Tag Archives: Dinner

spouseless eating

pan-roasted asparagus w/ fried eggs & anchovy bread crumbs

Today I caught up on a handful of Spilled Milk podcasts at work and listened to a perfectly timed topic: spouseless eating. Tonight my husband (and it feels weird to finally call Dave that) had his book club meeting (yes, our group of guy friends was jealous of our girls’ book club and started their own) so I was on on my own for dinner. Spouseless eating usually means to me epic amounts of braised kale and spaghetti (or a trip to McDs if you are Dave) but since it is springtime at the market it is time for epic amounts of asparagus. I picked up two bunches yesterday at the market with plans to make this salad but I’ve been flipping through this book the last few nights and remember a recipe that featured asparagus. And it was especially perfect for a dave-less night because it called for anchovies. Continue reading

spicy lentil soup

Spicy Sausage and Lentil Soup

Now that most of my friends are lawyers, rather than law students (and no longer needing to plow through case law), we seem to fill our evenings with girls’ nights at BYOB sushi joints and potlucks with copious amounts of wine. This is all well and good but suddenly almost two weeks have passed and I haven’t stopped by here to tell you about what I have been eating and cooking in my own kitchen. Granted, last weekend, I didn’t have time to make my weekly grocery run so Dave and I were digging out dinner from the freezer which doesn’t make very interesting blog fodder. And the recipes (including this one) that I have managed to make, and take pictures of, have been after the sun has set which doesn’t make for great pictures. Continue reading

baked in a bowl

Baked Potato Soup

Sorry that I haven’t been adding much content to this place lately.  The early (like 4:15PM early) darkness makes it hard to ever take good evening pictures (hence the less than stellar ones on this post), 5 days in Philly for Thanksgiving, and then starting a full-time (albeit somewhat temporary) job this week has given me less time in my kitchen.  Winter has actually arrived in Chicago with freezing temps and light flurries swirling in the loop.  Its probably no surprise to you that I am talking about another soup recipe.   Continue reading

rolled thin part deux: one thousand layers

While I will admit that I did enjoy the ravioli in the brown butter sauce, the best part of the batch of homemade pasta dough came the next night  when I made the famous Thousand Layer Lasagna“.  One of my go to meals is to simply doctor-up a few jars of pasta sauce (preferably Newman’s Own since it the only reasonably priced brand without HFCS and other crap in the ingredient list) with some chopped onion and garlic and maybe a little italian sausage that has been sautéed in a little olive oil.  I make a big batch, let it simmer low for a couple of hours and freeze it into 2 person portions for an easy weeknight meal.  Since I made a batch of sauce while making this lasagna, all I had to do was roll out the pasta sheets as thin as possible, and layer it with the sauce and the leftover ravioli filling from the night before. Continue reading

Chicken Enchiladas

As you may or may not know, even through I write a blog called “Whitney in Chicago”, I am really a Texan through and through (except for my politics). One of the biggest adjustments to Chicago actually wasn’t the long, harsh winter, but the lack of true “Tex-Mex.” Sure you can get plenty of decent mexican and salsa all across Chicago, but really good Tex-Mex can only be found at the source, Texas. I’m not the only one who feels this way. Anyways, anytime that I do go back to Texas for any length of time, I always pack light so that I can bring back lots of Texas things (if only I could figure out how to get some Blue Bell Homestyle Vanilla back), most importantly…SALSA. Continue reading

Smoky Baked Mac and Cheese

Last weekend I had the craving for something warm and comforting but all of my normal, go-to recipes just seemed uninspiring.  I wanted to try something new.  Whenever I am on the search for a new recipe, I look at my starred posts in my reader and slowly make my way through a stack of magazines and recipe books.  However, it never fails that I end up finding the perfect thing to try over at the Kitchen Sink.   Continue reading

Chicken in Milk

When I saw the post and the rave ecstatic review of this recipe on The Kitchn on Friday, I knew what I was making this weekend. The flavors sounded intriguing and the recipe was simple, no prepping the bird with Kosher Salt in advance. After picking up a nice 3.5lb bird at Whole Foods on Saturday, I knew what I was making for Sunday Dinner.

After rinsing and throughly drying the chicken, you liberally season it with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Then melt a stick (can’t go wrong with a recipe that starts with a stick of butter) with a little olive oil in a dutch oven. After the butter is melted oven medium heat, place the chicken in and let it sizzle until it is browned. Repeat on the other side. This took me maybe 10 mins, flipping the bird a few times. Meanwhile, zest 2 lemons and pull the leaves off a handful of sage.

After the bird is browned on both sides, remove the bird to a plate and drain the leftover butter, but save the lovely fond that has developed. Pour the pint of milk into the dutch over, mixing with the lemon zest, sage, cinnamon stick and the un-peeled cloves from a head of garlic (recipe only called for 10, but this really was my favorite part, so go crazy if you like garlic). Roast the bird in a covered dutch oven for an hour at 375, basting with the milk “when you remember”, then for another 30 mins with the lid off.

Let me just say that this was phenomenal. The meat just melted off of the bones. The leftover juice, while a little funky looking, was incredibly flavorful. The best part though was taking the cloves of garlic, completely infused with all the flavors and spreading it out on a hunk of bread, dipping into in the juices and topping it with a piece of chicken. Heaven.

Try this recipe with a nice bird. You will be glad that you did. I can’t wait to have the leftovers tonight.

Recipe from Jamie Oliver via The Kitchn

Chicken in Milk with Lemon, Cinnamon, Garlic, Sage

• 1 – 3½lb organic chicken
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 stick of butter
• olive oil
• 1/2 cinnamon stick (I used a full smallish one)
• 1 good handful of fresh sage, leaves picked
• zest of 2 lemons
• 10 cloves of garlic, skin left on (or go crazy and use a whole head)
• 1 pint milk

Preheat the oven to 375°F and find a snug-fitting pot for the chicken. Season it generously all over, and fry it in the butter and a little olive oil, turning the chicken to get an even colour all over, until golden. Remove from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and throw away the oil and butter left in the pot. This will leave you with tasty sticky goodness at the bottom of the pan which will give you a lovely caramelly flavour later on.

Put your chicken back in the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and cook in the preheated oven for 1½ hours. Baste with the cooking juice when you remember (isn’t this the greatest instruction ever?) The lemon zest will sort of split the milk, making a sauce which is absolutely fantastic.

To serve, pull the meat off the bones and divide it on to your plates. Spoon over plenty of juice and the little curds. Dip your bread in the juice, spread with the garlic.

Warm and hearty: Black Beans and Rice


A few weeks ago at Green City, I picked up a pound of super fresh black beans, bell peppers, garlic and a smoked ham hock.  Then I pulled out my trusty The New Best Recipe Book to find a good way to cook them up. This did take the better half of a Saturday afternoon but it smelled awesome the entire time. The pot made enough for 2 weekend meals, a few packed lunches and a big portion sitting in the freezer for a quick weekday meal.

Boil the beans and veggies in a big pot

Boil the beans and veggies in a big pot

Lots and lots of garlic

Lots and lots of garlic

Big ole ham hock

Big ole ham hock

Sofrito

Sofrito


Look at all the garlic

Look at all the garlic


Pick apart the ham

Pick apart the ham


Hunting for the 2nd bay leaf

Hunting for the 2nd bay leaf


Tasty meal

Tasty meal

Black Beans serve with white rice
From: The Best New Recipe Book, Page 232

Beans
12 cups water
1 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) dried black beans; picked over and rinsed
1 smocked ham hock (about 2/3 pound-mine was almost twice as big)
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
1 jalapeno (my addition)
1 medium onion, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Sofrito
2 tablespoons EVOO
1 medium onion, minced
1 small green pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
8 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano (I used an mix from Spice House that contained oregano)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 round cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

For the beans: Bring all the beans ingredients to a boil over a medium-high heat in a large pot (this would be a great place to use a Dutch Oven but sadly I don’t have one…yet.) Skim the surface as the scum rises. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered for about 2 hours. Add more water if it is getting low and taste the beans to make sure they are getting tender but not splitting. Remove the ham hock. When cool enough to handle, remove the ham from the bone, discard the bone and skin, and cut the meat into bite-size pieces; set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves.

For the sofrito: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, oregano, and salt; saute until the vegs soften, 8 to 10 mins. Add the cumin; saute until fragrant, about 1 more min.

To finish: Scoop 1 cup of the beans and 2 cups of the cooking liquid into the pan with the sofrito; mash the beans with a potato masher until smooth. Simmer over medium heat until the liquid is reduced and thickened, about 6 mins. Return the sofrito mixture with the meat from the ham hock to the bean pot; simmer until the beans are creamy and the liquid thickens, 15-20mins. Stir in the cilantro and salt/pepper to taste. Serve hot over rice.

Thai Chicken Curry


When Dave and I first started dating, it was quickly apparent that we enjoyed staying in and cooking a nice meal, rather than going out.  We are boring and practical like that. I had a few go to recipes but I quickly realized that is was time to try out new recipes.  Since I was spending all my time at his apt for various reasons (close to school, my crazy roommate, the closure of the Montrose Brown Line stop, etc), I relied on various cookbooks that he had on his shelf, resulting from various graduation presents. This recipe is from Dave Lieberman’s “Young and Hungry” This isn’t a bad cookbook. Lots of pretty pictures, but I’ll be honest, this is the only thing that I have made out of the book, but it is def. yummy. I have made this half a dozen times since that first time in his tiny PT Studio kitchen. It is even better the next day, packed in gladware for lunch. I promise.


Thai Chicken Curry

2 cups white rice (we buy Jasmine by the HUGE 10Lb bag)
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts (around 2) cut into pieces
Crushed red pepper flakes
Vegetable Oil
1 small onion, diced
I red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon curry power
1 tablespoon sugar
Thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (get the full fat stuff…seriously)
Handful of snow peas
Handful of basil (I only throw them in if I already have them, no need to buy if you are lacking)
Juice of 1 lime (also something you can omit if you like)
Zest of 1 lime (optional…I like the rice plain)
Salt and Black Pepper-duh.

Cook the rice (get a rice cooker-it rocks).

Toss the chicken strips in a bowl with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and 2 tablespoons of oil. Heat a skillet over high heat and cook the chicken until they start to brown (about 5 mins, push them around so they don’t stick). Once there is no pink, scoop the chicken onto a plate. Lower the pan heat to medium-high and add a bit more oil. Slide in the onions and cook, stirring until they turn translucent (4-5 min). Add the red bell pepper and garlic (mmm garlic) and cook another 2 mins. Add the curry powder (hold your breath), sugar and ginger and cook 1 more min. Add the broth and coconut milk and turn the heat up to high. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often until the sauce reduces by 1/4 (whatever that really means), 7-8 min. Slide the chicken back in and add the snow peas. Cook for a min or two, add the basil and lime juice and season with the S&P to taste.
Stir the zest into the lime (if ya want). Then serve the rice and curry in a bowl so that you can mix them together. Yum.

TACOS

a taco mise en place

a taco mise en place

Ever since my friend Brian had Taco Salad Night at his apartment 1L year, Tacos have been a good go to dinner for me and Dave. It is quick, tasty, easy and often with enough leftover ground meat for me to bring a Taco Salad for lunch the next day. However, the thing that takes the typical ground turkey taco meat to the next level is this taco seasoning

.

The BIG Jar

The BIG Jar

As you can see I buy it by the $16 jar. When my Mom was in town over the summer she also picked up a big jar for yourself. I usually add a little shake of cayenne to give it a little kick, but it is perfect tasty on its own.

All you have to do is brown up a pound of ground turkey, drain the fat off, mix 4 Tablespoons of the seasoning with 6 oz of water, pour it in, let it thicken, and prep the taco toppings of your choosing.