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Tag: weeknight meals

Roasted Pesto Chicken with Potatoes and Cauliflower

April 28, 2019

Baked Pesto Chicken1

  • 4 full chicken legs (skin off)
  • 1 pound small yellow potatoes (skin off)
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • ½ cup fresh or store bought pesto
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat a 350 degrees F.

Line a large baking pan with aluminum foil.

Place the cauliflower florets and potatoes to the bottom of the pan. Add half of the pesto, salt, pepper and one tablespoon of the olive oil. Mix well with your fingers. Place the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables. Add the rest of the pesto and olive oil. Rub all over the chicken. Add salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for an hour. Change the setting to high broil and brown for 5 to 10 minutes till the chicken and the potatoes turn golden brown. Serve with crusty bread.

Penne with Basil Pesto and Cremini Mushrooms

March 24, 2019

Penne with Pesto and Mushrooms

  • 2 (10 ounces) packs cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the mushrooms. Saute on high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, till the mushrooms are golden brown. Add salt and turn the heat off.

  • ¼ cup fresh or store bought basil pesto
  • ½ pound cooked penne with ½ cup spare pasta water

Add the pesto, penne and the pasta water to the mushrooms. Stir well without turning the heat on. Check for seasonings and serve.

Spinach Quinoa Risotto

February 10, 2019

Spinach Quinoa Risotto

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 to 4 cups baby spinach
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt

Heat a saucepan with the olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic, sauté on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add quinoa and stir for a minute. Add the white wine and stir. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes until the grain is tender. Stir the spinach, half and half and cheese. Check for seasoning and add salt. Serve with fish.

Pasta with Sausage and Sweet Pepper Sauce

February 12, 2018

  • ½ pound pasta, al dente with a cup of pasta water set aside
  • 4 chicken sausage links, chopped in ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat a large frying pan with the olive oil. Add the sausages and sauté on medium high heat, stirring constantly. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes till the sausages are golden brown. Keep aside.

  • 1 cup fresh tomato sauce or marinara sauce
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 1 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Start the grill outside or preheat the broiler. Coat the peppers with the oil and grill or roast them till the skin is charred- about 20 minutes. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 20 minutes. Take the peppers out and peel the skin and take the seeds out. Place the peppers in a blender with the tomato sauce. Blend till smooth. Taste for seasonings and add salt if needed.
Add two cups of the sweet pepper sauce to the sausages and add the pasta and half cup of the pasta water (add more water if needed). Mix well and check for seasonings. Serve with cheese on top.

Pancetta and Balsamic Roast Chicken

January 2, 2013

Pancetta and Balsamic Chicken This is a delicious way to make a one pot meal. It all goes into a big roasting pan and you are done! I started with leg quarters- if I am not roasting a whole chicken, I like to cook leg quarters. Dark meat has a lot of flavor and is very forgiving as it doesn’t over cook.

When using very few ingredients, it is important to use very bold flavors. In this case, I used garlic, pancetta and balsamic glaze. I cooked the pancetta and then mixed it with the garlic, thyme and the glaze. I then slathered the chicken with the yummy mixture and roasted it.

To make things more interesting, I lined the roasting pan with slices of delicious sour dough bread and some potatoes. The potatoes and the bread come out deliciously crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I especially love the bread- all the flavors absorb really well.

I served this delicious meal with a green salad and a delicious glass of red wine. I love simple, delicious food with very good quality ingredients!

  • 4 leg quarters with skin
  • 6 to 8 slices of sour dough bread
  • 4 to 5 small potatoes, peeled and cut in half
  • Salt


  • ¼ cup pancetta, chopped
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze

Cook the pancetta in a hot frying pan until the fat is rendered on medium heat- it should take about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn heat off and take out in a bowl.

Pound the garlic, salt and thyme in a mortar and pestle till smooth. Add the olive oil and balsamic glaze. Mix well and add to the cooked pancetta. Mix well and keep aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the bread slices in a medium, lined baking sheet (9X13). Smear some of the marinade on the bread. Add the chicken quarters and the potatoes. Rub the marinade all over covering all the surfaces. Sprinkle salt generously all over. Roast in oven for 30 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil and finish roasting till the chicken is done. Serve a piece of the chicken on top of the cooked bread with potatoes on the side.

Meat Sauce with Pancetta

April 16, 2012

Spaghetti with Pancetta Meat Sauce Pasta dish number tow. This one is made with pancetta and ground turkey. It has lots of flavor with shallots and garlic. I always have fresh tomato sauce on hand. I use it for everything including pizza.

I made a big batch of it to have lots of leftovers. My daughter loves meat sauce with spaghetti so I try to make it often. As long as I use healthy ingredients, I don’t mind making it for her often.

It was delicious with a big green salad and some red wine…
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Shrimp and Spinach Risotto- Latin Style

February 7, 2012

Shrimp and Spinach Risotto A Latin style risotto, you ask? Well, why not?? Risotto is one of our favorite things to eat and I am always trying to make it in new and different ways incorporating new ingredients every time. Risotto is made with Arborio rice which is a thick grained rice. It is white rice and thus processed- the key is to use the best ingredients one can find while making risotto and eat it in moderation. Usually risotto is finished with cream, butter and cheese making it quite heavy. It can be made lighter and healthier by using good olive oil and a moderate amounts of cheese.

This risotto is a bit different from the Italian variety. I decided to use some Latin flavors… so, I marinated the shrimp with some smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt. I then sautéed some shallots and garlic. I added the rice, kidney beans. I cooked the risotto with chicken broth and added fresh baby spinach. The addition of all these yummy ingredients make this risotto quite light and very delicious. The key to making light dishes is to boost the flavor factor- in this case, it is the delicious marinated shrimp.

Try this dish next time you want to have a delicious, healthy and different risotto- try this one..
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