**Disclaimer: This blog (and all of its' posts and pages) may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click on and purchase items or services that are linked to that I receive compensation at NO ADDITIONAL COST to you, my readers. Affiliate links help to financially support this blog and helps support my family as well. Thank you for purchasing products through these links!

The Weekend

Lately I’ve let too much around the house slide. It was frustrating me to no end so I decided to get my fanny in gear and get things done. As of Sunday morning last night’s dishes were still everywhere. The sink, island and counter are all covered in them. The living room desperately needs to be vacuumed and dusted. My recipes are scattered all over my desk and most aren’t neatly put away in their little plastic page protectors. But as I sat here thinking about what I needed to do I realized what I did accomplish over the weekend.

Getting things done on the weekend

— Continue reading

Green Beans Amandine

I grow a lot of green beans in my garden each summer. I probably grow more than I should. But I love green beans and I like to be sure I’ll have enough of them in the freezer to last until the next season’s crop comes in. And I give a lot away because everyone should have homegrown green beans all winter! But, as much as I love them, green beans can get pretty humdrum. One of the ways I make them a bit more special is by making Green Beans Amandine.

Make ordinary green beans special. Make Green Beans Amandine!

— Continue reading

Italian Sausage Strombolis

Oh, my gosh, I love strombolis! Not the island in the Lipari Islands of Italy but the food! When I make it for dinner I feel like I’m cheating and having a treat instead of a sensible meal. Then I think of the ingredients; sausage, peppers, onions, cheese, and the crust, and I realize it really is a sensible meal! If you want a meal to make your whole family think you’re spoiling them I suggest Italian Sausage Strombolis!

Italian Sausage Strombolis

 

I really wish I had made two of these since I could have eaten it for lunch, too! Italian Sausage Strombolis are so tasty that Mr. Comfortable and I could both polish off an entire loaf each in 24 hours! They take some prep but they are definitely worth it.

First I diced up 1/4 cup each of onion, and yellow, green, and red peppers. They add a little crunch, color, and vitamins to the strombolis. Score a point for sensible meal! I set the vegetables aside while I browned some Italian sausage in two teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet.

Italian Sausage Strombolis are chuck full of onions and peppers

Italian Sausage Strombolis are delicious!

You can use whatever type of Italian sausage you prefer. Hot, mild, or sweet it’s up to you! I browned the sausage and then removed it from the skillet with a slotted spoon into a bowl. I didn’t drain it because I want that oil left in the skillet to cook the onions and peppers.

Next I sautéed the onions and peppers over medium high heat, seasoning with salt and pepper, until they were just slightly softened. It takes just about 4 minutes to get them tender crisp but if you want them softer just sauté them a bit longer.

Italian Sausage Strombolis

The Italian sausage went back into the skillet with the onions and peppers and I sprinkled 1/4 teaspoon each of garlic powder, dried oregano, and dried basil over it all. I stirred the mixture to distribute the herbs and then put the sausage mixture into a bowl to cool off.

Italian Sausage Strombolis - a tasty dinner your family will love

While the sausage was cooling I unrolled a loaf of refrigerated bread. It was in in the refrigerator sneaking up on its expiration date and I wasn’t up to making my own dough and it works just fine for my Italian Sausage Strombolis. You can make your own dough if you prefer.

I lightly floured my wooden cutting board and spread the dough out. I rolled it, attempting to get a rectangle shape but I fell short. It doesn’t matter if you have trouble getting a perfect rectangle. This is about taste and the strombolis will still look nice!

While the sausage still needed to cool a bit I preheated my oven to 400 degrees and sprayed a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

When the sausage had cooled enough to touch I spread about 1/2 of it (I kept the other half for the next Italian Sausage Strombolis night) on the dough. Then I sprinkled about a cup of shredded mozzarella cheese over the sausage mixture. Put the sausage and cheese right down the middle of the dough because you’re going to fold 1/2 the dough over it then stretch the other half of the dough over that.

Italian Sausage Strombolis made with refrigerated dough!

I mixed two eggs (use only one if you’re making one loaf – I forgot and used the amount for two loaves) with two tablespoons of water. I brushed some of the egg wash along the edge of the dough that I had folded over the filling.

Italian Sausage Strombolis made with refrigerated dough!

Then I folded the other half of the dough over and carefully placed the stromboli on the baking sheet. I brushed the entire stromboli with the egg wash and put it in the oven. Depending on how hot your oven runs it should take between 15 – 18 minutes to get the dough a nice, golden brown.

Italian Sausage Stromboli made with refrigerated dough

One note: I usually sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese (the kind that comes in the bottle with the green top) over the strombolis after I use the egg wash. I planned to do that last night but when I went to get it I discovered I was out! I really need to get back to keeping up my refrigerator inventory! And for tips on organizing your refrigerator and freezer by temperature zones check out Organization Part 2 — Organizing your refrigerator & freezer

I serve Italian Sausage Strombolis with marinara sauce. We love to dip our stromboli pieces! That hot, gooey cheese and those slightly crisp vegetables make me want to sing! And With a salad this is a complete meal! And a sensible one at that!

Italian Sausage Stromboli made with refrigerated dough

Italian Sausage Strombolis
Print

Italian Sausage Strombolis

Italian Sausage Strombolis are a delicious meal your family will ask for again and again!

Save

Yellow Rice with Cardamom

As a kid I was always delighted when Daddy took us to Greektown in Detroit. All those fragrant dishes that tasted so wonderful and seemed so exotic captivated me. And one of the ones that, for some reason, really intrigued me was the yellow rice they served, usually with tomato sauce. I decided to try my own version of yellow rice with cardamom.

Yellow rice with cardamom

— Continue reading

Life with Ducks

Since we brought Penguin and Spot (and the rather unfortunate but delicious Stu) home from Indiana it’s been frustrating and fun. People are still flabbergasted that we have these two ducks living in a tub. Mr. Comfortable recently mentioned how it’s going to be strange when they move outside. He’s going to have to get used to it. They will be moving as soon as it’s safe for them! In the meantime, enjoy these pictures and videos of our life with ducks!

Life with ducks is fun and frustrating!

Since we first began living with Ducks in the tub I’ve learned a lot. I want to be sure these two ducks and any more that come along are healthy and happy. And it’s been more than just online research that’s taught me things about our ducks. They’ve shown me their personalities, quirks, and likes and dislikes!

I’ve discovered that these two are treat hogs! They have feed that is perfect for their age and where they’re living right now. But they can pick out treats added to their feed in a heartbeat! Throw in some canned corn, parsley, or even broken up dog treats (yes, they can have those occasionally) and the feed stays in the dish but the treats disappear! This means I have to stop Mr. C (a.k.a. Duck Daddy) from giving them treats the way he tries to dispense them to the dogs! These ducks would weigh 800 unhealthy pounds!

Penguin will take treats from my hand but Spot is still quite shy!

Sometimes I add water to the feed since ducks need lots of water to get the food down anyway. And they make a funny noise when there’s a lot of water in the dish so I get a kick out of it.

Part of life with ducks in the house is that every day the ducks get to swim in the tub. We try to put a reasonable amount of water in but sometimes we forget and the ducks get a deeper pool! We were just a couple of minutes from disaster that night!

Our two ducks love swimming in the tub!

They do love their swim times and they have fresh, clean water for it every evening. It’s going to be tough to explain to Mr. C that, when they’re living in their log cabin, they don’t need a regulation size pool!

The ducks have a toy, so to speak, that they absolutely love! It’s just a couple of rubber bands tied together that they can tug. They’ll take turns pulling on it! Perhaps it makes them think of worms. I got the idea from a duck raising website the name of which I cannot remember. I wish I did. They sell duck diapers and I’d like to find out the prices. It would nice for the ducks to be able to wander around the house a bit.

A very simple toy that ducks love!

They also love knocking on the side of the tub with their bills. They’re actually getting bits of down that they shake off themselves. I’ve learned that ducks will eat anything! They eat their own feathers, the down, and anything else they can get their greedy little bills on! I’ve become an expert at snatching feathers and other things up before they can pounce!

Of course the bathroom is always a mess and both Mr. C and I find ourselves going to the guest bath in the middle of the night. We’re trying to avoid disturbing the ducks! But I’ve allowed myself to become quite attached to Penguin and Spot and I’m glad they didn’t end up in the freezer…like Stu…and their future offspring.

Quarters for the ducks are a bit tight right now but in the spring they’ll have their log cabin and a tractor so they can forage and wander. For now, they seem pretty happy in the tub! It’s been interesting living our life with ducks!

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs

Chicken is still an inexpensive option for a great dinner. It’s versatile and can be a delight but certain cooking methods can result in disappointment. If I leave the skin on chicken it’s because I want that nice, crisp skin. Braising chicken infuses it with the flavors in the liquid but can leave the skin soggy. But these Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs give me all the flavor I want and a nice crispy skin, too!

All the flavor of braising and crispy skin too! Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs!

I love bone-in, skin on chicken thighs! The meat is so flavorful and juicy and crispy chicken skin is terrific! And Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs are one of the best ways I’ve found to infuse the meat with lots of flavor and still keep that wonderful crispy skin!

This recipe is adapted from Cal Peternell’s recipe for braised chicken legs. I didn’t want an overpowering (to us) flavor from the wine and my thyme plant gave up the ghost living on the windowsill (too cold, I think) so I used dried thyme.

First I generously seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper. Don’t forget to do both sides. It may seem like you’re using too much salt but, trust me, you don’t want to be stingy. Then let the chicken sit for about 30 minutes.

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs start with seasoned chicken

When the chicken sat for a while in the salt and pepper I preheated the oven to 350 degrees.

I dredged the chicken in all-purpose flour. I used 1/2 cup but I ended up throwing some away. Next time I’ll start with just over 1/4 cup and add some if I need it.

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs are delicious and juicy!

When the chicken was coated in flour I melted 2 tablespoons of butter in my cast iron skillet. My cast iron is really well seasoned so it can handle the acidity of the wine.

I browned the chicken, skin side down (although both sides really had a lot of skin) for about 5 minutes. Then I turned the chicken over to brown the other side. When it was nicely browned I removed it from the skillet and set it aside.

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!

While the chicken was browning I cut up 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery into chunks, and quartered a yellow onion. I also minced a large clove of garlic but didn’t put that with the other vegetables.

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!

There was some butter still in the skillet so I discarded that. I poured the white wine and the 2 cups of the chicken broth into the skillet.

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!

I really scraped the skillet to get all those little browned bits of deliciousness loose. When the skillet was completely deglazed I poured the liquid into a bowl, reserving it. That liquid is part of what my chicken was going to braise in later.

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!

I added the remaining butter to the skillet and melted it. Then I added my carrots, onion, and celery and let them cook until they were slightly softened (about 8 minutes). I added a bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme, and the minced garlic. This all got cooked until the garlic was fragrant (about 1 minute).

Full of flavor, Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!

The chicken went back into the skillet on top of the vegetables and I poured the reserved liquid into the skillet. I was careful not to pour it on the chicken. Then I added the remaining chicken broth the same way. I didn’t want the liquids directly on the top of the chicken because I wanted that crispy skin! You only add enough liquid to come about halfway up the side of the chicken.

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!

I put the skillet in the oven and let it bake for about 30 minutes. When the temperature was 160 degrees I removed the entire skillet from the oven and put the chicken on a plate to rest and reach 165 degrees internally.

I strained the vegetables out of the liquid and tossed the bay leaf. The liquid went back into the skillet. I mixed about a tablespoon of cornstarch with a couple of tablespoons of water and poured it slowly into the liquid in the skillet. I whisked the liquid constantly while it reached a boil and let it thicken a bit. You could also serve the liquid as is but I like it a little more like gravy.

And voila! Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs!

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!

I served the chicken with rice and the vegetables braised with the chicken. Holy cow! Chicken braised in all that flavorful liquid but with crispy skin. I was in heaven! Mr. C had two thighs and cleaned his plate! So if you’re looking for a delicious, new way to serve chicken I suggest you try Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs!

 

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs will delight your family!
5 from 1 vote
Print

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs are packed with flavor and have a wonderful crispy skin. Your family is sure to love this recipe!

Author thecomfortablecoop@gmail.com

Instructions

Add remaining 1 cup of chicken broth to skillet (use less if chicken would be submerged with the entire cup).

  1. Place skillet in preheated oven for 5 minutes then reduce heat to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook for 25 - 35 minutes (until internal temperature is 160 degrees. It will reach 165 degrees while resting).
  3. Remove skillet from oven and set chicken on a plate.
  4. Strain vegetables from liquid and keep warm
  5. Return liquid to skillet.
  6. *Mix cornstarch and water and slowly whisk into liquid in pan, bringing to a boil, whisking constantly until desired thickness is achieved.

 

 

 

Save

New York Strip Steaks

Mr. C’s sister sent us a gift certificate from Kansas City Steak Company for Christmas. It took me a while to decide what to get since everything in the catalog was very expensive and spending that much money on a small amount of meat was difficult. But, since we had the gift certificate I finally decided to go pretty much all out and bought  16 ounce New York Strip Steaks.

Pan-seared New York Strip Steaks are tender and juicy.

— Continue reading

Cleaning Part 1 – Ways to Make Your Home Smell Great

I first posted this last (early) spring. When our homes are closed up due to cold weather we need to do something to freshen them. Since winter came back this year I thought it would be a good time to post it again! And if you have ways that you use to freshen up your home I’d love to hear them! Meanwhile, please enjoy Cleaning Part 1 – Ways to Make Your Home Smell Great!

Easy ways to make you home smell great!

— Continue reading

Raising Rabbits for Meat

When my sons were kids they raised rabbits, mostly for showing. Yes, there are rabbit shows just as there are dog shows. The boys’ primary breed was Mini Rex and they did incredibly well. They were first in the country in their breed. But their secondary breed, which they showed mainly at our county fair, was New Zealand (whites) and those are the rabbits I’ve chosen for my next project; raising rabbits for meat.

Raising rabbits for meat is a great way to provide for your family!Picture via Adopt a Rabbit

— Continue reading