Moussaka Without Bechamel Sauce Recipe

I just love moussaka, but the traditional version is just too much work for one serving. I had a recipe for a Jewish Eygptian version of moussaka without bechamel,(or messa’aa) but the first try needed more tweaking. Back to the drawing board! This version uses more spices, has better flavor, and is much easier to put together.

There’s Middle Eastern flavor from spicy/warm cinnamon and nutmeg, the bite of garlic and onion, tender eggplant, and tomatoes. You can make this either with ground lamb or ground beef (whichever you prefer).

Many of the recipes I saw required first making a tomato sauce, then a meat mixture, then the eggplant, and finally assembling the entire thing together. Too much work and too many pots and pans to clean up.

My way is easier. First salt and fry the eggplant (or broil if you’d prefer), then cook the onion and garlic, add the meat, tomatoes, and seasoning, layer it all together and bake it. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen, you can have dinner ready in about an hour.

Or, make it all ahead of time, up to the point of putting it in the oven.  Then, put the baking dish in the fridge, and cook it when you’re ready. Just take the dish out about fifteen or twenty minutes in advance so that it isn’t ice cold when you put it in the oven. Make a quick salad or some rice and you have dinner.

This recipe is also a product of a bit of advance planning.  The trouble with cooking for one sometimes is that even if you make one serving you still have more ingredients left.  However, a little menu planning can go a long way toward fixing that problem.  You end up with several delicious meals,  a lot less waste, and it’s far more budget friendly too.

For example, this recipe uses the rest of the eggplant from rosemary olive oil broiled eggplant and the remaining crushed tomatoes from tomato artichoke pasta sauce recipe from two weeks ago. I’ve now used up the eggplant and the can of tomatoes. There are more recipes at the bottom of the post to help with the beef.




Easy Moussaka Without Bechamel

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Middle Eastern

one serving

Easy Moussaka Without Bechamel

Ingredients

  • 12 thin slices eggplant (about half a small eggplant)
  • kosher salt
  • 2 T plus 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small clove garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1/4 lb. ground beef or lamb
  • 4 T crushed tomatoes
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch allspice
  • generous grinding of pepper and salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

Instructions

  1. Preheat the toaster oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread the sliced eggplant on a cutting board and sprinkle it with kosher salt. Let sit for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then rinse the salt off and pat dry.
  3. Heat 2T of the olive oil in a frying pan large enough to hold the eggplant in one layer.
  4. Add the eggplant slices to the hot oil and cook for a minute on each side (it should be lightly colored, but not brown).
  5. Remove the eggplant, place on paper towels, and pat dry.
  6. Add the onion to the pan, and add the additional 1T of oil. Let the onion cook for five minutes on medium-low heat, until it softens and the fragrance starts to waft through your kitchen. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  7. Now add the ground beef or lamb, the tomatoes, and the spices.
  8. Cook for 10 minutes until the meat is browned.
  9. Layer the bottom of a small (6 inches or so) baking dish with half the eggplant. Add the cooked meat mixture on top. Then arrange the remaining eggplant on top.
  10. Put the dish in the toaster oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Moussaka Without Bechamel Sauce Substitutions and Variations

  • Pan fry some almonds in olive oil and add that to the meat mixture in the pan
  • Toss in some raisins
  • Top the moussaka with a mixture of yogurt, garlic cloves, olive oil, salt, and chopped cucumbers (sort of a tzatziki without the dill)
  • Substitute potatoes or zucchini for the eggplant
  • Add some chopped green pepper to the meat mixture

Moussaka Without Bechamel Tools and Ingredients

HIC Square Baking Dish small porcelain baking dish

I use this dish all the time.  It’s great for mini-moussaka (like this recipe), mac and cheese, peach crumble, triple chocolate cake, brownies, or ginger pear bread. You could even make quiche or a mini-meatloaf in it. The dish goes in the oven, the microwave, or the broiler and it’s dishwasher safe too. And since it’s pretty, you don’t need an extra serving dish (one less thing to wash).

Simply Organic Allspice

Despite the name, this isn’t a spice mixture; it’s from a berry.  Allspice is great for moussaka, and indispensable for meatballs, pies (pumpkin season is coming!), and chicken. Like nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves it’s one of those warm/spicy ingredients that can add a little kick or a savory flavor depending on how you use it.  It’s sort of a cinnamony, clove, nutmeg taste.

More Beef Recipes

Use up the rest of the package of beef with these recipes.

Sloppy Joe Recipe for One Person

Small Batch Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Compound Butter Cheeseburger

Easy Italian Meatball Recipe for One




Tuna Cannellini Bean Salad Recipe for One

Tuna cannellini bean salad is a great meal for those days when you just don’t feel like “cooking.” Maybe you got home late from work, or you’ve been out running errands all day, or it’s just too hot to fuss.  This meal requires nothing more complicated than opening a few cans, sprinkling some seasonings, and a little bit of chopping. Easy.

Everything comes straight from your pantry.  The beans are canned, the tuna is canned, and the only fresh ingredient you need is some scallions, and maybe the lemon juice. Even that isn’t essential; if you don’t have scallions, use onion instead.  If you’re out of fresh lemons, the bottled juice will do just fine.

If you do have the time and energy, this is a bit better with freshly cooked beans. The canned beans tend to be slightly mushy, and sometimes they’re a little salty.   If you go the dried bean route, use my quick soak method to speed things up.  If not, no harm, no foul.

The recipe is enough for two lunches or one dinner (depending  how hungry you are).  I usually find that I eat a whole 5 oz. can of tuna for lunch if I just make ordinary tuna salad, but adding the beans stretches it enough for two meals.

I’ve adapted it slightly from one of  Pierre Franey’s Sixty Minute Gourmet cookbooks. I reduced the quantity and eliminated the parsley (never had any use for parsley). This is not only better than sixty minutes, it only takes about ten.

Serve with some fresh fruit and you have a fast lunch in under fifteen minutes.  Add crusty bread to that and you have dinner.




Tuna Cannellini Bean Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Category: lunch

Cuisine: Meditteranean

one

Tuna Cannellini Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 15 oz. can cannellini (white kidney) beans
  • 1 small scallion, chopped (or about 1 T chopped onion)
  • one small garlic clove, minced
  • pinch dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1T olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 5 oz can tuna

Instructions

  1. Drain the beans and pour them into a small mixing bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients (except the tuna).
  3. Drain the oil from the tuna, add it to the bowl and break it apart with a fork.
  4. Take a fork and spoon and toss everything together to combine the ingredients.

Tuna Cannellini Bean Salad Substitutions and Variations

  • add some capers
  • mix in some cherry tomatoes
  • try red onion instead of the scallions
  • serve over romaine lettuce
  • mix some greens (watercress, arugula, or one of those baby greens mixtures) right into the salad

 

More Cannellini Bean Recipes

White Bean Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

Lentil Bean Sausage Soup

Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup




Pasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

Shortcut your dinner cooking routine with staples you already have in your pantry. This tomato artichoke pasta sauce recipe (also called Pasta Sauce Raphael) is ready in less than half an hour.  The original called for fresh tomatoes and hours of simmering. My version is faster and tastes just as good!

It’s flavored with rich, sweet tomatoes, a bit of earthy oregano and summery basil, plus a gentle kick from red pepper flakes and plenty of black pepper.

The only thing you need to get is the jar of marinated artichoke hearts. You likely already have the rest of the ingredients in  your larder (yay!).  Since the basil and oregano are dried, you don’t have to go and get fresh herbs.

The best way to approach this is to begin by making the pasta. Set the pasta pot on the stove with water and start to bring it to a boil. While that’s heating up, start working on the sauce.

Save the rest of the artichokes to make the recipe again, or add them to an antipasto platter with salami, fruit, olives, and cheese on a night you don’t feel like cooking.

The remaining tomatoes can go for Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant or Small Batch Spicy Stovetop Chili




Tomato Artichoke Pasta Sauce Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Italian

one serving

Tomato Artichoke Pasta Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

  • Pasta
  • 4 oz. short pasta or tortellini
  • 2 quarts of water
  • pinch salt
  • Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • generous pinch red pepper flakes
  • generous grinding of black pepper
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 6.5 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts (with marinade)
  • 4 tsp grated Romano cheese

Instructions

  1. Pasta
  2. Measure out the water into a large pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the pasta and salt and cook for about 8 minutes, until al dente.
  4. Sauce
  5. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium size saucepan.
  6. Add the onion, garlic, dried basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
  7. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the grinding of black pepper, the tomatoes, and a pinch of salt.
  9. Simmer for about 8 minutes.
  10. Add the artichokes and marinade and simmer another minute or two.
  11. If the sauce gets too thick, add some of the pasta water. This will also add extra flavor to the sauce.
  12. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the sauce.
  13. Add 3 teaspoons of the Romano cheese to the sauce and toss everything together so that the pasta is completely coated with sauce. Taste and correct seasoning (adding more salt and pepper if needed).
  14. Pour the pasta and sauce into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

Tomato Artichoke Pasta Sauce Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • Add a spoonful of capers to the sauce
  • Intensify the tomato flavor with sun-dried tomatoes
  • Try Manchego or Parmesan cheese instead of Romano
  • If you don’t have the marinated artichokes, use the canned kind with some olive oil and white wine
  • If you don’t like artichokes (or have them handy) replace them with mushrooms and a tablespoon of Italian dressing

More Pasta Recipes

Pasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

Spaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

Penne with Feta Cheese, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Olives

Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil




Homemade Chicken Shawarma with Yogurt Sauce

I’ve been craving chicken shawarma ever since I first saw The Avengers movie (years ago!)  Since I’m in NY, and the city wasn’t really broken like in the movie, I even looked up the place where the last scene was filmed (when they were all sitting around eating shawarma).  But somehow, I never managed to get there.  I was re-watching the movie again recently and had the same craving again. Then I thought, wait, I know how to cook! Why go out and schlep all the way to midtown when I can make homemade chicken shawarma instead?

So, instead of going out, I went to the Internet and found a NY Times recipe.  This dish is traditionally made on a spit or a rotisserie, but who has a roasting spit in their home? Not me, and certainly not in my tiny kitchen.  The oven works just fine.  If you want, you can roast the chicken first, and then fry it in a pan to make it crispier.  I prefer my chicken moist and tender, so I skipped that step.

You make this dish in two stages. First marinate the chicken, make the yogurt sauce, and let both sit in the fridge. It’s best if it sits overnight, but allow at least an hour so that the flavors have time to blend together.

I put the chicken and the marinade ingredients in a plastic zip lock bag, shook it all up, and rubbed the sauce into the meat.  One less bowl to clean! The yogurt sauce went into a small ramekin.

There are hundreds of different ways to make the sauce: with za’atar or sumac, with dill, mint, basil, mostly mayo, yogurt/mayo, and on and on and on.  I’ve listed several different variations, just pick the one that suits your tastes and the ingredients you have on hand.

I could use za’atar and sumac, but I left them out of the instructions since they are a bit exotic in the US and I try to stick to ingredients that are readily accessible. The lemon zest, salt, and pepper that are in the recipe are a decent substitute for the sumac.  You can combine thyme, sesame seeds, sumac (or lemon pepper), plus salt and make your own za’atar substitute.

If you like, combine the dry ingredients for the marinade together and keep them in a spice jar.  Then, you just have to add fresh lemon juice and you’re ready to cook.

Serve this with a Greek salad, rice, olives, feta, or even (gasp) French fries. Fried or roasted eggplant would be great too.

Homemade Chicken Shawarma

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Middle Eastern

one serving

Homemade Chicken Shawarma

Get takeout flavor right in your own kitchen. Homemade chicken shawarma is a meal all by itself.

Ingredients

  • Homemade Shawarma Marinade
  • 1/2 small lemon, juiced (divided, about 2-3 T total; use 2T for the marinade and one for the sauce)
  • 2 T plus 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • generous pinch turmeric (about 1/8 tsp)
  • pinch cinnamon
  • red pepper flakes
  • Chicken
  • 1 chicken thigh (bone-in)
  • 1/2 onion, cut in quarters
  • One pita bread
  • Yogurt Sauce
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 T mayonnaise
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • grating of lemon zest (healthy pinch)
  • small clove minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional Sauce ingredients
  • minced mint
  • z'aatar
  • sumac
  • minced dill
  • tahini
  • chopped cucumber

Instructions

  1. Marinade
  2. Start by making the marinade for the chicken. Pour all the marinade ingredients into a plastic zip lock bag. Mix it all up with a spoon.
  3. Chicken
  4. Add the chicken, close the bag, and shake it, and rub the marinade into the meat. Set in the fridge for at least an hour (preferably overnight).
  5. Sauce
  6. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl or ramekin. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour (or overnight).
  7. Preheat the toaster oven to 425 degrees.
  8. Take the chicken out of the fridge, open the bag, and add the onion. Close the bag and shake to mix it all up.
  9. Grease the toaster oven tray (or a small rimmed baking pan) with the remaining oil. Pour the chicken and marinade onto the pan.
  10. Cook for 30-40 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it sit for a minute or two until it's cool enough to handle. Cut the chicken up (save the bone for soup), and place on the pita.
  11. Drizzle the sauce over the meat and serve.

Notes

Note, the prep time on this includes an hour of marinating time. You don't actually have to work that long!




 

Homemade Chicken Shawarma Substitutions and Variations

  • Serve with Persian or English cucumbers and fresh tomatoes
  • Top with feta cheese
  • Add chopped dill or mint to the sauce
  • Put za’atar or sumac in the sauce
  • Make the sauce with tahini
  • Serve with a Greek salad (olives, feta, tomatoes, and cucumber)

More Middle Eastern Recipes

Shakshouka for One

Vegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person

Chopped Israeli Salad for One Person

Easy Lentils and Rice Recipe

Tools and Ingredients for Homemade Chicken Shawarma

norpro porcelain ramekinsNorpro 4oz/120ml Porcelain Ramekins, Set of 6norpro porcelain ramekins

These little ramekins are super-handy in the kitchen. I use them for dips, sauces, mixing up a quick salad dressing, nuts, slices of lemon to squeeze on fish, and olives. Use one for the olives, and another to hold the pits (works for cherries too). Or, you can even use them for spare change.

zaatar seasoning
USimply Season Za’atar

If you want try try actual za’atar, make sure to look carefully at the ingredients. Some of them have wheat (?!?) in them, and others are just thyme (which is the English translation). You want a mixture of sesame seeds, thyme, oregano or marjoram, and sumac. This one delivers what it should. Use it for the yogurt sauce, add it to roasted vegetables or fish, or sprinkle it into olive oil and serve with pita bread.

ground sumac
USimplySeason Sumac

Sumac adds a pop of bright red color, as well as a citrusy, lemon flavor to food. It’s great with hummus, over fish, mixed in salads, or on potatoes. There’s no additives, salt, or other fillers in this jar, just sumac.

 



 

Smoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

The inspiration for this recipe comes from a long-ago birthday dinner at a tiny neighborhood Italian restaurant. The restaurant is now (sadly) closed, but their smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauce lives on!

The pasta is bathed in a velvety, slightly pink, tomato sauce with a touch of cream.  It’s delicious and elegant too.  Make a double batch and serve it for company (they’ll think you’ll worked on it all day).

This only requires a little bit of smoked salmon (about a slice or two), so you won’t bust your budget cooking it.  Even better, check to see if your market or deli sells smoked salmon ends. They’re much cheaper, and taste just as good as the fancy slices.  Besides, a beautiful slice hardly matters when you are going to cut it up into small pieces!

If you don’t have any smoked salmon handy, you can use leftover cooked salmon instead. Add it right at the end.  The idea is just to heat it up. You don’t want to overcook it.

To save some time (and get dinner done faster), put the water for the pasta in the pot first, and start bringing it to a boil. While the water is heating up,  chop the onion.  Then get the second pan going with the butter and oil.   Once the water is boiling, add the pasta to the pot.  Finish the sauce in the second pan while the pasta cooks. That way, you have dinner in about 20-25 minutes and nothing sits around getting cold.




Smoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Italian

one serving

Smoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

Creamy, velvety pasta with smoked salmon. A dish elegant enough for company (but you don't have to share).

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. short pasta
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 T onion, chopped
  • 1/4 C crushed or pureed tomatoes
  • 1/4 C cream
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 or two slices smoked salmon, chopped (about 1/4 C)

Instructions

  1. Fill a saucepan with the water and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook for 5-8 minutes.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter and oil in a small saucepan on medium heat.
  3. Add the chopped onion, and cook until translucent (about five minutes).
  4. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add cream and pepper flakes.
  6. Bring to a simmer until thick (about 5 minutes).
  7. Add the salmon and heat for a minute.
  8. Drain the pasta, and pour into the pot with the sauce. Stir everything together and serve.

 

Smoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce Substitutions and Variations

  • Trade the smoked salmon for leftover cooked salmon.
  • Add a shot of vodka for penne a la vodka with salmon.
  • Try sun-dried tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes.

More Pasta Recipes

Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant

Summer Pasta with Green Olives and Feta Cheese

Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Spaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce




Cold Leftover Steak Salad with Goat Cheese and Red Wine Vinaigrette

Ever get stumped by what to do with leftover steak?  Steaks aren’t sold for one person, generally. The portions are too big!  It’s not enough for another steak dinner, and too much to toss without guilt.

You could make a steak sandwich, or try something a bit different and toss it into a steak salad. Add some veggies, goat cheese, and a homemade red wine vinaigrette and you’ve got a delicious dinner without any cooking.  Cold leftover steak salad is the perfect solution for hot summer days when the thought of turning on the stove is too much to bear.

This recipe is inspired by a steak salad on Food Network.  I liked the basic idea, but wasn’t about to buy three kinds of greens, extra red onions, or bleu cheese (since bleu cheese and I don’t get along).  I used just one kind of lettuce (green leaf) instead and swapped the bleu cheese for herbed goat cheese.

This is best with leftover steak (since it’s already cold), but you can pan fry a small piece if you want and let it rest (or chill in the fridge) while you do something else. Use the rest for a steak sandwich or in a stir fry.




 

Cold Leftover Steak Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: American

one serving

Cold Leftover Steak Salad

A great way to use up leftover steak. It's also a good way to get dinner fast, or on a hot day, without cooking anything.

Ingredients

    Salad
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups green leaf lettuce (or mixed greens)
  • 2-3 campari tomatoes, cut in wedges (or 4-6 cherry tomatoes)
  • sliced cucumber (about 1/4 cup)
  • one or two mini bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 oz. herbed goat cheese
  • 1/4 lb. leftover cooked steak, sliced thin
    Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 2T red wine vinegar
  • 2 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4C olive oil

Instructions

  1. Add the greens, tomatoes, cucumber, and bell pepper to a medium-size bowl.
  2. Toss everything together.
  3. Add the goat cheese and the steak.
  4. Put the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, garlic, and salt and pepper in a small bowl or ramekin. Whisk together with a fork. Slowly add the oil, and mix everything together.
  5. Pour over the salad.

Notes

If you don't have leftover steak, pan fry it with salt, pepper, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Cook for 5-8 minutes until desired doneness (depending on how thick the steak is).

Cold Leftover Steak Salad Substitutions and Variations

  • Add a bit of Dijon mustard to the vinaigrette
  • Go for the bleu cheese if you like it
  • Use a handful of mixed greens (or make the entire salad with them)
  • Add half a sliced scallion
  • Saute some shallots and add them to the dressing

More Salad Recipes

Chicken Caprese Salad Panini Sandwich

Vegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person

Chopped Israeli Salad for One Person

Mixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

 




Chicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe

If you’re hungry, chicken thighs are a great answer to the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?”  You can get this chicken and mushroom skillet recipe from walk in the door from work to ready to eat in about half an hour.

And, it only requires one pot! Less clean up is a good thing, in my book.  You don’t have to marinate the chicken, or leave it overnight, or fuss with it.  Pan fry the chicken, slice the mushrooms, onions, and garlic, and let it simmer.

There’s no separate gravy to prepare either.  It creates its own sauce right in the pan.

The funny thing is, I “invented” (or thought I’d invented) this recipe one night from ingredients I had lying around.  It turns out that it’s nearly identical to a recipe in one of Jacques Pépin’s cookbooks.  I don’t pretend to be his equal, but if you’re going to “borrow” an idea from someone, start at the top!

Although, I will say that his recipe requires two pots and mine only needs one.  Yes, I do count the washing up necessary to make something (it makes a difference when you don’t have a dishwasher).

Serve the chicken with rice or crusty bread to sop up the sauce. The vegetables in the photo were just some frozen mixed vegetables that I microwaved with salt and lemon pepper.




Chicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: French

one

Chicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe

A quick one pot chicken dish with mushrooms, onions, and garlic.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken thigh, bone-in
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1/3 C chopped onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2-3 sliced mushrooms (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 C chicken broth (plus one or 2 T if needed)
  • pinch dried thyme

Instructions

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a small skillet on medium heat.
  3. Put the chicken in the pan and cook five minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook another five minutes.
  4. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Sprinkle everything with the flour and stir to distribute it evenly.
  5. Pour the chicken broth into the pan and sprinkle the thyme over the chicken and vegetables.
  6. Cover the pot and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Remove the chicken and set it on a plate. Stir the remaining vegetables and scrape up the brown bits at the bottom. If it's too dry, add another tablespoon or two of chicken broth. This should deglaze the pan and create a sauce. Cook for another few minutes until the sauce thickens.
  8. Pour the mushroom sauce over the chicken.

Chicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • stir a splash of dry white wine into the sauce (or use the wine instead of the chicken broth)
  • add 1/3 cup of frozen broccoli to the mushroom mixture
  • cut up the chicken and serve it over noodles
  • add some sliced bell peppers

More Chicken and Mushroom Recipes

Crispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Quick Chicken Mango Stir Fry Recipe

Chicken Thigh Recipe with Peaches and Ginger

Single Serving Chicken Recipe with Tarragon and Mushrooms




Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

This recipe makes me smile whenever I make it.  You may wonder what’s so funny about linguine with garlic and olive oil?  Nothing really, it just reminds me of a friend.

This friend does not cook. At all.  I don’t think she’s ever used her oven.  I was at her house one day and I was hungry. Nobody else wanted anything, so I started poking around in her fridge and cupboards (with permission).

I found some dried pasta, bouillon cubes, some olive oil, and a can of parmesan cheese. So, I made the “shelf stable” version of this recipe.  They all looked at me as if I had walked on water or parted the seas!

It is, of course, much better if you have higher quality ingredients at hand.  Here at home, I used fresh linguine, homemade chicken broth, and freshly grated parmesan cheese, along with high quality olive oil.

You can do it that way, the shelf stable way, or somewhere in-between.  I won’t judge.

 


Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Italian

one serving

Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

A simple, weeknight dinner you can make even if your cupboards are nearly bare! It can be fancy (fresh pasta), or simple and basic (shelf stable ingredients). Great for those, what the heck do I eat for dinner nights. A lot of flavor without a lot of effort.

Ingredients

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2T olive oil
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 lb. linguine or spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Add the oil to a small frying pan. Put the garlic in the pan and cook over medium heat. until it turns slightly golden. Don't burn it! Stir it every once in a while, then turn off the heat and set it aside.
  2. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the salt.
  3. If you are using dried pasta, add it, then stir it (to keep it from sticking).
  4. Cook for 5-8 minutes until it's al dente (soft, but not mushy).
  5. If you have fresh pasta, add it, stir, and watch carefully. The pasta is cooked when the water returns to a boil (a minute or two).
  6. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot.
  7. Add the chicken broth and turn the heat back on to medium. Let the pasta/broth mixture simmer for a few minutes until most of the broth is absorbed.
  8. Take the garlic/oil mixture you set aside and add that to the pasta pot. Using a spoon and a fork, toss the whole thing together, like a salad.
  9. Remove to a plate and serve, topped with black pepper and grated cheese.

Substitutions and Variations for Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

  • Make it more substantial with some cooked chicken or cooked shrimp
  • Top it with some red pepper flakes
  • Add a bit of lemon zest
  • Use some anchovies (if you like them)
  • Top with freshly toasted breadcrumbs




 

More Pasta Recipes

Pasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

Summer Pasta with Green Olives and Feta Cheese

Spaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

Pistachio Pesto Pasta Recipe

Chicken Chili Verde Recipe

Two of my friends have been raving about this chicken chili verde recipe for years.  I finally decided to try it myself, and they were right.

Ideally, this should be made with Hatch chiles.  Unfortunately, while New York is a wonderland of food, fresh Hatch chiles are a bit scarce.  So, I had to make do with the canned variety.  If you can get them fresh, by all means use them! Instead of regular canned tomatoes, I used tomatoes mixed with green chiles.

There are no beans, just chicken, peppers, a few spices, and chicken broth. It’s not too spicy, and easy to put together. The hardest part is waiting for it to simmer!




Chicken Chile Verde Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Mexican

one serving

Chicken Chile Verde Recipe

Chicken chili verde with cumin and oregano.

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large chicken thigh, cut up into pieces
  • 1 tsp flour
  • generous pinch cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can green chiles (4 oz can)
  • 1 can tomatoes with green chiles (10 oz can)
  • 1 C water
  • 2 T chicken broth
  • 1/2 small fresh jalapeño pepper
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium size saucepan.
  2. Add the onions and saute for two or three minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  3. Put the chicken in the pan and cook until it browns (about 3-5 minutes).
  4. Add the flour, and stir to coat the chicken.
  5. Add the cumin and oregano and stir.
  6. Add the can of chile, the can of tomatoes with green chiles, the water, the chicken broth, and the jalapeño pepper.
  7. Season with salt and black pepper.
  8. Turn the heat to low and simmer for an hour.

Notes

This is one generous dinner serving or enough for dinner one night and lunch later.

Substitutions and Variations for Chicken Chili Verde Recipe

  • Line a bowl with tortilla chips, add the chili and top with shredded cheese
  • Use pork and/or beef instead of chicken
  • Add a potato (peeled and cut into chunks) to the chili
  • Try some fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • Go for the Hatch chiles if you can get them (remove the stems and boil them for ten minutes first)

Tools and Ingredients for Chicken Chili Verde


Ro-tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies – 10 oz

This can is just the right size for this recipe. No leftovers! It’s not too spicy (I think it comes in hotter versions too) and adds a lot of flavor.  You can also use it to make cheese dip.


Old El Paso Chopped Chiles 4.5 oz Can

Amazon only sells this single can to Prime members (or if you have access to their fresh service), but if you do, then go for it. They’ve got the Hatch chiles too, but you have to buy an awful lot of them at once!

More Chicken and Chili Recipes

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Egg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe

Small Batch Spicy Stovetop Chili Recipe

Chili Garlic Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

 




Stir Fry Chicken with Peanut Sauce

Why go out for chicken stir fry when you can make it easily at home?  This Thai-inspired stir fry chicken with peanut sauce recipe is ready in about 15 or 20 minutes. You get chicken, crisp-fried veggies, and a creamy peanut sauce over it all. 

It’s just enough for one person. I made it with rice stick noodles, but you can use plain rice or brown rice if you prefer.  I first tried a completely different recipe, from a usually reliable source, but I found it just lacked flavor. 

This one has peanuts (naturally), honey, hoisin sauce, and a generous squirt of lime.  The lime brightens up the flavor, and the honey adds a hint of sweetness.

I used freshly ground peanut butter (the sort of peanut butter they sell at health food stores), but the kind in the jar is fine too.  If you use the freshly-ground peanut butter you may need to add more oil. That will make it easier to mix the ingredients together. It should spread easily and you should be able to toss it over the cooked chicken and the vegetables.




Use whatever vegetables you have on hand, such as:  bell pepper, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, or onions.  You can mix and match to suit your own taste.  Whatever you use, you’ll need about 1 1/2  cups.

If you’re making regular rice, start that first.  The rice stick noodles cook like pasta, just faster.  Bring the water to a boil and then cook the noodles about three minutes.

For the rest of the recipe, make the sauce first.  Then cook the chicken.  Once the chicken is done, set that aside and cook the vegetables.  Put the chicken back in the pan, and then add the sauce. Don’t let the sauce cook too much, just enough to heat everything up.

You can speed up the process by using mixed frozen veggies (not the bell peppers though, they tend to get soggy). That way, you save time cooking and chopping.

There is one “problem” though with this recipe. The kitchen still smells so good after you finish dinner that you want to eat it again.

Chicken Peanut Sauce Stir Fry Recipe (Single Serving)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Thai

one serving

Chicken Peanut Sauce Stir Fry Recipe (Single Serving)

An easy Thai-inspired recipe for chicken with peanut sauce.

Ingredients

  • Sauce
  • 2 T peanut butter
  • (1 tsp canola oil, if necessary)
  • 1 T plus 1 1/2 tsp (or four and a half teaspoons, if that's easier) soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Chicken
  • 1 chicken thigh
  • 1 T canola oil
  • salt and pepper (easy on the salt, the soy sauce is salty)
  • Veggies
  • 1 1/2 C vegetables, cut up (such as broccoli, bell pepper, snap peas, mushrooms, or cauliflower)

Instructions

  1. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. If you use natural, grainy peanut butter, add some extra canola oil to make it easier to spread and mix together.
  2. Heat the oil in a small frying pan.
  3. Cut up the chicken into strips (you can use a boneless thigh or cut the meat off the bone)*
  4. Cook the chicken for a couple of minutes and then set it aside.
  5. Add the veggies and cook for 3-5 minutes. I like to put the broccoli and cauliflower in first, then save the peppers for last (so they retain some crunch).
  6. Put the chicken back in the pan.
  7. Add the sauce and mix everything together until the chicken and vegetables are thoroughly coated.
  8. Cook until the chicken is reheated.
  9. Serve with rice or rice noodles.

Notes

I tend to use bone-in thighs, cut the meat off the bone, and let the bone cook for a while after the chicken is done. Then I save it for homemade broth.

Substitutions and Variations for Stir Fry Chicken with Peanut Sauce

  • Add some slivers of garlic and fresh ginger to the chicken when you cook it.
  • Make it spicier with sriracha or cayenne flakes.
  • Let the chicken cool, toss fresh, raw veggies in a bowl (use double the amount),  and eat it cold as a salad.
  • Skip the chicken, and just make it with the sauce, veggies, and rice stick noodles

More Chicken Recipes for One

Sichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Indian Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

Single Serving Asian Chicken Salad with Cabbage Recipe