Tag Archives: thyme

FAST Spaghetti with Infused Lemon Thyme Oil (serves 4-6)

We got back from our 5 day Beach Holiday late this afternoon and the weather was opressingly hot (and I am understating the case). The plan for the next two posts was to continue to document our time there, (read previous 3 posts if you want to know more), but tonight, I made something so refreshing for dinner, I wanted to get the recipe down before I forgot it altogether.

Spaghetti with Lemon Thyme Oil

As we were driving home I happen to catch a program about food, and the host of the show went on a rant about how she loved her mortar and pestle. She talked about grinding rosemary to a paste and mashing lemon zest. I got caught up in the lovely images of citrus and herbs, and that naturally got me thinking about what to make for dinner.

The thought of adding more heat to our already boiling hot-house by turning on an oven, or spending time mixing something or other on the stove-top was out of the question. This dinner had to very fast.

Lemon, Thyme, Olive Oil

When I opened the fridge I was greeted by 2 lovely lemons, and I immediately wanted to zest them into something! I cut some thyme from my garden, dropped some spaghetti into boiling water, and by the time the pasta was al dente, the rest of the dish was ready to receive it.

It was Summer-y, delicious, and everyone’s plate came back to the kitchen as clean as a whistle.

*This is a Blood Type A Diet Dish (using neutral or beneficial ingredients)*

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You will need:

zest of 2 lemons

juice of 1 lemon (more to taste)

2 chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced (optional & neutral food for Type A)

2 celery ribs, including leaves, diced

4 garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped

5 to 6 sprigs single thyme stems

1 yellow squash, small dice

4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp sea-salt (I use Maldon sea-salt flakes)

1 lb spaghetti (I use Barilla brand)

1 cup cooked pasta water (reserved after you cook pasta)

Method:

1 – Prep dice veggies. Place the zest, lemon juice, 2 tbs oil, and thyme sprigs into small bowl and set aside.

Garlic & Celery

2 – Put pot of water on to boil for pasta and cook according to instructions, reserving 1 cup of pasta water just before draining. Do not rinse pasta.

3 – Put large saute pan on medium heat and add the remaining oil. Saute celery, garlic and squash for 4 minutes, then add the chicken breast. Turn heat up and cook the chicken for 5 minutes, stirring everything occasionally.

Saute ingredients

4 – Add the lemon oil mixture and stir into veggies and chicken. Add salt. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste (add more lemon juice if you feel it needs it at this time). Turn off pan.

Add Spaghetti & water

5 – By this time the pasta will be ready. When it is drained immediately add it, along with the reserved pasta water to the pan and stir.

Divide between shallow plates and garnish with a little more lemon zest and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (if you have it).

Bison & Lamb Meatballs (serves 6-8)

My kids love meatballs! I did not grow up eating them myself so never understood the attraction? I had never actually made them until my kids were old enough to order them in a restaurant, or eat them at their grandmother’s house, and then began asking me to make them for dinner. Hmmmm? I figured out the process quickly enough and I have to say, I throughly enjoy each step; from the squelching of the meat with my hands to combine the ingredients, to rolling them into perfect balls (well, to me they’re perfect!).

Another great dish for dinner

After a lot of experimentation over the years I have come up with a basic recipe, and go from there. There are so many variations, I am sure you could write a cookbook titled “A Zillion Meatball Recipes”, and still come up with more!

It is no wonder on Christmas Day, as part of our grand feast, there was a delectable bowl of meatballs gracing the table. I used bison, which is lovely and lean, and added the fat juicy element with the lamb. I used fresh rosemary and thyme to bring out a perfume-y note, and they were spot on.

I may be forced to make them again next year.

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You will need: 3 lbs ground bison and lamb (you can also use beef in combination with one of the other two meats), 1 large sweet onion, small dice, 4 slices bread, 3/4 cup milk, 2 tsp sea-salt (I used Maldon sea-salt flakes), several grinds of black pepper, 2 tsp chopped rosemary, 1 tsp thyme leaves (or leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme), 2 eggs, 4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 cup all-purpose flour.

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Tear bread into pieces, and place in small bowl and cover with milk. Set aside to soak.

cook onions until very soft

2 – Put saute pan on medium heat and add 2 tbs of oil. When it has warmed, add the diced onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn heat down to low, cover and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until very soft. Set aside.

add the onions and herbs to ground meat and eggs

3 – Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat briefly with a fork. Add the meat, salt, pepper, herbs, onions and soaked bread. Mix everything together with your hands until ingredients are well-mixed

4 – Put the flour into a shallow bowl and rub a little oil on your hands. Form meat balls, and roll in flour (a little smaller than a golf ball). Place meatball on a big floured platter. Continue until all the meat is done.

roll meatball in flour

5 – Pour about 2 or 3 tbs of oil on a large baking sheet and place in the oven. Leave for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and place all of the meatballs on the tray in an even layer. Place in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

6 – Take out of oven and turn each meatball. Place back into oven and check after 12 minutes. When they are nicely browned, remove from oven.

cook meatballs in the oven

You can serve these as part of a grander feast (as we did!), or, with the ubiquitous spaghetti and red sauce. You can also make meatball sandwiches, or serve them with rice and vegetables. The possibilities are endless.

You can also freeze them in plastic bags to be whipped out as the need arises.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Winter Squash (serves 6)

I’ll admit to being more interested in so many other things last night than in making dinner. That being said, I absolutely always make an evening meal.

I know there are more food options nowadays, but I think making dinner should be a cheerful obligation, not a choice. Of course there are nights I cannot cook because of one thing or another, but since I was the one who decided to have a family, I really want to BE a family, and make being together as much as possible the most important thing.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Winter Squash

There will be plenty of nights in the future when I can read a book or watch a movie. I don’t want to look back on this time in my life and have regrets about something I had control over; like making a great dinner and all enjoying it together. So much goes along with this simple act. Do I have to state the obvious? 

So, being lazy last night just required that I make a lazy dinner! The preparations necessary took 10 minutes of my precious time. The squash I used was grown locally, as were the herbs (my garden) and the bacon.

As it turned out, it didn’t take much time or talent to make an amazing dinner!

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You will need: 6 chicken thigh cutlets, 3 chicken breast fillets, 1/2 to 3/4 lbs bacon, 1 winter squash, peeled, quartered & sliced, 5 sprigs thyme, 5 sprigs tarragon, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 cup chicken broth, sea-salt & freshly cracked black pepper for seasoning.

Preheat oven 425*

1 – Layer the squash in the bottom of a big saute or roasting pan. Scatter the herbs over the squash and sprinkle cream on top of everything. Season with several grinds of pepper.

squash & herbs in bottom of pan

2 –  Cut any excess fat from meat and wrap each piece in a strip of bacon. Add the broth and season with more black pepper.

ready for oven

3 – Place in preheated oven for 40 minutes, after which time, the bacon will cook and become crispy on top.

out of oven

4 – Take out of oven and cover pan for 10 minutes before serving. Taste broth for further seasoning.

you can also serve with rice

To serve; lay a portion of squash in the bottom of shallow bowls and top with whole chicken piece, or, slice the chicken and lay on top. This can be served as is, or, with a green salad, pasta, rice, or crusty bread.

Roast Chicken with Colorful Pearl Onions Served on a Bed of Kale (Serves 6)

This was a divine dinner, again inspired by herbs from my garden, and vegetables from my CSA box (see top right of my blog for more info. on what that means). When what I think of as really Summery herbs start to grow (basil, Italian Parsley, oregano) I tend to forget about the herbs that I use in Winter like thyme for rich lamb dishes, and rosemary for slow-cooked chicken or beef dishes. I was just about to pluck some basil yesterday evening to go with my chicken when I got a whiff of my lovely english thyme, which guards one  corner of my herb garden. It looked healthy and strong, and I remembered that I had been neglecting to use it! I immediately cut 5 or 6 sprigs and changed how I was going to cook the chicken.

Simple, but intense flavors, made this great dinner!

I had a sumptuous bag of multi-colored pearl onions and a little bunch of fresh local carrots (again from my CSA box), and I decided on just those three vegetables. I love thyme with carrots, and, onions go with absolutely everything!

 I really wanted to use my kale but did not want to cook it with the chicken. I instead cooked it on the side, adding a little heat and olive oil to give it it’s own distinct flavor.  The pan sauce was delicately sweet, and I would have been quite content to have a bowl of onions swimming in sauce for dinner!

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You will need: 1 cut-up chicken, 3 cups of red, yellow & white pearl onions (of course one color will dd also!), 4 medium carrots, sliced, 5 sprigs fresh thyme, 3 tbs capers, rinsed, (I use Roland brand), 3/4 cup white wine, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 1/4 cups water, coarse sea salt (I use Maldon salt flakes), several grinds black pepper, 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 12 -15 kale leaves, inner rib removed (use a knife and cut a V) and chop kale.

Preheat oven 425*

1 – First, blanch the onions. Put pot of water on to boil ,and, when it is boiling add onions and time for 3 minutes. Drain, and when cool enough to handle snip the end off where the plant grew out of the ground. Cut a little of the skin at the top edge with a scissors and peel or pop out the onion. Set aside.

Blanch onions

2 – In big saute pan or roasting pan big enough to hold chicken in a single snug layer, add the carrots and thyme.

Add carrots and thyme to bottom of pan

3 – Next add the chicken.  Mix the liquids in a bowl (water, wine, cream) and pour over the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and tuck the onions around it. Toss the capers over everything and drizzle 1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil over chicken. Place in the oven for 40 minutes.

Take out, remove the breasts to a plate and cover with foil. Return the chicken to the oven for another 12 minutes. Let it sit to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Assemble dish for the oven

4 – When chicken has 15 minutes left to cook add a 1/2 cup of water to pan and bring to a simmer. Add kale and a 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and cover. Simmer gently for 10 minutes (add a little more water if you need to). Take lid off and stir and drizzle with 1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Turn off heat, cover to keep warm.

Cook kale while chicken is in the oven

To serve, lay a bed of kale down on a warm plate, top with chicken and spoon some vegetables and pan juices over everything; fit for a king!

The kale was great with the chicken; earthy and healthy!