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from Jude's Kitchen: Anniversary favourites

mini meatloaves - Judie steeves/Capital News
mini meatloaves
— image credit: Judie steeves/Capital News

March 1st will mark our 15th anniversary together.

That’s when my first from Jude’s Kitchen food column appeared in the Kelowna Capital News, and was the launch of my career as a food writer, which is, of course, off the side of my desk and in my kitchen—not full-time.

It actually began as Phyl and Jude’s Kitchen, as a friend and I collaborated for the first few years, but she’s moved away and I soldiered on, coming up with ideas for weekly columns for every one of the past 780 weeks. Can you imagine?

It’s been a challenge some weeks as work, kids, volunteer activities and life tried to get in the way, but every one of those weeks I came up with something I hoped would be fresh for you to put on the table.

I’m kind of taking a break today: using a couple of favourite recipes from previous columns, although the Lemony Chicken has been changed up a bit. And that’s what all of us find: that our favourite recipes evolve from week to week and year to year, with the ideas we pick up from favourite chefs, in restaurants or on television, or from newspapers or magazines, or on the internet.

In fact, our daily inspiration is generally from what’s available in the garden or farmer’s market, or the produce counter; what’s available in season.

If you’ve gotten little else over the years from this column, I just hope that you’ve learned to relax and enjoy cooking, and to use recipes as guidelines which you can colour in however you wish; substituting here and there, depending on what you have available and your personal tastes.

If you’ve enjoyed the recipes, you might enjoy my book, Jude’s Kitchen, published by the Okanagan Institute and available at bookstores and in many wine boutiques. It’s organized by the seasons of the year, and highlights what’s available locally in B.C. and seasonally, with food for every meal of the day, and in-between too.

 

Lemony Chicken with Vegies

Just made this again the other day and it was pretty yummy. It can be served on a weeknight for a quick family meal or on the weekend for company. A salad or broccoli on the side, with perhaps a bit of rice, pasta or a spud, and dinner’s served.

6 large chicken thighs, trimmed

2 garlic cloves

1 large onion

6 carrots

2 celery stalks

2-3 lemons

2 tsp. (10 ml) honey

1 c. (250 ml) chicken stock

drizzle of oil

1/2 tsp. (3 ml) dried oregano

1/4 tsp. (2 ml) dried thyme

1/4 tsp. (2 ml) black pepper

1/4 tsp. (2 ml) sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Skin chicken and remove all visible fat. You may use any chicken parts you wish.

Mince garlic and chop onion, carrots and celery into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Use a potato peeler to remove the lemon zest in large pieces.

Dissolve the honey in hot chicken stock.

Drizzle a little oil in a Dutch oven or deep frypan over medium heat and brown the chicken pieces. Remove and add another drizzle of oil to the pan.

Soften the onion, then add the rest of the vegetables and the garlic and turn them about for a few minutes.

Squeeze the juice from the lemons and stir it in, along with the large pieces of lemon zest.

Add the chicken stock mixture, herbs and spices and bring to a bubble. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them about to coat them with the sauce.

Cover and roast in a medium oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, or just until the chicken is cooked.

You may also cook it, covered, on low heat on top of the stove until the chicken is just done.

Serves 6.

 

Tasty Mini Meatloaves

The beauty of these is that they cook really quickly, so you can have them on the table in no time if you’ve mixed the meat and spices the night or morning before, or have someone else prepare it before you get home from work. These lack in neither flavour nor nutrition. A dip of yogurt, green onions and fresh herbs is excellent with this. You could substitute some crumbs for the oat bran if you haven’t any handy, but it’s an excellent source of fibre.

1 large onion

2-3 stalks celery

1/2 green pepper

1/2 red pepper

2 tbsp. (30 ml) butter

2 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp. (3 ml) hot pepper sauce

1 tbsp. (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. (5 ml) cayenne pepper

1 tsp. (5 ml) salt

1/2 tsp. (3 ml) black pepper

1/2 tsp. (3 ml) ground cumin

1/2 tsp. (3 ml) ground coriander

1/4 tsp. (1 ml) ground nutmeg

1 c. (250 ml) tomato sauce

2 lb. (1 kg) lean ground beef

2 eggs

1 c. (250 ml) oat bran

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Chop onion, celery and sweet peppers into small pieces.

Melt butter in a frypan over medium heat and saute the vegetables until they begin to soften. Mince garlic and add, along with hot pepper sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

Stir in seasonings and continue cooking until the mixture becomes a bit sticky, a few minutes. Add tomato sauce and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring it in well.

Cool while preparing the meat.

Add eggs and oat bran to ground beef in a large bowl.

Add cooled vegetables and spices and combine it all well. (Using your hands works best.)

Lightly spray muffin cups with olive oil spray or grease the cups.

Divide meat mixture into a dozen mounded mini meatloaves, the right size for muffin cups.

Cook for 20 minutes or so.

Makes 12. Serves 8-12.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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