Beef Brisket with Endless Possibilies

Busy households need easy solutions.  What could be easier than cooking once and making 4 (or more) great meals out of it?

As part of the 68 Day Challenge, a great “your best year starts here program” my husband and I are doing the Whole30.  In a nutshell:  meat, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats for 30 days.

Slow Roasted Beef Brisket


  • 1 beef brisket
  • 1 small box portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced thick
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • cracked pepper
  • salt (adjust this depending on the sodium content in your broth)


  • heat oven to 325
  • put all ingredients in a dutch oven
  • cook until meat is fork tender – approximately 3 hours
  • let stand for 30 minutes
  • slice and serve
Meal 1 – dinner:  serve with oven roasted potatoes and roasted root vegetables
Meal 2 – breakfast: substitute beef brisket for chicken in this great recipe Chicken Hash
Meal 3 – lunch: Make brisket tacos or quesadillas (this is the only non-compliant meal for the Whole30)
Meal 4 – dinner: open face brisket sandwich.  Serve on Texas Toast with mashed potatoes (or left over oven roasted potatoes)
Meal 5 – lunch: pulled brisket with bbq sauce

Wednesday Night is Family Dinner Party Night

Parents, you know how hard it is to get the entire family seated in the same room, at the same time, to enjoy a “real” meal together.  The 9 year old boy just wants to play xbox.  15 year old girls just want to text.  Frankly, you’re too tired to get it all done, so you give up before you even begin.

Last week I invented  the family themed dinner party.  It was Mexican night.  We had fish tacos (we made a cheese quesadilla for the 9 year old), beans and rice, homemade guacamole, fancy frozen drinks and we found a Spanish mix on Pandora.  It worked.  30 minutes of togetherness.

The next week, Italian.  I found this fantastic recipe from Bon Appetit.  It is super easy and looks like something you would get at a fine dining restaurant.  I served it with pasta, white bean salad, and kale chips.  We rolled out white craft paper on the table, added a few crayons, put the kids drinks in wine glasses and Pavarotti on Pandora (the boy hated the music).

“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.”
― Samuel Pepys, The Diary of Samuel Pepys    

Salmon with fennel and blood oranges

Printable Version


  • 1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 blood orange, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 Meyer or regular lemon, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 red Fresno chile or jalapeño, with seeds, thinly sliced
  • 4 sprigs dill, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 2-lb. skinless salmon fillet, preferably center-cut
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 275°. Toss fennel, orange slices, lemon slices, chile, and 4 dill sprigs in a shallow 3-qt. baking dish; season with kosher salt and pepper. Season salmon with kosher salt and place on top of fennel mixture. Pour oil over.
  • Roast until salmon is just cooked through (the tip of a knife will slide through easily and flesh will be slightly opaque), 30–40 minutes for medium-rare.
  • Transfer salmon to a platter, breaking it into large pieces as you go. Spoon fennel mixture and oil from baking dish over; discard dill sprigs. Season with sea salt and pepper and top with fresh dill sprigs.
  • From
How do you get everyone together to share a meal?

Chicken Thighs with Harissa Chickpeas


Usually, when I get my hair done is the only time I allow myself to indulge in tabloids.  They are there.  I am there.  Why not?  At my last appointment the January 2014 edition of Bon Appetit was sitting in the processing room and caught my eye.  I found page after page of tempting recipes that I couldn’t wait to try our for my family and since it was the January version most of the recipes were healthy.  This one was at the top of the list.  I love that one pan goes from the stovetop, to the oven, to the table and I couldn’t wait to see how tolerable my family would be to the heat of this dish.  They did not disappoint. The entertainment I hoped for was pricesless.  When you try it make sure to make sides that double as extinguishers.


Chicken Thighs with Harissa Chickpeas

                                                             Printable version
1  Tbs olive oil
skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (I had 2 packs of 5 thighs so I used 1 1/2 times everything else)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
small onion, finely chopped
cloves garlic, minced
2  Tbs tomato paste
15-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed
¼ cup harissa paste
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat oven to 425°. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
Pour off all but 1 Tbsp. drippings from pan. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until beginning to darken, about 1 minute. Add chickpeas, harissa, and broth; bring to a simmer.
Nestle chicken, skin side up, in chickpeas; transfer skillet to oven. Roast until chicken is cooked through, 20–25 minutes. Top with parsley and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.
Our 9 year old son is a very picky eater so I spared his thighs from any garnish and served his chickpeas on the side. For the rest of us I served this dish on top of couscous with a side of roasted asparagus with lemon and olive oil (which I threw in the oven with the chicken and took out at the same time – presto, easy breezy).
Note: there are no specialty grocery stores near me so I had to improvise for the harissa.  I used sriracha chili sauce.  When I can get out to a market I will try this recipe again with harissa and compare the two.

Tuscan Lemon Chicken

You won’t believe this is only 300 Calories 

“Sitting down for dinner not only helps you learn, but also teaches you how to listen – which I feel is the most important skill to have. I remember as a kid going around the table listening to everyone’s day. It was hard to have the manners not to interrupt back then.”

Michael Symon

Craving a home cooked meal, but too pooped to slave in the kitchen I created this super easy, amazingly delicious dish.  Whip up a couple of quick sides and people will think you were cooking all day.

Tuscan Lemon Chicken

Printable version

8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin removed
1 box low sodium chicken broth (4 cups)
1 lemon, sliced
1 33 oz. jar whole artichoke hearts in water, water drained
1/4 c. chopped italian parsley
 2 Tbs. olive oil
garlic powder

Heat oven to 300 degrees.
Season chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Warm olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Brown chicken on both sides.  Put chicken in a dutch oven and add broth, lemon slices, artichoke hearts, and parsley.  Cover, put it in the oven and forget about it for 90 minutes.

Thickening the sauce is optional:
Make a rue in a saucepan with butter and flour.  Remove chicken, artichokes, and lemons from dutch oven and pour the broth into the saucepan.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce slightly thickens.  Return chicken, artichokes and lemons to the dutch oven and cover with the sauce.

Ring in the New Year with Lobster Claws

Here’s a re-post from last winter.  If you are looking to ring in the New Year with some tasty lobster claws, but don’t quite know what to do with them this is for you . . .

What to Do With Frozen Lobster Claws

If you were too spontaneous to have time to defrost them

-increase cook time to 30 minutes
-open the top of the foil and cook an additional 10 – 15 minutes to cook off excess water.

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