Tag Archives: easy dinner

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

Sean

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

🌷  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

Method:

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.

FANTASTIC FISH CURRY with an Indian Twist

When you find yourself home later than you thought but you really want to cook dinner, this is something you can have on the table in a half hour – I promise!

A very quick but succelent fish curry can be on the table in 30 minutes!

A very quick but succulent fish curry can be on the table in 30 minutes!

The advantage I had when I got home is that I had 2 lbs of fish in the freezer, which I put on a cookie sheet to thaw the moment I walked through the door.

Indian Influenced fish Curry

Indian Influenced fish Curry

If you or your family have a hard time liking fish (or just one member who is downright finicky), this is a great way to mask the qualities of fish that might not appeal to you. The aromatic sauce is the star of this dish and the fish just lends itself very well to the flavors.

Need I say more!

Need I say more!

This is also a great dish to make if you want to have a little dinner party on a Friday night. Have the fish thawed and you will be ready to cook for a crowd with no hassles!

*This can be a good Blood Type A dish: Use mackerel for your thin fish choice. Omit the chilli. Use all broth, no coconut milk*

You will need:

3 tbs oil for sauteing (olive oil, groundnut)

2lbs thin white fish (flounder, sole or mackerel)

juice of 1 lime

1/2 tsp salt

2 medium or 1 large sweet onion  – diced

6 med/lrg cloves garlic – finely chopper

1/2 tsp turmeric

several grinds of black pepper

3 cardamom pods – left whole

2 whole cloves

6 curry leaves OR 2 tsp medium madras curry powder (or your favorite)

1 fresh green chili (Serrano, jalapeno) – slit down the side with a sharp knife

1 piece of ginger root –  peeled and left whole (about a 1-inch piece)

1 14oz can coconut milk (Goya is a good brand)

2 cups chicken broth OR good quality bouillon cube & water (or veggies stock or veggie cube)

big bunch spinach (a cup per person – more if you want) – washed & roughly chopped

Method:

1 – Wash and dry fish. Place on cookie sheet or shallow flat-bottomed dish. Mix the lime juice with 3 tablespoons of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drizzle this mixture over fish. Turn fish over so the liquid has a chance to be in contact with every piece of fish.

2 – Put a large shallow saucepan or deep skillet on low to medium heat. Add the oil. when it has warmed, add the onions, garlic, chilli and ginger root and saute until onion begin to soften and take on a light color.

3 – Next add the curry leaves (or curry powder), the cloves, cardamom pods and several grinds of pepper. Continue to saute for another 2 minutes or so.

4 – Add the coconut milk and the broth (or bouillon and water). Bring to a simmer. cover and cook for about 12 minutes. add the spinach and continue to cook for another 3 minutes (the spinach will wilt and cook into the sauce completely.

Add spinach

Add spinach

5 – Add the fish is an even layer or roll up and place in an even layer into the sauce. cover and cook for between 4 to 6 minutes. Do not over cook! Take off of heat.

add fish

add fish

Serve with basmati rice, (or your favorite aromatic rice), or with some kind of Indian bread such as chapatis or naan.

Serve with rice or Indian Bread. Some of us wanted a dollop of sour cream mixed with a little hot sauce for a refreshing cooler.

Serve with rice or Indian Bread. Some of us wanted a dollop of sour cream mixed with a little hot sauce for a refreshing cooler.

HAVING PEOPLE OVER?? – The SIMPLEST Roast Chicken Dinner & EASIEST Dessert In The World (Serves 4, just double for 8!)

Having people over but you don’t have much time, talent or energy?? This is the dinner to make, and it is fool-proof, (I know this from experience). The is nothing better than a crispy (but moist!) roast chicken with a little pasta or mashed potatoes (or mashed parsnip or carrot!) and simple berries and fresh cream for dessert.

Crispy Roast Chicken in a Mushroom Broth - sumptious!

Crispy Roast Chicken in a Mushroom Broth – sumptuous!

  This sort of dinner party is the best kind as you will do little cooking and lots of socializing. It also makes the house smell heavenly (is there anything better than the smell of roast chicken!) and there is something so festive about a couple of crispy golden-skinned chickens on the center of a candlelit table!

My Roast Chicken Quest...

 A simple Roast Chicken can be served with anything (here it was roasted with fingerling potatoes)

The weekend is coming and you should think about serving this to your friends with lots of good wine. I made the chicken special by adding mounds of different kinds of mushrooms. They did all the work in the flavor department and I was free to spend time setting a nice table and generally just hung out being social (instead of being tied to the kitchen). The only other thing was dessert, and choosing to serve fresh fruit and cream is not only a big cheat, it is a refreshing ending to a rich meal (recipe at the end, pretty self-explanatory).

there is nothing better than fresh ripe berries in clouds of whipped cream

Fresh ripe berries in clouds of whipped cream (and a dash of chocolate shavings)

Hope you are inspired and tempted!

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*This is a good blood type A recipe – use mushrooms from this list; abalone, enoki, maitake, Portobello,Shiitake, tree oyster. Omit the pepper and chili flakes and no cream in dessert*

You will need:

1 (or 2) 4lb chicken (organic if you can)

sea salt and freshly ground pepper and optional cayenne pepper flakes for seasoning

1 onion (2 medium if cooking 2 birds) – diced (any kind will do)

2 lbs mixed mushrooms (3 lbs if cooking 2 birds) –  (I used white, crimini and shiitake) – quartered or halved depending on the size

a sprig or two of fresh rosemary

3 cups chicken broth (or water and good quality bouillon cube) (up to 4 1/2 cups for 2 birds)

Method:

Preheat oven 425*

1 – Put all prepped veggies into bottom of pan, along with rosemary sprigs and 2 cups of broth.

Place all veggie and seasoning into bottom of large pan or roasting pan. Add the broth.

Place all veggie and seasoning into bottom of large pan or roasting pan. Add the broth.

2  – Season the chicken with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (if using) and rub with 2 tbs olive oil. place on top of veggies and place in preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. After 1 hour add the last cup of chicken broth (or water) to pan. When you cut between the leg and the body and the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked. Remove from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Place the seasoned chicken on top and pop into the oven

Place the seasoned chicken on top and pop into the oven

This chicken can be carved and served with a big meaty pasta with the broth or with some mashed potatoes and a veggie like simply boiled peas or carrots.

Cook for about 1 hr, 20 mins

Cook for about 1 hr, 20 mins

Time for dessert: Berries & Cream

Choose whatever berries you like or that are available and good – about 1/2 cup per person.

My favorite fruit; raspberries!

My favorite fruit; raspberries!

Put about 2 cups heavy whipping cream in a big bowl and add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of confectioners sugar (helps the cream thicken faster) and beat with whatever mixer or whisk you have until it is thick and billowy.

whip cream

whip cream

Serve!

Yum!

Yum!

Quick Weekend Pasta Dinner (Rigatoni with Savory sausage & Sweet Onions) – Serves 6

I don’t know what your weekend is like but for me I always move a little slower on Saturdays. The weekdays I am up early, busy all day and fall into bed exhausted each night, and so Saturday I think my body and brain go on strike in order to recoup. This means that making an easy dinner fits right into the relaxed pace I am in dire need of.

The easiest dinner in the world!

The easiest dinner in the world!

This is a family day for me, a day when I try to avoid having anyone over for dinner (unless of course it is a “weekend guest” weekend!) preferring to close the door on all things that are a hassle on Friday night. I love having friends over Friday as I am in work mode anyway and it is a great way to celebrate the beginning of a couple of days that are different from the rest.

Herbs from my garden save my life most nights

Herbs from my garden save my life most nights

If I go grocery shopping on Saturday I make sure to buy some very convenient items with an eye on making my dinner prep a breeze. This Saturday I found some great seasoned sausage and knew it would be all I would need to flavor the whole dish (save for throwing a few fresh herbs snagged from my garden).

Remove sausage casing by cutting the entire lenght of the sausge adn sliding it off. then it is easy to cut or break the sasge into your pan

Remove sausage casing by cutting the entire length of the sausage and sliding it off. After that it is easy to cut or break the sausage into your pan

 A good pasta dish can be one of the most delicious things in the world to eat if it is mixed with the right combo of flavors. It was so good that if I had happened to get in over my head and invite people to dinner it would have worked out very well indeed.

________________________________________________________

You will need:

3 to 4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbs unsalted cold butter

1lb savory sausage (I used an apple and onion sausage, but any flavor combination that appeals to you and is available will do!) – removed form casing

3 small/medium sweet onions – diced

2 cloves garlic – finely chopped

1 small sprig fresh rosemary

3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional – I always like a bit of heat!)

1/2 tsp salt (but taste dish before adding)

4 cups chopped greens (spinach, kale or chard work great)

1lb rigatoni (I use Barilla brand with ridges)

1/2 to 3/4 cup pasta cooking water (this is water reserved after cooking the pasta)

Method:

*Place the water on for the pasta. Rigatoni takes between 12 to 14 minutes to cook so plan on timing it to be ready when the rest of the dish is cooked. BEFORE YOU DRAIN THE PASTA WATER SCOOP OUT ABOUT 1 CUP AND SET SIDE.

1 – Place large pan (large enough to hold the entire finished dish) on low/medium heat and add 3 tbs of the oil. When it has wormed, Add the onions and garlic and cook stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, until nice and soft. Add the herbs and pepper flakes (if using).

Saute onions in oil, add herbs after a bit

Saute onions in oil, add herbs after a bit

2 – Add the sausage either by cutting it was a scissors or breaking it off with your hands into the pan. Break it up further with a wooden spoon as it is cooking. Turn the heat up a little and cook until the sausage begins to brown a little and is cooked through (depends but anywhere up to 15 minutes).

Add sausage

Add sausage

3 – Add the spinach and stir quickly. Turn heat off, taste for addition of salt and add if you think it needs it.  Cover with lid. until the pasta is ready.

Add greens

Add greens

4 – Add the pasta directly from draining into the pan (DO NOT RINSE PASTA UNDER COLD WATER), al with 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta water and cold butter. Replace lid and after a minute stir everything gently.

add cooked pasta and pasta water

add cooked pasta, cold butter and pasta water

Serve in warmed bowls and pass the cheese if you have it on hand. A few extra pepper flakes wouldn’t go astray either!

Did I menton how great this tastes topped with the cheese of the gods: Parmiagiano reggiano!

Did I mention how great this tastes topped with the cheese of the gods: Parmigiano Reggiano!

Meatloaf with a “Reservoir” & The Sultry Voice of The Splendid Table!

I don’t like TV cooking programs – there I said it. When I meet new people and they figure out how much I love food, they automatically think I also love to watch the Food Network (or something similar). I have to say that I’m not a big fan.

meatloaf

Marvellous Meatloaf

It’s not because I think I know more (far from it!) or that I am above it all in some way or another –  it’s just that the majority of them are either hokey, annoying, or so formulaic that their predictability is a little insulting  – I mean how many times can you watch the guy on Hell’s Kitchen poke a hole in someone’s food and scream, “this is bleeping slop” I wouldn’t mind but he’s actually a great chef, but somehow, his ratings are better when he verbally insults people than when he cooks something amazing.

Mexican Bush Sage from my garden

Mexican Bush Sage from my garden

The contrived set where the kitchen is pristine and the cook even more sterile-looking does not feel like real life to me. And now we have trendy cooking talk shows like The Chew who boast exposing viewers to “smart and intelligent talk” of “food, life and fun”.  Somehow I can’t help thinking of a Gravy Train (pun was most definitely intended)!

some cookbooks

Some cookbooks in my kitchen

I am however a fan of cookbooks and, while Mario Batali on The Chew doesn’t remotely interest me, I have several of his cookbooks. He is a great writer and his love of Italian food and culture along with his recipes suck me right in.

The other thing I like to do is listen to the radio while driving. When my kids were young I would play those awful children’s songs in the car. I had to, it was the only thing that would lull the crying! When they fell asleep I would switch to something more intelligent, something that would stop my brain from turning to mush. I was desperate for some connection to the adult world as my world at that time consisted of book’s and movies with titles like My first ABC and Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends Have An Adventure.

Cookbook from turn of 20th century with great illustrations (Now sitting atop my piles of cookbooks in the Crappy Kitchen)

Cookbook from turn of 20th century with great illustrations (Now sitting atop my piles of cookbooks in the Crappy Kitchen)

I immersed myself in Public Radio stations and got my news, current affairs and culture throughout the day, but the weekends were the best. This is when my public radio station let their hair down with programs such as This American Life, A Prairie Home Companion, Radiolab and the cooking program which airs on Sundays, and the thing I want to talk about: The Splendid Table.

my new little cookbooks

Little cookbooks which I bought in Tuscany last year

It turned out that most Sundays around noon I would find myself driving somewhere, to the supermarket for that big weekly shopping, to the movies with the kids, to a museum, a park, a day in a city etc and I invariably caught the voice of  woman who literally crooned about food. I couldn’t decide if her voice was annoying or intoxicating, but after years of finding myself not reaching for the radio knob to turn the dial I would have to say it was the latter.

a little white wine

Cooking on the beach in Slea Head, Ireland

Radio voices are either compelling or repelling, and whether you listen to a program or not hinges on how this voice makes you feel when you are listening. A voice is like a book, where you have the glorious opportunity to use your own imagination to fill in the blanks. Like when someone says, “the movie was good, but I think the book was much better”.  And all I have to say to that is “Bravo” to that person’s fine imagination and how the movie playing in their head was a superior version of the story!

My heavenly lunch (truely)

My heavenly lunch on a beach in Wexford Ireland

The voices on the radio are exactly the same for me. I get to decide what kind of person this might be just by listening to them. Of course what they are saying is important too, but how they say it, the tone and their use of the language is what will keep me listening. The “voice” of the radio program The Splendid Table is the voice of Lynne Rossetto Kasper and when she talks about food she makes me feel like I am looking at a person eating something so delicious that they cannot help sort of humming through the entire dish. Well, Lynne Rossetto Kasper hums through her entire show, whether she is talking to a chef who is cooking a dish right beside her or when she is advising a caller on what to do with the boatloads of basil in their summer garden.

As she interviews and talks to these different people you can feel her total passion for the entire food world. She has the power to convince even me that eating a hotdog from a road-side stand in the middle of nowhere should be on my list of things to do before I die! It is the voice of love and the voice of love is a very powerful tincture. I’m sure she has won many a male listener (and hopefully turned them all into the kitchen!)

DONE!

Simple food from the Crappy Kitchen

Now that my kids are older and have inherited my love of food, if we happen to catch The Splendid Table on Sundays while driving to the supermarket there is a very large chance (99%) that I will get a sidelong glance from my son in the passenger seat or a little tap on the shoulder from my daughter behind me when something is described by Ms. Rossetto Kasper with such reverie that I will be quietly begged to stick those ingredients on my shopping list.

Ide's request every year is for this chocolate cake. The frosting color is the only thing that changes!

Birthdays are a great excuse to make cake and have a party (stay tuned as two are coming up!)

As was the case a few weeks ago when she watched the chef Lucinda Scala Quinn make her mother’s recipe for meatloaf. I am really not a big fan of meatloaf, I suppose because I did not grow up eating this ubiquitous American dish, but her sultry voice won me over and I ended up making it to the utter delight of my children (who are now old enough to cook this themselves!).

This is what I made for Tom's Christmas Party

This is what I made for my friend’s Christmas Party

As you can see by the pictures, it is mouth wateringly good-looking, but I am in no way qualified to really expound on how wonderful it is as the voice of The Splendid Table does a far better job than I could ever do, a job she has been doing now for 16 years.

meatloaf from the Splindid Table

Meatloaf from The Splendid Table

  I have never looked her up on the internet to put a face to the voice for the same reason I have no real desire to meet a celebrity or talk to a renowned writer: it would probably not match up to how I see them in my head, and don’t you find that they always seem smaller in real life! I’m being silly of course but the satisfaction I get from reading a book or watching a movie, and yes, listening to the voice of The Splendid Table is enough, is perfect in and of itself.

mix eggs, vanilla, oil adn vinegar together

My daughter is now the baker in the family!

So, if you are pottering around your house this Sunday or driving along some lonely stretch of road, turn on the radio and find the voice of The Splendid Table. It will make you smile, make you hungry and most certainly decide that daily question of “What’s for dinner!”

________________________________________________

*I did alter the recipe a little to suit me better. I added some fresh herbs just because they are in my garden at the moment and I added some hot pepper flakes for a little zing*

You will need:

2 lbs ground beef (use something with some fat content) OR mixture of ground lamb and beef

3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I made them by whizzing a few slices of bread in my food processor)

1/3 plus 1 tbs milk (any %)

1 small onion, grated

1 medium carrot, grated

1 large egg

2 tsp sea-salt

several grinds black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional)

2 tbs finely chopped Italian parsley

1/2 tsp thyme leaves

1 small sage leaf, finely chopped

“Reservoir”  ingredients:

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tsp sriracha sauce (or other hot sauce)

1/4 cup sweet pickle relish (If you don’t have this, use 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet pickles)

Method:

Preheat oven 375*

1 – . Combine the breadcrumbs with the milk in a small bowl and let sit. Crack the egg into a large bowl and whisk for a moment with a fork. Add the meat followed by the herbs, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper flakes, onion, carrot and the soaked breadcrumbs. Mix it altogether with your hands until it is fully combined.

Make meatloaf

Mix meatloaf

2 – Combine the Reservoir ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

make reser

Make reservoir

3 – Place meat in a loaf pan and using your index and middle finger make 3 holes in the meatloaf, going almost to the bottom of the pan. Spoon the reservoir sauce into each hole reserving what is left over for later.

Assemble meatloaf

Assemble meatloaf

4 – Place in preheated oven for 55 minutes. Remove and let it rest on the stove-top or counter for 15 minutes before serving.

Cook in oven

Cook in oven

Serve this with whatever you like. It is traditionally served with mashed potatoes, gravy and a green vegetable but don’t let that stop you from serving it alone, with pasta, rice or even making it the star of a robust dinner sandwich!

Paprika Pork For Dinner! (serves 6)

This was such a satisfying dish and the way it came about is how most things happen in this kitchen: rummaging in the pantry and picking out the most appealing spice of the moment and promptly building the entire dinner around that flavor.

pork with a lovely kick

Pork with a lovely kick

A couple of nights ago when going through my rummaging ritual looking for inspiration, I found a little bag of Hungarian Paprika from a trip I made to a marvellous spice shop in New York City, Kalustyan’s.

And this is just a small corner of the spice section!

A customer mesmerized by a small section of the spice department at Kalustyan’s!

The description read, “slightly pungent ground red pepper from Hungary with slightly hot aromatic rich pepper flavor” I knew that this would be all that was needed to dress up the pork tenderloin sitting in my fridge.

pakrika

Paprika

Using pork tenderloin allowed me to cook a rich and heavenly dish in a very short amount of time. It was truly amazing and is another great dinner to turn to if in a hurry, or you are faced with the sometimes overwhelming task of feeding a crowd. This dish would make it a snap!

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You will need:

3 tbs olive oil

2 lbs pork tenderloin (2 1lb tenderloin)

sea-salt and black pepper for seasoning

2 celery ribs, sliced or diced

1 large sweet onion, large dice

1 tbs chopped fresh marjoram leaves

1 cup sliced or Julienne carrots

3 or 4 cups chopped dark green spinach

1 tbs hot Hungarian paprika

1 tsp sea salt

3 tbs all-purpose flour

4 cups chicken broth (veggie broth or bouillon cube and water will work also)

Method:

Preheat oven 425*

1 – Season tenderloin with sea-salt and black pepper. Place a saute pan on high heat and add the oil. When it is hot add the tenderloin and sear on all sides until browned (this seals in the flavor). Remove to a heavy casserole pot and set aside.

sear tenderloin until browned on all sides..

Sear tenderloin until browned on all sides.

2 – Turn heat down to medium and add the onions and cook for a few minutes before adding the celery. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped marjoram and stir.

Saute onions and celery

Saute onions and celery, add herbs

3 – Add the paprika and stir into the onion mixture. Add the salt and the flour and stir quickly. Let it cook for about 30 seconds or so.

add hot paprika and flour

Add hot paprika, then flour

4 – Add the broth 1 cup at a time while stirring. Turn the heat up to high and add the carrots. When it comes to a boil pour the whole thing over the casserole with the tenderloin.

add liquid

Add liquid

5 – Cover and place in your preheated oven for 45 minutes.

pour sauce onto pork adn place in oven

Pour sauce over pork and place in oven

6 – Remove from oven and transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil. Let it rest for 5 minutes. In the meantime add the spinach to the casserole and cover with lid. (it will wilt into the sauce). At this point you can taste the sauce for addition of seasonings. Adjust if necessary.

Remove pork to rest, add spinach

Remove pork to rest, add spinach

7 – After the meat has rested cut into thick slices and transfer back to the casserole.

Return sliced pork to pot

Return sliced pork to pot

Serve with whatever you like: rice, boiled or mashed potatoes, pasta or bread. This is also great served with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper flakes.

serve

serve

Simple Lemon Chicken with Zero Talent Required! (serves 6 – 8)

 It will take more time to read this recipe than it will take you to prepare this dinner – I’m dead serious! It is dinners like this that have saved me from ordering take-out many an evening and I suggest that you add this to your repertoire.

Fast Lemon Chicken

Fast Lemon Chicken

I made this last night because right when I should have been making dinner I had to pick my kids up from their grandmother’s house. How was I going to make dinner and have it ready when they got home if I was the one picking them up?

Easy: I put this together in 5 minutes, popped it into the oven and it was ready when we got home. It was so lovely to walk into the house and smell the wonderful aroma of roasting chicken.

The lemon and herbs in this dish made the flavor happen magically and it tasted like a dish that I had labored over  – I’ll never tell!

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*This is a Great Blood Type A Diet recipe, just omit the black pepper and pepper flakes if you are strict*

You will need:

1 1/2 lbs chicken thigh cutlets (that means, no skin and de-boned. They are sometimes called thigh oysters)

2 chicken breast fillets, cut in half lengthways

sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper flakes for seasoning

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 large sweet onion, halved, then sliced thinly

1 cup baby carrots (if very small leave them whole, if larger quarter them lengthways giving you “skinny sticks”)

1 sprig rosemary (about 3 inches)

4 sprigs thyme

1 lemon, quartered

3 cups chicken broth

Method:

Preheat oven 425*

1 – Prep veggies and season meat with salt and  pepper.

2 – Scatter onions, carrots, rosemary, thyme, and lemon in bottom of pan, roasting dish or baking tray. Add the broth. Place chicken breast on top in 4 completely separate spots. Lay one of the chicken things on top of each of the breast pieces and the rest of the things in-between.

3 – Sprinkle a little cayenne pepper flakes over the chicken (if using) and drizzle the entire dish with the oil.

4 – Place in your preheated oven for 40 minutes.

DONE!

DONE!

Remove from oven and remove the lemons and herbs. Serve with anything you like: pasta, rice, bread, boiled potatoes or a salad.