Tag Archives: chicken

LUNCH FOR SEAN ! Quick & Easy Salmon Cakes with Rice or Greens (makes 6 cakes – serves 4-6) AND RACING IN MOAB, UTAH

My brother Seán ran his first race of the season this past Saturday: the 33k Red Hot in breathtaking Moab, Utah. Every year I am so jealous of him getting to run in what he describes as one of the most breathtaking trail course races in the United States that I vow I will run with him some day. Alas I didn’t make it again this year!!!

Mile 15

The beautiful Red Hot trail in Moab (Sean at mile 15)

I did the next best thing and spoke with him right before the race and then started a 7-mile run at the same time the gun went off in Utah. I picked a route we had run together when he last visited Pennsylvania so he could really visualize where I was and feel more connected.

Let's not forget the Salmon Cakes! (recipe below and not to be missed)

Let’s not forget the Salmon Cakes! (you can skip to the recipe if this running thing does not interest you!)

My brother is an Ultra Runner, one of those mad human beings that push themselves to the max in grueling long distance races (anything over official marathon distance of 26.2 miles is deemed an ultra race) making this event last Saturday a mere sprint, being only 19 miles!

Race Day

Race Day

Yes, he will disagree with that as he takes all his races seriously, but I have witnessed him run 100 miles so you can see my point! – (Read that story here). I suppose it is all relative and Saturday morning I tackled what I considered a respectable distance of 7 miles, and being that it was only 19 degrees in Snowy Pennsylvania, it felt like an Ultra to me.

The beautiful Red Hot trail in moab


This race is important to him because it is the race that got him hooked on long distance trail running and because it was the last race his friend Jenna was a part of six years ago. Jenna was a talented athlete and one of his biggest champions. She inspired him to believe in his ability to go the distance. Sadly Jenna is no longer with us in body but she is most certainly out there on the trail with Seán in spirit, and no where is that truer than when he is running on the red ground of Moab.


🌷  Jenna 🌷

He ran his tough 19 miles on Saturday and as he analyzed his performance afterwards said, “I was as ready as I could have been”. He has run in many races at this point and his ritual is the same: he trains, builds himself up and sets goals, then he rallies everyone he loves around him because this is something he cannot mentally do alone. He brings us along in his head for company and when the going gets tough we are there to cheer him on. I know I was with him step for step as I made it up a few hills myself last Saturday and just thinking about him as I ran along made my snowy and bitterly cold run something I will remember.

one of my running routes in rural Pennsylvania

one of my running routes in rural Pennsylvania

The real test comes in September when he attempts to take on the 100-mile race that defeated him last year. (I was there and you can read about it HERE!). I plan to be there physically, and not just a conjuration in his head. And maybe for the Red Hot in Moab next year, I will be wearing a race number of my very own – all I can say is: “watch out Seán, here I come!”

After the race Sean and some freinds took a jaunt out to the back country - another reason for me to go to Moab next year!

             Kristi standing precariously by the precipice of a canyon!                   After the race Sean and some friends took an exploratory jaunt to the back country – another reason for me to go to Moab next year!

As for this recipe…Seán is always asking me for cooking ideas, especially something easy and good for lunch. And, since I love food as much as he loves 50-mile races, I was only too happy to come up with this salmon dish for him. It is dead simply to prepare, packed with protein and low in calories – a very good combination for any aspiring athlete.

Amazing little fish cakes

Amazing little fish cakes

This is made with canned Salmon and don’t knock it until you try it. I did a lot of research on canned Salmon and there are plenty of companies out there making quality products. It is super affordable and a life saver pantry ingredient. If you have no plans for dinner or lunch and you want something delicious in a hurry, then this is a recipe you will fall in love with. I made this recipe with optional variations. You can go Asian or more Italian depending on what you have available and on your mood.

Happy cooking Seán!

*This recipe is also perfect for Blood Type A Diet followers – omit the butter and capers if you are very strict*

*This makes 12 Salmon Cakes – If you are serving lass than that for this meal I suggest you make all twelve and freeze the remainder in a freezer bag. DO NOT FRY THE ONES YOU ARE FREEZING – FREEZE AFTER YOU FORM THE CAKES. They can be thawed and fried in a pinch – SO HANDY!!*

 You will need:

2 tbs unsalted butter (or olive oil if you do not want to or cannot use butter)

1 small red onion – finely diced

2 celery ribs with plenty of green leaves – diced

1/3 cup chopped parsley or chopped cilantro leaves (cilantro leaves are great if using soy sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce)

2 14 oz cans good quality canned salmon (if it comes with bones and skin as mine did – it is easily removed before adding to mixture)

2 1/2 tbs rinsed capers OR  3 tbs green or black olives – finely chopped (optional)

1 1/4 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce OR 2 tsp soy sauce (if you go with soy sauce, do not add any capers or olives)

1 tbs Dijon mustard (do not use if using soy sauce)

1 cup panko bread crumbs (these can be found in the International section of your supermarket or where the Asian foods are displayed)

2 eggs – slightly beaten


Fry the celery and red onion until softened

Fry the celery and red onion until softened

1 – Put pan on medium heat and fry the celery and onion for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

2 – In a large bowl add the salmon (making sure to remove the skin and bones first) and roughly mash and break it up using a fork. Add the parsley (or cilantro), capers or olives (if using), Old Bay, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, egg and panko. Mix together with a fork and then add the celery and onions and mix everything together with a wooden spoon.

Make Salmon cake mixture

Make Salmon cake mixture

3 – Form the mixture into 12 cakes using your hands and place on a plate until ready to fry.

4 – Put pan or skillet on medium/high heat and when the pan has warmed up, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add 4 to 6 cakes to the pan and fry for about 4 minutes on either sides until browned on outside and heated through. Place on plate and keep warm in oven (180*) while you fry the rest of the cakes (adding more oil as needed).

I served these with a very simple savory Basmati Rice and some fresh spinach leaves but you can use anything you like. You can even put these atop a leafy salad or make them the star of a hearty sandwich.

Salmon cakes and savory rice

Salmon cakes and Savory Rice

The rice I made had some sautéed red onion and celery which highlighted some of the ingredients in the Salmon cakes. Cook the rice and then add your cooked veggies.

Whole Roast Chicken with Smokey Adobo Broth (serves 4-6)

I LOVE roasted chicken and it’s even better if the pan sauce cooks right at the same time. I made this Friday when I was tired after a long week but still needed to make dinner. This was the kind of meal that cooked itself and I was able to sit down with a glass of wine while the stove did all the work!

Roast Chicken with a kick!

Roast Chicken with a kick!

What makes this dish surprisingly different is the addition of chilpotle (or chipotle) peppers. These peppers have been smoked and I buy them in a can of adobo sauce, (find in the international or ethic aisle of your supermarket). Adobo sauce is a sauce made with a mixture of spices and other ingredients used to preserve the pepper (usually paprika, garlic, oregano and vinegar).

A Wonderful Pantry Item!

A Wonderful Pantry Item!

The reason I added these hot smokey peppers and sauce to my chicken was because I wanted to use up the last of a bunch of cilantro, so I thought about what would work well with this to make a good broth. Why not go the Mexican route!

What's in the can!

What’s in the can!

It was a heart-warming dinner and I served it with rice (which was another super easy alternative to standing over a pot as I used my trusty rice cooker!). Try this yourself if you are a chicken lover like me and also if you want a home cooked meal without actually doing any of the cooking!


*this is a good Blood Type A Diet recipe if you omit the peppers, tomatoes and black pepper. It will still tastes amazing*

You will need:

1  4 to 5 lb whole chicken

1 tbs olive oil

salt and black pepper for seasoning chicken

2 medium onions – sliced in half and then thinly sliced crossways

2 chilpotle peppers in adobo sauce – chopped (use only one pepper if you want the flavor but with less heat)

1 tbs adobo sauce (from the chilpotle pepper can)

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 cup cilantro leaves – roughly chopped

1 carrot – julienned (about 1 cup)

6 to 8 unpeeled garlic clove  – separated

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup water (or good quality bouillon cube with 2 cups of water)


Preheat oven to 450*

1 – Prep all the ingredients (except the chicken, salt and pepper) and scatter in the bottom of a roasting pan or deep saute pan.

Add all the ingredients to your roasting pan

Add all the ingredients to your roasting pan

  2 – Rub chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place chicken on top of veggies. Place in oven and roast for 1 hour 20 minutes.

Place chicken on top of veggies and broth

Place chicken on top of veggies and broth

 3 – Remove from oven and transfer chicken to a board or plate and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving, (you can keep the pan sauce warm by leaving in the warm oven). Check chicken after 1 hour and add more water or broth to the pan if it seems low (up to 3/4 cup).

Serve with whatever you like: pasta, potatoes, greens, bread.....

Serve with whatever you like: pasta, rice, potatoes, greens, bread…..

 Serve with the lovely pan sauce with whatever you desire.

*You can serve the garlic cloves as is but you can also squeeze the cooked garlic out of the skin and mash with a fork. You can then swirl it into your broth*

AMAZING – Creamy Chipotle Chicken with Rigatoni Pasta (serves 4-6)

This past Friday night I did not know what I was going to make for dinner. However, I did know it had to include chicken fillets and kale as these were the only two real ingredients left in my kitchen. This is where my trusty pantry staples and creativity would have to kick in as I wasn’t really in the mood for boring old chicken breast and kale!

This Chipotle-Laced pasta dish was a delicious surprise!

This Chipotle-Laced pasta dish was a delicious surprise!

I came up with an unlikely combination, and it turned out to be one of those dishes that was an instant hit. I had a couple of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce sitting in the fridge for a couple of weeks and decided they either needed to be thrown away soon or used in this dinner. I opted for the latter and added them to my sauce with some cream (to cut the heat) and it was the perfect combination.

A Wonderful Pantry Item!

A Wonderful Pantry Item!

If you don’t know what chipotle pepper in adobo is, you can click here to find out more. But basically, it is a smoked jalapeno pepper that has been stewed and then left to marinate in the stewing liquid. The sauce is made up of a combo of different spices like other peppers, oregano and cumin with tomatoes, garlic and vinegar. The whole thing is canned and the peppers continue to marinate until they are used. It is hard to use a whole can at one time but they keep forever in the fridge which is why I had them on hand and used them in experimental desperation!

What's in the can!

What’s in the can!

The kale could have been a harsh veggie for this dish, but finely chopping it and cooking it down made it work very well with my big pasta noodles. Everyone knows chicken breast is a bit like tofu; you have to work with it to make it taste good. I think immersing it in this lovely smokey sauce did wonders to improve its flavor.

Tuscan Kale

Tuscan Kale (also called dinosaur kale)

I had no idea it would be this good and when I was told I had better have  recorded this recipe, I had to scramble for a piece of paper and write it down before it left my sieve for a head forever. Here it is, and I hope you give it a try!


You will need:

2 or 3 tbls olive oil

4 boneless chicken breast fillets

1 onion – diced (any onion you have)

3 garlic cloves – finely chopped

1 cup finely chopped cilantro

1 bunch Kale – finely chopped (whatever is available in your supermarket or green grocer)

2 chipotle peppers with 1 or 2 tbs of adobo sauce (depending on how much heat you like) – Chopped

1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken broth

3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream

1 lb Rigatoni Pasta or other large pasta (I use Barilla brand)


Preheat oven 400*

1 – Put heavy saute pan on high heat and add 2 tbs of olive oil. When it is hot, season the chicken lightly with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Sear the chicken on both sides until browned. Remove to a plate and set aside.

season, then sear chicken

season, then sear chicken

2 – Turn heat down to medium and add the onions and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. You may need to add another tbs of oil. Add cilantro and chopped kale and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the chipotle pepper and adobo sauce and mix together.

saute onions, add seasonings

saute onions, add seasonings

3 – Add broth and stir and bring to a boil. Add the cream and chicken. When it boils, turn heat off and place lid on pan. Place in the oven for 25 minutes.

*Put the water on for the pasta and cook pasta according to instructions. Time the pasta to be cooked when the chicken is cooked and sliced and back in the sauce (step 4). Do not rinse the pasta with cold water. When it is drained it should immediately go into the cooked sauce. Reserve some cooked pasta water in case you need it later in the finished dish.

Slice Chicken

Slice Chicken

4 – Remove from oven and slice the chicken. Put chicken back into the sauce and add the drained hot pasta. Stir and adjust seasoning if necessary. You may also want to add more cream of some hot pasta water if you want to loosen the sauce to your liking.

Add pasta and adjust seasoning

Add pasta and adjust seasoning

Serve in shallow warmed bowls or plates.

Roast Chicken with Parsnips and Black Olives for May Day! (serves 6)

May Day was yesterday and to me it represented the true beginning of Spring. After Christmas, the season of Winter looses it’s appeal and I begin longing for daffodils and cherry blossoms!

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day!

A few days ago I couldn’t wait any longer and took a detour on my way home from school to buy herbs, even though I was warned not to plant until the 2nd of May (I was also told the 12th of May but I’m ignoring that one). I also couldn’t resisted some lovely wild-looking flowers called Sage Hot Trumpets, and another called  Golden Delicious Pineapple Sage, and bought those too! I now have everything either in the ground or a big pot and cannot wait  for them to grow so I can start plucking things right from the back door to throw into my saute pan!


“Pineapple Sage”, “Black & Blue Sage” & “Red Hot Trumpet Sage” ready to delight me every time I come in or out the whole Summer long!

I thought for a few more minutes about the chicken I was going to cook for last night’s dinner (being May Day and all!) and came up with this beauty of a dish. I decided to play with the bittersweet of parsnips with the slightly bitter/salty taste of black olives and it was a fantastic combination. The broth turned to a syrupy sweetness, and the roasted chicken with its crispy skin was juicy beyond belief.

amazingly flavorful Chicken dish

Amazingly flavorful Chicken Dish

Suffice is to say that dinner was heavenly on this beautiful May Day evening.


*This is a great Blood type A Diet Recipe BUT you need to Omit the sausages and substitute green olives for the black olives*

You will need:

sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper (for seasoning)

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 small cut-up chicken (cut into 8 pieces)

4 to 6 Spicy or Mild  Italian sausages (optional)

1 large sweet onion

1/2 cup small pitted good quality black olives (strong flavor like Kalamata)

3 parsnips, peeled, medium dice

6 single sprigs fresh thyme

3 cups chicken or veggie broth OR 1 good quality bouillon cube & water


Preheat oven 450*

1 – Season chicken lightly with sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place all ingredients (besides the meat) into the bottom of a big saute or roasting pan and add the broth or crumbled bouillon cube and water.

Place all veggies in pan

Place all veggies in pan

2 – Arrange the chicken and sausages (if using) in an even snug layer on top. drizzle with olive oil and place in preheat oven for 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked through.

arrange meat on top

Arrange meat on top

*If you have sausages in the pan, remove pan from oven and turn them half way through the cooking time. Also my chicken cooked in 1 hour but if your chicken pieces are on the large side, you may need a longer cooking time. In any case, remover the breast after 1 hour and cover with foil and cook the dark meat until done*

roast in oven

Roast in oven

3 – Remove dish from oven and let sit for 5 or so minutes before serving.



Serve as is, giving everyone some chicken and sausage and a portion of veggies and broth. You can also serve this with a salad or a little rice or pasta.

Baked Chicken & Spinach Rigatoni – Really Great Dish! (Serves 6)

This was a great weekend dinner. I prepped it earlier in the day and then was free right up to dinner time to enjoy my busy weekend.

Baked Chicken & Spinach Rigatoni

Baked Chicken & Spinach Rigatoni

This dish  had everything needed in one big baked dish: protein, carbs, and greens. I made the bechamel-style sauce lighter by using more broth than milk and it really helped to eliminate that heavy feeling you have after eating a big bowl of pasta.

Think about making this next weekend!


You will need:

4 tbs unsalted butter

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

3 chicken fillet (4 if small), cut into small bite-sized pieces

10 oz mushrooms, sliced (about 3 cups sliced) – any mushroom: white, crimini, button

10 oz spinach, chopped

sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper (to season chicken)

3 tbs all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

2 cups chicken broth (or 2 cups water & 1 good quality bouillon cube)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (chili flakes)

1 lb rigatoni pasta (I use Barilla brand)

1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (or another strong hard cheese of your choice: cheddar, Pecorino Romano)


Preheat oven 350*

Put the pasta water with plenty of salt and cook rigatoni according to instructions and rinse with cold water in colander. Set aside until ready to assemble dish.

1 – Season chicken with sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put large saute pan on medium/high heat and add 1 tbs of butter and 1 tbs olive oil. Saute the chicken pieces in batches until cooked. As you cook sprinkle a little of the chili flakes over the chicken. Do not crowd the pan or the chicken will just get steamed and watery. Chicken batches will take about 5 to 6 minutes each.  You will need to add more butter and oil as you go (only use 2 tablespoons of butter for this stage). Transfer to a plate as you go and cover with another plate or shallow bowl.

saute chicken

saute chicken

2 – Turn heat down to medium and add the rest of butter (2 tbs). Add the mushrooms and saute until nice and soft and starting to brown (about 10 minutes). Add  chopped spinach and cover pan with lid for 1 minutes. Take lid off and stir. Turn off heat.

saute mushrooms, add spinach

saute mushrooms, add spinach

3 – Add the flour and mix well. Cook for about 1 minute before adding the milk and the broth 1 cup at a time, mixing well in between each cupful. The sauce will begin to thicken. Stir and continue to cook for about 4 or 5 minutes while sauce simmers and thickens. Turn off heat and stir in any remaining pepper flakes. Taste sauce for the addition of salt and pepper.

make sauce

make sauce

Assemble dish: Spread 1/4 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a buttered casserole (lasagna dish). Add 1/2 of the rigatoni.

Assemble ingredients

Assemble ingredients

Add all of the chicken in an even layer followed by the mushroom and spinach mixture. Top with 1/2 of the remaining sauce.

sauce, pasta, chicken, veggies, sauce, pasta, sauce

sauce, pasta, chicken, veggies, sauce, pasta, sauce

Cover veggie and chicken layer with the rest of the pasta followed by the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.



Bake in preheated oven for about 35 minutes, covering 1/2 way through if top is browned.



Let dish sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Serve with more grated cheese if you like.

Easy Pork & Chicken in Red Sauce (serves 6)

This turned into something Oh So Good! (which was a relief). I had people over to dinner unexpectedly and I had to make dinner in a hurry out of a mish-mash of ingredients. I know that some people would hate to be put under pressure in the kitchen for a last-minute dinner for six, but I am the opposite, and that probably means I was destined to work in a busy, stressful restaurant kitchen! There is still time for that career, but for now I am content drumming up food for my family each evening, while making sure to have lots of dinner parties and impromptu guests!

Easy Pork & Chicken Dinner

Easy Pork & Chicken Dinner

This was dead simple to put together and the whole things was ready in no time. The addition of the tomatoes in combination with the rosemary made the meat so flavorful and warmed the cockles of each diner’s hungry heart.


You will need:

3 to 4 tbs olive oil

3 chicken breast fillets

2 lbs country-style pork ribs (no bones, just rib meat strips)

coarse sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning meat

2 onions, sliced into 8 wedges each

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 1/2 cups tomato puree

1 cup red wine

1 1/2 cups chicken stock OR 1 bouillon cube and 1 1/2 cups water

2 tbs tomato paste (I used a sun-dried tomato paste)

1 stem of rosemary, cut into 3 or 4 pieces

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (chili flakes)


Preheat oven 400*

1 – Season both the pork and chicken with a sprinkle of sea-salt and black pepper. Put a large saute pan or casserole pot on high heat and add 2 tbs of oil. When the oil is hot, sear the meat in batches in a single until browned on both sides. Try not to disturb the meat as it cooks or it may stick to the pan. Place meat on plate as you go and continue until all of the meat has been browned, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

brown chicken in hot pan..

brown chicken & pork in hot pan.

2 – Turn heat down to medium and add the carrots and onions (if the pan is dry, add more oil). Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rosemary and pepper flakes and continue to cook for another couple of minutes. Next add the tomato paste, tomato puree and wine, and let the mixture come to a boil.

saute veggies, add seasonngs

saute veggies, add seasonings

3 – Add the stock (or water and bouillon) to the pan, and also add he meat. Bring to a boil and then turn off heat. Cover with lid and place in preheated oven for about 1 hour, or until meat s very tender.

add liquids

add liquids

4 – Remove from the oven and let the dish rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Place in oven

Place in oven

This is great with rice, pasta or fresh bread. Of course you also had better serve something green on the side!

Irish Lavistown Sausage And Chicken Dinner (serves 6)

Irish Lavistown Sausage & Chicken Dinner

This dinner was all about the sausages we bought the other day in Kilkenny. We first tasted them in a pub in Thomastown (will be writing about this particular pub in the near future!) and my sister told me they were local. There is nothing like eating food close to the source, especially when it comes to meat.

Lavistown Gourmet Sausages

Lavistown Gourmet Sausages hail from Lavistown House in County Kilkenny in Ireland. They have been making these lovely meaty sausages from locally sourced pork (no fillers!) for the past 21 years, and after eating them, it will be impossible to buy run-of-the-mill sausage links in the supermarket ever again!


unctuous sausages from County Kilkenny!

We used their Italian Style variety and cooking them first on the pan, which released their beautiful flavor, and finishing them off in the oven with wine and thyme brought out a deliciousness my taste buds won’t easily forget. If you live anywhere near Kilkenny these sausages should be a weekly staple for breakfast, lunch and dinner!


You will need:

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

8 sausages (Lavistown brand if you can find them, but any good quality sausages will work. do not use breakfast links as they are too small, but a bigger dinner-like sausage such as Italian or other seasoned sausage)

4 or 5 small-sized chicken breast fillets

3 cups baby potatoes, washed and left unpeeled (if you can’t find or don’t have them, use bigger potatoes, washed and cut into smaller pieces)

1 large onion, roughly chopped or sliced

2 celery ribs, including the leaves, sliced

6 fresh thyme sprigs

2 cups baby potatoes (or 3 medium carrots, large dice)

1 cup white wine

1 1/2 cups chicken or veggie broth (or good quality bouillon cube and water)

sea-salt for seasoning (I use Maldon sea-salt flakes)


Preheat oven 400*

1 – Put large saute or roasting pan on medium heat and add oil. Add sausage and cook until browned on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Fry Sausages

2  – Season chicken with a light sprinkle of sea-salt. Turn heat up slightly and brown the chicken fillets on both sides (they will soak up the flavor of the sausage juices and oil). Remove to a plate and set aside.

brown chicken

3 – Add onions, celery and thyme to pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adjusting heat so as not to burn the vegetables.

saute onions,  celery & thyme

4 – Add the potatoes and continue to cook for another 4 or so minutes. The potatoes will begin to brown.

add baby potatoes

5 – Turn heat up and add the wine. When it comes to a boil, cook for about 2 minutes, stirring and scraping up the brown bits stuck to the bottom of your pan. Add the broth (or bouillon & water) and bring to a boil. Add the meat in an even layer. Turn heat off, cover pan with lid and place in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

add liquid, then meat

Serve this with whatever you like. Some of us had it with lots of field greens, while others loaded up on more carbs in the form of basmati rice. 

Chicken with Greens