Fish Stew with Curried Coconut Broth

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for the past month.  Lately I’m loving the following things: (1) one-pot meals with tons of veggies; (2) frozen fish fillets from Costco; (3) dinners that come together quickly.  This dinner fills all three categories.  It pulls together without a lot of work (just a little chopping, but I like a little chopping at the end of the day – it helps me wind down from work and get into the evening frame of mind), and it’s a great way to use a few fish fillets without roasting or sauteeing them – my go-tos, but it’s good to mix things up.  We’ve been eating a lot of stew lately – lentil-vegetable; chicken and herb; or fish.  It’s nice healthy comfort food that I can whip up quickly so that the adults in the house can all eat a home-cooked meal before we begin the bedtime dance with Peanut.


1 tbsp cocnut oil
1 onion, large dice
1 sweet potato, large dice
kosher salt
1 bunch broccoli, large dice
1 can coconut milk
1 can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
dash crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 tilapia filets, large dice


  • In a Dutch oven or heavy saucepan, heat coconut oil over medium-high burner until oil has liquified.
  • Add diced onion and sweet potato to oil, season generously with kosher salt and saute until vegetables are beginning to brown, then add coconut milk and diced tomatoes.
  • Add spices and season again with another pinch of kosher salt.  Stir to combine well.  Replace lid and turn heat down to medium.  Allow to simmer for approximately 10 minutes, until sweet potatoes are half cooked.
  • Add corn, broccoli and tilapia, replace lid and simmer for another 10 minutes until fish is cooked through and all vegetables are done.  Serve immediately or turn heat to low and simmer for another 10 minutes (not necessary, but will help the flavors to marry).

Yield: Serves 4.

Source: Covered In Flour

(Nota Baker: You don’t have to precisely follow this recipe.  Use the veggies and the protein you happen to have lying around.  If you have chicken instead of tilapia, or zucchini instead of broccoli, that’s totally cool.  This is more of a formula than a recipe that you must follow to the letter.  And if you’re not interested in the coconut-curry flavor, use olive oil and broth, and herbs instead of the curry and spices.  It’s all about what sounds good to you in the moment.  Low-maintenance cooking win!)

Eggplant and Orzo Stuffed Peppers


Here’s another blast from the recipe archive past for you, because I’m on my second business trip of two weeks and have barely cooked in days.  And also because I love looking at my beautiful granite countertops from my old condo.  Sigh.  I haven’t made this recipe in a LONG time and now I’m thinking of picking up the ingredients next time I hit the market.  Stuffed peppers are one of my favorite foods… Hope you enjoy these!

This dinner started out planned, in my menu notebook, as Zucchini and Orzo Stuffed Peppers, a Giada de Laurentiis recipe.  But then a certain someone – who shall remain nameless – threw out my zucchini.  He thought it was a weird cucumber, apparently.  This sort of thing happens occasionally – little elves raid my produce drawer – and fortunately, I was prepared this time.  A few quick adjustments, some fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants sauteeing, and I had some incredibly delicious Eggplant and Orzo Stuffed Peppers on my hands.  You know what?  I like eggplant better anyway.


Eggplant and Orzo Stuffed Peppers

2 Japanese eggplants, peeled and finely diced
4 Roma tomatoes, coarsely diced
1/4 cup full-bodied red wine, such as Cab or Zin (2012 edit: or sub mushroom broth)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup + 4 teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup orzo
Kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste
4 red bell peppers
4 teaspoons Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
Fresh chives

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and simultaneously begin heating vegetable oil (a moderate amount) in a saute pan, and water in a saucepan.  Add the diced eggplant to the saucepan, season with salt, and saute until browned and crispy in parts, soft in others.
  • Add red wine – not too much, just enough to deglaze the pan.  Stir eggplant around and be careful to scoop up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add cracked pepper and dried oregano.
  • Meanwhile, cook orzo until al dente, according to the instructions on the box.  Drain and reserve.
  • When eggplant starts to smell too divine for words (it’s a scientific process), add diced tomato and stir just until warm.  Dump the whole mess into a bowl and stir in 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan and orzo.
  • Prepare the red peppers – slice off the top (and if necessary, a tiny sliver from the bottom so the peppers will stand upright in the baking dish).  Carefully cut out the ribs and remove the seeds, but don’t bother being too terribly precise.
  • Scoop the eggplant and orzo filling into the red pepper shells.  Top with breadcrumbs, remaining Parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil on each pepper.
  • Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, until tops are golden and peppers are slightly soft.  Let cool slightly before serving.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh chives, if desired.

Yield: Serves 4 moderately hungry people (with sides) or 2 very hungry people.

Source: Adapted from Giada’s Kitchen, by Giada de Laurentiis

Bean Chili with Quinoa

All right, all right, I know I’m about a week and a half late with this one.  You’re all shaking your heads – yes, you, I see you – saying “Where was this recipe for Superbowl Sunday?”  Yeah, sorry about that.  I was behind with recipes.  But the good news is twofold: (1) it’s still cold out, so you have plenty of opportunities to eat chili before spring sets in; and (2) this is a really good way to use up extra quinoa.  Because I know you always have extra quinoa lying around!  (No?  Just me?)  Actually, this is a great pantry dinner for those meals you have to put together when it’s been awhile since you made it to the grocery store and you’re looking for something healthy.  You could easily do canned beans with this, or you could use some Slow Cooker Beans for extra deliciousness.  Either way, this protein-packed entree is definitely going to be one of my staples from now until spring.  Enjoy!

Bean Chili with Quinoa

1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 batch Slow Cooker Beans (or sub two cans of black beans)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro, grated cheddar and/or plain Greek yogurt for optional garnish

  • In a large cast-iron pot over medium heat, warm olive oil until shimmering.  Add onion and saute until golden.
  • Add beans, quinoa, and tomatoes and stir to combine.
  • Add spices, salt and pepper and taste.  Adjust seasonings as necessary.
  • Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, then serve with “fixins.”

Source: Covered In Flour

Veggie-Full Soup

Well, it’s December.  Month of card-writing, gift-wrapping, cookie-baking and party-attending.  Not to mention all those loose ends you’re probably trying to tie up at work before the end of the year.  Are you completely overwhelmed yet?  Ready to throw in the towel?  Or still trucking along with some holiday spirit?

If you’re feeling a little bit under the gun, you’re not alone.  I know the feeling.  I know it well.  I’ve had some dark moments where I’m pretty sure that my to-do list is longer than my driveway.  And I’ve learned from experience – there’s only one way to get through the month with sanity intact, and that’s to make a priority of taking care of myself.  Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean that I stop mattering.  I still deserve yummy, healthy, nutrient-rich meals and time to exercise.  I still deserve to practice basic self-care, and dangit, I WILL practice basic self-care.  The cards will get written, the gifts bought, and the house cleaned and decorated.  But at the end of the month, I’ll still be smiling.  Because that’s what I deserve.  And so do you!

Here’s a good place to start: a light and delicious soup packed full of nutritious fresh vegetables.  You can follow my recipe or adapt it to whatever happens to be knocking around your crisper drawer.  The more veg, the merrier!  So go to town on those beans and veggies… and I promise you’ll feel nourished, loved, and ready to take on those holiday-shopper crowds.  Veggie power!

Veggie-Full Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
~1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery ribs, washed and diced
2 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 cup diced haricots verts
1 1/2 cup frozen yellow corn
1 can chickpeas or cannellini beans, drained
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

  • Heat olive oil until shimmering in a large saucepan or stock pot.  Add onions and salt, and saute until translucent.
  • Add carrots and celery and saute with onions until slightly softened.
  • Add remaining vegetables, chickpeas and dried thyme, and saute until thyme is fragrant.
  • Add tomatoes and broth and stir to combine (and deglaze pot, if necessary).  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer 25-30 minutes until flavors are melded.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Source: Covered In Flour

Refreshing Orzo Salad

Growing up, one of my favorite meals that my mom would make was Grecian orzo salad.  Recently, I was in the mood for orzo salad and I decided to try to replicate hers.  Thinking back, my mom’s orzo salad included Feta cheese, kalamata olives, and red peppers.  Well, I don’t like Feta cheese and I always dug around it in the salad bowl (sorry, mom!), and my grocery store didn’t have any organic red peppers.  Without those two, the kalamata olives just seemed a bit out of place.  So the Grecian orzo salad idea went out the window, and I decided to try my own orzo salad concoction.  Mine is fresh, light and simple – like my mom’s – but it’s not “Grecian.”  Ah, well, the best laid plans…

This was still pretty darn delicious.

Refreshing Orzo Salad with Shrimp

~2 cups cooked orzo pasta, chilled
1 long English cucumber, large dice
2 green bell peppers, large dice
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
~1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
steamed shrimp

  • Combine orzo, cucumbers, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes in large salad bowl and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk oil and lemon juice until the mixture emulsifies.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour dressing over salad and mix thoroughly until the pasta and veg are coated completely.  Add additional oil sparingly, and only if needed.
  • Serve with steamed shrimp (I tossed mine in lemon-pepper seasoning).

Source: Inspired by my mom!

Nota Baker: This pasta salad recipe makes a TON.  You will not, I promise, finish this in one day.  That’s intentional!  It makes a fantastic lunch for the next week or so.  I’m nothing if not thrifty!

Mediterranean Bean Dip

I made this dip on my last week in my condo, as a way to clean out my pantry a little bit (so I’d have fewer cans and jars to move, which is key) and also to have something to contribute at my last condo social event.  This white bean dip, flavored with bright lemon, sun-dried tomatoes and chives, is certainly delicious.  But I know better than to call it hummus.  After meeting Katie, I now understand that hummus is just that, hummus, and anything else is… well… something else.  It’s like Champagne, a little bit.  One of my pet peeves is when people refer to sparkling wine as “Champagne” when it’s not.  Hello, Champagne is from the Champagne region of France.  Anything else is sparkling wine.  And there’s nothing wrong with sparkling wine, as long as you don’t try to pretend it’s Champagne.  This is kind of like that.  This dip is not hummus.  So I’m going to be respectful and not try to pretend that it’s some kind of “White Bean Hummus with Sun-Dried Tomato and Chives.”  I’m going to call this what it is – a delicious, creamy, flavorful dip made with cannellini beans and sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil.  It calls to mind various Mediterranean flavors – the white beans and sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil suggesting Italy, with a little whiff of Greece from the tahini (I use a Greek brand).  Yum.  Not hummus… but delish.

Mediterranean Bean Dip

1 can white (cannellini) beans, drained and rinsed, liquor reserved
1/4 cup (approx.) extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons tahini
salt and pepper
3 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rough chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh (or freeze-dried) chives, plus more for garnish

  • Place beans, oil, lemon juice and tahini in the bowl of a blender and pulse to combine.  Add reserved bean liquor, a tablespoon at a time, until the dip reaches a smooth and creamy consistency.  (This is something you have to judge for yourself; I can’t tell you how much bean liquor it will take.  It totally depends on your blender and your beans.)
  • Take a quick taste and decide if the dip needs any more lemon or tahini for flavoring.  If so, add the ingredient a little at a time, tasting as you go along, to achieve the right flavor.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, then blend.
  • Blend in roughly chopped pieces of sun-dried tomato – but don’t over-blend!  You want the tomato to be evenly dispersed throughout the dip, with flecks of red visible and the rest of the dip a creamy, pale pink color. 
  • Remove dip to a bowl and stir in chives.  Scoop into serving bowl and top with additional chives, if desired.

Source: Covered In Flour, method from Good Things Catered

Tomato and Chive Bruschetta

As we generally do every year, hubby and I decided to stay in and cook dinner together on Valentine’s Day.  We prefer cooking at home, since we will (1) spend less money; (2) eat healthier; (3) not have to deal with crowds and restaurant reservations; and (4) have more time to hang out together and really enjoy each other’s company since we don’t have to drive, find parking…  Every year, we have a blast deciding what to make.  We go through cookbooks, make suggestions, veto each other’s suggestions, and generally act like this is going to be our last meal on earth.  For our first course on Valentine’s Day this year, though, there was no strife at all: hubby requested bruschetta and I was happy to oblige.  Toasty bread, olive oil and tomatoes?  I’m ALWAYS up for that!  Part of what I love about bruschetta is that it is so versatile; you can literally go in about a million different directions with it.  I’ve tried many different versions and I love them all.  How could I not, when toasted bread is the common denominator?  This particular one is elegent in its simplicity, and it’s easy to throw together.  Mangia!

Tomato and Chive Bruschetta

1/2 baguette, sliced thinly
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil for baguette
1 garlic clove, cut in half
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons (approx.) extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped chives
sea salt
black pepper
squeeze of lemon

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and arrange sliced bread on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and toast 10 minutes or so, until fragrant.
  • While bread is toasting, combine cherry or grape tomatoes, chives, remaining olive oil, salt, pepper, and a spritze of lemon juice in a small bowl and toss together.
  • Remove bread from oven and rub with the halved garlic clove.  Spoon the tomato mixture over the bread and serve.

Source: Covered In Flour, inspired by classic bruschetta

Sun-Dried Tomato-Parmesan Mini Corn Muffins

Tap, tap.  Is this thing on?

Hello out there!  Is anyone left?  I’m sorry.  I’m so, so, so, so sorry.  I realize that I officially take the prize for Worst Blogger Ever.  The truth is, I’ve had an incredibly hectic month – hubby and I are currently in the midst of a personal project which has taken on all the intensity of a hurricane, and what feels like the proportions of Ancient Rome.  We’re doing something completely necessary, yet completely crazy at the same time: we’re BUYING A HOUSE.  I know, right?!?!?!  We fell in love with a house back in October, made an offer, and have been in the process of buying it ever since.  If you know me in “real life,” you’ve probably heard the entire saga several times.  So I can now explain that, other than the week when hubby and I both fell sick within days of each other back in January, most of my blog disappearances have happened around the times when things were heating up in the house-buying process.  It’s been a long haul, but I finally feel that I can mention it on the blog, because our closing is in less than two weeks, our move is three days later, and we have boxes stacked up containing many (but not all – like I said, I’ve been busy) of our worldly possessions.  We received word that our sale was going through in late February, and since then it’s been a whirlwind of doing all of the things that you need to do in order to buy a house, plus numerous phone calls with our broker, discussing whether we want to sell or rent our condo.  And I’ve been dealing with the complete shock of realizing that I’m actually moving and I’m not going to be cooking in my condo kitchen anymore, which does make me sad.  Because I do love my condo, especially the kitchen.

Given all this, hubby and I decided to throw the condo a farewell party.  We had actually planned to have a party for no reason back in February, but Snowmageddon ruined our plans.  So we moved the party to early March, and it just happened to fall after we had tumbled head-first down the rabbit hole of house-buying.  I was exhausted from the whole process and making frequent panicked phone calls to my mom about how I wasn’t sure anymore if I wanted a house, like, ever… so I mostly opted for “easy,” and our friends liked it all just fine.  One of the most popular dishes at the party was a savory mini corn muffin, jazzed up with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese.  Mmmmm, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!  So, in the hopes that you’ll forgive me… here ya go.

Sun-Dried Tomato-Parmesan Mini Corn Muffins

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup (approx.) chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare a 24-well mini muffin tin by spraying olive oil baking spray in each well.
  • Combine dry ingredients.
  • Mix in milk, oil and egg, until just incorporated.  Stir in chopped sun-dried tomatoes and grated cheese.
  • Using a teaspoon, portion batter evenly into muffin wells.  (You may have a little extra, depending on the size of the wells in your muffin tin.  I got about 6 extra mini muffins out of my emergency backup Bakers Secret mini muffin tin, but my muffin tins have small wells.)
  • Bake 20-25 minutes, until muffins are just golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Source: adapted from Quaker

I promise that I am going to try to be better about blogging during this moving process.  I have some photos banked from the past few weeks, and as soon as I remember what the recipes were, I’ll post them.  However, the next two weeks are going to be a little bit difficult.  Most of my cookbooks, and a fair amount of my bakeware, are already packed.  Hubby and I have enough left out that we won’t starve, but I’m not planning to do much creative baking or cooking until we get unpacked and settled and get our condo cleaned up and on the market.  Please bear with me, and I promise I’ll be back with tons of fun new recipes from my new kitchen-to-be!

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

I think this just may be my new favorite spaghetti sauce.  It is simple to make, inexpensive, tangy from the olives and capers, with a subtly spicy kick from the red pepper flakes.  Making puttanesca sauce from scratch is barely more effort than opening a jar of Prego, but it’s much tastier – not to mention, you control the quality of the ingredients and there are far fewer preservatives.  Plus, saying “spaghetti alla puttanesca” is fun.  Now, who can argue with that?

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, medium-diced
kosher salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced anchovy
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 can crushed San Marzano tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup green olives, sliced (substitute black olives)*
1 tablespoon non-pareil capers, rinsed
whole wheat spaghetti

  • In a heavy stockpot over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until shimmering, then add diced onion and season generously with kosher salt.  Stir frequently until onion is slightly caramelized, 12-15 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste, garlic, red pepper flakes and anchovy, and stir until anchovy has melted and garlic is golden, about 1 minute.  (Your kitchen now smells amazing, by the way.)
  • Boil water for spaghetti – I prefer whole wheat – and prepare spaghetti according to the package directions.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, olives and capers.  Stir to combine all ingredients, then turn heat down and allow sauce to simmer while pasta finishes cooking.
  • Divide pasta into bowls and top with sauce.  Add a sprinkle of extra oregano if desired and serve.  Couldn’t be easier!

Yield: Serves 2 for dinner, with leftovers.

Source: Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

*The original/traditional recipe calls for black olives, but I can’t stand them, so I substituted green.  Feel free to experiment with different olives, or go back to tradition if you actually like black olives.

Baked Chicken and Tomatoes


This is a wonderfully simple, flavorful dish, and a perfect way to showcase summer tomatoes.  Baked chicken is easy, but can sometimes dry out in the oven; not in this dish.  The chicken bakes under a smattering of cherry tomato halves, which give up their juice to keep the chicken most and tender.  When it’s done, simply scoop the chicken pieces out of the roasting pan, top with the wilted, spent tomatoes and serve it alongside a green salad.  An end-of-summer tray bake at its finest…

Baked Chicken and Tomatoes

1 package skinless, boneless chicken thighs, or skinless, bone-in breast halves
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup flour
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt and pepper.  Lightly dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture and set in 8-by-8 inch baking pan.  Nestle half of the cherry tomato halves around chicken pieces, and scatter the remaining half over the top.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, until chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees.  (If you are using chicken breasts, be sure to watch the temperature closely.  The bone will help to keep them moist, as will the tomatoes, but it’s still very important that you are vigilant and don’t leave the chicken in the oven too long.  Chicken breasts can go from being moist and delicious to being tougher than an old shoe in the blink of an eye.)


Yield: Serves 4.

Source: Covered In Flour.