Roast Chicken with Plums

Once summer rolls around, it’s hard to think about cooking too much. Complicated dishes, with lots of steps have very little appeal. On the other hand, something like this roast chicken with plums just hits the spot. It’s sweet, tangy, with just a hint of savory warm spiciness. And super simple to make.

My first thought the day I made this was to go for chicken with peaches and ginger, Then I had an idea. I had some fresh plums. Why not use those instead? Since plums are more tart than peaches, it needed something to balance the flavor, and add some sweetness. A bit of googling, and some reverse-engineering from a recipe I couldn’t see completely, and ta da!

All you have to do is cut up the ingredients, mix everything together, and bake it. You don’t have to fuss, or make a separate sauce, or hover over the stove.

I recommend using firmer plums as the riper ones are too soft to cut easily and tend to just collapse into mush (delicious mush, but still mush).




Roast Chicken with Plums Substitutions and Variations

  • make a spice rub with cumin, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon, salt, and olive oil and marinate the chicken overnight
  • add ginger and lemon to the sauce
  • put the plum sauce on the bottom of the pan and layer the chicken over it (so the juices drip down)

More Chicken Recipes

Vietnamese baked chicken with limeVietnamese Chicken with Lime and Ginger

Ginger for warm spiciness, plus lime for a citrusy tang, and a bit of a kick from chili garlic sauce.

 

crispy lemon chicken thighCrispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Great hot or cold, and perfect for picnics. Three kinds of lemon pack a big, citrusy punch, balanced by brown sugar.

 

feta brined roast chickenFeta Brined Roast Chicken Recipe for One

You’ve heard of brining turkey in salt? This is better. Brining with feta adds more flavor, and keeps the chicken moist and juicy.

 

peruvian roast chicken with green saucePeruvian Roast Chicken in Green Sauce Recipe

The sauce! Oh the sauce! It’s tangy, garlicky, and soooo good. Great on the chicken and also as a veggie dip.

 




Pan Fried Salmon with Nectarine Salsa

Does this happen to you? I bought a big bag of nectarines from Imperfect Foods without thinking what to do with them, or how I was going to eat all those nectarines all by myself.  Sometimes my eyes get ahead of my brain. Uh oh, now what? But, I had previously bought salmon from them and frozen it. I thought, well the sweet nectarines should pair beautifully with the fish. So, the answer was pan-fried salmon with nectarine salsa!

And then later, there will be nectarine mini tarts. Because why not.

Nectarine makes a refreshing change from the usual tomato. They’re sweeter, juicier, and a perfect foil for the tangy lime and spicy jalapeño. And summer is the ideal time to take advantage. The salmon was simply pan-fried with a squeeze of lime and a few seasonings.

This made a bit more salsa than I needed for just the salmon. But, it was fantastic over eggs the next day.




Pan Fried Salmon with Nectarine Salsa Substitutions and Variations

  • Don’t have salmon? This would work beautifully with a pork chop too. Pan-fry with some olive oil and cumin
  • Or, try the salsa with some scrambled eggs
  • Haven’t got jalapeño? Use red pepper flakes instead

More Salmon Recipes

salmon in foil packet with potatoesSalmon in Foil Packet with Potatoes

Season, fold, and bake. No cleanup, and it’s a whole meal in a simple packet.

 

salmon greek yogurt dill sauceSalmon with Greek Yogurt Dill Sauce

Crispy cucumbers, creamy yogurt, and touch of fresh dill add brightness and freshness to this sauce. Let it sit if you can to let the flavors meld.

 

smoked salmon artichoke saladSmoked Salmon Artichoke Salad

This works with either smoked or cooked salmon.  The citrus is sweet and bright, and the marinated artichokes add kick.

 

smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauceSmoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

Creamy, velvety and elegant enough for a special occasion. Yet, it’s surprisingly easy to make.

 

 




Pork Chili Verde for One

I know, I’ve already got two chili recipes on here already: Chicken Chili Verde and Small Batch Spicy Stovetop Chili. So why a third? Because the chicken was frozen, and I found a pork chili verde recipe that appealed to me. It also seemed more authentic and actually was entirely green too. It’s made with ground pork, simmered in a salsa verde of jalapeños, garlic, onion, and cumin.

And, unlike the others, this recipe is ready fairly quickly. If you’ve already got cooked (or canned) beans, you can make this in about half an hour. If not, it’s about an hour (still pretty speedy for chili).

The original recipe called for potatoes and corn. I had some pre-soaked cranberry beans leftover from something else, so I tossed those in instead.

The cranberry beans are firmer than kidney beans, and more colorful than the navy beans I usually buy.  I initially bought them because that’s all that was in the store, but I find I rather like them. One of the few pleasant outcomes of the quarantine!

If you don’t have pre-soaked beans, the canned ones are fine. And it will take only 35 minutes to cook, since you don’t have to wait for the beans to soften. Or, speed up the soaking/cooking process with my quick soak beans method.




Pork Chili Verde Substitutions and Variations

  • If you have access to Hatch chiles, use those instead of the jalapeños
  • Don’t want to use beans? Substitute 1 or 2 small potatoes instead (and/or 1/2 C of corn)
  • Make it with all beef, all pork, or a combination of the two
  • You can also use pork shoulder, but then you’d have to cook it longer
  • Skip the beans, double the broth and you have green chili sauce for enchiladas or burritos

More Chili (and Chile) Recipes

eggs with spinach and chili pepperEggs with Spinach and Chili Peppers

Just the thing for a fast lunch or brunch.  The spinach mellows out the peppers, the eggs cook quickly, and the whole thing is topped with cooling yogurt or sour cream.

 

 

egg chili cheese burritoEgg Chili Cheese Burrito

Saute, scramble, and it’s a wrap.  A meal in minutes.

 

 

chicken chili verde recipeChicken Chili Verde Recipe

A mild chili, with green chiles, chicken, and cumin. Not spicy, and easy to put together.

 

spicy stovetop chili recipeSmall Batch Spicy Stovetop Chili Recipe

If you’d rather have something that brings the heat, try this spicy chili. It’s flavored with sriracha, cumin, garlic, and onions. Slow-cooked for maximum flavor.

 




Bibimbap Rice Bowl with Meat and Vegetables

It may not roll off your tongue (if you’re not used to it), but bibimbap means a variety of ingredients mixed with rice. So, essentially, a Korean rice bowl. You make this meal in layers, building up the rice, then the meat, the veggies, sauce, and finally top it all with an egg. It’s really flexible though, sort of a Korean spin on cleaning out the fridge.  This particular bibimbap rice bowl recipe is loosely inspired by a recipe I found on Korean Kitchen.

However, I didn’t have all the ingredients she used, such as sprouts or seaweed, and under current circumstances, I didn’t really want to go out looking for them. The idea was to make this easy for myself, and for you too.  In addition, I also wanted to focus on “sturdier” ingredients, such as cabbage and carrots that will last in the fridge, rather than sprouts. You could even use frozen veggies (cook them for less time), like broccoli or one of those frozen stir fry mixes. Definitely not authentic, but still good.

Since I was using cabbage, which takes longer to cook, I just chopped the carrot up, instead of julienning it. That way, the two vegetables would be ready at the same time.

You make this in several stages. If you are using brown rice, start that first, and let it cook while you put the meat mixture together and let that sit so the flavors blend together. If you have white rice, start the meat mixture, and then put up the rice while that’s marinating.




Bibimbap Rice Bowl Substitutions and Variations

  • try different vegetables, such as broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, or zucchini
  • swap the beef for ground chicken or even leftover fish
  • this should properly be made with gochujang, which is a spicy Korean pepper paste; if you have it, use it and add about 3/4 tsp water.

 

More Cabbage Recipes

chinese chicken noodle cabbage soupChinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

Wonderful comfort food when. you’re stuck inside. Just enough soup for a generous serving for one.   The spicy hot broth helps clear your head , the garlic, ginger, and chili sauce have anti-bacterial (not viruses, bacteria) qualities, and it’s delicious.

asian chicken salad with cabbageSingle Serving Asian Chicken Salad with Cabbage Recipe

Colorful, spicy, and frankly more colors makes a dish look and feel more appetizing.  Works with chicken, leftover pork, or even add some cooked noodles or rice instead.

 

unstuffed cabbage roll recipeSmall Batch Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Stuffed cabbage is delicious, and pantry-friendly. But making all those separate rolls is a pain. So don’t bother.  Layer it like lasagne instead!

 




Spicy Lamb and Lentils

Meaty lamb, earthy lentils and a touch of heat combine for an easy meal that’s fragrant and full of flavor. It’s also ready in just a few minutes, largely with pantry and fridge staples (other than the garnish). I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit. But, as usual, I made a few changes. The idea of crispy lamb didn’t really appeal to me, so I just browned it in the pan. And, partly in the interest of speed, and partly due to a moment of distraction, I tossed the lentils in without removing the lamb first. Oops. But, it was fine. I also skipped the cilantro and topped it with garlic shoots instead (since I have them growing in my windowsill).

Lentils store well and are packed with protein too. They pair well with lamb, as they complement its rich, meaty flavor.

If you don’t have cooked lentils, they are easy to make. Unlike beans, they require no soaking. The formula is 3 parts water to one part lentils. Add the lentils and water to a pot. Bring it to a boil, then turn it down to a low simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. And the volume roughly doubles from dry to cooked. So, to get 1/3 cup cooked lentils, you’ll need about 3 T of dry lentils and 1/2 C of water. Or keep it simple and make more. The recipe is good with, or without the lamb, so you can have it again meatless. I’ve also added additional lentil recipes at the end of the post.




Spicy Lamb and Lentils Substitutions and Variations

  • Try red lentils instead; they take a 3:1 ratio and the split ones cook in about five minutes (plus they look pretty)
  • Not a fan of lamb? Make it meatless instead
  • If you like cilantro, garnish the lamb with it, if not try garlic scapes or scallions instead

More Lentil Recipes

easy lentils and rice recipeEasy Lentils and Rice Recipe

Now that you’ve got lentils, here’s an easy recipe for them. It’s budget-friendly and uses ingredients that are either shelf-stable or long-lasting.

 

red lentil carrot soupRed Lentil Carrot Soup

Warm and spicy with cumin, garam masala, and fresh ginger. Perfect for chilly not quite spring days. You can also make this with brown lentils (just cook it longer).

ham and lentil soupEasy Ham and Lentil Soup for One Person

Comforting, warm, and easy to make too. It only requires a single pot too. Make extra and freeze it in individual portions for more meals another day.

 




Honey Sticky Garlic Chicken

This honey sticky garlic chicken recipe is brought to you by two online recipes, and my awful cold. I can barely talk, so I wanted something spicy and zippy to clear my head. But, since I’m not feeling well, it also had to be pretty easy. And only use pantry ingredients, since I’m not going out unless I absolutely have to!  I was stuffy before I ate this, but not after! Yay!

I found two recipes online that were not quite right on their own, so I combined them.  The first one was a bit bland. The second required boneless breasts and said to dip the chicken in eggs and panko and then bake.  I never buy chicken breasts (no flavor), I didn’t want to bother deboning the chicken thigh I had, and I sure wasn’t in the mood for all that dipping and cleanup. Four bowls! No no no.

So, this chicken dish is super-simple to make. Just brown the chicken, and make a quick sauce. The honey and rice vinegar add a touch of sweetness, while the garlic, chili garlic sauce, and a bit of jalapeño pepper add a spicy kick (just perfect when you have the creeping crud).  You can adjust the heat downwards by using sriracha instead of the chili garlic sauce and substituting bell pepper for the jalapeño. Then there’s sesame seeds for a bit of crunch.

Another option is to toss in some fresh or frozen veggies while the chicken is cooking. That makes it a heartier meal, and adds some extra color and vitamins.  Also good for colds.  A more colorful plate somehow looks tastier, I think..




 

Honey Sticky Garlic Chicken Substitutions and Variations

  • Add broccoli, snow peas, bok choy, or other veggies to the chicken about half way through the cooking process (fresh) or 15 minutes in (frozen)
  • Add extra chiles
  • If you don’t have rice vinegar, try apple cider vinegar (you want something with sweetness to balance the tartness)
  • If you have time and patience, cut the chicken up, dip in egg, and then in panko crumbs




More Chinese Chicken Recipes

stir fry chicken peanut sauce recipeStir Fry Chicken with Peanut Sauce

Why go out for chicken with peanut sauce when you can make it easily at home?  This recipe is ready in about 15 or 20 minutes, less time than you’d wait for takeout or delivery.

sichuan chinese chicken and eggplant with garlic sauceSichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

My brother was raving about the version of this at his local restaurant. So naturally I had to make my own.  Tender eggplant, a jolt from chili garlic sauce, and salty sweet hoisin sauce pack a lot of flavor. And it’s ready in minutes.

chinese chicken noodle cabbage soupChinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

Fragrant with garlic, spicy chili, and a hint of sweetness from honey, this Chinese chicken noodle cabbage soup tastes good and knocks out germs too.

Turkey Pot Pie for One Person

I’ve always loved chicken and turkey pot pie, likely because my mom does and she passed it on.  But I never made it myself, thinking it required a lot of fussing and that a turkey pot pie for one wasn’t terribly practical. I think it was the crust that scared me. However, I’ve started making more pies lately, since my brother has decided I am the designated holiday cook. And he really likes apple pie. 

So, for Thanksgiving, I made an apple pie, and the turkey, and then grabbed the remaining crust scraps, as well as turkey leftovers, and took it all home.  The pie scraps (from the all-butter crust) made the perfect topping for this turkey pot pie.  The bones were the basis for homemade stock, and the leftover cooked turkey became part of the filling.  If you don’t have turkey stock and/or leftovers, use chicken instead. 

I made my own crust and stock, but if you don’t have the time or inclination, store-bought will work just fine. If you can, get made in store stock, not the stuff in the can or box (it tastes better).  You could even get some cooked turkey from the deli counter. Then you have a semi-homemade dinner, without a lot of work.

Don’t be intimidated by the way, by the idea of making stock. It’s really easy. You just need bones (from turkey, chicken, beef or whatever kind of stock you want to make), water, salt and pepper, carrots, onions, and a bay leaf. Toss it all in a pot, bring to a boil, and then let it simmer for a couple of hours. I like to caramelize the bones and veggies in a bit of oil first, for more flavor.

I have adapted this from a food network recipe. I reduced the quantities and eliminated the celery and parsley.  If we were meant to eat celery, it would taste better and not get stuck in your teeth! 

It takes about an hour overall, in two stages. First make the filling, then add that to a six inch casserole dish, top it with the crust, and bake until golden brown.




Turkey Pot Pie for One Variations and Substitutions

  • Reduce the chicken broth to 1 3/4 C and add 1/4 cup of half and half
  • Add some sherry (about a tablespoon)
  • Add herbs, such as sage, thyme, and rosemary to the onions when you cook them
  • Substitute corn for the peas
  • Sauté some garlic with the onions

More Turkey Recipes

sweet and sour jelly turkey meatballsSweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs with Jelly and Chili Sauce

Classic comfort food that’s grown up and gotten sophisticated. Spicier, and not as sweet. You may lick the plate (my dad did).

 

easy spicy turkey soupQuick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup

Use up that leftover holiday turkey with this south-of-the-border take on standard turkey soup. Tangy lime, spicy cayenne, and cool sour cream make the soup flavorful, rich, and satisfying.

cranberry chipotle turkey enchiladaCranberry Chipotle Turkey Enchilada

Earthy/spicy chipotle, and sweet tart cranberries combine for another Mexican-influenced treat. Use up the extra turkey, and the cranberry relish, all at once!

 

easy leftover turkey soupEasy Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe

Haven’t got the ingredients for something? Improvise! Swap the veggies, fake some Herbs de Provence, add some Riesling, and simmer. Ta da! Soup!

 

 




Lamb Kofta Meatballs

I had started out one night thinking I’d make lamb and spinach meatballs, but I found I was low on eggs, and wanted to use what I had for something else. So I switched to lamb kofta meatballs mid-stream! Sometimes, I pivot in the middle!

The meatballs are flavored with toasted nuts, warm spicy cumin and cinnamon, as well as sweet, minty green cardamom. All that makes them a feast both for the mouth and the eyes. Look how colorful they are!

Plus, they require no eggs and no breadcrumbs. I wasn’t entirely sure if they would stay together without it, but they did. So it’s a great way to have meatballs if you can’t have eggs. And, since there’s no bread crumbs, they’re also gluten-free.

I’ve adapted this from once upon a chef‘s recipe for Middle Eastern lamb kofta meatballs , and reduced the quantities. I did make a few other changes. One, I swapped cilantro for spinach (don’t like cilantro!). Two, my quarter of a bell pepper was questionable, so I used chopped carrot instead.  And lastly, I didn’t have the mixed nuts, only ground almonds, so I used that. More pivoting!

That also saved me the step of grinding up the nuts.  You can use almonds, or go with a mixture of walnuts, almonds, and pine nuts as she did in the original recipe.

That’s the thing about cooking. Sometimes you have to be able to think on your feet, and figure out what to do when something doesn’t go quite the way that you initially planned.

 

More Lamb Recipes

spinach lamb meatballsSpinach Lamb Meatballs

Rich with lamb, earthy spinach, tangy vinegar, and spicy/warm cumin, these meatballs are ready in minutes. But, they taste like you spent hours making them.

 

Lmab keema with potatoes and broccoliLamb Keema with Potatoes and Broccoli

Flavored with ginger, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric, this dish is a sort of Pakistani shepherd’s pie. It’s savory, not hot or strong. Make it with lamb or beef if you prefer. And only needs one pot!

turkish lamb burgerTurkish Lamb Burgers

Rich lamb, sharp garlic, and salty feta balanced by cool cucumber and mint, topped with yogurt sauce. Flavorful, filling, and just a wee bit messy. But soooo good. Even better if you can refrigerate the mixture for a few hours.

Brazilian Chicken Paprika Stew

I’ve always found it fascinating to see how people all over the world come up with similar foods (blintzes, crepes, tortillas). Or people take a dish from one country and then mix it up and change it to suit local tastes in a different country.  Brazilian chicken paprika stew is one of the latter. It’s a Brazilian take on Hungarian chicken paprikash.  The sour cream is gone, replaced with beans and sausage. I discovered this dish when I went to look for something to make with some extra beans, chicken, and half a lime. It’s a thick, rich, comforting stew, and not at all spicy. And it only requires one pot to make! I’m always in favor of less cleanup.

The original recipe was for 6 or 8 servings, which is way too many for one person, so I reduced it.  It also called for both chicken breasts and boneless thighs, but I much prefer the thighs, so I skipped the breasts entirely. I only had bone-in thighs, so I just cut them up and left the bones in to cook. Yes, I took them out for the photo! They’ll turn into more chicken broth later.

I used spicy chicken sausage for this, but mild is fine if you prefer less spicy food.

I served this with crusty super-easy single loaf Kitchenaid bread, but rice works too. Or whatever starch you like: potatoes, noodles, etc. to sop up the sauce.

One thing on the paprika, it turns stale pretty quickly, so use a fresh jar/box or buy it in a spice store if you can.




Brazilian Chicken Paprika Stew Substitutions and Variations

  • try it with lemon juice instead of lime
  • add some chopped peanuts and ginger
  • add some mild pepper, like poplano, either fresh or dried (ancho chili)
  •  substitute smoky paprika for extra depth of flavor

More Chicken and Bean Recipes

moroccan bean and chicken soupMoroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

Based on a Jewish version of harira,  this savory soup is traditionally made with lamb and lentils. I switched it up with chicken and beans, then flavored it with sharp/sweet ginger and turmeric.

pasta e fagioli soupPasta e Fagioli Soup (Small Batch)

Hearty, fragrant with aromatics, and elevated out of the ordinary by salty, smoky pancetta.  Perfect for a cold day (bonus: it heats your home too).

 

white bean salad sun dried tomatoesWhite Bean Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

A fancy bean and sun-dried tomato salad, at a fraction of the price.  Healthy, tasty, and no cooking required either.

 

 




Rosemary Potato Roasted Garlic Pizza

I had never heard of rosemary potato pizza (or pizza con potate – which sounds sooo much better than the English translation) until recently. But when a friend described it, I had to have it. Sadly, he lives 3,000 miles away. And, the place that serves it only has it seasonally. Either that, or I had to fly to Italy. So, I decided to make my own pizza. I ended up mind melding two recipes and came up with rosemary potato roasted garlic pizza with thin slices of potatoes, roasted garlic, and mozzarella cheese.

The potato slices are soaked in salted water to soften and then layered on top of the pizza to get crispy, while the cheese turns brown and bubbly. Roasting the garlic transforms it into something sweet, mellow, and spreadable (incidentally this is also great on crusty bread). All topped with sprigs of fresh rosemary, a drizzle of olive oil, and grated Romano cheese.

And yeah, you can definitely tell everyone you’re making potato chip pizza for dinner!

I’ve included the recipe and instructions to make your own dough, but feel free to take the easy route and buy pre-made dough from your supermarket or local pizza joint. That will get you pizza in about an hour.

Making the dough yourself does require a bit of time and effort, so it’s definitely a weekend, rather than weeknight meal. And, since this is a long weekend in the US, it’s the perfect time to try it.

So, order of operations: first start the dough (if you’re making your own). Then, while that’s rising, slice and soak the potatoes. While they soak, roast the garlic. Then wait for a while, while the dough rises, and put it all together. Once all the components are ready, it comes together pretty quickly.

The pizza is enough for one dinner, or you can split the dough recipe in half and use it for two lunches. The dough will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. Make sure to wrap it tightly so it doesn’t dry out. Or, you can freeze it.




Rosemary Potato Roasted Garlic Pizza Substitutions and Variations

  • add some cooked chicken
  • top with sliced red onion
  • add some hot red pepper flakes
  • switch the cheeses and use fontina
  • or, add some crumbled bacon

More Pizza Recipes

goat cheese caramelized onion pizzaGoat Cheese Caramelized Onion Pizza

Slow-cooked onions, tangy goat cheese, earthy spinach, and crispy bell pepper cooked together with a pre-made crust. Dinner in minutes!

 

white pizza without ricottaWhite Pizza Recipe Without Ricotta

I love white pizza, and like ricotta, but somehow… not together. Instead, this pizza has lots of creamy mozzarella, sweet/tart sun-dried tomatoes, and summery basil.