Parmesan Mushroom Chicken


Hello to you — Here’s dinner a few nights ago.  Being of the mind that you can’t have too many chicken for dinner recipes handy, here’s a good one to add to your list.

We had it with roasted small golden potatoes chunked up, and the chicken and potatoes can can cook together in the oven, while you finish the sauce, set the table, change the laundry, make a salad, check on the kids, do that quick phone call…  As many multitasking things as you can fit into 20 minutes!!

It’s a yummy, practical, family friendly meal.  I think you’d like it!

2 tab. olive oil
4 chicken thighs, skin removed*
Garlic salt
freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz. sliced brown mushrooms
1 tsp. dried basil
1 cup chicken broth
2 tab. cornstarch
1/2 cup parmesan romano
2 tab. fresh basil or marjoram, chopped**
Basil or marjoram for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet.  Liberally sprinkle the chicken thighs with garlic salt and freshly ground pepper.  Drop them in the hot oil to brown– about 3 minutes on each side.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and put them in a baking dish.  Put them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until they are cooked through.

While they are cooking, make the sauce.  In the same skillet, saute the sliced mushrooms and garlic in the pan juices in the skillet for just a couple minutes.  Remove them and set them aside.

Then in the skillet bring the chicken broth to a boil.  In a container with a tight fitting lid shake together the cornstarch and about 1/4 cup water until it is thoroughly blended.  Pour it into the boiling broth and stir until it thickens into a creamy sauce.  Lower the heat and stir in the parmesan and fresh chopped basil.

When the chicken is done in the oven nestle the pieces back in the skillet of sauce and leave it on a low simmer for 2 or 3 minutes to mix the flavors.

Then move the chicken to a platter, top with the mushrooms and a little sauce (serve the rest of the sauce on the side).  Garnish with basil leaves.

*You can leave the skin on if you prefer.
** I used marjoram because it grows like a weed in our side yard.


Simple Pasta Sauce

Hello pasta lovers– I’m with you on this– what’s more warming and homey tan a bowl of pasta with a fresh tangy sauce??

Saw this recipe in a Food & Wine magazine and realized I had all I needed on hand in the kitchen.  That’s what’s so nice about it– no fancy ingredients and ready in less than 30 minutes.  Perfect for a busy weekday dinner.

your favorite pasta
2 tab. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tab. butter
1 tsp. dried basil
garnish: parmesan & fresh basil or marjoram*

Heat the olive oil in a deep pot.  Add in the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until it is soft.  Add in the grated carrot and minced garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes and salt to taste.  Simmer on low for 20 minutes, covered with a lid.

While it’s simmering, cook your favorite pasta (we did fresh tortellini).

Then stir the butter and basil into the sauce.  Serve over hot cooked pasta. Garnish with basil & parmesan.

*I used marjoram because it grows year round with no help from me, in the side yard.

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan


Hello friends–  Got this recipe from a food blog that I just love– The RichmondAvenue   It’s written by smart and warm Jasmine, who combines really practical recipes with beautiful photography and a big dose of southern friendliness.  Her tortilla soup is awesome– as well as this big plateful of roasted eggplant parmesan.  I think you’d love her blog as much as I do.

2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/2″ slices
olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tab. olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tab. red wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 1/2 cup parmesan romano
1/3 cup panko bread crumb
1/2 tsp. dried basil
garnish: basil leaves
8 oz. pasta, cooked

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.  Brush the slices of eggplant on both sides with olive oil and lay them in a single layer on the baking sheets.  Roast them in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the bottom sides are browned.  Then turn them over and roast for 10 minutes more.

While that’s roasting, heat the 3 tab. of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Drop in the onion and saute until the onion starts to brown.  Then add in the garlic, dried basil and thyme.  Saute another 30 seconds.  Finally stir in the crushed tomatoes and leave on a low simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Then add the red wine vinegar, fresh basil and salt & pepper to taste.

Spray a 9″ x 9″ baking dish (or a 7″ x 11″) with cooking spray.  Layer in a few spoons of sauce, a layer of eggplant and a sprinkling of the parmesan. Continue with 2 more layers until you’ve used all the eggplant, sauce & parmesan.  Mix the panko bread crumbs with the 1/2 tsp. dried basil and sprinkle the crumbs over the eggplant in the baking dish.

Pop it into a 375 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the eggplant mixture is bubbly and hot in the middle.  Serve over your favorite pasta.  Garnish with a sprig of basil.

Browned Eggplant with Tomatoes, Olives & Feta

IMG_2050Hi there– I found this recipe in a magazine while I was sitting waiting at the ophthalmologist’s office for an eye exam.  (I guess a good recipe is some small compensation for a trip to the doctor!!)  Tempted as I was to tear out the page with the instructions, I took my waiting to time to commit it to memory (more of less) and here it is!

We’ve still got summer tomatoes at the market and who can resist a happy purple eggplant?  Made it up for dinner with some grilled talpia and a seedy chunk of bread.  Just about right for a warm end of the summer evening…

1 plump purple eggplant
1/4 cup olive oil
1 green heirloom tomato
1 red heirloom tomato
1/2 cup feta with herbs & garlic, cut in chunks
1/2 cup mixed olives
a splash more olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (cut if large)
salt & freshly ground pepper

IMG_2032Cut the eggplant into 1/4″ slices and set them on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.  Put it under the broiler on medium heat for 5 minutes and then flip the pieces of eggplant and broil for 5 minutes more.  (I had the rack about 10″ below the broiling unit– keep your eye on it so it doesn’t burn!)

While the eggplant is cooking, slice the tomatoes into pretty thin slices.

When he eggplant is done, brush both sides with the 1/4 cup olive oil and arrange the slices on a plate with the tomatoes.  Scatter the olives, feta and basil over the top of it all and give it a good splash of olive oil and a little sprinkle of salt & pepper.

Makes plenty for 4 people (maybe 6).

Roasted Tomato Soup


Hey there– It’s true I have loved that tomato basil soup at the Corner Bakery ever since it popped up in our neighborhood years ago.  I tried in vain to locate the recipe and finally gave up.  But on a chilly Friday evening last week, Larry and I walked the mile for a soupy dinner there and it got me thinking about making that spicy soup again.  When I got home, I googled it up and there it was!!  Oh joy!  So this weekend, I made us a pot, hot and steamy.  If you love tomato soup, I think you’ll think this is the best!

3 pounds roma tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil (plus another splash)
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 cups chopped onion
a small pinch of red pepper*
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 14 oz. cans of petit cut tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 tsp. thyme leaves

Slice the roma tomatoes in half lengthwise and set them out cut side up on a baking sheer.  Drizzle the 1/4 cup olive oil over them and liberally salt them with salt and fresh pepper.  Pop them in a 425 degree oven for 45 minutes.


When the tomatoes come out of the oven, brown the onion in a pot with the splash of olive oil.  When they are almost done, add in the garlic and the pinch of red pepper (be careful to not over pepper it all!).  When the onions are caramelized, pour in the tomatoes, juice and all, and the chicken broth.  Toss in the roasted tomatoes, basil and thyme and simmer it all on low for about 45 minutes.

With a stick blender or food processor, blend it all to an even consistency and serve it up piping hot with croutons or a swirl of sour cream.

*I used the 1/8 teaspoon that the recipe recommended and it was too spicy for my taste– start small and you can always add more!

Chicken Cutlets with Roasted Corn Hash

IMG_2605Hi friends–  We hit the good neighbor jackpot when we moved into our house next door to Mr. Wicks!  He’s an older gentleman (at least a little older than us), who spent years as a college photography professor.  Nowadays, he’s turned his talents to gardening.  His rose bushes seem to bloom non-stop.  His sunny yellow dahlias are the size of dinner plates!!  And he’s turned his backyard into a mini-farm.  So lucky for us, he occasionally turns up at our door with a sack of his luscious tomatoes.  They were the impetuous for this chicken dinner.  Thanks Bob!!

1 cup frozen corn (or fresh cut off the cob)
2 tab. olive oil
1 few shakes of garlic salt
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup parmesan reggiano cheese
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
a splash of olive oil for frying
3 ripe summer tomatoes
2 tab. red onion, chopped
1/4 cup basil leaves, cut in slivers (wait til the last minute to cut so they don’t brown)

Stir together the corn, 2 tab. olive oil and garlic salt.  Spread it on a baking sheet and roast it in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, just until the corn starts to brown around the edges.

While that’s roasting, slice the chicken breasts horizontally to make 2 or 3 smaller cutlets each.  Mix the breadcrumbs, garlic and parmesan together in a bowl.  Put the flour in another bowl and beat the egg in a third bowl.  Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan and when it’s hot, one by one, dip the cutlets both sides in the flour, then the beaten egg and last coat both sides with the crumb mixture.  Drop the cutlets in the hot oil and cook them about 3 minutes on each side until they are nicely browned.  Then slide the pan into a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes to cook them through.

While they are cooking mix the roasted corn with the red onion and basil.  Then when the chicken is ready, slice the tomatoes and arrange the chicken and tomatoes on a platter and scoop the corn “hash” over the tomatoes.

We had this for dinner tonight, along with a green salad topped with almonds and blueberries with a tarragon dressing, brown rice an  a sturdy sour dough loaf of bread.
We liked it just fine.

Italian Lunch Salad

IMG_1836Hello all–  We have friends who have set out for 3 weeks in Italy with all their kids and a grand-baby in tow.  I’m trying, really, to not be too jealous as their photos along Venice’ canals slide down my facebook page.  I think they are having a grand time there together! I can imagine them sampling fried zucchini blossoms or saltimbocca or my favorite “Crema del Doge” gelato.  So for lunch, to summon up a little bit of Italy for us at home, I put together an Italian-ish salad—

4 slices turkey ham, cut to small bits
1/2 head leaf lettuce
1 14 oz. can cannellini beans
Mixed olives
1/4 cup chopped read bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped basil
peperoncini peppers
2 tab. grated parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. white balsamic vinegar
garlic salt & fresh pepper to taste

In a nonstick pan, grill up the bits of ham.  While that’s cooking layer the lettuce, cannellini beans, olives, pepper, basil, crispy ham, pepperonici and top with a sprinkle of parmesan.  Then in a container with a tight lid shake together the oil, vinegar and salt & pepper.  Drizzle it over the salad just before you set it on the table.

Serve it up with a substantial loaf of bread and some lovely gelato for dessert.
Buon Apetito!