Monthly Archives: July 2014

Back to Basics – Balsamic Braised Chicken

As I get back into the groove of my work schedule, home responsibilities, cooking and the like after vacation, I have tried to keep meals relatively simple this week. One of old standby favorites has always been balsamic chicken. Balsamic chicken is one of those meals that is very simple to put together and you can get a great, tangy sauce and glaze on your chicken that is perfect over mashed potatoes or rice. Michelle always used to order balsamic chicken at one of our favorite restaurants so I do try to make it every now and then as a nice reminder. This particular recipe that I used this time is from Williams-Sonoma and only makes use of a few ingredients to make things even easier for you.

Balsamic Braised Chicken

3 pounds of chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, drumsticks) or 1 chicken cut into 8 pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 shallot, diced

1 fresh rosemary sprig

1 cup dry red wine

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels and season the chicken well with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large saute pan set over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until it is shimmering. Add the chicken pieces to the pan along with the garlic and shallot and cook the chicken, turning the pieces as it is needed, until the pieces are well browned on both sides, about 20 minutes total. Adjust the heat as is necessary so that you prevent the garlic and shallots from burning.

Tip the saute pan and spoon off any excess fat that you can. Add the rosemary sprig, the red wine and the balsamic vinegar and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan and cook, turning the chicken pieces occasionally,until the chicken is opaque throughout when tested with a knife, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken pieces to a warmed platter and cover the chicken to keep it warm.

Raise the heat under the saute pan to high and bring the liquid in the pan to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced and has thickened, creating a flavorful pan sauce, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic cloves and the rosemary sprig. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the sauce as necessary. Spoon the sauce over the chicken pieces and serve immediately.

You get great flavor of the sauce as it clings to chicken and I love the combination of the red wine with the balsamic to really give the dish great flavor. The shallots also make a nice addition to the overall meal. I served the chicken with mashed potatoes and corn to round out the meal. I think the balsamic chicken is great, but the sauce itself might be great with a piece of pork as well if you wanted to give that a try. I forgot to take a picture of this one when I made it, so unfortunately I don’t have one to show, but trust me the glaze comes out perfectly and the chicken tastes great!

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on July 31, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Sauce


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Back From Vacation with These Spare Ribs With Smoky Blackberry Barbecue Sauce

I spent the last week down in the Outer Banks in North Carolina with my family just relaxing and enjoying the sun and not doing much cooking along the way. my brother manned the grills for the week and did a great job with all of the different things that he cooked. I did make a few side dishes along the way but nothing extravagant and we all had a great time seeing each other and having fun. Now that I am back home, it’s time to get down to some more cooking. I had these spare ribs in the freezer and knew I wanted to make them, so I decided to give this recipe a try from Kitchen Daily that makes use of a smoky blackberry barbecue sauce. Their original recipe is designed to be used with short ribs, but I think it makes a pretty nice transition over to spare ribs. I used St. Louis ribs, but you could just easily use baby backs and get good results.

Spare Ribs with Smoky Blackberry Barbecue Sauce

For the Sauce:

1 pound blackberries

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 medium onion, finely chopped, plus 1/4 cup minced

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons seeded and minced chipotles in adobo sauce

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

For the Ribs:

4 pounds St. Louis spare ribs or baby back ribs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the ribs on the baking sheet. Season the ribs well with salt and pepper on both sides. Cover the ribs with another sheet of aluminum foil and bake them, covered, in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the top cover of aluminum foil and bake the ribs uncovered for another 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large bowl toss the blackberries together with the smoked paprika. Heat a medium saute pan over high heat and place the blackberries in the pan. Heat the berries, tossing them occasionally, until the berries begin to burst, about 3 to 5 minutes.

In a large saucepan, heat the 3 tablespoons of vegetable over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and started to brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until the paste is glossy, about 2 minutes. Add the blackberries, cider vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, chipotles, Dijon mustard and the ground cumin and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has slightly thickened and the berries are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Transfer the sauce to a blender and allow it to cool slightly. Puree the sauce until it is smooth. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl and discard any leftover solids in the sieve. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste and allow the sauce to cool completely. Stir in the minced onion, the olive oil and the dried oregano.

Brush the ribs in the oven with the blackberry barbecue sauce until they are well coated and continue baking the ribs for another 25 minutes. Turn up the heat in the oven to 400 degrees and give the ribs a final coating of barbecue sauce, allowing them to cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the sauce is caramelized and the ribs are cooked through.Remove the ribs from the oven to a cutting board and cut the ribs into portions and serve with the remaining sauce.

The blackberry sauce has a very distinct flavor to it and the chipotles add just the right amount of heat to the sauce. The sauce has the consistency of any other barbecue sauce but if you like blackberries you will really enjoy the flavor you get. This sauce is great for ribs but I think it would do just as well on chicken or other pieces of pork if you wanted to give that a try. I tried to strain out as many of the blackberry seeds as I could but some still got through so it’s something you have to be aware of if your diners aren’t fans of the seeds. Other than that, I think the sauce was a real winner.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!




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Posted by on July 29, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Grilling, Pork, Sauce


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15 Carnival Recipes You Can Make at Home – Bon Appétit

15 Carnival Recipes You Can Make at Home – Bon Appétit.

Half the fun of going to a carnival or street fair is all of the different foods they have available. It seems like the food that you can get there is found in no other place and has a certain taste to it thanks to the event all on its own. Bon Appetit has put together 15 recipes here of famous carnival foods that you can enjoy right in your kitchen to being back the tastes, smells and memories. All you need are some rides and carnival games and you are all set. Check it out!

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Posted by on July 27, 2014 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Eating Out, Snacks


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Easy Barbecue Mains – Photo Gallery | SAVEUR

Easy Barbecue Mains – Photo Gallery | SAVEUR.

With summer in full swing and so many people looking for great new grilling options for dinners or parties, Saveur Magazine has put together some great main dishes for you to incorporate into your grilling this year. Everything is covered to take care of all your needs for beef, chicken, fish, pork and even vegetarian main dishes to satisfy everyone at your backyard barbecue. Check it out!

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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Dinner, Grilling


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Our Favorite Hamburger Recipes – Photo Gallery | SAVEUR

Our Favorite Hamburger Recipes – Photo Gallery | SAVEUR.

There is nothing at all like a good burger and with the warm weather a burger makes a great meal to make outdoors or indoors. To try some different burger options, check out this article from Saveur Magazine with several different, new and tasty burger options. Check it out!

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Posted by on July 23, 2014 in Beef, Cooking, Cooking Websites, Dinner, Grilling, Lunch


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24 Summer Recipes Everyone Should Know How to Cook – Bon Appétit

24 Summer Recipes Everyone Should Know How to Cook – Bon Appétit.

There are plenty of classic summer recipes that people are always looking for when you are having a cookout, barbecue, picnic, outdoor party or just want to make a classic for yourself and your family. Bon Appetit has put together 24 summer classic recipes for you to use during the warm weather or really anytime of year. Check it out!


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12 Easy Smoothies for Hot Days — Recipes from The Kitchn | The Kitchn

12 Easy Smoothies for Hot Days — Recipes from The Kitchn | The Kitchn.

Smoothies can be a quick and refreshing snack, breakfast or lunch any time, but particularly during the hot summer months where you may not feel like making anything for breakfast or lunch and just want some cool that is easy to make. The Kitchn has put together 12 easy smoothie recipes for you that are perfect for you and your family during the summer. Check it out!


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16 Sunday Dinner Ideas for Summer – Bon Appétit

16 Sunday Dinner Ideas for Summer – Bon Appétit.

Sunday suppers can be as detailed or as simple as you want it but you can get the option of doing a nice Sunday dinner even when the weather is warm and it may not seem like you want a big project. Here are 16 great summer Sunday dinner ideas from Bon Appetit that can help to give you the inspiration to have a great Sunday meal. Check it out!

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Posted by on July 20, 2014 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Dinner


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Easy Vacation Recipes For Beach Houses, Lake Escapes, and More – Bon Appétit

Easy Vacation Recipes For Beach Houses, Lake Escapes, and More – Bon Appétit.

Since I am on vacation myself, this seems like the perfect link to post from Bon Appetit. You can try out these easy vacation recipes if you are renting a house somewhere this summer and make use of all that is local to have it coming out tasty and fresh. Check out the recipes!

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Posted by on July 19, 2014 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Dinner


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A Quick Summer Meal That is Meat Free – Black Bean and Corn Tacos

When you are looking for something quick to make on these hot summer days and may even want to stay away from the meat for a dinner or for lunch, beans can be a great alternative for you. They can provide you with plenty of protein, vitamins and fiber and taste great in salads or as a taco or wrap. I decided to do this myself for lunch a few weeks ago and then brought it back as a dinner meal when we were looking for something quick and easy one night. All the ingredients can be things that you might normally have on hand in your pantry or refrigerator so you can have this ready to go in just minutes.

Black Bean and Corn Tacos

1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 cup of cooked black beans)

5 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 cup onion, sliced thin

2 green onions, sliced thin

Corn or flour tortillas

Spinach leaves, for topping

Thinly sliced radishes, for topping

Sliced avocado or guacamole, for topping

Grated cheese (your choice) for topping

Sour cream, for topping

Diced tomatoes or salsa, for topping

Place the black beans and the cumin together in a small bowl and lightly mash the beans. Add 2 teaspoons of the olive oil along with the lime juice and mix together until well blended. In a saucepan set over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil until it is shimmering. Add the sliced onion and saute the onion until it is tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the corn kernels and the bean mixture to the onions and heat until the corn and beans are completely warmed through and fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. In a separate skillet, warm the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Warm the tortillas individually for about 1 minute per side. Remove the tortillas to a separate plate and place the bean and corn mixture in a separate bowl, sprinkling the beans mixture with the sliced green onions. Place any toppings you like on the table as well so people can assemble their own tacos to their specific liking.

You can really add anything you like to this dish to truly make it your own. Personally, I had tomato, avocado and radishes on mine while Sean put cheese on his and Michelle put sour cream and cheese on hers. The spinach was a nice touch as well. I actually have had this for lunch a number of times and they pack pretty well just as wraps if you didn’t want to cook the tortillas and just wanted to pack them up for a lunch on the go. you could certainly used dried beans that you have soaked and cooked beforehand in place of the canned, but the canned were convenient to use for my purposes and you can really make these with any type of beans you like, maybe throw in some chili peppers or hot sauce if you want some heat or any other type of vegetable you might like.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!



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