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Ravioli Day Roundup

Ravioli Day Roundup

It’s National Ravioli Day!  I get so excited about ravioli, it’s kind of ridiculous.  There’s just something so lovely about filling wrapped in dough.  Ravioli is particularly special, as it works so well with some of the best sauces out there (I’m thinking Alfredo, marinara, tomato sauce with vodka…you get the idea).  Did you know that the first written mention of ravioli occurred in the 14th century in Venice in the personal letters of a merchant?  Ravioli wasn’t served with tomato sauce, though, until the 16th century (because tomatoes weren’t introduced to Italy until then).  Prior to the 16th century, ravioli were served in broth.  If this doesn’t get you hungry for ravioli, I don’t know what will.  Maybe these ravioli recipes will do the trick.

Let’s start with Ravioli with Creamy Roasted Pepper Sauce from Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker!  The star here is the sauce – and it is such a quick sauce to make.  I’m holding on to this one for farmer’s market season when peppers are available in abundance.

Pumpkin and other winter squash is such a natural paring with ravioli.  Up your ravioli game by making these Pumpkin Ravioli with Browned Butter, Sage, and Walnuts from What a Girl Eats

Pumpkin Ravioli with Browned Butter, Sage, and Walnuts

Rabbit and Wolves prove that ravioli doesn’t have to be made using cheese for it to be good.  These Vegan Broccoli Rabe Pesto Ravioli are a perfect spring ravioli option for vegans and non-vegans alike.

Vegan Broccoli Rabe Pesto Ravioli

This Carrot Ravioli with Broccoli-Ricotta Filling from Caroline’s Cooking is another great spring ravioli option.

Carrot Ravioli with Broccoli-Ricotta Filling

This Balsamic and Garlic Mushroom Ravioli from Krumpli combines the great flavors of balsamic vinegar, garlic and mushrooms and wraps it all up in a neat package of yummy!

Balsamic and Garlic Mushroom Ravioli

Next up is Orange and Pecorino Ravioli with Rosemary Brown Butter from Use Your Noodles.  This looks like such a light and refreshing ravioli – just imagine how that bit of orange zest in the ravioli would complement the rosemary brown butter.

Orange and Pecorino Ravioli with Rosemary Brown Butter

Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli (With a Kick) from Slow the Cook Down gets its kick from the addition of a finely chopped red chili.

Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli (With a Kick)

Kitchen Sanctuary’s Spicy Burrito Ravioli takes the traditional ravioli and gives it a great twist with the addition of burrito flavors.

Kitchen Sanctuary’s Spicy Burrito Ravioli

Butternut Squash Ravioli Bake from the Girl on Bloor is a great quick meal if you have squash or pumpkin ravioli already on hand.  Ravioli pairs well with all the ingredients in this one dish meal.

Butternut Squash Ravioli Bake

Last, but not least, if you are still craving even more ravioli (which I always am), here’s a beautiful dessert ravioli: White Chocolate Mascarpone Ravioli with Raspberry Sauce from Pinch Me I’m Eating.

White Chocolate Mascarpone Ravioli with Raspberry Sauce

I’d love to be eating this right now – I’m starting to feel inspired to do a three-course ravioli dinner, with a ravioli appetizer, a ravioli entrée, and a ravioli dessert.  Maybe for next year’s National Ravioli Day!

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

I’m craving spring flavors like those found in this Kale and Gruyere quiche.  I’ve had too many days of gloomy PNW weather.  I love the rain, but found myself outside yesterday in the morning doing my best to soak up the few sun beams we got.  Our cats were positively ecstatic – two of three parked themselves on the cat tree right in front of the window and basked in the sun.  Even Daisy found a sun spot on the carpet and took a good long time warming her belly.  We are all seriously deprived right now.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche to the rescue.  I love the creamy texture of eggs and cheese in a quiche.  Kale is a versatile vegetable and can be a harbinger of both fall and spring.  While I love having kale in pasta dishes in the fall, there’s nothing better in the spring than a good bunch of kale sauteed and tossed into a quiche.  I used lacinato Kale or dinosaur kale because I love the deep green flavor it brings to dishes.  I sauteed it until it was soft and then drained and pressed out the excess moisture in a colander.  This helps keep the crust from getting soggy.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

I used a quick olive oil crust for this kale and Gruyere quiche.  I’ve been known to go crustless for my quiches, but this week just felt like that extra little touch might be in order.  One tip for baking the quiche – put the quiche on a baking sheet and put it in the oven.  This way, there’s no slopping of egg and milk into your oven.  Yes – I learned this the hard way.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

One advantage of using Gruyere cheese is that it melts so well.  I also tossed in a few red pepper flakes to add some heat.  I could have gone either with red pepper flakes or with nutmeg – either would create a nice flavor, but nutmeg is to autumnal for me.  I also used a bit of fleur de sel this time around.  Really, it’s a perfect early spring dish.  I’ll be eating this throughout the week with a quick spinach salad on the side.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche


  • 1 bunch kale, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • salt to taste
  • Olive Oil Crust
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup ice water


  1. To make the crust, combine the flour, salt, olive oil, and water in a small bowl. Combine with your hands until the crust holds together. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to the size needed for an 8 inch pie pan. Transfer the crust to the pie pan and refrigerate while you are making the quiche.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Saute the kale in the olive oil for 7 minutes or until it is wilted. Salt to taste. Drain and press out any remaining moisture. Set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs and milk together in a small bowl until frothy. Add the cheese, red pepper flakes, and ground pepper.
  5. Place the sauteed kale at the bottom of the chilled pie crust. Pour the egg/milk/cheese mixture over the top and redistribute the kale as needed.
  6. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until the crust is lightly brown and the eggs are set. Enjoy!
  7. Makes 4 hearty servings.
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This post is linked up to Tinned Tomatoes: Meat Free Mondays.  Check out the great posts that Jacqueline posts each week!

This post is also linked up to #CookBlogShare hosted by Easy Peasy Foodie and Hijacked by Twins.

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Triple Mushroom and Truffle Risotto

Triple Mushroom and Truffle Risotto

Triple mushroom and truffle risotto is my contribution to Final FantaFeast February, being hosted by Pixelated Provisions.  This month’s Fandom Foodies theme is all about the Final Fantasy video game.  So full disclosure here – I haven’t actually played Final Fantasy.  However, my husband is hooked on Final Fantasy XV, which is the most recent of the Final Fantasy series.  I watch sometimes as he plays, peeking over my I-Pad as I watch the latest episode of Top Chef, and have thought it looks interesting.  But not interesting enough for me to put down the I-Pad or the latest book I’m reading.

I am, however, fascinated by the role food plays in the game.  One of the characters, Ignis, is the chef for the group and throughout the game, players can unlock various recipes, as well as go to the market, and forage for food.  Uh yeah – that’s an awesome part of the game as far as I’m concerned. When Fandom Foodies put out the schedule of themes for this year and I saw Final FantaFeast February, I immediately started looking for the foods that Ignis cooks in the game.  And when I saw Triple Truffle Risotto, there was no going back.

So the top image is from the game and the bottom is my triple mushroom and truffle recipe.  Since I didn’t have access to funguar, alstrooms, and Saxham rice (all the ingredients to make the dish in the game), I opted to go with a mix of mushrooms for the triple part, as well as some truffle oil and truffle cheese.  I would have gone full out triple truffle, but $21 for truffle salt at Trader Joe’s was a bit out of even my this-food-is-for-my-blog-cost comfort zone.  I love the combination of mushrooms though – some maitakes, some oyster mushrooms, and some creminis.  Feel free to substitute out any combination of mushrooms here – this would be lovely with chanterelles when they are in season, as well as morels, and so on.

Risotto takes a bit of time to make – I usually schedule about an hour from start to finish, as I like to baby it along.  A long slow simmer of the rice and stock is the key to a lush creamy risotto.  I also tossed in a cipollini onion – and honestly, if you can find these in your market, I encourage you to use one to make this dish.  Cipollinis become caramel rich when they are cooked (and even better – when they are cooked in butter), making them a perfect complement to the mushrooms.

triple mushroom truffle risotto

triple mushroom truffle risotto

triple mushroom truffle risotto

I think my triple mushroom and truffle recipe would do Ignis proud.

Triple Mushroom and Truffle Risotto


    For the mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 types of mushrooms, chopped. (About 2 cups of mushrooms, total)
  • 1/4 cup white wine or dry Vermouth
  • For the risotto
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup white wine or dry Vermouth
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup truffle cheese, grated (or Parmesan or Asiago cheese)
  • Truffle oil to finish


    For the mushrooms
  1. In a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the diced onion and saute until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute for a minute. Add the white wine or dry Vermouth and salt, and saute until all the liquid has cooked off. Set aside.
  2. For the risotto
  3. In a small saucepan, bring the vegetable or chicken stock to a simmer. Leave simmering.
  4. Meanwhile, melt two tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent. Add the Arborio rice and cook for a minute, stirring frequently. Add the white wine or dry Vermouth and stir until it is incorporated in the rice/onion mixture.
  5. Add the simmering stock, 1 cup at a time. Cook on a low simmer between each addition until the stock is mostly absorbed. This will take anywhere from 30 - 45 minutes. Continue to do this until all the stock is used and the risotto is al dente. Take off the heat and add the cheese and salt. Stir to incorporate. Add a dash of truffle oil.
  6. Portion into bowls and top each bowl with the mushroom mix. Enjoy!
  7. Serves 4
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This recipe is linked to Meatless Monday, hosted by Deborah (Confessions of a Mother Runner) and Sarah (A Whisk and Two Wands).  Take a look at the great recipes being linked!

Confessions of a Mother Runner






It’s also hanging out with some other really wonderful recipes on #CookBlogShare at EasyPeasieFoodie.

Hijacked By Twins
Black Lentil Bowl with a Poached Egg

Black Lentil Bowl with a Poached Egg

I’m at that stage of winter when a black lentil bowl with a poached egg sounds like a perfectly light lunch for the week.  I’m also at the point at which I’m itching to do some spring cleaning, including making an effort to use up what’s been lurking at the back of the pantry.  It helps motivate me that we might be moving and I really don’t want to drag a half-eaten bag of black lentils with me.  As it is, I still have jars of home canned jam and pickles that we moved last year that will need to be packaged and moved again (because I’m not letting those pickles go to waste).

Black lentils just lend themselves to a simple meal.  The black lentil bowl with a poached egg takes just seven ingredients (counting salt and olive oil).  This recipe took so little time to make – I prepped my mirepoix first, cooked that and the lentils and then poached the eggs.  I’ve been obsessing a bit about mirepoix here of late.  The combination of onion, celery, and carrot adds such a deep flavor to dishes and it’s so, so simple.  With this dish, I understood the full complexity of the flavor – initially, I thought that the black lentil bowl with a poached egg would need a dressing of some sort, but when I tasted the lentils, that idea went out the window.

A note on the poached eggs: back in December, I tried my hand at poaching an egg in the traditional way in a saucepan.  It came out a flimsy mess.  Recently, I ran across a video of a chef poaching eggs in the oven, so that’s what I did.  The eggs came out beautifully!  The best part was I didn’t have to swirl the water, baby the eggs, watch the temperature, etc.  Eggs went into muffin cups with a tablespoon of water each, hung out in the oven for 9 minutes, and came out perfectly poached.

The full technique is included in the recipe below.  The best part is that poached eggs can be prepped in advance, so I poached my eggs on Sunday and will have an egg a day each day at lunch with my lentils.  I love super easy lunch prep!

black lentil bowl with poached egg

black lentil bowl with poached egg

Black Lentil Bowl with a Poached Egg


  • 1 onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup black beluga lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 eggs


  1. Chop the onion, celery, and carrots finely. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and saute the onion, celery, and carrot mix until the vegetables start to soften (about 10 minutes). Add the salt and the dried lentils. Stir a few times and then add the water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the lentils are soft.
  2. To oven poach the eggs: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In each muffin cup, add one tablespoon water. Break each egg directly into the muffin cup. Sprinkle with pepper and salt. Bake for 9 minutes or until the white is set and the yolk is still runny. Use a slotted spoon to remove each poached egg and drain on a paper towel. Eggs can be prepared up to five days in advance.
  3. Recipe makes 4 servings. Enjoy!
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This post is linked to My Legume Love Affair #103, hosted by The Big Sweet Tooth (conceptualized by Susan and hosted by Lisa at Lisa’s Kitchen).  I’ll be hosting in April – can’t wait!

It’s also linked up to #CookBlogShare, which is hosted this week by Sneaky Veg.  Check out all the great posts!

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And you can find it linked up on Tinned Tomatoes Meat Free Monday.

This recipe is getting around!


Top Five from 2016 and Five Goals for 2017

Top Five from 2016 and Five Goals for 2017

Like many, I’m glad to see the end of 2016.  I was doing pretty well avoiding whole scale resentment for the year, and then George Michael died.  And my reaction was, really 2016?  Bowie, Prince and George Michael, all in the same year?  And in case you are wondering if my musical tastes are primarily stuck in the 80’s, I’m incredibly sad about Ralph Stanley, Merle Haggard, Leonard Cohen, and Sharon Jones, too.

On the other hand, I’ve cooked a lot of good food this year, including the five most popular recipes here on Fix Me a Little Lunch.

Eggnog Ricotta Pancakes were hands down the most popular recipe this year.  I can see why – who doesn’t love eggnog?  These pancakes were so fluffy and so very, very rich – I’m thinking I’ll be making them again for New Year’s Day brunch.

My Crockpot Posole was also quite popular this year.  It’s such a great slow-cooker recipe, I wasn’t surprised.  We made up a batch of this for Christmas Eve this year and froze several more nights worth.  One of my favorite things about this recipe was that it was the first time I participated in Cook the Books.  I’m really excited about all the inspiration that will come from next year’s book picks.

Greek Spaghetti Squash was a big hit this year, as well.  This was my last office lunch for the year, as we ended up with four snow days and then vacation right around the same time I made this.

Greek Spaghetti Squash

I had a great time this fall going out to Sauvie Island to get winter squash.  As always, I bought a few too many squash, but it wasn’t a problem, since my over indulgence inspired me to make Winter Squash Stuffed Shells with Pesto.  If I had to pick a favorite of my own from this year, it might be this one – mostly because I love cheese, squash and pasta.

And last, but certainly not least, is my Mandarin Orange Mule.  I’m glad I finally got with the times and bought a copper mug for Moscow Mules, as they are now high on my list of favorite cocktails.

Mandarin Orange Mule

So there we are – the top five from 2016.

I’m looking forward to 2017.  I know there are likely to be some major changes on the way (more on that in future blog posts, I’m sure), but I’m hopeful they won’t impact my time working on my blog.  I like to spend a little time reflecting on the year before, as well as looking forward and setting goals moving forward.  So – in no particular order – here are my five goals for Fix Me a Little Lunch for 2017.

  1. Keep improving my photography.  I had one photo accepted by foodgawker this year for my Red Kuri Risotto recipe and would like to keep working on lighting, composition and so on in 2017.
  2. Create and mostly stick to an editorial calendar.  I started working on this in December and realized it wasn’t that hard to plan out December 2017’s blog posts.  Now let’s see if I can fill in all the other months of the year. Some of this is product dependent, of course, as I’m committed to keeping Fix Me a Little Lunch all about seasonal foods and recipes.
  3. Continue to be inspired by blog challenges – Cook the Books and Food n’ Flix were my favorite inspirations this year.  The books and movies kept me inspired, as did the community of other food bloggers who created some really fantastic recipes.
  4. Explore the whole affiliate/sponsored post thing.  I’m a little wary of ads – I’m not a huge fan of navigating them on others sites, so not sure I want to do this on my own blog.  On the other hand, I’d love to share some of the products that I love with my readers.
  5. Grow my email list to at least a 1,000 subscribers.  Right now, I have seven.  I love those seven people who are interested in reading my posts regularly – and would like to find some more.  To this end, I’ll be starting a monthly newsletter in January that will include a round up of my favorite recipes from the month before, a bonus recipe featuring a seasonal veggie or fruit, and a profile of a seasonal veggie or fruit.  Sign up to be on my email list and be on the lookout for my first newsletter.

Happy Near Year everyone!  Let’s hope that 2017 is prosperous and happy, and let’s keep eating good food!

Winter Squash Stuffed Shells with Greens Pesto

Winter Squash Stuffed Shells with Greens Pesto


I am a huge fan of all things winter squash (as you’ve probably figured out), making this recipe, a winter squash stuffed shells with greens pesto, one of my absolute favorite December lunches.  This has everything I most love about the fall and winter: the slightly sweet squash, salty cheese, pasta, and pesto made with kale, spinach and walnuts.  Since there is a small chance that there might be a little bit of snow in this part of the PNW tomorrow, this comfort food just seems perfect.

I used a combination of red kuri (my favorite) and the rest of the pumpkin puree I’d frozen earlier in the fall.  Fortunately, I still have one more pie pumpkin in the garage – I figure we still have a few more months of cold weather and might need to make some more pumpkin bread.  I also used a bit of the sage that is still growing out in the herb bed.

The pesto consists of both kale and spinach – really, you could use just about any combination of greens.  I also used walnuts, because it’s what I had on hand.  Pesto can be made out of any combination of herb or green, nuts, garlic, and Parmesan or other hard cheese.  I love to try out different combinations.  I also have started hand chopping my pesto – I think it helps the herbs or greens retain their integrity and not get mushy like they might in a food processor.  The taste is a lot closer to pesto I had in Rome many years ago, so I enjoy it for the nostalgic value, as well.

All together, the winter squash stuffed shells with greens pesto takes about forty minutes to make, and most of that time is hands off while it bakes.  It’s well worth the time.  It also makes a great freezer meal – making it very appealing for lunch.  Since it’s vegetarian, it would also make a great main dish for the holiday festivities for vegetarian friends and family.

winter squash stuffed shells with greens pesto

Winter Squash Stuffed Shells with Greens Pesto


    For the shells:
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree or similar winter squash puree
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 + 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 box of large pasta shells
  • For the pesto
  • 1 cup tightly packed greens (spinach, kale, etc.)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bring a pot of water in a medium saucepan to a boil. Add the shells and cook for 8-10 minutes or until al dente.
  3. In the meantime, combine the squash puree, the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the parmesan cheese, the sage, and the pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Drain the shells in a colander and rinse under cold water. When the shells are cool enough to handle, stuff each with about 2 tablespoons of the squash and cheese mixture. Place the shells in a single layer in a 9 X 13 baking pan. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 cup parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese gets lightly browned on top.
  5. While the shells are baking, prepare the pesto. Put the greens, the walnuts, the garlic, and the parmesan in the middle of a cutting board and gently chop until the ingredients are finely diced and combined. Put the pesto in a small bowl and add the olive oil, gently combining.
  6. Serve the stuffed shells with the pesto and enjoy!
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“Magic” Chicken Orzo Soup

“Magic” Chicken Orzo Soup

I was delighted to see that Simona Carini was hosting another Novel Food edition on her lovely blog briciole.  I have such fun thinking about the various books I read and what food gets cooked and consumed in those books, as well as how food can play an important role on a character’s development.

This year, I decided to make an attempt to read my way through Popsugar’s Reading Challenge, which is a list of 40 or so categories of books like satire, or a book that will be made into a movie this year.  I thought it might force me out of my book comfort zone, which tends heavily toward the mystery aisle in the bookstore.  One of the categories was a romance set in the future.  I did some searching and came up with…a mystery that’s set in the future and is also a love story.  Ok, so maybe this didn’t push me out of my reading comfort zone, but it did turn me onto a new mystery series: JD Robb’s series featuring Detective Eve Dallas and her handsome hubby, Roarke.  To say that I’m hooked would be something of an understatement – I’ve been going to our used bookstore every month to add to my stash (there are over 50 books in the series so far and I’ve read 14 of them).  I’ll read three or four of these at a time and then take a little break, read something else, and then start again.

One of the things that has struck me is how much food plays into each story.  Eve Dallas is a tough but lovable character and her criminal turned civilian consultant husband Roarke spends much of his time taking care of her, including making sure she eats well.  Dallas’s tastes lean toward red meat, pizza, and coffee, but Roarke often makes her eat her vegetables and tries to get her to appreciate the finer things in life in between her saving people and finding murderers.

There is also a wonderful surrounding cast of characters that includes Dallas’s partner, Detective Peabody.  Peabody also likes to make sure that Eve eats while she is on the go and tracking down the bad guys.  In one of my favorite parts of Calculated in Death (book 45 in the series), Peabody and Dallas stop for soup in between interviews of murder suspects and Dallas calls the soup “magic” – it’s just how good it is.  I don’t recall that she actually ever reveals what’s in the soup, but magic soup becomes a touchstone throughout the book – later on, when Dallas and Peabody are back at their headquarters, Dallas eats some minestrone soup and sniffs at it, saying that it isn’t bad, but it isn’t “magic”.


Since soup is one of my favorite foods, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what my “magic” soup is and decided it would be chicken noodle soup of some sort.  This weekend, we’ve been inundated by rain and wind here in the PNW, so I thought it was probably time to make chicken soup.  Sadly, we just don’t have enough storage space in our kitchen in our Vancouver rental, so I don’t have any chicken stock stored.  I decided I was going to poach some chicken breasts, with both skin and bone still on and in, and magic up some stock.  Combined with a lot of garlic, a little bit of green chili, and orzo, I think this soup could make even Eve Dallas come back for seconds.


“Magic” Chicken Orzo Soup
Serves 4

For the poached chicken and stock
2 bone-in with skin chicken breasts
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 carrot
2 celery stalks
1/2  red onion
1/2 leek
2 teaspoons salt

Cut the carrot in half.  Do the same with the celery stalks. Cut the onion into four chunks.  Cut the leek in half and make sure it is thoroughly clean.  Toss the bay leaves, peppercorns, carrot, celery, onion, leek and salt in a large saucepan.  Lay the chicken on top and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and then turn to a low simmer.  Poach for 15 – 20 minutes or until the chicken reads 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.  Strain out the chicken and other soilds and reserve the poaching liquid.

For the soup
Poached chicken breasts
8 cups chicken stock from the poached chicken
1 carrot
2 celery stalks
1/2 red onion
1/2 leek
8 garlic cloves
1 roasted Anaheim chili (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup uncooked orzo
Salt to taste

Chop the vegetables into bite size pieces.  Shred the chicken.  Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add the carrots, onions and celery and saute until the onions are translucent.  Add the garlic, leek and Anaheim chili.  Saute for another two minutes.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Add the orzo and cook for eight minutes.  Stir in the shredded chicken and cook for ten more minutes.  Season with salt to taste.  Enjoy!

This blog post is linked to two really awesome blog link parties, so please take a look at the other great recipes that are out there:


Kahakai Kitchen Souper Sundays

Novel Food #28 on briciole

Chicken Cordon Bleu for Two

Chicken Cordon Bleu for Two

My husband and I are a cooking couple – we both enjoy spending time in the kitchen and working on a new recipe, like this recipe for chicken cordon bleu for two.  Cordon bleu is a fun recipe – it’s a combination of meat stuffed with more meat and cheese.  Since I’m pretty avidly anti-ham (it’s just a weird meat to me – too prone to weird meaty bits sneaking in), we opted to make a variation with prosciutto and Swiss cheese.

This is a perfect serving size for two people, thus the chicken cordon bleu for two recipe title.  It’s a very sexy dish for date night – with melty cheese, salty prosciutto and a crisp Panko topping.  We served it with a roasted garlic sauce (because I love, love, love roasted garlic) and some tiny roasted cauliflower heads and some sautéed kale.  And then we curled up and serial watched Deep Space Nine – it’s just how exciting we are.

The key to keeping the Swiss cheese from an excessive melt out is to carefully cut a slit from the thick part of the chicken breast into the middle.  I’ve included a picture – and no, those are not my hands.  Clay took on the bulk of the prep for this dish.


cutting-the-chicken stuffed-chicken-breast



Chicken Cordon Bleu for Two
Serves 2

2 chicken breasts
4 pieces of prosciutto
4 slices of Swiss cheese
1 egg
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 head roasted garlic, garlic cloves squeezed out and mashed (optional)
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Drizzle the olive oil in the bottom of a baking pan.

Cut the Swiss cheese slices into 2 inch long strips.  Put the strips together into two stacks and wrap with two slices of prosciutto each. Set aside.

Combine the Panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and Italian seasonings in a shallow bowl.  Set aside.  Break the egg in a shallow bowl and whisk until it is fluffy.  Set aside.

Cut a slit into the middle of the chicken breasts (start in the thickest part and gently move the knife back and forth until there is enough space for the cheese and prosciutto).  Once there is a large enough slit, push the prosciutto wrapped cheese into the slit.  Dredge the stuffed chicken breasts in the egg and then in the Panko bread crumb mixture and place each in the baking oiled pan.  Drizzle any egg that is left over the chicken breasts and then sprinkle any of the leftover Panko bread crumb mixture over the chicken.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the chicken reaches a meat thermometer temperature of 165 degrees.

In the last 10 minutes of the chicken baking, start the sauce.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan.  Whisk in the roasted garlic (if using) and then incorporate the flour a bit at a time.  Cook the flour/butter mixture for a minute.  Add the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens.  Once the sauce is thickened, take the saucepan off the heat and add the parmesan cheese, whisking to incorporate.

Plate the stuffed chicken breasts and divide the sauce over the top.  Enjoy!

I’m pleased to have this recipe on the Saucy Saturdays Blog Hop linky party.  Please take a minute and check out the links to the hosts’ websites – these are some of my favorite blogs and Instagram feeds!

La Petit Chef
Mid-life Croissant
Take Two Tapas
The Flavor Blender

Egg and Sausage Poutine

Egg and Sausage Poutine

Egg and sausage poutine is a glorious comfort food.  I could easily eat it for breakfast (preferably with a Bloody Mary), but am just as happy to make this for dinner, particularly on a cool, rainy autumn night, served with a crisp Chardonnay and eaten watching a comedy.

My husband, Clay, is the person who brought poutine into our world.  I am pretty sure he found a recipe for it on a video on Facebook.  My initial reaction was one of skepticism – sure, it was a food that included French fries and cheese, but gravy?  After some trial and error though, this has gone into my rotation of go-to comfort foods for days I’m feeling especially stressed out or unhappy.  It’s a tie for me which is better – poutine or pasta carbonara.

Some food trivia: poutine is a dish that originated in Quebec and is very popular in Canada and some of the states that border Canada.  In its simplest form, it is fries, curds, and gravy, but you can definitely add other things to it, including bacon (my favorite), ham, etc.  I suppose if you felt really guilty about eating it, you could add a veggie component – I can imagine (though have yet to try) that some shaved and crisped Brussel sprouts could be really lovely with this.


Egg and Sausage Poutine
Serves 4

Brown gravy (recipe below)
1 bag frozen French fries
1 package link breakfast sausages
4 eggs
1 package cheese curds

Brown Gravy
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup beef broth

Bake the fries according to the package directions.  As the fries bake, cook the breakfast sausages until they are browned.  While fries and sausage cook, make the gravy.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan and gradually whisk in the flour to make a roux.  Cook the roux for a minute, continuing to whisk.  Pour in the beef broth and continue to whisk.  Cook for about five minutes or until the gravy comes to your preferred thickness.  Remove the gravy from the heat and set aside.

Set aside the sausage.  Fry the eggs – I prefer a slightly runny yolk with this recipe, but you can also cook the eggs until the yolk is set if you prefer.  Once all components are cooked, plate the poutine by setting down a base of French fries on each plate.  Divide the curds over each plate of fries.  Drizzle some of the gravy over the top.  Place the sausages and egg on top and top with more gravy.  Enjoy!


Sausage and Spinach Mac and Cheese

Sausage and Spinach Mac and Cheese

The past weekend was the weekend for comfort food, including this sausage and spinach mac and cheese.  As the weather turns gloomy and we realize that the three hour move north really will make a difference in terms of the number of cloudy days and rain, I’m starting to dig around more in Pinterest and my own recipe archives to find foods that evoke warmth and coziness.  Mac and cheese is definitely one of these – it’s super indulgent and satisfying.

I much prefer making my own cheese sauce rather than eating mac and cheese made out of the contents of a box.  Making cheese sauce can be intimidating, as to get it to the proper thickness, you start with a roux.  A roux definitely borders the line between easy cooking into a more Martha Stewart or Nigella Lawson world, but I promise you, it’s not nearly as complicated as it might seem.  The key is low heat and paying attention to the butter and flour in the first stage and then keeping a close eye on the milk or cream in the second stage.  Keep it on low, use a whisk to keep stirring, and just keep stirring and it will turn out just fine.

I recommend some sort of chicken sausage for this recipe – I used an Olympia Provisions sausage (OP is quite popular in this part of the PNW).  Spinach is a good go-to green to include, though this would work well with chard or kale, as well.

baked-mac-cheese-sausage-and-spinach mac-cheese-sausage-spinach-comfort-food

Sausage and Spinach Mac and Cheese
Serves 4

Cheese Sauce
1 head roasted garlic (optional)
3 tablespoons butter
1 ½ tablespoons flour
1 cup half and half or milk
2 cups cheese (gruyere works well, as does cheddar)

4 precooked sausages, chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 bunch spinach
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ package rotini pasta or similar

Breadcrumb Topping
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil

Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil the pasta according to the directions on the package.

While the pasta is cooking, wash and chop the spinach.  Sauté the spinach on medium heat in 1 teaspoon olive oil until it is wilted.  Remove from the heat and drain in a colander to remove excess moisture.  Set aside.

Make the cheese sauce.  Add the butter and roasted garlic (if using) to a small sauce pan.  Melt the butter over low heat and mash the garlic as the butter melts.  Once the butter is melted, add the flour a little bit at a time and whisk it into the butter as you add.  When all the flour is incorporated, cook on low for a minute, continuously whisking.  Add the milk or half and half and continue to stir for about 5-7 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken.  Once thickened, remove from heat and add the cheese, stirring to incorporate.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Assemble the pasta, sausage, and spinach in an oven-proof pan.  An 11 x 13 Pyrex pan works well for this. Spoon the cheese sauce over the pasta mixture and gently fold in.  In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the breadcrumb topping and then spread the topping over the mac and cheese.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.  Enjoy!