Balsamic Apricot Rosemary Chicken

 

Hi everyone– Here’s a recipe that’s so quick and delicious I’m happy to pass it on to you.  You can get it into the oven in about 5 minutes!  I put on some brown & wild rice mix to simmer after the chicken was in and then sat and read a book!  Best way to fix dinner.

BALSAMIC APRICOT ROSEMARY CHICKEN
4 bone in chicken thighs
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 tab. balsamic vinegar
1 tab. rosemary, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and place them bone side down in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  (If you like the skin, leave it on!)  In a small bowl stir together the apricot jam, vinegar, minced rosemary and salt.  Spoon it over the chicken thighs and pop it into a 400 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes. Spoon the extra juices over the chicken as you set it on the serving plate.  (If you use a meat thermometer, internal temperature of 165 degrees)

Ready and delicious!

Rosemary Lemon Cake

Hello there–  Love this quirky little cake.  To start with, I pretty much adore anything topped with lemony cream cheese frosting.  Add a tender cake with a whisper of rosemary and hints of lemon peel and it’s pretty luscious.

ROSEMARY LEMON CAKE

Cake:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tab. lemon juice*
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter milk**
1 cup + 2 tab. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tab. rosemary, chopped very fine

Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tab. lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon peel, grated
garnish: lemon slice, rosemary sprig

To make the cake, beat together the 1/2 cup butter, sugar, lemon juice and lemon peel with an electric mixer until they are all creamed together.  Then beat in the eggs and buttermilk.  Finally beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and rosemary.  Continue to beat the batter with the mixer for 2 minutes.

Scoop all the batter into a 9″ cake pan than has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until the cake is firm to the touch.   Let the cake cook completely before you frost it.

To make the frosting, use the electric mixer to beat together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon peel.  When it is thoroughly blended and creamy, frost the cooled cake.  Garnish with a twist of lemon and a sprig of rosemary.  So pretty!

*I used 1 large juicy lemon and got enough juice and grated peel for the cake and frosting.
**In place of buttermilk, pour a tablespoon of vinegar into the measuring cup and fill it to make 1/2 cup.

Orange & Rosemary Salmon

Hello all– There are some old recipes that are standards (That’s you, coconut cake!).  And I’m just sticking with them.  But there are some foods that are always open for improvement.  I’m always wiling to try a new chocolate chip cookie or a new spin on meatballs and because we’re trying to eat more fish, I’m always up for a new version of salmon.

Here’s the latest– sweet and tangy.  And that smokey paprika!  I was entranced as it spilled out of the jar onto my measuring spoon.  I think you’ll love this easy dish…

ORANGE & ROSEMARY SALMON
1 orange
2 tab. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
1 pound salmon filets
2 tab. brown sugar
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. sea salt
garnish: orange wedge, sprig of rosemary

Take an orange and grate off all the peel. Set that aside.  Then cut the orange in half and extract all the juice.

Mix the orange juice, olive oil & rosemary in a baking dish to make the marinade. Put the salmon filets into the marinade, turning to coat both sides and let it sit in the fridge for an hour.*

While that’s marinating, in a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, paprika, sea salt and the peel of the orange you grated off.

When the salmon is done marinating, pour the extra marinade out of the baking dish.  Then spread the paprika mixture evenly over the top of the salmon and pop it into a 400 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of your filets.

P.S. We had ours with roasted red potatoes since they both bake at 400 degrees.  Add a little steamed broccoli.  Dinner!

Beef & Eggplant Ragu

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Hello Pasta Loving Friends– We were talking about–“If you had to eat just one ethnic cuisine for the rest of your life, what would you pick?”  There were Vietnamese fans (those noodles!) and Chinese (so much variety!), but I was torn between Italian (pasta & gelato, of course) and Mexican (just because that’s what we eat in So Cal).

So for you who love pasta as much as I do, here’s a rich, thick, savory sauce to pour over the top of your favorite angel hair or rigatoni.

And thanks to Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen for this recipe — been reading her warm and friendly posts for years…

BEEF & EGGPLANT RAGU
2 tab. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound ground sirloin
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 Chinese, eggplant, cut to small pieces
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup red wine
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. finely minced rosemary
16 oz. pasta
garnish: parmesan romano, grated

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Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and then add in the chopped onion.  When it starts to wilt, add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Then add in the beef, chopping it in the pan with a wooden spoon, until it is all crumbled.  Cook until it is browned and then add the eggplant.  Cook 4 minutes more.

Pour in the crushed tomatoes, red wine, bay leaves and rosemary.  Leave it uncovered on a low simmer or 20 to 30 minutes until the flavors are melded.

While that’s simmering, cook your favorite pasta according to the directions on the package.

Drain the pasta and layer it on a large platter, topped with the ragu.  Sprinkle on the parmesan romano and serve it steaming hot.

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Lemon Rosemary Baked Chicken

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Hey there– Dinner time.  When our kids were growing up, it was everyone in their place, sitting around the table, talking through the day–the one time in the day we were all together.  Now it’s just Larry and me.  Sometimes we just grab a plate and sit in the kitchen, sometimes pull up to the coffee table and watch tv.  But it’s still a time to connect.

And the best connects are with friends who come in and sit down to the table with us.  Last week it was with Esther, an amazing young woman we’ve gotten to know.  Heard her heartwarming story of an encounter with a young shepherd boy on her trip to India for a cousin’s wedding.  Talked about her future plans…  It was more about the conversation than the food.

But- we did eat!  And dinner was centered around this Lemon Rosemary Chicken.  Easy to pop in the oven so you have time to pull up a salad and a pot of rice. It’s savory and fresh tasting.  I think you’ll like it– and I hope it comes with good talk around your table…

LEMON ROSEMARY BAKED CHICKEN
6 chicken thighs
2 tab. live oil
2 lemons
3 tab. honey
2 tab. olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 sprigs of rosemary
6 sprigs of thyme (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
garnish:  a little more rosemary/thyme

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Brown the chicken thighs in the skillet, cooking on medium high heat for 3 minutes on each side.

Cut one lemon in half and juice half of one lemon.  Slice the remain 1 1/2 lemons into thin slices.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, olive oil and garlic.

Then spray a baking dish with cooking spray.  On the bottom of the dish lay out half of the lemon slices. Top them with the browned chicken thighs and spoon the pan juices over the chicken and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.  Then layer on top the remaining lemon slices and the rosemary and thyme sprigs.  Finally spoon the honey/lemon juice mixture over the top of the chicken.

Pop the baking dish into a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Then lay the chicken out on a serving dish, top with the juices from the baking dish and the lemons, plus a couple fresh sprigs of rosemary.

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Tomato Rosemary Chicken with Polenta

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Hello there– Have you ever cooked up something and thought–“why did I wait so long to try this?”  I’ve had polenta eating out, but never stirred it up at home.  And guess what– It’s so easy and (if you love corn like I do) it’s super delicious!

This little Sunday lunch was packed with flavor from the comforting homey polenta to the tender chicken, the savory tomatoes and the briny olives.  With a bright fresh salad–perfect.  I’m imagining who we could invite in for supper to make this dish again…

TOMATO CHICKEN WITH POLENTA
1/2 cup polenta
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup parmesan romano
4 chicken thighs**
2 tab. olive oil
salt
freshly ground pepper
sprig of rosemary
sprig of thyme
(plus more rosemary & time for garnish)
1 small onion, chopped finely”
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz. can petit cut tomatoes with garlic & herbs
1/3 cup well brined olives

Start the polenta cooking according to the package directions (mine called for 2 cups of water, 1/2 tsp. salt).  When it’s done cooking, sir in the parmesan.

While that’s cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Salt and pepper the chicken thighs and drop them in the oil meat side down to brown for about 8 minutes.  Then remove them from the pan.

In that same skillet, drop in the the chopped onion and sauté 2 or 3 minutes until it starts to brown.  Add in the garlic and cook a minute more.  Then stir in the tomatoes, rosemary and thyme.

Put the chicken back into the pan with the tomatoes and simmer it on low for 12 minutes more until it is cooked through.  Stir in the olives.

At last, spoon the polenta* from the pot onto a platter and top it with the chicken and spoonfuls of the tomato sauce.  Garnish with sprigs of rosemary and thyme and set it hot on the table.

*If the polenta seems a bit thick, stir in a few spoonfuls of hot water before you serve it up.
** The recipe I worked from said to cook the chicken thighs with the skin on, but I removed it and it was just fine.

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Tomato Ricotta Tart

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Hello all– Since we are tardy tomato planters around here, we still have a bit of a crop coming in out back.  So when the teachers at school had a TGIF last Friday to celebrate the first two weeks of school completed with no major mishaps, I grabbed a few tomatoes from the yard (And some orange ones from the market) to make this happy tart.

You know all those bright colors just look like cheerful food.  And the salty feta, pungent rosemary and flaky pastry.  It’s just fine to go with a glass of wine and lots of frenetic, noisy conversation.  (thanks Kim for making us all laugh and Maryann for having us all in– it was the best!)

TOMATO RICOTTA TART

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (1/2 package)
4 oz. feta cheese
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped to bits
1 tsp. chopped rosemary (or your favorite herb)
plus a sprig of rosemary for garnish
1 pint cherry tomatoes,* sliced in rounds
a couple shakes of garlic salt
2 tab. olive oil
1/4 tsp more chopped rosemary

Defrost the sheet of puff pastry (I left it overnight in the fridge)– and then carefully unfold it and set it onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Score a border about 1/2″ in from the edge of the pastry.  And poke the center inside the border all across with the the tines of a fork.

Then pop the pastry into a 400 degree oven for just ten minutes until the pastry browns.

Take if from the oven and sprinkle on the feta.  Top that with the roasted red pepper bits.  Sprinkle the 1 tsp. chopped rosemary over the top and then settle on the sliced tomatoes.

Sprinkle on a few shakes of garlic salt and put it bake into the 400 degree oven for about 5 to 10 minutes more.

Take it out and drizzle on the olive oil.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 tsp. of chopped rosemary and garnish with a fresh sprig of rosemary.

Good served hot or room temperature.  Enjoy!!

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Dijon Rosemary Chicken

IMG_1875Hi there all–We’ve had the same old faithful rosemary plant in the side yard for the last 20 years in the house.  But finally, it got all woody and not so healthy and out it went.  So sad.

So when I wanted make this rosemary chicken, I ran straight to Armstrong Nursery (thanks for the help Mark!) and got sprightly new little rosemary plant and it’s going back in the side yard, hopefully for the next 20 years!

Anyway, I think you’d like this savory tend chicken.  It is full of flavor and the sauce is nice if you serve it over rice.

DIJON ROSEMARY CHICKEN
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tab. olive oil
1 tab. butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup cream (or half & half)*
2 tsp. rosemary, chopped fine

Filet the chicken breasts, slicing them horizontal to produce 2 flat filets from each breast.

Add the olive oil and butter to a medium hot skillet.  Don’t let the butter burn!  Drop the chicken breasts into the skillet in two batches and liberally salt and pepper them.  Cook for 2 minutes on each side until they are browned, but not cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a platter.

In the hot pan, add the wine and mustard, and simmer for 1 minute.  Shake the chicken stock with the cornstarch in a small container with a tight fitting lid until there are no lumps.  Stir the stock into the wine mixture until thickens, just a couple minutes.

Sitr in the half and half and rosemary.  Then nestle the chicken back into the pan and cover it with a lid.  Simmer on very low for about 5 minutes until the chicken is tender.

Remove the chicken to a platter and top with the sauce from the pan. Serve it hot and savory.

Chicken & Mushrooms with Dijon Onion Sauce

IMG_2855Hello there–  In my mind, you can’t have too many delicious saucy chicken dinners up your sleeve– something you can pull together for a weeknight dinner or serve up to friends for a Sunday supper.  And this one is savory and delicious with a scoop of rice or a pile of roasted potatoes.

CHICKEN & MUSHROOMS WITH DIJON ONION SAUCE
2 large chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
2 tab. olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
6 oz. brown mushrooms, cut in quarters
1/2 cup red onion, cut in slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. rosemary, chopped fine
1 tab. seedy mustard
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup half & half (or cream)
2 tab. butter.
1 tab. cornstarch

Slice the chicken breasts horizontally to produce four flat chicken filets.  Mix the flour, salt and pepper together in a bowl.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet and then dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and drop it into the hot pan.  Cook it 2 to 3 minutes on each side until it is browned.  Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Then add the red onion to the pan (you may need a splash more olive oil) and after a minute throw in the mushrooms and garlic.  Cook 5 minutes more.

Stir in the rosemary, mustard, white wine, chicken stock, half & half and butter.  Bring to a low simmer, blending it well.  Put the chicken back into the pan and let it simmer away for 10 to 12 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

To thicken the sauce, put your chicken on a pretty plate and cover it with another plate to keep it warm.  Then, in a container with a tight lid, shake together the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water until it’s thoroughly blended.  Stir it into the simmering sauce and stir until it thickens, just a minute or two.  Spoon the thickened sauce over the chicken.  That’s it.  So pretty and delicious!

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Honey Rosemary Baked Chicken

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Hi all– Here’s an easy weekend night dinner– soaked in flavor.  It bakes in the oven while you put together some rice and a salad. Just lovely.  I think you might like to add it to your dinner time list…

HONEY ROSEMARY BAKED CHICKEN
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt & pepper
splash olive oil
1 cup red onion, chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tab. dijon mustard
2 tab. seedy brown mustard*
1/3 cup of honey
4 or 5 sprigs of rosemary (+more for garnish)

Filet the chicken breasts, slicing them lengthwise, the flat direction to produce two flat filets.  Put them in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray and liberally shake on salt and freshly ground pepper.

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil and then throw in the onion for 3 or 4 minutes until it is all wilted.  Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Then spoon the two mustards and honey into the skillet with the onions and mix it all together.  Scrape the mixture out over the chicken and top with rosemary sprigs.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, remove the foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more until the chicken is cooked through.

We ate this up with a nutty brown rice mixture, an arugula & apple chopped salad and slices of crunchy sour dough bread…

P.S. — The photo is just half the recipe– enough for just Larry and me.  But it would be easy to amplify for a crowd.

Rosemary Tomato Pork Cutlets

IMG_8186Hello all– I’m so glad we have a hearty rosemary bush out in our side yard– not thanks to us– The family who lived here before us 20 years ago planted it and we’ve been reaping the bounty every since.  So here’s a simple, savory dish that takes advantage of a fresh sprig of rosemary.  It’s quick and easy for dinner in a hurry.

ROSEMARY TOMATO PORK CUTLETS
4 pork cutlets (about 1/2″ thick)
splash olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. rosemary, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 can petit cut tomatoes with garlic & herbs

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and then toss in the pork cutlets.  Brown them on medium high for just 2 to 3 minutes per side, until they are just browned.  Move them over to a baking dish.

Into the same sauté pan add the onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the onion stats to brown (if the pan seems dry add a bit more olive oil).  then stir in the garlic, rosemary and oregano and cook 2 minutes more.  Then pour in the tomatoes and mix well.

Pour the tomato mixture over the pork chops in the baking dish and pop it into a 425 degree over for just 8 to 10 minutes (depending on how thick your pork it cut).

It’s great with a big bowl of pasta, a pile of mashed potatoes or herbed couscous…

Orange Mustard Pork Cutlets

IMG_6721Hey there– I hate to admit it, but I’ve been a serial pork chop killer.  Seems I could pretty much count on taking a fresh, juicy pork chop and transforming it into a lump of tough, chewy grizzle.  I didn’t know how I did it– I would have willingly changed my ways!

But this recipe was a surprisingly tender, flavorful pork-y success!  Finally.  I think I’ve found the secret.  A quick browning, finished with a little hot, saucy baking.  And with all that sweet orange and tangy mustard–practically perfect.  I was ecstatic!  Set alongside a little rice medley, it made a fine dinner for Larry and me.  Hope you like it too.

ORANGE MUSTARD PORK CUTLETS
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 tab. whole grain (seedy) mustard
splash of olive oil
2 pork cutlets– about 1/2″ thick
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 rosemary sprigs
1/3 cup slivers of red onion

In a sauce pan mix the juice, marmalade and mustard and simmer on low for 12 to 15 minutes until it becomes syrupy. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and liberally salt and pepper the pork.  Sear it to a nice brown on each side, about 3 minutes each.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees–Put the pork into a baking dish. Add in the rosemary sprigs and red onion and coat it all with the orange-mustard sauce.  Cook it up in the oven for just 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your pork cutlets.

Serve it up hot from the oven, maybe with some roasted potatoes or a nice bed of flavored rice.  Hope you enjoy it…

Orange Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Potatoes

IMG_1638Hello there– It’s the weekend.  What will you be doing on your sunny Saturday off?  I’d like to shop for summer sandals or call a friend to go out for pancakes.  Or maybe hike around Tri City Lake several times under the eucalyptus trees.  And there’s always the temptation to bake a chocolatey batch of something…  But what I actually am doing is sitting in my classroom all day working on report cards (sigh).

So if you are doing any of those enjoyable  items above– or if you are stuck with a work project for the day, here is a quick dinner you can throw into the oven this evening to bake while you sink into a chair with your feet up.  Bon appetit!

ORANGE ROSEMARY CHICKEN
1/3 cup orange juice concentrate
2 tab. brown mustard
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. rosemary, chopped fine
2 boneless chicken breasts, filleted

Whisk together the first 5 ingredients.  Then cut the chicken breasts the long way horizontally to make 4 smaller filets.  Pour the sauce into a baking dish coating the chicken breasts and bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

When it’s done baking, set the chicken on a pretty platter and spoon out the thickened sauce over the top.

ROASTED POTATOES
I’m afraid everyone already is well aware of how to roast potatoes– but just in case you’ve not done it in a while, here goes:

10 red skinned potatoes
1/4 olive oil
several shakes of garlic salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil

Cut the potatoes into smallish chunks.  Toss them in a bowl with the oil, garlic salt and basil.  Scrape it all out onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  (I use a rubber scraper to get all that good salty oil)  Spread them apart. And bake them in the oven with the chicken at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes.  (more or less depending on how big your chunks of potato are and how crispy you like them!)

Makes 4 servings (the photo is just half of this).

Orange Rosemary Cornbread

IMG_9320Hey there–  Once in a while you get a new recipe that is so good, you just keep finding excuses to make it again and again.  And this is the one.  The sweet tang of the oranges, the pungent fragrance of the rosemary play so well against the coarse homey cornbread flavor.  It’s really rather healthy until I smear on the butter and smother it with honey.
And leftovers are lovely toasted crisp and eaten with hot mugs of tea.

ORANGE ROSEMARY CORNBREAD
l  1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 tab. canola oil
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup milk
2 tab. grated orange peel
(one large orange)
1 tab. rosemary, minced fine

Mix the dry ingredients–flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then stir in the egg, oil, orange juice and milk.  Finally, add in the orange peel and rosemary.  Bake it in a 9″ round or square pan sprayed with cooking spray at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until it’s golden brown on top.

It goes without saying it’s best served up warm with slabs of butter and globs of honey– although orange marmalade (a personal favorite) would be fabulous too.