De Ma Cuisine



September 2014



Cheesy Chicken and Grapes with Rice

Written by , Posted in Braising, Cheese, Dinner, Fruit, Gluten Free, Grains, Kid-Friendly, Lunch, Main Dishes, Meat, Poultry, Rice


We don’t usually have a problem finishing off the grapes (or most any fruit that comes our way from Abundant Harvest Organics). We usually eat it raw. But, sometimes it’s super fun to try something new.

Like grapes with chicken and rice.

Oh yes I did.


It all starts with some thighs. I had a package of two, so that’s what I used. Add more (using a larger skillet) if your family needs more.

It’s seasoned simply, with cayenne and salt. This is gonna be a simple, humble dish, where the flavors really shine.

Shine chicken shine.

Go grape! Go grape! It’s grrrrrrrrrrrrape!

(I don’t know… Sorrynotsorry. I blame it on the Christmas music I’m listening to, in the 100 degree weather, to prepare for a concert in December… Not really. But, the heat makes my brain a little kooky.)


I made chicken stock the other day and then froze it. So, to quickly defrost the stock, I brought it to a boil. I don’t normally use hot stock when cooking rice (except when making risotto). So, you could use cold stock, if you’ve planned ahead and put it in the fridge overnight. I didn’t. Just adjust the cooking time as needed.


Once the stock + rice + chicken comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for a few minutes.


While these few minutes pass, halve and de-seed some grapes.

Eat them all.

Halve and de-seed some more.


Add the grapes to the skillet. Pick them off the top of the chicken, and stir slightly into the rice. Then cook for a good long while (you know, until the rice is done and the chicken is hot). You may need to add more liquid partway through, and stir every once in a while.


Is one of your favorite snacks crackers and cheese with grapes? Do you wait expectantly for fall to arrive, so you can eat this snack as often as possible?

I do.

So, why not add some cheddar to the mix? Right?!


It’s sprinkled on and popped in to the broiler for just about 3 minutes. It’s like a bazillion degrees in there, so it’s not gonna take long. Don’t leave the kitchen to go wash your hair while it broils. You may have a smoky situation on your hands if you do.

Also, you remembered to use an ovenproof skillet, right? I know you did. But, just making sure. ‘Cause if you decided to not use one AND wash your hair while it broils, well, that’d be just disastrous. Let’s avoid kitchen catastrophes when possible.


Once the rice is cooked, the chicken and rice all kinda brown a bit, creating this amazing sauce that I just want to soak up with a piece of crusty bread.


Apples go so nicely with grapes and cheese, so serve some (on their own, or in a salad) with this easy, comforting dish that welcomes fall (cough cough, seriously, fall, let’s do this now, enough with the hundred degree weather).

Happy Eating!

Cheesy Chicken and Grapes with Rice
Recipe type: Dinner, Main Dish, Meat, Chicken, Fruit, Grapes
Serves: 2-3
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2-3 chicken thighs
  • to taste salt
  • dash cayenne
  • 2-3 C hot chicken or vegetable stock (or water)
  • 1 C brown rice
  • 1 C grapes, halved, seeds removed
  • 1 C cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 apple, sliced, for serving
  1. Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. When it's hot, add olive oil. When oil is hot, add chicken. Sprinkle with salt and cayenne. Sear on each side for 3 minutes.
  2. Add 2 C stock, rice, and salt. Stir gently around chicken (make sure all rice is in stock, not on top of chicken). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add grapes, and simmer, adding more liquid if needed, cooking until chicken reaches 180F and rice is to desired tenderness, about 45-50 minutes (cooking uncovered, until the last 20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Top with cheese and broil for 3 minutes.
  5. Serve with a side of apples.



September 2014



How To Prep an Eggplant

Written by , Posted in How To, Menu Planning


I’m a big fan of eggplant. I might not have thought that I’d be saying that a few years ago. I didn’t know how to cook them, so they’d hinder not help dishes. Well now I’m learning. And I like what I’m coming up with.

They can be a bit intimidating at first, but with some practice, trial and error (we have had a few not so yummy Eggplant Parmesans before I knew the salting secret), and a good recipe to try, success can be yours!


I usually start out an eggplant dish by peeling them. You totally don’t have to. It’s just what I like to do. This is one of the only fruits or veggies where I choose not to eat the peel (aside from things like bananas, butternut squash, and watermelon… but I probably didn’t have to say that…).


Don’t worry, you aren’t going to be eating all the salt that you see in the photo. Yikes! I like salty foods, but that would be too much for even me. It’s going to get washed off after the eggplant sits for a while – at least 30 minutes, longer if you have time (even overnight, if you’re prepping way ahead of time). The salt will draw some of the moisture out of the eggplant, reducing the bitterness.

This step is the secret to great eggplant dishes, in my opinion.



After the allotted time has passed, rinse the eggplant off and pat it dry. Then use it to make something delicious!


Eggplant is great with bell peppers, summer squash (or sinqua), and tomatoes, which is why Ratatouille is so yummy. A summer or two ago I deconstructed Ratatouille by battering and frying the eggplant and then making it into a tower. It was fabulous.

Either way, I think you win though.

This summer, instead of frying, I tried thinly slicing and then baking the eggplant into chips, to be dipped into a creamy feta dip.

That was a good idea.

Ooh, or if you wanted to try something sweet, how about adding eggplant to bread?!


I’ve used eggplant instead of noodles in lasagne (you could also use thinly sliced summer squash). You could add them (thinly sliced and par-cooked) to this lasagne in place of the noodles for a gluten-free dish. Or you could try this yummy sounding lasagna where Carol suggests roasting the eggplant first.

Roasted veggies are always a win for me.


And then, there’s my all-time favorite: Melanzane with Pasta (Eggplant with Pasta). It’s such a simple dish. It’s basically just eggplant, garlic, olive oil, and pasta. It was inspired by an Italian friend who told me that his mom makes something like this. Since we haven’t been able to make it to Italy, I tried to bring a little bit of Italy to our home.

Happy Eating!



September 2014



Massaged Kale and Tuna Salad

Written by , Posted in Dairy-Free, Dinner, Fish, Fruit, Gluten Free, Lunch, Main Dishes, Meat, Quick and Easy, Salads, Sides, Vegetables


MassagedKaleTunaSalad-6Sometimes I just need a good salad. Salads are versatile and delicious, but sometimes aren’t hearty enough to be considered a main course. So I like to add a bit of protein so there’s a bit more to it.

For this salad, I chose tuna. Because it’s what I had. Because I like it. I used canned for this one. But, then a few weeks later I discovered fresh tuna at the grocery store, and the leftovers from that dinner would work just as well (maybe better, hello, fresh!).

You could also use chicken, turkey, ham, quinoa, garbonzo beans, or lentils.

‘Cause why not?!


Then there’s the kale. It’s one of my favorite green veggies. But, I also love chard and spinach too. If you don’t have any of these dark green goodies, regular lettuce will work fine too (just don’t do the massaging step). A hearty butter lettuce works great, but use what you have in your fridge.


Kale is tossed with a bit of olive oil and some salt, then massaged for a few minutes. Your hands will turn green. That’s normal.


It will get darker and feel a bit limp, like it does when it’s cooked. I love kale this way. Easier to digest and super yummy.

MassagedKaleTunaSalad-4You can really use whatever dressing you’d like. Although I’d suggest some sort of vinaigrette or something lemony. I just squeezed some lemon and drizzled a bit of balsamic over top. Perfect with the olive oil that was already all over the kale.


I like a lotta crunch in my salads. Usually nuts and carrots do the trick. Sometimes croutons are added. Here I’ve also got apples, because I happened to have some on hand. But, again, use what you have (and what goes well with tuna, or whatever protein you’ve chosen).


At other times, I’ve also used grapes (in season now, so yummy with tuna!), cucumber, apples, cheddar, and almonds. This is one of my favorite combinations. It would go well with a nice butter lettuce, or the massaged kale.


Tomato is also a good addition.

Use what’s in season and what will compliment the other ingredients, and you’re sure to find a winning combination.


However you toss it together, this hearty salad will hold up well prepared the night before for a work or school lunch. But, like most foods, it’s best eaten fresh, right after you’ve made it, standing at the kitchen island, out of the serving bowl… or maybe that’s just me.

Happy Eating!

Massaged Kale and Tuna Salad
Recipe type: Main, Lunch, Side, Salad, Fish
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • Tuna: 1 can tuna, drained (or about 5-6 oz. leftover cooked tuna)
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 t olive oil
  • pinch cayenne
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 2 T green onions, chopped
  • Salad: 3 C kale, torn into small pieces
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 1-2 T lemon juice
  • ½ to 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • ¼ C carrot, thinly sliced into rounds (or instead of carrots and green onions, try: grapes, cheddar cheese, cucumber, and apple)
  • 1 apple, roughly chopped
  • ¼ C roasted and salted almonds, roughly chopped
  • (could also add chopped tomato)
  1. Combine all tuna ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  2. Pour 1 T oil and a bit of salt onto kale. Massage with hands for 2-3 minutes (or until kale looks darker, wiltier, and a bit like it is cooked).
  3. Top kale with tuna and remaining ingredients.




September 2014



Deconstructed Lasagne

Written by , Posted in Cheese, Dinner, Fruit, Gluten Free, Herbs, Inspired By, Kid-Friendly, Lunch, Main Dishes, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Sauces, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian


This is an ode to lasagne.

Or lasagna.

I don’t really care how you spell it. What matters is that it tastes amazing.

But, it’s a lazy lasagne. It’s a quick and easy lasagne. It’s a lasagne whose best parts have taken apart and reassembled.



It starts, as most dinners cooked by me do, with lots of veggies. You could totally add more. Summer squash would be great. More greens are always fun. Grated carrots are fabulous.

You know how it is, use what you have.


Today, I have chives.


They all went into the pasta.

A good decision.


It’s always a good idea to add a little bit of the starchy pasta water to a pasta sauce. It helps the sauce to stick to the pasta when it’s combined. 


Since the point of this dish was to make a lasagne-like meal, it has many of the same elements. I went for a vegetarian version, because I didn’t have any ground beef. I think that beef would still be delicious, but I really liked it without.

I finished photographing and couldn’t stop eating it.

I wrote “Oh my gosh! So freaking good!!!” at the top of the page in my notebook where I’d written down the recipe.

I could eat this again and again. With or without the beef.

With the ricotta. Definitely with.


What didn’t seem like a lot of pasta ended up as just the perfect amount. I always overestimate how much pasta I’m going to need.


I’ve invited Tim for dinner.

Because we’re married and he lives here.

Because I’m the cooker and this is what I’ve made for dinner…

But, I totally think this would be a great dinner party meal too.


Happy Eating!

Deconstructed Lasagne
Recipe type: Main, Dinner, Pasta, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
If lasagne were taken apart, this amazing pasta would be the result. It's rich, creamy, and delicious.
  • pasta
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 1 C greens (collards, spinach, chard, kale), chopped
  • 4 small tomatoes, diced
  • ½ t dried rosemary, chopped
  • ½ t dried thyme
  • ½ to 1 t dried oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch chives, chopped
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 T fresh parsley, chopped, divided
  • 1 T fresh basil, chopped, divided
  • ½ C water from cooked pasta
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 15 oz. ricotta, divided
  • parmesan cheese, grated, for serving
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Cook pasta. Reserve the pasta water when pasta is almost done and the water is starchy.
  2. Heat skillet, add onion, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium or medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add collards through oregano. Cook for 3 minutes. Then add garlic and chives. Cook for 1 minute more.
  4. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce, half of the parsley, half of the basil, pasta water, and lemon juice. Stir to combine and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in half of the ricotta. Cook for about 30 seconds more. Remove from heat and taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  6. Top with a dollop of ricotta, some parmesan, and a squeeze of lemon.
To make this recipe gluten-free use your favorite GF pasta.



September 2014



Irish Nachos

Written by , Posted in Appetizers, Cheese, Dinner, Gluten Free, Herbs, Kid-Friendly, Lunch, Main Dishes, Potatoes, Quick and Easy, Roasting, Sides, Snacks, Vegetables, Vegetarian


Confession: I’ve never actually had Irish Nachos. I’ve seen some pictures though, so maybe that counts for something. Tim had them once when he was out with friends. He came home and talked about how good they were.

They seemed like something that I could make.


It all starts with potatoes. You could slice them thin and round if you’d like. I cut them in to chunks because it’s quick and easy.

I need more quick and easy when it comes to meal preparations.


Since we get a weekly box of produce from Abundant Harvest Organics, I try to add as many veggies as possible to our meals. The longer I do it the easier it is and now it’s become second nature. All the times that I’ve made my Irish Nachos, I’ve added some sort of greens. I just love their flavor when they’re roasted.

This particular version of Irish Nachos has more veggies than Tim would prefer (just a little too piled on for him). I’ve made them two or three other times with less. He liked those better. So use my recipe as a suggestion box and tweak it and adapt it to suit your family.


I feel like Irish Nachos ought to have some sort of green onion sprinkled over top. That might just be me. In any case, I really like what they add to the dish.


Crisped up potatoes are gathered into piles.

Mmmmm piles of potatoes.


Then all of the toppings are piled on. You can do them in whatever order you’d like.


Don’t forget the cheese. They are nachos after all.


Since I recently cut a bunch of corn off the cob, I’m using it in everything. Summer Pizza, Squash and Egg Wraps, and Quinoa Salads… It’s good to have corn on hand.


My favorite part, whenever there’s hot cheese involved, are the crispy bits of cheeeeeese. Every last bit needs to be scraped off the pan.

Every last bit.

Happy Eating!

Irish Nachos
Recipe type: Main, Dinner, Side, Snack, Potatoes, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
  • 4 potatoes, cut into long chunks
  • 1 T olive oil
  • ½ t (or more) salt
  • to taste pepper
  • ½ to 1 C greens (collards, kale, spinach, chard) cut in a chiffonade (thin ribbons)
  • ½ to 1 C green onions (or chives), chopped
  • ½ to 1 C cheese, grated
  • 2 cobs corn, cut off the cob
  • yogurt, for topping
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Toss potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on 1-2 baking sheets (don't overcrowd them - use two sheets if needed), and bake for 15 minutes, flip them (and rotate the position in the oven if using two sheets), and bake about 15 minutes more (or until potatoes are crispy outside, tender inside).
  3. Gather potatoes into piles (as many piles as there are people eating), and top with greens, onions, cheese, and corn. Bake for 10 minutes more.
  4. Serve topped with yogurt and a squeeze of lemon.