I can’t imagine cooking anything other than a roasted spatchcocked turkey for Thanksgiving. It is hands-down my favorite way to prepare a whole bird (technically it is not whole because the backbone is removed, but you get the gist.) BUT, if I need to supplement with something smaller than an entire bird or I need to cook extra turkey in something other than my occupied oven, I am doing a slow cooker bone-in turkey breast.Continue reading
Hello, Friends. I’m checking in. I hope you are all staying healthy and sane right now. I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you all and I appreciate this community more than ever. Thank you for your feedback, encouragement, viewership, questions, and comments. Thank you for bringing my recipes into your kitchen and cooking them for your loved ones. Thank you for sharing your photos of your beautiful finished dishes and cooking with your kids. Please continue to encourage your friends and co-workers to cook healthy food at home. When you post a recipe on social media, any recipe, it inspires your community to do the same, to cook from scratch. You send a message that cooking nutritious food is important and doable.
I pulled together a collection of recipes that may help give you some ideas for “pantry ingredients.” You most likely have enough food at home and don’t need to go out. Stay home. Improvise with what you have. I can give you suggestions for substitutions if you’re stuck. But do stick to the foods you know keep you healthy and make you feel good. Continue reading
Last week I told you I wasn’t going to post any more Thanksgiving recipes in order to encourage you to commit to a menu. Let’s hope that’s all set by now. If not, make the $15 investment in my Thanksgiving ebook and get going! What I like to post the week of Thanksgiving is a leftovers recipe that you can use in the days after the holiday.Continue reading
My friend Devon, the one who also gave me the recipe for my favorite Spicy Guava Tequila cocktail, served us these unbelievable giant Greek beans for dinner one night and I immediately asked for the recipe. Not only did Devon give me the recipe, but sent me home with some leftover beans, too. I stashed them away in my second fridge in the garage so that I wouldn’t have to share with my husband. I had a selfish moment, but I redeemed myself by making a whole baking dish of these beans soon thereafter.Continue reading
Happy Taco Tuesday, y’all! Cinco de Mayo is on a Friday this year which means Mexican restaurants are going to be even more out of control than usual. So I will definitely be planning an at-home fiesta and I think you should, too. I’m going to invite some friends over for a DIY taco bar and margaritas. Isn’t that the best invitation — tacos and margaritas?? This recipe has become a new favorite with my friends and family. I actually tasted it and thought it was super delicious and I don’t care for red meat. And because it’s a slow cooker recipe, I will have this done early and not have to worry about it — my favorite kind of recipe!
I just finished teaching this recipe in my March classes and it was a huge hit! I don’t even like chicken and I seemed to always be looking for a bite at the end of class. I had so many requests to post this recipe that I had to oblige, even though the images aren’t totally the best. I think this would be perfectly appropriate to prepare for Passover, with one minor adjustment. And it’s a great recipe to adapt as cherry tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes become available.
The recipe is basically a braise, but the chicken is cooked uncovered for most of the time, which is why I call it Baked Chicken, versus Braised Chicken. But the formula is still very much the same — browning the meat first to create flavor and color, sauteing onions, deglazing, putting meat back in and baking in the oven until cooked through. Once you understand the steps, you can start making up your own recipe or adapting recipes like this one with other ingredients or flavors.
I personally like using bone-in, skin-on pieces of chicken since I think they taste better and stay a little moister, especially breast pieces. Unfortunately, cooking with bone-in, skin-on pieces takes longer than boneless, skinless and may not be a great option for those of you needing a really fast recipe for after work. Fortunately, this recipe can be adapted for cutlets and even a slow cooker, so look for those options in the instructions.
This dish produces very tender, flavorful chicken, as well as the accompanying onions and sauce. In the ingredient list it offers the option of draining the juice from the jar of tomatoes or keeping it. Here’s my thought process on that one: if you will be serving the chicken with noodles or pasta, polenta, mashed potatoes or something that would welcome a lot of sauce, then you should keep the juice. Otherwise, drain the juice and just use the tomato pieces. I also love this dish during cherry tomato season, when I will use 1 1/2 pounds of halved sweet cherry tomatoes in place of the jarred, and basil leaves instead of the thyme. Large vine-ripened tomatoes that have been blanched and chopped are also great. Both of these options create a much lighter, fresher dish. But every variation is very delicious.
Other adaptations I discussed in class:
subbing fennel for half the onion
omitting the olives and adding chopped mushrooms with the onions
adding a healthy pinch of crushed red pepper flakes with the garlic
in the summer, subbing sliced sweet bell pepper for some of the onion
searing cauliflower steaks and using those in place of the chicken for a vegetarian/vegan option
I always use breasts when I teach because most of my students prefer white meat, and therefore it’s just easier for me to buy all breasts. You can certainly use any part of the chicken you want. In fact, it’s more economical to buy a whole chicken and have the butcher cut it into pieces for you. But I highly recommend not buying 1 breast per person. It’s too much meat to eat in one sitting, unless you are an Olympian or a body builder! I have never actually seen anyone at my house or at a dinner party eat an entire breast. I have seen people cut them in half and push one piece off to the side and just each one half. What I love to do is prepare the breasts, allowing for 1/2 per person, and removing the bones after the chicken is cooked and has rested a bit. Then I slice the meat on an angle. It’s much more manageable to eat it this way, as well as more elegant and attractive to serve. See this post on the gloves I use to get down and dirty when I carve chicken!
Let me know if you have specific questions about timing or with what sides to serve this. Hope your holiday planning is going well!
3 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, sprinkled with 2 teaspoons kosher salt when you get home from the market unless you are using kosher chicken which you should not salt (read this post on how and why to season your chicken in advance)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Flour for dredging (all-purpose, spelt, GF flour, etc.) -- use matzoh cake meal for Passover
1 ½ medium onions, cut through the root into sixths or eighths (or sliced thinly, but I like wedges better in this recipe)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 18-ounce jar diced tomatoes with the juice (or drain juice for less sauce) (I like Jovial in glass jars. Read this post why.)
¼ cup dry white wine
¼ cup chicken stock, vegetable stock or more white wine
6 fresh thyme sprigs or large basil leaves in the summer/fall
½ cup pitted olives, such as kalamata or Bella di Cerignola
2 Tablespoons capers, drained
chopped parsley for garnish, if desired
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pat the chicken dry and season with black pepper. Dredge in flour, shaking off any excess.
In a 12-inch ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces in one layer and brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate and reserve.
If the pan looks dry, add a little oil. If it looks like there’s more than 2 Tablespoons oil, drain a bit off. Add the onions, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic and sea salt and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes, white wine, stock and cook, scraping any brown bits on bottom of the pan.
Arrange the thyme, olives and capers over the onion mixture. Place the browned chicken pieces side by side on top. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven.
After 15 minutes, baste the chicken with the juices in the pot. Continue cooking, uncovered, for an additional 30-40 minutes (depending on thickness), basting every 10 minutes if you have time. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. (You can also cook covered on the stove over low heat for 30 minutes.)
For a boneless, skinless version, check out my recipe for Lemon –Thyme Chicken Cutlets and follow the same directions.
For a slow cooker version, use skinless chicken and 3 Tablespoons each of stock and wine instead of 4. Follow same directions, but after deglazing, pour everything into the slow cooker and cook for 4-5 hours on HIGH or 6-8 on LOW.
Just because I don’t eat meat, doesn’t mean my family doesn’t love it and ask for it. So I will make it on occasion, but my rule is that it has to be grass-fed. Read my other brisket post about why. I make beef more in the winter than in the summer because it has a very warming thermal nature, and becomes even more warming when cooked with onions, which means it can actually raise the thermostat in your body and heat you up a little. Perfect these chilly nights, and I know so many of you have been suffering through the worst winter ever! It’s almost over! (I hope!)
I’ve been making a version of this recipe for about 15 years, and my grandmother made something similar which everyone loved. Of course grandmothers never write recipes down because they don’t measure anything (a pinch of this, a sprinkle of that.) Thank goodness for google which helped me come up with a great roadmap for one of my family’s favorites. In fact, my older daughter has requested this dish many times for her birthday in past years!
This is different from the brisket I learned how to make for Jewish holidays. That brisket is braised in an oniony sauce as well, but it’s sliced whereas this one is shredded and the sauce is more tomato-veggie, much more Italian. We used to eat this over wide pasta, like pappardelle or fettuccine or egg noodles. But spaghetti and even orecchiette are great. Since I don’t make as much pasta as I used to, we have been enjoying this more over cauliflower mashed potatoes or polenta. For those of you who are hooked on spaghetti squash, I think this would be great on it!
Brisket is one of those very tough cuts of meat that can only be made meltingly tender by cooking it low and slow for a long period of time with lots of moisture. Don’t try and grill, sear or stir-fry brisket. You’ll end up with the toughest, chewiest meat ever. Yuck! You can also use chuck roast in this recipe since that cut also needs a long, low and slow preparation. Since it takes three hours minimum to cook, you’ll need to get this going early in the day or do it in a slow cooker, or make it the day before and reheat it. All methods will result in a super soft, very flavorful brisket and sauce. Although I personally think the flavor is a little better the next day. And, this will freeze beautifully! I think this sounds like a good weekend project for those of us who will be stuck inside from monsoon rains (not complaining, just saying) or the bitter cold. Hoping this can help you find a way to stay cozy this weekend!
2 ½-3 pound piece of brisket, preferably grass-fed
sea salt or kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons unrefined olive oil, divided
2 large onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium stalks of celery, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups rich chicken stock or beef broth (use whichever you have that’s homemade)
1 14- to 15-ounce can diced tomatoes or 18-ounce glass jar
2 bay leaves
1 pound pasta, cooked and drained
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pat brisket dry and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large oven-proof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sear the meat on both sides until nicely browned, about 12 minutes total.
Transfer meat to a platter. Add 2 Tablespoons oil to the pot and then add the chopped vegetables and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté over medium heat until tender and golden.
Stir in the wine, stock, tomatoes and bay leaves and deglaze the bottom of the pan by scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and place brisket back in the pot. Cover and transfer pot to the oven. Braise the meat for 3-4 hours or until tender enough to shred with a fork.
Remove from the oven and transfer meat to a cutting board. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Remove excess fat from the meat, cut into 2-inch chunks, and shred with two forks.
If you would like a smoother sauce, pureé the vegetable mixture either directly in the pot with an immersion blender or in a food processor or blender. Otherwise you can leave it chunky. This can be done a day before and reheated in the same Dutch oven over medium heat on the stove.
Add the shredded meat back into the sauce and stir together. Serve over cooked pasta or polenta, millet-cauliflower mash, mashed potatoes or cauliflower-mashed potatoes.
Use less liquid if you want less of a sauce.
SLOW COOKER VERSION -Sear meat on both sides in a skillet or Dutch oven. Transfer to slow cooker. -Saute vegetables until tender. Season with salt. -Deglaze pan with ⅔ cup wine, 1 ½ cups stock and same amount of tomatoes as stove-top recipe, making sure to scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Transfer contents plus bay leaves to slow cooker. -Cover and cook on LOW for 7-9 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours. Proceed with remaining steps 4-6 above.
You all know I live in Southern California and perhaps you know we are having a very mild, but super dry winter. We actually have a serious drought happening here. And you might also know that 99% of my entire family lives in the New York/New Jersey area. And they’re having a veerrryy different kind of winter.
So most of our phone calls the last few weeks have been kind of like this:
Me: “Hi! It’s me. What’s new?”
Sister/Mother/Father: “It’s snowing. AGAIN. The kids are off from school. AGAIN. It’s absolutely freezing out there. Seriously, this is the worst winter EVER!”
Me: “Bummer. But I asked, ‘what’s neeeewwww?'”
Same old, same old. I miss the talks we used to have about currents events, movies, what we’re making for dinner, what we ate for lunch. Interesting, riveting stuff. Instead, it’s all blizzard all the time! Thankfully, winter doesn’t last forever and they’ll all be able to get back to business before we know it. Easy for me to say, I’m sure.
But if I were in the middle of a polar vortex, I would quickly buy a one-way ticket to L.A. I would make super-warming foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We may not be able to control the weather, but we can control the thermal nature of what we eat. And I say, heat me up! High on my list would be this Moroccan chicken with dates which I taught in my classes last February. I know it seems like there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but half of them are spices, all of which are warming to the body, and anti-inflammatory, too. These spices, including ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin and a pinch of cayenne are also quite flavorful and make this otherwise simple chicken dish, something very special. There’s also a little bit of sweetness from the cinnamon and from halved dates which rank as one of my favorite foods on the planet. A little earthy, a little sweet, a touch spicy and a little tart — it’s one of my favorite chicken recipes!
In these images, and for dinner last night, I served this with an apricot couscous (I’ll post the recipe next week.) This will have a very tasty, but brothy sauce which just begs for something to sop it up. Couscous, which is pretty dry, is the perfect side dish. But you don’t need to make it with any seasonings or herbs. Even plain would be just the right side for this dish. Otherwise, if you’re gluten-free, steamed rice, quinoa or millet would be amazing here. I also served it for dinner with simply sautéed Swiss chard, but check out this recipe for raw grated carrot and beet salad. That would be fabulous, too.
I have made this recipe in the slow cooker, as well. Please read the directions for how to adjust this recipe for the slow cooker. Both versions are amazing and will help warm up your core. At least until the next snowfall or tomorrow, or both, as the case might be!
3 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts such as breasts (I like them split), thighs or drumsticks, seasoned with 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt when you get home from the market or brined for an hour (1/4 cup kosher salt + 2 cups water) EXCEPT if you use kosher chicken. See this post for how and why to brine chicken.
1 Tablespoon unrefined coconut oil or olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric (feel free to add more if you like it)
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 ½ cups chicken stock
5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
12 dates, pitted and halved
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, if you like it
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and add to the pot in one layer. Do not overcrowd. Cook until browned on the underside, then turn over and browned on the other side, about 15 minutes total. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet or platter and repeat with remaining chicken if there’s some still left to do.
Add onions and carrots to the pot and sauté until tender and translucent, about 6 minutes.
Add cinnamon sticks, salt and remaining spices. Sauté about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
Add stock, 3 Tablespoons lemon juice and dates. Deglaze the pan by scraping the brown bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, add chicken pieces back to pot skin-side up and cover. Lower heat and simmer until chicken is completely cooked through, about 40-45 minutes. An instant-red thermometer should read 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.
Add lemon juice to pot and stir to combine. If sauce needs thickening, transfer chicken to a platter and simmer sauce until it is reduced. Sprinkle everything with cilantro and serve.
SLOW COOKER VERSION:
Use bone-in, skinLESS pieces of chicken Use a skillet to brown chicken, and sauté vegetables and spices. Add only ¾ cup of stock to the pan and the same amount of lemon juice as in the original recipe to deglaze the pan. Do not add the dates until 20 minutes before serving. Transfer the browned chicken, and the vegetable, spice, stock and lemon juice mixture to the slow cooker and cook covered on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours. 20 minutes before serving, stir dates into the slow cooker. Add remaining lemon juice and garnish with cilantro, if desired.