Fajitas recipe

perfect chicken fajita plate

You all know my seven-year-old son, Mr. Picky.  I need to re-introduce you to Daughter #2, who just announced last night that she is now a vegetarian.  That’s Miss Vegetarian to you.  Hmmm…..She is the same child that asked to try clams and mussels when she was 3 years old and would chomp on a steak bone until it was dry.  She’s 12 now and has always been my easiest child with respect to food.  What a pleasure it has been to feed a child who willingly tries and eats anything and everything!  Not that I can take credit for her adventurous eating; she came into the world this way.  But effective today, she is no longer eating meat, fish, or eggs if they look like eggs (it’s fine if they’re baked into a cookie, of course.)

I have lots of parents in my classes who have children with dietary restrictions or predilections.  We routinely discuss how to adjust each recipe to accommodate Janie’s gluten-intolerance or Jack’s aversion to the color green.  I am convinced the universe gave me Mr. Picky and Miss Vegetarian so that I would be more understanding of the challenges my students face.  That I am.

The good news is we had fajitas last night for dinner!  The reason I say it was good news is because fajitas really lend themselves to each person customizing his or her plate.  So whereas Mr. Picky likes to load up on chicken and guacamole with one token slice of zucchini, I am happy with the reverse, choosing mostly vegetables.  I didn’t stress out about feeding Miss Vegetarian last night since we also had black beans and shredded raw cheddar cheese from the farmer’s market.  She made two lovely roll-ups with sprouted grain tortillas and all was wonderful, at least in the protein department.  (She really needs to stop borrowing her sister’s clothes without asking.)  The next great thing about fajitas is that if you have leftovers, they can go into a darn good omelet or quesadilla the next day.  Daughter #1 had some of the extra chicken and vegetables chopped up and added to some leftover green rice from my class the day before (I’ll have to give you the recipe one day) and  brought it to school in a thermos.

I think the traditional preparation of fajitas using skirt steak is just fine, but we don’t eat much beef here.  Regardless, you can use the same marinade for beef and it will be delicious.  You can also broil the meat, if you don’t want to grill.  But more than that, I never limit the vegetables to just bell peppers and onions.  I usually make an additional pan of sauteed zucchini and shiitake mushroom strips and find that to be my favorite, although I also love julienned carrots and sauteed spinach, too.  There is always something to please every palate!

Serves: 6-8
  • There are lots of tortillas that are more healthful than white flour tortillas. Try Rudi’s Organic Spelt or Multigrain with Flax; Food For Life Brown Rice Flour; or French Meadow Bakery's Hemp Tortillas (Mr. Picky's favorite.)
  • Marinade for chicken or meat:
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup unrefined, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets (thinner pieces cook more quickly reducing the exposure of the meat to the grill) or thighs or skirt steak
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 bell peppers (green and red is a good combo), sliced thin or mix it up with sliced shiitake or portabella mushrooms, julienned zucchini and/or carrots to mix with the peppers and onions
  • 1-2 red onions, halved and sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Accompaniments: 12-16 warmed flour or rice tortillas, guacamole, pico de gallo (salsa), sour cream, shredded cheese
  1. Combine garlic, sea salt, pepper, cumin, lime juice, oil and cilantro in a non-reactive container, such as glass. Add meat to marinade and turn to coat well. Marinate for at least 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator, turning occasionally.
  2. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Grill chicken a few minutes on each side until cooked through.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add peppers, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute the mixture, stirring, for 10-12 minutes, or until softened. You can add the cooked, sliced meat to the vegetable mixture and combine everything or serve both separately.
  4. Warm tortillas on both sides over medium heat on a griddle pan. Or if you are heat a large amount, wrap the entire stack in parchment paper, then aluminum foil and heat through in a 350 degree oven. Serve with desired accompaniments.
You can also broil the meat using a broiler pan.

Do Ahead Timesaving Tip: earlier in the day or the night before, marinate the meat and/or slice all the veggies. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Orange and rosemary glazed chicken recipe

It’s not my husband’s fault he can’t find his way around the kitchen.  He grew up with a mother who is a very willing and capable cook.  She made hot breakfasts every morning and power lunches for school.  Each night she lovingly prepared a fresh, well-balanced dinner.  Then I came along.  I met my husband in college when I was 18 and I already loved cooking for people.  I remember sophomore year my husband and his roommates fasted for Yom Kippur, as in they didn’t eat for 24 hours.  Who doesn’t love cooking for people who are ravenous??  We dated and I cooked.  We married and I cooked.  We had kids and I cooked a lot, and I was happy to do it.

I had two unusual days in a row last week where I had to work past dinner time.  I verbally clued my husband in to all the dinner possibilities using staples from the pantry and the fridge.  There was pesto, poached chicken meat, enough leftover soup for two, cooked brown rice, washed salad greens and vinaigrette in a jar.   With pasta and a can of beans in the pantry, I was sure he could come up with something.  Or so I thought.

I came home from a long day last Monday night and there it was on the kitchen counter — the take-out pizza box.  Sigh.  I don’t know what I was thinking that I could expect the poor guy to throw something together after a hard day of work that he and the three kiddos would want to eat.  I’m sure no one suffered eating pizza that night, but what would he do the next day??  I knew I needed to plan for an easy dinner that everyone would like and that my husband could handle — orange and rosemary-glazed chicken.  This is one of the simplest things you can make and so delicious.  This chicken has saved my life on busy weeknights and has delighted dinner guests alike.  Just marinate the chicken in a few ingredients ahead of time and pour everything into a casserole dish and bake.

I use all-fruit orange or kumquat preserves in the marinade, but I have used apricot, too.  Just make sure it’s all fruit without the addition of any sugar.  The preserves will be sweet enough.  I love rosemary with orange and with chicken, and I happen to have an out-of-control rosemary bush on my front lawn so I never have enough uses for it.  If you don’t have rosemary, thyme works well here, too.  The best part of this dish is the yummy, glaze-y sauce which we spoon over the chicken on the plate, but doesn’t get wasted if you serve this with something like rice or millet to sop it up.  With some steamed or roasted asparagus or sauteed spinach, someone looks like he knows a little something about something.  My hero.


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5.0 from 5 reviews
Orange and Rosemary Glazed Chicken
Serves: 6
  • 2 ½ - 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces* (breasts cut in half), seasoned with 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt as soon as you get home from the market
  • 8 ounces all-fruit orange or kumquat marmalade, about ¾ cup (such as St. Dalfour or Sorrell Ridge)
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons whole grain or stone-ground mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons shoyu or wheat-free tamari
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine orange marmalade, mustard, shoyu, melted butter, rosemary, and pepper in a glass or nonreactive container that is just big enough to hold the chicken. Add the chicken to the marinade and coat each piece well. Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours, or longer if that’s more convenient.
  2. Remove chicken from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you’re not in a rush, allow the chicken to sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken pieces and any marinade to a baking dish, such as a 13 x 9 - inch. Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through and browned on top. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving, if possible.
*such as 2 breasts cut in half and 2 drumsticks




Chicken and vegetable curry recipe


Growing up in a traditional Italian home, I learned very little about food that wasn’t Italian.  I could tell you the names of about 80 different shapes of pasta (you could, too if you ate it four times per week) and I knew my Parmigiano from my Pecorino.  In the garden, I could differentiate between the many varieties of eggplant or basil plants.  This was my culinary comfort zone.

It wasn’t until I was in college that I was exposed to “ethnic” foods and I fell hard for curries.  Raise your hand if you thought like I did that curry was a spice — one spice.  I imagined fields somewhere in Asia with people picking curry berries.  (Actually, there is such a thing as a curry plant, but it is somewhat like a lettuce and has nothing to do with Indian or Thai curries.)  I learned not too long ago that curry powder is a blend of several different spices and no two curry powders are the same.  Most contain turmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, and red pepper in their blends. Depending on the brand, additional ingredients such as ginger, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and black pepper can be added.  Some chefs prefer to toast their own spices and grind them to make their own curry blends, which sounds like such a nice thing to do if it wouldn’t completely put me over the edge.  I give you permission to use a premade curry powder which will not compromise anything in this recipe.

Chicken and vegetable curry is a staple in our house.  It is an incredibly flavorful dish enriched with coconut milk and cashew butter.  I vary the vegetables according to the season:  butternut squash or yams in the fall/winter with cauliflower; asparagus and peas in the spring; green beans and eggplant in the late summer/early fall; and I always throw in a few handfuls of spinach at the end because I will add leafy greens wherever I can.   We love this over brown jasmine or basmati rice, but recently I served this over some leftover soba and it was so tasty with the sauce coating all the noodles — everyone devoured it, especially Mr. Picky!

This curry is gluten-free.  Vegetarians can substitute chickpeas instead of chicken and vegetable stock for chicken stock.  This freezes really well as long as it’s tightly covered with as little air as possible coming into contact with the top of the food.

I love sharing all the nutritional highlights about the recipes I post.   You can read about all the benefits of curry powder’s anti-inflammatory spices, especially turmeric, in the Harira post, and I would likely sound like a broken record if I told you why we need to eat more vegetables and less animal protein.  But don’t make this dish just because it’s good for you.  Make it because it’s delicious.  When I served this to my Italian father for the first time he said, “I have no idea what this is, but it’s fantastic.”

chicken and vegetable curry | pamela salzman

chicken and vegetable curry | pamela salzman


4.7 from 9 reviews
Chicken and Vegetable Curry
Serves: 6
  • 3 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil or ghee
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken meat (breast or thigh or combination), cubed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into chunks
  • 4 cups vegetables, cut into same size as carrots and celery (e.g. cauliflower, root veggies, green beans, eggplant, potatoes…)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons curry powder*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • ½ cup cashews, finely ground or ¼ cup cashew butter
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • A few handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  1. Season chicken pieces with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat oil or ghee in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Without crowding, add the chicken in batches and lightly brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and continue cooking all the chicken in the same manner.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the pot and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and remaining vegetables. Cook another few minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices on the plate back in the pot. Add the curry powder, spices and salt and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the stock (or diced tomatoes) and chopped cilantro and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the ground cashews or cashew butter to the curry along with the coconut milk, and simmer gently uncovered, stirring until sauce is thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in spinach leaves and stir until wilted. Delicious over cooked basmati or jasmine rice or noodles.
*Different brands of curry powder taste differently. “Simply Organic” is a little stronger with more depth of flavor than “Spicely Organic.” You can probably use 2 Tablespoons “Simply Organic” and 3 Tablespoons “Spicely Organic.”



Turkey (or beef or tempeh) tacos recipe

Turkey (or Beef, or Tempeh) Tacos | Pamela Salzman

In light of the recent discovery that Taco Bell’s meat for its beef tacos is mostly, um, NOT beef, I thought it was necessary to get a high quality taco recipe out there.  One of the things I find so interesting about this news is how surprised everyone is to find out that there are incredibly low quality ingredients being used by a national fast food chain.  Hell-oooooooo?  People, they are charging $.99 per taco AND making a profit.  Do you really think this is a high quality food?  Rhetorical question.  Answer is no.

Turkey (or Beef, or Tempeh) Tacos | Pamela Salzman

I have been making my own taco seasoning mix for years and years ever since it occurred to me to actually read the label on the taco seasoning packet I was using.  Scary!  Is it really necessary to use food coloring and MSG and stabilizers just to season some ground meat?  Another rhetorical question.  So I copied down the actual spices from the ingredient list and left out the chemicals that could only be made with a centrifuge in a lab, and after a few tries, I had a taco seasoning that was just right, meaning my kids still thought I was using the store-bought packet.  Success!

Turkey (or Beef, or Tempeh) Tacos | Pamela Salzman

Because we are limiting our beef consumption, I will very often make tacos using ground turkey meat, preferably half dark meat for flavor and half white.  Of course you can use grass-fed ground beef or bison, too.  If you are a vegetarian, just finely crumble the same amount of your favorite tempeh and saute it in some olive oil until just browned and use the seasoning mixture in the same way.  (Next two photos are of tempeh.)  I like tempeh tacos just as much as the ones made from meat!

Turkey (or Beef, or Tempeh) Tacos | Pamela Salzman

A student reminded me a few days ago that Little League season is right around the corner and would I please add some post-game dinner recipes to the website.  Since I have a child in Little League, I know that she is looking for meal that can be prepared as quickly as possible when she walks in the door at 6:15 for starving children, and preferably a warm meal since everyone’s been freezing outside for several hours on metal bleachers.  This is a 10- minute dinner if you have all the toppings prepared ahead of time.  I like to use soft corn tortillas and set out bowls of guacamole, pico de gallo (fresh tomato salsa) if it’s tomato season, finely shredded lettuce and some shredded raw cheese, if I have it.  The topping bar is one of my favorite techniques to make everyone feel as though he or she is getting the meal of his or her choice — and no additional work for me.  Serve with a large salad with homemade vinaigrette which you can prepare days in advance and dinner is done!

Turkey (or Beef, or Tempeh) Tacos | Pamela Salzman

Since I have a feeling this may become a regular dinner item for you, why not triple or quadruple the recipe for the spices and keep the mix in the pantry so that’s one less thing you need to worry about.

And you thought you couldn’t make tacos without maltodextrin!  Hmph.

Turkey (or Beef, or Tempeh) Tacos | Pamela Salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Turkey (or Beef or Tempeh) Tacos
Serves: 4 (just multiply everything by 1½ to serve 6
  • 1 pound ground turkey meat, preferably dark meat; or grass-fed ground beef; or crumbled tempeh
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder*
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric (ok, not in store-bought packets, but really good for you!)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¾- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
  • ¾ cup water (about 1 cup if you make tempeh)
  • Accompaniments: corn tortillas, guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, refried black beans, cilantro-lime slaw, shredded lettuce
  1. Mix all spices and salt together until well blended. If you're using corn tortillas, you can begin warming them until pliable on a dry griddle or skillet or over a low flame on the stovetop. I like to keep all of them warm in a clean kitchen towel.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground turkey to the skillet and cook, breaking up turkey into small pieces (I like to do this by pressing against the meat with a slotted spoon), just until cooked through. If there is any liquid in the pan, drain before proceeding.
  3. Dissolve the arrowroot in ¾ cup cold water. Add the spice mixture to the meat and cook over medium heat for a minute. Pour the water and dissolved arrowroot over the turkey and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally.
*Not all chili powders are created equally. The one I use is by Simply Organic which has good depth of flavor with a little kick. If you don't care for any heat at all, you can cut back on the chili powder. If you like things spicy, feel free to add a few dashes of cayenne.

**The dry spice mixture can be made very far in advance, if desired. The mixture can be multiplied and kept in a glass container for several months. The ratio is approximately scant 3 Tablespoons of spice mixture to 1 pound of meat.


Harira recipe

Harira (Moroccan stew with chicken, chickpeas, lentils and rice) | pamela salzman

Harira is a Moroccan stew that is traditionally served during Ramadan to break the daily fast.  In my house it is a nourishing one-pot meal that is perfect for a chilly winter evening.  I have seen many versions of recipes for Harira.  Typical ingredients include lentils, chickpeas, rice or vermicelli pasta, tomatoes, onions, fresh herbs, spices and a small amount of meat, such as lamb or beef.  I have come up with my own version that is heavier on the grains and legumes with a few handfuls of greens thrown in at the end.  This is my kind of food!

One thing I love about Harira is that it’s rich in health-supportive spices.  In our country, we tend to shy away from spices like turmeric and ginger which is such a shame, because not only are they delicious, they are incredibly healing, too.  These spices and the others used in this Harira are full of phytonutrients, as well as anti-inflammatory  and cancer-preventative compounds.  Turmeric, in particular, has been hailed as the rock-star spice of late.  You may have eaten turmeric before if you’ve had curry.  It is what gives curry powder its yellow color.  Turmeric is a very powerful liver detoxifier, it improves circulation, is anti-bacterial and to repeat myself — one of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances out there.

I have heard from some parents that they are reluctant to try new flavors at the dinner table, for fear that their kids won’t like them.  The best way I have found to introduce new spices is gradually, by adding a little here and there to foods that are already in their comfort zone, such as pasta sauce or stew.   You will be giving your family such a gift by opening them up to a whole other world of flavors and healthful foods.

For the vegetarians and vegans out there, don’t pass this recipe by.  Just use water or vegetable stock for the chicken stock and double the chickpeas.  It’s already gluten-free, in case you were wondering.  This recipe makes enough for the 5 of us for dinner, but I double it quite often to get a lunch for the girls the next day.  Whatever doesn’t get eaten will freeze beautifully.  That wedge of lemon is recommended per person to squeeze on top, and before you think it’s something you can do without, think again!  The lemon really brightens the dish and adds the perfect complement to all the earthy flavors.

Harira (Moroccan stew with chicken, chickpeas, lentils and rice) | pamela salzman

harira (Moroccan stew with chicken, chickpeas, lentils and rice) | pamela salzman


5.0 from 3 reviews
Serves: 5-6
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined coconut or olive oil (I use coconut)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs (or a combination of both), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4-5 grinds of black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped OR 1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes with the juice (I used ½ box of Pomi since I'm not a fan of canned tomatoes)
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • ½ cup dried lentils
  • ¼ cup long-grain brown rice
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • A couple handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves (optional, but leafy greens are your friend)
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  1. Season the chicken with sea salt and pepper as early as possible.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces in 2 batches and brown on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  3. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook until softened. Add all the spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Add the tomatoes with their juice, chickpeas and 1½ teaspoons of sea salt. Cook until fragrant.
  4. Return the chicken to the pot with any accumulated juices. Add the stock, lentils and brown rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 50 minutes.
  5. Add cilantro and parsley and cook uncovered for 5 minutes or until the chickpeas are heated through. Stir in the spinach leaves, if using. Ladle into individual bowls and serve with a wedge of lemon.


Lemon-thyme chicken recipe

lemon-thyme chicken | pamela salzman

Once upon a time, I used to enjoy spending lots of time experimenting in the kitchen.  I had fabulous cookbooks in which I found interesting and challenging recipes to make for dinner.  On a weekday.  And then it was over.  My kids started playing team sports.  Do you know this new life?  Are you driving to some field at exactly the same time you should be soaking and sauteeing or poaching and shredding?  And then back an hour later to pick-up, unless of course there’s a GAME.  Then you’re sitting on bleachers for two hours trying to figure out how dinner will be ready the second you walk in the door with starving children.

how to slice into cutlets

“Baked Lemon Chicken” from The Union Square Cafe Cookbook was one of my favorite chicken entrees before sports.  Bone-in chicken pieces baked with lots of sauteed onions, lemon and thyme.  It was even good enough to serve to company.  But there would be no more basting every 15 minutes for me on a Tuesday at 5:00.  So what’s a girl to do?  Adjust the recipe to cutlets, of course!

sliced onions and garlic, fresh thyme

Even though I generally prefer bone-in chicken to boneless, this dish is not lacking for flavor or moistness.  The onions get soft and saucy with lemon and infused with fresh thyme and the chicken takes it all in.  The best part about this is that it’s super easy and can be done in stages, if necessary.  You can flour and saute the chicken and then take the kids to practice.  Come back and saute the onions, add the thyme, lemon and stock.  Pick up the kids from practice and when you get home add the chicken to the onions and let everything cook together while you saute some spinach with garlic.  Hopefully you made a vinaigrette and washed some lettuce a few days ago, so assembling a salad will take you no time at all.  Can you say, “Home run!”

lemon- thyme chicken | pamela salzman


lemon-thyme chicken | pamela salzman


Lemon-Thyme Chicken
Serves: 6
  • 2 pounds chicken cutlets (I show a photo of how I cut a boneless, skinless breast half into cutlets, but you can ask your butcher to do this)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour for dredging (whole wheat pastry flour or brown rice flour (gluten-free) are the two I use)
  • Unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced thinly (I use a candle when I am cutting onions to prevent crying -- it works!)
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  1. Season the chicken cutlets on both sides with sea salt and black pepper. Dredge them with flour and shake off the excess.
  2. Warm about ¼ cup olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the chicken cutlets and sauté on both sides until golden brown. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  3. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and season with sea salt and pepper. Sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Pour the lemon juice into the pan and scrape any brown bits on the bottom. Add the chicken stock and thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer. Transfer the chicken back to the pan with any accumulated juices. Simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove thyme sprigs and serve immediately.



Turkey sausages with cabbage and fennel recipe

People ask me all the time for more recipes that are Fast!  No, faster!  And easy!  I understand the challenges that people face when pulling together a weeknight meal, whether they are parents or not.  However, we need to put some time into our cooking.  I haven’t figured out yet how to make something in no time that’s worth eating.  But this sausage and vegetable dish is my idea of fast food.

I buy precooked sausages from Applegate Farms, which don’t contain spooky ingredients like nitrates or nitrites (hooray, no carcinogens!).  Slice up some cabbage and fennel and you’ve got yourself a quick and easy dinner.  Make extra and toss it with pasta the next day, just save some of the pasta cooking water after you drain it if you need to moisten the sausage dish up.  If you have a favorite sausage that is not precooked, I would slice it or remove the meat from the casing and sauté that first.  Remove it from the pan, sauté your vegetables and put the sausage back in.

If you haven’t cooked with fennel before, it has a fresh, licorice undertone and perfectly complements the fennel seed that is usually present in most sausages.   I use red cabbage here for color, for the extra phytonutrients that come with it and the higher C profile than green, but you can certainly use green cabbage if that’s what you have handy.  Cabbage is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables – a group that I encourage you to incorporate regularly into your diet.  These include all the cabbages and kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and bok choy.  These vegetables contain some potent anti-cancer compounds called sulphurophanes.  Cabbage also contains some cholesterol-lowering benefits as well as loads of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.  It is also relatively inexpensive, to boot.  What are you, in love with cabbage or something? Well, maybe I am!

turkey sausages with cabbage and fennel recipe
Serves: 6
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced thinly
  • ½ red or green cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 2 fennel bulbs, tops removed and bulbs sliced thinly
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 nitrate-free, pre-cooked sausages, sliced on the diagonal as small or large as you prefer. I cut each link into 4 or 5 slices.
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel seeds and stir until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add onion, cabbage and fennel. Season with sea salt and pepper and sauté until just tender.
  3. Add sausages and cook until heated through.
  4. Add white wine to deglaze the pan. Cook until wine evaporates. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.


Onion-braised grass-fed beef brisket recipe


grass-fed braised beef brisket|pamela salzman

Let me come right out and say that I don’t like to promote the consumption of too much beef for several reasons.  In our house we eat beef about three times per month, and when I make it I plan for about 3-4 ounces per person.   Furthermore, I only purchase GRASS-FED beef.  Call me old-fashioned, but I am a firm believer that if you are going to eat animal protein, then it should be an animal that was raised in a natural environment with a diet that is also native to that species.  With respect to cows, that means cows that graze in pastures eating GRASS.  There is plenty of research supporting the notion that grass-fed beef – compared to its confined feedlot counterpart – is lower in fat and contains cancer preventive, fat-burning properties.  Grass-fed beef also contains higher amounts of Omega-3 fats and is generally raised without the use of antibiotics and hormones.  It is almost like making a choice between eating a fit and happy animal which has eaten a health food diet, and eating a stressed out, overweight animal which was fed fast food its whole life.  If you need more convincing, please read Michael Pollan’s fantastic book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

There’s also the heavy environmental impact of raising cattle, which is less severe with grass-fed beef, but still a discouraging consideration.  That said …

Beef is a very warming food, more appropriate for the colder months, and it becomes even more warming when cooked with onions.  Brisket is a very tough cut that needs long, slow braising to help tenderize it.  If you like your brisket so soft that you don’t need a knife to cut it, this recipe will not disappoint.  The meat shreds easily and melts in your mouth.  Best of all, the house will be filled with a wonderful, warm aroma.  But do plan ahead since cooking this the day before helps to develop the mélange of flavors.  Really, the only way you can screw this up is by letting it dry out.  Lastly, be aware that brisket shrinks tremendously once it has cooked.  A 6-pound brisket fed a class of 12 women with enough for two of my kiddies to enjoy it as an after-school snack.

4.3 from 3 reviews
onion-braised grass-fed beef brisket recipe
Serves: 8-12
  • 1 5-to-6-pound grass-fed beef brisket, preferably first cut
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt plus more for seasoning
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more for seasoning
  • 3 large yellow onions, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 5 cups or 3 pounds)
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 medium tomatoes, if in season, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup red wine (or use all water)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a dutch oven or other heavy baking pan large enough to hold brisket, heat 1 tablespoon oil in oven 10 minutes. Pat brisket dry and season well with salt (I used about 4 teaspoons) and pepper on the top and bottom. Roast brisket in pan, uncovered, 30 minutes.
  3. While brisket is roasting, in a large heavy skillet cook onions in remaining 2 tablespoons oil over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened and beginning to turn golden. Reduce heat to moderate and cook onions, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if necessary, until deep golden, about 20 minutes more. Stir in garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper and cook 1 minute. Stir in water and wine and bring to a boil. Spoon onion mixture and chopped tomatoes over brisket and bake, tightly covered, 3 ½ hours, or until brisket is tender. (Check pan every hour and if necessary, add more water.) Remove brisket from oven and let cool in onion mixture 1 hour.
  4. Remove brisket from pan, scraping onion mixture back into pan, and chill, wrapped in foil, overnight. Spoon onion mixture into a 1-quart measure and chill, covered, overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Discard fat from onion mixture and transfer to a blender. Add enough water to the blender to measure 3 cups total. Blend until smooth.
  6. Slice the brisket against the grain as thick or thin as you prefer. In a large ovenproof skillet heat gravy until hot, add brisket and heat in oven 30 minutes. Or you can continue to heat on the stove, covered until heated through.