This was a super quick and delicious skillet dinner that was absolutely packed with flavor. I loved the colorful and fresh tomato topping. We ate it with a green salad but it truly could have been a complete meal on its own.
This recipe was adapted from Half Baked Harvest, contributed by Tieghan Gerard. I used chicken thighs, dried oregano, and capers. I also modified the method and proportions. Next time, I may substitute 10-minute farro for the orzo. Great.
Yield: Serves 6
For the Chicken & Orzo:
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 to 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces (about 4 large)
1 T dried oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar
8 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced (I used a yellow pepper)
2 cups dry orzo pasta
2 T capers, drained
For the Tomatoes & To Serve:
2 1/2 cups mixed heirloom grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
2 cloves garlic, grated or put through a garlic press
1-2 pinches/dashes red pepper flakes, to taste
1 cup crumbled feta cheese, for serving
In a large skillet, toss together the olive oil, chicken, oregano, paprika; season with salt and pepper. (I used an enameled cast iron pan.)
Cook over medium-high heat until the chicken is browned all over and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the balsamic vinegar and garlic, cook another minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the skillet.
Add the bell peppers to the drippings in the skillet. Cook until soft, 2-3 minutes.
Add the orzo and 2 1/2 cups water. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often until almost all the water is absorbed, about 5 to 10 minutes. Taste the pasta for doneness; add water and continue to cook until tender, if necessary. (I added 1/2 to 3/4 cup additional water after 5 minutes.)
Stir the chicken and capers into the orzo. Allow the chicken to warm through, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes with olive oil, basil, and garlic in a bowl. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.
To serve, spoon the tomatoes over the chicken and gently toss. Top with feta cheese.
This beautiful Dutch Baby was extra special for my pear-loving family. Including pears made it taste similar to a clafoutis. I served it dusted with powdered sugar but others drizzled it with maple syrup as well. 🙂
The recipe was adapted from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book: Recipes for Irresistible Everyday Favorites and Reinvented Classics by Sarah Kieffer. I used sea salt and whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose. Easy and delicious.
Yield: Serves 3 to 4 (one 10-inch Dutch Baby)
1 cup (120g) whole wheat pastry flour (or 1 cup (142g) all-purpose flour)
2 T cornstarch
1 T granulated sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
4 large or extra-large eggs
1 cup milk, preferably whole
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 T (57g) unsalted butter, cold
1 large pear, optional, peeled and cored, cut into 1/4-inch slices (I used an Anjou)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
pure maple syrup, for serving, optional
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, preferably on convection.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt.
In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla until incorporated.
Whisk one-third of the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until no lumps remain, then slowly add the remaining wet ingredients, whisking until smooth.
Place the butter into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and put it in the oven to preheat for 3 to 4 minutes, until the butter melts and starts to sizzle in the pan.
Using an oven mitt, carefully remove the skillet from the oven. If using pear slices, sauté in the hot butter for 1 minute.
Pour the batter in and immediately return the skillet to the oven.
Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and crisp and the pancake has risen and puffed. (I baked mine for 18 minutes on convection.)
Transfer the skillet to a wire rack and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
Cut into wedges and serve with maple syrup, if desired.
I loved that this recipe used buttermilk to moisten the stuffing- in addition to the more typical stock and butter. The sausage was not overpowering in the finished dish but added great flavor. I used locally made sweet Italian sausage with fennel seeds- perfect.
This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Yewande Komolafe. The sausage could be omitted for a vegetarian version. The original recipe notes that if store-bought or boxed mix cornbread is used, it should be crumbled and and spread out on a sheet pan to dry for 4 to 12 hours prior to assembling the dish. I made the accompanying cornbread recipe, which does not require drying time, two days prior to making the dish.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
For the Cornbread:
8 T/115 grams/1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing the pan
1 1/2 cups/250 g medium-coarse yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup/114 g all-purpose flour
1/4 cup/55 g granulated sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups/470 milliliters buttermilk, preferably full-fat (I used low-fat)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
For the Dressing:
3 T unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1 T neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola, plus more if needed
1 pound loose pork sausage (I used sweet Italian sausage)
1 large yellow onion, very finely chopped (2 cups)
4 celery ribs, very finely chopped (2 cups)
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 T chopped fresh sage (from 10 large leaves)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe cornbread for dressing, broken into 1-inch pieces, or 10 cups loosely packed cornbread
1 1/2 cups chicken, turkey or vegetable stock
1 cup buttermilk, preferably full-fat (I used low-fat)
To Make the Cornbread:
Heat oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch skillet, preferably cast-iron, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. (I weighed the dry ingredients when possible.)
Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk and eggs. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir until incorporated.
Fold in the melted butter.
Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and smooth the top.
Bake until the top is lightly browned and the sides pull away cleanly from the skillet, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool completely and serve warm or room temperature, or reserve to make cornbread dressing.
To Assemble & Bake the Dressing:
Heat oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Heat a large skillet over medium and pour in the oil.
Add the sausage and cook, using a wooden spoon to break it into small pieces, until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
Transfer the cooked sausage to a plate, keeping any fat in the skillet. Add a few additional tablespoons oil if needed to evenly coat the bottom.
Add the onion and celery to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes.
Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, fennel seeds and sage, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Return the cooked sausage to the skillet and stir to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, add the cornbread pieces and toss to combine.
Pour in the stock and buttermilk, and stir until well mixed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.
Transfer the cornbread mixture to your prepared dish and spread evenly.
Drizzle the melted butter over the top.
Cover the dish with foil and bake until heated through, 30 to 35 minutes.
Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees, remove the foil and bake until the surface is golden brown in spots, 15 to 20 minutes.
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.
My husband and I enjoyed this skillet dinner. The kids had mixed reviews! My son thought that it was over-seasoned and my daughter declared that she wouldn’t eat bone-in chicken thighs. (We are quite used to boneless, skinless chicken thighs in my house.) It’s clearly hard to please the two teenagers in my house. 😉
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Aaron Hutcherson. I modified the method and proportions, incorporated red onion, used a Meyer lemon, and substituted chicken stock for broth.
According to the original recipe, in Romagna, in Northern Italy, piadine are often served with cured meats, greens and fresh cheeses that soften in the warmth of the freshly cooked bread. They are folded in half and eaten like a sandwich. This version is based on the classic presentation. Yum.
The recipe was adapted from MilkStreetTV.com, contributed by Erica Bruce. I bought lard for the first time in my life to make this flatbread! Christopher Kimball convinced me that lard was the secret to both the optimal texture and flavor in this wonderful bread. In the article, they found that when using lard “the piadine were tender with just the right chew and (had) a deeper, richer background flavor. (They) also tested vegetable shortening, which gave the same supple dough but lacked a bit of flavor. Lard was the clear winner.” The flatbread was perfect.
This special sandwich was a fabulous and fast summer dinner. We hope to try piadine with all sorts of other toppings in the near future. It was dangerously easy to make. 🙂
Yield: 4 flatbread sandwiches (4 servings)
For the Piadina:
1/2 cup water, divided
1/4 cup (4 T) plain whole-milk yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
311 grams (2 cups) bread flour
1 tsp fine sea salt or table salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
63 grams (5 T or 1/3 cup) lard, at room temperature
In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together 1/4 cup of the water and the yogurt.
In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Process 5 seconds.
Add the lard and process until combined, about 10 seconds.
With the processor running, add the yogurt mixture.
With the processor still running, add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a smooth ball, about 1 minute. If the dough doesn’t ball up in the processor, gather it together and briefly knead it by hand.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. (I used a kitchen scale.)
Roll each into a ball, then cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the topping.
Using a rolling pin, form each dough ball into a 10-inch round. (The round will be approximately 1/16-inch thick.) Poke the surfaces all over with a fork.
Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium until a drop of water sizzles immediately, 4 to 6 minutes.
One at a time, place a dough round in the skillet and cook until the bottom is charred in spots, 1 to 2 minutes. (I cooked mine for a little less than 1 minute.)
Using tongs, flip and cook for about 30 to 40 seconds. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Repeat.
For the Topping:
3/4 to 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
finely grated lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon (about 1/2 tsp), or more, to taste
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1/2 a lemon)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices prosciutto, at room temperature
baby arugula (about 1 cup per person) (we also used baby spinach)
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, optional
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta and lemon zest. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice to the ricotta, or reserve to toss with the arugula (or spinach).
Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over half of each piadina, then top with 2 slices of prosciutto.
In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with the lemon juice (if not in the ricotta mixture) and a pinch of salt. Mound on top of the prosciutto.
Drizzle with oil, if desired, and fold. (I omitted the oil.)
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.