Chicken and Sausage Baked Skillet

14 Nov

An excellent, all-in-one skillet meal that’s delicious and comforting on a chilly evening. Make sure you marinade the chicken for at least 4 hours, up to 24. Choose your preferred heat of Italian sausage, we tend to go with mild. Serves 2-4, depending on how starving you are. Leftovers are fabulous.

Skillet Ingredients:
– 2 medium chicken breasts
– 2 links of Italian sausage, cut in half lengthwise
– 4-6 red potatoes, quartered

Marinade Ingredients:
– 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
– 3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
– 1/3 cup olive oil (if you have a hot flavor of olive oil, it works well with this recipe)
– 2 tsp Dijon mustard
– 1 tbsp Worcestershire
– 1 tsp prepared horseradish
– 2 tbsp salsa
– 4 slices jarred jalapeno, plus 1 tbsp of the jar liquid
– 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
– A generous helping of freshly ground pepper
– A dash of salt
– 1 lemon

Add all ingredients except for lemon into a large ziploc bag. Cut the lemon into quarters, squeeze the juice into the bag, then put the rinds in with the rest of the marinade ingredients. Seal the bag, squish it all around to mix the ingredients, open it up and put the chicken breasts inside, seal it and squish it around again, then put it in the fridge to marinade.

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator (but leave it in the bag of marinade) while you prep the rest of the meal. Wash and quarter the potatoes, and cut the sausages in half lengthwise. Dump the chicken, marinade and all, into a large cast iron skillet, then pick out the lemon rinds. Place the potatoes and sausages among and around the chicken, and stir a bit to coat with the marinade.

Place in the center rack of the oven and cook for 45 minutes, turning the chicken and sausages over halfway through. Remove from the oven when the time is up, and stir around a bit to allow the potatoes to help thicken the sauce. You could also use a spatula to cut the chicken and sausages into bite-sized chunks and mix the whole shebang all together.

Serve with your veg of choice, we usually go with asparagus or green beans.

New Mexico Green Chile Stew

27 Aug

Another great recipe from The Pink Adobe, slightly modified.

My husband was in Santa Fe last week, and had a meal (or two) at our favorite restaurant, The Pink Adobe. He raved about their New Mexico Green Chile Stew (and took a photo of it, and sent it to me, and rubbed in the fact that he was dining deliciously while I was making do with plate full of sauteed snap peas and green beans – I eat weirdly when he’s out of town). So last weekend we procured the ingredients and set out to recreate the dish.

A few things to note: First, I HIGHLY recommend roasting your own (Hatch) green chiles. Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never done it – it’s incredibly easy and you will NEVER EVER buy canned or frozen green chiles again. The second thing to note – you could use canned peeled whole tomatoes, but it’s SUPER easy to peel your own fresh tomatoes, and I think it improves the flavor. And third, this stew is incredibly versatile – you can use pork, chicken, or beef. It would probably taste great with some roasted corn thrown in there, too, or some whole black beans (or both). But made just as I describe below, it was so damned good that my husband and I stood over the pot dipping torn pieces of flour tortilla into the stew and OH MY GOD-ing until we finally wrenched ourselves away to watch football.

How to roast green chiles: Preheat your oven’s broiler (mine has a low, medium and high setting – I used the medium setting). Make sure the oven rack is at the highest level (closest to the heating elements). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Wash and dry the chiles, and line them up on the baking sheet. Place under the broiler, and keep an eye on them. Roast for 3-5 minutes, until the chiles are about 70% charred.

Green chiles roasting under the broiler

Green chiles roasting under the broiler

Use tongs to flip the chiles over, and roast the other side for another 3-5 minutes. This should ABSOLUTELY NOT take more than 10 minutes at the outside. You don’t want them burned, just nicely charred. Again using tongs, transfer the whole chiles to a (non-metal) bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the chiles to “steam” for 20 minutes. Then, remove the chiles from the bowl and peel the charred skin away with your fingers – it should come off very easily. Remove the stem, split the chiles in half, and remove the seeds (I used my fingers). That’s all there is to it!

Green chiles, roasted and peeled

Green chiles, roasted and peeled

How to peel fresh tomatoes: Get a pot of water boiling on the stove (enough to submerge the tomatoes a couple at a time). Fill a large bowl with water and ice (large enough to submerge the tomatoes). De-stem and wash whole tomatoes. Cut a small X through the skin on the bottom of each tomato (side opposite the stem). Drop tomatoes, a couple at a time, into the boiling water. Count to fifteen-Mississippi (time for fifteen seconds). Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the boiling water and transfer them immediately to the ice water. Submerge them for 10 seconds and remove immediately (otherwise they get waterlogged). Grab the corners of the cut skin on the bottom of the tomatoes and peel down – the skins should peel off easily. And that’s all there is to that! (Here’s a good video tutorial.)

On to the stew…


– 2 lbs boneless pork (we used a pork shoulder), cut into 1-inch square pieces
– 2 TBSP olive oil
– 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
– 1 tsp minced garlic
– 1/4 cup flour
– 3 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch square pieces
– 2 cups roasted green (Hatch) chiles (about six large), peeled and cut into a large dice
– 2 cups (about five medium) peeled fresh tomatoes, quartered, de-seeded, then each quarter cut in half
– 1 fresh jalapeno, de-seeded/de-veined and finely chopped
– 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth (we used home made)
– 1/2 tsp sugar
– salt and pepper to taste


Pork shoulder


In a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the pork on all sides. Add the onion and garlic to the pork and stir to combine. Incorporate the flour, stirring constantly for about two minutes. Add the potatoes, chiles, tomatoes, jalapeno, and chicken broth. Stir to combine, and scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze. Stir in the sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on a low simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1.5 hours, or until the pork is tender. Adjust seasoning as needed.

All the ingredients in the pot!

All the ingredients in the pot!

The finished stew, ready to eat!

The finished stew, ready to eat!

If you can POSSIBLY STAND IT, make the stew a day ahead of time. Let it cool completely, then put it in the refrigerator overnight. Reheated the next day, the flavors have had time to really develop. Serve with flour tortillas. You’ll notice that the chiles, onions and tomatoes all but disappear into the almost gravy-like sauce of the stew. If you want larger vegetable pieces use a very large dice. We found that we absolutely loved it the way it was.

Makes about six servings.

Best and Soon to be World Famous Bloody Mary

9 Jul

Best Bloody MaryI’ve gotten on a Bloody Mary kick here lately. For some reason I found the prospect of making my own intimidating, and my enjoyment of those made at various drinking establishments inconsistent.

But the cravings were real (I mean, come on, drinks that come with snacks!), so I started researching the internet for the Perfect! Bloody! Mary! I filtered through the simplistic, the sweet, the obscure ingredients. What I landed on was an amalgam of several different recipes and theories. Here are the results for your enjoyment; the level of spiciness can be adjusted according to your individual taste.

Don’t worry about the extent of ingredients – once you have “your” way down, you can throw this together in a couple of minutes.

Note: it is important that all of your ingredients are COLD. This makes for the best beverage and less ice-melt.

Makes one beverage. Pour into a 2-cup measuring cup:

– 8 oz tomato juice or bloody mary mix of choice (I use V8 Bloody Mary Mix, or V8 Spicy Hot)
– 2 oz vodka of choice (I’ve been using Stoli)
– A couple of blurts of Worcestershire (a teaspoon if you need to measure)
– A couple of dashes of Tabasco (a half-teaspoon if you need to measure) – more if you like it hot, omit if you don’t like it spicy at all
– A splash of olive juice (a teaspoon…)
– A splash of dill pickle juice (a teaspoon…)
– A splash of pepperoncini juice (…)
– A half-teaspoon of prepared horseradish – more if you like it spicy, omit if you don’t like the stuff
– A squeeze (large wedge) of lemon juice (throw the rind into the bottom of your shaker)
– A squeeze (large wedge) of lime juice (also throw the rind in the shaker)
– A couple of pinches of black pepper
– A couple of pinches of Old Bay seasoning (optional)

Give the ingredients a stir. Then fill your shaker halfway full with ice (on top of the lemon and lime rinds). Pour the mixture into the shaker, cap it, and give it a few vigorous shakes. Pop the cap off the shaker and pour the whole shebang – rinds, ice, and all – into a pint glass or glass of choice. Stick a straw in it and garnish with any or all of the following:

– Olives (I like queen olives stuffed with jalapeno or garlic)
– Pickle spear
– Pepperoncini
– Asparagus spear
– Celery stalk
– Cocktail shrimp
– Mini corn cob
– Cocktail onion
– Lemon/lime wedge
– Grape or cherry tomatoes
– Whatever else floats your boat

Creamy Chicken and Potato Stew

19 Dec

Fantastically easy to put together, and exceptionally warm and comforting on a cold winter evening.

– 1/4 cup butter (salted or unsalted, depending on how much you want to add in the end)
– 3 carrots, peeled and diced
– 2 celery stalks, diced
– 1/2 sweet onion, diced
– 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
– 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
– 1/4 cup flour
– 3 cups chicken stock (here’s a recipe for great stock)
– 2 cups milk (whole or 2%, but not skim!)
– 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
– 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken, diced (great for leftovers from a roasted chicken, or pick up a rotisserie chicken, or use a few chicken breasts)
– 1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
– 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley leaves
– Salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the carrots, celery and onion until tender, about five minutes. Add the thyme and sage, and stir. Gradually sprinkle in the flour and whisk until smoothly combined with the butter/veggie mixture, then continue to whisk for about 1 minute until lightly browned. Slowly add in the chicken stock, whisking to incorporate the flour smoothly into the stock. Gradually whisk in the milk.

Add the potatoes and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer (uncovered) until potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Add the diced cooked chicken, and allow to heat for about one minute. Lower the heat, and gradually add in the shredded cheese, stirring to melt into the stew. Add in the parsley, and salt and pepper to taste (we’re liberal with the pepper).

Serve with a salad and crusty bread or soft potato rolls. It’s excellent if you add a dash of Tabasco to your bowl. And this stew is even better the second day.

Serves about 6.

Butterscotch Banana Bread

13 Jan

My good friend Karen gave me this recipe. Makes two loaves, one for eating and one for giving away or freezing!

– 3-1/2 cups unsifted white flour
– 4 tsp. baking powder
– 1 tsp. baking soda
– 1 tsp. cinnamon
– 1 tsp. nutmeg
– 1 tsp. salt
– 2 cups ripe bananas, mashed (4-6 medium bananas)
– 1-1/2 cups sugar
– 2 eggs
– 1/2 cup butter, melted
– 1/2 cup milk
– 2-1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts or pecans, divided
– One 12 oz pkg. Nestle Butterscotch Morsels, or 12 oz combination of butterscotch, peanut butter, white chocolate, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; set aside. In large bowl, combine bananas, sugar, eggs and butter; beat until creamy. Gradually add flour mixture alternately with milk; mix until well blended. Stir in 2 cups chopped nuts and butterscotch morsels. Pour batter into two well-greased and floured 9” x 5” x 3” loaf pans. Sprinkle tops equally with remaining nuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes (I err on the shorter side so the bread doesn’t dry out). Cool 15 minutes; remove from pans. Freezes well.

Spicy Chipolte Chili Soup with White Beans and Chicken

21 Dec

Drastically adapted from Organic Gardening.

2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 to 1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder (the more powder, the spicier the chili!)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cans (19 ounces each) cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Push the onions to one side of the pan, add the chicken, and sprinkle with the chipotle chile powder, cumin, and salt to taste. Cook, stirring, until most of the chicken is opaque on the outside, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of the beans and 2 cups of the stock. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the remaining beans and remaining 1 cup stock. Process to a smooth puree. Stir the bean puree into the soup. Gradually add the half-and-half, stirring as you add it, so it doesn’t curdle. Dip one cup of the soup out and into a bowl, add the sour cream and stir until blended. Gradually add sour cream mixture into the soup (again, this is so it doesn’t curdle). Stir in the cheddar cheese, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste.

It is important not to let the soup boil again after the dairy products have been added, so it doesn’t curdle.

Serve with additional shredded cheese and sour cream, which cuts down the heat if you find it’s too spicy. If you want a thicker consistency, dissolve 3 TBSP of corn starch with 1/2 cup of half-and-half, and stir into the soup before adding the sour cream.

Serve with potato rolls! They’re awesome.

I suppose you could lower the considerable fat content by using fat-free half-and-half, sour cream, and cheese, but where’s the fun in that?

Outstanding Chicken Noodle Soup

21 Dec

Adapted from Tyler Florence.

My husband, who is NOTORIOUSLY picky, absolutely raved about this Chicken Noodle Soup. He said it was the best he’d ever tasted, and actually VOLUNTARILY ate it three nights in a row. That’s a record for our household!

The recipe really shines when made with homemade chicken stock, for which I have a great recipe.

2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and chopped
3 fresh thyme sprigs, de-stemmed (leaves only)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
8 cups chicken stock
8-10 ounces dried wide egg noodles (depending on how noodly you like your soup)
2 – 2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (depending on how chickeny you like your soup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 TBSP Worcestershire
1 tsp Tabasco

Place a heavy soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and herbs. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another five minutes – I find the noodles are cooked perfectly at this point. Stir in the parsley, the Tabasco and the Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper (taste it first!). Turn off heat but leave pot on the burner, covered, for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to gather. Serve with crackers or crusty bread.

Now, I made this recipe above and added 1/2 of a 16oz bag of egg noodles, plus another handful. This made the soup VERY noodly. When the soup cooled it looked like the broth really disappeared. However, it’s in there, and we found that we liked the more-noodle-less-broth consistency. Your mileage may vary!

Best Chicken Stock

21 Dec

Adapted from Annie’s Eats.

2 TBSP olive oil
3 carrots, washed and unpeeled, cut into chunks
3 ribs of celery, washed and cut into chunks (include the leafy hearts too, if you’ve got ’em)
2 sweet onions, peeled and cut into chunks
1 chicken carcass plus scraps (I use anything and everything left over from making a roasted chicken – bones, skin, meat and all)
Water to cover
1 TBSP fresh cracked pepper
1 TBSP kosher salt
4 sprigs of rosemary
4 sprigs of thyme

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven (like this one). Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown, about 5-10 minutes. Add the chicken carcass to the pot. Add enough water to nearly fill the pot. Stir in the peppercorns, salt and herbs. Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a very low simmer, COVER, and let simmer 4-5 hours. Resist the temptation to add salt, though a couple of blurts of Tabasco or Worcestershire never hurt anyone.

Pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl to remove the solids. Cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, remove the layer of fat that formed on the surface. Use immediately or freeze. I pour mine into muffin tins, freeze, then pop them out and store them in baggies. Each “stock muffin” equals about a half-cup of stock.

The Best Pasta Sauce EVER

26 Oct

My husband and I modified a recipe for pasta sauce that originally appeared in the Pink Adobe Cookbook. The Pink Adobe is a lovely Sonoran restaurant in Santa Fe, along the Old Santa Fe Trail. I HIGHLY recommend you check it out if you’re ever in the area.

This tomato-and-meat based pasta sauce is incredible and excellent atop Rotini noodles. Don’t skimp on the simmering time – it’s needed to develop the full depth of flavor that all of the herbs and spices provide. Trust me, you’ll never crack open a jar of Prego again!!!

Preparation time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves six


– 1 lb lean ground beef
– 1/2 lb ground pork
– 1 TBSP worcestershire

– 2 stalks of celery, diced
– 2 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
– 2 tbsp olive oil

– 1 cup beef broth
– 24-28 oz canned crushed tomatoes (whichever the largest size is in your grocery store)
– 12 oz (two six ounce cans) tomato paste
– 1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
– 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
– 1-2 tsp chili powder (depending on how spicy you like your sauce)
– 1 generous pinch EACH of dried oregano, marjoram, rosemary, basil, cumin, thyme
– 1 bay leaf
– salt and pepper to taste

– grated Parmesan cheese


Brown ground beef and ground pork with the worcestershire in a medium skillet. Drain thoroughly.

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil until shimmery and saute the onion, garlic, and celery until just transparent. Add the beef broth and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining ingredients (except the cheese), plus the cooked ground beef and pork. Stir to combine.

Bring to a LOW simmer and cook, covered, for one hour. Stir occasionally, and add splashes of beef broth, dark beer or red wine if the sauce seems too thick.

Dig around and try to find and remove the bay leaf before serving. Serve over your pasta of choice and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Eat entirely too much. Unbutton top button of pants. Lay on the couch and groan.

Leftovers the next day are PHENOMENAL.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

27 Nov

Also known as THE PIE(tm) on my blog.

– One 9″ prepared pie crust, do not pre-bake/blind bake
– 4 TBSP butter, softened
– 3/4 c light brown sugar, packed
– 3 eggs, beaten
– 3/4 c light Karo (corn) syrup
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1 1/2 c crushed pecans
– 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
– 2 TBSP bourbon (such as Maker’s Mark)

Cream butter. Add sugar gradually while beating. Add beaten eggs, Karo, salt, vanilla, and flour. Stir in chips and nuts. Stir in bourbon until well mixed. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to remix.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place crust in a glass pie dish, flour the bottom lightly.

Stir batter one final time, and pour into pie crust. Place on the bottom rack of the oven (if you don’t the bottom crust will come out soggy, as I discovered to my dismay) and bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. If necessary, cover pie crust edges with foil to avoid burning. Continue baking for about 45 minutes, until center is no longer jiggly.

Let cool nearly completely before serving; pie surface will settle considerably during cooling. Serve with Whiskey Brown Sugar Whipped Cream.

Refrigerate leftovers.

(Adapted from a recipe provided to me by Dyskinesia and Taoist Biker, who are officially reserved a special place in Heaven for this.)