Turkey & Black Bean Chili

Adapted from Matt Martinez

One of my favorite one-pot meals. This is a quick and incredibly flavorful turkey chili with vegetables.


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3/4 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt (I use 1/2 tablespoon)
  • 3/4 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
  • 3/4 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped sweet white onions
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped green chilies
  • 1 (14 ounce) can whole stewed tomatoes (I drain the tomato juice into the pot and then chop up the tomatoes into smaller pieces before adding them to the pot).
  • 2 whole chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (I use one pepper and remove the seeds)
  • 1 cup fresh corn (I use frozen)
  • 1 cup finely chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chicken stock (add additional broth or water if using black beans, approximately 3/4 cup, to desired consistency)
  • I like to add 1 can black beans, drained and barely rinsed


  1. Preferably using a cast-iron skillet, brown the turkey in the oil.
  2. Add all the ingredients, except zucchini and chicken stock; saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetables and stock; cook for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve immediately.

I like to serve this with fresh baked corn bread crumbled on top

*tip – Since you only need one chipotle pepper, separate the peppers in a ziplock bag and freeze for next time.

Quick Chicken Piccata

From Food Network

Recipe from Food Network


  • 1 pound thinly sliced skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large lemon-half thinly sliced, half juiced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup white wine or dry vermouth (I skip this)
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth (I use 2/3 cup since I skip the wine)
  • I like to add 1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed


  1. Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer on a large plate or a tray. In a small bowl, mix flour, salt and paprika. Sprinkle half of the seasoned flour over chicken. Turn pieces over and dust with remaining seasoned flour.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add lemon slices and cook 1 minute on each side; remove and set aside. Add chicken pieces to pan in a single layer and cook until golden brown outside and white inside but still juicy, 1 to 2 minutes on each side; remove to a platter.
  3. Melt 1-tablespoon butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Pour in wine, broth, and capers and bring to a boil over high heat, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula; boil until reduced by half, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in lemon juice and remaining butter and pour over chicken, garnish with chopped parsley.

Pasta with Cauliflower, Bacon & Breadcrumbs

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.

4 generous servings


  • 3 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large head cauliflower (3 pounds), cored and cut into 1-inch florets
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 pound campanelle pasta (I prefer Fusilli or Rigatone)
  • 5.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I use water)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


Bacon Panko Topping

  1. Cook bacon in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. (I remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat).
  2. Add panko and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until panko is well browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
  3. Transfer Panko mixture to bowl and set aside. Wipe out the skillet.


I’ve had mixed results cooking the cauliflower the way the recipe is written below, possibly because I don’t have a 12-inch skillet. Instead, I toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt and roast in a 450 degree oven until browned, stirring half way through, approximately 15 minutes.
  1. Heat 5 teaspoons oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  2. Add cauliflower and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is crisp-tender and browned in spots, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.


  1. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.
  2. Add onion, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened, 4 to 7 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to high, add pasta, broth, and wine, and bring to simmer. Cook pasta (maintaining a boil), stirring frequently, until most of liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. It’s ok if there is a good amount of liquid still in the pot when the pasta is done, as it will serve as the pasta sauce.
  4. Remove pot from heat; stir in parsley, lemon juice, and cauliflower; and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Divide the pasta among 4 plates and sprinkle with bread crumb topping.

Broiled Salmon with Honey Soy Glaze

Adapted from eatingwell.com


If you don’t want to serve the salmon with sauce, prepare half the amount of ingredients for the marinade.

  • 1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, and cut into 4 portions
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 4 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, for serving


  1. Whisk scallion, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and ginger in a medium bowl until the honey is dissolved. Place salmon in a sealable plastic bag, add the sauce and refrigerate; let marinate for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
  2. Preheat broiler.
  3. Transfer salmon to a sheet pan. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until sauce thickens.
  4. Broil the salmon 4 to 6 inches from the heat source until cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes.
  5. Toast the sesame seeds by tossing them around in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
  6. Drizzle with the sauce and garnish with sesame seeds.

Lebanese Baked Eggplant with Beef

Lebanese Eggplant Casserole (Shaykh al-Mihshi – which means “meal fit for a king”) is my mom’s most requested dish, and one of my all-time favorite meals.


  • 2-3 small to medium sized eggplant (*see note below about how to pick out an eggplant)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup minced yellow onion (about 1/2 small onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce (preferably Hunts)
  • 1 1/4 cups water (or fill the empty tomato sauce can about 3/4 of the way)
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts


*The best eggplant will be small, heavy for its size with a shiny skin ((dull skin indicates that the fruit is over-ripe and turning bitter).  Ideally it will have a shallow, oval dimple on the bottom rather than a deep line shape (see photo below).



  1. Wash and dry the eggplant. With a vegetable peeler, peel some of the skin off the eggplant. It will look like stripes when you are done (leaving all the skin can make it bitter or tough).
  2. Slice the eggplant into 3/4-inch disks and lay them on a sheet pan.
  3. With a pastry brush, coat each slice with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Flip them over and repeat.

4. Place the sheet pan about 7 inches under the broiler (I use low-heat broil setting) and cook until the eggplant is extremely browned, verging on burnt). Check on them every 2-4 minutes while they broil, as some pieces will need to be flipped and removed before others.

5. Remove eggplant from the broiler and place in a single layer onto a 9×13 inch casserole dish. You may need to squish the pieces of eggplant together in order for all of them to fit (they may not all fit).

6. With the back of a spoon press down into the center of each slice of eggplant to create a crevice for the ground beef to sit in.

For the beef:

  1. Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with oil, and set heat to medium/high.
  2. Add the onion and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add the ground beef, breaking it up as much as possible. Cook until the meat is starting to stick to the pan. While the meat is cooking, add the allspice, salt, and pepper. Taste the meat to make sure it is well seasoned. Adjust salt/pepper/allspice as needed.
  4. When the meat is done, scoot it over to the side of the pan and toast the pine nuts for a minute or two until starting to turn brown. Once they are toasted, mix them into the meat mixture. Remove the pan from heat.

For the eggplant slices:

1. Place a spoonful of meat onto each slice of eggplant; press the meat down slightly with the back of the spoon (each slice of eggplant will be like a bowl filled with meat). It’s ok if the meat is spilling over the sides of the eggplant). Be careful not to add too much meat. There will most likely be meat left over, so just leave it in the pan and add the tomato sauce to it in the next step.

2. To the same pan you used to cook the meat, add the tomato sauce and heat through (if there is meat leftover after topping the eggplant, just leave it in the pan and mix it into the tomato sauce).

3. Add the water. Cook over medium heat until the tomato sauce starts to boil. Allow it to simmer about 5 minutes. Taste the sauce and add salt if needed.

4. Spoon the sauce over the eggplant; it should just about cover it.

5. Cover the dish with foil and bake at 375 for about 25 minutes or just until heated through. I use a glass casserole dish and when I see the sauce beginning to bubble in the bottom corner of the dish, I know it is ready. I can also hear the sauce bubbling away when I open the oven door to check on it.

Serve with Rice Pilaf.