This here is a spin on Giada's Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas. Using what I had in the house, I swapped out the mushrooms for pearl onions, and didn't use fontina. These measurements will yield about 4 servings.

2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of orzo pasta
2 tbsp butter
1 cup of pearl onions, thawed
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan, then cook orzo until al dente. Pour orzo into a large bowl.
3. Melt the butter in the same skillet, then add the pearl onions and saute about 3 minutes.
4. Add in the Marsala wine and reduce by half (~5 mins), as the onions are browning and caramelizing. Turn off the heat.
5. Add the reduced Marsala, onions, cream, cheese, peas, salt and pepper into the bowl and toss to combine everything.
6. Pour the mixture into a baking dish, and sprinkle the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 25 minutes, until heated throughout and golden brown.

I imagine that throwing some crumbled bacon or pancetta in the mix wouldn't be a bad idea either =)

Buttermilk and white vinegar adds a fresh tang to this classic dressing. If it's too thick for your liking, add a touch more buttermilk. This ranch is simple, homey, and soooo versatile. Besides the conventional use as salad dressing, it is also really good to have with pizza, fries, chicken wings, burgers, mashed & baked potatoes and sandwiches. I like to dunk raw or slightly steamed broccoli with a squirt of lemon in it!

Tangy Buttermilk Ranch Dressing (yields 1.25 cups)
3/4 cup mayo
1/2 cup buttermilk
10 grinds black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp white sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tsp chopped fresh chives

Combine all ingredients and whisk to combine, working out any lumps of mayo. Do a taste test, and adjust the seasonings if it's not quite right (more vinegar, salt, or buttermilk?)
Any leftovers should be stored in the fridge, and will last for about a week.

Lemon Chicken modified:
1. Boil water and cook pasta no further than al dente.
2. Mix 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Slice chicken into 1 inch pieces across the grain, and bread in flour mixture. Set aside.
3. Clean and slice baby Portabella mushrooms and cut bacon into 1 inch pieces.
4. Cook bacon in a cast iron pan until a good amount of fat is rendered and bacon is crisp. Remove and reserve in a big serving bowl.
5. Add 1 tsp of olive oil to existing bacon fat, and cook chicken pieces until brown and juices run clear. Remove from pan and set aside with the bacon.
6. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, and saute the mushrooms for about 5 minutes. s&p to taste. Set aside in the serving bowl.
7. Add the juice of 1 lemon and 1/4 cup white wine to the pan, and reduce by a third. Then add 3 or 4 tbsp of heavy cream, whisk to combine, and simmer for 2 minutes. Then drop in 3 small pats of butter, and swirl it into the lemon cream sauce. s&p to taste. When butter is incorporated, pour the sauce and the pasta into the serving bowl.
8. Toss to combine and serve with:

Pear Salad:
1. Chop, wash, and dry 1 heart of romaine.
2. Wash and slice 1 Bartlett pear.
3. Crumble nearly 1/4 cup of feta cheese over the lettuce and pear.
4. Whisk together the dressing enough to emulsify: 3 tbsp red wine vinegar, 4 tbsp olive oil, 1.5 tsp sugar, 1.5 tsp Dijon mustard, Microplane in 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.

Slight change in technique:
Before anything, brine for as long as possible (even an hour will increase tenderness and flavor) in a solution of 3 tbsp of salt and 4 tbsp of brown sugar in about 4 cups of room temp water. After removing the chops from the brine, dry them off and sprinkle both sides of the chops with fresh ground pepper and adobo seasoning. I seared the meat in my cast iron pan on high heat, then threw the whole thing in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before plating over a bed of lettuce. Drizzle with the garlic lime vinaigrette (for which the garlic clove was grated on a Microplane instead of chopped).

4 pieces of chicken, bone-in and un-pounded is fine.
1 cup All-purpose flour seasoned with 1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
Salt & pepper
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, divided
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup of capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and dredge in seasoned flour.
3. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet. When the butter is melted, brown chicken pieces 3 or 4 minutes on each side.
4. Place the browned chicken on a baking pan drizzled with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Allow the chicken to bake for 35-40 minutes, until juices run clear.
5. In the pan that was used to brown the chicken, add the chicken stock, lemon juice, wine, capers, and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning. De-glaze the pan.
6. When the chicken is done, nestle it into the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken, turn off the heat, and swirl 2 tablespoons of butter into the remaining sauce.
7. Serve the chicken over a bed of pasta, and spoon the sauce over everything. Garnish with parsley.

Combine the following ingredients and mix until smooth, then marinate 10 chicken pieces for up to a day.

1 tablespoon cardamom
4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
5 cloves of garlic, smashed

Grill or bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.

3 slices of bacon layered over a free form meatloaf

tyler's tomato relish: onions, garlic, red bell pepper, fire roasted tomatoes, bay leaves, ketchup

fingerling potatoes with butter and pepper

meatloaf w/ tomato relish & potato salad

gnocchi w/ parmesan, peas and baby bellas

ultimate bbq chicken & mediterranean salad

minestrone soup

italian baked chicken and pasta & tomato bruschetta

Good for 4 servings.

Watermelon pieces (seedless is best for this one)
2 limes

  1. Put your watermelon in a big mixing bowl and break it down with a potato masher, just so its no longer in huge chunks and can be blended.
  2. Put as much watermelon in your blender as will fit
  3. Squeeze in the juice of 2 limes
  4. BLEND and SERVE!
If icy drinks are preferred, drop a handful of ice cubes in with everything else. Refreshing, clean and bright flavor!

watermelon mouth.jpg

For ~4 pieces of chicken legs/thighs.

Bloody Mary Dry Rub:
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
20 cranks of your pepper mill

Wet Marinade/Glaze:
1 can of tomato juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons wooshie sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons of hot sauce
Juice from 1 lemon

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all the components of our dry rub, and sprinkle generously to coat your chicken pieces. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the ingredients that make up our wet marinade/glaze. Bring to simmer and reduce the marinade by half.
  4. Place 2 rough chopped lettuce stalks in the bottom of your baking dish (the celery should act as a rack for your chicken. We don't want it to boil in its juices, and we want the seasonings to stay on and stick). Set the chicken over the celery and place in the preheated oven.
  5. After 35 minutes, pull the chicken out and baste with the marinade. Do this twice to create a nice outer crust, over the next 20 minutes or so. Chicken is done when juices run clear.
This dish can be served with plain old white rice, drizzled with some leftover marinade.

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