Trying to be a good, loving husband/resident chef/caretaker, I decided to roast a chicken and then make chicken soup for my ailing wife who came down with a lousy cold yesterday.

Spatchcocked the chicken, slid herb crusted slices of lemon under the skin, seasoned the out side with kosher salt and lemon pepper and drizzle of olive oil.  Placed the prepped bird on a parchment paper lined sheet pan, add the chicken back that I cut out to flatten the bird to the sheet pan along with a variety of vegetables to use in the broth.

Into hot oven for 15 minutes, reduced oven temp a bit and after another 20 minutes pulled the pan out to check the internal temps.  More time needed so opened the oven door and slid the pan back onto the shelf and at the last minute before closing the door I brilliantly deduced that I should rotate the pan for the finishing time.  As I’m swiveling the pan around the weight of the chicken shifts and the pan slides off the shelf dumping the lovely lemony juices, vegetables, chicken back and whole chicken onto the open oven door!


Slew of expletives fly, no one is listening. I hastily reset the pan on the shelf and with tongs and spatula carefully return the goodies to the pan and watch as the lovely juices drip between the door and oven wall into the warming drawer below the oven and on the floor!

Guess there will be an oven-cleaning cycle in my near future!!!!!!!

And of course the chicken needs to finish cooking but the lovely oven temp is now 280º.  Switched to Convection Roast and 450º hoping all is good when I go to pull it out next time!

Oven Door Roasted Chicken!

Oven Door Roasted Chicken!

MORE EXPLETIVES!  Is it time to return to bed for the day?

Actually doesn’t look too bad, smells amazing!  However, I strongly don’t recommend copy cat versions!!!

Eat Well….Be Well!

Posted in Bits 'N' Pieces, Silliness, Stupid Chef Tricks | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

A Bread Pudding for dinner?

Why not?  This one was certainly a filling and hearty dish accompanied with multi-vegetable tossed salad.  Our salad had 3 colors of heirloom carrots, 2 colors of bell pepper, celery, radishes, shaved fennel, Persian cucumber, roasted beets, avocado cubes and assorted olives. Green leaf lettuce, hearts of romaine and radicchio filled out the salad nicely.  Served with Thousand Island Dressing it was a substantial side dish.

The Broccoli Rabe, Pancetta and Parmesan Bread pudding used a loaf of Semolina Bread for a great texture and produced a filling entree!  I used uncured Pancetta and truly liked it better than the ofttimes too salty cured version.  Will be seeking this ingredient for more uses!

Bread Pudding for Dinner!

Bread Pudding for Dinner!

Without further ado here’s the recipe:

Broccoli Rabe, Pancetta and Parmesan Bread Pudding

Servings: 6


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch broccoli rabe trimmed, cut into 1/2″ pieces blanched
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 loaf semolina bread cut into 1″ pieces (about 8 cups)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
6 thin slices pancetta
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning


Preheat oven to 350°F. Saute garlic and red pepper flakes in oil in a large skillet over medium heat 30 seconds. Add well drained broccoli rabe; season with salt and pepper. Cook till heated through and wilted, allow to cool slightly.
Whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning in a large bowl to blend. Add broccoli rabe mixture, bread, and 1/2 cup Parmesan; toss to combine. Transfer to a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Top with pancetta and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
Bake pudding until puffed and lightly browned, and set in the center, 45-55 minutes.
Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Description: “Cubes of Semolina Bread make this a hearty main dish with a salad for dinner or a great brunch side dish.”
Source: “Adapted from Epicurious”

Broccoli Rabe, Pancetta & Parmesan Bread Pudding

Broccoli Rabe, Pancetta & Parmesan Bread Pudding

Eat Well…Be Well!

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Lasagna takes a turn!

Last week I bought ingredients to make a butternut squash lasagna. Bechamel Sauce w/roasted cubes of squash and a layer of ricotta. Never got around to making it and last night was determined to cook from the pantry without a last minute trip to the store. Of course I didn’t now have enough milk to make the amount of Bechamel called for so I went to the drawing board–well the internet!

Read a few recipes where the squash is cooked and pureed and used as a layer, but then I saw a couple where the puree was used as the sauce!  Brilliant, why hadn’t I thought of that!

So, typical for me I went to the kitchen with the “idea” in my head.  The result was a tasty new version of Lasagna.  Dinner was good but I was already thinking what could I do to boost it a bit.

We had been babysitting our DGS all day and his Mother was stuck at work late and I knew she had had a frustrating day.  So when she arrived to pick up her son I presented her with a container of the lasagna knowing how much she enjoys Butternut squash ravioli!

The response was a grateful thank you based on her not having to cook when she got home.

Skip ahead 45 minutes, settled in her apartment, probably ensconced in her PJ’s and snuggled up on the sofa with the little one she dug into the container of lasagna.

The first few tastes prompted an urgent email, informing me that it was delicious and she needed the recipe immediately!

I laughed and responded it would take awhile as I needed to write it down since I had created it on the fly!! That prompted the response: It’s sooooooooooooo good!

No one took a picture but all enjoyed their portions so without a sight reference here’s the recipe:
Chef Jim’s Butternut Lasagna

Recipe By :Chef Jim
Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
1 large butternut squash — halved, seeds removed
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large sweet onion — diced
2 cloves garlic — minced
10 leaves fresh sage — chopped
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth — or more if needed
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley — chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives — chopped
1 dash grated nutmeg
16 no boil lasagna noodles
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 375º Season Squash halves with salt, pepper and olive oil, place face down on parchment or foil lined sheet pan, roast for 30-40 minutes until a knife can inserted through the skin easily. Set aside to cool.

When cool enough to handle removed flesh from skin and place into food processor with 1/2 cup vegetable broth and puree. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in skillet adding onions, saute until softened 3-5 minutes add garlic and sage and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Add puree and remainder of vegetable broth, stir to combine and heat through. Set aside.

In medium bowl lightly beat egg, with parsley and chives add salt, white pepper, nutmeg and ricotta cheese. Stir to combine.

Bring a pot of water to boil and add a splash of olive oil and kosher salt, add lasagna noodles a few at a time and cook for 5 minutes, drain on sheet pan and keep moist with cool water. Continue until all have been softened. Stir butternut squash sauce and add pasta water 1/2 cup at the most to loosen it up as needed.

Spray baking dish with non-stick vegetable spray. Ladle enough sauce to barely cover the bottom of dish, layer lasagna with noodles, ricotta mixture, noodles, butternut squash sauce, grated Parmesan, noodles, ricotta mixture, noodles, butternut squash sauce Parmesan and Mozzarella. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, bake uncovered for additional 10-15 minutes until lightly browned and heated through the middle.

Let sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

“Simple Lasagna with Butternut Squash Sauce”
“Traveling Culinary Artist Recipes”
Serving Ideas : Great with a salad with mild vinaigrette and bread sticks.

NOTES : Can add 10 oz package of frozen spinach defrosted and squeezed as dry as possible to the ricotta mixture.


Eat Well…Be Well!

Posted in Chef Jim Recipe | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments