Monthly Archives: February 2022

Tomato and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This recipe is a lighter spin on the typical cheese-stuffed chicken breast, featuring feta, tomato and Greek-inspired flavors.

Purchase similarly sized chicken breasts so they’ll cook at the same rate. Because our 3 breasts were quite large, the stuffing mixture was doubled, although that is NOT noted in the list of ingredients below. And, they had to be cooked an additional 10 minutes to come to the proper temperature. As a side dish, we roasted some asparagus spears drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and Za’atar.

Preserved lemons are a common ingredient in Moroccan recipes. You can find the salty pickled citrus in well-stocked grocery stores (near the pickles and olives) or Middle Eastern markets. We usually make and keep a jar of them in our auxiliary refrigerator. (Forgot to include them in the set-up photo below.)

Tomato and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup finely chopped grape tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped preserved lemon
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 4 same-sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed 
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mash feta and yogurt together in a small bowl. Stir in tomatoes, olives, lemon, oregano and garlic.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut chicken breasts in half horizontally without cutting all the way through, to create a pocket. Stuff each pocket with equal amounts of the feta mixture; fold the chicken back over and secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip the chicken and transfer the pan to the oven.
  5. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees F, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a clean cutting board. Let rest for 5 minutes, then slice.

Original recipe from EatingWell Magazine.

Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Tagine

We found this lovely and full-flavored vegetarian dish in Milk Street’s Fast and Slow Cookbook for Instant Pot Cooking. A tagine is a North African stew cooked in a shallow, conical clay pot that goes by the same name. This chunky vegetable dish is warmly spiced like a tagine and features the common North African pairing of sweet and tart flavors.

For extra depth and a touch of spiciness, swirl in a spoonful of harissa into the tagine just before serving or offer some at the table for spooning on to taste. You will probably want to soak up the delicious sauce with crusty bread, warmed flatbread or couscous (or choice).

Be aware, you don’t want to shortcut the prep by leaving the tomatoes whole. Slicing 2 pints of grape tomatoes may sound like a bummer, but this step helps the tomatoes break down and cook at the same rate as the eggplant.

Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Tagine

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 15½ oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to serve
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, finely chopped


  1. On a 6-quart Instant Pot, select Normal/Medium Sauté.
  2. Add the oil and garlic, then cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the onion, tomatoes, ginger, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, 2½ teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to release some of their juices, 2 to 4 minutes.
  4. Press Cancel, then stir in ¼ cup water, scraping up any browned bits. Gently stir in the eggplant, then distribute in an even layer.
  5. Lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Select Pressure Cook or Manual; set the pressure level to Low. Set the cooking time for 3 minutes. When pressure cooking is complete, quick-release the steam by moving the pressure valve to Venting. Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot.
  6. Gently stir in the chickpeas and lemon juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cilantro.
  7. Serve drizzled with additional oil and with lemon wedges on the side.

Recipe by Julia Rackow for Milk Street

Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Kale

What a powerhouse of healthy ingredients! First, there’s the barley. This versatile grain has a somewhat chewy consistency and a slightly nutty flavor that can complement many dishes. It’s also rich in many nutrients and packs some impressive health benefits, ranging from improved digestion and weight loss to lower cholesterol levels and a healthier heart.

And mushrooms are a low-calorie food that packs a nutritional punch. Loaded with many health-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they’ve long been recognized as an important part of any diet. Plus, the anti-inflammatory effect of mushrooms has been shown to greatly improve the efficiency of the immune system.

Kale, one of the so-called “superfoods” is also packed with nutrition that puts it high on the list of world’s healthiest food, not to mention it is low in calories and has zero grams of fat.

All health info aside, the soup is just darn tasty too! Because our onion wasn’t very large, we also included a shallot. Instead of lining a strainer with cheesecloth, The Hubs drained the hydrating porcinis through a coffee filter, which prevents any grit seeping into the broth.

It will keep for about three days in the refrigerator, but the barley will swell and absorb liquid, so you will have to add more to the pot when you reheat. We added one cup of mushroom broth when we reheated a few days later.

Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Kale

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced thick
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
  • 3/4 cup whole or pearl barley
  • 1 1/2 qts. chicken stock, or beef stock
  • A bouquet garni made with a few sprigs each thyme, parsley and a bay leaf
  • 8 oz. kale, stemmed and washed
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl or a Pyrex measuring cup, and pour on two cups boiling water. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Set a strainer over a bowl, and line it with cheesecloth, or better yet, a coffee filter. Lift the mushrooms from the water and squeeze over the strainer, then rinse in several changes of water. Squeeze out the water and set aside. Strain the soaking water through the cheesecloth/coffee filter-lined strainer. Add water as necessary to make two cups. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until just about tender, about five minutes.
  4. Add the sliced fresh mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are beginning to soften, about three minutes, and add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Continue to cook for about five minutes, until the mixture is juicy and fragrant.
  5. Add the reconstituted dried mushrooms, the barley, the mushroom soaking liquid, and the stock or water. Salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, stack the kale leaves in bunches and cut crosswise into slivers. Add the kale to the simmering soup, and continue to simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. The barley should be tender and the broth aromatic. The kale should be very tender. Remove the bouquet garni, taste and adjust salt, add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper and serve.

Recipe from The NY Times

Red Cabbage Glazed with Maple Syrup

This recipe, published in The Times in 1991, was adapted from Yves Labbé, the chef at Le Cheval d’Or, a restaurant in Jeffersonville, Vt., that showcased French country cooking. Mr. Labbé was known to serve this side dish alongside quail in a red-wine sauce, and its simple instructions belie depths of flavor. The cabbage cooks down, braising in its own juices, while the sweetness of the apples and maple syrup, a Vermont staple, tones down the bitterness of the cabbage. The result has broad appeal. —Marialisa Calta

We decided to pair it with a tasty and moist Sous Vide Pork Loin which came out of it’s immersion bath at just the right temperature, then was seared on all sides to achieve a golden crust…. but I’m getting ahead of myself… now about this cabbage dish.

It’s quite easy actually. Spend a bit of prep time chopping or mincing the first four ingredients. Next several minutes are spent sautéing the bacon and onion. Everything else now goes in the Dutch oven, the pot is covered and put in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

The dish was incredibly good. We did notice however quite a bit of liquid in the bottom of the pot and thought perhaps next time we’d reduce the amount of maple syrup by half, using only a 1/4 cup instead of a 1/2 cup. Which would appeal to our preference for more savory than sweet.

Red Cabbage Glazed with Maple Syrup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 5 slices bacon, minced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 medium firm, tart apple, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced
  • 1 lb. red cabbage (about 1/2 head), cored, outer leaves removed and shredded
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Salt and black pepper


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In an ovenproof saucepan or Dutch oven large enough to hold all of the ingredients, sauté the bacon over medium until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 more minutes.
  2. Add the apple, cabbage, bay leaf, maple syrup, and season with salt and pepper, cover, and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
  3. Serve hot.

Recipe by Yves Labbé for NY Times Cooking