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Jen: 2, Dinner: 0

March 8, 2010

Those of you that have seen me in action in the kitchen are probably hysterical at the thought of me sharing recipes.  I mean, so say that I’m a terror in the kitchen is the understatement of the year.  Just ask Jason how many times he’s had to choke down the crap that I’ve made, and he will tell you that it’s more than he can count on two hands (and probably two feet…).  So my 2010 goal of cooking two new (to me) recipes each month was kind of a big undertaking.  But I’m back to report that so far I’ve been successful at identifying at least 3 new recipes that can be added into our cooking repertoire.  As in, THE FOOD THAT I COOKED WAS GOOD ENOUGH TO COOK AGAIN.  (As opposed to my previous high score of good enough to choke down, if a lot of water, milk, and/or beer is present.)

So, I thought I’d share two of my meals with you, since both are quick and easy to make (and also because the recipe is posted online, so it’s not like I’m sharing trade secrets here or anything).

Citrusy Mojito Chicken

I found this recipe in Food and Wine Magazine.  I got the magazine through one of those exchange-your-airline-miles-for-magazines programs, and so far both recipes that I’ve tried have been delish.  We had this chicken over the weekend when the temps were warm (40s! yes!), and it totally got us in the mood to grill (on something other than the Foreman).  I think that next time I make this I might even add some jalepenos or habeneros to the mix to give it a little bite.


  • 1 red grapefruit
  • 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion


  1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Using a sharp knife, peel the grapefruit and lime, removing all of the bitter pith. Cut in between the membranes and release the sections onto a work surface. Squeeze the membranes over a medium bowl to extract the juices. Stir in half each of the olive oil, cilantro and mint and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and toss to coat.
  2. Grill the chicken thighs over moderately high heat, turning them occasionally, until they are lightly charred outside and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, coarsely chop the grapefruit and lime sections and transfer to a bowl. Add the red onion and the remaining olive oil, cilantro and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the chicken thighs with the citrus salsa.

    Shrimp (Chicken) Tikka Marsala

    This recipe comes from Martha Stewart Living, another miles-for-mags deal.  It’s the first recipe I’ve tried from MSL and we both loved it enough to have made it three times since January.  That’s a big deal.  Its especially appealing to me because I get to use our LeCruset Dutch oven — in fact, the only time I’ve used the Dutch oven is for this recipe (if you have favorite Dutch oven recipes, please share – I love using it!).  The recipe calls for shrimp, but we substitute chicken because cooking seafood still scares me a little.


    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
    • 3 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger (from one 6-inch piece)
    • 1 tablespoon finely grated garlic
    • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
    • 2 teaspoons garam masala (
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 cup water
    • 20 large shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled (tails intact) and deveined
    • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
    • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
    1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or a stockpot over medium heat. Cook onion until golden, about 20 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, and chili powder, and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
    2. Add water and shrimp. Cook until shrimp are opaque and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in yogurt. Season with salt and pepper.

    And now I want to hear about your cooking!  Who is the chef at your house?  What’s your favorite meal/recipe?  Any new recipes you’re interested in trying out?  I’m planning to try Erin’s Chicken Cashew Veggie Stir Fry this week… it looks amazing.
    11 Comments leave one →
    1. March 8, 2010 10:06 am

      hehehe…it took me a little time to learn the ways of the kitchen. Thank god my hubby came from a family that cooked everything burnt!

    2. Debbie permalink
      March 8, 2010 11:51 am

      Those recipes look very tasty! It’s always fun to experiment and the only way you learn is by trial and error. I’m glad that the weather is getting nice enough for you to grill outside.

    3. japortma permalink
      March 8, 2010 12:54 pm

      haha!! I just got done talking to my mom about what I can make for James and I tonight…and then I come to your blog and you have recipes!! thanks! I will have to try those next time!! 🙂

    4. GGG permalink
      March 8, 2010 3:13 pm

      That’s gotta be serious! Now she’s feeding this James guy! SCARY! We had a bonfire on the lake on Sat. and a picnic. Everybody was in their ski clothes but it was really fun! It was great to have hamburgers and brats. It was a funny feeling sitting around a fire and looking at the shore.

    5. Monique permalink
      March 8, 2010 3:35 pm

      Jen – Have you tried to make Beer Bread in the dutch oven? That’s one of the things I use mine for aside from Chicken in Wine Gravy (or more commonly Coq au Vin) simple recipe for the chicken if you want it let me know – my Nana made it alot since my Gramp was/is PICKY! I love my LeCruset as it’s heats evenly and limits the burn. The beer bread has 3 things in it, flour, beer and sugar. I can send you that recipe too. Where Jason makes his own beer (lucky, I have to go to a store for a single bottle of something beefy to make the bread with) although you can use any beer. Congrats on getting better in the kitchen. You may also want to check out a book called “Desperation Dinners” most things in it take less than 1/2 hour and most are relatively easy.

      • March 9, 2010 11:28 am

        Ohh! Definitely share your Coq au Vin recipe (or point me to it!). Sounds delish!

        I may have to try bread in the dutch oven, too… it’s so fun to use! 🙂

    6. March 8, 2010 7:51 pm

      Those recipes sound amazing. Anything with grapefruit is okay by me. Also, I hear that a dutch oven is perfect for a no-knead bread recipe…I haven’t tried it yet but I’ve heard it is incredibly easy (like this recipe from Ashley:

      Oh, and let me know how the chicken-cashew-broccoli stir fry comes out!

      • March 9, 2010 11:47 am

        Thanks for the recipe – I’ve been trying my hand at bread more (made 2 more loaves over the weekend!), so will have to try that recipe, too.

        And I’ll definitely let you know how the stir fry comes out – I plan to make it tonight!

    7. Ashley permalink
      March 9, 2010 2:00 am

      Although I don’t read your blog too much (and most of the time catching up I read the most recent first) but I love the fact that you, like me, can’t cook. Sorry Mom, I wish I had paid more attention to you when you cooked meals us picky eaters would actually eat. Jen, if you have some more easy receipies let me know! I’m going to have to try out the first one, I don’t know what a Dutch oven is so I don’t think I’ll try the second one. This way I can show Kyle that I can cook, possibly 🙂

    8. March 9, 2010 7:41 pm

      Both of these sound delicious….I am going to have to give them a try. Thanks for sharing!

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