Succulent Roasted Chicken Breasts


Succulent, roasted chicken breasts

This is the easiest recipe for healthy and tasty roasted chicken that I’ve ever found. It’s based on Mediterranean principles, so it does use a liberal amount of extra virgin olive oil. However, if you remove the skin before eating, you won’t be consuming most of that fat.

We have these at least once a week at our house, and they make great leftovers or a moist chicken salad or chicken for soup.

It only requires a few ingredients:

  • two to six large chicken breasts with skin and bone
  • about a half cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • dried rosemary

That’s it. Oh, and about an hour of time.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

imageLine a shallow baking pan with foil and spritz with non-stick cooking spray.

Place the rinsed and dried chicken breasts evenly on the pan.

imageDrizzle with the olive oil. If you want an evenly browned and crisped skin, rub it across the skin with your fingers or the back of a tablespoon.


Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, garlic power, and onion powder.

imageTake about a tablespoon of dried rosemary in your hand and crunch it up to make smaller pieces and release the fragrance and flavor. Sprinkle across the chicken.

imagePop it in the preheated oven for about an hour – and you have a sizzling, succulent main dish!

30 Minute (Delicious!) Italian Meatballs


photo: courtesy of

While I am not of Italian descent, my sweet, 100% Italian mother-in-law gave me her recipe for homemade meatballs, passed down from her mother, and her mother’s mother, who were all from Ancona, Italy, on the Adriatic Sea.

Her recipe requires overnight preparation and at least an hour of cooking, since simmering the meatballs in a pot of homemade sauce is the final step. However, although her recipe is of course much more authentic and to the trained palate undoubtedly tastes superior, it nevertheless serves as the basis for my “quick”, a bit healthier, and almost-as-tasty version.

The ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef (or you can use ground turkey)

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1 whole egg

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp. salt and pepper

1 tsp. each garlic powder and onion powder

1 tsp. dried basil (or 6 leaves fresh, chopped fine)image


Begin by putting the ground beef in a medium-sized bowl.

imageAdd all of the other ingredients and mix. I suggest hand mixing, since it blends everything more fully, but be sure to remove any rings first! 🙂


For health reasons, I like to bake, rather than pan-fry my meatballs, so I pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare a pan (mine is round), lining it with foil and sometimes giving it a spritz of non-stick cooking spray for easy clean up.




Roll the meatballs out to your preferred size (keep in mind: the bigger the meatball, the longer the cooking time). I like mine this size.

A lb. of ground beef makes 10-12 meatballs, in the size I like.



After they’re on the pan and the oven is hot, put them in and bake for 20-25 minutes.





They come out nicely browned and ready to pop into sauce, use in a meatball sub, or just eat plain. 🙂

It’s so easy that there’s no reason not to be able to have homemade meatballs even on a busy weeknight after a day of work.

Mangia! And happy eating.

Tom The Turkey And Thanksgiving Traditions

turkey tom 1

Tom Turkey From the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I may have already mentioned it, but it bears repeating, LOL.

Among other favorite things about the day is the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And my favorite parade “float” is Tom the Turkey.

There is just something about him – the colors, the old-fashioned feel of the float, or maybe even because he debuted for the first time in 1971, when I was first old enough to watch and remember what I saw – but he makes me happy.

In my family growing up, my parents (who were big on little traditions or rituals, if you haven’t been here long enough to have read some of those posts) had some for Thanksgivibg as well.  One ritual we observed faithfully each Thanksgiving morning, was the watching of the Macy’s Day Parade while eating bowls of grapes.

Yes, I know that sounds a little strange, but here’s the thing: in the 1970’s when I was a kid, we had a big family, plenty of food and clothing (almost all of it homemade) and books, but not much extra for more expensive “treats”. Apples and bananas were reasonably-priced back then, but not so much grapes. So that was what we looked forward to while we watched the parade. Oh, and tangerines, because they were also “in season” and more reasonably-priced.

Some of my favorite memories of Thanksgiving revolve around this tradition. My mother would have gotten up very early, around 4:00am, to saute the onions and celery in butter, that were to go in the sage dressing with which she’d stuff and sew up the neck and big cavity of the turkey (it was usually a 20-pounder at least, and she used a big darning needle and cotton thread….a process I still use myself when preparing turkey). The result was that the house smelled delicious by the time the parade began at 9:00 or so.

I can remember sitting on the old sofa with several of the younger of my sisters around the living room, and Pa in his chair, while Ma and my older sisters came in and out as they worked on other tasks to get ready for the big meal. The picture window would have steam from all the cooking, and the lovely scent of sautéed onion and celery, sage and turkey, simply filled the air. We all ate our grapes and tangerines and enjoyed the show. The Rockettes were another favorite, as well. But we always turned off the parade BEFORE Santa Claus came in…because we also had the tradition of no Christmas music, decorations, or discussion until December 1 at earliest! In hindsight, I think it was a great idea. Time and the seasons get rushed far too often as it is. But as a child, it took some fortitude to follow the “rules”. 🙂

My own kids still follow the same traditions, and they enjoy them almost as much as I did (though they get to have grapes a lot more frequently in this modern age!)

So, those are a few of my traditions. Anyone have any of their own to share?

Fear and Loathing in My Kitchen

I come home from work to face villains in my kitchen.

It’s been a long day, and I felt quite virtuous to have contained myself to a salad and some plain roasted chicken for lunch.


First the open bag of potato chips sits there, staring at me with a “Come hither” pose.

I resist and pull back in terror. But before I get more than one step away…

leftover pieI shift my head just a bit, and there is the single piece of apple pie leftover from Sunday dinner. It’s lonely, desolate, and exuding the need to join me (maybe with a nice cup of tea).

“No!!!” I shake my head and back away even further.


Just as I’m certain I’m in the clear, the dark, chocolately goodness of last night’s leftover brownies sings a siren song to me, inviting me to taste just a crumb. “A little bitty crumb won’t hurt you,” it whispers in a seductive purr.


In the end I succumb to half of the piece of pie. So far I’ve held off from devouring the rest, but who knows how long I will be able to be strong? Eating a celery stick isn’t going to cut it. I suppose I could drink some water, but that ruby port over there is looking far more enticing… 🙂

Anyone else have nutritional struggles, especially when you’re really trying to be good?  Sigh…

Hearty Mushroom Stew

I fondly call this kind of food peasant fare, hearkening back to my ancestors in Ireland, Germany, and England: meals that are simple, hearty, and satisfying. It’s a dish I adapted from a recipe I stumbled upon online years ago and tweaked to my own liking, perfect for the cooler autumn days we’ve been having (though I’ve also enjoyed it many a time in the midst of a blustery, snowy day as well)

Mushroom Stew 1

Mushroom stew, served with a crusty hunk of bread

Mushroom stew recipe

Serves 4 (hearty portions)


  • 1, to 1.5 lb of Portobello and white sliced or whole mushrooms mixed together (I’ve used just Portobello with fantastic results as well, but the mix of mushrooms adds to the variety of textures)
  • ¼ cup of butter or margarine
  • 1 large sweet (or Vidalia) onion, chopped pretty fine
  • 4 -5 cloves minced garlic (you can use less if you’re not a garlic lover like me)
  • A half teaspoon of thyme powder (or a few springs of fresh thyme taken from the stems and chopped)
  • ¼ cup or so of red wine or beef stock
  • ½ cup of full-fat coconut milk or heavy cream (I prefer the coconut milk because it makes the stew really creamy and adds a hint of flavor that is lovely)
  • 2 green onions, chopped (these provide a dash of color in an otherwise earth-toned dish as well)
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste


  1. Heat a large, flat soup pan or skillet over a medium heat. Add the butter or margarine.
  2. Stir-in the onions and garlic. Cook them for a few minutes until they begin to brown.
  3. Add the mushrooms, sea salt and black pepper and give a few stirs. Continue to cook the mixture until the moisture released by the mushrooms evaporates.
  4. Add the wine or stock as well as the heavy cream or coconut milk and stir.
  5. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken and add in the thyme leaves and green onions.

And there you have it! Delicious, healthy, and filling…perfect for chilly weather but good anytime!

Mexican Bean Salad with Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

Mexican food


This is a very heart healthy dish, based on Mediterranean eating principles.  It’s good for you and tastes good, too, especially on hot days when you want something light but nourishing. Here’s what you need for approximately two servings:

  • 1 can of mixed beans for bean salad (mine was a can of organic kidney, black, and cannellini beans)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic (I use jarred organic chopped garlic – roasted or plain – it’s so easy! But if you don’t have fresh, you can sprinkle a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of white balsamic vinegar
  • A sprinkle (to taste…add more if you like heat) of ground red pepper
  • about a half teaspoon of ground cumin (or substitute chili powder if you don’t like the taste of cumin)
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: add chopped fresh cilantro at the very end

Toss all of the ingredients gently together and enjoy with some blue corn chips! The mixture gets more tasty the longer it sits and marinates, so you can have one serving when you make it and the second for lunch the next day. This recipe doubles or triples easily for a crowd (or if you want enough to last you several days) 🙂