weeknight gourmet

Category : One-pot meal

Chicken & Sausage Cacciatore

IMG_1732Here’s a quick cacciatore with chicken and sausages.  It was delicious and perfect for a cold, snowy night.

Despite the two pints of grape tomatoes, the tomato flavor was not dominant.  Some reviewers of the recipe mentioned adding tomato paste.  If you want more tomato flavor, try this.  But I really enjoyed the earthiness from the mushrooms and red wine.

The store was out of skin-on, bone-in thighs so I used skinless, boneless.  If you make this change, add the chicken and sausages back to the pot at the same time.

We mopped up the delicious sauce with some crusty bread.

Chicken & Sausage Cacciatore
Bon Appetit

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 large chicken thighs with skin and bones (about 1 1/3 pounds)
  • 3/4 pound fresh mild or hot Italian sausages
  • 3/4 pound large mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 12-ounce containers grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken and sausages to skillet. Sauté until brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken and sausages to bowl.

Add mushrooms to skillet. Sauté until brown, about 4 minutes; add to same bowl. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet; add tomatoes, red wine, garlic, and rosemary. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes. Using potato masher, lightly crush half of tomatoes. Return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered 5 minutes. Add remaining contents of bowl and simmer uncovered until chicken and sausages are cooked through, turning often, about 15 minutes longer.

Place chicken and sausages on platter. Cut sausages on diagonal into thick slices. Stir basil into sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken.

Chicken Braised with Red Wine Vinegar & Tomatoes

IMG_1618Who doesn’t love braised meat on a cold day!  But doesn’t braising take hours?  Here is a very tasty weeknight braised chicken dish.

The red wine vinegar and tomatoes create a delicious piquant sauce.  You’ll want plenty of bread to dip in the sauce.

Chicken Braised with Red Wine Vinegar & Tomatoes
Fine Cooking

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each cut into 4 even pieces
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup good-quality red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Put the flour, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a 1-gallon plastic zip-top bag. Close and shake to combine. Add the chicken to the bag, zip it closed, and shake vigorously to coat with flour.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet(preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add half of the chicken in a single layer and cook, flipping once, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the pan and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Stir in the tomatoes and bay leaf, raise the heat to high, and cook until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and boil vigorously until almost evaporated, about 30 seconds. Return the chicken and any accumulated juice to the pan, along with the chicken broth, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil; then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir in the parsley, cover, and cook for 1 minute more.

Season to taste with salt. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Chicken Meatballs with Braised Lemon and Kale

IMG_0413Here’s a light and healthy dinner that only requires one pot!

The broth has a nice flavor from the shallots and lemon.  The meatballs — which are gluten-free — are quite tasty thanks to the garlic, shallots, scallions, and red pepper flakes.  The braised kale is tender.

Overall an easy, healthy weeknight meal.

Gluten-Free Chicken Meatballs with Braised Lemon and Kale
Bon Appetit

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium shallots, minced, divided
  • 1 scallion, minced (all parts), plus thinly sliced green tops for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound ground chicken meat
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 1 lemon, very thinly sliced and seeds removed
  • 2 cups low salt chicken broth
  • 1 large bunch curly kale, destemmed

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add shallot, scallion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly until softened and fragrant, about 6 minutes.

Add 1/3 of ground chicken and cook just until cooked through, breaking up any clumps. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Add remaining chicken meat, salt, and several grindings of black pepper. Mix just to combine. Wipe out pot and add remaining Tbsp. oil. Heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Form meat mixture into 8 meatballs each about 2–2 1⁄2-inch in diameter and add to pot (mixture will be soft). Cook until light golden brown on all sides, 6–8 minutes total. Remove meatballs to a plate; set aside.

Add remaining shallot and lemon slices and cook until lemon slices are tender and starting to turn light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and return meatballs to pot.

Bring to simmer, lower heat and cover. Cook meatballs until cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Add kale to pot, and cook until tender and bright green, 4–5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Divide kale and sauce among 4 shallow bowls, topping with meatballs and lemon slices. Garnish with sliced scallion tops and serve.

Fall Fare: Hearty Meatball Stew

Here’s a delicious dish for the cooler weather!  The stew wasn’t what I expected — it was much earthier and less tomato-y.  But we loved it!  Giada rarely steers me wrong.

The mushrooms (I used baby bellas) added a really nice flavor.  And, the meatballs were a delicious combo of ground beef and sweet Italian sausage.

I served it with some crusty bread.

Hearty Meatball Stew
Giada De Laurentiis

• 1 slice white sandwich bread, torn into small pieces
• 8 ounces 20-percent-fat ground beef (about 8 ounces)
• 2 sweet mild Italian sausages, casings removed
• 1 egg
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Hearty Meatball Stew:
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
• 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch strips
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 pound large white mushrooms, quartered
• One 8 to 10-ounce russet potato, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/3-inch slices
• 4 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-inch-long pieces
• One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
• 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 1/2 cups chicken broth

For the meatballs: Place the bread and 3 tablespoons water into a medium bowl. Mash to a paste with a spatula. Add the beef, sausage, egg, parsley, salt and pepper. Blend the mixture thoroughly with your hands or a flexible spatula. Form the mixture into 10 to 16 meatballs. Arrange the meatballs on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet until ready to use.
For the hearty meatball stew: Sprinkle the meatballs with the flour and turn to coat with any flour still on the foil. Heat a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Drop the meatballs into the skillet, spaced apart. Cook until the bottoms are set and brown, about 2 minutes. Using a flexible thin spatula, turn each meatball onto an uncooked side and cook until the bottoms are set and brown, about 2 minutes longer. Turn and cook a third side, until set and brown, about another 2 minutes, so the meatballs are browned and set all over. Transfer the meatballs to a large plate.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, peppers, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Cook until soft, 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, beans, tomatoes, red pepper flakes and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until the potatoes are tender and the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

A Taste of Havana: Slow-Cooker Ropa Vieja

Here is a delicious slow cooker recipe!  There is nothing better than coming home after a long day to a fully prepared dinner.

Cuban-braised beef, more commonly called Ropa Vieja, is shredded flank steak in a tomato-based sauce base.  The steak slow cooks in the sauce with the oregano and cumin giving it a great flavor.  The normally tough flank steak shreds easily after 7 hours in the slow cooker.

While some slow cooker recipes require you to sear the meat or cook some ingredients before adding to the pot, this recipe is so quick.  The only real prep is slicing the red peppers!

I served the ropa vieja with yellow rice and avocado.  It was a delicious meal.  The only disappointment was that it did not keep well.  The leftovers just were not as tasty.

(And, I must thank Real Simple yet again!  This is another recipe from Real Simple’s: Dinner Done Right.)

Slow-Cooker Cuban Braised Beef
Real Simple

  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut crosswise into thirds
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, oregano, cumin, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Nestle the steak among the vegetables. Cook, covered, until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.

25 minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.

Using two forks, shred the beef and mix it into the cooking liquid. Serve with the rice and top with the avocado and cilantro.

Chicken, Sausage & Peppers

First of all, this recipe is MUCH more delicious than the photo makes it appear.  The dish is basically a quick version of traditional  sausage and peppers which I love.

The pickled cherry peppers and their juice add a great flavor; as did the hot Italian sausage I used.

If you wanted to lighten the dish up more, you could use turkey sausage rather than pork sausage.

Serve with some crusty bread or some sliced polenta for an easy weeknight meal!
Chicken, Sausage & Peppers
Food Network Magazine

•    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
•    3/4 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, cut into chunks
•    3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
•    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
•    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
•    1 small onion, chopped
•    2 Italian green frying peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
•    3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
•    1/2 cup dry white wine
•    3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
•    1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
•    2 jarred pickled cherry peppers, chopped, plus 2 tablespoons liquid from the jar

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage until golden, about 2 minutes. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then toss with the flour in a bowl; add to the skillet and cook until browned but not cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Add the onion, peppers, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste and cook 3 minutes. Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits; bring to a boil and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add the broth and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook until the sausage and chicken are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the chicken, sausage and vegetables to a platter with a slotted spoon. Increase the heat to high and stir the parsley and cherry peppers and their liquid into the skillet; boil until reduced by one-third, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture.

Fall Stews: Spicy Sausage, Escarole & White Bean

Here is a super quick and delicious fall meal!  This white bean and sausage stew requires few ingredients and only one pot so it is perfect for weeknight cooking.

To lighten the dish up, try turkey sausage instead of pork sausage.

Also, the recipe calls for escarole but you can use your favorite green or whatever you have in the fridge — I made the recipe with kale.  Spinach would be tasty as well (though it wouldn’t need to cook quite as long as kale or escarole).

If you want to spice up the dish more, add some red pepper flakes for an extra kick!

Be sure to serve with crusty bread and plenty of Parmigiano-Reggiano!

Spicy Sausage, Escarole & White Bean Stew
Fine Cooking

  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3/4 lb. hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small head escarole, chopped into 1- to 2-inch pieces, washed, and lightly dried
  • 1 cup low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 tsp. red-wine vinegar; more to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat the oil in a heavy 5- to 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the sausage, raise the heat to medium high, and cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon or spatula until lightly browned and broken into small (1-inch) pieces, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the beans. Add the escarole to the pot in batches; using tongs, toss with the sausage mixture to wilt the escarole and make room for more.

When all the escarole is in, add the chicken broth, cover the pot, and cook until the beans are heated through and the escarole is tender, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with the vinegar and salt. Transfer to bowls and sprinkle each portion with some of the Parmigiano.

Fall Meals: Beef & Black Bean Chili with Chipotle and Avocado

I love chili!  It is such a satisfying fall and winter meal.  Plus, it usually packs some heat which I love.  And, it usually only requires a single pot!

I was looking for a new chili recipe using ground beef so I could use the remaining ground beef from our half steer.  This Fine Cooking recipe was quick enough for a weeknight meal and had a unique method of pureeing black beans, diced tomatoes, and chipotles in adobo sauce to thicken the chili and provide a wonderful hot smoky flavor.

The red onion, avocado and lime relish that is served on top of the chili is a great addition to the dish (or to any chili or taco recipe).  I used two avocados rather than the one called for in the recipe since Tim and I both love avocado.

I will definitely be making this chili recipe again this fall!

Beef & Black Bean Chili with Chipotle and Avocado
Fine Cooking

  • 3 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes (I used whole tomatoes which worked well)
  • 1 medium chipotle plus 2 Tbs. adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut in a medium dice

Put one-third of the beans into the bowl of a food processor, along with the tomatoes and their juices, chipotle, and adobo sauce. Process until smooth and set aside.

Heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or similar heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering hot, about 2 min. Add the beef, season with 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat, until it loses its raw color, about 3 minutes. Transfer the beef to a large plate using a slotted spoon. Add half of the onion and 1/4 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown and soften, about 3 min. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the chili powder and cumin and cook for 20 seconds. Add the remaining black beans, the puréed bean mixture, and the beef to the pot and simmer for 10 min., stirring frequently. Add half of the lime juice, half of the cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. If the chili is thicker than you like, it may be thinned with water.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the remaining lime juice and onion with the avocado. Season generously with salt and pepper. Serve the chili topped with the avocado mixture and remaining cilantro.

End of Summer Meatless Monday: Ratatouille

Here is a delicious way to use end of summer produce: ratatouille!  In addition to being a super cute Pixar movie, ratatouille is a stewed vegetable dish with eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, tomatoes, garlic, and onions.  When I was a vegetarian, my mom would make me a delicious ratatouille.  I didn’t have her recipe but saw this one in Real Simple and it looked quick enough for a weeknight dinner.

I followed the recipe with a couple of minor changes.  I used a red onion for a little extra flavor.  And unfortunately I was out of fresh basil so I used a 1/2 teaspoon of herbs de Provence.

I served the ratatouille with quinoa for a healthy meatless meal!  Tim and I both enjoyed the dinner and I don’t even think Tim missed the meat.

Real Simple

•    3 tablespoons olive oil
•    1 onion, thinly sliced
•    4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
•    1 small bay leaf
•    1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
•    1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into thin slices
•    1 red bell pepper, cut into slivers
•    4 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
•    1 teaspoon kosher salt
•    1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
•    freshly ground black pepper

Over medium-low heat, add the oil to a large skillet with the onion, garlic, and bay leaf, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened.

Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until the eggplant has softened. Stir in the zucchini, red bell pepper, tomatoes, and salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the basil and few grinds of pepper to taste.

Pan-Seared Tuna Steaks with Warm Tomato, Basil, and Olive Salad

Here is a super quick and healthy summer meal!  The dish has lots of flavor from the tomatoes, olives, and lemon juice.  What a fresh and summery combination.

I used sushi-grade tuna from my favorite fish store — The Lobster Place — and served it rare to medium-rare.

Delicious!  And, you can’t beat the cleanup of a one-pot dish.
Pan-Seared Tuna Steaks with Warm Tomato, Basil & Olive Salad
Fine Cooking

  • 4 5-oz. boneless, skinless tuna steaks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cups mixed yellow and red grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup sliced pitted green olives, such as picholine or Cerignola
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Season the tuna with 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange the tuna in the skillet in a single layer and cook, turning once, until done to your liking (3 to 4 minutes for medium rare).  Transfer the tuna to a large plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallot to the skillet.  Cook, stirring, until golden-brown, about 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, olives, basil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper; cook until warmed through and the tomatoes are just softened, about 2 minutes more.  Remove the skillet from the heat and gently stir in the lemon juice.

Transfer the tuna to plates, top with the tomato salad, and serve.