White wine & Apricot Chicken

Prep Time: 25 minutes

This is a simple dish to prepare, but adds some unusual flavor notes that set this dish apart from run of the mill chicken dishes.

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Simmering this dish will allow the flavors to develop, so let it go low and slow while you enjoy some of the leftover wine!


  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 cup dried apricots, finely diced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, finely minced
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, cut into 1/2″ long pieces
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, very finely minced
  • 2 small cloves fresh garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp white pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbs sundried tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  1. In a small bowl, soak apricots in white wine, set aside for ~30 minutes
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. In an ovenproof, heavy bottomed (covered) skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat
  4. Add shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves, ginger and tomato paste, lowering heat to medium-low; stir several times over 3-4 minutes to activate spices and soften shallots
  5. Remove shallots and bay leaves from pan; adding into apricots
  6. Turn heat back up to medium, add chicken; stir until cooked through and browned on all sides: 12-15 minutes
  7. Remove chicken from pan, turn heat to high, add in green beans, apricots, wine and stock; deglaze pan–scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet
  8. Add apricot mixture and chicken to skillet
  9. Cover skillet, place in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes
  10. In a tinfoil “nest” spread out almonds; toast for 5 minutes in the 350 degree oven until brown; keep an eye to ensure that they don’t burn–not all ovens are calibrated!
  11. Remove skillet and place on stovetop over low heat
  12. Mix cornstarch with enough water to make a slurry
  13. Mix cornstarch mixture into chicken and stir until sauce thickens
  14. Serve over rice and garnish with toasted almonds

Indian Inspired Chicken and Chickpeas

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 60 minutes

This can also be prepared as a vegetarian recipe, which is inexpensive and healthy…it just takes some time if you use dried garbanzo beans (versus canned, which are convenient, but don’t have the same texture as using dried).

Note: it’s very helpful to use a smart cooker (e.g. Instantpot, or similar) when preparing this dish. If you don’t have one, a regular pressure cooker will work–or you can simply cook the beans for longer. Just plan ahead!

  • 1 bag dried garbanzo beans (~16 oz)
  • 3/4 lb diced chicken breast
  • 3/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • 1 tbs turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 3 cloves garlic (or 2 tsp garlic paste)
  • 2 tsp each salt/pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced carrots
  • 1 lg onion, finely diced
  • 1 lg sweet potato, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley)
  • 1-2 Thai chilies (per taste)
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

Note: if using dried beans, cook in pressure cooker (with stock) for about 40 minutes before preparing the dish.

If using dried beans, cook them and retain–with stock–to cook chicken separately.

If you retain beans, heat oil and saute chicken (to brown it) along with spices. Once the spices and chicken are browned, you can add back the beans and finish the dish.


  1. Wash dried beans
  2. Add beans, along with stock, to Instantpot (or pressure cooker), salt & pepper
  3. Cook for ~30 minutes
  4. Once the beans are cooked, reserve beans and remaining liquid while you cook the chicken
  5. Add olive oil to pot; once hot, add chicken, carrots, chilies, garlic, bay leaves and onion
  6. Brown chicken and saute onions for 6-7 minutes, along with spices
  7. Add tomatoes and reserved beans/stock
  8. Simmer for 15 minutes
  9. Serve over rice
Indian-inspired chicken and chickpeas

Mama’s Meatloaf


Meatloaf is something that many of us grew up with in America. This version introduces a few “twists” to keep things bright and add some extra nutrients. There are lots of ways to vary a meatloaf, taking advantage of what is on sale, so experiment and enjoy!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

  • 1 lb 50/50 ground beef/pork mix
  • 3 slices stale bread, torn into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbs minced garlic
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp, each — salt & pepper
  • 1 tbs hot sauce (optional)
  • Large yellow onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup parsley, very finely chopped
cooking instructions
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees; line loaf pan with parchment paper
  • Mix egg, milk in a large bowl; add shredded bread and let sit for ~5 minutes
  • In a large skillet, heat oil; add onion, celery, carrots; cook until the onion is translucent
  • Add garlic and spices; cook another 3-4 minutes until spices are aromatic
  • Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly
  • Add meat, ketchup, mayonnaise, hot sauce, baby spinach and parsley to bread mixture
  • Incorporate onion mixture
  • Work by hand to combine all ingredients; do not overwork the mixture or the meatloaf will be tough!
  • Shape into loaf and roll in Panko crumbs
  • Place in loaf pan and cook on center rack of the oven for about 50 minutes, until a meat thermometer shows the internal temperature is at least 150 degrees

Variations: If you want to add a piquant note to the meatloaf, add 2 tsp capers and 3/4 tsp nutmeg. Want a more smokey note? Substitute BBQ sauce for the ketchup. Like a saltier version? Add 2 tbs soy sauce to the onion mixture while you saute. If you like a little extra crunch, add 3 tbs chopped water chestnuts (raw) to the meat mixture. British roots? Use HP Sauce instead of ketchup. HP has a really nice undertone of tamarind, which has a spicy, sour taste.

Cheat Meal: Swedish Meatballs with Wilted Spinach

spinach leaves
spinach leaves

Swedish meatballs with wilted spinach. served over wide egg noodles, makes for a rich and filling dinner.

Adding the spinach during the last few minutes of cooking ensures that they stay bright and have texture, without being too tough.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • 1 pkg grass fed meatballs (fresh, not frozen!)
  • 1 pkg (~3 cups) fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 medium yellow onion, very thinly sliced
  • 4 tbs sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp each, salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp each, allspice & nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 3 tbs butter, room temperature
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs garlic paste
  • 1 tbs beef base
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 pkg wide egg noodles
cooking instructions
  • Heat 2 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs butter in a heavy bottomed skillet; add onions and stir periodically until the onions caramelize (turning slightly dark at the edges, where the body of the onion is translucent); this takes about 10 minutes
  • Once the onions are caramelized, add the meatballs; sear on all sides
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Add the dry spices, salt, pepper to the skillet; stir for 1-2 minutes, until the spices get aromatic
  • Incorporate beef base into the skillet
  • In a small skillet, heat butter and flour, mixing until the flour browns slightly; add stock and mix until the gravy becomes smooth
  • Add the gravy to the meatball mixture, cover the pan and put into the oven for 15 minutes
  • While the meatballs finish in the oven, heat a large stock pot filled with salted water; when at a rolling boil, add egg noodles
  • Remove meatballs from the oven, stir in parsley and sour cream until the sauce is glossy and smooth
  • Serve immediately

Variations: If you want to take the extra time to make Swedish meatballs from scratch, use a 50/50 beef/pork mixture. Do not overwork the meat, or the meatballs will be tough. For each pound of meat mix, add 1 large egg (well beaten) and 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs. Season the meatballs with 1 tsp each, salt & white pepper.

Cheat Meal: Mascarpone Chicken with Green Beans

mascarpone chicken
mascarpone chicken

Mascarpone chicken with green beans is a velvety, rich “cheat meal” that you can make in minutes.

While mascarpone does make for a delicious tiramisu, it is also a rich addition to this savory chicken dish. The vinegar balances out the sweet overtones of the cheese.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 1 tbs each olive oil, butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp each, salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 2 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbs parsley (fresh is best, finely minced)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp each, garlic & sun dried tomato paste
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 4 oz mascarpone cheese
  • Pkg “steam in bag” green beans
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
cooking instructions
  • In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat oil and butter
  • Add onions and sprinkle with a couple of pinches of salt
  • Cook over medium-low heat, stirring periodically, until onions caramelize (~10 minutes)
  • While the onions are cooking, cut chicken into 1″ pieces
  • Once the onions are caramelized, add the chicken, salt, pepper and spices to the skillet; turn up the heat to medium
  • Cook chicken, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes–until the chicken is cooked through
  • Add white wine vinegar; stir to incorporate fully
  • Place green beans on top of chicken; add stock and cover skillet tightly, reducing heat to medium-low
  • Let the beans steam for about 10 minutes, until fork tender
  • Remove skillet from the heat, add mascarpone and toss until the cheese is melted and the sauce begins to thicken
  • Adjust salt and pepper as needed
  • Serve immediately over rice pilaf

Variations: If you prefer a more tangy dish, substitute goat cheese for the mascarpone. This is also very good serve over wide egg noodles, if you prefer not to use rice. As a note: mascarpone may be substituted for parmesan in making risotto dishes.

Stuffed Pork Chops with Apple Brandy Sauce

stuffed pork chop
stuffed pork chop

Stuffed pork chops with apple brandy sauce are a decadent, but delicious treat for a candlelit date night dinner.

Calvados, the famous apple brandy from Brittany, is a step up from applesauce–what I grew up eating with pork chops. The apple brandy sauce is made with cream and butter, so not an everyday inclusion from a health perspective!

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • (4) Boneless pork loin chops
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup pearl onions
  • 3/4 cup Gorgonzola crumbles
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 3/4 cup Calvados (or other apple brandy)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
cooking instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • In a small bowl, toss onions with 1 tbs olive oil and 1 tsp salt
  • Rinse and pat dry the pork chops; make a slit to open a “pocket” in each chop
  • In a small bowl, carefully mix cheese, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper (be careful not to mash crumbles)
  • Heat 2 tbs olive oil in heavy bottomed skillet; place over high heat until a few drops of water sizzle when added to the pan
  • Stuff each pork chop with cheese mixture and place in the skillet; reduce heat to medium-high; sear each side for about 3 minutes, until you see caramelization
  • Place cookie sheet with onions and the skillet (covered) into the oven for 25 minutes
  • In a saucepan add 1 tsp of butter and shallots; stir softly over medium heat until the shallots caramelize (~15 minutes)
  • Add cider and brandy to the saucepan; reduce by half
  • Strain out the shallots
  • Remove sauce from heat and add remaining butter and cream to the sauce; if desired, add additional cracked pepper to the sauce
  • Remove onions and chops from the oven; plate with sauce and serve with potatoes and green beans

Variations: Stuffed pork chops with apple brandy sauce may also tweaked by using goat cheese (if you find Gorgonzola too strong); you may also use the pear variety of Calvados, instead of the apple version. Garnish with toasted walnuts if you want more texture. If you prefer, serve with roasted potatoes in lieu of mashed. The dish also goes well with Brussels Sprouts (suggest roasting them) if you want to substitute for the green beans.

Curried Garbanzo Beans with Saffron Rice

curried garbanzo beans
curried garbanzo beans

Curried garbanzo beans with saffron rice makes for a delicious, low-fat lunch, or dinner. While delicious on its own, you can top this with grilled chicken, or goat for a more substantial meal.

You can also adjust the spice level according to preference.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • 2 cups dried garbanzo beans
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Jasmine rice
  • 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes (use Pom, or similar boxed, chopped tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbs garam masala
  • 1 tbs curry powder
  • 1 tsp each, salt & pepper
  • 3/4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp sambal
  • 3/4 tsp saffron
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • Micro greens to garnish
cooking instructions
  • Rinse and drain garbanzo beans; cover with water (~1″ extra water covering the beans)
  • Soak the beans for a minimum 8 hours
  • In a large, heavy bottomed skillet heat oil; add onions, garlic, pepper and spices
  • Stir over medium heat until onions become translucent
  • In a saucepan, add 3 cups water and salt; add 1 tsp salt to the water
  • When rapidly boiling, add rice and reduce heat to medium-low; cover and let simmer until the water is absorbed (~15-20 minutes)
  • When liquid is absorbed, but the rice is still moist, stir in the saffron
  • When the onions are translucent, add garbanzo beans; stir for about 5 minutes
  • Add chopped tomatoes and carrots; stir in sambal and cook for about 5 minutes
  • Incorporate vegetable broth, cover and let simmer for 25-30 minutes, until garbanzo beans are tender
  • Add spinach leaves and cook just until wilted
  • Plate beans over rice and garnish with micro greens

Variations: Curried garbanzo beans can also be used as the base for a lovely Indian-inspired soup. If you have leftovers, consider making a pot of vegetable stew.

Cheat Meal: Stir-fry Turkey with Green Beans & Rice Noodles

Stir-fry turkey with green beans and rice noodles is a nice change of pace from chicken and beef. Add zip by using Pad Thai sauce and make it quickly using pre-prepped “steam in bag” green beans. If you can’t find rice noodles, it is still good over rice!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

  • 1 Package of ground turkey (in my local market you can buy white meat-only, or a mixed pack with white and dark meat; I prefer the white meat variety for health reasons, but it is by preference)
  • 1 Package of “steam in bag” green beans
  • 2 tbs peanut oil
  • 4 oz of Pad Thai sauce
  • 1/2 pkg of wide rice noodles
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 dried thai chili (optional; skip if do not like spice)
  • 2 tbs dry roasted peanuts, chopped
Cooking instructions
  • Heat oil in a large wok (high heat)
  • Stir in ginger, garlic, the thai chili; stir so that ingredients don’t burn
  • Add turkey and stir until cooked; this is quick, so don’t leave the wok unattended!
  • Bring 4 qts of water and the salt to a rolling boil
  • Combine the soy and fish sauces, vinegar and pepper to the turkey until the meat is coated
  • Toss in the green beans and continue stirring until the beans begin to soften (~5 minutes)
  • Add 3 tbs water to the wok, cover and turn down the heat to medium
  • Drop the rice noodles into the boiling water; be sure to stir the noodles so that they don’t stick together; cooking should take 4-4 1/2 minutes — they should be al dente
  • Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process; set aside
  • After the turkey and beans have steamed for about 10 minutes and the beans are crunchy, but cooked through, add the Pad Thai sauce and noodles
  • Mix thoroughly and serve with chopped peanuts for garnish

Note: If your local market doesn’t carry some of the ingredients used in the recipes on this blog, Amazon is a great resource.

Cheat Meal: Meatballs and Marinara

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Meatballs and homemade marinara sauce make for a tasty, easy to make dish that packs a nutritious punch.

The cheat in this dish is using pre-made meatballs to save time. Note that the sauce uses chopped tomatoes, not jarred sauce. The tomatoes are more nutritious and the sauce is brighter and fresher when done this way.

  • Fresh, pre-made meatballs; I try to buy grass fed beef for better taste (if you can find chicken, or turkey meatballs and prefer that, just be aware that they will cook faster than the beef!)
  • 28 oz box of chopped tomatoes (I use Pom, which comes from Italy)
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs garlic paste (I buy tubes of Italian-made garlic paste at my supermarket)
  • 1 tsp each, salt and pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes (or 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh — preferred, if available)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 sprig basil, leaves only
  • 4 servings of pasta
Cooking instructions
  • In a large skillet heat oil on high until a drop or two of water “dances” on its surface
  • Add onions and turn down the heat to medium; stir the onions periodically until they caramelize. Don’t rush it — the caramelization adds a nice sweet note to the sauce
  • Heat a large pot of salted water
  • When the onions have started to brown, add diced peppers, garlic paste and oregano to the skillet; cook until the peppers have softened
  • Remove and set aside the onion/pepper mix; preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Add meatballs to the skillet and brown on all sides
  • Return onions/peppers to the skillet
  • Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and chopped tomatoes to the skillet; ensure that the meatballs are coated
  • Cover skillet and place in the oven for about 20 minutes
  • After the skillet has been in the oven for 10 minutes, add pasta to rapidly boiling water and cook until al dente (about 8 minutes, depending upon the style of pasta used)
  • Serve sauce and meatballs over pasta, tearing the basil leaves and garnishing the dish

Note: do not use a cast iron pan — the acid in the tomatoes will pull a metallic taste into your dish!