula) at my field trip to Whole Foods the other day. I do not usually shop at Whole Foods as it is a bit out of my price range for regular groceries.

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I could not find the recipe as an on-line link. So here is what you need:

  • 4 Idaho potatoes, scrubbed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups red seedless grapes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups lightly packed, coarsely chopped arugula
  • 4 ounces soft garlic and herb goat cheese log
  • 1/4 cup honey

Rub the potatoes with oil, salt with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, prick with fork and bake in 400 degree F oven for 45 minutes, or until done.

Toss the grapes with the other tablespoon of oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Place on a brimmed baking sheet. 25 minutes into the baking of the potatoes put the grapes in the oven to roast.

When the potatoes are done, slit the top and smush open. Fluff with a fork and mix in the arugula. Then divide the cheese and grapes among the 4 potatoes. Drizzle with honey. At each of those steps the recipe instructs to add more of the salt. Serve immediately.

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My end product does not look as nice and neat as the picture in the cookbook. But it is quite tasty. This was our supper so we each ate two stuffed potatoes. The warm grapes were quite pleasant.

I did not add the entire amount of salt that she called for in the recipe. I used only 1/2 teaspoon: on the outside of the potatoes and then on the grapes. I used plain goat cheese and not flavored. I used mixed greens and not just arugula. I used both red and black seedless grapes.

Most of the recipes in this cookbook are odd/different combinations of vegetables. I like the idea that she developed her recipes with the vegetable as the star and the meat as the condiment. I might try her Pumpkin Pancakes and Beet Hummus. But truly, these recipes are a bit more unusual for my ordinary home cooking. Interesting to read and think about though.

“Eat your vegetables, or no dessert!”

Been camping!

Summer has been difficult for me to come up with creative things to cook. There have been a lot of repeats: barbecue sauce, ketchup, tuna noodle salad, and plain old grilled hamburgers and Italian sausages. Baking is rare since I do not have air conditioning in the house and turning on the oven heats up everything. But now that fall is around the corner I will want to bake bread and cakes, even though I don’t have enough people around to eat the cakes!

We got a new camper trailer! Yea! This one we designed specifically for us. This means we chose the options and the layout that we wanted. The big trip to Niagara Falls has come and gone. It was fabulous! If you’ve never been, go!

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I thought I would share a few of the meals we cooked while camping. This is just camp fare, nothing to write home about!

20160821_130315585_iOSI baked muffins (from a mix) in the camp oven. They did not rise high and I think that is because the oven runs cooler than the temperature on the dial.

Camp goulash used up the leftover elbow noodles (the first half went into tuna noodle salad for our picnic earlier that week), a can of tomatoes, a can of mushrooms, diced onion, pesto, oregano, salt and pepper. And shredded cheese. This is served along side grilled Italian sausages and bakery bread.

And then there is The Last Supper: farmer’s market new potatoes, sliced and diced onion, cut up breakfast sausage patties, cheese, herbed butter, and ground pepper. Packet those up and cook on the grill for about 15 minutes. Yum!

 

 

Potato Soup

In trying to think of what to write about to share with you all Hubby suggested comfort foods. I cannot truly recall what these were in my childhood but in hindsight I think about Chicken Dumplings and Potato Soup. Hubby thinks about grilled cheese sandwiches cut into “soldiers” and served with tomato soup. Grilled cheese and tomato soup is a combination my sister served her children. I did not like tomato soup as a child so I never made it or served it to my children. Mind you, this would be the condensed version diluted with water; I don’t think my Mom used milk to “heat and serve”. Nowadays there are the non-condensed soups with added tasty ingredients and I find that I enjoy tomato soup with spinach every once and awhile. I read somewhere a long time ago that foods served with a spoon are comfort foods, perhaps adding cream or milk as well. Sounds reminiscent of children’s foods.

I have a bunch of potatoes recently bought and in the bottom of my pantry. I have a hankering for potato soup. My Mom’s potato soup was made with milk, potatoes, onions, and butter. I remember the butter floating on top. She would not have necessarily used evaporated milk or cream so it was probably plain milk and water. It was a thin soup with the potatoes being the primary solids.

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I have a potato soup in a cookbook that I bought as an adult. It is one of those Better Homes and Gardens collections. The pictures in this book are very appealing. Here is the one for potato soup. It looks wonderful. Makes me hungry just looking at it! I think I may have made this once before but it doesn’t seem to me that my children ate it so I am not sure. Hubby doesn’t particularly like soups unless they are very chunky and stew-like. That may be a difficult call for a potato soup. But since I am home days with this tiresome broken ankle, I could make soup for my lunches. That is the plan!

This particular soup calls for chicken or vegetable broth. Well, I believe I have some frozen homemade turkey broth in the basement freezer. But I do not go down the basement steps on crutches. No, no, no, no! So I look into my newer The Settlement Cook Book (newly revised and enlarged, 1965, 1976, original publication 1901). Other than caraway seed which I entirely doubt that my mother used here is a recipe that sounds like hers: potatoes, butter, salt and pepper, onion, and milk.potato soup 003

Now I never leave well enough alone so I want to add colorful red peppers, maybe some orange and yellow as well, and bacon or ham. I might even add the tops of green onions.

potato soup 004So I gather my ingredients: I am using canned milk for a creamier base and could add regular milk to make two cups. Or I could just add the can, undiluted, to the liquid after it cooks. This will depend on how much liquid is in the pot when the time comes. The recipe calls for 3 cups diced potatoes. The other calls for 3 medium potatoes (2 ¼ cups) so I will use 4-5 potatoes. I like onion so I will use two small onions instead of ½ of a small onion. I have also learned that to sauté the aromatics prior to putting them in the soup liquid make a more flavorful soup. Therefore I cut the onion, peppers, ham, and cook those gently in the 2 Tablespoons of butter. I cook these for about 5-7 minutes until there is quite an onion aroma in my kitchen!

Meanwhile peel and dice the potatoes. I peel 5 potatoes which makes 4 ½ cups. I suppose I could have done with 4 potatoes! Oh well! While I am dicing these it occurs to me that my Mom sliced her potatoes so I do that, sort of. These are about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. I wonder why I peel these. Most of my potato dishes have the peels intact. In fact, a second look at the Better Homes and Gardens photo shows unpeeled potatoes. Too late now. Add these potatoes to the pot with the aromatics and add water to cover.

This amount of ingredients took almost 5 cups of water. Now this is to be cooked until the potatoes are tender, 10-20 minutes. The milk will be added then and heated through but not brought to a boil.

I found a package of not too stale saltines which is what my Mom would have served this with or with white bread toast. I prefer the saltines.

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A very tasty lunch!

The ingredients for this soup turned out to be:

  • 4 ½ cups diced/sliced potatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion tops
  • 1 each small red, orange, and yellow peppers, sliced
  • 4 ounces of boneless ham steak, diced
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

One could add a can of clams, drained, and turn this into New England Clam Chowder. Or add fresh or canned or frozen corn and turn it into Corn Chowder. One could put a bunch of vegetables in there and have a creamy vegetable soup. I bet broccoli and carrots would be nice and one could stir in some grated cheese. This could quickly be prepared with pre-prepped ingredients found in the freezer and produce sections of general grocery stores. All kinds of possibilities when talking about soup!

And soup is so nice to have on cold, bleak winter days;my thermometer says it is 21 degrees (F) outside today!

Miscellaneous Food Stuffs

The frost is coming so I must harvest the mint leaves. What am I going to do with all of these? I made a pot of mint tea but now what? What about putting some in vodka and making mint extract? I read somewhere about making one’s own vanilla extract by putting a vanilla bean into vodka…

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What to do with broken eggs? Went to the grocery store for a few items mostly for baking and when bringing the bags back to the car one dropped. The egg carton popped open and a few eggs rolled onto the parking lot. Oh no! Not the eggs! Well, one was lost completely as it had spilled its guts all over the ground. Three others had cracked their shells but the membrane was intact. Still I felt these needed to be used this same day. Scrambled eggs for supper maybe?

Made a frittata instead. Shredded four small potatoes in my Cuisinart food processor. I only remembered this summer that it has a shredder attachment. Finely diced one onion. Sautéed the onion for five minutes in oil then added the potatoes. I should have squeezed the potatoes drier and coated them with a little oil prior to putting them in the frying pan. I have to stir them and scrape them off the bottom of the pan frequently. I also dice up ½ green bell pepper a small chunk of ham and about 2 ounces of cheese. Crack four eggs into a bowl, pour in ¼ cup milk and whisk. Add a little salt, if you use salt, and some black pepper. When you think the potatoes look brown enough pour all the ingredients together in the fry pan and mix well. I use a cast iron skillet so I can put this directly into the oven, 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Turns out to be tasty and filling.

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I did not look at a recipe for the above but was trying to put together something from memory from cookbooks. I think I had the notion that the potatoes would be crispier like a hash brown. Perhaps if I had lined the cast iron skillet with the potato mixture, baked until crisp, and then added the egg and ham mixture? Sort of like a quiche with a potato crust? I think I saw something like that on a Facebook post from a food/cooking site using muffin tins. So not an original idea of mine.

Speaking of Facebook I find it is a fabulous place to get recipes that one wants to try. Then one can monkey around with the idea and personalize it. I bet women have been doing that in their kitchens since the dawn of time.

Dinners for the rest of the week have not been “recipe” dinners.

blogfoodpics 001Burgeblogfoodpics 002rs: add your own toppings. Hubby added Roquefort or Camembert or other smelly cheese; I added avocado, tomato, and salsa. One night we cut up a kielbasa, smashed potatoes and cooked frozen peas. And tonight is baked fish fillets sprinkled with lemon juice and dill weed, leftover smashed potatoes, and frozen veg.

Here’s dessert! This is from  http://www.dessertfortwo.com/2015/10/caramel-banana-pudding-2/

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