Entries in dinner (3)


Roasted Broccoli

I recently took a personal chef gig. Sounds awesome doesn't it. And for a new mom with a 11 week old baby it is awesome. I plan menus, shop then go into my clients home one day a week and prepare several dinners for them to reheat. The menus revolve around lean proteins and vegetables. So I am always looking for ways to coax flavor out of ordinary vegetables and make them more exciting. One way to do that is by roasting. I prepare a lot of roasted vegetables in the winter but also love them in the summer and find that they are great cold leftovers added to a salad. 

This week I decided to add some broccoli into the mix. I have a slight disdain to steamed broccoli. To many nights in the early nineties, steamed broccoli was on my Weight Watchers dinner menu. I find though that if I roast it with some tasty seasoning it becomes quite magical. 

It is one of the easiest things you can do. Cut up the broccoli and toss into a bowl. Add some olive oil to lightly coat. Sprinkle with desired seasoning and lay out into a cookie sheet. I line mine with foil for easy clean up. Throw it in the oven at 375 degrees and about 30 minutes later you have transformed your broccoli. 

I love to try out new premixed vegetable seasoning mixes. Whole Foods, Cost Plus, Food 52 and the like usually have a variety of seasonings for vegetables. The one I bought recently is from Urban Accents. It is the Balsamic and Roasted Onion Vege Roaster. I found it at my local Safeway. Occasionally I will also find some great spice blends at the Marshalls near me. So look around and pick a couple up to experiment with. It can really add some depth of flavor that beats just salt and pepper.

You now have a great side dish to go with just about anything and the leftovers can be used in omelettes, salads and more.

Hope you decided to take your broccoli to the next level soon!


Leftover Pot Pie 

There comes a time when holiday leftovers need a breath of fresh air. I usually love a second and sometimes third holiday meal in its original form and then on to being creative. 

This year Mr. Ramon cooked a 10lb prime rib. Crazy!!! The size of that roast was daunting. Our fear was not cooking it right and ruining all that local, grass fed cow goodness. He did all of his research on techniques and actually pulled it off. It cut with a butter knife and was soooo juicy!!

We wanted a fun recipe for the leftovers that would reheat well. Mr. Ramon looked around online for recipes and decided he wanted a pot pie. The great thing about a pot pie - besides the whole gravy/pastry part is that you can use any protein you have available or even just roasted vegetables. In this recipe we are using proteins that are already cooked - so all you need is your leftover turkey, chicken or roast. We also cheated a little by using pre made biscuits - you could also make your own. 

Leftover Pot Pie

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees


  • 1 1/4lb leftover protein - cubed or shredded  turkey, chicken or roast
  • 4 carrots peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 ribs of celery washed and diced 
  • 3 small red potatoes washed and cubed 
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • olive oil


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 cup beef broth
  • salt/pepper


  • 1 container of biscuit dough - 8 biscuits. Or homemade biscuit dough - 8.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add onion to the pan and sauté until tender. Add the mushrooms, thyme, rosemary and salt/pepper to taste. Sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and potatoes - cook for 10 minutes.

While that is cooking make the gravy. In a medium saucepan, add the butter and melt. Whisk in the flour. Then whisk in the milk and broth. Season with salt/pepper and bring to a boil then simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Take the skillet off the heat and mix in the protein and add the peas. Stir in the sauce.

Pour ingredients into a large casserole dish and top with the uncooked biscuits. Bake in oven for 35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving. 


Casual Sunday Supper

Life can get pretty hectic and finding time for Mr. Ramon and I can be a struggle. With this lovely summer weather and late night sunsets I want to cook and eat outside every night. This Sunday we had the opportunity to cook and eat together at a reasonable hour of the day - a rare treat. 

Being excited about the new potatoes we harvested I immediately thought of a rustic potato pizza as the main course. I had eaten one at a local pizzeria that is forever burned in my mind. We built the rest of our simple meal around the idea of pizza. 

We needed something to munch on while we prepared and cooked. Mr. Ramon loves an appetizer. Fresh, warm, crispy baguette, double cream gouda and some spicy salumi. How does it get better than that? Wine - yup that makes it better! 

Mr. Ramon picked some lettuce from the garden and added some pretty cherry tomatoes for a simple salad dressed in champagne vinaigrette. 

I have to admit I cheat once in awhile when making pizza. Trader Joes makes a really great freash pizza dough. They even have a whole wheat version for those of you trying to make pizza actually healthy. I go for the original but today had to settle for the garlic and herb version. It makes putting a pizza together so easy. 

When it comes to kitchen gadgets and tools I have to really be sold on them. I try to have tools etc. that do more than one job. Earn their keep so to speak. One of the first wedding gifts we received was a pizza stone. We started making pizza every Sunday and that stone blew my mind. Not to fret if you don't have one. You can make pizza on a large cookie sheet if need be. 

Potato Pizza 

Makes 1 12 inch pizza

  • 1 portion/recipe of fresh pizza dough. 
  • 3 small thin skinned potatoes (2 cups sliced) - Yukon Gold are a good choice if you do not have your own potatoes
  • 1/2 sweet onion sliced very thin
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • salt/pepper

Prepare your potatoes the following way. 

  • Rinse thoroughly
  • Slice very thin - think kettle potato chip here using a knife or mandolin
  • Place in a bowl of ice water and let soak for 10 minutes - change water twice rinsing potatoes between each soak. This will remove much of the starch and prevent them turning brown
  • Drain in a colander and toss with 1 teaspoon of salt and let them continue to drain for 10 minutes 
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over them and a healthy dose of black pepper and toss to coat. 

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees - place your pizza stone in the oven on the middle rack if using to preheat. 

Put a large piece of parchment onto a cutting board or a pizza peel if you are using a stone. If you are using a baking sheet place your parchment on it. Lightly flour the parchment. Place your dough in the center and start working it outwards to create uniform thickness and a shape that fits your stone or pan. We went for square. 

Sprinkle the mozzarella across the dough then layer the potatoes across the cheese evenly and overlapping a little if needed. Don't feel the need to use all the potatoes. If you have extra that is ok. Top with goat cheese, onions and rosemary. 

Slide onto pizza stone or place baking sheet in the oven. Bake until the edges are brown and crispy looking about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and  let sit for a few minutes then cut and serve. I also like potato pizza cool and leftovers for breakfast with a soft egg on top.