Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Sour Cream

The great thing about pork tenderloin is that it’s fancy enough for guests, but so easy and quick you can serve it on an ordinary weeknight.  Adding mushrooms and a bit of sour cream transforms the pork from plain to elegant. And, it’s done in about twenty minutes or so.  There’s very little fussing.  The only thing you have to cut up is a few mushrooms (and then slice the pork at the end).  You get a rich, creamy sauce boosted by the bite of Dijon mustard and piquant capers —both of which complement the pork beautifully.

Add some rice (I always make extra so I can just reheat it) and a simple salad and you’re ready to eat. In this case, I went with just some spinach and cucumber, topped with baslamic vinaigrette. And now, that I think of it, the balsamic vinaigrette would likely work well with the pork too. That’s really easy!

Make sure to get the pork tenderloin, not a pork loin roast. The tenderloin is long and skinny and weighs about a pound each.  You cook it fairly quickly on high heat. Think of it as the filet mignon of pork. The loin roast is closer to a pork version of roast beef. It’s much larger and rounder and you cook it low and slow.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, on to the recipe.  This is adapted slightly from an old New York Times Menu cookbook recipe. The recipe in the book called for pork chops (which you can also use if you like).  If you do that, cook them 2-4 minutes per side, depending on how thick they are. The original recipe called for a much longer cooking time, but the chops then were much fattier.

 




Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Sour Cream

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: American

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pork tenderloin with mushrooms and sour cream

Ingredients

  • 1 half pork tenderloin (about 4-6 oz)
  • 2 1/4 tsp flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp beef stock
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 2-3 mushrooms, sliced (about 1 ounce)
  • 3 tsp water
  • 2 T sour cream

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a small skillet. Add the tenderloin and cook, on medium high heat, turning until the outside browns, about 5 minutes.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the tenderloin, and add the mushrooms. Let cook for a minute, then add the beef stock, mustard, capers, and water.
  4. Cover, and simmer for 8 minutes, turning the pork occasionally.
  5. Remove from heat and let the pan rest for five minutes. Stir in the sour cream and heat for a minute on low to warm the sauce.
  6. Remove from the pan, slice the meat and serve.

Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Sour Cream Substitutions and Variations

  • Use pork chops instead of the tenderloin (get the boneless center cut)
  • Make it a bit lighter with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream
  • Add a splash of white wine or Marsala (sweet) wine to the sauce
  • Toss in some scallions or some shallots or onions (skip the capers if you do)

More Pork Recipes

Cider Braised Pork Chop with Sauerkraut and Apples

Schezuan Chili Noodles

Apple Glazed Ham Steak Recipe for One Person




Vietnamese Baked Chicken with Lime

Great for a weeknight dinner, this Vietnamese baked chicken with lime is an easy meal that requires very little active work.  Measure, mince, and pour, then let it sit.  Once it’s finished marinating, all you have to do is cook it for half an hour. The ginger and garlic are warm and spicy, while the chili garlic sauce has a bit of a kick. The lime adds brightness and a citrusy tang that complements the spicy flavors and cools them down. 

The original recipe called for chili garlic paste, palm sugar, and fish sauce.  And, it’s true, those ingredients would be more authentic. However, they also violate my own rules about avoiding  hard-to-find or one use ingredients.  I don’t want to buy an entire bottle or brick of something (like palm sugar) just to have it sit there. And where would I even find palm sugar? Nope.

So, I cheated.  I used chili garlic sauce (not paste), swapped brown sugar for palm sugar, and ditched the fish sauce in favor of Worcestershire sauce (which does have some anchovies in it). I also wanted (for personal preference) to avoid all the salt in the fish sauce.

Marinating, even for a short time, helps the chicken absorb lots of flavor. Just don’t let it sit too long or it will get mushy from the citrus.

When you’re ready to start cooking, just pour out the marinade, pop the chicken in the oven, and wait half an hour. Dinner is done!




Vietnamese Baked Chicken with Lime

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Vietnamese

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Vietnamese baked chicken with lime

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken thigh (leave the skin and bone in place)
  • 1T soy sauce
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce (if you like fish sauce, use that)
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 tsp lime zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T cooking oil

Instructions

  1. lIn a small bowl, mix the marinade ingredients (soy sauce, Worcestershire, sugar, ginger, chili garlic sauce, lime juice and zest, garlic and oil).  Pour that into a zip lock bag, and add the chicken.  Close the bag, and shake it around so the marinade covers the chicken.Let that sit for half an hour, or up to four hours (in the fridge).
  2. About fifteen minutes before you’re ready to cook, remove the tray from your toaster oven and line it with foil. Then preheat the toaster oven to 425 degrees. Also take the chicken out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
  3. Take the chicken out of the bag and set it on top of a wire rack, skin side up,  and then place the rack over the lined toaster oven tray.  This will reduce cleanup a bit and help keep the chicken from getting soggy.
  4. Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let the chicken rest for five minutes. Serve with rice and garnish with lime.

Vietnamese Baked Chicken with Lime Substitutions and Variations

  • add some soy sauce to the marinade
  • swap the lime zest for lemongrass (you can buy lemongrass paste, which is easier to find in western markets than the stalks)
  • chop up some cilantro and add that to the marinade
  • if you do like fish sauce, I’m told Red Boat and Three Crabs are good brands (avoid the Taste of Thai, it’s full of sugar)

More Chicken Recipes

One Pot Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

Jewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

Crispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One




Spaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

Since it’s spring and everything is turning green (and yellow and pink), it’s time to take advantage and turn from heavy food to something lighter and fresher. Spaghetti with green olives and lemon panko hits all those buttons. It’s light, it’s green, and it’s a bit of a flavor bomb that will wake up your taste buds.

It’s got zesty garlic, and earthy fresh spinach, paired with tangy capers, briny olives and a burst of citrus. Crispy, golden-brown panko crumbs mixed with dill and lemon zest add a bit of crunch.

In fact, I shared it with some friends and one of them said, “Oh I want that! I want it now! But I’m at work! Sob.”

I hate that the internet doesn’t include a “push here for spaghetti option”!

I found the original recipe on Bon Appetit, but I changed it a bit.  First, it had anchovies. Nope! Nope!  Second, I swapped the original parsley for some spinach instead. One, I had lots of spinach. And two, I don’t like parsley all that much, so there’s no point in buying a whole bunch of it. The spinach I will use for other meals.

One more small thing. The recipe said to cut some of the olives in half and then chop up the rest. It may have said to chop up the capers too (the instructions were a bit unclear). I started to chop the olives and then decided it was silly, so I stopped.

It also occurred to me after I made it that I could prepare the pasta first, then keep it warm while I cooked the panko and mixed everything else together.  Just drain and wipe the saucepan, add the oil and panko, and proceed with the rest of the recipe. That way it’s only one pot!

I used ordinary green olives (because they were handy). I think I will try it next time with castelvetrano olives instead, since they are my favorite olive (and taste great with pasta).

Oh dear, I’m revising and internet commenting my own recipe! Ha!




Spaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Italian

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spaghetti with green olives and lemon panko

Ingredients

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 T panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried dill (or 1 T fresh)
  • 1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 3 ounces spaghetti
  • 1 garlic clove, mashed
  • 1/4 C fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 T chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup green olives, pitted, halved
  • 2 1/4 tsp drained capers
  • 2 T grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium size skillet.
  2. Add the panko and cook stirring, over medium heat, for a minute or two. Watch it closely so it doesn't burn. Once the panko turns golden brown, remove it from the pan and spoon it on a paper towel so it will drain. Add salt and pepper and mix in the dill and lemon zest.
  3. Boil water in a large pot, add salt, and then add the spaghetti. Stir the pasta when you add it, so it doesn't stick. Once the spaghetti is done (about 8-10 minutes), remove from the pot and drain nearly all the water. Keep about 2 T of the water in reserve (this will help thicken the sauce).
  4. While the spaghetti is cooking, mash the garlic. Use the broad edge of a wide knife to smash it, and then smear it around on the cutting board with the side of the knife to make a paste. Put the mashed garlic, spinach, basil, olives, and capers in a large bowl. Now add the rest of the olive oil. Toss it all together and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the pasta and the half the reserved cooking water to the spinach olive mixture. Mix it all together so that the pasta is covered. If it's too dry, add more of the pasta liquid.
  6. Squeeze the lemon you used for the zest and add 1 1/2 tsp of juice to the sauce.
  7. Top that with the panko mixture and more Parmesan cheese.

Spaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko Substitutions and Variations

  • like anchovies and parsley? Go for it!
  • use castelvetrano olives instead, they are firmer and more buttery
  • top the whole thing with some red pepper flakes
  • add more garlic
  • use the sauce over cooked fish (such as cod or tilapia)

More Spaghetti Recipes

Spaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Pasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

Summer Pasta with Green Olives and Feta Cheese




Lamb Keema with Potatoes and Broccoli

I usually plan my meals, not precisely, but generally write down six or seven entrees and build from there. But, I had some ground lamb in the freezer and didn’t quite know what to do with it. My first thought was shepherd’s pie.  But that requires first making mashed potatoes and then making the meat mixture. Too much work.  Then I dug into my bookmarks and found a recipe for keema (or kima).  She says it’s her most requested recipe! Keema is, roughly speaking, Pakistani shepherd’s pie (or maybe cottage pie, since the original is made with beef). It’s got ground meat, potatoes, and some veggies.  And, best of all it only requires one pot!  That’s my kind of cooking.

I’ve seen this spelled keema, and kima or called keema aloo (for the potatoes).  However you spell it, you get a savory, not too spicy all-in-one pot meal. A meal which is ready in about half an hour too.

I used ground lamb, but ground beef is fine if that’s what you have.  You could probably even make it with ground turkey if you wanted to. Chicken would probably be a bit bland.

Don’t be put off by the ingredients list. It’s mostly just adding small amounts of spices into the pan. You don’t even really have to measure.  Just shake the jars a couple of times (if you have the kind with the small holes in the lids) or grab a pinch.

This is generally made with peas, but I didn’t have any so I tossed in some frozen broccoli instead. You could use the peas or whatever other veggies you have such as: cauliflower, cabbage, or peppers. I used Yukon gold potatoes, but regular russet potatoes will work too. You could even substitute sweet potatoes if you like.

As written, this recipe is relatively mild. If you want more heat, increase the curry, and/or add some fresh hot peppers or red pepper flakes.

If you want to go all out with the starch, you can serve this with rice or naan.  I just made a side salad (trying to get my veggies in!).




Lamb Keema with Potatoes and Broccoli

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Pakistani

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Lmab keema with potatoes and broccoli

Ingredients

  • 1T cooking oil or butter
  • 1/4 C chopped onion
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 ground lamb or beef
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper
  • pinch cumin
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch ginger (ground)
  • pinch turmeric
  • 1 small to medium potato, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1/3 C diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 C frozen broccoli or peas

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil or melt the butter in a medium skillet.
  2. Add the chopped onion and the minced garlic and cook about five minutes until the onion softens (watch to make sure it doesn't burn).
  3. Crumble the chopped meat into the pan and brown it, cooking about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the spices, salt, and pepper.
  5. Now, put in the cubed potato and the tomatoes.
  6. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Check it once or twice and add a little water if necessary to keep it from drying out.
  7. After 10-15 minutes, put in the broccoli (or peas) and cook another 10 minutes.

 

Lamb Keema with Potatoes and Broccoli Substitutions and Variations

  • Try a different kind of protein, such as beef or ground turkey
  • Use peas instead of broccoli
  • Add some coconut
  • Spice it up with hot peppers, more curry, or fresh ginger instead of ground
  • Add some yogurt

More Lamb Recipes

Turkish Lamb Burgers

Moroccan Lamb Stew with Almonds and Raisins

Lamb and Lentil Soup Recipe

 




Schezuan Chili Noodles

Stuffy head? Allergies starting to act up?  I’ve got the creeping crud, so this szechuan chili noodle recipe immediately caught my attention. It’s a cousin to Dan Dan noodles, but a lot simpler, with ingredients that are easier to find if you live in a western country and far fewer steps. Dan dan noodles require making the chili oil, then the meat mixture, and finally noodles and vegetables.  For this recipe, you only have to make the oil and the noodles. Call it Chinese-inspired.

You can make this with ground chicken or pork, or leave it as is (fewer things to buy and cook) and have it as a vegetarian dish. I didn’t have any ground meat handy (it was all in the freezer) so I went without. If you don’t have baby bok choy, green cabbage will do just as well.

You can get pre-made chili oil, but (at least the brand I got) has an odd metallic taste that I don’t like. It’s easy enough to make yourself, and only requires one extra small bowl (no additional pots!) to hold the mixture while you make the rest of the recipe.

Now about the actual noodles. The recipe I adapted this from used what she called “wide Chinese egg noodles.” I had never seen that.  I looked and couldn’t find anything easily. Then in the comments she said it was really pappardelle. OK! Easier to find (and I love pappardelle). Plus then I get to make White Ragu Pappardelle  with the rest of the pasta. If you want to be more authentic, use real Chinese wheat noodles or rice noodles.

One final recipe note.  The original calls for chili paste (sambal oelek), which is essentially just a jar of spicy, ground chilis.  You can get it online, or check your grocer. If you can’t find it, substitute garlic chili sauce (and possibly remove the garlic clove from the recipe, depending on how spicy you like your food).  If not, then substitute sriracha or even hot sauce instead.

The whole thing comes together in about 30 minutes or so.




Schezuan Chili Noodles

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Category: Dinner Recipes for One Person

Cuisine: Chinese

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szechuan chili noodles

Ingredients

  • 1 T cooking oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch to 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 T plus 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 1/2 tsp water
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp chili paste
  • 1 scallion chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 cup baby bok choy, chopped (or use cabbage if you prefer)

Instructions

  1. Fill a 2 quart saucepan (medium size) with water and bring to a boil.
  2. First start by making the chili oil. You’ll need a good sized (large) skillet. Heat that over medium heat. Then add the oil, garlic, ginger, and chili. Cook, or about 5 minutes, until the garlic becomes fragrant. Stir it occasionally and keep an eye on it so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  3. Add the sesame seeds and stir, cooking about another 30 seconds. Then carefully pour the mixture into a bowl.
  4. The water should be boiling by now, so add the noodles and cook according to the package directions. Packaged pappardelle noodles should take about 7-10 minutes to cook. Fresh ones will cook faster, about three or four minutes.
  5. While the noodles are cooking, in a separate, small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, chili paste, and water.
  6. Add the scallions to the skillet you used to cook the chili oil and cook for two or three minutes. Pour the soy sauce mixture into the skillet and add the box copy. Simmer for 3-5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Stir the mixture occasionally so the box chop gets coated with the sauce.
  7. Drain the noodles and add them to the skillet as well as half of the chili oil mixture. Stir everything to coat. Pour into a bowl and serve with the remaining chili oil and extra scallions.

Szechuan Chili Noodles Tools and Ingredients


Huey Fong Sambal Oelek Chili Paste
Made by the same company that produces the wildly popular sriracha sauce. This is spicier, since it has more chili in it.  Put it on noodles, in omelettes, or in soup.

 

Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce

The same great chili paste, plus extra garlic! Use it in Pad Thai, mix into eggs, stir fries, soups, or any food that needs a kick of flavor. I sometimes put it in my caldo verde. Doesn’t have sugar (unlike the sriracha sauce) so it’s more potent (also good if you want to avoid extra sugar).

 

More Asian and Chinese Noodle Recipes

Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe

Easy Singapore Noodles with Chicken 

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

 




One Pot Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

Adapted from a Jacques Pépin recipe, chicken with balsamic vinegar sauce is an easy and satisfying one pot meal.  There’s also a secret ingredient you might not expect (especially from someone known for French cooking).  It’s…ketchup! It deepens the flavor and provides just a little hint of spice and sweetness.  The balsamic vinegar adds a slightly tart, fruity tang that complements the sweetness of the ketchup and the cooked onions.

He used chicken breasts, but I find those tend to dry out (unless you’re really careful). Not to mention they’re costly, and don’t pack nearly as much flavor as chicken thighs do. So chicken thighs it is. Changing the type of chicken I used also meant altering the cooking method a bit. Instead of baking in an oven, I did a fricassee, meaning brown the chicken, add the liquid, and then let it cook on the stove top.

Chicken thighs have to cook longer than breasts do.  However, doing it my way means you only need a single skillet.  There’s no putting anything in the oven and no need to use two different pots (or worry if your skillet is oven safe).  That also means there’s a lot less cleanup. Less cleaning up is always a good thing, as far as I’m concerned.

Two more slight twists. The original recipe called for shallots. I never have those around, and I wasn’t about to buy them for one recipe (you know how I hate that). So, I cut up some garlic and onions instead (since they’re kissing cousins so to speak). If you have shallots, or don’t mind buying them, go right ahead and use them. He also said to sprinkle the chicken with chives. I didn’t have that either, so I used some fresh rosemary.

As I type this, I’m wondering if I’m spiraling into Internet recipe comment territory: “Great recipe! I changed X, and Y, and Z, and then I didn’t follow the directions at all, but it turned out great!” Well, it did turn out great, so I guess it’s OK.

The whole thing is done in about 35 minutes, so it’s perfect for a weeknight meal when you don’t want to fuss (because you just want dinner).




One Pot Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: American

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chicken with balsamic vinegar sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 3/4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 chicken thigh
  • pinch salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • one small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp ketchup
  • 2 T water
  • fresh rosemary (about 1/4 tsp, optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tsp of the butter and the olive oil in a medium sized skillet. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the pan with the hot butter/oil mixture.
  2. Brown the chicken, on medium heat, turning occasionally, for about five minutes total
  3. Remove the chicken and set it aside on a plate or cutting board.
  4. Add the garlic, onion, and mushrooms to the skillet and cook for about a minute (leave the heat on a medium setting).
  5. Then add the vinegar and the ketchup. Cook another minute.
  6. Return the chicken thigh to the pan and pour in the water.
  7. Cook about twenty minutes on medium heat. The liquid should be reduced by about half.
  8. Add the remaining teaspoon of butter and stir it around.
  9. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle the rosemary over it, if using, and serve.

More Chicken Thigh Recipes

Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes for One

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Jewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

Feta Brined Roast Chicken Recipe for One




Feta Brined Roast Chicken Recipe for One

Need something simple, yet elegant for dinner? This feta brined roast chicken is easy to make, but looks like something from a fancy restaurant.  Brine the chicken, let it sit overnight, and then mix a few ingredients together and bake.

The brine helps infuse the chicken with flavor, and (as a bonus) keeps it from drying out. It works just like the brine for a turkey, except this will taste much better! Feta cheese is particularly effective as a brine since it is packed in water, so it’s already moist. Blending it together creates a smooth, creamy brine that penetrates the chicken, keeping it tender and moist, even under high heat. The finished chicken doesn’t have a strong feta taste, but it will be rich, tender, and delicious.

Once the chicken is brined, you create a quick and easy spice rub from lemon zest, pepper, and oregano, blend that together, and spread it all over the chicken.  The feta cheese adds salty savor, the lemon a hint of tartness, and the oregano and spinach give the dish a fresh, bright flavor.  The original dish called for arugula, but I’m not a fan, so I used spinach instead.

Taking the chicken out early before you cook it helps it dry out and allows the skin to become crisper when the chicken is roasted.

Add pan-friend potatoes, or oven roasted Greek potatoes for a full meal.

You could eat this all by yourself, or increase the recipe and serve it for company.




Feta Brined Roast Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Greek

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feta brined roast chicken

Easy and elegant, with a bit of planning this Feta Brined Roast Chicken requires only a few ingredients. Just brine, season, and roast.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz feta cheese, crumbled (divided)
  • 1/2 C water
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 chicken thigh
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 lemon (you'll need some zest and two slices)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • handful spinach, washed and patted dry

Instructions

  1. First brine the chicken. This can be done the day before, or in the morning. Combine half the feta and the water in a blender or mini chopper.
  2. Pour the feta/water mixture into a ziploc bag and add the chicken. Swish it around to coat.
  3. Let that sit overnight (or all day).
  4. Take the chicken out of the bag, wipe it off, and discard the brine. Let it come to room temperature (for about an hour).
  5. Mix the pepper, oregano, and about 3/4 tsp lemon zest together in a small bowl.
  6. Rub the mixture all over the chicken thigh.
  7. Cut two slices of lemon.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 400.
  9. Pour the olive oil onto a small roasting pan (the one from your toaster oven will do just fine).
  10. Heat the pan on top of the stove on high heat, until the oil smokes.
  11. Add a lemon slice to the pan, and place the chicken on top of it, skin side up.
  12. Put the pan in the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes.
  13. Spread the spinach on a plate and top with the chicken. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon slice over the chicken and then top with the rest of the feta cheese.

Feta Brined Roast Chicken Substitutions and Variations

  • swap the oregano for rosemary
  • add a clove of minced garlic to the spice rub
  • try it with chicken breasts
  • use whole cloves of garlic and let them roast and caramelize
  • want more of a bite? double the amount of black pepper

More Feta and Chicken Recipes

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

Spinach and Feta Cheese Omelette

Homemade Chicken Shawarma with Yogurt Sauce




Kielbasa with Sauerkraut and Apples

Huddled up in the cold? Want dinner that’s both comforting and easy? Kielbasa with Sauerkraut and Apples is just the thing. It’s filling, it’s quick, and it’s dinner all by itself. All in one pot.  Some say this dish is German, others call it Polish.  Whichever, it’s delicious!

I adapted this recipe from one I found online. That recipe called for first cooking the kielbasa on a grill, then putting them in the oven, while starting the onions on the stove, and making the rest of the recipe. That would leave you with a grill, a baking sheet, and a frying pan to clean.   No! No! No! Not doing that way.

Plus, it’s  too cold to grill anything here. Even if I had a grill.  This way is much easier.

My version only uses a single pan.  And, it’s ready in about 20 minutes.  Much better!

The kielbasa makes this dish filling, while the sauerkraut adds a little bite. Cooking it mellows out the sharpness (a bit like cooking onions or garlic), and the apples give it a bit of sweetness and balance the richness of the sausage and the sourness of the kraut. The honey mustard horseradish sauce is also sweet/spicy so it complements the rest of the dish perfectly.

Use apples that are slightly tart (I had Crimson Topaz, but a tart apple such as Granny Smith would work fine).

No kielbasa? Bratwurst would work too.



Kielbasa with Sauerkraut and Apples

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Polish

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kielbasa with sauerkraut and apples

Ingredients

  • Kielbasa
  • 1 T cooking oil (less if you use pork kielbasa, a bit more for turkey)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 6 oz kielbasa (about 6 inches long, cut into 1/2 inch slices)
  • 1/4 C sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 small tart apple, sliced
  • Honey Mustard Horseradish Sauce
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp prepared horseradish

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add kielbasa, and cook 5 minutes
  4. Add the sauerkraut and cook for 5 minutes more.
  5. Turn over sausage.
  6. Add the sliced apple
  7. Cook that for another 5 minutes and remove from pan onto plate.
  8. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl or ramekin. Pour sauce over sausage mixture.

Kielbasa with Sauerkraut and Apples Substitutions and Variations

  • Add a little apple cider to the pan
  • Use some dark beer
  • Experiment with different kinds of sausage, even plain frankfurters
  • Add sliced potatoes for an entire meal in one pan
  • Serve with rye bread, or add some caraway seeds
  • Leave the sausage whole and put it on a hot dog bun (cook it a bit longer)

More Sausage Recipes

One Pot Polish Sausage and Cabbage with Potatoes

Quick Creole Cabbage and Sausage

Lentil Bean Sausage Soup




Jewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

I just learned to cook this Jewish chicken curry chitarnee recipe recently from an  online cooking friend Azlin Bloor.  It’s (to the best of her knowledge) a Sephardic Jewish recipe, but it doesn’t have the usual flavor or ingredients we tend to associate with “Jewish” cooking in America. Here “Jewish” cooking is usually Ashkenasi (from Eastern Europe). It tends to feature lots of noodles, brisket, and chicken soup.

Ashkenasi food is generally flavorful, but the spiciest ingredients are onions and garlic.  Not too many chilis! And definitely no cardamom. But Jewish people are part of every continent’s and every country’s population.  So, local recipes get adopted, and adapted (if needed) to make them conform to the dietary rules (for those that follow them). Pork gets replaced by chicken, oil is used with meat instead of butter, and so on. And voilà, some local Indian dish gets transformed into Jewish chicken curry chitarnee.




This recipe, for example, has a bit more snap than standard Ashkenaski fare. It’s not super-spicy though.  There’s onion, garlic, ginger, mild chilis, and cardamom. The garlic, onion, and ginger get cooked down slowly so they become more sweet and mellow than sharp.  The cardamom is aromatic and herbal rather than strong or spicy.   Lots of fresh lemon juice and some white wine vinegar add a piquant tang.

Azlin suggested a variation on this recipe to make it vegetarian, by replacing the chicken with bell peppers, eggplant and potatoes.

I didn’t want to make it fully vegetarian (though you certainly can if you want).  But, I thought, well why not just add potatoes to the chicken version. Then it’s a one pot dinner. That way, there’s no extra rice to make on the side and it will all cook in the same pot in the same amount of time. Fewer pots to clean is always a good thing!

Jewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Indian

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Jewish chicken curry chitarnee

Not your usual "Ashkenasi" fare, this dish has onion, garlic, ginger, and cardamom. It's fragrant, and mellow, not spicy since the onions cook slowly. Easy to make too. Once everything is in the pot, you can leave it alone to cook.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 small piece (about 1/3 inch) fresh ginger,  peeled and  minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, and cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/3 tsp cumin
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 large chicken thigh
  • 1 potato, cut up into chunks (you can peel it or scrub it and leave the peel on)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes in puree
  • 2 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice (divided in half)
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Start by heating the oil in a deep frying pan, or dutch oven on medium heat.  Then add the onions and the sugar.  Cook until the onions start to wilt and soften, about three minutes.
  2. Now add the garlic, ginger, and the rest of the spices and cook that for half a minute.
  3. Put the chicken in the pan and turn it over a few times so that it gets thoroughly coated with the spices and the onions.  Cook it for a minute or two.
  4. Add the potato pieces, tomatoes, vinegar and 1 1/4 tsp of the lemon juice.  Bring the chicken mixture to a boil. Once it starts to boil, lower the heat, put a cover on the pot, and simmer for 40 minutes.  The chicken and the potatoes should be soft and tender by then. Test with a knife to make sure it’s all cooked through.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside on a cutting board.  Add the remaining lemon juice and stir to combine it with the rest of the sauce. Remove the cardamom pods and serve.

Notes

Note: You might want to put the cardamom pods in a tea ball (or cheesecloth) to make it easier to fish them out when you're ready to serve.

Tools and Ingredients for Jewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

Rani Garam Masala Spice Mixture

Garam Masala is a blend of warm, aromatic spices that gives a great flavor punch to many recipes. It’s not spicy though. It’s made with nutmeg, coriander, cumin, cloves, and seven other spices. It’s great on eggs, chicken, or to make your own chai (spiced tea). You can also add it to desserts (think pumpkin spice with a bit more flair), or hot drinks.

Green Cardamom Pods

I confess when I first heard of cardamom I thought it would be spicy and overpowering. It isn’t! Instead, it adds an aromatic, slightly minty, herbal flavor to your food. Put it in your coffee as a “sweetener” without sugar. Or add it to dessert recipes (I’m thinking it would be great in a pear tart). Or toss one or two pods in with your rice for a flavor boost.

Tea Ball

This is technically supposed to be used for brewing tea. However, I find they’re great for cooking.  Trying to fish out a bay leaf is a pain.

With the tea ball, instead of splashing through a pan of chicken, or a pot of soup to find a bay leaf, cardamom pods, or whole cloves you aren’t going to eat, put them in a tea ball, and drop that into the pan, and hook the end on the side of the pot. That way, the spices are easy to remove, and you don’t have to worry about biting down on a clove!

More Chicken Recipes

Indian Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

Easy Chicken Curry Recipe

Chili Garlic Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes for One

 




Turkish Lamb Burgers

These Turkish lamb burgers are flavorful, filling, and just a little bit messy, so keep plenty of napkins handy. It’s worth the mess though. The burgers are rich from lamb, slightly salty from the feta and spicy/warm from cumin and garlic. Adding mint to both the burgers and the yogurt cucumber sauce adds a fresh, cool flavor to balance out the spices.

I adapted this recipe from one I found online so long ago I can’t remember where I found it. It does require a bit of pre-planning, since the meat mixture has to sit for a while for the flavors to blend. So, it’s probably best for a weekend, rather than a Tuesday dinner. However, once that’s done, the rest of the recipe comes together pretty quickly. And, it’s practically a meal all by itself.

Make the meat mixture for the burgers first, let it sit overnight or a few hours in the fridge, and then make the cucumber yogurt sauce while the burgers are cooking.

I did make this for two servings, rather than one, because half an egg isn’t so bad, but a quarter of an egg is ridiculous, even for me. 

How to get half an egg, you ask? What you do is break the egg, beat it lightly, and then pour half of it out into a separate container.  You should end up with about 3  1/4 T of egg total.  Use half that for the burgers, or approximately 1 2/3 T (5 teaspoons). Save the rest of the egg to make a cherry tomato basil frittata or a spinach and feta omelette in a day or two.  Don’t worry if it’s not exact, we’re not baking!

I broiled the burgers in my toaster oven, and put the pita on top for a minute or so to warm it up.  If you have a grill, you could use that instead.

Serve the burgers in pita bread topped with the yogurt dill sauce, then add garnishes to suit your taste.




Turkish Lamb Burgers

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Turkish

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turkish lamb burger

Rich, savory and full of sweet/salty and warm spices, plus a jolt of mint to cool it all down.

Ingredients

    Lamb Burgers
  • 1/2 lb. ground lamb
  • 2 1/2 T (which is 7 1/2 tsp) bread crumbs
  • 1/2 egg, beaten lightly
  • 1/3 C onion, minced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced (about one small clove)
  • 2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 T fresh mint
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • generous pinch salt
  • generous pinch pepper
  • olive oil
    Yogurt Dill Sauce
  • 1/3 C Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 C diced cucumber
  • 1/3 tsp dried dill
  • 2/3 tsp fresh mint
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

    Lamb Burgers
  1. Get a medium size bowl and add all the burger ingredients together. Mix it all thoroughly. It's best to use your hands for this (like a meatloaf) until all the ingredients are completely incorporated.
  2. Refrigerate the mixture for a few hours, or overnight for better flavor.
  3. Preheat your toaster oven to broil.
  4. Separate the meat mixture into two patties and brush lightly with olive oil on both sides.
  5. Cook for about 4 minutes, turn patties over, and then cook another 4 minutes until lamb is medium. When the burgers are nearly done (about 7 minutes in), put the pitas on top of the hot toaster oven to warm.
    Yogurt Cucumber Sauce
  1. While the lamb is cooking, make the sauce by combining all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Place the burgers in the pita and top with the sauce.

Notes

Note that the prep and cooking time are short, but you'll need inactive time of a few hours. If you have a grill, you can use that to cook the burgers, rather than the toaster oven.

Turkish Lamb Burgers Substitutions and Variations

  • Garnish with some extra crumbled feta cheese
  • Top with thinly sliced red onions
  • Add sliced tomatoes and extra chopped cucumber on top of your lamb burger
  • Make the burgers with half lamb and half ground turkey (use dark meat if you can find it); or if you don’t like lamb, just use the turkey




 

More Lamb and Yogurt Recipes

Lamb and Lentil Soup Recipe

Moussaka Without Bechamel Sauce Recipe

Homemade Chicken Shawarma with Yogurt Sauce (this is for chicken, but lamb would work too)