Showing posts with label easy dinner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label easy dinner. Show all posts

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Happy Halloween solution: Pumpkin Coconut Soup

That crop of fall pumpkins is more than just a collection of pretty faces.  Put those pumpkins to use!  Okay, full disclosure: we used canned pumpkin. Pumpkin and coconut milk add up to a delicious velvety soup.  There are two excellent reasons to have soup on Halloween night.  First, it’s cold and dark when the trick or treaters arrive and  there is always a cluster of parents lurking by the end of the driveway. The kids are abuzz and never feel the cold, but those parents look like they’re freezing.  If you’re a parent about to take your family out on Halloween, consider an insulated container of this soup to keep you warm and toasty.  Because it’s creamy, savory and sweet, there’s a good chance the kids might have a bowl before they venture out.   Because who doesn't like pumpkins?

Fine. Who else?

Second, have I mentioned we love Halloween?  The soup works for us because we are poised near the door in our witch hats and the pooches in their costumes.  Oops! Where's Peachy's?

Racing to the door to see the Trick or Treater is not the ideal set-up to eat dinner, for sure. Now, our problem is solved.  Plus, it’s sweet and delicious enough to keep us from raiding the Reese’s Pieces.

We were very happy with our test run and will keep making new batches right into November.  

  Here’s how we did it!

Coconut-Pumpkin Soup


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large can pumpkin, about 3 cups
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 tsp green curry paste
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups chicken stock, homemade or box
1 can coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional) 
Sour cream  (optional)


Heat the oil in  a large pot over medium heat.  Cook onions for about seven minutes. 

Add garlic and cook for two more minutes. Add red and green curry, ginger and salt. and simmer on low for about five minutes.  Add pumpkin.

Don't forget to stir!   Add  stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for a half hour.   Add coconut milk. and lime.

We then like to let it cool for a while before blending it with the immersion blender.  

You could use a blender or a food processor, but we find this easier and we're less likely to get a splash or a burn!

 When it's nice and smooth, you could return and let it simmer while you fiddle with your costume or refrigerate until you're ready to eat. 

We put little bowls of sour cream and chopped cilantro on the table because not everyone loves those.  Above is with sour cream and below with sour cream and cilantro.

We're sure you can think of others!

What about you?  Do you or your pet get dressed up for Halloween? Would a tasty soup be right on the night?

In case you don't know, Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between  me, Mary Jane Maffini, and my daughter Victoria. Together we write the book collector mysteries.   We think that reading them is like taking a lovely trip to a mysterious place where books are everything and, yes, murder happens and great meals are served and some relatives are not to be trusted. Of course, justice prevails in the end and books are loved.

The book collector mysteries are fun, easy to read and surprising too. All five titles are available in print, e-book and audio format. Don't miss out.  You can get to meet Peachy (posing below) aka Walter the Pug.  Watch out for the Siamese cats - one is good and one will get you!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: With a ton of company coming this summer, it was time to try a new recipe in my crockpot, something that would pop with flavor even if it was lower in sodium. I opted for chicken cacciatore. Though there are many different versions of this dish, all include chicken, onions, peppers, seasonings, and some kind of tomato product. You can mix and match according to your family's preferences. I had fresh basil and sage, so I used those, along with dried oregano and a bay leaf. I also opted for a jar of the excellent heirloom tomato marinara sauce made by one of our local markets. You could replace that with crushed tomatoes, chicken broth and tomato paste if you prefer. I also added half a cup of red wine, plus mushrooms and baby kale at the end.


Four boneless skinless chicken breasts (add more for more people--there's plenty of sauce!)
One large onion, chopped
One large pepper, chopped
One large clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
One scant teaspoon dried oregano
Four fresh basil leaves, chopped 

Two fresh sage leaves, chopped
One bay leaf 
24 ounce jar marinara sauce or crushed tomatoes
10 ounces mushrooms (I used Baby Bella)
Handful of baby kale or spinach
Spaghetti of your choosing

Brown the chicken breast, either in a frying pan or in your slow cooker if it has that setting. I am lucky to have a browning setting on mine, which saves in clean-up. 

Scrape in the onions and peppers and cook another couple of minutes. Add the red wine and spices, along with the garlic. 

Let that cook down a few minutes, then add the marinara or crushed tomatoes.

Change the setting to low, and cook six hours. Add the chopped mushrooms and kale or spinach, turn the setting to high and cook another half hour. You might also add a handful of olives or several teaspoons capers if you like them and can handle the salt. 

Serve over spaghetti with Parmesan cheese grated over the top.

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Salute to those on Thanksgiving Duty: Firefighters, Police, Nurses with a Firehouse Recipe via Cleo Coyle

Here in New York City, we are thankful every day for our first responders. The recent Paris attacks reminded us all, yet again, how lucky we are to have men and women dedicated to keeping us safe.

To the many firefighters, police, paramedics, nurses, and other first responders and healthcare workers who must work on Thanksgiving...

We salute you!

And though you may miss that turkey feast, have no fear. I've got you covered with a fantastic "Fast Truck" Leftover Turkey Casserole, compliments of a working fire captain.

By the way, if you're wondering what it's like
to work 
on Thanksgiving day at a New York
firehouse, below is a little 
6 minute film 
that shows you.

Click the arrow in the window below to spend
Thanksgiving with Brooklyn's Squad 252...

If you don't see a video window embedded,
you can watch this film on YouTube at this link.

* * * *

Now let's get cookin'....

Fast Truck (Firehouse)
Leftover Turkey Casserole

oday's recipe is adapted from a working firefighter, Captain Jim Colston of the 
San Marcos Firefighters, San Marcos, California.

"When I first started as a firefighter," said Captain Colston, "I still lived at home, like a lot of us firefighters did when we started out, so I could only cook things from a box. This is a real quick meal that we created from leftovers one night when we didn’t have a lot to spend. It’s a fast meal to make, which is nice when you’re busy at the station."

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband. 
Learn about their books 
by clicking here and here.

The recipe that follows is my adaption of the fire captain's recipe. Why did I have to adapt it? Because the captain's original portions were huge! The funny thing is, he claimed his original recipe would Serve 4. Oh, sure, 4 firefighters maybe. For us mortals, however, the amounts were more like serves 12!

I halved his recipe and got a serving of 6, added a bit more detail, including oven temperatures and time, a tweak on the ingredients for better flavor, and quickie directions on cooking chicken breasts for a fast dinner when you don't have turkey leftovers. 

May you eat with joy and to all those on Thanksgiving duty, we send our sincerest thanks to you. Stay safe out there!

~ Cleo
Click here for free Recipe PDF

For a PDF copy of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.

Serves 6


4 cups cooked, chopped turkey or chicken (about 2 pounds)
12-ounce box of stuffing (*see my note on using leftover stuffing)
14-ounce can of chicken broth (or 2 cups fresh stock)
1-2 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 slices cooked ham, quartered (or 6 slices of Canadian bacon)
8 ounces pepper jack cheese (deli slices or block cheese, **see my note
   on using other cheeses)

*Note on stuffing: If using leftover or pre-made stuffing, you'll need 6 cups for this recipe and be sure to reduce the amount of broth or stock to 1/3 cup.

**Note on cheese: If you don't care for spicy flavor, substitute any mild cheese that melts easily: e.g., Monterey Jack, Colby-Jack, mozzarella, or a young Provolone or Asiago.

(Optional) Step 1 - You can use leftover turkey or chicken  for this recipe; rotisserie chicken; or roast or grill your chicken breasts fresh. To roast raw chicken breasts, sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning; place them in a greased shallow pan; and cook them for about 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 325 degrees F. Do not overcook or your chicken will be dry. Chop up the cooked chicken and set aside.

Step 2 - Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a shallow 8 x 12-inch glass dish or casserole pan with butter or margarine. In a large bowl, mix together the boxed stuffing ingredients and broth. If you roasted chicken specifically for this dish, I suggest adding the pan drippings to the stuffing bowl for more good flavor. If using leftover or pre-made stuffing, be sure to reduce the amount of broth or stock to 1/3 cup. 

Step 3 - Pour the stuffing into the pan. Using the back of a large spoon, press it into an even layer, and bake until the top is crispy and brown, about 20 minutes.

Step 4 - Spread the cooked turkey or chicken evenly on top of the crisped stuffing. Arrange the ham slices (or Canadian bacon) on top of the meat and return it to the hot oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pan once more and cover it evenly with the cheese slices (or shredded block cheese). Bake for 10 more minutes, until cheese is mostly melted. Finish under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly.

F o o d i e


To download or print 
this recipe as a free 
PDF document, 
click here, and...

Eat with Thanksgiving joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of  
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on Facebook here. * Follow me on Twitter here
Learn about my books here

* * *

Coming December 1st
the NEW Coffeehouse Mystery!

Now a Mystery Guild Selection

And a Baker & Taylor Fall Trends Pick

"This book is amazing to the last word!"
10 Stars!
~ Dollycas

A culinary mystery
with more than 25 recipes!

To learn moreclick here.

*  *  *

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
15 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

(with mini plot summaries)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

Or learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
our PI ghost by clicking here.

The Coffeehouse Mystery Newsletter

Fun Contests, New Recipes, 
Book News, Videos, and more...

To subscribe, click here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What Single Ingredient May Prolong Your Life? Cleo Coyle Shares it in this Recipe

A single ingredient may prolong your life?

Yes, I know. It sounds more like the hook for an infomercial than the summation of a respected medical study, but...

Last week, the BMJ (British Medical Journal) released the findings from a huge study suggesting the humble chili pepper and its many varieties may do more than spice up your life—it may actually prolong it. 

To watch a fun, little 2-minute CBC News
video on the findings, click the arrow in the window below....


If you do not see the video above, click here to view it.


According to the study, eating spicy foods once or twice a week appeared to lower the risk of mortality by 10%, when compared with those who ate spicy foods less often or not at all. Those who consumed spicy foods six or seven days a week appeared to fare even better, with a 14% lower risk of mortality.

The study has encouraged the medical community to do more research into these findings and into the benefits of hot peppers.

Why Heat May Help Your Health

One component in chili peppers, capsaicin, reduces inflammation in the body, which is believed to help prevent many diseases, including cancer. Spicy foods also raise the heart rate, which improves circulation and brain function. Other studies have shown that hot red chili peppers release endorphins in our bodies, which make us feel good.

Today I'm sharing a recipe that will make
taste buds feel good, too...

Honey-Glazed Garlic Chicken with Jalapeños

Marc and I inhale this dish when we make it. It's fast, easy, full of very healthful ingredients, and delivers delectable flavor. It also uses the most common chili pepper in America, the humble jalapeno

Fresh chili peppers gave the best results in the cited longevity study, and we love slicing up fresh jalapenos for salsa, burgers, and sandwiches. 

The good news is the milder hot peppers deliver the health benefits mentioned above, so you don't have to eat anything as hot as, say... the Carolina Reaper (pictured below), which currently holds the world's hottest pepper title from the Guinness Book of World Records.

Behold the hottest pepper in the world: 
The Carolina Reaper, created in
South Carolina by cross-breeding
two very hot parents, and, no, today's 
recipe does not require that 
you use one!

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

Cleo Coyle's Honey-Glazed 
Garlic Chicken with Jalapeños

This is a one-skillet stovetop dinner with a quick marinating process and a fast final glaze that's fantastic. 

The heat of the jalapenos is nicely controlled by the honey, which brings the spice level to a very pleasant warmthas opposed to a call-the-fire-department barn burner. The cumin lends an earthy flavor, and the lemon juice brings a nice brightness to the balance. 

May you eat it with joy and in good health!

~ Cleo

Click here to download
the free PDF
To download this recipe in a free PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here! 

Makes 6 chicken thighs 


2 Jalapeno chili peppers, chopped and divided*
10 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 Tablespoons
6 chicken thighs, skin on
1 teaspoon coarsely ground sea salt (or kosher salt)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup honey (any kind will work, but we suggest a raw local honey)

*Note: When working with jalapenos or any hot pepper, take care not to touch your eyes or you’ll feel the burn. Wash hands after handling. 
Also, make sure you discard all of the seeds and the white pulp, which is where the less pleasant heat hides. 

Step 1 - Make the Fast Marinade: Cut 1 of your 2 jalapenos in half, remove the seeds and chop the flesh. Place the chopped jalapenos in a re-sealable plastic bag. Wash hands well. Mince 5 of your 10 garlic cloves. Place the minced garlic in the bag and measure in the cumin, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and lemon juice. Shake the bag well to blend. 

Step 2 - Chicken in the Bag: Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Salt and pepper both sides and place the pieces in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and gently shake it, upside down and back and forth, manipulating the chicken inside to make sure the pieces are well coated. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

Step 3 - Brown the Chicken: Place your ¼ cup of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet, heat on stovetop at medium-high. When the oil is very hot, place the thighs skin side down and cook for 8 minutes, or until the skin is browned. Flip the thighs over and reduce the heat to medium until the thighs are cooked through, this will take about 20-25 minutes. (Do not cover the pan at any time.) 

Step 4 - Glaze and finish: While the chicken cooks, mince the remaining 5 cloves of your garlic, and chop the final jalapeno (after removing the seeds). Mix these in a small bowl with your 1/3 cup of honey and thin this glazing mixture slightly with 1 or 2 tablespoons of chicken pan drippings. When the thighs are ready, turn the heat back up to medium-high and pour the honey-garlic-jalapeno glazing mixture over the chicken. Cook 5-7 minutes more, uncovered, until the mixture reduces to a savory sauce, and...

Click here to download
the free PDF, and...

May you eat with joy 

and in good health!

Fun Foodie Note


Did you know dairy is the only substance that neutralizes a chili burn?
If your mouth is on fire, don't reach for water, reach for milk or yogurt or ice cream. And, of course, a sour cream dollop is a delightful addition to 
many highly spicy meals.

Q. Why does dairy soothe a pepper burn? Will coconut milk, nut milks, or soy milk work?

A. Chemically speaking, capsaicin in peppers binds with lipoprotein receptors on the tongue, which causes the pepper burn. Drinking water does not help because capsaicin doesn’t dissolve in water. The most effective cure is mammal's milk because it contains casein, a substance which acts on capsaicin the same way soap cuts grease. But it must be mammal’s milk because coconut milk, other nut milks, and soy milk do not contain casein.

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here

* * *

Once Upon a Grind:
A Coffeehouse Mystery

New paperback edition
releasing September 1, 2015...

To learn more, click here
or on the cover below...

* A Best Book of the Year
Reviewer's Pick - Kings River Life

* Top Pick! ~ RT Book Reviews 
* Fresh Pick ~ Fresh Fiction 
* A Mystery Guild Selection

Join coffeehouse manager 
Clare Cosi as she solves the crime 
against "Sleeping Beauty," opens 
secret doors (uptown and down), 
and investigates a cold case that's 
been unsolved since the Cold War.

Wonderful recipes are also featured in Cleo's 14th 
culinary mystery, Once Upon a Grind, including...

* Dairy-Free "Cinderella" Pumpkin Cake
* Snow White Chocolate Mocha 
* Black Forest Brownies 
* Cappuccino Blondies 
* Shrimp Kiev
* Dr Pepper Glazed Chicken
* Silver Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies
* Caramel-Dipped Meltaways
* Poor Man's Caviar

...and many more recipes, including
a guide to reading coffee grinds...

See the book's
Recipe Guide

* * * 

*Starred Review 
~ Kirkus

A Coffeehouse Mystery 

"Top Pick"  -RT Book Reviews
"...a highly satisfying mystery."
-Publishers Weekly

See Billionaire Blend's
Recipe Guide

* * * * * * 

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
14 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

(with mini plot summaries)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

Or learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
our PI ghost by clicking here.

Sign up for our Coffeehouse Newsletter here.
(Recipes, contests, videos, fun info)

After you subscribe, an auto-reply will send 
you a link to several past newsletters.

Thanks for stopping by the Kitchen!