Mustard Chicken Thighs with Rosemary Potatoes

Mustard Chicken Thighs with Rosemary Potatoes

Mustard Chicken Thighs with Rosemary Potatoes

Man, was this ever good!

Perhaps I should back up and start at the beginning.    This is pretty much a pantry meal.  That is, with a couple of substitutions, I had everything on hand to make it.  And in spite of the substitutions, it was delicious.  Well, that’s what this blog is all about… as economically as possible, and making it taste fantastic.

First off, I discovered a package of chicken thighs getting dangerously close to their blast off date, ahem, I mean expiration date.  You can use any chicken pieces that you have available, but I happen to love thighs so I keep several packages of them in my freezer at all times.

Whole grain mustard is called for and also peppercorns, crushed.  However in a gift package I received a jar of whole grain mustard that also contained whole peppercorns, so I used that.  The mustard really wakes up the chicken, so be sure to use it.  The seasoning on the skin and underneath it, really allows the chicken to brown up nicely, and smells heavenly.


Instead of the fingerling potatoes, I used 2 medium-sized russets, cut into wedges, and I used dried chopped rosemary for the fresh.  If you do that, remember to use less of the dried, usually about 1/2 of the fresh herb that’s called for.


You know, I really like making dishes using whole pieces of chicken, especially the dark meat.  There’s just something about tender chicken falling off the bone, that’s so je ne sais qua.




Yield:  Serves 4


  • 1/4 cup whole grain mustard
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. mixed peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • kosher salt
  • 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise( ( used russet potatoes, cut into wedges)
  • 2 tsp, chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 red or green pepper, cut into strips, optional


1.  Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 450*F.

2.  Whisk 1/2 cup water, the mustard, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, the lemon juice, peppercorns, 1/2 the garlic and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl.  Add the chicken and toss, loosen the skins and rub some of the mustard mixture underneath.  Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, skin-side up.  Roast on the upper rack until golden and crisp, 25 minutes.


2.  Meanwhile, put the potatoes and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap; pierce in several places with a knife to vent.  Microwave until just tender, 10 minutes.  Drain and pat dry.

3.  Combine the remaining garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the rosemary and 3/4 tsp. salt in a bowl.  Add the potatoes and bell pepper strips (if using), and toss.  Transfer to a separate rimmed baking sheet.  Roast on the lower rack until the vegetables are tender and golden, about 20 minutes.


4.  Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest.  Move the vegetables to the upper oven rack and continue roasting until browned, 5 more minutes.  Serve with the chicken and any pan juices.


Treat your sweetie to this meal for Valentine’s Day.


SOURCE:   Food Network Magazine

Steak and Tomatoes with Roast Potatoes


Steak and  tomatoes with roast potatoes.

Steak and tomatoes with roast potatoes.


Despite what I might say, I do my best cooking on the weekends.  I get no special pleasure out of week night cooking.  Usually it consists of something I can put together in under an hour or it grows out of planned leftovers.

Ideally cooking should be relaxing, a way to unwind at the end of a busy day, with maybe someone in the kitchen with you who enjoys cooking too, and likes to help out, or who might offer to wash the dishes.  Is my end-of-day-cooking like that?   No way!

So in an attempt to find that place where cooking is a pleasure, and I have lots of time to devote to meal preparation, on the weekend I try to plan something a little extra special.  A meal that we can linger over and perhaps enjoy a glass of wine with.   Granted this doesn’t happen as often as I would like it to, but once in a while I can pull it off.


The post today includes a complete menu for just such a meal.  I prepared this on a weekend not long ago.  It took about an hour from when I started prepping the vegetables until it was ready to be served;  not a large investment in time, but a hugh payoff in pleasure.  The steak was perfectly rare, and the tomato topping was exactly right with it.  In addition I made seasoned roast potatoes, and broccoli rabé as side dishes.


If you know someone who loves a good meat and potatoes meal,  make this one for them and watch them swoon first, then praise you for your genius.   ” Oh, it was nothing,  I just threw it together”


Yield:  Serves 4


  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved (Yukon Gold potatoes make a good substitute, cut into wedges.)IMG_8898
  • 2 Tbsp; olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 tsp. ground oregano, divided
  • 1  (1-pound flank steak)
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tsp.  minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped tomato
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar


1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.

2.  Combine potatoes, 1 Tbsp; oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a baking sheet, tossing to coat.


Bake at 425*. for 25 minutes or until tender, stirring after 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with 2 tsp. oregano and toss to coat.

3.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Rub steak with 1 tsp. oil;  sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Add steak to pan, cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.  Place steak on a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes.  Cut across the grain into thin slices.  Cover with foil to keep warm.




4.  Return pan to medium-high heat.  Add remaining 2 tsp. oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add shallot and garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds.


Stir in tomatoes, remaining 1 tsp. oregano and sugar.  Cook 1 minute.


Stir in vinegar.  Spoon tomato mixture evenly over steak.  Serve with potatoes.


For the Broccoli Rabé:

1.  Cut a 1 pound bunch of broccoli rabe into 1-inch pieces.


Add to a pot of boiling water and cook for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain.

2.  Combine the broccoli rabe,  2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper in a large bowl;  toss to coat.    Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. shaved Parmesan cheese.




Cincinnati – Style Chili

Cincinnati-Style Chili

Cincinnati-Style Chili

Wow!  What an interesting spin on traditional chili recipes.  The idea of serving the chili over spaghetti was new to me and I loved it, especially loading it with add-ons at serving time.

I was definitely intrigued by the use of chocolate and sweet spices in chili, but they were indistinguishable in the finished dish and provided a depth of flavor that was so good.

Grated chocolate and sweet spices are added to the mixture.

Grated chocolate and sweet spices are added to the mixture.

This recipe is low in sodium if that is a concern for you, and it is also flexible in that you can add red kidney beans to the chili, or use them as a topping along with the cheese and green onions.  So if there are folks who would prefer not to have  beans in their chili, it all works to everyone’s satisfaction.

The next time I make this I will add a little extra broth, so it is more “saucy” for the spaghetti.  Other than that I wouldn’t change a thing about this great recipe.   Oh, and did I mention it’s made in the slow-cooker,  so you can start this early in the day and let it simmer, filling your kitchen with an aroma of what’s for dinner.   At dinner time all you have to do is boil some water and cook the spaghetti.


The recipe makes 10 servings–a lot for two of us–so I cut the recipe in half, and there was enough for us to have it twice.  I also added the kidney beans to the slow cooker during the last hour of cooking time.



Yield:  10 servingsIMG_8439


  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (8-ounces each) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 0z.) reduced sodium beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 package ( 16 oz.) whole wheat spaghetti


  • 1 can ( 16-oz.) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onion, chopped


1.  In a nonstick skillet, coated with cooking spray, cook turkey, onions and garlic until turkey is no longer pink.  Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker.

Cooking the ground turkey with the onion and garlic.

Cooking the ground turkey with the onion and garlic.

2.  In a large bowl, combine tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, chocolate and seasonings; pour over turkey mixture.

Making the tomato sauce mixture.

Making the tomato sauce mixture.


Cook, covered, on low 6 – 8 hours.

Add kidney beans during last hour of cooking time.

Add kidney beans during last hour of cooking time, if desired.

3.  Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain.  Remove bay leaf from chili.  For each serving, place 3/4 cup spaghetti in a bowl.  Top with about 2/3 cup chili, 3 tablespoons kidney beans, 2 tablespoons cheese and 1 tablespoon chopped onion.


 My first bowl of Cincinnati-Style Chili, but certainly not my last!

SOURCE:    Taste of Home

Skillet Lasagna with Butternut Squash

Skillet Lasagna with Butternut Squash

Skillet Lasagna with Butternut Squash

Talk about being predictable…..during December we bloggers were all writing about cookie swaps, peppermint flavored this or that, drinks to cheer the season, pine cones, Santa hats, and jungle bells.  Well, all that sugar and spice is nice but…..

Come January and we’re talking about salad, diets, smoothies and working out.  I don’t think we’re allowed to mention fudge in January at all.  In fact it may even be against the law. (Let’s save that for V-tine’s Day).

With this recipe I’m breaking out of the mold of predictability.  What I have to share with you today is a one-dish meal that is so comforting, you’ll swear it’s baked lasagna.  Only it’s not baked.  Lasagna cooked on the stovetop?  I can see you shaking your head in disbelief.  But it’s true.

Lasagna cooked in a skillet.

Lasagna cooked in a skillet.

Layered up with sauce, noodles, cheeses and butternut squash just like the real thing, because it IS the real thing, and dang, is it ever good!   Now, making lasagna is pretty close to rocket science, so I want you to pay close attention here.

Remember to cut the squash into small cubes, or if unsure about size, use a package of frozen squash that’s been thawed.

Marinara sauce does not contain meat, so this will be a meatless meal!!!!


Pretend you don't see meatballs here.  Mr. D. wanted them!!

Pretend you don’t see meatballs here. Mr. D. wanted them!!    🙂



Yield:    Serves 4


  • 1  (12-ounce) package frozen chopped butternut squash. thawed.  (I used fresh butternut, cubed, and precooked in the microwave to soften)IMG_8734
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan and /or pecorino romano cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh chopped rosemary
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups jarred marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella (about 8 oz.)


1.  Combine the squash, ricotta, 3/4 cup parmesan, the rosemary and nutmeg in a medium bowl.


In another bowl, combine the marinara sauce and basil.  I took a shortcut here by using a marinara sauce that included basil, and added a little more dried basil to it.

2.  Spread 1/2 cup of the marinara in a large nonstick skillet.  Cover with 2 lasagna noodles.  Spread half of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles, then sprinkle with one-third of the mozzarella.  Add another layer of noodles the remaining ricotta mixture, 1 cup marinara and half of the remaining mozzarella.


3.  Top with remaining marinara and mozzarella.  Sprinkle with the remaining  1/4 cup parmesan.


4.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the pasta is tender and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.  (Check halfway through, if the edges seem dry, add up to 1/2 cup water.)  Let rest 5 minutes before serving.



SOURCE:  Food Network Magazine

Loaded Nachos

Loaded Nachos

Loaded Nachos

Around here we take our nachos very seriously.  Very, very seriously.

What this means is that we really do love nachos, and both Mr. D. and I agree we like them loaded with as much stuff as I can get my hands on.

When making nachos, it’s a little like building a house.  First you start with a good foundation (tortilla chips), then you build up the structure, a tower of multi layers of  seasoned beef, beans, crisp waffle fries, and cheeses.  Then you top it all off with some pico de gallo, that you made yourself; savory, colorful, and so delish.


When you look at the ingredient list for these nachos, it looks like a lot, but really it isn’t.  It all comes together when you experience that first perfect bite that contains a little bit of everything.  Yes, indeed!

I made these for New Year’s Eve.  They served as our supper, but you can serve them as an appetizer, or a snack.  (Think Super Bowl coming up.)  Once you start on them it’s hard to stop so take my advice and make a lot.


Yield:  Servings:  4


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 lb.  ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) pinto beans, chili beans, or ranch style beans
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • tortilla chips
  • frozen waffle potato fries
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup Mexican Blend, Taco blend or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 – 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 whole jalapeño, finely diced (optional)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (or use parsley)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced
  • sour cream, (optional)


Start by cooking the waffle fries.  Follow package directions for oven temperature and length of time needed to get them  crispy on the edges.  Once cooked, remove from oven and set aside. If you prefer you may omit the waffle fries and use all tortilla chips throughout.  I prefer the fries because I like the texture contrasts in the finished nachos.


Next, dice up half the onion….


Heat up a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil….


and add in the chopped onion.


Cook the onions for a minute or two, then add in the ground beef.


Break it up and let it cook until the meat is browned.  Drain off any fat that has accumulated in the bottom of the pan.


Open the beans and add them to the pan along with the seasonings.    Stir it around to mix in the spices and blend the flavors.

Pour in the hot water to make it a little more saucy.  Reduce the heat to Low and let it simmer while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.


Next, chop up the rest of the onion, making a fine dice.


Next up,   chop up those tomatoes.  This is how I do it:  cut off the tops, then cut them into slices, then cut the slices into strips.  Now cross-cut the strips to dice them.  If you are using a jalapeño, use the same technique to dice it.


Peel and seed the avocado, cut into strips, then crosscut into cubes.

Now, throw the onions, tomatoes, avocado and jalapeño into a bowl.  Tell them to get acquainted, you’ll be right back.


Tear the leaves off half a bunch of cilantro (or parsley) and chop roughly.   Throw that into the bowl.

Cut a lime in half, and squeeze in the juice.  Add a little salt and pepper.


And  stir it all together.  That’s your Pico de Gallo!!

We like it a little chunky, but if your family likes it more finely chopped, that’s great.  It will all taste the same.

Finely, the cheese 🙂  I grated a yellow cheddar and used a package of Taco Blend.  I did not mix them together.  You’ll see why in a minute.


To assemble the nachos, make a single layer of chips on a platter or large plate.


Scoop up a big ole spoonful of the beef/bean mixture and sprinkle it all over the chips.  Messy is good, so let it be!


Sprinkle on a layer of cheddar,


This is where the goodness-level jumps up a notch:  Put on a layer of waffle fries….


And another layer of beef and beans…


Then a nice layer of Taco blend, and another layer of waffle fries.


Now use up the remainder of the beef/bean mixture to top it all,  and a final layer of Taco blend or cheddar (your choice).


I put mine back into the still warm oven (turned off), and let the cheese melt.  Alternately, you could nuke the whole shebang for about 45  seconds until the cheese is perfectly melted.


Spoon the Pico de Gallo on top of it all.   Why?   Because this is the roof on the house, or the flowers in the garden.   It’s the finishing touch that keeps you going back for more.   And it looks so pretty!

AND, because it’s all the veggies that makes this platter of nachos healthy.  I know for sure it’s what makes them so delicious!


I hope you enjoy my approach to making nachos.  Try them real soon, and of course, you can add whatever extras you like:  sour cream, chopped black olives, chopped green onions–anything.  My favorite part are the chips on the bottom that start to soften under all the gooey ingredients, while the waffle fries stay crisp.  Divine!

SOURCE:   Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

It’s a fact!  I know it for sure.  Real men do eat quiche.

How did quiche ever get the reputation for not being “manly”?  This quiche is he-man stuff.  Packed with broccoli, sautéed onions, two kinds of cheese, six eggs, and heavy cream all wrapped into a flaky, tender crust.  Yikes!  It just doesn’t get any better than this.IMG_8874

Fact #2:  You can eat this at any meal.   Call it a weekend breakfast or brunch,  call it lunch, or add a leafy green salad and call it dinner.

Like a favorite guest who is always welcome at your table, this is a dish you will want to make often.  If you must, you can sub out the broccoli and insert asparagus,  or change up the cheeses used,  but please don’t use skim milk instead of heavy cream.  It just won’t be the same;  no way, no how.

A properly prepared quiche has two requirements:  a well-cooked crust, and a properly cooked filling–not rubbery and overcooked, and not watery.  This quiche recipe will deliver perfect results every time.

A key factor that contributes to the deliciousness of this quiche is pre-baking the crust before filling it.  This is called “blind baking ” the crust.  With the crust almost totally cooked before filling it, it doesn’t become soggy when you add the egg custard.   Even leftover pieces will have a crispy, flaky crust.

The key to the filling?  Keep an eye on it and remove from the oven as soon as the center is set.

As we swing into the new year, with thoughts of trying to loose a little weight, this quiche will be seeing some heavy rotation in my meal planning because in spite of its richness, it is quite low in carbs, (only the crust).  When following a low-carb diet, weight loss occurs by using stored fat as your energy source instead of carbohydrates as a ready source of energy.   In that scenario, the amount of fats you eat has no significance.  I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but it works.


Yield:   Makes 8 servings


  • all-purpose flour for rolling
  • 1 homemade or store-bought single-crust pie dough
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 pound broccoli florets, steamed until crisp-tender
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)


1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  Lightly flour a rolling pin and work surface and roll out dough to a 12-inch round.  Place in a 9-inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp the edge.  Place a sheet of parchment paper over the dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.

Fill crust with pie weights or beans to prevent air-bubbles.

Fill crust with pie weights or beans to prevent air-bubbles.

Bake until edge is dry and light golden, about 20 minutes.  Remove parchment and weights.


2.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, precook the broccoli florets until crisp-tender.



3.  In another skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes.



4.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and cream.  Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.



5.  Place broccoli florets in bottom of pie dish (crust)…..


spoon on the onions, then the cheese.


Pour the egg/cream mixture over all.


Bake until center of quiche is just set, 40 to 45 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


To store:  refrigerate cooled quiche, tightly covered, up to 3 days.  To reheat, cover with foil and place in a 325 *F. oven until warmed through, about 15 minutes.

SOURCE:   Everyday Food,  Dec. 2011


Leftover Turkey Dinner Baked Dish


Leftover Turkey Dinner Baked Dish

Leftover Turkey Dinner Baked Dish


Thanksgiving may be over, but there are more winter holidays ahead and that probably means there’s going to be more turkey on your table.  And that means more leftovers.    I have a few standard dishes that I make with leftover turkey beside the all-you-cram-into-it sandwich.  There’s turkey pot pie that we love, (see my chicken pot pie recipe) and turkey tetrazzini, another comforting favorite.  But sometimes you just want to make something new.

Every layer of this dish has something in it that you will love.

Every layer of this dish has something in it that you will love.

Here’s a recipe that is definitely new, because I just made it up.  It’s based on a number of recipes that I had seen for turkey pot-pie, but this is a mash-up that includes your stuffing, vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy.  It’s like having the whole dinner again in a new form,  and it tastes fabulous all over again too.


Yield:  Makes approximately 6 servings


  • 2 cups cooked stuffing
  • 3 -4 Tbsp chicken or turkey broth

    Get out all your bowls of leftovers.

    Get out all your bowls of leftovers.

  • 2 Tbsp. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup turkey gravy
  • 2 cups cooked turkey, cubed
  • 1 cup vegetables, such as peas, carrots, green beans, small white onions, mushrooms, etc.
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese, swiss or cheddar is good
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 2-3 tbsp. milk or half and half
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese, same kind as above.


1.  In a small bowl, combine stuffing and enough broth to reach desired moistness;  Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch square baking dish, or deep dish pie pan.  Bake at 350*F for 10 – 15 minutes until lightly browned.

Make a bottom crust with stuffing.

Make a bottom crust with stuffing.


I had a few mushrooms to use up so I cooked them up with some onions.

I had a few mushrooms to use up so I cooked them up with some onions.

2.  In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and gravy until smooth.  Stir in the turkey, vegetables, grated cheese, salt and pepper.  Spoon over stuffing crust.

Mix vegetables into gravy.

Mix vegetables into gravy.

Stir in cut up turkey.

Stir in cut up turkey.

3.  In a small bowl, combine potatoes and cream to loosen the potatoes and make them spreadable.  Spread over the turkey filling mixture.

Drop mounds of mashed potato over the filling and spread it out.

Drop mounds of mashed potato over the filling and spread it out.

Drizzle with butter, if using;  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

Drizzle with melted butter, if using, and shredded cheese.

Drizzle with melted butter, if using, and shredded cheese.

4..  Bake at 350*F.  for 25 – 30 minutes or until bubbly, heated through and browned.  Serve with additional gravy, that has been warmed.

Hot and bubbly out of the oven.

Hot and bubbly out of the oven.

Serve with additional gravy, if desired.

Serve with additional gravy, if desired.

SOURCE:    A Carolyn’s Original


Stuffed Turkey Tenderloins



Stuffed Turkey Tenderloins

Stuffed Turkey Tenderloins

This recipe is for anyone who is not planning on roasting a whole turkey for Thanksgiving, yet wants to have some turkey the day of…just not for a week afterward.

Can I interest you in turkey tenderloins stuffed with a savory filling of butternut squash, cranberries, sage and pecans?   All the tastes of Thanksgiving wrapped up in a neat little edible package.  These are not hard to make, they taste fabulous and even the next day, they still taste great leftover for lunch.


Turkey tenderloins are the tender long strip of white meat hidden under the turkey breast.  They are succulent, and so excellent for fast cooking.  Because they are so lean you want to be sure you don’t overcook them or the meat will be dry. Once stuffed they are seared a little to brown them up, then covered and baked in the oven to finish cooking.  By covering the pan you keep all the moisture inside, thereby maintaining moisture in the meat.

I made these for Mr. D. and me as a pre-Thanksgiving meal to try them out, but they would be good anytime you want just a small amount of turkey or you’re planning a meal for a special occasion.


Yield:  Makes 4 servings


  • 1 pound boneless turkey tenderloins  ( about 2 large, or 4 smaller ones)IMG_8597
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1  1/4 cups diced butternut squash, 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. dried sage
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped pecans
  • cooking twine
  • cooking spray


1.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.  Add shallots and garlic and sauté over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until soft and golden.

Sauté shallots and garlic till soft.

Sauté shallots and garlic till soft.

Add butternut squash, cranberries, maple syrup and 1 Tbsp. water and cover;  cook on low for 10 minutes.

Add b-nut squash, cranberries, maple syrup and water.

Add b-nut squash, cranberries, maple syrup and water.

Turn off heat and add salt, pepper and sage.    Stir in the pecans and set aside to cool slightly.

Add seasonings and pecans.

Add seasonings and pecans.

2.  Cut a pocket into the sides of the tenderloins, being careful not to cut all the way through at the ends.  Sprinkle inside and out with salt.

3.  Stuff each turkey breast with about 1/2 cup of squash mixture.  (This really depends on the size of your tenderloins.  Stuff them as full as possible.)  Cut cooking twine long enough to tie each breast with 3 to 4 pieces of twine.  Cut off extra “tails”.

Tenderloins stuffed and tied.

Tenderloins stuffed and tied.

4.  Preheat oven to 375*F.    Wipe out the skillet you’ve previously used and reheat to medium-high.  Spray with a little cooking spray.  Carefully sear each turkey tenderloin on each side.  If your skillet is oven proof, cover tightly with foil and place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  (If your skillet is not oven proof, transfer the tenderloins to a baking dish and cover with foil.)  Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.



SOURCE:    Slightly modified from Skinny Taste

Wiener- Kraut

Weiner-Kraut with Spatzele

Weiner-Kraut with Spatzele

I’m a little late getting this post up.   I made this dish several weeks ago with a nod to Octoberfest.  But what the heck, just call it Novemberfest.

What’s Oktoberfest if not an excuse to indulge–isn’t that why we co-oped the German holiday, after all?

This is an old Mennonite recipe, brought by those folks when they immigrated to this country.   I found it in a catalog from the Penzey’s Spice Company.  It’s relatively quick to prepare and perfect for a chilly fall day after working out in the yard.  It can be served over mashed potatoes, or egg noodles, but when I made it I used a package of Spaetzle and served it all with fresh green beans.  A cold glass of beer goes very well with this dish. Dirndles and lederhosen not required.



Yield:   Serves 6 – 8IMG_8467


  • 1 Tbsp. butter or vegetable oil
  • 4  Polish or German-style sausages ( 1 1/2 – 2 pounds), sliced 1/4-inch thick.  (I used kielbasa.)
  • 1 onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 apples, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup chopped red or green bell pepper, 1 medium
  • 4 cups sliced or shredded cabbage
  • 1 Tbsp. Krakow Nights, or Tsardust Seasoning (from Penzey’s)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice ( in a pinch, use chicken broth)


1.  In a large deep skillet, melt the butter  or vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add the sausage slices and brown, about 4 minutes per side.  Add the onion and cook until tender 3 – 5 minutes, stirring often.

Browning the sausage with onions.

Browning the sausage with onions.

2.  Add the vinegar to deglaze the pan, being sure to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the apples, bell peppers, cabbage, seasonings and apple juice or cider.


Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes, until the cabbage is tender but not mushy.



Serve with mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or spaetzle.



SOURCE:  Penzey’s Catalog

Beefy Mac and Cheese

Beefy Mac and Cheese

Beefy Mac and Cheese

Don’t you think it’s about time we get down to the real thing?….We’ve roasted vegetables, cut up pumpkin,  and peeled apples.  Now let’s eat some mac and cheese.   Here we are into November and we have every right to put apples in our pancakes, chicken in our pot pies, and chili beef in our Mac and Cheese.  We have every right to all the comfort foods we can possibly eat.



Routines are comforting don’t you think?   I have my routines.   I get my oil changed every 3000 miles, I get my hair cut every 6 weeks, I drag myself out of bed every morning and back into it every night somewhere between 11 and 12m.  It all feels good, and right.   In the catalog of sometimes mundane routines is this Mac and Cheese recipe.

About three times a year I over-indulge and make this dish and wonder why I don’t make it a part of my more pressing monthly routine.   Then I remember the calories, making the roux, assembling it all and baking it.  Its worth it though, but still it remains my every-once-in-a-while dish.  Maybe that’s why I enjoy it so much when I do make it.  Something about absence making the heart grow fonder?

My variation:  the recipe calls for 8 oz. ground beef, but I like the dish heartier, so I use 1 pound of beef and double up on the tomato paste and chili powder.  This makes a thicker layer of chili beef under the mac and cheese, and you get more in every bite.  Use either half or a whole pound of beef, it’s up to you, and either way it’ll be delicious!  That’s what we do it 🙂



Yield:    Serves 4


  • 8 ounces medium pasta shells
  • 3 Tbsp, unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-fat milk ( 1%)
  • 2  2/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend ( about 8 oz,)
  • 2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs, preferably panko
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


1.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook as the package directs.  Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.

2.  Meanwhile, melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and chili powder and stir until brick red, about 2 minutes.  Add the beef and cook, stirring, until browned, 4 minutes.

Browning the beef.

Browning the beef.

Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Spread the mixture in a 3-quart baking dish.  Preheat the oven.

3. Having cooked the beef, now we make a roux.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the same skillet over medium heat.  Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. (It’s a thick and goopy mess.  You’re totally doing it right.)  Slowly add the milk and reserved cooking water.

Making the roux.

Making the roux.

Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking away until thick, about 2 minutes.  Add 2 cups cheese, the cooked pasta and 3/4 teaspoon salt and stir until the cheese melts.

Stir in the cheese and let it melt.

Stir in the cheese and let it melt.

Add the cooked pasta.

All that cheesy sauce gets inside the shells…Oh, Wow!

Spread over the beef mixture.  This is all about layering flavors.

4.  Mix the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and the breadcrumbs; sprinkle over the pasta mixture and bake for about 20 minutes.

Top with remaining cheese and bake.

Top with remaining cheese and crumbs and bake for 20 minutes.

Before removing from the oven, turn on the broiler, and broil until the top is golden and crunchy.  Top with the scallions and serve.


Oh man… this is really good!

SOURCE:   Cooking Light