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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Afghan Butternut Squash with Rice

I'm always looking for quick and easy stuff and you know we like all things saucy in this house. I found this on Food52 and loved it. I took some liberties to change it up - added the chicken and garbanzos - which likely makes it completely un-Afghan but I liked it this way. We're gonna have this again and again in the future. Jack ate it for lunch all week - home run.

2 lbs butternut squash in 1/4 - 1/2 inch cubes
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 onion, chopped
1 1/4 tsp coriander 
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 cup crushed tomato
1/2 cup water
Leftover chicken, shredded (from a rotisserie, leftover from grill, or you can simmer a breast or a couple of thighs in chicken broth for a half hr or so to tenderize and shred)
1 can of garbanzos (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Arrange the squash on a baking sheet in one layer. Drizzle with a couple tbsp of olive oil, dash of salt and pepper and the sugar and cinnamon. Bake until quite soft (about a half hr), stirring once. Remove from oven and set aside.

2. In  a large pan, heat a couple tbsp of oil and cook the onions until soft. Add the spices and cook for a couple of mins. Add the tomato sauce and water and mix well. Cook for about 20-30 mins until sauce thickens. Add the squash, chicken, and beans at the end to warm through.

Serve over rice.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Chili Verde with Sausage and Butternut Squash

I'm always looking for ways to use the other half of that enormous butternut squash that's still in my fridge. Well, you know me and all things chili...throw in the kitchen sink. But this is a special one -chili verde. And it has three key ingredients that I absolutely love: tomatillos, sausage, and hominy. Let me be clear about something though, I had never cooked with hominy before I made this and I actually didn't even know what it was and always wondered. I thought it was a bean (??). But it's not. It's corn. It's like eating boiled corn nuts. I will never turn back.

Tomatillo Base
1 1/2 lbs tomatillos, husked and rinsed
5 jalapenos - deveined and seeded to your own tolerance of hotness
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 white onion, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
olive oil
1/2 cup cilantro

1 yellow onion roughly chopped
1 lb sausage meat out of the casing
1 1/2 tsp oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15oz can of hominy, liquid included
1/2 cup cilantro
2 cups diced butternut squash

1. Preheat the broiler. Place the tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic and onion on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Broil until softened and slightly charred, turning once. Let cool to room temp. Put the cooled veggies in a blender temp and puree with the cilantro.

2. As the broiled veggies cool, heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking it up as you go. Spoon out most of the excess fat and add the garlic.

3. Add the blended tomatillo mixture, hominy (and liquid), cilantro, and squash. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender.

Pork Medallions with Soy/Maple Drizzle and Sweet Potato Mash

Fall weather is here...and so is comfort food. Meat and potatoes, please! In the summer I grill everything, in the winter you'd think I roast. But I don't. It takes to long. I braise or sear, depending on if I have four hours or 15 minutes. Maybe when Jack's 15 years old and eating like a horse I'll have a reason to roast a three pound hunk of beef. Anyway, this is from Cooking Light and is super easy and quick (should take 20-30 mins, prep included) and still gives that "slaved over an oven" vibe that a comfort meal kinda needs.

Maple Drizzle
2 tsp butter
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp water
1/2 tsp cornstarch

Pork Medallions
1 tbsp canola oil
1 1lb pork tenderloin cut crosswise into 12 medallions
Dash of salt, garlic powder, pepper

2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper

1. Start with the potatoes - add potatoes to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 10 min or until the potatoes are soft and mashable.

2. While potatoes are cooking, heat a large pan over medium high heat. Arrange the pork on a plate or cutting board and gently press each with the palm of your hand to flatten them a bit. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic salt. Add oil to the pan and cook the pork, about 3 mins per side. Remove and let rest for about 5 mins.

3. Drain the potatoes, mash them and add butter, milk, salt and pepper.

4. Make the drizzle - melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add lime juice, maple syrup, soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Stir together the water and cornstarch and add to the sauce to thicken. Drizzle over the pork and serve with potatoes.

Orange Marmalade

I have a million memories of my grandma Jeanne, but there are a few things - certain sounds, tastes, sights, and smells that immediately bring her back. The smell of roasting beef, the sound of cards shuffling, horseradish, old fashions, the sight of a perfectly sharpened pencil resting on a NYT crossword puzzle, and orange marmalade. We didn't really eat much orange marmalade growing up but at grandma's house, it was what you put on toast. And it was always homemade. I started making it myself a few years ago, usually around the holidays when the cold weather sets in and the oranges and grapefruits are starting to get good. After marrying an Irish guy, I realized that orange marmalade is something that should must be in the fridge at all times, with a dozen on reserve at all times because you never know who will stop by and leave with a jar.

This is based on Alton Brown's recipe. I like to make mine with a little grapefruit to add a little extra zing.

4-5 oranges - use juice oranges not navels, thinly sliced on a mandoline, seeds removed, and chopped
1 grapefruit, thinly sliced on a mandoline, seeds removed, and chopped
1 lemon, zest grated and juiced
6 cups of water
3 lbs plus 12 oz sugar

1. Put the oranges into a large pot (8-10qt pot). Add the lemon juice and zest and water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a rapid simmer and cook, stirring frequently for about 40 minutes - fruit should be very soft.

2. While the oranges are cooking, sterilize the jars and lids in a large pot of boiling water for five minutes. Remove and let dry.

3. Place a small plate in the freezer (so that you can test the consistency of the marmalade later).

4. Bring the orange mixture back to a full boil over high heat and add the sugar. Mix continually until it reaches 223 degrees on a candy thermometer and it's dark in color. It will take quite a while to get dark - wait until it does or you'll have soupy marmalade/failed batch. It should be bubbling up quite a bit, play with the heat if you need to but keep the temp as high as possible and let it thicken.

5. Test the readiness by putting a teaspoon of marmalade on the frozen plate. Wait 30 seconds - if it sets and gels, you're all set. If it runs, keeps cooking.

6. Pour the marmalade into the jars using a funnel. Top and seal the jars.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Mexican Baked Eggs

We're all in favor of 20 minute dinners. Let's face it, when you only have 20 minutes it's easy to opt for heating chicken nuggets or microwaving something from Trader Joe's. But I'd much rather have this. Eggs always save the day.

2 tbsp olive oil
3 thinly sliced poblanos (seeded and deveined)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups tomato sauce or crushed tomato
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
4 large eggs
1 cup crumbled queso fresco or chedder, jack, whatever
Cilantro and jalapeno - pinch of each

1. Preheat oven to 425. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron plan. Add the poblanos and garlic and cook for five minutes.

2. Stir in tomatoes and oregano and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

3. Crack eggs into the sauce and top with cheese.

4. Bake for 12 minutes.

Thai Pulled Pork

You all know I love me some slow Sunday cooking. Afterall, slow cooking is for long, slow days which are wonderful...and which absolutely do not exist in my life anymore so please don't be fooled by this post. In fact, the idea of even being in the house for the 3.5 hrs that it takes to roast this pork is unimaginable. In full disclosure, I made this one day recently when I was working from home. The prep actually only takes a matter of minutes. It's the roasting that takes all afternoon. So it's not like you're slaving over the stove, but you do need to be INSIDE.

I don't stand a chance at making this on a weekend with a toddler who, when inside, spends all of his time at the door holding his shoes in his hands saying, "outside? outside? outside? outside?" You get the idea. Anyway, do whatever you have to do to make this but puhlease don't use a slow cooker, ok? Not allowed here and it just won't work. Period. But it IS an absolutely delicious recipe with lots of leftovers that can be used in a few hundred ways.

1/3 cup Thai red curry paste
1/4 cup fish sauce
6 tbsp brown sugar
4-lb pork shoulder (I used bone in)
2 cups chopped cilantro
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large shallots, halved
1 stalk of lemongrass - inner part only, cut into three pieces
1/3 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp tumeric
1 1.2-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
1 15-oz can coconut milk (not shaken!)
1/3 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped basil and mint leaves

1. Preheat oven to 325. In small pan, simmer curry paste, fish sauce, and 1/4 cup of sugar over moderate heat until sugar is dissolved and smooth paste forms. Let cool slightly.

2. Place pork in a dutch oven and season with salt and rub all over with curry paste. Cover and roast, basting every hour with juices, until very tender and falls off least 3.5 hrs. Uncover and roast for 15 more minutes until crusty. Remove from oven and let cook. Pull apart and shred with a fork.

3. Combine cilantro, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, cardamom, tumeric, ginger and pulse in a food processor. Add remaining sugar and process until smooth.

4. Open can of coconut and scoop the creamy top into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat and whisk in cilantro paste. Whisk in the rest of the coconut milk and chicken stock and bring to a simmer.

5. Stir the pork into the sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.

Serve with rice.

Refried Beans

Ok, not that exciting especially for the first post in about three months but I keep forgetting exactly how to do these and need to put them somewhere where I can find the recipe again... Also, this is not really a recipe and I'm embarrassed that I even need to write this down so please refrain from judging.

2 cans of pinto or kidney beans
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tbsp butter

Drain and rinse the beans. Simmer with broth for 10 mins. Puree in a food processor with the butter.

(See what I mean? Nevermind, don't answer that.)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Chicken Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Slaw

See what I mean? Tacos. The best part is that this was the leftover chicken from two nights earlier and the rest of the cabbage from the Vietnamese Pork Salad. This isn't a recipe but we loved it so I'm putting it in to remind myself. Lazy dinner and emptying out the fridge...yessss.

Spice rubbed chicken thighs (or any leftover chicken)
Handful of shredded cheese (mexican blend or cheddar or jack)
1 cup cole slaw mix
1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tbsp sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce (or more if you like it spicier)
Avocados, sliced if you have them

1. Combine the slaw, sour cream, and adobo. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat the chicken and set aside. Heat the tortillas and melt the cheese in them. Add chicken, slaw, and avocado. That's it!!

Spice Rubbed Chicken Thighs with Jalapeno Guac

We eat tacos all. the. time. What else would I do with all of that leftover chicken? But because we have them, ahem, at least once a week, I try to change them up as much as possible...which includes serving them tortilla-less.

1 package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt & pepper
Enough kale or other greens for a salad
1 cup or more of black beans
1 cup or more of corn
1 cup or more of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp honey
1/8 tsp dijon mustard
2 avocados
2 - 3 jalapenos, seeds and veins removed, finely diced
Juice of one lime
2 tablespoons of sour cream or plain yogurt (if you have it)

1. Combine the chili powder through the salt and pepper and rub thoroughly into the chicken thighs. Given them 30 mins if you have it, otherwise, do everything else before you grill them.

2. To make the salad dressing, combine the olive oil thorugh the mustard to make your dressing, or use store bought dressing if you have it.

3. To make the salad, combine the kale, beans, corn, tomatoes and dress salad.

4. To make the guacamole, combine avocados, jalapenos, lime juice, and sour cream/yogurt and salt & pepper.

5. Grill the chicken and serve over the salad with guac on the side.

Vietnamese Style Pork Chops with Kale and Cabbage Salad

I don't usually get excited about pork chops. Tenderloin - yes. Chops? Not so much. And Paddy [usually] tries to hide his disappointment when I make pork in general. But we eat A LOT of chicken and sometimes you gotta change up the routine a little. I made this a few weeks ago and we were both blown away. I used boneless chops and marinated the hell out of them. The sugar caramelized when these were on the grill and they were incredibly tasty over this salad. Adapted from Food and Wine.

1 large shallot or a small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp black pepper
4 pork chops - bone in or out
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Salad greens (I preferred kale for this)
1/2 English cucumber, sliced
1 cup cabbage or cole slaw mix
Fresh basil and mint if you have it (or either)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp honey
Salt & pepper

1. Mix the ingredients through the black pepper (blend or put in food processor if you can). Transfer to a ziplock, add pork, and marinate for 1 - 12 hrs. I highly recommend doing this first thing in the morning for dinner.

2. Heat grill to medium high. Remove chops from marinade and season with salt and pepper. Grill the chops turning once until lightly charred, about two mins per side.

3. Combine your greens and cabbage with the scallions and cucumber. Make the dressing by mixing the olive oil, lime juice, honey and S&P. Toss salad with dressing and serve the pork, sliced, on top.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Crunchy Vegetable Salad with Warm Peanut Dressing and 7-Minute Egg

Jack's been on a peanut butter and toast breakfast kick lately so peanut butter's back on my radar. It's some pretty messy stuff when you mix it with a 1.5 year old. No matter how well I wash his face and hands after breakfast, I swear I still smell peanut butter on him at the end of the day. Where is he saving it??  In his hair and behind his ears. Anyway, the weather's warming up and my dutch oven is going into summer hibernation. It's time for salads and the grill! This is from Bon Appetit. There are a lot of peanut sauce recipes out there but this is the best one I've had in a long time. The salad is delicious and can keep for days - it's also really filling and makes a great dinner. You could easily add chicken or shrimp to this.


2 green Thai chilis or jalapenos, seeded, cored, minced
1 clove of garlic
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce


4 eggs (or as many people you're serving)
1/4 head of Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/3 cup peanuts, chopped
4 cups cooked brown rice

1. Add all sauce ingredients to a small sauce pan with 1/4 cup of water. Heat over medium-low, whisking often until hot, about 5 minutes. If it gets to thick, add a little more water.

2. Add eggs to a pot of boiling water and cook for 7 minutes. Transfer eggs to bowl of ice water until cooled. Gently peel and set aside.

3. Toss the cabbage, scallions celery, cucumber, cilantro, mint in a large bowl. Serve over warm or chilled brown rice with peanut sauce on top and halved eggs on the side.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Faster Roast Chicken & Gravy with Bacony Brussels Sprouts

Yes, yes, more chicken. But roast chicken, people, it's a different food group. You know how you think about making it but then don't because you don't have two hours and don't want to deal with picking all of the chicken off the carcass and cleaning up the mess? This is my weeknight solution. Substitute the veggies, serve with roasted or mashed potatoes and get into the comfort zone. And do not skip the gravy - please folks.

Roast Chicken

2-3 bone-in chicken breasts (whatever will fit in your cast-iron or oven proof skillet)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp fresh thyme, rosemary, or sage (if you use dried, use 1/2 tsp)
Salt and pepper

Brussels Sprouts

1-2 lbs brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2-3 strips of bacon (cooked or uncooked), chopped
2 tbsp chicken broth
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. If you're using uncooked bacon for the sprouts, cook the bacon in the pan that you plan to cook the chicken in. Set bacon aside and drain most (not all!) of the bacon fat from the pan into a small dish and set aside.

3. Salt and pepper the chicken and place skin side down in a hot pan with a bit of olive oil or bacon grease. Cook until skin is browned, then flip and put in the oven for about 30-45 mins depending on the size of the breasts.

4. When the chicken is almost done, heat another skillet over medium high heat and add a little bacon grease or olive oil. Place the sprouts cut side down and cook until lightly browned. Flip and add the stock and vinegar, salt and pepper, and bacon and cover. Cook for about 10 mins while you make the gravy.

5. When chicken is done, remove the chicken from the pan and heat the pan with its drippings over medium high heat until it starts to bubble. Sprinkle the flour into the drippings and whisk until incorporated. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and add the herbs, salt and pepper as needed. Gravy's done when it's thickened up slightly. If it gets too thick, add a little more broth.

Arroz con Pollo with Avocado-Pea Salsa

This is a one pot wonder from Food & Wine that takes only an hour. It's a good Sunday night dinner and there's leftovers for lunch and more dinners during the week. It includes both wine and beer - a really wholesome meal. I won't judge if you want to round it off with a margarita or gotta cover all the bases.

Arroz con Pollo

2 tbsp olive oil
One chicken cut into pieces (or, a couple of thighs, breasts, and legs)
1 onion, minced
2 serrano chilis or jalapenos, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 plum tomatoes, cored and finely diced (or a 14oz can of crushed tomato)
1 tsp ground achiote (if you can find it)
1/2 tsp cumin
Pinch of saffron
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup light beer
2 cups rice (uncooked)

Avocado-Pea Salsa

1 cup peas
1 small red onion
1/4 cup lime juice
3 avocados finely diced
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400. In a very large dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook in the oil skin side down first until nicely browned. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add the onion, chilis, and garlic to the pot with a little salt and pepper and cook until softened. Add the tomatoes, achiote, cumin, and saffron and cook until the tomatoes start to break down.

3. Add the wine and simmer until slightly reduced. Add stock and beer and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and bring to a boil. Nestle the chicken into the rice and bake uncovered in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and chicken cooked through.

4. While the chicken and rice are in the oven, blanch the peas in a pot of boiling water for about a minute. Drain under cold water. Mix the onion, lime juice and salt and pepper. Let stand for 10 mins and then mix in the avocados and peas.

5. Remove the chicken from the pot when done. Fluff the rice and serve with chicken and salsa on top.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Grilled Egg & Eggplant

Not a combo I would've thought up. But these days I'm going for meals that are high in flavor, healthy, and fast as hell to make. This is from Bon Appetit. The spicy sauce in this recipe could be used in a million other ways but it really works with this. You can pan cook the eggplants but the smokey char from the grill is like another ingredient. Serve this on its own, over some sauteed kale, or rice, both...whatever.

2 jalapenos, seeded and de-veined
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
4 Japanese eggplants or 1 lb of regular eggplant(s) - cut lengthwise about 1/2" thick
4 tbsp olive oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 cups cilantro
1/4 cup fresh dill
2 eggs

1. Toss chiles, garlic, and a large pinch of salt on a small bowl and let sit until softened - about 10 mins. Stir in vinegar and honey and set aside.

2. Drizzle eggplants with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill or cook in a large skillet until lightly charred and tender. When finished, cut on a diagonal and toss in a large bowl with scallions and half of the hot sauce, cilantro and dill.

3. Heat remaining 2 tbsp of oil in a skillet over medium and fry the eggs until yolks are just set. Remove eggs from pan and cut into strips. Arrange over the eggplant and drizzle with remaining hot sauce, cilantro and dill.

30-Minute Red Curry

I've been making a lot of curry the past six months. Turns out my 1.5 year old prefers a good home cooked curry than just about anything else. This little boy loves his food spicy and saucy. He gets a whiff when I'm heating it up and starts to kick his legs in his high chair and bounce up and down. This Thai red curry from Bon Appetit is one of the best that I've made over the years. You could do this with fish, chicken, shrimp, just veggies - rice noodles or rice.

1 large shallot
6 cloves of garlic
1 2" piece of ginger, peeled and cut into pieces
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp red curry paste
2 tsp tumeric
1 28oz can of diced tomato
1 can of coconut milk
1 lb vegetables - cauliflower, carrots, etc.
1 lb white fish (cod, halibut, haddock) or chicken, shrimp

1. Pulse shallot, garlic and ginger in a food processor to finely chop. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the garlic mixture until golden. Add the curry paste and tumeric and cook until darker in color and starts to stick to the pan - about 3 mins.

2. Add tomatoes and cook for about 5 mins. Stir in coconut milk and season with salt. Simmer and stir occasionally until its thickened - about 10 mins.

3. Add vegetables and add enough water to cover the veggies. Bring to a simmer and cook until veggies are crisp but tender - about 10 mins.

4. Season the fish/chicken/shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the curry. Return to a simmer and cook until meat is cooked through. Serve over rice noodles or rice with a squeeze of lime and some cilantro.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Pork Shoulder Ragu

This is my grand finale for winter time, one pot masterpieces. We still have a few chilly days left so squeeze this one in while you can. We're big on pasta and sauce in our family. It's Paddy's favorite. But sometimes I get a little tired of the same ole sauce. I came across this one on Food52 and boy is it good. I've made it twice in the last two months - the first time in a dutch oven, the second time in a slow-cooker because we just had to get. out. of. the. house. If you use a slow cooker - I highly recommend still browning the meat on the stove top and transferring 24it after. Serve this with a wide noodle like papardelle or tagliatelle.

2 - 2.5lb boneless pork shoulder (I've made this with bone-in too. If you use boneless, tie up loose pieces)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small pat of butter
1 28oz + 1 14oz can of crushed tomatoes (San Marzano the best for this)
1 cup red wine
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
5 springs of fresh oregano (use fresh here - it makes a difference)
*Tie the herbs together with kitchen twine so that you can scoop out later.

1. Preheat oven to 325. Liberally salt and pepper the pork. Heat olive oil and butter to dutch oven over medium high and add the pork roast to the pan. Brown on all sides.

2. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 1 minute. If you're using a slow cooker - at this point transfer everything to the cooker along with the rest of the ingredients and cook on high for 5hrs or low for 8hrs. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and put in the oven.

3. Braise for 3-4 hours or until falling off the bone. When done, remove pork from the pot and shred on large plate or pan. Skim off any oil from the top of the sauce. Add the pork to the sauce and mix well. Serve with pasta and top with parm.

Chicken Saltimbocca

We eat a lot of chicken. Have you noticed? This is one of my all time favorites and it's a great work night dinner since it takes about 15 minutes to make. I usually serve it with asparagus or broccoli or some other kind of green. This is from Food & Wine.

4 chicken breasts, halved or pounded into thin cutlets
10 sage leaves
4 slices of prosciutto
1/2 cup flour
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place 2-3 sage leaves on each breast and wrap the breast with a slice (or two for full coverage) of prosciutto. The prosciutto should stick together so you shouldn't need a toothpick. Lightly dredge the breasts in flour and shake off the excess.

2. Heat a large skillet to medium high and add oil and 2 tbsp of butter. Cook the chicken until the prosciutto starts to curl  - the chicken may not be cooked through - you'll finish it after next step. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate.

3. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of butter to the pan, add the win and cook over high until reduced by half. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half again.

4. Return the chicken to the pan and cook until chicken is done.

Fennel and Carrot Soup

When I was pregnant last fall, I made dozens of bulk batch soups and froze half for those first few months of parenthood when you can barely see straight. I came across some good, simple recipes and now that the cold weather is here again, I'm bringing them back! This is unbelievably easy and very flavorful. Jack loves it too! (modified from Bon Appetit)

6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided (I used olive oil this time since I knew Jack would eat it)
2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
2 small onions, thinly sliced
4 carrots, chopped
1 yukon gold or russet potato, peeled and halved
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups (1 box) of chicken broth or vegetable broth

1. Heat the butter (or oil) in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add fennel, onion, carrots, potato, thyme and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

2. Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 mins or until potato is falling apart. Remove herbs.

3. Puree in a blender and serve!