Southwestern Chicken Stew

Southwestern Chicken StewSoup Switch
My whole life I have been a rule follower. I was that kid in the class who never put a toe out of line for fear of the punishments. I have never really been the kind of person to significantly test the boundaries of anything, though I have always wanted to be that person. A rebel. A maverick. I am pretty sure this is why I cook from recipes instead of off the cuff.

To be fair, I will change a recipe to suit my tastes but only after I have made it at least a couple of times. Rarely do I mess with things from the get-go. Last weekend though, my inner culinary rebel surfaced and I took a left turn…

What started out as an adaptation of a chicken stew with peppers from the Basque region turned into more of a southwest stew/chili/gumbo type thing. There was something about the combination of ingredients that had me reaching for the black beans and cumin. Served over rice, the flavors were reminiscent of the southwest with the hearty whole meal feel of the bayou.

Maybe it was innovation or maybe it was just muscle memory that made me assume that tomatoes and peppers should also have beans and a squeeze of lime but it turned out tasty. I made enough to store some in the freezer for a future mid-week dinner on the run.

Tonight the future is here…as is a tasty dinner!

Southwestern Chicken Stew
Yields 6 servings Read more…

Roasted Sausage with Fennel and Blood Orange

Roasted Sausage with Fennel and Blood OrangeWhat to Cook After
If you are like me the thought of cooking anything after Thanksgiving sends you into two-year-old tantrum territory. Anything even remotely similar to turkey is a hard no go. During this time the less prep you have to do to get a meal on the table, the better. This is when I turn to sausages.

Sausages are more than breakfast or game day fare. They can be a fast and elegant weeknight meal. My go-to recipe is this one for Sausage and Applesbut sometimes you want to switch things up.

There are plenty of sausage recipes out there. A quick search can pull up hundreds of different ideas. This particular one intrigues me because of the fennel and orange. I like to use blood oranges when they are in season and roasted fennel is always a good idea.

The best part though is that all of this is prepared on one sheet pan, which after the deluge of turkey day dishes, is a great thing….

Roasted Sausage and Fennel with Blood Oranges 
Yields 4 servings  Read more…

Lamb Shanks Osso Buco

Lamb Shanks Osso BucoFall Foodie
The recent cooler weather has put me in the mood to do some actual cooking. There is something about the fog rolling in and the leaves floating to the ground that makes me want to pull my Dutch oven out and do some serious braising. This is how I found myself with a big pile of vegetables and some beautiful lamb shanks.

If you have never had lamb shanks you are missing out. These slow-cooked beauties will melt in your mouth when prepared correctly. And, they are relatively inexpensive. The one drawback is that they do take some time to cook. So, this would definitely be a weekend meal. However, if you have an Instant Pot, you could make this magic in a much shorter amount of time.

There are two recipes I generally use for making lamb shanks. The first one has a lighter Provençal flavor and is made with small white beans. The lamb shanks melt away from the bone and the beans soak up the flavor of the lamb and the vegetables they are cooked with. The second recipe is probably my favorite of the two and has more of a traditional Osso Buco flavor. It’s fantastic when served with a creamy risotto or a serving of nutty farro on the side or for the truly decadent, mashed potatoes…and it’s even better the next day!

If you’re feeling in the braising mood this weekend, give this a try.

Lamb Shanks Osso Buco
Yields 4 to 6 servings Read more…

Lamb Curry

Lamb CurryCurry Curriculum
No matter what the calendar says, when the kids head back to school my mind flips a switch and I am convinced that it is fall—even when it is 95 degrees outside. My delusion means that I start to look at more fall-like foods for dinner. But, who really wants to turn the oven on when it’s still hot out? To soothe my fall food craving, I have been giving my Instant Pot a workout.

Since everything is done in the Instant Pot, we end up with fewer dishes. And, it doesn’t heat up the whole kitchen like turning on the oven does. Plus, it makes meat amazingly tender in half the time it would normally take. This means you can pretty much make whatever you want mid-week.

I am one of those people who likes to eat spicy food when it’s hot out. I mean, I will eat spicy food anytime, really. But, something about a warm night and some spicy curry seems right. (Of course, it could also be the cold beer to go with it.) And, if I am making curry, chances are I am making it with lamb.

Chicken curry is fine but when I really want a rich, aromatic curry, lamb always seems to fit the bill. There are a lot of different recipes for Lamb curry and all its different iterations. (I once almost killed my husband with an uber hot lamb Vindaloo.) If I am making it mid-week though, I like to go for a more basic version.

The Lamb Curry is my go-to recipe—though I do change it up from time to time. It can be made both in the Instant Pot or on the stove on a low simmer where it will just take longer.

Lamb Curry
Adapted from Piping Pot Curry
Yields 4 Servings Read more…

Spicy Turkey Burgers

Spicy Turkey BurgerBird on a Bun
My family has a group chat so that we can check in during the day to discuss such important matters as When was the last time you showered?, Did you put the dishes in the dishwasher? and We’re out of cereal. My personal favorite is the afternoon ritual of What does everyone want for dinner? If I am lucky, I will get an actual text response, usually from my husband because, like the old people that we are, we text in complete sentences. My kids like to respond with emojis and more often than not, the response is the cheeseburger emoji.

I am an unapologetic burger lover and I have passed this love of meat and cheese on to my children. My husband also loves the sacred burger but, because he is a better person and more concerned about such things, he will oftentimes opt for a turkey burger to give his arteries a break. While I applaud his efforts, I have found it difficult to emulate them because I had yet to find a turkey burger that is worth it. They tend to be flavorless and dry. Sometimes I do come across a recipe that I have to try.

This recent find is what’s for dinner tonight since it is hot as Hades and there ain’t no way I am turning anything in the kitchen on when it is 95 degrees out. Plus, the kids have practice and burgers be fast and easy. Slice up a watermelon and you have a quick cool tasty hot summer dinner…

Spicy Turkey Burgers
Adapted from the Food Network
Yields 4 Burgers

I recommend first cooking up a small test burger to check that the degree of spiciness and seasoning is to taste. That way, if you are not too keen on spice, you can add the chili paste gradually.  Read more…