Tag Archives: thyme

Sweet and Savory Chicken Thighs

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Serves: 2 | Total Time: 45 minutes


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I get it. Sometimes we just don’t have time in the morning to prepare a marinade for an easy chicken thigh dinner later. If you are like me, you just plain forget to get the chicken out the freezer the night before, and you cannot marinate frozen chicken.

Well, you can, but the result won’t be what you are hoping for.

Chicken Thigh Meal

One way around this dilemma when you need a quick weeknight meal is to preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, remove the chicken from the packaging, place it on a sheet pan, then stick it in the oven, close the door and immediately turn off the heat. Let the chicken hang out in there for 15 to 30 minutes, and it will thaw nice and fast – without cooking.

This is a trick I learned because… I am notorious for forgetting to take stuff out of the freezer in time for dinner (or lunch, or brunch… you get the idea!)

Easy Chicken Thigh Recipe With Sticky Glaze

With this recipe, however, you don’t have to marinate anything to get nice juicy chicken thighs. As long as you have thawed chicken thighs (whether you remember to take them out in the morning or do the quick-thaw method I mentioned above), you’ll be in for a tasty chicken dinner within the hour.

It takes five minutes to mix up the ingredients for the sauce. Since the chicken thighs get braised in the sauce, they will turn out tender and juicy. I know, this sounds too easy to be true… but it is true!

Spicy Chicken Pineapple Recipe

I have gotten into the habit of letting my meat rest for a few minutes after it comes out of the oven. I find that this gives the meat’s juices time to reabsorb back into the meat before it gets served. This is double nice because – while the chicken thighs rest – I can finish up the spicy pineapple sauce that goes over the chicken and rice. (Cook the rice while the chicken bakes.)

Yes, you can pull meat out of the fridge an hour before mealtime and have a complete chicken dinner on the table in less than an hour.

Ah ha!

How’s that for an easy weeknight meal that tastes like it has been roasting all day?

Glazed Chicken Thighs

Sauvignon Blanc Pairs Will With Goat Cheese Dishes

Wine pairings for Sweet and Savory Chicken Thighs:

Try a partially oaked, dry chardonnay from California or a dry sauvignon blanc from Aconcagua, Chile. Prefer red? No problem! An Italian barbaresco from Piedmont will work wonderfully with this dish. Here are some already hand picked for you:


How to make Sweet and Savory Chicken Thighs:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 envelope instant onion soup mix
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon red curry paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 large chicken thighs, bone-in with skin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 slices fresh pineapple, cut to 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 serrano chili pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Whisk together the soup mix, honey, apple cider, thyme, curry paste and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

The Best Glaze For Chicken Thighs

3. Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high. Fry the chicken thighs in the hot oil, skin side down, until the skin becomes browned and no longer sticks to the skillet, about 5 minutes.

How To Cook Glazed Chicken Thighs Step By Step

4. Flip the chicken pieces so they are skin side up and immediately pour the reserved onion soup mixture over the chicken. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the chicken thighs are cooked through. While the chicken bakes, baste with the pan juices two or three times. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Making Chicken On The Stove
The Best Chicken Recipe To Make Tonight

5. While the chicken is resting, heat the skillet over a burner set to medium. Add the sliced serrano chili to the skillet. When the pan juices begin to simmer, place one pineapple slice into the juices and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and simmer another 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat with the other pineapple slice.

Pineapple Recipe
Pineapple Sauce For Chicken

6. To serve, divide the rice equally onto two plates. Place a pineapple slice on the rice on one plate, top with two chicken thighs, and using a ladle or large spoon, douse with half of the pan juices, making sure you get some serrano chilis in there. Repeat with the second plate and the remaining chicken, pineapple slice, and juices. Garnish with a few fresh grinds of black pepper.

** To make this into a meal that serves 4, simply double the recipe!

Easy Chicken Dinner Idea
Sweet and Spicy Chicken
Easy Chicken Dinner Ideas
Sweet And Sour Chicken Recipe

Sweet and Savory Chicken Thighs

Christy Boston’s Kitchen
These apple cider glazed chicken thighs are super tender and deliver huge flavor with very little effort. No marinating required. Perfect for fast weeknight dinners!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Hawaiian
Servings 2 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 envelope instant onion soup mix
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon red curry paste
  • ¾ teaspoon salt divided
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 large chicken thighs bone-in with skin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 slices fresh pineapple cut to ¼ inch thick
  • ½ serrano chili pepper sliced
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice for serving

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400° F.
  • Whisk together the soup mix, honey, apple cider, thyme, curry paste and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high. Fry the chicken thighs in the hot oil, skin side down, until the skin becomes browned and no longer sticks to the skillet, about 5 minutes.
  • Flip the chicken pieces so they are skin side up and immediately pour the reserved onion soup mixture over the chicken. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the chicken thighs are cooked through. While the chicken bakes, baste with the pan juices two or three times. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  • While the chicken is resting, heat the skillet over a burner set to medium. Add the sliced serrano chili to the skillet. When the pan juices begin to simmer, place one pineapple slice into the juices and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and simmer another 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat with the other pineapple slice.
    Pineapple Recipe
  • To serve, divide the rice equally onto two plates. Place a pineapple slice on the rice on one plate, top with two chicken thighs, and using a ladle or large spoon, douse with half of the pan juices, making sure you get some serrano chilis in there. Repeat with the second plate and the remaining chicken, pineapple slice, and juices. Garnish with a few fresh grinds of black pepper.

Notes

To make this into a meal that serves 4, simply double the recipe!
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Chicken Breasts stuffed with Apricots in a Savory Chèvre

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Serves: 2 | Total Time: 1 day, 1 hour and 40 minutes


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I have been making this stuffed chicken breast recipe for years. It is one of my favorite chicken recipes!

This is the perfect date night dinner recipe to make if you are looking for meal ideas for two. The majority of the work can be done a day in advance, leaving you more time for what you like to do best during a romantic dinner – spending your undivided time on your date!

I first came up with this chicken recipe idea many years ago. I had just moved to Long Island and was hankering for a fancy dinner at home that I could make for myself. I had some chopped dried apricots sitting in my cupboard that I had picked up on a whim. At the time, I had never cooked with apricots before, much less dried ones!

Having trouble finding dried apricots at your grocery store? Purchase some good quality ones by clicking on:

iGourmet.com
Baked Chicken Breast

Apricots are a stone fruit, and stone fruits pair well with white wine. In fact, you can get a wonderful peach wine on the north fork of Long Island. I just happened to have a bottle that I had gotten that week while out wine tasting with a good friend.

I did not use the peach wine in this recipe since I was going to use the chopped dried apricots. This is a savory main dish, after all! I decided to stick with a bright, fresh wine with acidity, such as Sauvignon Blanc, which typically has notes of peach without being too sweet.

Chicken Breast Meat With Chopped Dried Apricots

Sage and thyme are my favorite herbs to cook with chicken. So of course, they got added to the recipe. All I needed now was a nice, creamy base for the stuffing.

Enter plain goat cheese.

If you have never cooked with goat cheese and you are not sure what to expect, know that it breaks down into a wonderful custard-like consistency when heated up. It also absorbs any flavor you add to it. The more aged the goat cheese, the more earthy the flavor, but in any case, it’s light tanginess will balance out the sweetness of the apricots beautifully.

Oh boy, how do you stuff chicken breasts?

Entree Idea: How Do You Stuff Chicken Breasts?

For the best results, start with chicken breasts that are large. The fatter they are, the easier it will be to stuff them without piercing through the meat. If you do pierce it, just wrap the skinny end of the breast underneath that part and place it on the bottom of the sheet tray when it comes time to bake the chicken. The meat will cook together, searing in the flavors of the herbed goat cheese with fruit you whipped up.

A note about how to cut chicken breasts to stuff; use a paring knife. It is small, sharp, and easy to maneuver.

You might find it a little strange that I leave my chicken breasts uncovered when chilling overnight. Don’t worry, they will dry out a little, but you want some of this to happen because it is what will give these boneless, skinless chicken breasts a nice crust; one that will seal all the juices inside during baking. The butter acts as a moisture barrier, too, so use it liberally!

Plan for a little extra time for baking. The best baked stuffed chicken breasts will take longer to cook through the stuffing. It may take close to double the time you are used to if you normally cook chicken breasts all by themselves.

Baked Stuffed Chicken Breasts

You’ll know when the chicken breasts are done by piercing a hole through one with a sharp skewer. If the juices run out clear, they are ready. Try to resist cutting them open with a knife. If they are not yet done, all of the moisture may steam out through the cut as they finish baking.

The bigger the cut, the more moisture you’ll lose.

Lost moisture means… dry chicken meat.

No!

So, resist the urge… please!

Baked Stuffed Chicken Breast Chevre Goat Cheese

I like to let my baked stuffed chicken breasts rest on a cutting board for a few minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to reabsorb into the meat so that you don’t lose too much when you cut them for serving. This is a really important step for the juiciest white meat ever. I know, you just want to dig in, but trust me on this part. 

Wait that extra five minutes!

If you want to serve this as a fancy main course dish, place the slices fanned out on plates. Garnish with a leaf of butter lettuce and a dried apricot. If you are more the casual type, just place the whole chicken breasts on plates let everyone cut their own. Add a side of white rice or potatoes and your favorite veggies.

Oh, and don’t forget the glasses for that bottle of white wine you opened. Sauvignon Blanc pairs great with chèvre goat cheese, too!

Fine Dining Dishes with Chevre Goat Cheese

Sauvignon Blanc Pairs Will With Goat Cheese Dishes

Wine pairings for Chicken Breasts stuffed with Apricots in a Savory Chèvre:

Sauvignon Blanc is the best bet for this dish. Go for one made with riper grapes, like those found in Napa. A great one to try:

Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Learn How To Cook With Gordon Ramsay!
Chicken Recipe Ideas
Meal Ideas For Twto
Goat Cheese Stuffed Apricot Chicken

Chicken Breasts stuffed with Apricots in a Savory Chèvre

Christy Boston’s Kitchen
Looking for romantic dinner recipe ideas? Chopped dried apricots and herbed goat cheese fill these stuffed chicken breasts. Make this chicken dinner a day ahead and enjoy a no-fuss date night at home.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Chilling and Resting Time 1 d 5 mins
Total Time 1 d 1 hr 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine French, Gourmet
Servings 2 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 shallot peeled and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 ounces chèvre (goat cheese) room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon almonds finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter softened and divided
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

Instructions
 

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Sauté the shallot and chopped dried apricots until lightly browned and glossy, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent them from burning. Add the wine and continue to stir for another minute, or until the liquid is absorbed, then stir in the herbs. Cook for one more minute or until the herbs become fragrant but not browned. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  • Add the goat cheese to the skillet and stir to combine with the apricot mixture. Next, stir in the almonds. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to stir until well mixed. The mixture should begin to bind into a ball. This is what you want to see; it will be easier to work with when stuffing the chicken breasts. Transfer the goat cheese filling to a small bowl and set aside.
  • Butter a baking dish with 1/2 tablespoon butter, set aside.
  • Using a paring knife, cut pockets into the chicken breasts, starting at the thickest end where the tendon is located. Use your fingers to carefully push through the breast to make a pocket, being careful not to poke a hole in the side. Use a small spoon or your fingers to stuff one chicken breast with half of the goat cheese filling. Massage the meat gently to push the filling into the farthest corners of the pocket, then pinch the hole shut. Fold the thin end of the chicken breast under (covering any thin spots or holes that may have torn while stuffing the chicken breast) and place in the prepared baking dish with the folded side down. Repeat with the second chicken breast, using the rest of the filling, if possible. You do not want to overstuff the chicken, so don’t fret if you have some filling left over.
  • Rub the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter onto the outside of the chicken breasts, being careful not to push out the stuffing. Place the baking dish with the stuffed chicken breasts in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight or for up to 24 hours, but not longer than 1 day.
  • When ready to bake: Preheat the oven to 375F. Cover the stuffed chicken breasts tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 120F. After 45 minutes, remove the foil and baste the chicken breasts with the pan juices. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken just begins to brown.
  • Increase the heat to 475F. Baste the chicken breasts with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle a small amount of chopped almonds over the meat. Put the chicken in the oven again and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until juices run clear. The internal temperature of the meat should be 150F.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and carefully slice the breasts crosswise, being careful not to push out the stuffing. Serve drizzled with the juices from the pan. If you have any leftover stuffing, reheat it for a minute or two and serve it with your chicken dinner.

Video

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Chicken Dumpling Soup

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Serves: 8 | Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes


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Growing up, chicken dumpling soup was a favorite recipe that my mom would make. It didn’t matter the time of year; if she made it in the winter, it was a warming comfort food after coming in out of the cold, but she would make it in the summertime too. Chicken dumpling soup can be flavored so many different ways, and one of my mom’s favorites was throwing in as many fresh garden veggies as she could harvest on any particular day.

I distinctly remember carrots as a main ingredient in my mom’s chicken dumpling soup recipe. Oh, those bright orange pops of flavor amidst all those juicy chunks of chicken and plump dumplings swimming around in that herby broth… I suppose I may be partial to the use of carrots because they are one of my favorite veggies, but if you prefer, you can change up the carrots with peas, or use them both together. (I would have added peas, but Mark is not a fan and would just pick them out!)

Instant Pot Chicken And Dumplings

My mom makes her chicken dumpling soup with cream, which is fine and dandy if you are using white meat, but I chose to make this recipe without it because I am using dark meat with the bones in. I really want the carrot and herb flavors to shine in the homemade chicken stock that is the base for this chicken and dumpling soup. 

Now, before you fret over having to make homemade chicken stock, I just want to point out that you don’t have to go through the trouble! Since this soup is made in the Instant Pot, you can make the stock at the same time as you make the soup.

Yep, one and done.

How nice!

Chicken And Dumplings Instant Pot
Buy the INSTANT POT 7 in 1 Pressure Cooker at Macy’s

To do this, you’ll throw in whole chicken pieces with the skin and bone intact. This renders a rich and fatty broth that packs enough of its own flavor, so adding cream really isn’t necessary. If you don’t want to deal with fishing out all the bones later, you can use boneless chicken pieces, but I highly recommend using dark meat as it imparts some of that fattiness that makes homemade stock so flavorful. If you decide to omit the bones, add some butter or olive oil to really amp up the savory flavor or your broth may fall flat.

And now… about how to make homemade dumplings for chicken and dumplings…

A first glance at the recipe may have you thinking…. a recipe for chicken soup dumplings with nutmeg!? 

Making Soup In Instant Pot

Yeah, I personally think this is how to make the perfect dumplings… you want them to have a hint of flavor, but not so much that they overpower the rest of the soup. A tiny sprinkling of nutmeg in the soup dumpling dough boosts the meaty flavor of the broth just enough for you to say WOW! without knowing that it is nutmeg. I have been known to use nutmeg in chili, meat seasonings, and all kinds of slow cooked or Instant Pot stews and soups. Nutmeg may be commonly known as a spice used in fall sweet treats and winter ciders, but it plays a great supporting role in savory dishes, too. Just use it sparingly!

Making this soup in the Instant Pot rocks because it puts out a long, slow cooked flavor in just over an hour. Perfect for busy cooks! So… if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you need to get one. The prices have come down, and I can’t tell you how it is worth the investment to have an Instant Pot in the house. Here are a few suggestions to make it easy (just click on your preferred retailer to see the options):

Soup Dumpling Recipe

This recipe makes enough for 8. Even though it is only Mark and I in the house (and our three cats, but they don’t eat soup!), I usually make the whole shebang and then freeze the remaining soup for later. Because there is no cream in the base, the dumplings and broth freeze quite nicely! If you are a family of four, you can freeze enough for another round. Perfect for when you just don’t feel like cooking at all, or are too darn busy to on any given night. Just pull this easy homemade freezer soup out in the morning, then heat it on the stove (or microwave) when it’s dinnertime.

Double nice!


Chicken Dumpling Soup Instant Pot Recipe
Chicken Dumpling Soup Recipe

Chicken Dumpling Soup

How to cook dumplings with chicken has never been easier with this chicken dumpling soup Instant Pot recipe. This chicken dumpling soup can be made ahead for later since both the dumplings and broth freeze well.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients
  

  • FOR THE SOUP:
  • 4 large chicken leg quarters with skin and bone
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 chicken bullion cubes
  • 6 medium carrots sliced
  • 1 whole white onion chopped into big chunks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • FOR THE DUMPLINGS:
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Instructions
 

  • Add all of the ingredients for the soup to the Instant Pot and give them a couple of stirs. Secure the lid and set to pressure cook on high for 15 minutes (30 minutes if using frozen chicken).
  • While the soup is cooking, prepare the dumplings by sifting together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Add the nutmeg and black pepper and whisk to evenly combine. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a separate bowl, then slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring as you go. Continue to stir until no dry clumps remain, then set the dough aside until ready to use.
  • Once the timer on the Instant Pot goes off, carefully open the vent to quickly release the pressure. When it is safe to remove the lid, carefully do so. Use a ladle and a carving fork to shred the meat and to fish the bones, cartilage and skin out of the soup. This will take about 10 minutes, but take your time getting these things out. It is never fun to bite into a mouthful of cartilage or worse, a bone. Although this step may be a bit tedious, don’t be tempted to use boneless chicken. The skin, bones, and cartilage are what give the broth its flavor! (See the note below if you still want to use boneless chicken.)
  • Cancel the ‘warm’ setting and set the Instant Pot to the ‘soup / stew’ setting, then add the dumplings to the stew. I use two teaspoons to do this; one to scoop up about 1 teaspoon of dough and the other to slide the dough off into the stew. When you add a dumpling to the stew, immediately dunk it below the surface of the broth. Although the dumplings will float back up, dunking them coats them with fat and keeps them from sticking together. Continue until all of the dough is used up, varying the dumpling size a bit to make it interesting. The dumplings will double in size as they cook, so don’t make them any bigger than 1 teaspoon (or they may not cook all the way through). Once all of the dumplings are in the stew, continue to cook the stew uncovered for another 15 minutes. It will begin to boil, this is ok.
  • When ready to serve the soup, cancel all settings on the Instant Pot and allow the stew to cool slightly because it will be very hot by this point. Use a large ladle to serve it into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley, a sprinkle of sea salt and a grind of black pepper.

Notes

Should you decide to use boneless chicken, dark meat will give you the best result that is most similar to homemade stock. If you prefer using white meat, add some olive oil or butter to the soup in step one to prevent your broth from falling flat.
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March 23 French Onion Soup

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Serves: 4 | Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

It is spring here in Wisconsin at last!

The sun is shining, the robins are sitting on the porch railing and singing, the cardinals are flitting around the trees in the back yard and the snow is gone – for now. It is still chilly outside, however, and winter coats (or at least a heavy puffer vest over a thick sweater) are still necessary when going outside. Soup weather, indeed!

Mark loves French onion soup, but since this can be more of a autumn or winter recipe, I decided to spruce it up with a little fruitiness to make it a spring soup. Instead of using white wine, I use red, which gives the soup a hint of pink. Apple cider lends even more fruit, but the thyme balances it out nicely. It’s a warm, hearty, velvety soup without the winter vibe.

It is really important to use a crusty bread for the croutons. I tried this once with regular white bread and ended up with mush beneath the cheese topping… eeew! Toast it so it is nice and crisp, and it will stay afloat to hold up all the gooey, melted cheese. I like using provolone because it is mild and it melts to the perfect consistency, but feel free to use mozzarella, or any other white cheese you want.

This makes a nice lunch, or you can have it for dinner with a glass of that red wine you used in the soup. I don’t think you can pair it much better than that!


March 23 French Onion Soup

Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

Prep: 10 Minutes / Cook: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 slices Italian bread, toasted and crusts removed.
  • 2 teaspoons chicken base dissolved in 2 cups hot water
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 6 – 8 springs fresh thyme
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and ends removed
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups good quality dry red wine
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 36 ounces canned French onion soup (not condensed) or 4 cans condensed French onion soup
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • parsley and thyme leaves for garnish
  • fresh ground black pepper for garnish

RECIPE DIRECTIONS:

1. Toast the bread and remove the crusts. Set aside.

2. Dissolve the chicken base in the water. Set aside.

3. Tie the herbs in a tight bundle with baker’s twine. Set aside.

4. Cut the onions in half vertically, then slice them, from root to end, about 1/4 inch thick. They should resemble half moons.

5. Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions in a single layer and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, reducing the heat to medium-low after 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the onions from burning. They should be brown (not black) and deeply caramelized when done. Make sure to take in a good whiff of the goodness!

6. Add the red wine to the onions. Turn up the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly. Once the liquid begins to boil, reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until the wine reduces by three quarters. It will be syrupy and will resemble cranberry sauce (and it will smell slightly fruity – think spring!)

7. Add the cider, chicken base in water, and canned soup. Drop the herb bundle into the soup and push down to submerge it in the liquids. Bring the whole thing to a boil and simmer for another 20 minutes, uncovered.

8. Preheat the broiler.

9. After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, remove the herb bundle and discard it. Use a ladle to fill 4 soup crocks with the soup. Place one bread crouton on top of the soup in each crock, then lay one slice of provolone over each crouton.  

10. Place the crocks on a sheet pan. Transfer the sheet pan to the top rack of the oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and allow the soup to cool slightly before serving the crocks on heat-proof plates (they will be piping hot!). Sprinkle each with thyme leaves, garnish with a sprig of parsley and a grind of black pepper.

Best French Onion Spring Soup Recipe
French Onion Soup

March 23 French Onion Soup

The perfect French onion soup recipe for crisp, early spring days. Aromatic and herby with a hint of fruit.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Soup
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 4 slices Italian bread toasted and crusts removed
  • 2 teaspoons chicken base dissolved in 2 cups hot water
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 7 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 yellow onions peeled with ends removed
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups good quality dry red wine
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 36 ounces canned French onion soup (not condensed) or 4 cans condensed French onion soup
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • fresh parsley leaves for garnish
  • fresh thyme leaves for garnish
  • fresh ground black pepper for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Toast the bread and remove the crusts. Set aside.
  • Dissolve the chicken base in the water. Set aside.
  • Tie the herbs in a tight bundle with baker’s twine. Set aside.
  • Cut the onions in half vertically, then slice them, from root to end, about 1/4 inch thick. They should resemble half moons.
  • Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions in a single layer and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, reducing the heat to medium-low after 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the onions from burning. They should be brown (not black) and deeply caramelized when done. Make sure to take in a good whiff of the goodness!
  • Add the red wine to the onions. Turn up the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly. Once the liquid begins to boil, reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until the wine reduces by three quarters. It will be syrupy and will resemble cranberry sauce (and it will smell slightly fruity – think spring!)
  • Add the cider, chicken base in water, and canned soup. Drop the herb bundle into the soup and push down to submerge it in the liquids. Bring the whole thing to a boil and simmer for another 20 minutes, uncovered.
  • Preheat the broiler.
  • After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, remove the herb bundle and discard it. Use a ladle to fill 4 soup crocks with the soup. Place one bread crouton on top of the soup in each crock, then lay one slice of provolone over each crouton.
  • Place the crocks on a sheet pan. Transfer the sheet pan to the top rack of the oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and allow the soup to cool slightly before serving the crocks on heat-proof plates (they will be piping hot!). Sprinkle each with thyme leaves, garnish with a sprig of parsley and a grind of black pepper.
Keyword best onion soup, cooking with wine, french onion soup recipes, how to make french onion soup, spring soup recipes
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Tenderloin Steaks with Mushrooms in Onion Broth

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Serves: 2 | Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

I love the Outback Steakhouse. 

I was first introduced to the Outback, and it’s wonderfully Aussie-style fare, when I worked there as a server back in the late 90’s. Yep, that was back when we’d sit down in the booth next to you to take your order. I can’t even begin to tell you how nervous that made me feel at first, but the more I did it, the more fun it became. (Plus it helped me overcome my tendency toward shyness!)

This recipe is inspired by my fond memories of the Outback Steakhouse. I sifted together some spices, and in the interest of keeping things keto, used pork rinds instead of any kind of breading whatsoever. Not that the Outback uses breading on their steaks (at least I don’t think they do!), but because I sometimes like a little extra crunch with my sizzle. It’s like grizzle, but for steak instead of chicken.

So go ahead and grab that bottle of Shiraz (or a can of Foster’s) and toast to a great restaurant-style steak that you can make right in your own kitchen… because…. well, we are supposed to get a snowstorm tonight.

So much for dining out, but whoever said Saturday evening couldn’t be just as much fun when dining in?


Tenderloin Steaks with Mushrooms in Onion Broth

Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Prep: 10 Minutes / Cook: 1 Hour

INGREDIENTS:

  • Broth:
    • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
    • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
    • 1/3 cup red wine
    • 2 cups beef broth
    • 8 oz. whole button mushrooms
    • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
    • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • Steaks:
    • 2 tenderloin steaks (6 oz. each)
    • 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
    • 1/3 cup crushed pork rinds
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

RECIPE DIRECTIONS:

For the broth:

1. Melt the butter in a medium pot. Sauté the onions in butter over medium-low heat until they are saturated and transparent, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn them! Lower the heat if they begin to get crispy.

2. Add the wine and beef broth to the pot and bring to a boil, then add the mushrooms. Reduce the heat so that the liquid no longer boils but simmers vigorously. If using fresh thyme, add it now along with the bay leaf and allow to simmer, uncovered, for another 30 to 45 minutes, or until the mushrooms reduce to roughly half their size. If using essential oil, wait until just before serving to add it, but go ahead and throw the bay leaf in now. 

While the broth is simmering, prepare the steaks as follows:

1. Place the pork rinds in a ziplock bag and go over them with a rolling pin until they resemble panko crumbs. Add all other ingredients to the bag except for the steaks and olive oil. Shake to combine.

2. In a separate skillet, heat the olive oil until it is very hot and beginning to smoke.

3. Coat the steaks with the spiced rind rub and add them to the skillet. Sear the steaks on all sides to lock in the juices, about a minute on each side. While they are still in the pan, sprinkle them with the remaining rub. Allow steaks to cook through, about 8-10 minutes for medium. Some of the crumbs from the rub will fall into the meat’s juices and char in the skillet. Keep them! They will add great bursts of crunchy flavor to the finished steaks that are pleasantly surprising!

4. When the steaks are cooked to your liking, plate them. Next, deglaze the skillet with some of the onion broth, then scrape the charred bits from the skillet and sprinkle them over the steaks.

5. Remove the herbs from the mushroom broth and take the broth off the heat. (If using thyme essential oil, now would be the time to add it. Make sure it is diluted in the olive oil first, then stir the oil into the broth to mix the flavor throughout.)

6. Spoon the mushrooms over the steaks, then ladle some of the broth over everything on the plates. Drizzle some olive oil over everything for good measure. The meat will continue to cook as it sits on the plates with the hot juices. Serve it right away!


Pan Seared Tenderloin Steak Recipe Ideas
Pan Seared Tenderloin Steaks With Mushrooms In Onion Broth

Tenderloin Steaks with Mushrooms in Onion Broth

Restaurant-inspired tenderloin steaks with mushrooms in onion broth. Stay in for date-night tonight with this easy pan-seared steak recipe!
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people
Calories 1240 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
  • cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 8 ounces whole button mushrooms
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 tenderloin steaks (6 oz. each)
  • 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • cup crushed pork rinds
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Melt the butter in a medium pot. Sauté the onions in butter over medium-low heat until they are saturated and transparent, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn them! Lower the heat if they begin to get crispy.
  • Add the wine and beef broth to the pot and bring to a boil, then add the mushrooms. Reduce the heat so that the liquid no longer boils but simmers vigorously. If using fresh thyme, add it now along with the bay leaf and allow to simmer, uncovered, for another 30 to 45 minutes, or until the mushrooms reduce to roughly half their size. If using essential oil, wait until just before serving to add it, but go ahead and throw the bay leaf in now. 
  • While the broth is simmering, prepare the steaks as follows:
  • Place the pork rinds in a ziplock bag and go over them with a rolling pin until they resemble panko crumbs. Add all other ingredients to the bag except for the steaks and olive oil. Shake to combine.
  • In a separate skillet, heat the olive oil until it is very hot and beginning to smoke.
  • Coat the steaks with the spiced rind rub and add them to the skillet. Sear the steaks on all sides to lock in the juices, about a minute on each side. While they are still in the pan, sprinkle them with the remaining rub. Allow steaks to cook through, about 8-10 minutes for medium. Some of the crumbs from the rub will fall into the meat's juices and char in the skillet. Keep them! They will add great bursts of crunchy flavor to the finished steaks that are pleasantly surprising!
  • When the steaks are cooked to your liking, plate them. Next, deglaze the skillet with some of the onion broth, then scrape the charred bits from the skillet and sprinkle them over the steaks.
  • Remove the herbs from the mushroom broth and take the broth off the heat. (If using thyme essential oil, now would be the time to add it. Make sure it is diluted in the olive oil first, then stir the oil into the broth to mix the flavor throughout.)
  • Spoon the mushrooms over the steaks, then ladle some of the broth over everything on the plates. Drizzle some olive oil over everything for good measure. The meat will continue to cook as it sits on the plates with the hot juices. Serve it right away!
Keyword date night dinner ideas, outback steakhouse copycat recipe, pan-seared steak recipes, steak and mushrooms, tenderloin steaks in onion broth
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Pasta in Truffle Oil with Mushrooms and Spinach

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Serves: 6 | Total Time: 30 Minutes


Jump to Recipe

I have always been inspired by gourmet food, and although going out to a fancy restaurant can be fun in it’s own right (how can you beat the softly playing piano in the background?) it isn’t always practical.

I am probably speaking for most of us who are on some kind of a budget and can’t spend upwards of $500 on a date night meal. I can bet that most of us don’t even want to spend over $100!

The thing is, I love the fine dining experience, (and I assume you do too or you wouldn’t be reading this blog post). There is no reason why we should have to miss out just because money is tight. This is where gourmet home cooked meals come in handy, and they don’t have to be intimidating. In fact, most of them are easier than you think!

Let me explain just how I came to know this…


Good Pasta Dishes To Make
Pasta in Truffle Oil with Mushrooms and Spinach. A good pasta dish to make for a quick and easy date night dinner.

I’ve spent a good number of years working in high-end restaurants and I have not regretted a single day. There is something magical about stepping out of a clamoring kitchen with all it’s bright lights and busyness into a dimly-lit dining room humming with soft spoken voices and the gentle clink of silverware on china. 

Now, I’ve never had a problem with being able to transition from perspiring server all buttoned up in a tuxedo to polished expert on what wine to pair with sautéed foie gras drizzled with beurre blanc – all in the span of 30 seconds (the time it takes to hustle from kitchen to dining room).

That was the fun part!


Quick and Easy Date Night Dinner
I just love angel hair pasta dishes. They are so delicate, and so easy to make!

The part I didn’t like was not being able to have the full experience for myself…. simply because I couldn’t afford it. And I’ll admit that I do enjoy being on the other side of the fence.

I mean, who wouldn’t?

In my opinion, it is worth a few hundred dollars every once in a while to sit at a candlelit table under some historic crystal light fixture while a server fawns over you (and they will at those high-end establishments, trust me!). I get to indulge in a gourmet dish I’ve most likely never had before while quietly sipping wine with my husband. Although I am a chef at heart, it is nice to have the cooking done for me sometimes (and the cleaning up, for that matter, too).

But let’s be realistic, dining out at such places is usually reserved for special… (ah-hem)… very special occasions. As in, once every 15 years or something like that.


Best Vegetarian Pasta
The best vegetarian pasta dishes have lots of flavor. Using truffles sparingly with other mushrooms will complement the lighter herb and vegetable flavors, not overpower them.

This is why I taught myself how to cook gourmet meals at home. Taking everything I ever learned from reading food magazines and working with some of the finest chefs I’ve ever met, I tinkered with tried and true recipes until I was gutsy enough to start creating my own.

This recipe is one of my first successful attempts at gourmet home cooking. The truffles are not necessary if you use truffle infused olive oil, and the flavored olive oil is a whole lot cheaper, so use it if you are on a budget. If you can get actual truffles, do use them, just in moderation because they have a very strong flavor. There really isn’t anything else on the planet that will ever come close to mimicking the flavor of truffles, so you need to get your hands of some if you want to make this recipe. Here are some resources to help you out:

Now, as far as the ambience – I don’t have a recipe for that. But since this quick and easy gourmet dinner only takes 30 minutes to make, you’ll have plenty of time to iron that table linen and dust off the china…

… or not. You can simply just close your eyes and let the flavors whisk you away…


Gourmet Pasta Dishes
The key to good gourmet pasta dishes is lots of texture; here we have starchy noodles, juicy mushroom bits, and silky spinach – all topped off with a crispy, fried sage leaf.

Watch how to make this easy date night dinner:


Mushroom Spinach Pasta With Truffle Oil

Pasta in Truffle Oil with Mushrooms and Spinach

Christy Boston’s Kitchen
If you are looking for quick and easy date night dinners to make at home, you’ll love this mushroom and spinach pasta with angel hair spaghetti. It only takes 30 minutes, so you'll have plenty of time to watch that movie.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine French, Gourmet, Italian
Servings 6 people
Calories 420 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 12 ounces angel hair pasta uncooked
  • 3 tablespoons black truffle olive oil divided, OR
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil plus 1/2 teaspoon minced truffles
  • 3 tablespoons plain olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 cups mixed mushrooms, such as maitake, trumpet, and portobello torn into 1-inch pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon sage leaves finely chopped, plus more whole leaves for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves finely chopped
  • shaved parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions
 

  • Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain, reserving the pasta liquid. Set both aside. If using plain olive oil with minced truffles, now would be the time to whisk the two together. (The truffles will sink to the bottom, so when it comes time to use the oil in the recipe, give it a good whisk while adding to the skillet to stir them up again.)
  • While the pasta cooks, heat 2 tablespoons of the truffle olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about a minute until sizzling, stirring frequently. Next, throw in the garlic and heat for another minute, stirring continuously to prevent charring. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally for 5-8 minutes or until the mushrooms have given up their juices and are beginning to brown. Scrape the vegetables into a bowl and set aside.
  • Using the same skillet, heat the 3rd tablespoon truffle olive oil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the spinach. Toss frequently in the skillet until wilted, about a minute. Transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms and allow to cool slightly.
  • Add the drained pasta back into the pot it was prepared in and turn the heat on to low. Season with salt and pepper, then add a ladle of the pasta liquid back in along with one tablespoon plain olive oil to prevent the pasta from getting sticky. Stir until warmed through and the pasta is glossy.
  • Heat the 2 remaining tablespoons plain olive oil in a small skillet over medium high. When the oil is hot enough that a bead of water jumps off it, add the whole sages leaves. Fry them until they begin to darken, about a minute, then carefully flip them. Continue to fry for another minute or so until the leaves are just starting to brown, then remove them promptly to a paper towel. Set aside. The leaves will brown very quickly, so it is important to remove them as soon as you see any browning. This way, they will be crispy – but still green and pretty.
  • Return the vegetables to the skillet, then add the pasta and toss to combine over medium heat. Throw in the chopped herbs and give it all a final toss, adding more olive oil if the pasta begins to dry out.
  • Serve immediately. Garnish with a final drizzle of olive oil, shaved parmesan cheese, and the fried sage leaves. If you used minced truffles, you can add a small dollop on top for effect, but if you do this, do it sparingly because the flavor of truffles is very strong and you don't want it to overpower the flavors of the herbs. Add a grind of black pepper and you're done!

Video

Keyword angel hair pasta dishes, best vegetarian pasta dishes, black truffles, date night meals, good pasta dish to make, gourmet food, gourmet home cooked meals, gourmet home cooking, gourmet pasta dishes, how to cook gourmet meals at home., Pasta in Truffle Oil with Mushrooms and Spinach, quick and easy date night dinners, spinach in soup, truffle recipes, Using truffles, vegetarian pasta dishes
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