Category: One Pan Dinners

FRIDAY FISH: Skillet Lentils and Tuna for Dinner

FRIDAY FISH: Skillet Lentils and Tuna for Dinner

Flexible is this meal’s middle name. Change out the vegetables, broth, protein, and/or herbs to make it your own.

I don’t remember eating lentils as a kid. Even lentil soup — on many tables this week as it’s such a pantry-friendly meal — came to me in adulthood, albeit from a much-loved friend and oddly enough during a hot week at the beach on the Outer Banks. If I ate it earlier, I have no memory of the meal and more’s the pity. The “Lentil” I knew was the Lentil of Caldecott Award- winning author Robert McCloskey (MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS) fame since I’m a lifelong avid reader and also trained and worked as a school librarian at one time in my life.

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Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Parmesan Vegetables–How and Why to Roast a Whole Chicken at Home this Week!

Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Parmesan Vegetables–How and Why to Roast a Whole Chicken at Home this Week!

While chicken often tops the list of dinner ingredients in the U.S., (“Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” or “A chicken in every pot!”) it doesn’t take much to figure out those meals today are often based on ubiquitous, tasteless boneless chicken breasts instead of the flavorful cage-free chickens Herbert Hoover supposedly wanted for us. The American obsession with huge chicken breasts (hmph) is a sad one and continues for many reasons–one being it’s easy to not remember where meat comes from if you only have a slab of it and no fat, bones, joints, tendons, guts, or skin. I’ve had more than one adult student who, faced with putting a whole chicken (already cut up, by the way) in a skillet to brown for a tasty fricassée, admitted they had never before handled a chicken with bones. I, on the other hand, almost never buy boneless breasts, though I’ll admit I adore boneless thighs for everything from sandwiches to chili. There are several reasons–the main one being the taste factor–but here’s the critical other one. Because we demand outrageous and overwhelming numbers of inexpensive low-fat, protein rich boneless breasts (just try to buy bone-in breasts in today’s market) compared to other parts, chickens today are often–though not always– raised in incredibly poor and horrific conditions by inhumanely treated workers. How’d that come to be???

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FRIDAY FISH:  One-Pot Shrimp  and Asparagus Rice

FRIDAY FISH: One-Pot Shrimp and Asparagus Rice


I wasn’t taught to fast as a child; it wasn’t part of our tradition, but was something those interesting Catholics down the street did. I was happy as a clam about that because it meant I got cheese pizza on Friday nights at my Catholic girlfriends’ houses. This was so cool because, 1) to “give up meat” seemed a neat thing (foreign) to me and 2) There was no pizza, aka “junk food,” at my house.

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Home Again: Game Hens and Vegetables in Red Wine on Polenta

Home Again: Game Hens and Vegetables in Red Wine on Polenta

We could have just stayed in Tuscany (Montepulciano and Montalcino specifically) tasting–ok, drinking–wine, buying cheese, eating lunch, enjoying new friends, window shopping, visiting churches…

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Sheet Pan Dinner: Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin on Cabbage and Vegetables with Caraway

Sheet Pan Dinner: Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin on Cabbage and Vegetables with Caraway

One of my favorite food writers has to be Melissa Clark, who isn’t just a writer I follow in the New York Times every Wednesday, but is also a happily prolific cookbook writer. I could look up how many cookbooks Melissa’s written, but suffice it to say….there are plenty and more than plenty. When Melissa’s newest book, DINNER: CHANGING THE GAME, came out recently, I threw a little Facebook party giving it the big HURRAH!

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One-Pan Salmon on Potatoes and Asparagus with Thyme and Chives–First Fruits of the Front Range Garden

One-Pan Salmon on Potatoes and Asparagus with Thyme and Chives–First Fruits of the Front Range Garden

Home gardening in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains is occasionally a joy, but more often a frustration. While gardening is surely those things everywhere, with about 16 inches of precipitation per year in our area (let’s compare it to Williamsburg, Virginia with 48 inches), it’s not only hard to grow anything, it’s sometimes impossible. Very little grows without irrigation and by the time you add sprinkler systems and pay for water, it’s surely easier and certainly less expensive to simply buy what you need. Continue reading “One-Pan Salmon on Potatoes and Asparagus with Thyme and Chives–First Fruits of the Front Range Garden”

One-Pan Barramundi on Greens and Onions  with Dijon Sauce

One-Pan Barramundi on Greens and Onions with Dijon Sauce

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One of my favorite fish preparations is to cook fillets right on top of vegetables. Could be tomatoes and chiles, eggplant and garlic, asparagus, celery and fennel, ratatouille (see below) or, as in this case, a big bunch of tender young greens stirred up with one big sautéed onion. Plain white fish is, after all, plain white fish. Vegetables make all the difference in the world. There’s still lemon, of course.

Below:  Ratatouille-Steamed Salmon with Jasmine Rice

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Friday Fish:  St. Patrick’s Day One-Pan Salmon on Kale with Lemon and Thyme

Friday Fish: St. Patrick’s Day One-Pan Salmon on Kale with Lemon and Thyme

It just happens that a lenten Friday Fish and St. Patrick’s occur on the same day this year. This is no lie:  if you live in Chicago (and several surrounding areas) and are Catholic, you have special dispensation from the archbishop to eat corned beef instead of fish:

Ours is a merciful God. Chicagoland Catholics may enjoy the traditional corned beef and cabbage this Friday, despite the church’s practice of avoiding meat on Fridays during Lent. Cardinal Blase Cupich, leader of the Archdiocese of Chicago, has granted a dispensation. So have the bishops of the Joliet, Rockford and Gary dioceses.

Chicago Trib 3/15/17

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Sheet Pan Dinner: Spicy Lemon-Tarragon Chicken and Potatoes with Asparagus and Some Ideas About Keeping the Meals Coming

Sheet Pan Dinner: Spicy Lemon-Tarragon Chicken and Potatoes with Asparagus and Some Ideas About Keeping the Meals Coming

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It’s one of the biggest challenges and conundrums of my cooking, blogging, writing, and teaching life.  Folks are so very interested in food, love to chat about it, are crazy about eating, and seem to know lots about ingredients and technique (Food Network and “Top Chef”, I guess).  But somehow they often have an awesome amount of trouble getting into the kitchen and actually cooking. There are myriad reasons and I needn’t name them.

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Roast Pork Pot Pie with Parmesan-Black Pepper Biscuits

Roast Pork Pot Pie with Parmesan-Black Pepper Biscuits

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A gorgeous pork loin roasted over the weekend for our wine group along with a big bunch of Simon and Garfunkel Vegetables left me with two large containers of fragrant meat and vegetables in the fridge. What to do?

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