Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts

2 lbs brussel sprouts, halved horizontally

1/2 lb pancetta or Applewood smoked bacon – diced

 A few sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary

1/1 t salt

Cook brussel sprouts in lightly salted boiling water for about 3 mins. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels.

In a heavy pan, saute the pancetta or bacon until cooked to your taste.  Remove bacon from pan and drain.  Remove all but 1 T of the drippings. Add  1/2 of the brussel sprouts to the pan, cut sides down.  Heat at med-high, uncovered for 3-4 minutes until the sprouts are browned.  Add additional drippings if necessary. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining sprouts.  Return all the sprouts to the pan and toss with the cooked bacon and herbs.

Makes 8 1/2 cup servings.


Breakfast and Brunch ideas

Looks like I’m going to be having some company next month.  I decided to make a list of menu ideas so I can  keep everyone fed without going crazy.  Since I’m single, I don’t have the opportunity to cook for company too often, so I’ve come up with these ideas.  Keeping everything fairly simple so I won’t be in the kitchen all the time.

This isn’t a typical recipe post – I’m just going to list my brainstorm menus.  Everything is pretty basic – if you would like a recipe to follow, let me know and I will happy to oblige. I plan on making this a series of posts – starting with breakfast/brunch and continuing on to lunch and dinner…

1. Scrambled eggs, roasted applewood bacon and homefries. 

2. Egg, cheese and bagel sandwiches

3. Greek yogurt with berries, sliced almonds and a drizzle of honey.  I’ll serve with spiral sliced ham and toast.

4. Scrambled eggs with ham, cheese and green peppers.  Served with Simply Potatoes hash browns.

5.  Whole grain waffles toasted and topped with greek yogurt and mixed berries, drizzled with honey.

6.  The old standby breakfast casserole – Simply Potatoes hash browns or southwest potatoes with eggs,  shredded cheddar – jack cheese and crumbled sausage.

All of these will only take about 15-20 minutes to prepare.  Nothing super elegant, but delicious and filling.

Easy Tortellini

This is one of my favorites – great for company and so easy to make – it’s always a hit. Buy the fresh tortellini, not frozen – more expensive, but sooo worth it.  You can round this out with a protein if you like – this is awesome with shrimp!

1 pound package fresh tortellini
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups freshly diced tomato
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves 
2 tablespoons chiffonade basil leaves
1 tablespoons minced parsley leaves
1 minced shallots
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup grated parmesan reggiano cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the tortellini according to the package instructions. When fully cooked, drain and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile,  combine the diced tomatoes, herbs, shallots, lemon juice, and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Mix to combine and season with sea salt and pepper. When the tortellini have cooled to room temperature toss with the tomatoe mixture.  Top with the grated cheese.

Simple Roasted Chicken

This is now my favorite roast chicken recipe.  The simplicity of it is deceptive – this chicken tastes fabulous.  In the past, I’ve roasted chickens with a variety of herbs, stuffing herbs under the skin, rubbing olive oil over the chicken, stuffing carrots, celery and onion in the cavity….but despite my best efforts, the chicken would be lacking in flavor – often with dry breast meat. 

Very important to bring the chicken to room temp before roasting and also make sure it is dried will after rinsing – you do not want to add any steam. The salt is also key – the original recipe calls for 1 T, but I found it to be a bit too salty for my taste – next time I will use 1/2 T.

With this recipe, the skin is nice and crisp and the chicken is moist and juicy throughout.  The key is cooking the chicken in high, dry heat.  The vegetables add steam, so don’t be tempted to play with this recipe.  You can roast the vegetables seperately.

1 small roast chicken

sea salt

fresh ground pepper

fresh chopped herbs – rosemary or thyme work well.

Bring the bird to room temp, rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle 1/2 T of salt over the bird and season the cavity with salt and Roast @ 450 for 50-60 min. No peeking, no basting. That’s it. After roasting, baste the chicken with the juices and chopped rosemary or thyme. Let rest for 15 mins, carve and slather with butter.

Make some creamy mashed potatoes and drizzle with the pan juices – delicious!

Adapted from Thoman Keller’s Simple Roasted Chicken

Boeuf Bourguignon

This recipe is wonderful to make on a lazy Sunday.  It’s a bit labor intensive, but so worth it. Put some Norah Jones jazz on the CD player,  pour a nice glass of red wine and life is good.  Your place will smell fantastic as the beef simmers with the herbs.

This is my take on the recipe – adapted from Martha Stewart and Ina Garten’s recipes.  Serves 6-8

  • 2 lbs stewing beef
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces baby portabello mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 carrots – chopped into large chunks
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 package Applewood Smoked bacon.  Slice into 1″ pieces.  ( Yes, expensive, but so worth it and this stew will feed a crowd)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry red wine – I used a decent Pinot Noir- $10
  • 8 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium beef stock (Kitchen Basics brand is my favorite – great flavor!)

  1. Cut up all the veggies and set aside.  Chop the bacon. 
  2. Cut the beef into smaller cubes if desired.  Toss with the cornstarch.
  3. Season the beef with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 T olive oil in the pan and brown the beef on all sides.  You will need to do this in batches so the meat is not crowded.  Otherwise it will steam instead of brown.  Add more olive oil as needed.
  4. Transfer the beef into a bowl after it is browned.  You will get some lovely juice rendered.

5. Add mushrooms to pot. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

6. Add shallots, celery, carrot and bacon to pot. Cook about 6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste.

7.   Return beef with plate juices to pot. Add thyme and bay leaf. Raise heat to high. Add wine. Cook, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon, until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add stock and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until beef is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

8.  Add reserved mushrooms. Bring to a simmer; cook for 5 mins.

This is wonderful served with a crunchy french bread for dipping.  Also, serve over egg noodles tossed with butter and fresh parsley.  

Berry Galette

Berry Gallette – this is so easy and so delicious! A great dessert

1 pie crust – I use frozen since I’m not much of a baker lol – however if you have a good homemade pie crust recipe, by all means use it 🙂

3 cups berries of your choice – frozen is OK if fresh are not available
1/4 C sugar
1 T butter, quartered
1 egg, whisked

Thaw the frozen pie crust slightly – just until you can work with it. Place the berries in the middle of the flattened pie crust. Top with the butter cubes. Fold the sides of the dough over the berries. Most of the berries will remain uncovered. Sprinkle with the sugar. Brush the dough with the egg wash.
Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 until the dough is gold and flaky.
Great as is, or top with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or honey.

This is a recipe you can get creative with – you could also use apples, peaches, etc for the filling…

Easy Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

2 skinless chicken breasts with rib

2 garlic cloves mashed

1/2 cup sliced baby portabello mushrooms

1 sweet potato, sliced

Penzy’s Galena Street Rib and Chicken Rub

Penzy’s 4/S seasoned salt

1/2 cup no fat/low sodium chicken broth

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Coat a baking pan with EVOO ( about 2 TBS)

Place chicken in pan and season with the spices – about 1/2 TBS of each

Add garlic cloves, mushrooms and sweet potatoes.

Bake for one hour. Since ovens may very, use a thermometer to make sure chicken is cooked to 165 degrees. Make sure to avoid the bone when testing the temp.

Serves 2

The portabellos add great flavor and the broth make the chicken breasts come out so juicy