Cranberry Chicken

I do realize that I’m using cranberries in a recipe and its not even Thanksgiving!  You do not need to wait for the holidays to make this chicken dish.  It’s great any time of the year.  The sweet and tangy sauce is so easy to make, it’s just 3 ingredients.  I promise.

I served it with steamed rice and roasted brussel sprouts.

Start with one can of whole cranberries.  Not the jelly stuff, you want the whole cranberries in it.

These are the other 2 ingredients.

Pour in half the bottle of French dressing and one packet of onion soup mix and combine.  Just look at those beautiful colors!

I like to use chicken thighs with the bone in.  I’m trying to be a little more health conscious lately, so I removed the skin.  You can keep it on if you you’re feeling frisky.

Pour the sauce all over the chicken, making sure you get the under side too. And bake.

What you’ll get is delectably tender chicken with a creamy sweet and savory sauce that you’ll want to drench your rice in.  Then you’ll want more rice for the sauce that’s left on your plate.  Then you’ll want more sauce for the extra rice that you got.  It’s a vicious cycle!  But so worth it.

Cranberry Chicken

1 can whole cranberries

½ bottle French dressing

1 packet onion soup mix

8-10 chicken thighs


Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl .  Place the chicken thighs in a 9×13 pan.  Pour the cranberry mixture evenly over the chicken.  Make sure to coat the bottom of the chicken as well.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until done.

You will definitely want to serve this with rice to sop up all the great sauce.


Italian Bruschetta Sandwich

This whole sandwich was made from leftovers of an Italian dinner date at home with my hubby.  The sandwich is the perfect package when it comes to packing in lots of flavor all in one bite.  It was so very true in this instance.

Here I have layers of creamy cheese and avocado, salty Italian deli meats, and the bruschetta provides the tang from the balsamic vinegar and freshness of basil.

I layered a piece of whole wheat bread with goat’s milk cheese, capicola, salame and my homemade tomato bruschetta (which I’ve posted before).

And then I topped it all off with avocado slices.  Why?  Because everything tastes better with avocado.  I used hass avocados because that’s what we have most of in Southern California and because I think it has the best flavor.

I didn’t provide a recipe because the pictures are pretty self-explanatory and because this post was mostly to get you thinking about putting anything into a sandwich that you might want.  There are NO RULES when it comes to sandwiches, am I right?!

Creamy Tomato & Roasted Pepper Soup

What is the perfect thing to have with a warm Italian panino?  Of course………..tomato soup.  But, not just any tomato soup.  This is creamy tomato and red bell pepper soup with fresh basil.  I made this for some of my girlfriends for lunch and it was a nice way to round out the panini sandwiches and fun conversation.

The way to start any soup is to begin with aromatics, which adds depth of flavor.  That comes from the onions, garlic, dried thyme and tomato paste.  Layer in salt and pepper as you go.

When the onions are soft, add two cans of whole tomatoes.

Break up the tomatoes with your wooden spoon and add one can of chicken broth.  Let that come to a boil and then cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

Drain the roasted peppers and dump them in.

Let that come to a boil.

Add in the 10 leaves of chopped fresh basil.  Test the soup for salt and pepper and then let it rest for about 10 minutes, to cool.  I also added some sugar to tone down the acidity a bit.

Slowly ladle half a blender full of the soup and let it blend until smooth.  Do the same with the remaining soup and dump it all back into the pot.

Here’s where the creamy comes in.  The half and half just gives the soup a great smooth mouth feel.  It also tones down the bite of the tomato.  Overall , if you like tomatoes and soup then you will absolutely love the flavor of this soup.  And the best part is, I make extra because soup always tastes better the next day!

Creamy Tomato & Roasted Pepper Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp dried thyme

2 Tbsp tomato paste

Salt, pepper

2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes

1 can chicken broth

1 (12oz) jar roasted red bell peppers

10 leaves fresh basil, chopped

2 tsp sugar, optional

1 cup half and half

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy pot on medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, thyme and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste and cook until incorporated, just 1 more minute.

Add tomatoes, red peppers, and chicken broth and let simmer for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded together. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, and the sugar, if needed. Add basil, and puree using blender until smooth. Add half-and-half and stir.

Makes 8-10 servings.