I have, somewhere in my notebook of personal recipes that I love, one I used to make often for stuffed tomatoes. I LOVE that recipe, and it’s easy to make, and someday I probably will share it with you… but I haven’t made it in a LONG time because the Joy Makin’ Mister does NOT like tomatoes. At all. So I needed to stuff a different vegetable and I thought…well, what about an onion? They’re big… juicy… flavorful… and they handle being roasted well. I haven’t ever tried stuffing zucchini for the simple reason that I think zucchini does best with just enough cooking, and stuffing it and then trying to make sure the stuffing is hot and the zucchini isn’t overdone sounds like something that would make me a candidate for Pinterest Fails. I’ll leave it to the pros. (Unless you have a hot tip for me? Let me know.) The answer is YES, you can stuff an onion. And it’s not as hard as you might think.
After I sliced off a small piece from the bottom to give it a flat base, and a bigger piece from the top to be the opening, I hollowed out my onion. I used a sharp-tipped paring knife and cut around the outside edge in a circle, about one onion ring in from the edge. Then I made cuts out from the center like the spokes of a wheel, and then I worked out from the center in a series of diagonal cuts until all the onion inside was removed, and I had a hollow, flat bottomed onion ready to take the stuffing. If I were in a hurry, I would have made a straight cut almost all the way across the bottom like a flap, and then cut down the part of the onion I was going to stuff on one side only, so I could extract the contents and then pushed everything back together… but I might have had to wrap them in foil afterwards to keep them from coming to pieces in the oven, and I decided not to get involved. Maybe next time I make these I’ll be in the mood for a surprise and I’ll give it a try… or maybe not.
The cute little casserole I found at the thrift store coincidentally is a perfect fit… but you can stand your onions in any baking dish or even on a cookie sheet. Depending on the size of your onions, the stuffing recipe may yield more than you need. You can bake any extra stuffing right in a casserole dish alongside the onions.
The finished onions look beautiful and fancy when you serve them, and no one will guess that they were basically no trouble at all to make.
This recipe doubles well. Make one batch for now, and one for the freezer. You can freeze the onions pre-stuffed, or freeze the stuffing and then thaw it and stuff your onions before baking. Both ways work! Just separate the layers of stuffed onions with parchment paper before freezing and you can take them straight from the freezer to a baking dish.
6 large onions (hollowed, reserve 1 cup chopped onion for stuffing and save the rest for another use.)
1 cup pearl barley
2 cups chicken broth
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chicken
1 4 oz can mushrooms, chopped
8 ounces reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
½ of a 10.75 oz can condensed tomato soup
½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
`1/2 teaspoon black pepper
½ cup matchstick carrots
¼ cup parsley flakes
Combine broth and barley and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook 45 minutes or until tender but still holding their shape. Drain any excess broth and set barley aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray your baking dish with non stick spray or olive oil mister.
In a large skillet or wok, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the garlic and reserved onion until the onion is translucent. This takes about 3-5 minutes. Add chicken and brown thoroughly. Drain.
Combine barley, chicken, mushrooms, feta, soup, chili powder, carrots, salt, pepper, and parsley flakes in a large mixing bowl.
Arrange onions on baking dish and fill, mounding stuffing slightly above tops of the onions.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the tops are browned and they are sizzling.
One dish dinners make scheduling a cinch. You won’t need much to go along with this- maybe some rice or a green vegetable. So cleanup will be easy, too. During my vegetarian years, I used vegetable stock and a good seitan in place of the chicken. If you want to prep this and then put it in a slow cooker on low, you can double it. For a family meal, three pounds of chicken pieces and doubling the other ingredients will also work. (I find that without bones, the white meat dries out too much, but boneless thighs would probably do fine.)
This version is not strictly traditional, I’m quite sure. I didn’t research how it ought to be done or sample authentic coq au vin… I just tinkered around and made changes until I had a dish I liked. But it’s got chicken, and it’s got wine, and it’s darn good, so coq au vin I shall call it. I like to serve this as a “company” dish with butter noodles or plain rice, or with a green salad and crusty bread for soaking up the sauce. Because trust me… you’ll want to eat the sauce. As a shortcut, I sometimes use baby carrots, but look for the really small ones. More slender pieces of carrot get a better texture in this recipe than thicker ones.
I found the original for this recipe in one of those regional cookbooks you can find in used book stores- the self-published ones that are full of personality and delightful surprises. After significant changes to accommodate my preferences, this became one of my signature dishes.
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup red wine (cheap works. I've tried a number of kinds and thought they were all fine.)
2 skinless, bone-in chicken breasts
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
4 carrots, halved or quartered lengthwise depending on thickness
1 T olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup flour
In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat.
Coat chicken breasts thoroughly with pepper and flour.
Brown chicken breasts in oil on both sides. (About 6-10 minutes.)
Remove chicken to a plate and cover. Add onions and garlic to skillet. Sautee about 1 minute.
Add mushrooms and sautee until tender, about 2 minutes.
Return chicken to skillet. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 1 hour (or more) until done.
Note: It's probably not according to Hoyle, but I prefer baby bella mushrooms in this. I find they are harder to overcook than other kinds of mushrooms. I have used beef stock in a pinch and it came out just fine. Enjoy!
Have you ever had one of those really simple recipes that was just… SO GOOD you cannot believe it? This apricot chicken is one of them. Five ingredients, one dish, unbelievably good. Unlike other recipes that go by the same name, it’s not made with preserves, which I think come up too sweet for a meat dish. Instead it uses apricot nectar, which you will most likely find in the ethnic food aisle. Bonus: most of the ingredients are pantry ingredients, so you can keep them on hand and have this as an “emergency” meal for those nights when things don’t go as planned. (Yeah, I know… who has those, right? Ha.) Continue reading Apricot Chicken→
When I went away to college and got the rudest dietary shock of my entire life, I used to dream about this chicken at night. It is so, so, SO good and you never get tired of it. I even developed a vegan version of it during my vegetarian/dairy intolerant years, because I couldn’t live without it. The vegan version isn’t QUITE the same, but it’s very very good, and I served it to many a tofu hater who was pleasantly surprised to find they liked it.
The chicken recipe is also included in our Joy Troupe Family Favorites cookbook, but this is the official internet debut of the vegan version. (Odd since I’m once again an omnivore, but I’m still a veg*an sympathizer!) Want to pin this recipe? Click here.
this delicious chicken recipe is great immediately, perfect for buffet service, holds well, reheats well, freezes well, basically does everything well. It is the perfect food.
2-3 lbs chicken parts
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
5 oz soy sauce
1 stick butter
Combine all ingredients except chicken in sauce pan and melt over medium heat. Pour over clean chicken parts in baking dish and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.
TIPS: I use reduced sodium soy sauce and cheap maple syrup. The meat comes out very tender and has a nice, dark color to it. It makes great party wings. The only caveat is to make sure the pan you use isn't too big, or the tops of the chicken pieces will dry out and will not have the nice flavor of the rest. This is excellent served with egg noodles and salad. CROCK POT LOVERS: Rejoice- you can do this in the slow cooker if you substitute boneless, skinless thighs for the chicken pieces.
If you have ever had this, you will never, ever forget it, and you will always want more! Now, for the vegan version. If you are NOT vegan and you are making this for someone who is, be aware that “cheap” maple syrups may not be vegan, so get the real stuff.
Both versions of this recipe are perfect served with rice or noodles and a green vegetable. I personally think green beans with almonds set the whole thing off just right, and the sauce from the pan over some noodles is almost better than the main event! Enjoy!
Chicken Piccata is one of my husband’s favorite, favorite dishes of all time. When I first made it in the crock pot, I was delighted to find out that my kids love it too. This one is going into our family “keeper” file.
This incredibly delicious version of Chicken Piccata lets you do all the work ahead of time, so you can just dish it up and serve for family dinner in a snap. Serve with noodles and a green vegetable!
3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
½ cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup white wine
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup lemon juice
1 3.5 oz jar of capers, drained
2 Tbsps dried parsley (or ⅓ cup chopped fresh)
Put the olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium high heat.
Mix the flour with the salt and pepper. Unroll the boneless thighs, and and dredge them in the flour mixture.
Brown the chicken pieces in the olive oil. This doesn't take long as you don't need to cook them all the way through, just brown the outsides nicely, then remove them to the crock pot. Maybe 2 minutes a side, but it depends on how hot your pan is.
Combine the remaining ingredients and pour them over the chicken pieces.
Cook 4-6 hours on low.
If you wish, garnish the chicken with a little chopped fresh parsley when you serve.
I know ¼ cup of oil sounds like a lot for a modern recipe. But nothing chaps my nose like seeing "1 TBSP" of oil in a recipe and then finding out that there is NO WAY that is going to get the job done. I have been unable to brown this much chicken in less oil. If you are concerned about that, just skip that step. It gives the outside an extra delicious brownness, but the finished dish will still be good regardless. If you need to make this ahead, just freeze the browned chicken in a ziplock bag. You can thaw completely and cook 4-6 hours on low, or do it frozen for 6-8 hours.