lemon-cumin chicken with pesto

One of the things that I like about Giada’s recipes is that she is serious about the spices and seasonings. I don’t have to add anything; she has it handled.

lemon cumin chickenI have had her recipe for lemon-cumin chicken in my database for a while. I tried it on a recent Saturday and it was a success. I prepared the marinade as specified and I let the chicken marinate for close to five hours. I bought the thin-sliced chicken breasts at the full-service meat counter of our local grocery store. I cooked the chicken on our outdoor gas grill.

I had never made pesto before. The task seemed daunting. I have watched enough cooking shows that I really should have gotten it that pesto isn’t that hard. But it just never sank in. This recipe called for pesto, however, so I decided to tackle it. It was really very easy and came out quite tasty. I substituted pine nuts for walnuts because that was what I had on hand. Otherwise I followed Giada’s instructions.

On the side I served Farmhouse Herb and Butter rice mix and I had our home-grown romaine lettuce with my homemade vinaigrette blend.

It was a dinner that worked out very well.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam ChowderWhen I make clam chowder, I have always made the traditional New England clam chowder. But on a recent evening Terry suggested that she would like Manhattan clam chowder. The only Manhattan clam chowder I have ever made was out of a can, but I was up for the challenge. I pulled out my laptop and opened my recipe database. The only recipe for Manhattan I had was from the illustrious Sam Sifton of the New York Times Magazine. (Yes, I know there’s a gazillion recipes online.) Sam’s recipe called for fresh clams, which I don’t have access to and wouldn’t use if I did. So, as usual, I did my own thing, but for the most part I followed Sam’s list of ingredients.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

makes about 4 servings


  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 cans of diced clams
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • basil
  • red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Chop the vegetables and put them in a sauce pan.
  2. Add water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Cook for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Use a ladle to remove enough water to add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Cook the bacon separately. I microwave it.
  5. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce. Break the bacon into bits and add.
  6. Add the spices to taste.
  7. Simmer for a few more minutes and serve with toasted garlic bread.

It exceeded my expectations.  Terry loved it.

A success, I believe.

Slow Cooker Chili Colorado

Chili ColoradoI was looking for something different to fix for dinner. I wanted something Mexican that was not enchiladas or tacos. My wife makes a great chili verde and I didn’t want to infringe on her territory. I thought chili colorado might be a good option, but I was surprised at the dearth of  recipes for that dish, which is on the menu of every Mexican restaurant west of the Rockies. I found a starting point and spun off from there.

I’m not specifying quantities. I’ll leave that to you. But I’ll give you the general framework.

Slow Cooker Chili Colorado


  • onions
  • tomatillos
  • tomatoes
  • Chilis, of your choice (Anaheim, ancho, etc.)
  • vegetable stock
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • ground mustard seed
  • olive oil
  • red wine or basaltic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • stew beef
  • corn starch


  1. Mix the spices and add olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Marinate the stew beef for two hours or more.
  2. Put the vegetables under the broiler for several minutes. Add the chilis near the end.
  3. Put the vegetables in a blender and blend. Add vegetable stock as needed.
  4. Put everything in a slow cooker. Cook 6 to 8 hours.
  5. Add corn starch in the last half hour to thicken the sauce as needed.

I started with a recipe from Aarón Sánchez.  I followed his direction on the veggies. I used his spices, but he specified a paste while I made a marinade. He called for roasting a flank steak, I chose stew beef in the slow cooker.

I was happy with the result and Terry loved the dish.


Chili Colorado veggies

pressure cooker chicken mole

chicken moleThis is an amazingly simple but tasty recipe. Looking through my files I found a recipe for chicken mole, but I didn’t like the technique or the fact that it used frozen chicken. So I did it my way.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Mole

serves 2


  • Fresh or thawed chicken breasts, cut into four strips, about 8 oz total
  • mole sauce, 8 oz container
  • brown rice


  1. Spoon half of the mole into a bowl. Mix with enough water to make a sauce to your liking.
  2. Coat the  chicken in the mole sauce.
  3. Heat 2 cups of water in the microwave for 4 minutes.
  4. Put the rack in the electric pressure cooker. Add the water. Put the chicken on the rack.
  5. Set the pressure cooker to 10 minutes on High.
  6. Allow natural pressure release for 10 minutes, and then do a manual pressure release.
  7. Serve with brown rice.

Very tasty!

scratch pizza

I love making pizza from scratch, but I don’t do it terribly often as it is a lot of work. My latest foray, however, I believe was my best effort since leaving behind my convection oven in Gilroy.

I have developed a set of steps for making pizza, which I adapted from the instructions that came with a Chicago Metallic pizza pan. This is just about right for a 12-inch pan.

Scratch Pizza


  • ⅝ cups warm water (105° to 115°)
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 ½ tsp (1 packet) yeast


  1. Mix ingredients in a stand mixer (KitchenAid, of course).
  2. Let rise 1 to 1 ½ hours, punch down.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Grease pizza pan with olive oil, roll out dough.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes on middle rack.
  6. Add sauce and toppings.
  7. Bake 15 minutes on lowest rack.

For the sauce I use a Spicy Pizza Sauce recipe from Cooking Light. I drained the canned tomatoes and (roughly) doubled the tomato paste which made for a thicker sauce without the liquid that I had experienced previously. I like a smooth sauce so I blended it using my immersion blender.

I used Provolone for the cheese and topped the pizza with bulk sausage from the service meat department, fresh white mushrooms, and sliced black olives.


scratch pizza

Tandoori chicken kebabs

Tandoori Chicken KebabsI’m always happy to have a new recipe for my NuWave oven, and I love Indian food. I’m not sure where I came across this recipe for Lean Tandoori Chicken Kebabs, but I had added it to my database at some point. It nicely covered both categories, so I decided to make it on a recent Saturday.

The first thing I did was to make the marinade the evening before in order to give it a full 24 hours. That was the right thing to do.  The chicken came out very flavorful. I followed the recipe for cooking times plus a couple of minutes, and I think it was a bit too long. The chicken was a tad dry. But I put both a lemon and a lime on our plates, and drizzling on the citrus made up for any dryness and added a little zing.

The basmati rice on the side worked well.

It made for a great Saturday dinner.

it turned out after all

I follow the posts from the kitchn in my news reader each day so I see all of their new content. They publish some interesting recipes, and when I saw their recipe for One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni it caught my attention. I saved it and added it to my database.

grillers crumblesWhen I was ready to make it I decided that Terry and I had gone rather heavy on meat that week. So instead of using ground beef I used a 12 ounce bag of Morningstar Grillers (soy) Crumbles. The recipe also made way more than we needed (it was written to serve 10 to 12), so I cut back on the quantities. I pretty much followed the recipe with respect to the veggies, canned tomatoes, seasonings, and pasta. I didn’t add the soy crumbles until near the end, however, and I seasoned them with Cajun seasoning. I was beginning to think I had a disaster on my hands, and so I held my breath as I mixed in the shredded cheddar cheese.

I put the dish on plates and brought them to the table. Terry really liked it, and I thought it was pretty good as well.