Tag Archives: cinnamon

Mediterranean Chicken and Fruit

This is one of my Healthy January recipes!  Chicken, browned in olive oil, dried apricots and prunes, and couscous.  What a flavor-filled meal!  This was the second course to my Orange, Onion and Olive Salad.

Mediterranean Chicken and Fruit

  • olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup dried prunes
  • 15 ounces chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup couscous

Cut each chicken breast into two or three pieces.  Place each piece in a ziploc bag.  Pound with a mallet until thin.  In a large skillet over medium high heat drizzle a little olive oil.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet.  Cook until browned on both sides – about ten minutes.  In a large measuring cup whisk the chicken broth, cinnamon and cumin.  Pour over the chicken.  Add the dried fruits.  Allow to cook for a few minutes.  Add the cup of couscous to the skillet.  Stir well.  Remove from heat and cover.  Let sit five minutes.  Enjoy!


Oranges, Onion and Olive Salad

Doesn’t this look like a luscious and healthy way to start the new year?  Yes, all those holiday meals and desserts were tasty and enjoyed by all – but now is the time to start thinking a little leaner and a little healthier!  It doesn’t hurt anyone to eat light now and then (I can hear the boos coming from a few of you!)!

I met Kate at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  She is one very busy little person!  She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kentucky on the 16th, works full-time as a Fellowship Officer in the Graduate School at the university, and works part-time with a young autistic boy – among other things!  This was her one week off and I was very happy to have an afternoon with her!  Kate was running a tad late – and that gave me more time than I needed in the cookbook section!  I found Essentials of Mediterranean Cooking – a Williams-Sonoma book – and just had to have it.  After spending a little time with this book, I found recipes I just had to make!  Such as this one!

I love oranges – so sweet, so good – so good for you!  Believe it or not, olives were not on my favorites list.  But a little encouragement from Ritchey and I have fallen in love – well, with them both!  And the red onion added with the other two main ingredients just gives a super combination of flavors!  The dressing is not overpowering, but the hint of cinnamon truly makes this a Mediterranean dish!  I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did tonight!

Oranges, Onion and Olive Salad

  • 4 navel oranges
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup olives, quartered and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Using a sharp knife, cut a slice off both ends of each orange to reveal the flesh.  Place the orange upright on the cutting board and, using the knife, cut downward to remove the peel and pith, following the contour of the fruit.  Cut each orange crosswise into slices 1/2 inch thick.

Arrange the orange slices on a serving platter, overlapping them slightly to cover the plate nicely.  Separate and scatter the onion slices over the top.

To make the dressing, add the orange juice, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Whisk until blended.  Whisk in the olive oil.

Scatter the olives over the orange slices and drizzle with the dressing.  Let sit at cool room temperature for 10-15 minutes to blend the flavors.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve at once.  Enjoy!

A Cup of New Year’s Eve Soup

A Cup of New Year’s Eve Soup!

Last night was a wonderful evening – spent in the same way as the previous 25 years or so!  Fondue with good friends Debbie and Dennis!  One new addition to our meal was this New Year’s Eve Soup.  It made a delightful palate cleansing between the spinach-artichoke dip and the fondue!  This is a simple soup that just needs a gentle heating – no boiling for this one!

  • 1 – 14.5 ounce can tart red cherries
  • 1 – 14.5 ounce can chunky fruit cocktail
  • 1 large navel orange, peeled and cut into sections (no pith)
  • strips of zest from one lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Combine all ingredients into a small pan over low heat.  Cover.  Heat through but do not allow to boil.  Enjoy!

Christmas Gingerbread Muffins

Is there any better smell than fresh gingerbread baking in the oven?  Gingerbread muffins are a marvelous treat no matter what your age!  Mine are made with lots of ginger and cinnamon and sorghum molasses!  And for just a hint of freshness, thin strips of orange zest added on top before popping into the oven!  I couldn’t wait to try them!  Such a delightful gingerbread taste – with a hint of orange!  How appealing to sit by the Christmas tree and have a muffin and tea!  Pure bliss!

Christmas Gingerbread Muffins

  • 1 – 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 – 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 – 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup sorghum molasses
  • orange zest

Add flour, baking powder, brown sugar, ginger and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Stir well.  Add the milk, egg, cooking oil and molasses.  Stir until ingredients are well mixed.  Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full (my batch made 15).  Top with orange zest.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown or an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Enjoy!

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

It has rained all day – not just rained, it has been a down pour!  When the water reaches from the bus garage to the handicap ramp at the board office, things are getting serious.  I start thinking about a boat.  This morning there was a 24 inch leak in the ceiling, from the wall near the copier towards the light fixture.  There was a constant drip, drip, drip into three trash cans all day!  It was so bad I opted to stay in at lunch!  Now, twelve hours later, it’s still raining!  Tonight’s supper had to be good, had to make up for the lousy weather!  I think it did!  Our main dish was country ham, julienned, and cooked with onions sauteed in butter and white wine, atop three corn cakes.  That will be tomorrow’s post!  And dessert was this lovely crisp – apples and cranberries topped with a flour, brown sugar, oatmeal, butter and spice mixture!  And a dollop of ice cream – just to make things a little more interesting!


Apple-Cranberry Crisp

  • 4 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/3 cup cold butter
  • ice cream, optional

Place the apples and cranberries in a greased 8-inch square baking dish.  In a medium bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon and all-spice; cut in butter until mixture is soft and crumbly.  Sprinkle over apples and cranberries.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until apples are tender.  Serve warm, with ice cream!  Enjoy!

Sweet Potatoes for a Crowd

Thanksgiving dinner at mom’s today – my dishes are the Cranberry- Ginger Chutney from yesterday’s post, green beans cooked with country ham, and sweet potatoes.

My sweet potatoes would be in the tradition of my grandmother, but dressed up just a bit since it was a special occasion!  When Grandmother Carrico made sweet potatoes she cut them in half, melted butter in her dish, placed the sweet potatoes cut side down in the melted butter and baked them until they were soft and tender.

I did primarily the same thing except these sweet potatoes were rather large so I quartered them.

And in addition to the melted butter I sprinkled a good amount of dark brown sugar into the pan.  Next, cinnamon and nutmeg.  A drizzle of honey – a serving spoonful for each pan.  I added my sweet potatoes next – cut side down.  And over everything some orange juice.

The dishes were covered with foil and placed in a 425 degree oven for 45 minutes.  I removed the foil and cooked the potatoes for an addition 15 minutes – or until tender.  Serve cut side up with all the delicious toppings presented in all their glory.  Wow!  They turned out beautifully!  Now just getting the hot pans into the car!  Enjoy!

Divine Apple Crostata

Nothing tastes better than apple pie – except perhaps if it’s an apple crostata!  A crostata is a more rustic way of making a pie – and certainly much easier!  The crust is whirled in the food processor – cold butter, flour, sugar and salt – until the butter is coarse and small.  Add a few tablespoons of ice water until the dough forms a ball.  The dough chills in the refrigerator until the apples are peeled and sliced.  Roll dough into a large circle on a floured surface.  When you start, roll your dough a couple of times.  Turn over, adding more flour to the surface if necessary.  Do this a couple of times – the dough will not stick and can easily be moved to your baking sheet.  Place apples, cinnamon and sugar in the center of the circle of dough.  Wrap the dough over the apples – leaving a center circle of apples showing through.  With an egg wash and final sprinkle of sugar your crostata is ready for the oven!  Now you can enjoy the wonderful aromas that will come from your stove!  Apples, spices, pie crust!  Perhaps this will give the traditional pumpkin pie a run for its money!

Apple Crostata

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4-6 tablespoons ice water
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for the egg wash

Make the crust in your food processor.  Add the flour, sugar and salt – pulse a time or two to mix dry ingredients.  Add the butter.  Pulse until the butter is coarse and small.  Add the ice water a tablespoon at a time – down the chute of the food processor – until the dough clumps and starts to form a ball.  Wrap dough in plastic and leave in refrigerator about 15 minutes – enough time to prepare your apples!

Combine the apples, 2 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon.  Stir.  Flour your surface.  Roll dough into a large circle, about 12 inches in diameter.  Place your crust on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Add the apple mixture to the center of the dough, leaving at least two inches.  Fold the dough over the apple mixture, pinching sides together when needed.  Brush the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar over the crostata.  Bake in a 400 degree oven until crust is golden, about 40 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!