I wish you could enjoy the fragrances that were wafting through my kitchen as this simple chicken dish was cooking. It was the wine that you could detect. It is the wine that gives this dish its depth of flavor. Well, along with the Parmesan cheese and thyme.


We really liked this dish. I just wish I had had some fresh thyme rather than using ground. I didn’t discover my thyme was not ‘worthy’ until after I had put the ingredients together and got ready to cook it. The color would have been really nice. AND after looking at my pictures I wish I had browned the chicken just a tad longer. Ah, well. The potatoes, simmered in the wine and chicken broth take on the thyme flavor really nicely and the sauce is a great addition to the chicken itself. Definitely a repeat here. Thanks, Chaya, nice pick.

I am pretty sure the other’s liked this as much as we did. Check on our website – Wednesdays with Donna Hay

The Mystery Box this month for IHCC was challenging. Very Challenging. I mean:

    Seaweed Interesting!
    Sesame Seeds
    Mozzarella Cheese
    Brown Sugar

One could go with an Asian Flair.

    A Sweet Treat.
      Or a Pasta.

I took the easy way out – PASTA! But easy wasn’t really EASY!! Because then I had to actually find a recipe with at least THREE of the ingredients which is what the CHALLENGE is all about. At least three ingredients in a recipe from one of our past or present chef.

    Jacques Pepin
    Nigella Lawson
    Mark Bittman
    Giada de Laurentiis
    Jamie Oliver
    Tessa Kiros
    Rick Bayless
    Madjur Jaffrey
    Yotam Ottolenghi
    Donna Hay
    Nigel Slater
    Diana Henry

I was thinking Italian so I was thinking Giada de Laurentiis and after about an hour of cookbook and internet research found this recipe. Four Ingredients!!


    Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

I knew it would be good!!

    1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta) {I used a Whole Wheat Penne}
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
    1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
    1 cup shredded mozzarella
    1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup bread crumbs {I found some whole Wheat Panko – worked greatt.}
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan
    1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl.

Put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the chicken is completely cooked and the onions are tender.
Mix the chicken in with the pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella, parsley, salt and pepper.Stir to combine.
Pour the pasta/chicken mix in a greased 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. Mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle it on to the pasta mixture.
Dot the top with small bits of butter.
Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.{Original Recipe}


Okay. This was good. But not great. It needed to be more…well, more Italian. I would have liked it more if there had been more seasonings. Maybe some oregano. Even some Italian seasoning. I would also add more cheese to the dish and a little more liquid. It wasn’t real dry but it was borderline. We liked it enough to make it again but with more seasoning.

Ready for more Mystery. Check out the I Heart Cooking Clubs website and see the rest of the Challenge dishes.

This week’s theme for I heart Cooking Clubs was to find a dish from Jacques Pepin that was NOT FRENCH! THAT as NOT easy. I mean, people, Pepin is French. Why? would he cook non-French food? Because he can. And does. But there aren’t that many dishes out there that don’t have some French ‘flavor’ in them. Including this one with a North African origin – Couscous…

    …is a traditional dish of semolina (granules of durum wheat) cooked by steaming. Traditionally it is served with a meat or vegetable stew spooned over it.

But why would Pepin cook Couscous? I think I found the answer.

    Couscous was voted as the third-favourite dish of French people in 2011.

So maybe it IS a French dish after all. Whatever it is it is easy to cook with and can be a delicious dish. this version is Green Couscous.


and is cooked with a mixture of different fresh herbs.

    1 cup loosely packed fresh herb leaves (a mixture of chives, parsley, tarragon, and basil)
    2 garlic cloves
    3/4 cup boiling water
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    1 cup instant couscous
    1/2 teaspoon salt

Add the herbs, and garlic to 1/4 cup of boiling water in a mini-chopper and process for about 30 seconds, or until the mix is smooth.

Add the couscous and salt to the melted butter in a saucepan and coat the couscous with the butter. Mix in the herb puree and 1/2 cup boiling water. Remove from the heat, cover, and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Fluff the couscous with a fork.

I found the couscous to be a little bland in flavor so I added a little more salt and that helped somewhat. On it’s own it really doesn’t stand out so I decided to do something with it. I stuffed a chicken breast. Not bad.

    Pound the breast til about 1/4″ thick {Mine was not quite thin enough.}Salt and pepper (and maybe some other spices) the interior of the breast and then layer the couscous mixture on the chicken. Roll up jelly roll style and fasten with toothpicks. Season the outside of the roll well. Brown the roll on all sides in an oven proof skillet and then bake at 400 for about 12 – 15 minutes or until done. Remove picks and serve on a bed of couscous.


The seasoning from the chicken ‘leaked’ into the couscous and added more flavor. I will make this one again.

Check out the other non-French dishes over at IHCC.

Today was a fun day in the kitchen. My son is in town and he likes to cook so we made this week’s ‘assignment’ together.


Chicken breasts are poached in a brown sugar, soy sauce, cinnamon, star anise, and rice wine mixture. Then fried to crispyness. Thus the name, “twice-cooked”. This was good. I served it as Donna suggested with some steamed greens and jasmine rice. Donna listed chicken breasts with skin but I never buy them so went with the skinless. It was still nice and crispy because of the sugar in the poaching sauce. The sauce thickened quite a bit so I thinned it with a little extra soy sauce and drizzled some over the chicken and steamed bok choy.

The recipe is on page 120 of Donna’s off the shelf.

If you would like to join us just check the recipes on Wednesdays with Donna Hay and leave a comment there. We would love to have you. No commitment. Just fun.

And to see how the other members liked the chicken – WWDH.

My pick this week. Asian sounded good. And y’all know I do love the flavors of Asian (and Indian, and Mediterranean and Italian cuisine). This chicken is cooked in a foil pouch with sweet peppers, green onions and carrot for a mere 12 minutes so it is a very quick meal


and also very tender. Steamed in a sauce made from soy sauce, brown sugar and rice vinegar then sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds it is full of flavor as well.


You can find the recipe on page 144 of Ellie’s Weeknight Wonders. I also found it on Caroline’s site.

I hope the other Eaters liked my pick. Check them out on he Eating with Ellie website.

I love cooking with Mediterranean ingredients.  Olive Oil.  Olives, Tomatoes. Lemon.  They all add a certain richness and a ton of flavor to just about any dish.  And that includes this Chicken dish from Donna Hay


It is simply baked chicken but baked with olives, lemon zest, parsley, and plenty of garlic (cause I added a little extra).

Instead of using a whole chicken I had one HUGE chicken breast which I sliced In half and baked. I put a little extra garlic under the chicken. It was very good.

This week’s pick is from Peggy. Definitely a repeat.

TO see what the others thought just zip on over to the Wednesday with Donna Hay Website.

And if you would like to join us – WHAT WE ARE DOING! We’d love to have you join in. What we are cooking every week is listed on the site.

I have heard of these sandwiches for a long time. I have wanted to make one for a while. Or try one somewhere. But until now, I really haven’t done it. Until now I didn’t have Ellie’s recipe for a nice healthy one.


What is a bahn mi you ask. It is a Vietnamese sandwich made on a baguette. A baguette because the bread was introduced to Viet Nam by the French. It is still the most popular bread there. The single bread serving is merged with native Vietnamese ingredients to produce a unique sandwich that has become very popular today.

Usually made with Pork it also usually includes cucumbers, pickled carrots, daikon radish, and cilantro. And all of those ingredients are on Ellie’s bahn mi. I made mine with chicken, which is perfectly acceptable for this sandwich. I left off the radish, daikon is just not to be found here. And I cut the hot sauce – Siracha – down some. I was afraid it would be too hot but it was just right mixed with the mayo and yogurt.

I really liked this one. The bite of the pickled carrot combined with the sweetness of the honey/siracha marinated chicken was just right. Definitely something to make again and again. This was Glennis’ pick this week and it was a good one. Thanks!

Check out the other sandwiches over at the Eating with Ellie site.

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