Chicken Noodle Soup with Dill

Chicken Noodle Soup with LeeksMiracle Cure
It’s kinda blowing my mind that Thanksgiving is only two weeks away. My kids are still in the process of sorting and swapping their Halloween candy, for cryin’ out loud. And now I gotta think turkey? It’s time to hit the ground running and start planning—but I am in denial.

To add another layer of difficulty to the season, 3/5 of my household is sick. And, I don’t mean some coughing and a few sneezes. I mean full-on hacking cough, fever, multiple days home from school, sinus pressure…you gotta be kidding me sick.

As you can imagine, turkey is the last thing on our minds. We’re all about the soup.
I have been told that whatever this plague is, it is has been going around and a number of people I know are dropping like flies. We are just the latest casualties. And as such, we have been consuming a lot of chicken noodle soup.

What is it about chicken noodle soup that makes it the only food you want to consume when sick? Is it the heat? Is it the salty broth? Whatever the reason, chicken noodle soup is pretty much the only thing keeping us going. It is the miracle cure. Though, I will say I think I have had my fill. Thankfully, we seem to be turning a corner in the sick ward. The fact that I showered this morning is a major victory!

Since it is the holiday season, my one recommendation to you as you start your preparations is to make a big batch of this stuff and put it in the freezer. Making your own stock is key, which is why this is great. Making it ahead is essential so you will have it if you need it. And if you don’t, you have a quick and easy dinner when paired with a gooey grilled cheese.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Dill
Yields 4 servings

We definitely recommend making your own chicken stock, but if you really don’t have time, or are simply too sick, the next best thing is Kitchen Basics Soup Stock. Read more…

Killer Peruvian Chicken with Cilantro Sauce

Killer Peruvian Chicken with Cilantro SauceChicken. It is the workhorse of cooking. It is versatile, relatively cheap, and can be found in every cuisine around the world. The problem is that eating chicken day-in and day-out can be boring. That’s why when you find a chicken recipe that blows your socks off you gotta share.

I get a lot of cooking emails in my inbox. I look at most of them—but not all. Honestly, it depends on what’s in the subject line. If I’m curious, I open it. However, if there is one email I always open, it is anything I receive from NY Times Cooking. Nine times out of ten I will find something that I want to try.

About a week ago this gem was one of the What to Cook This Week recipes. It was touted as the only chicken recipe you will ever want to make—so of course, I was curious.

I made the marinade on Tuesday night. Wednesday morning before work I put whole chicken legs in a ziplock bag and put it in the fridge. When I came home, I took it out to warm up a bit, threw it in the oven and proceeded to blow my family’s taste buds.

Every single one of them said it was the best chicken I have ever made.

Since then, I have been telling everyone I know and now I am passing it along to y’all. Trust me you will thank me. One word of advice, you have to make the sauce. The chicken is good on its own but with the sauce, it’s out of this world.

I served this with some black beans and rice and some fried plantains but it would be just as good alongside a salad.

Killer Peruvian Chicken with Cilantro Sauce
Read more…

Sheet Pan Chicken with Sourdough and Bacon

Sheet Pan Chicken with Sourdough and BaconDistracted Dining
I sat down to write about fun Halloween stuff…but I am finding it hard to be witty when the North Bay is on fire. I keep losing my focus. This is rather ridiculous because, other than the poor air quality, I have not been directly affected by the fires. But, my mind just can’t let it go.

Events like this are a reminder to keep things in perspective. Soccer practice has been canceled because of the smoke? Big whoop. I still have my home to hang out in and 1500 other families don’t. It’s heartbreaking and I can’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu.

I was away at school when the Oakland Hills fire happened almost 26 years ago. (Did I really just put that in print?) I had to watch the destruction unfold on the television in the basement of my dorm, much like I have been doing since these fires flared up. (Well, without the dorm room.)

The Napa and Sonoma County fires have the same “what the heck is going on?” feel. That same blindsided shock—the darn high winds and the utter devastation left behind. It makes the idea of writing about what’s for dinner tonight seem trivial and unimportant.

We all have got to eat, though. So, with that in mind, I’m going for the holy trinity of comfort food: carbs, bacon, and butter. All of these things are thrown together on a sheet pan, topped with seasoned chicken and roasted in the oven. Serve it with a side vegetable (like roasted cauliflower), and you’ve got a complete meal.

So easy. And definitely tasty.

This Sheet Pan Chicken with Sourdough and Bacon recipe is the perfect one-pan family style meal to come together and enjoy while you count your blessings.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Sourdough and Bacon
Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine
Yields 6 servings Read more…

Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig Sauce

Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig SauceWho gives a fig?
The other day I found myself in possession of two beautiful baskets of fresh Black Mission figs. Knowing that they wouldn’t last long in the hot weather I set about figuring out how to use them.

I knew I didn’t want to use them in a dessert—the last thing I really need to be eating is dessert. Also, that seemed too easy. I wanted something different. So I went searching for savory recipes that included figs.

There are a lot of things you can do with figs beyond just shoving them in your mouth. There’s fig and balsamic jam. Fig pizza. You can slice them up in a salad with fresh goat cheese. Or, you can wrap them in bacon and throw them on the grill. (See our recipe for Prosciutto Wrapped Figs and Blue Cheese.)

When I think of the combination of figs and savory, pork often comes to mind. Probably, because pork can handle the sweetness of the figs the same way it can with apples. So, it was no surprise that my search for something new landed on a recipe that was the inspiration for these Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig Sauce. I knew I had found what was for dinner.

The original recipe calls for pork tenderloin, but I brined some thick-cut, boneless pork chops instead. I used the same pan that I used for the pork to make the fig sauce. Once the sauce was done I pulled the chops from the oven and spooned the figgy goodness on top.

Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig Sauce
Adapted from Food 52
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Berry Trifle Recipe and Memorial Day Menu Ideas

Berry TrifleRemembering
Memorial Day weekend is coming. We can slow down and remember those who paid the ultimate price in service to our country. It is a time to celebrate those brave men and women—but it is also a time to celebrate the freedom that their sacrifices ensured.

Chances are your Memorial Day celebration will include a BBQ, either at your place or with friends and family. It’s just how we do it in the good ‘ole U. S. of A. Of course, what constitutes a BBQ is different for everyone. For some, it’s burgers and dogs. For others is slow-cooked ribs or juicy chicken. Perhaps it’s your favorite sausage. And don’t forget the rib-eyes…

To help you choose your BBQ, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite BBQ recipes for you to look over while preparing for the big day. Remember there are no hard and fast rules as to what should and should not be at your Memorial Day BBQ. You want to throw some shrimp on the barbie? More power to you!

I have just one request. Don’t forget Dessert.

Dessert for a crowd can be difficult. I have always been a fan of the Berry Trifle at outdoor gatherings. It’s pretty. It’s tasty and you make it as big or little as you want. I like Tyler Florence’s recipe a lot. Feel free to substitute some good vanilla pudding for the lemon curd or, heck, use both!

Here’s our list of recipes
Mains
Cherry Cola Ribs
Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip Marinade
Spicy Beer Marinated Flank Steak
Grilled Chicken Thighs with Peaches, Mint & Almonds

Sides
Tri-Colored Orzo Salad
New Potato Salad
Gam’s Bacon Potato Salad
Green Chili Rice Casserole
Jumbo Pico Salad
Amy’s Spicy Slaw

Desserts
Peach Cobbler
Lemon Meringue Pie
Texas Sheet Cake
Overstuffed Nutters

Berry Trifle
Adapted from Tyler Florence
Yields 4 servings
You can adjust it up or down depending on how many you are feeding. It is also lovely when assembled in individual serving glasses. Read more…