Sunday, November 22, 2015

Chicken and Root Vegetable Curry

We're finally starting to get some cooler weather here in Florida. As soon as it's cool enough leave to the windows open, I love to make aromatic dishes then you can smell all throughout the house, and outside. This braise is ready in under an hour, and will make your kitchen smell amazing.


4 skin on bone in chicken thighs
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
10 red potatoes, quartered
2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into one inch pieces
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into one inch cubes
1 yellow onion quartered
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
3 Tbsp. red curry paste
1 14 oz can lite coconut milk
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped.salt and pepper


  1. In a dutch oven, or other large pot, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the pot, skin side down. Cook for five minutes, then flip chicken and cook for another five minutes. Remove from pot and set aside. 
  3. Remove some fat from the pot, leaving 2 Tbsp in the pot. Add the potatoes, parsnips, sweet potato, and onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown. 
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and curry paste and cook for 2 minutes. 
  5. Add the coconut milk and chicken broth, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. 
  6. Remove the skin from the chicken, and return it to the pot.
  7. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and cook for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  8. Remove the chicken from the pot. Shred the chicken, discard bones, and stir it back in to the pot. 
  9. Sprinkle individual servings with cilantro or parsley.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chicken, Zucchini, and Tortellini Soup

I was browsing the aisles of the supermarket this weekend, and one refrigerated case had chicken breast, tortellini, and zucchini in it. The combination of those ingredients seemed meant for a soup, so I developed this recipe last night. It's fairly easy and comes together quickly. The longest part is chopping the vegetables.


1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 carrots, sliced into  1/4 inch slices
1 celery rib, diced
1 onion, chopped fine
1.5 tsp. salt , divided
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. dry white wine
4 c. chicken broth
1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 nine ounce package of refrigerated tortellini


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. 
  2. Add carrots, celery, and onion. Add 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just beginning to brown. 
  3. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. 
  4. Add the wine, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. 
  5. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  6. Sprinkle chicken breast with remining salt and pepper. Add to the broth.
  7. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. 
  8. Add the zucchini and tortellini, then cook for another 10 minutes uncovered. Serve.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Getting Ready for Fall: Smoky Pumpkin Soup with Chicken

 As autumn approaches, the in-season produce changes from zucchini and corn to vegetables like butternut squash and pumpkin. Unfortunately in Florida, the end of September sees temperatures in the high 80's and low 90's. In hope of bringing the cooler temperatures here a little quicker, I created this soup recipe. The bacon, paprika, chipotle, and cumin add smoky flavors that offset the sweetness of the pumpkin. While you definitely could cube the chicken and cook it in the soup, I like the texture better with shredded chicken. You can use shredded rotisserie chicken breast, or cook the chicken and shred it, which is what I did. 


4 strips bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
5 cups chicken broth
1 15 oz can pumpkin (Not pumpkin pie filling!)
1 chipotle in adobo, chopped
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 lb. cooked chicken breast, shredded
1/4 c. flat leaf parsley, chopped


  1. In a Dutch oven or other large pot, cook the bacon over medium low heat until the bacon is crisp and the fat renders. Drain the bacon on a paper towel lined plate and reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings.
  2. Add the reserved bacon drippings and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan.  Add the carrots, onions, and celery and saute for 8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add  the garlic, tomato paste, paprika, and cumin. Cook for two minutes.  
  4. Mix in the pumpkin and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Whisk in the chicken broth, bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Puree until smooth with a hand blender. 
  7. Add chicken and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. 
  8. Serve, sprinkled with chopped parsley and bacon.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Chocolate Coconut Bites with Salted Caramel Sauce

I've been getting monthly deliveries from The Hatchery for past few months. They provide small samples of lots of different ingredients - everything from tea seed oil to white chocolate peanut butter.  When I received a jar of CC Made Caramel Sauce, I knew I wanted to do something with it other then drizzling over ice cream.

These cookies are crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. The chocolate, coconut, and caramel flavors are amazing together.


3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. unsweetened, dutch processed cocoa powder
large egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1/4 c. caramel sauce
Kosher salt


  1. Stir the sugars, flour, and cocoa powder together. 
  2. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks using a whisk or mixer. Add the vanilla and stir until incorporated. 
  3. Slowly add the sugar mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Fold in the coconut.
  5. Place tablespoon sized dollops on two parchment linked baking sheets. Bake at 325F for 22 minutes, rotating the baking sheets at 11 minutes. 
  6. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  7. Microwave caramel sauce until it is a pourable consistency. Place in zip top bag. Cut off a small corner of the bag and drizzle sauce over the cooled cookies. 
  8. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt over the cookies.  
  9. Store in an airtight container. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Apple Cranberry Crock Pot Oatmeal

I first prepared oatmeal using steel cut oats a few weeks ago. I love the texture, but the few recipes that I tried did not have a lot of flavor. I like using my slow cooker so I can start the oatmeal before I go to bed, and have a hot breakfast ready for me when I wake up, and enough to last the rest of the week. 

I had a lot of apples and pears in my house this weekend so I made some apple pear butter, and then used it in this Apple Cranberry Crock Pot Oatmeal. I'm sure store bought apple butter would make the oatmeal taste just as good. This recipe produces about 8 cups of cooked oatmeal.  If you don't have apple cider, replace it with an additional cup of water. Make sure to use the cooking spray so the oatmeal doesn't stick.  I like to use Reynolds slow cooker liners, which makes cleanup easier. 


  • Cooking spray
  • 2 c. steel cut oats (I used Bob's Red Mill) 
  • 1 c. apple cider 
  • 1 c. dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. apple butter
  • 6 c. water 
  • 1 tsp.cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • Chopped walunts (optional)


  1.  If using a slow cooker liner, place in slow cooker.  Spray thoroughly with cooking spray.
  2. Place all remaining ingredients in slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  3. Cook on low for 7 hours, with the lid on. 
  4. Remove lid. The oatmeal will appear very wet and loose. Stir for about 30 seconds, being sure to scrape along the edges. The texture will change to that of typical oatmeal. Top each serving with chopped walnuts, if desired.   

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Make Ahead Cook - Chicken Tagine

As I continued to cook my way through the America's Test Kitchen Make Ahead cookbook,  I decided to make Chicken Tagine. This is a North African dish using chicken thighs, dried apricots, and olives. It's a braised dish, meaning that they meat is first browned, and then simmered in liquid until finished.

The dish starts by browning skin-on chicken thighs. The chicken is removed, and onions and other aromatics are browned. A spice mixture is added, which immediately makes the kitchen smell amazing! Broth and the browned chicken are added, along with carrots. The dish is simmered until the chicken reaches 160F. Prior to serving, olives, cilantro, dried apricots, and lemon juice are added.

This dish was the first time I have ever tried olives.  The flavor of the olives worked well in this dish, but I don't think I would eat them on their own. I served this over couscous, which absorbed the juices from the chicken. The recipe can be found here.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Make Ahead Cook - Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables

While I do not make New Year's resolutions, I do think it's important to set goals for myself. So I decided to buy a cookbook and make everything in it. It doesn't matter if its something I normally wouldn't make or an ingredient that I may not like or haven't tried. I'm determined to get through the whole book. I hope to learn some new techniques, try different ingredients, and explore various cuisines.

I went to Barnes and Noble and browsed the cookbook section. I decided on the Make Ahead Cook by America's Test Kitchen. It has over 150 recipes and various types of cuisine. The book is broken up into different sections such as meals that you can prepare and then finish cooking the next day, slow cooker recipes, meals that you can freeze, and meals that you can, prepare, put in the refrigerator and finish later. I decided to start off with Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables.

I've made one-pan chicken and vegetables before. It's good, but the vegetables really don't get crisp. They sit in the chicken juices, get steamed, and taste greasy. This recipe resolves that issue. Instead of using a whole chicken, a cut-up chicken is used. The individual chicken pieces give off less moisture. After the chicken is done, the vegetables go back in the oven for one last blast at high heat, which gives them great color and flavor. I used parsnips, potatoes, shallots, and Brussels sprouts. The vegetables and chicken marinate in herbs and olive oil for a few hours, then are roasted in the oven. You can view the complete recipe here.

Prepping the vegetables

Placing the Brussels sprouts towards the center of the pan prevents overcooking
White meat in the middle of the pan ensures it stays moist.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Spiced Oven Fries

This is an easy and tasty side dish. It is fast to prepare, uses pantry staples and goes great with roasted beef, pork, or chicken.


  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Slice the potatoes into 1 inch wide planks, then slice the planks into 1 inch fries. 
  3. Place the fries on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the spices and oil on the baking sheet.  Mix well, ensuring every fry is coated with both oil and spices. 
  4. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until brown and crisp.