GUILT FREE CHICKEN PARMAGIANO
- Boneless chicken breasts – salty & peppy on both sides.
- Sliced provolone cheese + parmesan cheese. If you have mozzarella, throw that in too. It’s what you feel like eating.
- 2 cups tomato/marinara sauce. If you have homemade, God bless you and use it. Otherwise, your favorite store bought (mine is Trader Joe’s brand or Victoria brand).
- Fresh arugula. If you don’t have arugula, baby spinach will do.
Take a skillet and heat it until a small amount of oil (I prefer grape seed oil, has a higher burn point) is really hot. Sear the chicken breasts on both sides until a nice golden brown. Put some tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Place the chicken in the dish and put the arugula on the chicken breast. Put 1 slice of provolone cheese on each breast, and mozzarella too if you have some. Cover with more tomato sauce and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° for about 15 minutes or until it is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
CHICKEN AU FROMAGE – take 4-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and place them in a baking dish. Sprinkle a little peppy on them and some fresh or dried thyme. They won’t need salty. Take a can of either cream of chicken, celery or mushroom soup and put it in a bowl. If you don’t have a condensed soup, chicken gravy will do the same. Add ¼ cup of dry white wine, dry white vermouth, or sherry and mix. Pour over the chicken. Do not add water.
If you have sliced cheese (cheddar, provolone, swiss, American, gouda, munster), place a slice on each piece of chicken. If you have block cheese, just grate it and then put a good amount of cheese on the chicken. The cheese is going to melt into the soup/gravy.
Next, sprinkle bread crumbs over the top. A good coating, but not too thick. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes. Serve over basmati rice or noodles. Add a green salad, steamed broccoli, or some frozen peas and you have an easy last minute supper.
FINGER LICKIN’ FRIED CHICKEN
- Marinate chicken parts in buttermilk (about a quart for 2lbs of chicken), enough to cover it.
- Add 2 tbsp. of hot sauce, or more if you like more spice.
- Ground peppy and some dried thyme if you have it. Marinate for at least 2 hours, but the longer the better.
- Preheat the oven to 350°
- Heat oil in a deep, heavy skillet or dutch oven to 350°, no less. Oil should be about 3 inches deep
- Prepare the flour mix – 2 cups all-purpose flour, salty & peppy, dried thyme, some garlic powder, onion powder, and some paprika.
- Prepare a baking sheet – line with foil and place a metal rack in it (so the chicken fat will drain off)
- Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour and let set on some foil until all the pieces are floured.
- Place 3-4 pieces of chicken into the hot oil. Don’t crowd the pan. After about 4 minutes, turn the chicken over. It does not need to be very brown, just starting to get a pale gold. It will brown more in the oven.
- Remove the chicken to the rack/baking sheet. When all the pieces are done and racked, place baking sheet in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove and lightly salt.
- Let rest for 10-15 minutes. Dig in.
- 1-2 lbs. of beef cubes. You can cut up a pot roast type of beef, or get it already cut. The more marbleized fat, the better.
- Vegetables – this is a matter of taste. You can pick what is seasonal (butternut squash or fennel bulb or even parsnips). I had carrots and celery on hand, so that’s what I used. Cut them in uniform size so they cook together.
- 1 onion (yellow or white or even red, it’s what you have on hand)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Bouquet garni – a fancy way to say “a bunch of herbs.” I used fresh rosemary, thyme, parsley and bay leaf.
- 1-2 cups Red wine, white wine, or a bottle of beer.
- Flour for dusting the meat with 2 tsps. Salty & peppy added for seasoning.
- Oil for cooking – this is not the time for olive oil. It will break down at a high heat so use coconut, grape seed, or canola oil. 2-3 tbsps.
- Chicken broth – beef broth can be used, but the chicken lightens the flavor just a bit.
- Tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.
Heat oil in a heavy dutch oven. Dredge the pieces of beef in the flour and brown on all sides in hot oil. Don’t over crowd, you will need to do this in batches. Once browned, set the beef aside.
Add the veggies to the pan (if you need more oil add it) and be sure to get up the bits on the bottom of the pan. Add 1 tbsp. of flour and mix with the veggies for about a minute. Add 2 tbsps. tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Add the wine or beer (I used beer this time and it worked very well). Put the meat back in and put in the bouquet garni and if you need more liquid, add the broth then cover. Cook on low in the oven or on the stove for 2-3 hours.
If you want, you can add cut potatoes about an hour into the cooking. You can also add frozen peas or green beans about 30 minutes before the stew is done. Salty & Peppy to taste and a sprinkle of parsley when you serve it up
WELSH RAREBIT WITH TOAST AND TOMATO
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 drops hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®) or cayenne pepper
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup beer
- 1/2 pound Cheddar cheese, shredded
- Sliced tomato
- Bacon or ham
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat; blend in the flour, salty & peppy, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce; continue cooking and stirring until the mixture is smooth and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; gradually stir in the milk; return to heat and stir continually until the mixture comes to a boil. Slowly pour in the beer; it will foam up, don’t worry. Cook 1 minute more while still stirring. Melt the Cheddar cheese into the mixture in small portions until completely incorporated. Remove from heat.
Place 1 or 2 slices of toast on a plate, layer tomato and bacon, then load up the Welsh Rarebit sauce.
MUSTARD SAUCE WITH CAPERS
This recipe makes about 1 cup.
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise (I prefer Dukes or homemade) If you have crème fraiche, use about a cup.
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp. coarse grain mustard
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp. capers
- 1-2 tbsp. finely chopped shallot. If you don’t have shallot, use red onion or scallions finely chopped.
Mix together and let marry for a bit to bloom the flavors. You won’t need any salty or peppy. Now, pour over whatever you feel like eating it with.
I made trout: place fish in a baking dish. Sprinkle with salty and peppy, then pour mustard sauce over it liberally. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 for 12 – 15 minutes or until the fish is just flakey. Makes a nice sauce with the fish.
HOME CURED SAUERKRAUT
- Shred the cabbage and place in a large bowl.
- Toss the cabbage with 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of either caraway seeds or the allspice or the cloves, and let sit for 20 – 30 minutes.
- Massage the cabbage briskly for about 5 minutes forming brine.
- Place in the jar. If the liquid does not cover the cabbage, dissolve 1 tablespoon of salt in 1 cup of water and pour over the cabbage. Leave at least 1 inch of room in the jar for expansion and gas production.
- Place the whole cabbage leaf on top of the kraut (you will discard this when the kraut has cured). It does not need to be submerged in the liquid. The leaf helps prevent kahm yeast from forming. It is harmless white fuzz that can be removed and won’t hurt anything.
- Place the jar in a cool dark place, not the refrigerator. Every 5 days, quickly open and close the jar to release the gas that forms. After about 21 days, taste it and see if it has enough flavor to your taste. If it does, put it in the refrigerator and it will last 6 months. You can also freeze it.
You can experiment with other flavors. You can add apple or fennel or even carrot. 75% cabbage to 25% other vegetable or fruit. Do not add cucumber, it makes it mushy. The sauerkraut will be very crisp until you cook with it. You can eat it right out of the jar, or make my Pork & Sauerkraut recipe.
SUNDAY POT ROAST
- 3-4 lb. shoulder or chuck roast (or even bigger if you have lots of folks to feed)
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 2-3 ribs of celery chopped (you could even use fennel)
- 2-3 carrots chopped
- 1 bay leaf, thyme, rosemary if you have it.
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2-3 tbsp. flour
- 1-2 cups good red wine
- Chicken broth or water to increase liquid
- Salty & Peppy
In a heavy Dutch oven, brown the beef on all sides in 2-3 tbsp. of hot oil (coconut, canola or grape seed – not olive). Remove and set aside. Add onion, veggies, herbs and stir for a couple minutes. Add garlic and stir. Add the flour and cook for about a minute. Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the wine and stir all the ingredients. Replace the beef and any drippings. The liquid should come to the top of the roast, but not cover it. Add the chicken broth/water if it doesn’t. You can turn it over halfway through the cooking time.
If using a slow cooker, stick all this wonderful pot roasty goodness in it and put on low for about 8 hours or high for about 4 hours. Oven – preheated @250° for about 4 hours. Stove – cook on low for about 4 hours. When the meat is fork tender, remove it and slice it if you like, or shred it. Pour that gravy on top. I added noodles to the gravy and let them soak up all that wonderful flavor.
- 1-2 lbs. ground beef, pork & veal combined
- Finely chopped onion (however much you want)
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- A heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon or 2 of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- Bread & milk mix as listed above
- Salty & Peppy
Place in a baking dish. I prefer not to use a loaf pan, too confining. My secret addition is too take a jar of beef gravy, pour 1/3 out and reserve. Fill jar with red wine and mix and then pour that over the meatloaf. You don’t have to use it all, but give it a good cover. Save the rest and use it with some of the drippings and the reserved gravy when it is done. Serve with mashers or rice or even noodles. Asian style with Odon noodles would be awesome.
BROCCOLI WITH PASTA & CHEESE:
- 2 heads of broccoli, about 4 cups, cut to a medium size.
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped
- Pancetta or bacon or ham (or even anchovies), chopped – about a ¼ cup, or more if you like.
- EVOO and butter
- Hot pepper flakes, to your liking, or leave them out.
- Cheese – mascarpone or cream cheese – something that is creamy, feta or fontina, and parmesan. You could even use blue cheese if that is what you had on hand.
- Some half & half, cream or even milk. What you have in the fridge.
- Pasta. I used papparadelli, but you could use orchiette, fettuccine, rigatoni, or whatever you have on hand.
- Salty & Peppy to taste
Cook your pasta as directed. In the meantime, sauté the pancetta/meat in the butter and EVOO for about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and pepper flakes. Toss in the broccoli and cook until it just turns bright green. Add the cheeses and when they melt you can add a little ½ & ½ to thin the sauce out. Don’t overcook the broccoli. Once the pasta is done, add it to the sauce and let it soak up the sauce. If it gets a little dry add some pasta water a tablespoon at a time. Salty & Peppy to taste.
- 1-2 lbs. of live mussels. They should not have any strong odor, if they do, take them back.
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 large can crushed tomatoes or even a jarred marinara sauce (I’ll never tell)
- ½ cup white wine
- Fresh basil or parsley or cilantro (I prefer basil because I don’t really like cilantro) chopped lightly. You can even use a combination. It’s what you feel like eating.
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Salty & Peppy
- Large dutch oven or pot
Sauté the onion in some extra virgin olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and basil. Cook that for just a minute. Then add the wine and cook for a minute or two to get the winey flavor out. Add the tomatoes (or sauce) and get that simmering until it is well incorporated – about 10 minutes, give or take. Then put your mussels in to the pot and cover. It will only take about 5 minutes to cook them. When they have opened, they are done. Put into bowls, squirt some lemon juice on them and dig in. I like to serve mine with buttered, crusty bread and a green salad on the side. Oh, and of course some wine. White or red, what ever floats your boat.
- Chicken parts – whatever you like. Legs and thighs, that what I like, or just the breast. Bone-in is best because it gives good flavor. Leave the skin on too, you can take it off later.
- ½ cup Bacon or pancetta chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves chopped garlic, or more to taste
- 1 can anchovies (they dissolve so you don’t know they are there)
- ½ chopped olives, whatever type you like – I used pitted kalamata olives
- 1 tbsp. capers
- 1 small jar pimentos or 1 chopped roasted pepper
- Tomato paste – a couple of tablespoons
- 1 cup red or white wine (something you would drink, “never cooking wine”)
- Oregano and basil, dried is fine. Fresh basil is great too; fresh oregano is too strong for my taste. Fresh parsley too if you have any.
- Water or chicken broth if needed to add more liquid
Brown the pancetta or bacon and remove. Add oil if needed and brown the chicken parts on both sides and remove. Sauté the onion until soft, add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the anchovies and stir around. Add the olives, capers, pimento and 1-2 tbsp. of tomato paste, and herbs. No salty until you taste it (the olives, etc. have a lot of salt) and add ground peppy. Stir that up then add the wine and stir that too. Put the chicky back in with the juices. The liquid doesn’t need to cover the meat. Put the cover on the pot and cook on low until the meat is tender. I did add about ¼ cup of mascarpone cheese just before serving, but you don’t need to. This is a “what the heck is in my cupboard” meal, that’s why I call it Patchwork Chicken. Put in what you like.
Serve over pasta or rice or even good rustic bread and sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese. I served it with steamed broccoli, but you could have a salad with it too.
It’s what I feel like eating.
NEW ENGLAND FISH CHOWDER:
- 1-2 lbs of haddock (depends on how many you are feeding) cut into chunks.
- 1lb yukon gold potatoes chopped bite size.
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme (dried is fine too)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3-4 cups water
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 ozs. either salt pork, pancetta (that’s what I used) or bacon.
- Salty & Peppy
Saute the onion and meat in 2 tbsp of butter until onion is clear. Add water, thyme, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer add the fish and turn off. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the fish to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Put the potatoes back into the water and simmer about 20 minutes. While you are waiting, whisk the milk and cornstarch together. When the potatos are done, add the milk mix and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the pot, add the fish and juices and let rest for another 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy. It’s what I feel like eating tonight. PS: remove the bay leaf.
HOLLANDAISE SAUCE: EASY
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 stick melted butter – unsalted and slightly cooled. Not boing hot or you’ll cook the eggs.
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Salty & Cayenne Peppy (Peppy’s 1st cousin)
Mix the eggs, lemon juice, salty & peppy in the blender, about 30 seconds. Slowly add the melted butter as the blender mixes it. It will thicken and become hollandaise sauce. Remove and serve over whatever your fancy calls to, or refrigerate. You can save it for up to 2 days.
PORK & SAUERKRAUT WITH A SIDE OF BLACK EYE PEAS:
- Use whatever cut of pork you choose; I used bone-in pork chops.
- 1 bag of sauerkraut (or make your own as I did – easy and I’ll share that recipe another time).
- 2 chopped carrots, 1 small chopped onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves. You can even add chopped apple if so inclined.
- 1 teaspoon of either caraway seeds, allspice berries, or whole cloves. Allspice and cloves will give it a sweeter flavor.
- ½ cup white wine or beer.
- Ground peppy, no salty because the kraut has enough salt.
- 1 bay leaf if you have it.
Put all that in the slow cooker on low for about 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. If not serving with the peas, you can serve over mashed potatoes.
BLACK EYE PEAS MY WAY:
- 1-2 cans black eye peas (you can use dried and go through all that trouble, not me) rinsed and drained.
- 3 slices bacon cut into small pieces and cooked until just crisp. Remove and drain all but 1-2 tablespoons of fat.
- ½ chopped onion sautéed in the fat until translucent.
- Add ¼ cup white wine to loosen up the brown bits.
- 1 cup fresh or frozen spinach.
- A dash of cayenne pepper if you like.
- Taste for Salty & Peppy, it may not need any.
- Warm through and serve with the pork & sauerkraut.