I have two wonderful chicken and rice dishes to share. This dish was part of The New York Times’ List of The Best of 2022- I’m surprised that I missed it when it was first published. It was fresh, delicious, and can be enjoyed in every season. I prepared the chicken in a cast iron skillet on the stove, but it could also be grilled in warmer weather.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. I omitted the olives and modified the method and proportions. I served the chicken over white Basmati rice with the cucumber salad and roasted broccoli on the side. Great.
Yield: 6 servings
2 cups plain whole milk Greek yogurt
6 garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 tsp dried oregano or mint
2 1/2 to 3 pounds (about 10) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
1 1/2 pounds cucumbers (preferably Japanese, Persian or mini, seedless cucumbers)
1 pound ripe tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes, halved)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
4 ounces feta, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved (I omitted them)
white or brown Basmati rice, for serving, optional (I used 2 cups of rice with 1 tsp salt)
If serving chicken over rice, prepare the rice according to the package directions. (I used a rice cooker.)
In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt and garlic; season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer 1/2 cup of the yogurt to a medium bowl and reserve.
Coat the chicken: To the large bowl, add the oregano and stir to combine. Season the chicken all over with 2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add the chicken to the large bowl and turn to coat; set aside.
Start the salad: Smash the cucumbers with the side of your knife until craggy and split. Rip into 1-inch pieces and transfer to a colander placed in the sink. Slice or chop the tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Add to the cucumbers along with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. (It may seem like a lot of salt, but most will drain away.) Toss to combine and leave to drain.
In a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)
Scrape excess marinade off the chicken, then cook the chicken in batches, adding oil to the pan if necessary, until it’s well browned and releases from the pan, 5 to 7 minutes. Use a splatter screen! Flip and cook until cooked through, another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Transfer to plates to rest. (For grilling info, see Tip.)
To the medium bowl of yogurt, add the feta and mash with a fork until a chunky paste forms.
Shake the cucumbers and tomatoes to get rid of any excess moisture. Add to the feta yogurt along with the olives (if using) and stir until coated. The balance is dependent on your produce and feta, so season to taste with salt and pepper until flavors are vivid.
Serve the chicken over rice with the cucumber-feta salad on the side.
Tip: To grill the chicken: Heat a grill to medium and clean and grease the grates. Grill the chicken over direct heat until it’s well browned and releases from the grates, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and cook until cooked through, another 5 to 7 minutes. (For a gas grill, close the lid between flips.)
I usually need grilled cheese as a bribe for my family to enjoy tomato soup for dinner. My daughter loved this soup even more than the grilled cheese! 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Food 52.com, contributed by Carolina Gelen. I modified the method and proportions. It was a quick dinner packed with flavor. Perfect with our grilled cheese sandwiches and giant green salad.
We swirled pesto into the soup just before serving. Additional cream or crème fraîche could also be added.
Yield: Serves 4 to 5
extra-virgin olive oil
1300 gramsgrape or cherry tomatoes (about 4 cups)
2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
2 to 4 sprigs of basil
2 large sprigs of thyme
1 or 2 red chiles, optional (I omitted it)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup full-fat coconut milk or heavy cream (I used one 13.5 oz can of coconut milk), plus more for serving, as desired
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock, plus more as needed
homemade or store-bought pesto, for serving, optional
grilled cheese sandwiches or fresh bread, for serving, optional
Heat the oven to 450°F (230°C). (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Drizzle some oil into a deep baking dish. (I used a large enameled cast iron baking dish.)
Add in the tomatoes, onion, basil and thyme, and chile (if using). Drizzle more olive oil on top, plus a big sprinkle of salt and pepper. Mix to coat. Add the garlic cloves, cut side down, nestled into the other ingredients.
Roast for 25 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are slightly charred. (I roasted mine for 38 minutes.)
Remove from oven and let cool for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme. Remove garlic cloves from the papery skin.
Add the rest of the ingredients to a blender, along with the coconut milk and stock. (I used a Vitamix on the hot soup setting.) Remove the little plug from the blender lid, then cover the lid with a kitchen towel and blend until smooth.
Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Adjust consistency with additional stock, as needed.
Serve drizzled with pesto and/or cream with a grilled cheese sandwich and green salad, as desired.
We shopped at the farmers market to get beautiful corn and scallions for this summer side dish. I could happily eat corn and basil every day all summer long. 😉
This salad was very fresh and light. It was a perfect accompaniment to our dinner of grilled burgers (and Impossible burgers), pickles, tomato slices drizzled with basil vinaigrette, and potato chips, of course. We even had brownie ice cream sandwiches for dessert. A summer feast.
This recipe is from Bon Appetit, contributed by Zaynab Issa. I incorporated my CSA tomatoes and backyard basil. We ate it immediately but the components can also be made in advance. Perfect.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
cooking oil spray, for grill grates
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 ears of corn, husked
1 bunch scallions (I used 4 huge scallions)
2 T freshly squeezed lime juice (I used 1/2 of a large lime)
2 T sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp Morton kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 oz mixed heirloom tomatoes, chopped, and/or cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup sweet basil, chiffonade, plus more for garnish
Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; oil grate (before heating).
Grill husked corn and scallions, turning occasionally, until very tender and charred and blackened in spots, 10–12 minutes for corn, 5–7 minutes for scallions. (Alternatively, you can cut kernels from cobs in slabs and slice scallions into ¼”–½” pieces; cook together in a dry large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, turning and stirring occasionally, until charred in spots, about 4 minutes.)
Transfer to a cutting board and let cool.
Meanwhile, whisk lime juice, sherry vinegar, salt, and olive oil in a large bowl to combine; season vinaigrette generously with freshly ground black pepper.
Cut corn kernels from cobs in slabs and slice scallions into 1/2-inch pieces.
Add corn kernels, scallions, tomatoes, and basil to vinaigrette and gently toss to combine.
Top corn and scallion salad with more basil just before serving.
Do ahead: Corn and scallions can be grilled and vinaigrette can be made 3 days ahead; wrap corn and scallions separately and chill. Cover and chill vinaigrette. Salad (without basil topping) can be assembled 3 hours ahead; cover and chill.
I have served this flavorful dish as a vegetarian main dish served over baby spinach and as a side dish with rotisserie chicken, roasted cauliflower and green salad. So versatile! I also love that it is made in one pan.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend with Couscous with Quinoa, Orzo, and Garbanzo Beans and modified the proportions and method. Nice.
Yield: Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side dish
1pint (2 cups) grape tomatoes, halved (or a combination grape & small Campari- quartered)
1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced
1/4cup sliced scallions, for garnish (about 2 large)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 T balsamic vinegar, plus more for drizzling
2 to 3 large garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
1 1/2teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
3oregano, rosemary or sage sprigs
2cups vegetable stock or water (I used 1 cup chicken stock and 1 cup water)
1/3cup chopped cilantro, dill or parsley, plus more for serving
8ounces pearl couscous (1 1/2 cups)(I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Brain blend)
1(15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2cups feta, crumbled (about 6 ounces)
1/3cup freshly grated Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)( I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Heat oven to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
In a 9×13-inch baking dish, cake pan or gratin dish (I used a ceramic 9×13 baking dish), toss together tomatoes, shallot, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and rosemary, oregano, or sage sprigs. Roast until tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
While tomatoes roast, heat the stock (or stock and water) until it boils, then stir in remaining 1 teaspoon salt, adding more to taste. (You want a well-seasoned broth here to flavor the couscous.)
Stir in cilantro, lemon zest and cumin.
Remove tomatoes from oven and fold in couscous, chickpeas and hot stock mixture. Cover pan tightly with foil, and return to oven for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and fold in the Parmesan and about 3/4ths of the feta (save the rest for garnish). Bake uncovered until feta starts to melt, another 5 minutes.
To serve, pull out and discard herb sprigs if you like, and spoon couscous into bowls. (I served it in the baking dish as a side dish.)
Top with remaining feta, more Parmesan, scallions, more herbs, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, as desired.
This is another weeknight one-pot chicken dinner. I loved the colorful and fresh topping- I would add even more next time! This dish also incorporated farro which is one of my absolute favorites. It could appropriately be served any time of year.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used sherry vinegar in the topping and modified the proportions and method. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 6) or use whole legs
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large or 3 medium leeks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fennel or coriander seeds, cracked with a mortar and pestle or the side of a chef’s knife
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, cracked with a mortar and pestle or the side of a chef’s knife
4 thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups pearled or semi-pearled farro (I used Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro)
1+ cup quartered or halved cherry or grape tomatoes or diced tomato
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
fresh lime or lemon juice, or vinegar, to taste, such as cider vinegar or sherry vinegar (I used 1-2 T sherry vinegar)
Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Season all over with salt and pepper, and set aside while preparing the leeks.
Trim roots from leeks, then cut away any wilted, yellowing or browned parts from the greens. Slice leeks in half lengthwise. Wash well under cold running water to remove any soil, then shake dry. (I soak them in a bowl of water.)
Thinly slice the leeks (including the greens) into half-moons. You should have about 6 cups. Measure out about 2 tablespoons of sliced leek whites and set them aside for garnish.
In a large skillet with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. (I used a wide and low enameled cast iron skillet.)
When the oil thins and coats the bottom of the pan, add half the chicken and cook until browned on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes on the first side ad 3 to 5 minutes on the second side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Stir in the leeks and a pinch of salt. Sauté until tender and golden brown, 9 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in crushed spices, thyme sprigs and tomato paste, and cook until tomato paste darkens and caramelizes, 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour in chicken stock and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
Stir in farro and 1 teaspoon salt. When the liquid comes to a simmer, nestle in the browned chicken, skin-side up; pour in any juices from the plate. Cover pan and let cook until the farro is tender and the chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss together the reserved leek whites, chopped tomatoes and parsley. Season to taste with salt, pepper and an acid like lemon or lime juice or vinegar. (I used sherry vinegar.) The mixture should taste tangy and bright.
Discard the thyme sprigs, and serve chicken and farro topped with the tomato mixture.
I love a dish involving warm dressing and wilted greens. I am also in love with farro- and pesto. This full-flavored vegetarian dish was made for me! Loved it. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Yasmin Fahr. I used homemade pesto, Campari tomatoes, and several of the modifications and options that were suggested in the original recipe for ingredient substitutions.
It was incredible as a summer dish but could easily be served in any season with all of the possible variations. It can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature. The dish could also be topped with a protein such as grilled chicken, scallops, or shrimp, if desired. We ate it for dinner with roasted CSA vegetables and a green salad. It would also be lovely for a special lunch or brunch. Fabulous.
Yield: Serves 4
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup farro, rinsed (I used Trader Joe’s “10 minute” Farro)
2 pints (4 cups) cherry or grape tomatoes or 2 pounds of Campari tomatoes (12-14 tomatoes)
1 red onion, peeled, quartered and cut into 1-inch wedges keeping the root intact (I cut a large red onion into 8ths)(can substitute shallots)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the farro
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/4 cup (4 T) store-bought or homemade pesto, plus more to taste (recipe below)
2 packed cups baby spinach, arugula, Swiss chard (stemmed & chopped), or baby kale
1 (4 oz) ball fresh mozzarella or burrata, torn into chunks, or 1/2 cup ricotta salata or feta, crumbled, optional (I used 4 oz crumbled feta)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves and tender stems, chiffonade or roughly chopped, for garnish
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the farro and adjust the heat to maintain a medium boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom, until tender and not too chewy, about 10 to 30 minutes. (I used Trader Joe’s “10-minute” Farro which cooked in 10 minutes)
Meanwhile, on a parchment paper-lined, rimmed sheet pan, combine the tomatoes and onion wedges with the oil, making sure everything is well coated and glistening, then season with salt, pepper and the red-pepper flakes. Roast until the tomatoes blister and slightly deflate, 20 to 30 minutes.
When the farro is done, drain, then pour into a serving bowl or back into the pot. Toss with some olive oil, then mix in the pesto.
Add the lemon zest and juice, then stir in the spinach (or other greens). Set aside to cool slightly.
Scrape the onions, tomatoes and their juices into the farro; season with salt and pepper as needed.
Add the cheese, if using, then garnish with herbs and serve.
For the Pesto: (Makes about 1 cup)
2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
1 large clove garlic
2 T toasted pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
Combine the basil with a pinch of salt, the garlic, the nuts, and about half of the oil in a food processor or blender.
Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary and adding the rest of the oil gradually.
Add more oil if you prefer a thinner mixture. (Sometimes I add a little bit of stock instead to achieve the same result.)
Stir in the cheese.
The pesto recipe is from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. The amounts can be modified to reduce the volume; only 1/4 cup of pesto is used in the farro dish.
This is a variation of one of my favorite quick dishes that also uses store-bought gnocchi as a shortcut. It is less spicy which pleased my husband. 😉 The cheesiness of this version definitely made it a crowd-pleaser.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. It was the perfect dinner to make and serve after making cupcakes all afternoon with my daughter. Fast and fabulous.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 (12- to 18-ounce) packages shelf-stable or refrigerated potato gnocchi (I used Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup (4 T) unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
8 to 10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups (2 pints) small tomatoes, such as cherry, grape or Sungold
4 to 6 T thinly sliced (chiffonade) or torn basil leaves, plus more for serving
8 to 9 ounces (8 slices) fresh mozzarella, cut or torn into 1/2-inch pieces
Heat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the heat source.
In a large (12-inch) skillet on the stovetop, heat enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan (about 1 tablespoon) over medium-high. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)
Add half the gnocchi to the pan, breaking up any that are stuck together. Cover with a lid or baking sheet and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown on one side, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Repeat with the remaining gnocchi and olive oil.
Add the butter to the skillet and cook over medium-high, stirring often, until golden-brown and toasty, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the garlic, red-pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper, reducing the heat slightly if necessary to avoid scorching.
Add the tomatoes and 3 tablespoons water and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the tomatoes have softened and the liquid has slightly thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Smash the tomatoes as they burst to help them along.
Add the seared gnocchi and basil, stir to coat, then shake into an even layer.
Top with the mozzarella and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
Broil until the cheese is melted and browned in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. (I set my oven to 500 degrees Broil+Max.)
Top with more basil, red-pepper flakes, and black pepper as desired.