Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad

I’ve been grabbing a  rotisserie chicken whenever they’re on sale. Love them for quick meals, especially in the summer when I don’t want to heat up the kitchen.  At about 4-5 lbs, I can use them for several meals.  And the final leftovers make a great broth.

I used to make a Sonoma Chicken Salad (recipe here), and while it’s very good, I’ve gravitated toward a simpler mayonnaise-based chicken salad.  This quick and simple salad is a great use for some of that rotisserie chicken.

Pecan-Cranberry Chicken Salad

  • 2 cups diced chicken
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup whole cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine thoroughly. You can add celery or onion if desired.

Serve on sliced rolls or croissants, or my favorite, lettuce leaves.

BTW, I never have photos of this because the cranberries turn it all pink, and it does not photograph well. But trust me, it tastes great.

 

 

Dinner Menu: Grilled Steak with Coffee Rub and Blueberry Coffeecake

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Let’s start grilling season off with one of my most requested recipes. A steak coffee rub.

From August 2013

A friend of mine spent a few months one summer experimenting with coffee rubs. This was one of my favorites. If you need something fun to do with your next grilled steak, this is a recipe to try. And with my love of blueberries, can’t go wrong with a blueberry coffeecake.  Yum.

On the board tonight:

  1. Steak with Coffee Rub
  2. Green Beans w/Bacon & Onion
  3. Baked Potatoes
  4. Blueberry CoffeeCake

Steak with Coffee Rub

  • 3 tbsp chili powder (pure ancho or a blend)
  • 3 tbsp finely ground coffee (espresso works best)
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika (use a good one)
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lb of steak (rib-eye, sirloin, NY strip, etc) in 4 thick pieces

Continue reading

Dinner Menu: Baked Gnocchi in Fire Roasted Tomato-Basil Sauce

This is an elegant dinner that looks like it took you all day to prepare.  From start to finish I cooked the asparagus and gnocchi in 1/2 hour.  The strawberry bread takes an hour to cook, but it’s a breeze to put together.  So if you feel the need for something special, but still easy, this one could be for you.

On the board tonight:

  1. Baked Ricotta Gnocchi
  2. Broiled Asparagus
  3. Loaf of good crusty bread
  4. Strawberry Bread

Years ago, Christmas Eve is spent eating good food at friends’ Mark and Larissa’s house. Mark’s mom is from Italy and Larissa’s mom is from Japan, and luckily for me, the subject always turns to food from both countries. This year we talked about ravioli, gnocchi and fish in salt domes. I have to confess I’m not a fan of gnocchi. Should be good, right? – potato goodness, covered in sauce. What’s not to love? It just isn’t a favorite of mine. Maybe because I’ve never had it fresh I am missing out. But after we discussed how to make it fresh, well, I don’t think I’d be making it anytime soon. Then I saw a recipe for Ricotta Gnocchi and it sounded good and best of all, easy.  So I’d thought I’d try it. This is what I came up with and it quickly became a favorite of my guests.

Baked Ricotta Gnocchi in Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Sauce

Sauce:

  • 28 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh chopped)

Add ingredients in saucepan, bring to a low boil, reduce to low and let simmer while preparing gnocchi. Continue reading

Grinders: Meatballs and Sauce Revisited

When I was back visiting my dad, I made him a few meals, including meatballs in sauce. I left him the fixin’s for meatball subs (called grinders when I was a kid).

I didn’t realize how much making meatballs and subs was wrapped up in memories of my mom, until I re-read my original post. From 2013:

Meatball Subs1

A few weeks back I made meatball grinders – subs to most people – and was talking to my mom about them, because after all I used her recipe. She told me that one of her favorite things to do is to buy ground beef when it’s on sale and make and freeze a whole bunch of meatballs. Then they are available to make all kinds of good stuff, like meatball soup and various meatball sandwiches.

Until that moment, I hadn’t given meatballs much thought. I mean they’re good, but beyond the occasional grinder, I didn’t really use them.  But now when I make them, I make extra so add to soups, sauces and subs.

I’ll post a basic meatball recipe below and include the grinder/sub recipe. They are just as good with pasta.  At the bottom of this post is a link to vegetarian meatballs if you’d like to go meatless.

Continue reading

Happy Easter! How About Some Coconut Lemon Cake?

Easter and spring just call out for this cake:

I can’t seem to make this without using every bowl and utensil in the kitchen. But it’s worth it.

Here’s the original recipe.

I made a few changes.

For the cake, I substituted coconut oil for both the oil and butter. When I originally made the cake, I didn’t keep coconut oil in the house, now it’s a staple. This upped the coconut flavor in the cake itself.

For the lemon curd, I flipped the water/lemon juice amounts. Using 1 cup of lemon juice and only 1/2 cup water. This upped the tartness substantially, so be prepared!

For the layers – this time I cut down from 4 to 3, using pie pans for the cake pans. This made for a much sturdier cake without losing any of the flavor – especially with the super tart curd.

Nom-nom. I really could have eaten the entire cake myself.

Instant Pot Corned Beef

I wasn’t going to make corned beef this year – I’m a so-so fan of it.  I really have to be in the mood. But I found a great deal on a premium corned beef, so I impulsively purchased it.

I decided to up my game a bit and use my mom’s version, where she used to finish it in the oven with a nice glaze. It was definitely worth the effort.

I decided I would also make it an instant pot version – which is very similar to my stovetop pressure cooker recipe. Continue reading

Dinner Menu: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

As I noted in November, I lost my mom. I find myself looking to favorite childhood recipes to remember here. This one we had at least once a week when I was a kid.

Quick, easy and freezes well, I usually make double so I have some on hand for quick dinners.  Trust me, you will never find any jar sauce in my house.  Ever.  If you’d like to have meatballs instead, recipe is here.

On the board tonight: Continue reading

Instant Pot: Perfect Pot Roast

Sunday Pot Roast

Revisiting this recipe because it’s been ridiculously cold this week and I’ve about had it with ducks being inside and puppies crazed because they aren’t getting enough outdoor time. So this and French Bread are all that’s holding me together.

From 2020:

In my quest to update some of my older recipes for Instant Pot style cooking, here is one of my favorites. I love being able to set this up and an hour and a half later have a perfectly cooked pot roast – tender and flavorful – along with all the sides.

Sunday Pot Roast On A Weeknight 

  • 4 lbs Pot Roast (chuck roast)
  • ¼  cup good whiskey (or red wine)
  • ¼ cup beef broth or water (more if needed)
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
  • ½ tsp salt & pepper
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 6 medium potatoes, quartered
  • 1 lb bag baby carrots

slow-cooker or Instant Pot Continue reading