Tuesday, October 31, 2017


My family always loved Chicken Divan. It was an easy way to get my kids to eat broccoli. I don't normally cook with processed foods, but in this case, two cans of soup are essential in making this casserole so delicious and easy. You can use all cream of chicken soup, if you prefer.

3 boneless chicken breast halves
3 cups chicken broth or stock
2 bunches broccoli, cut into small florets, stems removed
2 T unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup dry sherry
1 can cream of wild mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 t curry powder
½ cup grated Gruyère or Swiss Emmentaler cheese
½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Juice of ½ lemon 
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 butter crackers, crushed in a resealable plastic bag with a rolling pin
1 t paprika

Cooked rice or wide egg noodles

In a large skillet, fitted with a lid, bring chicken and broth to a low simmer. 
Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  
Remove chicken to a large bowl and let cool. When cool enough to handle, tear into bite-size pieces. 
Transfer chicken to a cast-iron skillet or a casserole dish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the same large skillet, cover and simmer broccoli in the broth for about 2 minutes.  
Remove broccoli and lightly mix in with the cooked chicken.
Pour the remaining broth into a large bowl or 4-cup measuring pitcher and set aside.
Add the butter to the skillet and sauté the onion for 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and sauté a couple more minutes.
Spoon evenly over the chicken and broccoli.

In the same large skillet pour in the chicken broth, whisk in the sherry, soups, curry powder, cheese, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Pour over chicken and broccoli and gently mix in.  

Scatter the crushed crackers over top of casserole and sprinkle with paprika

Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly hot and serve over hot cooked rice or wide egg noodles.

Serves 4

Saturday, October 28, 2017


If you love seafood chowders, I think you will love this one. It includes a little Old Bay Seasoning and plenty of seafood.

1 lb fresh clams, littleneck or manila
4 strips bacon, diced (I use applewood smoked bacon)
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t fresh or dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 T Old Bay Seafood Seasoning
1 jar clam nectar
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 medium potato, peeled and grated or ½ cup instant potato buds
½ cup white wine
½ lb haddock or cod, cut into bite-size pieces
½ lb sea scallops, cut in half
½ lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup dry sherry
1 (12-oz) can evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk or half-and-half
3 T unsalted butter
½ lb cooked crab meat
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Paprika, for garnish
Diced bacon, for garnish

Place clams in a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes and up to 8 hours.
Place clams in a bowl of cold water and set aside.

Fry bacon in a Dutch oven or soup pot until crisp. 

Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. 
Pour off half of the bacon fat and sauté onion, celery, and potatoes for 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the thyme, bay leaves, Old Bay, clam nectar, potatoes, and shredded potato or ½ cup instant potato buds.
Cover and very slowly simmer for 10 minutes. 

While chowder base is simmering, pour wine into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil Add the clams, cover and slowly simmer until clams have opened, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Remove clams with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.
Pour the clam broth through a fine mesh strainer into a heat-proof pitcher.

Add the fish, scallops, shrimp, and clam broth (from the clams) to the chowder pot.  
Simmer for 5 minutes. 

Remove the clams from the shells, coarsely chop (if needed), and add to the chowder pot. 
Add the sherry, evaporated milk, whole milk or half-and-half, and butter.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer one more minute. 

Add the crab meat, turn off heat and let chowder sit for 15 minutes. 
Reheat until just below boiling.

Ladle into 4 warm soup bowls.
Sprinkle each serving with paprika and top with some diced bacon.

Makes 4 bowls or 8 cups of chowder.

Saturday, October 21, 2017


This is such an easy, quick and delicious recipe to make. You can't find it any better in a fine restaurant. 

Lee's Kitchen Tips: 

Ask your fishmonger if your mussels are wild or cultivated. If they are wild, make sure they have beards attached. Do not remove beards until just before cooking. Removing the beards causes the mussels to slowly die. Wild mussels have a strong, more gamey taste. Cultivated mussels do not have any noticeable beards and have a more delicate taste. 

2 lbs live fresh mussels, wild or cultivated
2 T avocado oil
4 T unsalted butter
2 large shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium Roma tomatoes, diced
1 t fresh thyme leaves or ½ t dried thyme
½ t red pepper flakes (optional)
½ t saffron threads (optional)
1 cup dry white wine
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T chopped Italian parsley
Lemon wedges, for serving
Crusty Italian or French bread

Scrub the mussels with a brush under cold running water and place in a large bowl in your refrigerator. Discard any broken shells.

In a large heavy pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat.
Add shallots and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the chopped tomatoes, thyme, red pepper flakes, and saffron, if using.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Remove beards from wild mussels with a pair of "kitchen-only" needle-nose pliers or by hand, just before cooking. 
Add wine to the pot and bring to a boil.
Add mussels, cover, reduce heat and simmer until shells open, about 6 to 7 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels.

Ladle into a warm serving bowl or two warm bowls and garnish with parsley.

Serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread for dipping.

Serves 2

Monday, October 16, 2017


My mom always had a rosemary bush in her backyard. She would ask me to cut a few sprigs for her when she made a Sunday roast beef or pot roast dinner. Rosemary and beef go so well together. She would thicken the broth into a delicious gravy by adding softened butter mixed with flour. She didn’t know the fancy French word for it was “burre manié”, which translates to kneaded butter in English. This is definitely a traditional Southern Sunday pot roast dinner.

2 T avocado oil or peanut oil
2 yellow onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

One (3 to 3 ½ lb) boneless chuck roast, untied
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup red wine, such as Merlot
2 cups beef broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves

6 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

3 T unsalted butter, softened
3 T all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

In a large Dutch oven, heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium heat.
Add the chopped onion and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Remove mixture to a bowl and set aside.

Season meat with salt and pepper on all sides.
Raise heat to medium-high and add the other tablespoon of oil.
Brown meat on all sides.

Remove meat when browned and set aside on a platter.
Add wine to deglaze the pan and stir up the browned bits with a wooden spoon.
Return meat to pan and add the beef broth and herbs.

Bring to a boil then cover with a lid and transfer to the oven and cook for 1 ½ hours.
Remove from oven and add the carrots and potatoes.
Return to oven and cook another 2 hours.

Remove pot from oven and place on top of the stove, remove roast from pan and place on a platter and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven.
Remove potatoes and carrots from pan to a bowl and keep warm along with the roast.
Discard sprigs of herbs and bay leaves.

In a small bowl, add the softened butter and mix in the flour with a fork.
Add to pan and over medium heat, bring the liquid to a boil.
Boil for about 5 minutes, to thicken.

Remove platter and bowl of vegetables from oven and break apart some of the roast.
Surround roast with vegetables and drizzle meat with a little of the gravy.
Pour the rest of the gravy into a warm gravy boat to take to the table.

Serves 4 to 6

Thursday, October 12, 2017


If you're a fan of margaritas, you will love this one. It is not overly sweet and so delicious with the flavor of blackberries and lemons. Double the recipe to make 4 drinks.

Blackberry Puree
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
1 to 2 T granulated sugar

2 lemons

¼ cup Blackberry Puree
4 oz lemonade (I used Simply Lemonade)
4 oz silver tequila

Process blackberries in a blender until smooth. 
Place a wire mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the blackberry puree into the strainer. Gently press it through the strainer with a wooden spoon.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar to the puree and stir to combine.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to make your margaritas.

Place some sea salt on a plate and add the zest of ½ lemon.
Cut the other half of lemon into a wedge and run the cut side around the rim of your glasses.
Dip the moistened rim into the salt and lemon zest mixture.
Fill glasses with ice and freeze until ready to serve.

Fill a cocktail shaker or small pitcher ½ full with ice.
Add the ¼ cup of Blackberry Puree, 4 oz lemonade, 4 oz tequila, and juice of ½ lemon.
Shake or stir vigorously and strain into the two prepared glasses.
Garnish with a slice of lemon and a blackberry before serving.

Makes 2 margaritas