Oven Roasted Beets

I LOVE beets and until recently (thanks to mother-in-law!) thought they were very difficult to make. I make these in my toaster oven in the summer when I don’t want to have my oven going for an hour.

All you really need are beets and tin foil. Salt, pepper and olive oil are optional.

VERY simple directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take as many beets as you have/need (when I make beet and tomato salad I use 2-3) and scrub off any dirt. Cut the tops and long root end off and put them on a long piece of tin foil. Add salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with olive oil (all optional). Fold the tin foil around the beets to make a little pouch. Put the pouch in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the beats are tender (you can poke them with a fork). Depending on how much you trust your pouch-making skills, you might want to put a baking sheet under the pouch to catch any drips.Ā Once tender, take the pouch out and let it cool. When the beets are cool enough to handle, pull the peel off of the beets (should be easy).


Chicken Tikka Masala

This is the best chicken tikka masala ever and it is very easy. It’s a combination of a few recipes that I like, along with some of my own adjustments. I make it in my largest dutch oven, but I have made it in a basic large pot as well. I serve it over brown rice and put the cilantro on a side so everyone can add as much as they like. Also, I bought a jar of garam masala in the spice aisle of my grocery store, but it is kind of expensive and not available in all stores. You could try to make your own from a recipe on the internet if you like (let me know if you find a good one!).

Notes: If possible, plan ahead so you can marinade the chicken overnight. Otherwise, let it marinade as long as possible. When I don’t have cardamum for the marinade, I have added 1 tsp ground cinnamon instead. I have also forgotten to add the lemon juice in the marinade and it still turned out well (why it is labeled optional below).

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 tbs lemon juice (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tbs grated fresh)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Other Ingredients:

  • 3-4 chicken breasts (approximately 2 lbs), cubed to no larger than 1 inch
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/3 cup blanched almonds (I have used both slivers or whole), ground or finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tbs fresh, minced)
  • 1 1/2 tbs garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 16 oz canned tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped


Put the chicken cubes in a dish and spread them out a little. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a measuring cup and pour over the chicken. Mix everything together, cover with plastic wrap and let the chicken marinade overnight.

(The next day) Heat two tbs olive oil in your pot. Turn heat to medium and add the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining spices and mix, letting everything cook for about a minute. Mix in the canned tomatoes and sauce. Let the mix cook for 8 minutes with the lid partially on. Stir in the chicken chunks and marinade. Cook for an additional 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Turn to low and add cream and almonds. Cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chicken, Potato and Leek Soup – Slow Cooker

I know it’s really hot out but I had a craving for soup. This one is at least in the slow cooker so I didn’t have to heat up the house. It goes really well with crusty bread… or even a bread bowl if you want to get crazy!

Notes: I have made this recipe without the caraway seeds and without the carrots because I had none on hand (as in the picture) and it still turned out great. Also, for my sister who gets confused when I put “cubed” – cubed in this recipe is to bite-size because you don’t want to have to use a knife when you’re eating soup šŸ™‚


  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3-5 leeks (depending on how leek-y you like it), diced – don’t use the dark green parts
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


Mix the chicken, broth, potatoes, leeks, onion, and carrots in the slow cooker. Add the parsley, pepper, salt, caraway, and bay leaf. Mix well. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours and on high for 4-5 hours. Stir in the sour cream before serving.


Chicken in Orange Juice

I used to love it when my mom made this recipe when I was a child. It works best in the oven, but I make it in the largest baking dish that will fit in my toaster oven during summertime.


  • 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • Mustard
  • 1 onion, chopped


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut fat and some skin off of the chicken pieces. Spread mustard on the skin side of the pieces and arrange them skin-side down in your baking dish. Spread mustard on the other side of the pieces. Pour orange juice and soy sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle onion over theĀ chickenĀ and bake for 30 minutes. Turn pieces over and bake for another 30 minutes.


I’ve been making this guacamole recipe for years, and it is delicious!


  • 5 avocados
  • 1/4 of a red onion, diced small
  • 1 large tomato, seeds and juice removed and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon and 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp salt


Mash avocados until desired consistency (I like mine pretty chunky). Stir in onion, tomato and cilantro. Season with the lemon and lime juices and add salt. Mix well.

Posted in Dip

Shrimp and Orzo – One Pot

This is an adaptation of the Everyday Food “Skillet Shrimp and Orzo” recipe from the May 2011 issue. I made a few changes because I can’t imagine turning my oven on at this time of year. I also made some adjustments (based on what I have in my pantry) and added extra veggies. I make this recipe in my large cast iron pot, but you could also use a large skillet if you have a lid.


  • 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups (about 1 lb) halved grape tomatoes
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 lb orzo
  • 2.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I’ve used beef as well and it turned out well)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbs italian seasoning
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tbs parmesan cheese
  • 1.5 cups spinach for garnish, torn (optional)
  • 1 cup basil, torn


Cook the onions in the oil until they start to turn translucent – approximately 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. With heat on high, add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften. Add orzo, broth, water, and seasoning, and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until orzo is cooked but still firm. You may need to stir occasionally to stop the mix from sticking. Stir in shrimp and cook until they are opaque throughout, 4 minutes. Stir in the parmesan and spinach. Top with torn basil before serving.